How will it all end?
Do you love the buzz of a city? The many thousands of people flowing through the streets on their busy way to a hundred different activities. Or perhaps that’s your worst nightmare and you’d prefer the desert island or the remote cottage – far from the crowds.
Well, it might seem strange, but in St John’s vision of the future, heaven is revealed as a city.
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
We tend to think of cities as dirty, noisy and busy. Crime is up, there is squalor and corruption. But there are many great things too – the culture and creativity, the noise and bustle of millions of lives lived side by side.
What’s so great about this city?
1. This city is made by God. A special place with a heavenly origin. This is not some man-made monstrosity with poor planning and poorer drainage. It is not made in defiance to the creator or as some great vanity project to display our own wealth and ingenuity.
This is the perfectly-crafted jewel of the divine architect. It has no sordid dark areas of squalor and depravity. Like the first Eden, this is a city designed as a dwelling place for God and his people. This will be the most beautiful city.
2. This city is secure. For much of history, cities have been places of safety. Out there in the countryside it can be wild and when the enemies attack the population run to safety within the city walls. Cities still tend to be the places with the hospitals and police stations.
3. This city is full. Whilst we may all love the idea of escaping to the country or some peace and quiet on a beach somewhere, no one really wants to be stranded on a desert island. Even the most extreme introvert cannot survive alone
Back in Revelation 7, John saw the population of this glorious city: “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language”. This city will be teeming with wonderful perfected human beings: those loved by God and giving themselves in love to Him.
Putting it into Practice
- Our eternal destination is to be together with God’s people gathered from all time and space. To what extent do you long for this? Do you need to ask God to give you a love for His people, so that you can begin to get excited about the future?
- One day there will be a wonderful diversity, from every nation, tribe, people and language, all united in praise to God. In what ways does your church experience and prayer life express this wonderful destiny? Are there ways you can experience glimpses of that perfect future.