Bible Studies for Life
with Becky Brown
Sunday, April 5
Revelation 21:1-8; Revelation 22:1-5
The necklace-of-choice for most believers displays a cross. I have wondered if we should wear an empty tomb instead. Three men died on crosses on Golgotha the day Jesus gave His life.The cross stands as critically vital to our salvation. Praise God, the rolled-away stone literally finds its place as the period at the end of the sentence of death. Thank the Lord for the empty tomb and the promise of eternal life!
In the Old Testament, the word, “olam,” describes eternal life. This weighty word points toward antiquity as well as futurity. God (Who has never not been) existed before the beginning of time as we know it and will remain after the end. God is not bound by time. Our word, “forevermore,” is the closest we can come to the ungraspable, unfathomable vastness of eternity. In the New Testament, the word, “aiwnios,” adds the dimension of “age-long” to forevermore. Bound by the limits of time, we cannot wrap our feeble, finite minds around infinity past, present, and future which is the forever-ness of our eternal God. One glorious day, we will drop our clocks and calendars and joyfully dwell with Him there. I cannot wait.
Eternal life speaks of a duration that is unending after death. It also provides us with a quality of life available now as we live our lives on this earth. In John 10:10, Jesus declares that because of His coming, we have abundant life now. In the high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus says that eternal life is knowing the only true God through knowing Jesus Christ the Son. Those who know Jesus have eternal life now.
The Book of the Revelation closes with an amazing description of being in the New Jerusalem and dwelling with God in the forevermore of eternity. Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a PLACE for us. Heaven is a place: a prepared place, a perfect place, a permanent place, and a present place. It is a PREPARED place being made ready for us because Jesus said so. It is a PERFECT place because God designed it and He dwells there in the beauty of His perfection. It is a PERMANENT place because it is described as eternally forever and ever without interruption or end. It is a PRESENT place because we will dwell in the very presence of God. It is also a present place because it is a GIFT provided for those who trust in Jesus.
The River of the Water of Life flows there freely from the throne of God, Who is the source of living water. The tree of life is there. We will have access to its twelve different kinds of fruit and its healing leaves. We will see His face. We will serve Him. The curse of Eden’s sinful choice will be destroyed. There will be no more night. The Lamb Lamp will be the sole illumination. There will be no more sea — no possibility of separation and no need for hydration in the Land of Living Water! Tears will be wiped away. Death has been dusted! No more mourning. No more pain or sorrow.
The “first,” or former, things have passed away. The “before” will be replaced by the “after” in the hereafter. The incomplete will be replaced by the complete, the imperfect by the perfect The throne in heaven is occupied by the Creator God, Maker of all things, Who will ultimately make all things new. This word, “new,” means higher in excellence: unused, unknown, unheard of.
Prepare to celebrate Easter 2020. Wear that empty tomb.
Brown is staff evangelist, First Church, Richland.