The New Jerusalem

“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.””‭‭
Revelation‬ ‭21:2-4‬ ‭NLT

As John, in his vision, was marvelling about the New Jerusalem appearing before him, he heard a loud shout. It grabbed his attention and he recorded what was said. The angel’s words were profound. God was going to make His home amongst His people, the people who had been rebirthed into His eternal Kingdom. Are we pilgrims ready to welcome God? Really ready?

Right back in Genesis, it was God’s intention to spend time with His created friends, Adam and Eve. He walked in the Garden where they were, and it must have broken His heart when He discovered their sin. The end of a face to face relationship. But God had no option – He couldn’t stay in an environment that contained sin. But here we are in the penultimate chapter of Revelation, discovering that at last, with the cleansing of sin from His presence complete, He could once again achieve His goal of spending time amongst His people. 

The angel’s shouted message also gave John some reassurance. Don’t forget he had been exiled to a prison on an island in the Aegean sea and he would be no stranger to “death or sorrow or crying or pain”. So the angel telling him about God’s plan reassured him that these human conditions would be eliminated. “Gone forever”

But in a sense, limited by our humanity, God lives within us. He never really left us. We read in Matthew 28:20, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” So Jesus has promised to be with us for ever. And there are many other Bible references about God being with us. In 1 Corinthians 3:16 we read, “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” But as we read in these verses today from Revelation, “God himself will be with them”, His people. 

A Scripture much quoted in the upcoming season of Advent is Matthew 1:23, “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”‭‭ The First Coming of Jesus was announced as “God is with us“. It came to fruition then, and here, in these New Beginning Times (they’re not End Times any more) God is with us in person, amongst His people.

But one thing we must consider is the reference to the new Jerusalem being like “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband”. In Ephesians 5:25-27, we read, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” It was always Christ’s intention to make His Church “holy and without fault” one day. And by so doing, the Church will become His Bride. This finally comes to fruition with the new Jerusalem. 

These are exciting times for us pilgrims. One day we’ll get to explore the new Jerusalem, in all its splendour. And enjoy a new life for all eternity free of “death or sorrow or crying or pain”. How amazing is that?

Dear Lord. We look forward in awe at the coming of the new Jerusalem, where we will find You living with Your people. We worship You today, in grateful anticipation. Amen.

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