Bible Studies for Life

with Ann Maniscalco

Sunday, October  11

God’s Promise of a New Home

Revelation 21:1-8

I have to admit it – I’m having trouble giving up my special “Quiet Place” cottage (“QP”, as our family lovingly calls it). When we bought the QP, it was a dilapidated foreclosure; the place was hideously dirty, with some broken and boarded windows. The mistreated abode was in desperate need of a new roof, HVAC unit, floors, stove, doors, and fresh paint throughout. Months later, after investing copious amounts of blood, sweat, tears, time and money, it was a precious dollhouse! Now, it is nicely furnished as a cozy retreat for friends and family.

Sadly, the neighborhood where QP is located has deteriorated, so we’re planning to take all the furnishings and move them to another, nicer rental that we own, and put QP on the market. Although I see the wisdom of this, my heart is sad as I contemplate the transition: saying good-bye to this place we’ve come to treasure.

In similar fashion, we’ll all someday be required to put aside another kind of earthly “home” – one comprised of skin and bones. The Lord will call His children to an incredibly-beautiful dwelling created just for them (see John 14:1-3). The apostle John got a preview of this future realm, and in today’s Scripture, he shares some of what we can anticipate!

Much of Revelation details the final act on world history’s stage; a time when God judges all those who reject His offer of salvation in Jesus Christ and oppose Him. Chapter 21 describes the time immediately after the Great White Throne Judgment, after Satan and all of God’s enemies have been finally and fully conquered and condemned (20: 7-15). The tone then shifts: our focal passage details major and wonderful changes; an era for all who’ve embraced Christ as Savior to joyfully experience the fullness of God’s rule and reign.

John’s vision revealed “a new heaven and a new earth” (v. 1 NIV). The old had disappeared. The term “new heaven” most-likely refers to the atmosphere above earth, or possibly outer space.

Next, John saw the “new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (v. 2). A “new” Jerusalem is necessary because the old one was imperfect, and was spoiled by the sinfulness of humanity. And just as this magnificent dwelling-place is pictured as a beautifully-adorned bride, the redeemed occupants of this holy place portray a wedding picture. They have been purified by Jesus Christ, “to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27).

For these, “God Himself will be with them and be their God” (v. 3). Things that bring heartache and pain on earth will be no more, and the very hand of God will “wipe every tear” from the eyes of His beloved ones (v. 4). God and His people living together in close fellowship will be possible because the effects of sin in the previous world are gone forever!

In verse 5, the Lord says, “I make all things new”. Many of us whose bodies are at the “if it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t work” stage look forward to this. In her book, “Heaven: Your Real Home”, author Joni Eareckson Tada, a gifted, godly woman and quadriplegic, writes, “I can still hardly believe it. I, with bent, shriveled fingers, atrophied muscles, gnarled knees, and no feeling from the shoulders down, will one day have a new body – light, bright, and clothed in righteousness…No other religion, no other philosophy promises new bodies, hearts and minds. Only in the gospel of Christ do hurting people find such
incredible hope.”

Declaring Himself to be “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (v. 6), the eternal I AM offers a never-ending thirst-quencher “from the spring of the water of life”. (Jesus alluded to this in John 4:13-14.) God calls His dear children overcomers, saying they will “inherit all things”, an inheritance that’s been prepared for believers “since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

Sadly, many will not experience these heavenly joys. Verse 8 lists those who will “have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” The first death is physical, the second, spiritual. We have only this lifetime to make necessary preparations for our eternal destination. Have you responded to the Lord’s gracious invitation? He longs for you to be part of His forever family! Whom can you invite to
join you?

Ann Maniscalco is a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Ocean Springs.