All Things Made New

KEY VERSE: “He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” —Revelation 21:5

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Revelation 21:1-7, 22-27

AS THE record of John’s vision continued, we find that in our lesson for today he saw the kingdom in operation. Much of what he saw was couched in symbology, but understandable. We read in Revelation 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” The new heaven has reference to new spiritual powers and arrangements which will be composed of Christ and his church, and the new earth has reference to new institutions, laws, mores, and governing arrangements of the people. The Scriptures tell us that the earthly representatives of the kingdom will be the ancient prophets and patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These new heavens will replace Satan’s spiritual and earthly arrangements. Because of this change there will be no longer huge restless masses of mankind who were pictured as the sea.

John then saw “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2) “New Jerusalem” implies that there was an old Jerusalem, and there was. The city of Jerusalem during the Jewish Age was a symbol of the Jewish nation in covenant relationship with God. The new Jerusalem is the heavenly phase of the kingdom composed of Israelites indeed, which supplants the old arrangement. (Gal. 4:25,26) The simile pictures the power and authority of the new government arrangement which is to be exercised here in the earth.

Then in verse three, John heard a 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.” This is obviously a reference to the relationship God had with the nation of Israel. Part of this arrangement included a Tabernacle that served as a meeting place between God and men. The Tabernacle structure was composed of two compartments—the Holy and the Most Holy. It was the Most Holy that contained the ark of the covenant which represented to them the very presence of God himself. It was here that the high priest was instructed as to God’s decision in matters that related to the nation. God’s presence with the children of Israel was indicated in another way as recorded in Exodus 40:34-38: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle … for the cloud of the Lord was upon the Tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”

In this instance, the nation of Israel pictured the world of mankind as a type, and the Tabernacle with all of its significance to the Israelites pictured the spiritual and heavenly arrangement to be instituted to administer the kingdom government here on the earth. The work to be accomplished by this wonderful government is described in the next verse. “And 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.” (Rev. 21:4) This work will be accomplished gradually during the thousand years of the operation of the New Covenant. (Jer. 31:31-34) The Apostle Paul explains that the New Covenant is a better covenant than the Law Covenant because there is a better mediator. The old covenant and its mediator were not able to take into account the fallen and imperfect condition of the people—nothing but perfect obedience was acceptable. Under the New Covenant, however, provision is made whereby the mediator—Christ and his church—can give help and instruction that will enable the fallen and imperfect race to attain to perfection—that is, to have God’s laws written in their hearts.—Heb. 8:6-13

In the final part of this vision, John saw the kingdom functioning, and it was revealed to him that the temple was not a material building but rather that “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:22) There will no longer be any need for the sun and the moon (picturing the Gospel as proclaimed by the Abrahamic Covenant and the Law Covenant, its reflection) to give light or reflect the glory of God, for God through the wonderful arrangements of the kingdom will be demonstrating his own glory through the Christ.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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