“God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” REVELATION 21:3-4
The whole idea of a new heaven and a new earth is hard to comprehend. But we can say with absolute certainty that God is going to take what is present and transform it, and He’s determined that no one and nothing will be capable of destroying His perfected kingdom. We can say this with such certainty because He is the God who is powerful to keep His promises, seen most gloriously of all at a wooden cross and an empty tomb. Right now, behind the scenes of what we call history, God is preparing to bring His kingdom in all its fullness—and it is, in fact, something He has been preparing from all of eternity. When Christ returns, He will usher in this new kingdom, a new heaven and earth in which righteousness dwells.
When God’s perfected kingdom is finally established, sin will have been punished, justice will have been satisfied, and evil will have been destroyed. There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. Those will all be merely “the former things” that will have “passed away.” When God brings His kingdom to fruition, when His perfect plan unfolds, no one and nothing will be able to spoil it.
The word “new” as it is used to describe the new heaven and new earth in Revelation is not describing time or origin; it’s describing kind and quality. In other words, God is going to transform creation so that it reflects all the glory and magnificence that He originally intended for it. Satan will not get the satisfaction of watching God destroy His creation. Rather, God is going to use fire to purify it, just as He once used water in the days of Noah (2 Peter 3:5-7).
So the new earth will still be earth. It will be a physical place inhabited by physical people, but now it “shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). No wonder, then, that the whole of creation stands on tiptoe, longing to be liberated from its bondage to sin and decay (Romans 8:19-22)!
This new creation is worth waiting for. It is worth living for and even dying for. God is going to renew all things—our souls, our minds, our bodies, and even the environment in which we live. None of the things which currently spoil life on earth will be present, and all that is hoped for, all that is anticipated, will find its fulfillment.
So “we wait eagerly” (Romans 8:23). There is never a need to despair, no matter how dark life may become—for the day God wipes your tears away lies ahead. And “we wait for it with patience” (v 25). There is never a need to seek to seize all you think you need now, no matter how tempting that may be—for the day when God brings all the joy and satisfaction you could imagine lies ahead. Let eagerness and patience be your watchwords today.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections—what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?