"Are we there yet?"
That's the cliched cry which rises from the back seat during a family road trip. It's often answered with, "No. You'll know when we arrive."
"Are we there yet?" is also the deep yearning that rises from our hearts when we encounter biblical descriptions of the new creation. And I think the answer is the same: "No. You'll know when we arrive."
God's promise to redeem and restore this fallen world echoes throughout Scripture. Visions of the new heavens and new earth are found in the psalms and the prophets, though the most extensive and exciting ones are found at the end of the book of Revelation.
Over the past few months, our study of Revelation has been full of visions of lampstands and locusts, dragons and diadems, bowls and beasts, and all kinds of other evocative imagery. We've gone through the book fairly quickly, exploring lengthy passages each week in an attempt to see the big picture and grasp the overall themes that it reveals.
For the final two weeks of our sermon series, we're going to slow it down just a bit so that we can fully enjoy and appreciate the grand finale--which is really the grand beginning, in a way. John sees a vision of the new creation in all its splendor, where there is no longer any "mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore" because "death shall be no more" and God himself will dwell with his people (Revelation 21:3-4). Chapters 21 and 22 are bursting with beauty and wonder. They describe our true home; a place of deep delight, joyful rest, and fulfilled hope.
When we hear these promises and share in John's vision, then we may find ourselves asking how much longer will it be till we get there. We may not be able to answer that precisely, but we'll know when we arrive and we remember that Jesus has said, "Surely I am coming soon"--to which we reply, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20)
Grace and peace,