Bible Society of South Africa

A new heaven – 29 January 2021

By Hennie Symington

Bible text(s)

8You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord's people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light,

Ephesians 5:8GNBOpen in Bible reader

5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5:5GNBOpen in Bible reader

2And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband.

Revelation 21:2GNBOpen in Bible reader

On our journey towards new growth and life, we began with the Garden of Eden and end with a vision from Revelation. And what do we expect? We whisper to ourselves: Where there is a garden, that’s where God will be! Surely the closer we are to nature, the closer we are to God.

This is where the narrative takes an unexpected turn. The new heaven and the new earth is not a garden. It’s a city with walls made of jasper and gold. The foundations are of precious stones such as sapphire, ruby, chrysolite, beryl and topaz. Even the River of Life is described as crystal clear. So, are we not going to garden in the Holy City for all eternity?

If we read carefully between the lines, we will hear God whispering a detail to us that begins to loosen our grip on this earth. In 1 Thessalonians 1:5a and a couple of other places, we read we are the children of light. In the beginning we were made of the earth; in the new heaven and the new earth we will be filled with God’s light. We will be changed beings shaking off the mud of the earth under our feet as we enter eternity.

God’s revealed presence will transform the familiar beauty of the earth’s landscape into shining glory. And just as we yearned for our lost paradise from time immemorial, when the time comes we will soon be endeared to this new landscape where God will be all in everyone and in everything.

Prayer: Oh Lord in days of darkness, pain and strife, we long to be with you. Thank you that you have gone to prepare a home for us where there will be not sorrow and tears. Be with us as we journey through the world bringing good news of God with us. Always. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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