Read: Revelation 21:1-5
Reflect: The rug on our deck was already weathered and worse for the wear. Its final death knoll was the day the maintenance guys replaced the water heater in our apartment. In the process of removing the heater, the bottom plug broke and a cascade of filth began cascading across the kitchen floor. The one worker plugged his finger in the hole and they dragged the heater out to the deck. Upon removing his finger, the rusty water gushed out of the tank and permanently ruined the outdoor rug. There was nothing that could take that huge stain out of the carpet. No coming back from that accident.
There are things that one just cannot come back from. This world is like our rug that was stained and damaged permanently. Cleaning up the environment, obtaining purer air and filtering that contaminated water, won’t make everything pristine and beautiful in perpetuity. Nothing could make the ruined rug to be new and clean and it was only headed for the trash. And so, our physical world is headed for the dumpster.
We, as believers are not meant to forevermore dwell in this world, this place of stain and brokenness. We have a built-in longing, just like Abraham who “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”(Hebrews 11:10) As believers, we spend our lives longing for heaven, longing for what James Moffatt describes as “the vast city of God [that] sparkles like a diamond in the radiance of His presence.” Can you imagine living in a city that glows in the radiance of His presence? I can’t. There will be no ruined rugs in the new heaven and earth, there will be no more pollution, there will be no more darkness, there will be no more death. Everything will not only be new but it will eternally remain new.
The cherry on top is that just as in the Garden, God’s desire with all of His vast heart is to live in close community with His children on this new earth. Jesus said, “and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3) God’s desire is to live in close fellowship with me? With you? With all believers? That is mind blowing! We are talking about permanent community with God, unmarred by sin. A purely gorgeous place, a holy city, a family of righteousness. No more lies, no more fear, no more pain, no more night. This is the place we long for, our true Homeland.
Every person born into this world enters with a cry and many depart with a moan. A lot of what exists in between is more or less woven with a lot of tears. But the beautiful chorus of this new heaven and earth will drown out every memory of those tears forever and forevermore. This is our hope and joy, to live permanently with God. And this is the best part of the new heaven and the new earth, that we will have eternal citizenship and companionship with the Creator of the universe, the One Who so devoutly desires our eternal company. As Barnhouse wrote regarding this new epoch, “The history of time is finished; the history of eternity is about to begin.” I can’t wait…can you?