How will it all end?
Do you ever miss those you love? Of course you do. We have all had people in our lives who make things better just by being there. Yes, there might be times that they irritate us beyond imagining, but we’d much prefer to be with them than apart. Even a letter or a phone call isn’t quite the same – we want to be with them.
How much more so with God! He is the faithful one that does not disappoint us with unreliability or hurt us with selfishness. But it can so often feel that God is so far away. We have a relationship with God through the power of the Spirit, but it can be hard to connect with someone we cannot see.
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
5 He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’Revelation 21
In the Old Testament, God has a covenant with His people – a solemn contract of relationship. He promised to love them and bless them and they would obey Him.
A key feature of this relationship was the temple in Jerusalem. It was a physical symbol of God’s commitment and relationship with Israel. The people would gather there at all the key moments and at regular times throughout the year. It was the place to experience relationship with God, to offer praise, admit guilt and be forgiven.
Right at the centre of the temple was the Holy of Holies – a cube-shaped area where God’s presence was focussed. It was so holy that only one person could enter it once a year. The High Priest would have a rope tied to his ankle so that he could be pulled out if he collapsed, as no one else could go in.
But this new city is the same shape – a cube – and it comes down from heaven as a new God-made temple. It is the place where you can be with God face to face. And it’s not a small space with limited access – this is now a huge city (1,500 square miles) made as a home for the multitude of God’s people.
And this new city is described as a bride – one beautifully prepared for relationship. God is coming to live with His people in this new Temple. God comes to be in the closest relationship with those He loves. As if the human covenant relationship of marriage has been pointing to this all along – a visual aid as God comes to set up home with His bride forever.
Putting it into Practice
- This is our destination – to be with God forever. The focus of heaven isn’t self-fulfilment or a slightly improved Earth 2.0. The focus of eternity is the long-awaited wedding between God and His people. What are you doing to prepare for this day? How are you getting ready for your wedding day?
- It can be hard to trust God when we cannot see His promises coming true. It can be hard to pray to someone that can seem far away. But at those times we often need to hear them, or look back at what they’ve left behind. Take time today to hear His word and consider God’s track-record – what has He done in the past and the promises you know He will fulfil in the future.