Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for September 26th

A New Heaven and a New Earth

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away …. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Rev 21:1-3

What beautiful words! They bring us full circle, to the beginning of the Bible. Genesis 1:1 says, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. That creation is what is called here the old heavens and the old earth. They shall pass away, but a new heavens and a new earth are coming. Peter tells us what happens to the present heavens and earth, The heavens will disappear with a roar. The elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (2 Peter 3:10b). Now a new heavens and earth appear where Jesus will continue his reign throughout the entire reach of the vast universe.

This passage suggests that the New Jerusalem is to be the capital of a whole new universe, one that is greatly changed. I do not believe this means that God will eliminate the present heavens and earth, but instead changes and cleanses it. When we become Christians, we become new creatures in Christ, but we are still the same persons, now changed and cleansed. So also the old heavens and the old earth will be cleansed.

The New Jerusalem is called a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. We all love weddings. The climax is when the bride comes down the aisle, beautifully dressed for her husband! Everyone forgets that poor fellow waiting for her at the altar! Every eye is on the bride, because she has prepared herself for weeks to meet her husband there. A bride speaks of intimacy, and a city speaks of community. So we have a picture here of the redeemed of God, each one given a body of glory empowered with limitless energy. When opportunity comes in that day you will not say, as we often say today, The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). No, then you will be able to respond to every opportunity with a glorified, fresh, living body. We will live in close intimacy, not only with the Lord himself but with each other as well. I often think of that phrase of John's where he says, It does not yet appear what we shall be (1 John 3:2). I keep looking in the mirror for signs of change in me. But what do I see? Wrinkles! It won't be like that then. We will have bodies of glory and beauty like his.

The New Jerusalem will be the dwelling place of God. Isn't that marvelous? The place where God lives, in his people. Heaven, someone has said, is the place of no more — no more death, sorrow, parting, pain, tears, evil — all no more!

Lord, I look forward to the fulfillment of all my hopes and dreams in a new heaven and new earth. Help me to live for you today in light of my hope for tomorrow. Amen.

Life Application

Do you look forward to that time of "no more"? How can you cultivate your hope in that marvelous day yet to come?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The City of Glory

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