Bible Book: Revelation / Openbaring
Verse (to): 8
Text: Revelation 21:1-8
The promise of heaven can be used in more than one way to help someone who is suffering.
When we remember that God promises to give his children an imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance, which He is keeping for us in heaven (1 Pet 1:4), it encourages us in moments of deep despair, grief and anxiety. In moments like these it is good to know that this “here and now” is not all there is. There are more in God’s wonderful creation. And God is indeed creating new things. Revelation 21 proclaims that God creates a new heaven and a new earth!
This chapter must have been one of comfort and reassurance for the Christians at the time when John received this revelation. For many of them it was a time of tribulation, trials and persecution. Verses 7 and 8 seem like a personal message to applaud the faithful and warn the unfaithful.
It is important to remember that the promise of heaven has another way in which it helps us in times of suffering. Through the promise of heaven the Bible helps us to envision a future that will be different from our present circumstances. The future that Revelation 21:1-8 proclaims is not foreign and remote to the readers. We read of a new earth together with the new heaven (verse 1); of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven (verse 2); of God dwelling amongst humans (verse 3) and that tears will be wiped away (verse 4). When I read this, I remember that Jesus teaches us to pray “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:9-10).
It is when we come to imagine that things can be different that we will also start looking for ways that can make it different. I have a photo of Gideon Byamugisha of Uganda wearing a T-shirt with the following written on it: “IMAGINE… generations born free from AIDS.”
With the prayer in our hearts for the kingdom to come and a vision in our minds of a different future we can indeed work and be conquerors in a broken world.
To think about (or discuss): In what way does Rev 21:1-8 help me to imagine the future? Should this change anything I will be doing during this week?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)