Advent: December 20

Revelation 21:1-6

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. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 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. “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.’

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.’ 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.’

Things have changed gear. At the end of the previous chapter of Revelation we read of the Judgement of all those who have ever lived. Now we reach the point of finality. The new heaven and the new earth are designed for eternity. This is how it will be for ever. The boat will leave the quay and those aboard will stay aboard, and no-one will leave or join. That’s eternity.

Jesus’ words, “it is finished”, those final words uttered by Jesus on the cross, marking the completion of his work on earth, are echoed in the finality of this event. “It is done.”

Our future heaven will be on earth. We won’t be “up there”, on clouds or with harps. What we shall experience is Eden Restored, a place of beauty beyond imagination. We will live in the presence of Almighty God, free from the sorrows, trials and pains of earthly life. Death will be no more. There will be no more tears.

We should be aware and expectant of community. Heaven is not a personal reward, nor is it tailored for your pleasure. If you have personal expectations for heaven, you may need to reframe your view – this place is for The Church, God’s people, the Bride of Christ.

Could God have dispensed with all of the Old Testament experience and sent Jesus sooner?

How should we as Church live on earth so as to reflect our destiny in heaven?

Father God, why should you choose to make your dwelling place among the likes of us? Your majesty, your holiness can not be taken lightly by us. If your holiness does not prostrate me, I stand in awe of you. Yet this is your plan, and I look forward to my new home. Amen.

A new heaven from King’s