[Note: an early version of the outline had a mistake that indicates the last verse is “25”, this should read 22:5 as the end of the reading for today.]
Throughout our sermon series on the story of scripture, we have often used the words “Creation-Fall-Redemption-Restoration” to summarize the story arc. The final word “restoration” refers to the way that God restores things through Jesus, but it finds its focus in the closing chapters of Revelation. In these two closing chapters we will get a glimpse of eternity after the final judgment, after evil is purged, and after death itself is destroyed. It is only a glimpse, but the hope of this future restoration in completion is a major Biblical theme.
In these closing chapters of the entire bible, the threads of redemption are brought together in a compelling picture of restoration. Let’s look at some of the ways that this is done as we reflect back on our journey through the history of the Bible.
I hope that you can see from these examples (and there are many more), the way in which the story of the entire Bible finds its completion in Revelation 21-22. The point of these images is not for us to try to form a picture in our heads of a literal city of the dimensions listed (it would be absurdly structured), or to try to determine if gold is really a good material for the surface of a road (sounds slippery.) Rather, the point of these prophetic images is to convey a sense of the grandeur and to show the links to the rest of the Bible.
Finally, we need to point out that the images are all linked to physical things. If we use the term “heaven” to refer to the spiritual rest our souls have in Christ after our death (see Rev. 6:9), we should recognize that heaven is not the end goal. The story arc of the Bible turns our attention to the return of Christ, the resurrection of the body and the physical reality of our perfected world in the “New Heavens and the New Earth.” Our glorious future is a physical reality, not just a spiritual one. The entirety of God's good creation, including humanity will be restored in the renewed earth. In summary, we see that God will “make all things new.”
Reflect and Connect: Christian burial is designed to celebrate the hope of the resurrection. The reason that we bury bodies is that this symbolizes the certainty that the body will be raised and renewed. The words of committal traditionally read at the graveside celebrate this future victory over death. How do these words shape your perspective on each day?
I Cor. 15:51-52 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.