The Christian Hope

MEMORY VERSE: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” —Revelation 21:3

REVELATION 21:1-4; 22:1-5

THE Apostle Paul informs us that Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb. 11:10) Abraham’s hope of this coming “city” was based on the promises made to him by God that through his “seed” all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Gen. 12:3) Abraham could not have known many of the details concerning this great “city,” or government, but he did know that God would be its builder.

Actually the city we see in our lesson which comes from God is “that great city”; that divine government which he has prepared for the blessing of all mankind. Associated with the “city” symbolism is also the symbolic “new heavens and new earth.” This is another picture of the messianic kingdom arrangement in which Christ and his true church will be the rulers.—Isa. 65:17,18

Paul explained that Christ is the promised “Seed” of Abraham, and that all who are baptized into Christ, and are truly members of his body, are likewise part of that “Seed.” (Gal. 3:8,27-29) Those who will thus be associated with Christ as the future blessers of mankind are pictured in Revelation 19:7 as becoming united with Christ in marriage. In Revelation 21:9,10 an angel says to the Revelator, “Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he … showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”

It is true, then, that the Christian’s hope is centered in the coming down from heaven of this promised holy city, not in the blessings it will dispense to mankind, but in being a part of the city and associated with the “Lamb,” Jesus, in dispensing the promised blessing of life to the world of mankind. This city will be, as it were, God’s tabernacle, or dwelling place, not with the angels, but with men.

And what wonderful blessings will then be showered upon the human race! “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Verse 5 reads, “He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”


Here we have another symbolic picture of kingdom blessings being dispensed to the world of mankind. We have the river of life, “clear as crystal.” In verse 17 of the chapter, we read, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Important in this text is the word “bride.” This is “the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” which, in co-operation with the “Spirit,” which is evidently Jesus himself, invites the people of all nations to partake of the “river of water of life.”

This river flows “out of the throne of God.” The “throne” is a symbol of messianic kingdom authority in the earth. It is the throne of God and of the Lamb. The kingdom will function by divine authority, and the blessings of the kingdom will be available because of the redemptive work of the slain Lamb.

Symbolic trees of life are added to this beautiful picture of the out-flowing blessings of life during the kingdom period. This takes our minds back to the Garden of Eden, when our first parents, because of their sin, were barred from the tree of life. Now, because of the slain Lamb, trees of life will be available; and “the leaves of the trees” will be “for the healing of the nations.” How much the nations now need the healing power of these symbolic “leaves”!

These kingdom blessings for mankind must wait until the “bride” makes herself ready to be united with the Lamb. As Christians, we are now participating in that work. The making ready is the molding of our characters into the divine image. May we humbly allow the Lord to work in us for this purpose!


What is the “holy city” of our lesson?

How is the church associated with this city?

What is “the throne of God and of the Lamb”?

When will the blessings of the kingdom reach the world?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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