Bible Reading

Revelation 21:22 – 22:5

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Eden Restored

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Reflection

The book of Revelation is a written by John (the disciple) and is a stark and brutal book which encourages Christians to remember the source of their hope and it firmly challenges those who believe in Christ to hold on to their faith. John doesn’t use fluffy language to keep everyone happy, but instead he uses language that is very honest, and can be quite tough to read at time. The section that we are reading from is the very end of the bible, there are just 15 verses left after our reading ends!

This section of Revelation is talking about a new heaven and a new earth, as in what will happen when Jesus comes again and this world that we know now will come to an end.

It’s interesting to read that in this new place there is now temple, don’t you think? There aren’t many towns in the UK now that don’t have a local church somewhere near by, in fact you’ll sometimes find small churches located in the middle of nowhere. In this new era of the world though, there won’t be a temple anywhere, and I suppose it’s obvious in a way that this would be the case, as we will be WITH God. The point of a church in someways is to act as a signpost to Heaven, and so if we already with God all the time, there why would we need a new signpost.

John then goes on to say, that there will also be no sun or moon. Now this sounds even more bonkers that no temple; but John says that we won’t need the sun or the moon because we will be in the presence of the Light of the World. We will be in the Glory of God, which will provide enough light for everyone, and everything.

Now you might start wondering about plants and vegetation at this point, and you might be remembering back to biology lessons and thinking “well all living things need the sun in order to exist”, and you are 100% correct, but only on THIS earth. Of course we are now talking about a new earth. In the same way that the church currently is a signpost to God and to Heaven, the current earth could also be seen in that way. People often use creation and the world around us to show God’s amazing love for us, but this could just be a signpost to what it will be like to live WITH him.

What is very interesting to think about, and is something that isn’t often discusses is that the new earth that John is writing about, that isn’t God’s plan B just because this world is so messed up. No, the new earth, the new heaven, they have always been part of God’s plan. To live in relationship with humanity. To be together, in the light of the Glory of God.

In this place there will be no more pain, no more suffering. This place will be like Eden as described in the very beginning of the bible. In fact the book of revelation almost mirrors the narrative of Genesis. The river is mentioned, but this time it’s the river of life, and the tree fo life; which you might remember from Genesis (with Eve and the snake). It’s all there.

This new earth has always been and will always be God’s plan. The ideal plan. For us to live in unity with him. In the Light that comes from his Glory. In a place where pain and hurt no longer exist. Where Sin can no longer tempt us. We will be with God, and there will be mo darkness.

Prayer

Lord, where can we begin? We thank you so much that you have a plan for us; and that you will never give up on us. We pray that you would help us to see more of your plan and to help others to see it as well. Be with each one of us we pray. Amen.

Sum-it-up

God has a plan for all of us. We will one day live in unity with him, in a new Heaven and a new Earth. In a place where the only light we need, is the light of God’s glory. The light of the world.

Weekly Challenge

This week, think about what it would be like to live in a place where there is no more pain, and no more hurt. What does it look like? What does it feel like?
What can you do, to help more people to know about God’s love, so that they might get to experience the new Heaven and new Earth as well?

St Mary’s Church

12 East Street

Billingshurst

RH14 9PY

01403 782332