The Following thought for the day was written by Brother Richard Morgan and provides insight and encouragement for those seeking to serve the God of Israel.
The vision in Revelation 21 is something we all look forward to, the time when there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (v1) and when God “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.” (v4). But we shouldn’t make the mistake of just looking forward to this and getting on with our lives. What is the exhortation connected with this vision?
First, verse 4 is a quotation from Isaiah 25:8 – “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.” That’s interesting language, death being swallowed up. The apostle Paul uses the same metaphor in 2 Corinthians 5, and it’s in that context where we find a series of connections back to Revelation 21. In speaking about our present mortal state, Paul writes, “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Cor. 5:4). Revelation 21 also mentions what we’re going to be clothed with – “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (v2).
What we look forward to is when everything is made new. Revelation 21 mentions a new heaven and earth (v1); former things passed away (v4), and then “he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” (v5). Paul echoes those words in 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” There is a sense in which we begin to experience the vision of Revelation 21 right now. We do that by focusing on the future and aligning our lives with God’s eternal purpose. Or, as Paul puts it in chapter 4, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (v16-18).
At the end of Revelation 21, we learn, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” We understand that while there will be a physical temple built in the Millenium, ultimately, God wants His people to be the temple. But we also know that we should be part of that spiritual temple already. Back in Corinthians and chapter 6, Paul says, “For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’” (v16). Those are words also used in Revelation 21 – “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.” (v3).
2 Corinthians 6:17 then goes on to say regarding the spiritual temple “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.” God’s temple should, of course, be holy, and so in Revelation 21, we read, “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false” (v27).
We cannot disconnect our future hope from our way of life now. We are preparing ourselves to be in the Kingdom, and it’s not just something we look forward to. We should be developing a Kingdom of God attitude of mind right now and living as new people, ready for the time when death will be swallowed up and destroyed forever.
Simi Hills, CA
[post-content id=105350 shortcodes=true]
View all the thoughts in this series here…