I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 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. (NLT)
When we think of life after this one, we can’t help but be influenced by the metaphors and images expressed in the Bible. At the same time, we must remember that these are not literal descriptions: they are attempts to describe the indescribable in terms that readers in those days could understand.
The picture presented here speaks of an utterly new creation. No need for sacred buildings, no need for defence against enemies. The new heavens and new earth are filled with the presence and power of God. While the Bible teaches there is some continuity between our world and the world to come, there is also radical transformation.
We will not go far wrong if we think of heaven as something like this earth with all the brokenness and sadness and evil eradicated and all the good and beautiful and enjoyable intensified. However we imagine it, we can reckon on it being even better.
For those of us who get weary at the pain and sorrow and injustice of our world, it is an enticing prospect. And what is even better, it is not some ‘pie in the sky’ figment of our imagination. It is a reality promised from a trustworthy source.
We were made for more than just this life on earth. We were made for a place and a time when all longings are fulfilled and all significance is embraced forever.
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