Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 21st May 2023: The new Heaven and the new Earth

Kingdom of God Jesus Heaven Revelation 21

Reading : Verses from Revelation, Chapter 21


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. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
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.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’

Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.'

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Have you ever tried to describe the world that is to come, when God is in control of all things? Well probably you've not been so silly as to try! Over the years, though, I've worked with groups of people who looked at this world, and then at God's Kingdom. I've seen drawings of elderly men and women playing harps and seated on clouds, and lightning bolts around a central bright light, to mention but two pictures. Neither of which seems very attractive. The trouble is that we have to try and describe eternity using the language of this world, for this is all that we know.

It is the same for John, the writer of the Book of Revelations. He has to compare what he sees in his visions to things his readers will understand; to describe spiritual realities and relate them to everyday things. So he uses the image of Jerusalem as a beautiful city where God and His people will live together in fellowship. He also uses the image of a Jewish bride being prepared for her wedding day.

John is saying that Christians will no longer have to live in a divided world, where God is in heaven and His people are on earth. Because sin has now been conquered through the death of Jesus, God will make His home with His people. But John is not using pictures of the actual new order, these are metaphors - that is they are images of entirely different things (ie Jerusalem, and the bride) to help us try to imagine God's Kingdom which is something that is beyond our actual understanding.


Heavenly Father,
Your servant John had visions
of Your new Kingdom;
of a place where You would make
Your home amongst Your people;
and where there would be no more
death, or crying or sorrow.
You call us to work towards the
completion of Your work on earth,
and help to bring in Your reign of peace.
May we embrace this challenge
to secure love and harmony around us.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look at this traditional hymn, written by Saint Bernard of Cluny. He uses many images of the new Kingdom. It's a "land of milk and honey", that has "pastures". The word "rest" is used etc. What would your images be?

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