Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Despite all of our advances in medical science and philosophy, the end of life is still something of a mystery. What happens when we die? Our fascination is shown in the number of best-sellers written by those who claim to have died, been to heaven and come back to life.
The Bible says only a little about what happens when we die, and a little more about what will happen when Jesus returns. We read that no one knows the time or date when Jesus will return, but only the Father and that we should therefore keep watch (Matthew 24:36-44). We also read that when Jesus returns, he will come with the ‘trumpet call of God’, and that those in Christ who have already died will rise first, followed by those who are still alive (1 Thess 4:13-18). In tomorrow’s reflection, we’ll read 2 Peter 3, which also gives us a picture of what will happen when Jesus returns.
But despite the mysteries of ‘the end’, Revelation 21 and 22 paint for us a beautiful picture of life forever with God in the new creation that Jesus will bring with him when he returns. There is great encouragement to be found in reflecting on this passage in Revelation 21. Here we learn that we look forward to dwelling with God as he dwells among his people. We look forward to being God’s people with him. We look forward, in a beautiful image of God’s tender care for us, to God himself wiping every tear from our eyes. We look forward to no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain. We look forward to everything being made new. We look forward being God’s children.
With all of this to look forward to may our prayer always be, ‘come Lord Jesus, come’!
Reflection: Meditate on these seven verses from Revelation 21 and thank God for all that he has in store for us when Jesus returns.
Nat Rosner grew up in Sydney, lives in Melbourne and loves both cities! A former lawyer, she’s now a Minister at St Hilary's in Victoria and is passionate about sunshine, summer, sport, reading and local church ministry.
This reflection was originally posted as part of a series at St Hilary's, Kew
(photo courtesy of Elizabeth Hung, our Feature Artist for April, 2017)