SCRIPTURE: Revelation 21
The city here symbolizes the fullness of old covenant believers (12 gates of the twelve tribes, all who entered by faith) and the fullness of new covenant believers (12 foundations stones of the apostles). The perfect dimensions of the city represent the perfection of God’s people (adorned like a bride, the wife of the lamb). No sun or moon is needed, God is its light. No temple, for God dwells directly among them. No more tears or sorrow, everything is made new! God is our God, we are His people. Everything is good once again!
Notice that the city comes down to earth. We are not going to float around in heaven for eternity. Heaven (God’s throne room) is the temporary residence of those who die in the Lord, but our ultimate destination is to return to the new earth, and to reign with Christ forever (just as God originally designed it under Adam, but they messed it up). God is redeeming the earth, as well as His people. If He cares for people, and for the earth (which He will purify through the purifying fire), shouldn’t we?
Restored bodies, restored creation, restored people – everything will one day be perfect, harmony, shalom (the Jewish word for peace). This is the kingdom of God fully realized, what we are citizens of now by faith, and will one day enjoy forever. As citizens of the kingdom now, we need to live as if we were already under His rule and grace. The values and morals of the kingdom then become the values and morals of our kingdom lives now.
The nations gather in the city, a reminder that God’s commitment is not just to Israel, but to all nations. Israel was His commissioned agent for reaching the nations (they were chosen for a purpose, not for a privilege). This is also the focus for the church, the new covenant people of God, who are to go into all the nations (from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth), and make disciples (followers of Jesus). We are not chosen for a privilege, but for a purpose!
The new creation is not just something to wait for, its something to live for, to act towards. Am I living the kingdom kind of life now? Or am I doing some of the things that will not be welcome in God’s new world?
Lord, thank You for the blessings of the kingdom, and the kingdom to come. Help me to live the kingdom life now, and to fulfill my mission of guiding others into Your kingdom!