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A glorious hope at the end of the Bible’s story

January 29, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Revelation 21:1-7; Revelation 21:23 - 22:5; Revelation 22:17

Revelation 21:1-7

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “All is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will freely give water from the life-giving spring. 7 Those who emerge victorious will inherit these things. I will be their God, and they will be my sons and daughters.

Revelation 21:23 – 22:5

23 The city doesn’t need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day, and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. 27 Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is vile and deceitful, but only those who are registered in the Lamb’s scroll of life.

Revelation 22:17

1 Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb 2 through the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations. 3 There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 Night will be no more. They won’t need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine on them, and they will rule forever and always.

17 The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who is thirsty come! Let the one who wishes receive life-giving water as a gift.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Revelation ended with a set of glowing, symbol-laden pictures of the glory that awaits God’s people when God makes our world new. This expanded on Jesus’ teaching that, for God’s people, the end of the world is about redemption, not fear (cf. Luke 21:25-28). Scholar Catherine Cory noted that “John isn’t being transported to an otherworldly place; rather, he’s experiencing a new transformed heaven and earth (see Isaiah 65:17-19).” * We need to avoid “getting lost in the weeds” of giant jewels and objects more precious than our minds can imagine. The vision used those objects, not as ends in themselves, but as symbols showing that the greatest eternal reward is that “God’s dwelling is here with humankind….God himself will be with them as their God” (21:3).

  • As Rome exiled him and ridiculed (and all too often killed) Christians, John confidently wrote of a splendid future for God’s people. He ended the Bible’s big story as it began, using images from Genesis 2 to picture the restored (and if anything, better than ever) garden of Paradise. John’s vision put the promise of eternal life into powerful, mind-stretching images. And the exiled seer made it plain that anyone who will willingly live in God’s kingdom can choose to be part of that ultimate, life-transforming hope. “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it….Let the one who is thirsty come! Let the one who wishes receive life-giving water as a gift” (21:24, 22:17). Have you said yes to that invitation? How can you live every day in the light of that hope?
Prayer

King Jesus, two years of pandemic leave me yearning for the world you will make new. I open my heart and ask you to help me start living now with you as my eternal hope, as my God. Amen.

GPS Insights

Cheryl Jefferson Bell

Cheryl Jefferson Bell

Pastor Cheryl Bell has served as a Congregational Care pastor at Resurrection since 2012 and now serves as our Pastor of Community Justice. She is a second-career clergy, having previously worked for Boeing as an Electrical Engineer.

Hope!

Anticipation!

Joy!

Peace!

That’s what is renewed in me whenever I read or use this Scripture in my ministry! I use part of these passages frequently at funerals, memorials or Home Going Celebrations. Because we need to hear a word of hope at times like that–we need to be reminded that this is not the end! We need to be reminded that God has us in God’s Hands!

John paints an amazing picture of the new heaven and new earth. There will be no more death! No more mourning! No more crying! No more pain! No more darkness! No more COVID! No more war! No more hate! No more! That brings me joy and peace!

The source of Light will be The Lord God! The source of Living-Water will be The Lord God! We will worship and praise God, knowing that we have received Eternal Life!

Hope!

Anticipation!

Joy!

Peace!

That is what helps me and sustains me and keeps me looking to the future, anticipating a new heaven and a new earth, where God will be with us and we with God! The longer I live, the closer I get! The longer we live, the closer we get! Our faith will become our reality! It makes me excited to think about it!

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
Let the one who hears say, “Come!”
And let the one who is thirsty come!
Let the one who wishes receive life-giving water as a gift.”

And as we have heard each Easter, and as we rely upon each day, not only do we believe this, we are counting on it! Amen? Amen!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Catherine A. Cory, study note on Revelation 21:1 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 523NT.