A New Heaven and a New Earth

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Revelation 21:1-2

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. (vv. 1-2)

John’s vision is bizarre, amazing, mind-boggling! His vision of God’s good future staggers our imagination.

He begins, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” The Greek word for “new” used here does not mean new in time or absolutely new. It means new in quality, something better. So new means renewed, not brand new. John speaks of a renovated heaven and earth. In keeping with so many previous biblical texts, God does not junk the world and start all over. God renews the earth and brings it to fulfillment.

Notice also that the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven to earth. Ultimately, we do not go to heaven. Heaven comes to us, just as we should expect from a God who again and again graciously takes the initiative to redeem us with his love. As in the parable of the gracious father (usually called the parable of the prodigal son), in this text God comes to us when we are unable or unwilling to go to God. God’s good future is earthly, and graciously given.

PRAYER

O God, Renewer of all things, we praise you for your grace, and find hope in the promise of your great good future.