This — and so much more!
Rev. 21:1 ¶ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Rev. 21:2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev. 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
Rev. 21:4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
We are coming to the climax of the story of God. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. All that has been talked about — all that has been revealed. It will be like this, and yet it will be so much more.
On this new earth there will no longer be any sea -- whether physically or metaphorically speaking. God will provide springs of eternal living water — he will be the source. The metaphoric water will no longer create enmity on the earth.
In John's vision the sea had been the source of those who were the enemies of God and mankind. That source will be removed and the result will peace on earth. Jesus’ rule which began with his birth will be brought to completion in the new heaven and the new earth. The prince of peace will be able to rightfully reign.
It’s God’s plan for this and so much more. No longer will God dwell in heaven, but his dwelling place will be the earth where there will be no place for tumult between God and his people. The future is a deeply intimate, face to face relationship with God. In that relationship all the things that the sea had done — bring death, mourning, pain and tears — will have evaporated. God will be on the throne in the very midst of his people.
As a child we crossed the Atlantic ocean twice on ocean-liners. (Yes, I really am that old!) It was a great experience as we traveled from New York City to LeHarve, France, returning home to Europe after months of furlough in the United States. I remember those ships and for the most part, I have pleasant thoughts. On the other hand, I remember a day when we hit stormy seas -- rough water! All day the big ship rocked back and forth as the huge waves pounded us. The swimming pool was closed because, as we bobbled in the ocean, the water of the pool would angrily shift back and forth, pouring over its boundaries and across the ship. It was a day in which you held on for dear life and wondered when it would all end.
There are seasons when we feel that we are adrift on the stormy seas of life. The wind whips up and the waves begin to rise and we feel battered on every side. Sometimes we wonder if we can ever make it! And then the "already" of the kingdom of God breaks in on us. We are able to catch a glimpse of what will be in the future, and begin to participate in this new heaven and new earth in a small way, even today. The Holy Spirit is here among us and unites us in a holy relationship with God now -- today. This means that in the seas of life, when we are being beaten by the storms, God can come into that space and remove the sea. Already, now, God wants to come and wipe the tears from our eyes.
Until Christ comes again the seas will exist and there will be the unrest of life, but we have the promise and the foretaste of the destruction of that sea when God breaks into the here and now. Hang on, for God is already with us. What we are experiencing in the already is a beautiful relationship with God because in Jesus’ resurrection he ushered in the already. This is the foretaste of what is to come. It’s this — and so much more. Already we are invited into a more intimate space with God. In the “so much more” nothing will be able to separate us from him. Live into the “this” of today, knowing that there is “so much more to come.”
Lord, thank you that you ride the storms with us, and that you are victorious. Amen.
If you would like to read more "Reflecting the Image" click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.