God’s Word of Joy
Revelation 21:1-27: We conclude the year by reading the final two chapters in the last book in the Bible, known as The Revelation to John, written at a time when Christians were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. The central theme of the book is that, through Christ the Lord, God will finally and totally defeat all of his enemies, including Satan, and will reward his faithful people with the blessings of a new heaven and a new earth when this victory is complete. In today’s reading, God has defeated Satan. John’s vision now describes God bringing in a new heaven and earth as well as a new city, which represents a renewal of the whole creation. God will dwell among the people; and pain, sorrow, and death will be no more.
The New Heaven and the New Earth
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. 2 And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: “Now God’s home is with people! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. 4 He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.”
5Then the one who sits on the throne said, “And now I make all things new!” He also said to me, “Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.” 6 And he said, “It is done! I am the first and the last, the beginning and the end. To anyone who is thirsty I will give the right to drink from the spring of the water of life without paying for it. 7 Those who win the victory will receive this from me: I will be their God, and they will be my children. 8But cowards, traitors, perverts, murderers, the immoral, those who practice magic, those who worship idols, and all liars—the place for them is the lake burning with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
The New Jerusalem
9One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came to me and said, “Come, and I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 The Spirit took control of me, and the angel carried me to the top of a very high mountain. He showed me Jerusalem, the Holy City, coming down out of heaven from God 11and shining with the glory of God. The city shone like a precious stone, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates and with twelve angels in charge of the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of the people of Israel. 13There were three gates on each side: three on the east, three on the south, three on the north, and three on the west. 14The city’s wall was built on twelve foundation stones, on which were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 The angel who spoke to me had a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16The city was perfectly square, as wide as it was long. The angel measured the city with his measuring stick: it was fifteen hundred miles long and was as wide and as high as it was long. 17The angel also measured the wall, and it was 216 feet high, according to the standard unit of measure which he was using. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city itself was made of pure gold, as clear as glass. 19The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation stone was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh yellow quartz, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chalcedony, the eleventh turquoise, the twelfth amethyst. 21The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each gate was made from a single pearl. The street of the city was of pure gold, transparent as glass.
22I did not see a temple in the city, because its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb. 23 The city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God shines on it, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The peoples of the world will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their wealth into it. 25 The gates of the city will stand open all day; they will never be closed, because there will be no night there. 26The greatness and the wealth of the nations will be brought into the city. 27 But nothing that is impure will enter the city, nor anyone who does shameful things or tells lies. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of the living will enter the city.
Today’s Key Verse: Revelation 21:7
Those who win the victory will receive this from me: I will be their God, and they will be my children.
Who is the “Bride, the wife of the Lamb” (verse 9)? How is the new Jerusalem described (verses 11-21)? How do you envision what is described in this chapter?
Loving God, you make all things new. Renew your creation and make your home among us. Teach us to care for those in need and to be faithful stewards of the world you created. Refresh me with your gracious Spirit and empower me to serve you faithfully. Amen.
Revelation 22:1-21: Jesus will come again.