Pondering the Passages: Revelation 21:1-8
This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 1 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, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live 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.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Here’s a word that you may or may not be familiar with: eschatology. It is the branch of theology that deals with the end times. The passage this week is an eschatological passage. Perhaps you recall the book by Steven Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Habit #2 stated this – “Begin with the end in mind.” I think that one of the reasons why we have the Book of Revelation is so that we have a clear picture of what the end will be. As believers we need to constantly be reminded that when all is said and done we will be on the side that wins. We will be in a place that is unimaginably beautiful. We will enjoy Life the way that it was designed to be enjoyed. We will be with the One who gave His life for us. We will experience joy unspeakable.
So as we endure the present life we live with the end in mind. Why?
1) Life is often hard – we need the assurance that it will get better. This is what hope is all about. People without hope live lives of quiet (and sometimes overtly loud) desperation. Desperate people are dangerous people.
2) The end for believers should motivate us to persevere in the present as we seek to live holy lives and as we strive to demonstrate to a dying world what the kingdom of God is like.
3) The reality of Heaven and Hell is rooted deep into people’s souls. People intuitively believe that in the end justice will be done. Therefore eschatology is a powerful tool for evangelism.
The one word in this passage that captures my attention is in verse 7. “Overcomes”. It comes from the Greek word that sounds like Nike. It means to gain the victory. “He who gains the victory will inherit all this.” The word overcome is an important word in the The Revelation (see chapters 2-3 especially). Believers are to be overcomers. No matter what life in this world throws at us we have what it takes to overcome because we know the One who has overcome everything. Think about what Jesus endured in His life: jealousy, prejudice, hatred, poverty, physical suffering, rejection, betrayal, death. He endured and He was an overcomer. And now through the Holy Spirit He indwells us to strengthen us and provide for us what we need to overcome anything that comes our way.
That’s why we live with the end in mind – because we know that one day He will make all things new, and as overcomers we will be there to enjoy every bit of it. So whatever you are going through right now, never forget that as a believer you are an overcomer!
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Next Week’s Memory Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18