A Study in the Word: Revelation 21:1-8


Revelation 21:1-4 begins the last vision of John. The sea held something fearful for the Hebrew people (the Red Sea, storms on Galilee, John’s isolation on Patmos). Now, what is fearful is removed (21:1b). The new city descends to the new earth, heavenly adorned as a royal bride (21:2). To be in the presence of God and Christ is heaven’s goal through all human history. Whatever can be said of heavenly existence, the pre-eminent thought of every Christian must be that heaven is in the very presence of God (21:3; John 1:14). Like the vanished sea, the new order will contain nothing of the sadness that marked the old order (21:4). The faithful who persevere have searched for things of strength, things that last. God with them is their reward and the substance of their message of faithfulness today.

One scholar observes that God says, “I make all things new,” not “I make all new things” (21:5a). Will God replace the present creation with another one, or will God restore His original creation? Creation was perfect when God made it (Genesis 1:31). Nature did not sin against God, though nature was affected by sin. Yet, “the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21). If creation as it now exists were to be completely destroyed and an entirely new universe take its place, then Satan might claim at least a partial (“Pyrrhic”) victory. Satan is denied such a victory if what God once created, He can restore in a new order with complete absence of evil. He may restore heaven and earth for the sake of His name (Ezekiel 20:8-22; 36:22-23). Whether there will be a new creation or a restored creation, what results will be what God decides.

God’s command for John to write credits His truths as true for all time (21:5b). “It is done” affirms history is goal-oriented, not an endless cycle (21:6; 16:17). God stands at both ends of the spectrum. Until the final act of all that Revelation has foretold actually occurs, He offers an open invitation to everyone to join Him.

Chapters 2 and 3 contain promises to “overcomers.” All who live faithfully to God will inherit His kingdom, abiding in His presence in a covenant relationship (21:7). The second death awaits all who choose otherwise (21:8).

Dr. David Moore is a university online instructor in Bible and theology. Email: dm5867se@outlook.com


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