Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Beginnings

The apostle John was in solitary confinement on the Roman penal island of Patmos. He testified that he was in the Spirit and the Lord Jesus, in His heavenly form, met him and began to reveal - hence the the book title Revelation - things that only God could disclose. The visions of future events afforded to John and the focus of this lesson are Revelation 21:1-8.

At Genesis 1:1 it states, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.' However, sin made its entrance at Genesis 3:1-7. That was the beginning of Satan's reign and sin has run rampant. But John was given the vision of '...a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;...' Revelation 21:1. He does not say it is a newly created heaven or a newly created earth. He says it is a new heaven and a new earth because changes had been made. To make way for the commencement of this new world, the old world, with all its troubles and commotions, passed away. Sin will be banished. Nothing unclean will ever enter there, '...but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life' Revelation 21:27.

In John's vision he also noted that there was no more sea (verse 1). This means that there was only dry land. Now, the seas and oceans occupy about three-fourths of the surface of the globe, and, of course, to that extent prevent the world from being occupied by people. In the future state, these vast waters will be no more.

At verse 2, John observes the holy city of David, new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven. This is the church of God and it is a beautiful city that seems to descend and is compared with a richly-attired bride prepared to meet her husband, the Lord Jesus Christ in glory.

'And I heard a great voice out of heaven...' (verse 3). John heard a great proclamation from heaven that the '...tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them...' (verse 3) There is glory in the church to have the presence of God to abide in the church continually. They shall have a relationship with His love fully manifested in them. '...they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God' (verse). They will enjoy communion with Him closer than they ever dreamed.

With God actually living on the earth, there would be no more weeping, death, sorrow, or pain. These are things that are incident to the former things that passed away. All the effects of the former trouble and sorrow will be done away. These will be forever ended because God is faithful and true and He makes all things new. He ordered John to write his visions (verse 5).

God then stated, '...It is done...' (verse 6). Although it was a vision of a future event, God was letting John know that it was most assuredly going to happen. It was a promise that we could take to His bank. He then declared Himself as the beginning and the end. To do so, He used the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha and Omega. It was to God's glory to begin the world and it shall be to His glory to not leave it imperfect because He has the power. Never forget that He does as, when, and what He pleases. It shall please Him to freely give to those that thirst for the fountain of the water of life (salvation). It would be inconsistent with the goodness of God, and the love for His people, to create in them holy and heavenly desires, and then deny them their proper satisfaction.

To the person who overcomes - that is to say, withstands the pressures and persecutions of this world - all that the Lord has to offer will come his or her way (verse 7). The faithful will become one of God's children and will receive salvation and the inheritance as a son while enjoying His presence.

But not all persons will be overcomers. There is a vastly different outcome for the wicked. Their misery helps to illustrate the glory and blessedness of the saints. Compare Revelation 21: 7, 8.

Eight types of sinners who will perish are listed. They are: 1. fearful, afraid to confess Christ; 2. unbelieving, unwilling to trust the Savior; 3. abominable, given over to disgusting immorality; 4. murderers, malicious and savage killers; 5. whoremongers, sexually immoral, practicing fornication and other forms of sexual sins; 6. sorcerers, those who traffic with evil spirits; 7. idolaters, insulting God by worshipping images; and 8. all liars, compulsive deceivers.

The wicked '...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death' (verse 8). They will burn in hell for sin after their natural death. Because of their choice in life, they have chosen greater terrors and agonies of eternal death. The wicked choose to die and to be always dying in misery.

Which do you choose for your new beginning for eternity?

Deborah C. Davis

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