(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
Revelation 21 should be the easiest for our modern and materialistic society to grasp. I say this not because the imagery in it is easier to understand or that the subject matter is any less daunting. I say this merely because we live in a society of constant desire for newness. The model of choice barely gets back in stock from a gluttonous run on stores around Christmas and the next, newest model is already being announced. X-Box 1, Play Station 4, iPhone 6, pick your poison we are all smitten with the next big thing. We have become so enthralled with getting the fastest 4G LTE or broadband connection that we have lost sight of what is truly important: God and our relationship with Him.
It is hard to believe that all of this began with Adam in a lush garden and the desire of God for a relationship with man. He made us to be in relationship with Him and what did we do: we messed it up. Adam and Eve in the garden, the tabernacle in the deserts of the Middle East, the Holy of Holies in the Temple, each of these presented an opportunity for man to commune with God. Some would say that the constant failures of man to come close to God has been an exercise in futility and that proves that God is not all-knowing. I would argue differently; God, knowing everything, is providing every opportunity He can for mankind to make the decision to come to Him. Throughout all of this, throughout all of our failures, God has allowed us to maintain some free will in the process. Yes, He knows the ending but as a kind and grace-filled God He provides every opportunity for us to make the right decision.
Revelation 21:1-8 discusses the new Heaven and the new Earth and the new Jerusalem. God, who won the war in Christ, finishes the final battle and claims His victory by remaking everything. The next big thing is here and as believers we are all welcome. Put away your worries for 4G because the 1G, God, is establishing His kingdom on this new Earth and He is bringing His Holy City with Him. He has taken away grief, He has taken away pain, He has taken away worry. God makes it clear that He is EVERYTHING,
6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” (Revelation 21:6-7 NASB)
He is the beginning, He is the end, He is everything; and, He will provide sustenance to those who thirst. Throughout the New Testament the phrase “water of life”, or some similar reference, has referred to Jesus. Jesus now sits on the throne in the new Jerusalem and promises to give life to anyone who is thirsty. I believe it is symbolic that all sources of water on the new Earth are gone with the exception of the “water of life” in the new Jerusalem indicating that the ONLY source of sustenance is that offered through Christ. The message we have been sharing with countless people throughout our short span of time on this corrupt Earth has finally come to pass and eternal life in Christ is here.
How does this “revelation” help us today? How can we rationalize this within our lives? At first I wanted to put HOPE here. But the more I thought about it, the more I pondered on the meaning of hope, I see this is not appropriate enough here. If you HOPE for something you “expect it with confidence” (Webster’s online). And, while we can have much confidence that this will come about there is still a modicum of doubt wrapped up in what we call hope. Revelation 21:1-8 should give us more than worldly, doubt-tainted hope. It should give us BOLD CONFIDENCE. We know the end of the story. We know the lottery numbers before they drop the first ball. We know the ship is sinking and we have a reservation on the life boat. We know that we are destined to life in this ultimate NEWNESS because of God’s call on our lives and our decision to have faith and believe. These verses should give us the BOLD CONFIDENCE to go forward every day grateful to God for EVERYTHING (troubles and all) and because of that gratitude share BOLDLY what He has done in our lives to EVERYONE who will listen.