Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Today’s Topic: The New World
In 386 hours from the time of this writing my wife and I will be landing in Johannesburg, South Africa. After spending the night there, we will hop a small plane and fly up to Swaziland to visit our dear friends Dudley and Inge Donaldson, who are serving as missionaries there with TEAM. We are so excited to see them and participate with them in ministry.
We will also get to see a part of the world we’ve never seen before. In fact, Denise has never been out of the continental United States. I’ve been to places like the Philippines, Korea, and Japan, but never to the continent of Africa. I can’t wait to see what it looks like. I hope we see lots of wildlife. The game reserve we are going to has everything except the big cats. That’s what I really wanted to see, but I’ll be thrilled with the other giants of the plains like rhinos and giraffes and more.
As much as I look forward to this trip and what I will see, the real desire of my heart is for a land far beyond this earth. In fact, it hasn’t even been created yet. It will be a place of unsurpassed and unimaginable beauty. It will literally be glorious because it will be lit by the glory of God Himself. There will be no need for a sun. There will be no night without one, because God’s glory never stops shining and filling the whole new earth with light.
The city of the King, the New Jerusalem, will be spectacular. It will be huge. Imagine a cube – you know, with equal sides so that height, width, and length are all the same – and this cube is 2.744 billion cubic miles in size. That’s 1400 miles long by 1400 miles wide by 1400 miles high. Amazing! And I get to go there someday and walk on the streets of crystal gold. In fact, I get to live there. Even more awesome is this…I get to reign there with the King of Kings.
Let the incredible words of the Apostle John inspired by the Holy Spirit of God capture your heart as they have mine and put your focus on the right land. I know it looks long, but it will be worth the time investment. To use the words of Dudley and Inge’s theme song for their call to ministry, this world is not our home, we are just passing through… Get your eyes on the right goal. Here it is from Revelation 21 and 22…
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west. The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked to me held in his hand a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick (according to the human standard used by the angel). The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets, has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.”