Revelation 21:1-8 - Heaven on Earth
Be sure you match the description of those who will inhabit the new earth.
Read / Listen
Read Revelation 21:1-8
21 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. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 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. 4 ‘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.”
5 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.”
6 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. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 58
Q. How does the article
concerning “life everlasting”
A. Even as I already now
experience in my heart
the beginning of eternal joy,
so after this life I will have
perfect blessedness such as
no eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no human heart has ever imagined:
a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.
The other day we focused on the fact that Heaven's not forever, which seems shocking and disappointing, especially since one of the Bible's primary messages is that those who are in Christ will live eternally. Today's reading confirms that not only will we not be there forever, but heaven itself, just like earth, will "pass away."
But the fact that Heaven has a limited life span is actually good news, because both heaven and earth will be made new. While there will still be a delineation between the two (spiritual / physical), there will no longer be a distinction, in that the sin that's corrupted the earth will no longer be present. John describes that here when he writes, "there was no longer any sea." The sea to ancient people represented chaos and disorder. It's not the beauty of the ocean that will be gone, but the chaotic and disordered effects of sin that will no longer plague the world.
Earth will be so much like heaven that John writes of heaven - the dwelling place of God - being on earth. Things will finally be the way they're supposed to be: God in perfect fellowship and communion with His image bearers, bringing with Him true comfort and blessing. What a picture John communicates as he describes the almighty creator of the universe tenderly wiping away the tears of His people! The promise that God makes throughout scripture will finally come to pass: He will be our God, and we will be His children.
With sin being gone, and God's omnipresence clear to all, the concepts of death, mourning, crying and pain will simply cease to exist. There will be no need for those tools of despair, since the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
It's clear that not all people will get to experience the joys of the new heavens and earth. We were just reminded what kind of people won't be there. John describes those who will be there using two broad strokes:
The thirsty (v6): Those who long for the living water that Jesus offers. Does this describe you? Do you long to be quenched with God's Word every day the same way you may crave a cup of coffee (or maybe in some case a Red Bull)? Are you left feeling parched on those weeks that something kept you from being able to assemble with God's people on the Lord's Day to hear His Word? Since you can quench your spiritual thirst now in the same way it will be quenched in the new earth - without cost from the spring of the water of life - you can already begin to experience heaven on earth. Be a thirsty person!
The victorious (v7): This certainly doesn't mean that only the 'winners' in life will go on to the new earth, rather it means those who are in Christ, who has overcome the world. John uses the same word here in Revelation 21:7 to describe God's people that he used to recount Jesus words in John 16:33 ("take heart, because I have overcome the world.")
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father is our God, and we are His people.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that the Holy Spirit will cause you to thirst more and more to drink in Christ's victory over the world.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Romans 13