Revelation 21 - Creator of a New Creation
During this fast season we are exploring - through what we read in a chapter a day of the Bible - who God is and what He is like.
1. Pray and read - preferably together
2. Pray and share
This chapter contains glorious visions of the church as God intended church to be. Picture language is the only way we can glimpse the glorious future: a new Jerusalem coming down from heaven, and a bride prepared for her husband. Both symbols speak of completion of God’s plans (glimpsed in the sealed scroll in chapter 5). The process is completed, of the city coming down from heaven and the bride getting ready.
The goal of history is a new creation (verses 1 and 5). God will not just destroy the earth and take us away to a different place called heaven. He is making a new heaven and earth that will be perfect. And we are part of it! (2 Cor 5:17)
The heavenly places are not a different geography but a different dimension - a spiritual realm. Heaven is not far away when we know Jesus, because He has already given us new birth and eternal life. In fact the goal is for heaven and earth - the spiritual and the natural - to come together.
The angel, who is showing John the church in glory, is measuring it. In verse 17 we see that human and angelic measurements are now equal - they have not been throughout history but now heaven and earth have come together, in answer to our prayers “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”
The Bride/City are beautiful and radiant with God’s glory. We currently experience something of God’s presence. But, as we respond to Him and co-operate with the process of becoming more like Jesus, God will make His presence known among us more strongly. Verses 7 and 8 speak of the choices we have to make - either we are conquerors or we shrink away from responding to God. The visions in this chapter show the end result.
The city is adorned with jewels. This resonates with 1 Cor 3:10-15. We can build through faith and righteousness, in the power of the Spirit, and that is like the city adorned with gems and precious stones. Or we can build through human effort and earthly wisdom in wood, hay and stubble. Even if the buildings - our lives - look the same on earth, the fire of judgment will test what we build.
Perhaps the most precious thing about the visions in this chapter is that there is no need of a temple because the Lord Himself is there. He is the Creator. The whole of the new creation is a beautiful temple for His presence. That was His intention from the start in Genesis 1. We do not know precisely when, but in the end it will be fulfilled.
3. Pray and act
Lord thank you that you are making all things new - stir our hearts with a passionate longing for your Presence among us more and more.