No More Tears in God’s New Heaven and New Earth

Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, Jan van Eyck, c. 1390-1441

Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, Jan van Eyck, c. 1390-1441

From NT Wright’s commentary, Revelation for Everyone, he says this about Revelation 21:1-5:

When has there been a moment in your life when you have said to yourself, ‘This is new’? I don’t just mean a car with a few new gadgets, or a meal with a different combination of sauces and seasonings – though these, too, may point in the right direction. I’m thinking more of major life-experiences in which we think to ourselves, ‘Everything is going to be different now. This is quite new. This is a whole new world opening up.’

Such experiences might well include some major life-events: birth, marriage, full recovery from a long and dangerous illness, the experience of someone new coming to live with you. All these, interestingly, feature in the list of images which John uses as he builds up this breathtaking picture of the new heaven and new earth. ‘I will be his God and he shall be my son’ (verse 7): a final new birth. The holy city is like ‘a bride dressed up for her husband’: a wedding. There will be ‘no more death, or mourning or weeping or pain any more’: the great recovery. And, central to this whole picture, and indeed explaining what it all means, is the great promise: ‘God has come to dwell with humans.’ The new, permanent guest.

There may be mystery about God’s new creation, but what we do know is surely good news. What a hope we have in Jesus Christ.

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