• The Explore the Bible lesson for Aug. 30 focuses on Revelation 21:1-7.
We will wrap up this study with a brief examination of an almost overwhelmingly encouraging picture of God’s love in Revelation 21. The chapter illustrates a full picture of the way in which God will consummate his creation. This particular snapshot of God’s handiwork can leave us in awe, especially when we read the text in light of current human suffering. The promises of Revelation 21 guarantee our current tribulations soon will be gone.
We will discuss God’s provision, presence and promises. We will examine ways we can look forward to complete healing and total restoration when Christ returns. Remember, we are not as concerned about the timing and all of the theories about the exact nature of the Lord’s return. In this lesson, we will concentrate upon the power of Christ’s love in bringing history to its fruition.
God’s new provision (21:1-2)
John described the seventh and final apocalyptic vision in Revelation by relaying a fantastic portrait of God’s provision. God will provide a heaven and earth. These new creations will be perfect in every way and inhabited by those who trust in his Son. The word “new,” when read in the Greek context, refers to a total renewal in quality. The new heaven and new earth will be much different than we can imagine.
For instance, there no longer will be any sea. From a literal standpoint, this description makes little sense, but remember the ancient Jewish concept of the sea was quite different than ours. In their world, bodies of water seemed foreboding, and many were said to be home to evil things. In other words, John pointed out sin and its effects never will contaminate or be evident in God’s fulfilled creation.
Obviously, believers can deal more effectively with present-day turmoil because of this future hope. One day, our tribulations will be gone. We can enjoy the Lord in person for all eternity. Hopefully, such a thought not only spurs on joy in the heart of every believer but also jumpstarts an evangelistic fervor in our churches to reach the lost with the saving message of Jesus Christ. God’s plan is on the move, and we must get to as much of the world as we can with the gospel in the meantime.
God’s presence celebrated (21:3-4)
One hardly can find more reassuring verses in all literature. One day, all God’s people will celebrate and enjoy his presence as life was in the Garden of Eden before humanity’s fall. There will be no more pain, sorrow or tears because death no longer will exist. Can you imagine a day when we will not even consider pain or death anymore? No doctor will ask us, “Where does it hurt?” in heaven, because God is ever present with his people.
Some Bible scholars rightly remind us pain—even the slightest pain—points to our mortality and to seek personal relationship with God. Perhaps we may use such a reminder in our daily evangelistic practices. We may hurt now in a variety of ways—physically and emotionally. But God cares about us so much he has provided a way for us to be saved—ultimately free of all pain, sorrow, suffering and death. Many people in our society cry out for such assurance these days. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. The temporary pains of today are put into perspective when we consider the plan, presence and power of Jesus Christ.
The promise fulfilled (21:5-7)
Jesus offers a pronouncement in present tense, active verbs. Jesus currently is making everything new. We are in the last days and about to meet our Lord. The One who is over all time created and also will create the end. Jesus therefore offers two promises. One promise is to the spiritually needy or the “thirsty.” He offers eternal life to all who admit their need (thirst), put their faith in him and persevere to the end. The second promise assures those who have been saved by grace through faith they are to inherit the new heaven and the new earth. God the Father will see to it. God the Son assures it. God the Holy Spirit enacts it.