People tend to worry about what the future hold. This applies to the ordinary things of life, but also to that big matter of life itself.
Down the track we know we are going to die (unless Christ returns before); what then? Religion as a human activity, gives this question a high priority. The Egyptians built tombs. Hindus believe in reincarnation. Many worship their ancestors, and so on.
In the New Testament, we have the promise of heaven. The promise is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus. John 14:2. ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.’
That, under the image of a house with many rooms, is where life is heading as far as we are concerned, but what do we actually know about it? That is where Revelation 21 to 22:5 comes in.
Here we are presented with a number of pictures that tell us something, but not everything, about what it will be like.
For example in this chapter, what lies ahead is described as the New Heaven and the New Earth. Revelation 21:1-8.
There will be blessings for some and judgement for others, called here the second death.
Question One: How, using different words, would you explain to someone seeking salvation what awaits the person who rejects God’s grace?
The other message in this section is that this old order of creation is destined to pass away, (1Corinthians 7:31, 1 John 2:17) and everything will be made new. In this chapter, what will replace this creation is portrayed both as a city (the New Jerusalem and as a beautiful bride adorned for her husband.
Question Two: What do these pictures stand for and how could you describe it using different words?
As you read through to 22:5, you notice that the New Jerusalem is described in ways which draw on Old Testament themes.
Question Three: What are these themes and can you recall other Old Testament themes that you have encounter on the way through the Book of Revelation? Can you think of other New Testament passages which build on Old Testament themes to described God’s promises for the future? How do they compare with the imagery used in this passage?