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The New Jerusalem March 16, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Revelation 21.

Summary: In this passage, God declares that He will enter into a new union with His people – where He will completely remove the consequences of the Fall. He exhorts His people to hold to His testimony so that they can enter into this new union – especially since those who do not hold to His testimony will be thrown into the lake of fire. One of the angels who poured out a bowl of the wrath of God then shows John the new Jerusalem; it is a beautiful city that reflects the glory of God. Indeed, its streets, gates, walls and foundations are composed of the most precious stones and metals. John notes that only those who hold to the testimony of God will be able to enter the new Jerusalem.

Thoughts: In verse 4, we see that believers will no longer be subject to “death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” These words must have greatly encouraged John’s original readers while they faced intense persecution for their faith. It would have been natural for them to abandon their faith and receive (short-term) pleasures – especially when some of their brethren were dying for their faith, leaving others to mourn their passing. Yet God called them to maintain their faith in the face of their (short-term) sufferings so that they could receive genuine (long-term) pleasures. These words should also greatly encourage modern-day believers who face intense persecution for their faith.

Here, John delights his readers with a wondrous description of “the Holy City, Jerusalem.” I am inclined to believe that John had a heavenly vision, and he had the challenging task of conveying the contents of that vision to his readers using earthly language. Perhaps the description of the foundations of the city walls that he provides in verses 19 and 20 demonstrates that his vision was consumed by an entity of infinite worth, and so he conveyed that infinite worth by mentioning an array of precious stones. My prayer is that I would eventually see this entity and experience the same sublime feelings that overwhelmed John when he wrote this letter.

In verse 27, we see that “the Holy City, Jerusalem” will be pure and unspoiled. Henry offers some insights on this point in his commentary:

There the saints will have no impurity left in them. In death they will be cleansed from everything that defiles. On earth they feel a sad mixture of corruption with their graces, which hinders them in God’s service, interrupts their communion with him, and intercepts the light of his countenance. But as they enter the Most Holy Place, they are washed in the bowl of Christ’s blood and are presented to the Father spotless.

I often struggle to maintain my communion with God, as I am easily distracted during worship services, daily quiet times and prayer. I often wish that God would heal my distracted mind – enabling me to focus on Him and give Him my undivided attention – yet I am acutely aware that I will never be able to honor Him fully in that regard during my earthly existence. While this is rather frustrating, the present state of affairs causes me to long for the next life, where I will be able to maintain my communion with God; indeed, I long for the time when I will savor all of His words and delight in His presence.

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