Summary: So Satan and his armies will be in the lake of fire forever, and Christ is on the throne forever - what abhout the standing of the Redeemed?
“The Great Unveiling: Great Expectations”
Revelation 21:1 – 22:5
Revelation is really the tale of two cities – one of the beast and his followers and one of the Lamb and his followers. Almost every week we’ve dealt with the evil city of the beast. Today we have the pause that refreshes and renews.
At this point in Revelation, the earthly struggles are over. Satan and his followers are in the lake of fire forever; God is on his throne forever. The only issue still remaining is the state and place of the redeemed. Though words cannot really describe it, John shares what he has seen. As Herman Lockyer wrote, his words here “Call for contemplation more than interpretation, for reverence more than research.” (1) Paul said it best when he wrote, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…” (1 Cor. 2:9)
In the verses we just read we find some great expectations - what we can expect from God and what God can expect from us. First, let’s contemplate OUR EXPECTATIONS OF GOD. And the first expectation we can have is (3) “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband…” (10) “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” We can expect A PREPARED PLACE. A future home has long been an expectation for God’s people. Even Abraham had this hope: “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God…they were looking for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” In fact, JESUS HAS GONE TO PREPARE OUR HOME. Recall Jesus’ words in John 14:1-3, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” It’s the imagery of the engagement period. The groom returned home to prepare his house and land. Then, about a year later, he returned with the wedding party to pick up and marry his bride, and processes back to their new home. That’s what we can expect from God.
Secondly, we can expect NEWNESS from God. “New” is a key word throughout this passage. It is all parallel to Genesis 1 – we’re hearing “Let there be” all over again. The earth and the world as we know it are tainted with sin and all the effects of sin. Something totally new is needed. And John sees it! Yet words are inadequate, so John deals with what we know and paints a picture of the opposite.
For example, he said there will be no more sea. The sea in Revelation stands for separation, destruction, and unrest; they will all be gone. Sin and human turmoil will be non-existent. As verse 4 puts it, “He (God) 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.” When was the last time you cried? The last time you were in pain? The last time you mourned? There is coming a day when “no more!” God doesn’t just wipe the tears – He removes them! Those former things, THE RESULTS OF SIN, WILL BE GONE, done away! Think of the worst things in this world – sickness, pain, hunger, thirst, tears, turmoil, separation, death, temptation; they will be erased forever! Forgiveness will be the rule of the day – our sins will be forgiven! There will be no more scars, no more sores, and no more pain – physical, mental, or emotional. Suffering, in all its forms – gone! Hospitals, death, funerals, grief – gone! Wheelchairs, canes, crutches – gone! Suicide bombers, twin tower attacks, army invasions, guns in schools, car bombs, terrorists, missiles, airstrikes - gone! Mental and physical handicaps – gone! Blindness, deafness, dumbness – gone! Parkinson’s, MS, diabetes, arthritis, rheumatism, paralysis, heart disease – gone! Cancer – gone! AIDS – gone! Rape, abuse, and violence – gone! Financial failures and business bankruptcies and stock market roller-coasters – gone! Racial hatred, prejudice, social injustice – gone!
As Peter put it (II Pt. 3:13): “Righteousness (where everything is in right relationship with God) will be a home.” Imagine: “Home – where no one ever has a heartache; Home – where no one ever gets angry; Home – where no one ever gets lonesome; Home – where no one gets tired; Home - where no one ever gets sick; Home – where no one ever dies; Home – where no one ever says ‘good-bye!’” God will make all things new!