The New Jerusalem
In Revelation 21:1–5 the apostle John is documenting a vision of the new creation.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
These two chapters (21 and 22) are the final visions of John’s Apocalypse (Revelation). After all of the descriptions and events in the book we now come to revelation of the end of the story. This is the telos of all history—the final act in the biblical story. Here we see God not only restoring creation to Eden but making it better.
As yesterday, there is a lot here for us to explore, but we will focus on the few aspects that are particularly relevant to our topic.
Here we see God finally fully redeeming all of his creation. The new heaven and new earth is language indicating the full redemption of creation—the final reconciliation of all things to Christ, as we saw in Colossians 1 yesterday.
This text is full of links pointing back to Genesis 1-11. New heaven, new earth, and God’s statement “Behold, I am making all things new” harken back to the Genesis creation account. The dwelling place of God being, yet again with man harkens back to the garden as well as the tabernacle, the temple and the Spirit of God indwelling believing communities. This also links back to the Tower of Babel, where the people attempted to build a temple to bring God’s presence down, but it wasn’t God’s way, in God’s timing and according to God’s plan. Here we see the city coming down from God to creation. Verse 4 describes the final reversal of the curse in Genesis 3 upon creation. All of these images are rich with theological imagery from the first chapters of the Bible.
Yet it departs in one super significant way—it is not a garden where all this takes place, but a city. This we will talk about tomorrow. Your suspense is palpable 🙂
For your reflection time today repeat to yourself the words of God, “Behold I am making all things new.” Remember this statement when your work is frustrating or your annoyed with the people around you or you just cant seem to get out of your own way. Remember and find hope in God’s promise that he is making all things new.