(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
With all the chaos in this old world – the Covid-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty, racial tensions, protests turning violent, defund the police, cancel culture, etc. – we long for some good news, something we can depend on! There is no greater focus for our dependence than the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the truth (see John 14:6; I John 5:20; Revelation 3:7, 14), He speaks the truth (see John 7:18; 8:14, 16), and by His Holy Spirit we are taught the truth! (See John 15:16; I John 2:27).
One of the greatest truths to which Christians can look forward is found in Revelation 21:3 through 5:
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
Verse 3 is the basis of this promise: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
- “…the tabernacle of God is with men….” The Old Testament tent had the inner room called the most holy place, which housed the ark of the covenant containing the ten commandments, and covered by the golden mercy seat overlooked and guarded by the golden cherubim. This tent was also called the tabernacle! But the name had a double meaning, according to Exodus 25:8 and 9:
✡ Verse 9: “According to all I show you [God said] ...the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” The word tabernacle here identifies the tent struc- ture that God ordered built as the focus of worship for the Israelites as they journeyed toward the Promised Land of Canaan. This tabernacle served that purpose (in one degree or another) until the temple was built by King Solomon five hundred years later. ✡ Verse 8: “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” The word ‘tabernacle’ came to mean the place God chose to dwell among His people!
- This sets the theme of the opening promise in our featured Scripture, verse 3: “…the tabernacle of God is with men….”
✡ Exodus 25:8: “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” ✞ Revelation 21:3: “...the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them....”
- It is not just any people with whom God will dwell! It is a special called-out people, called out of slavery to sin, and called unto the Lord!
✡ Israel is reminded of their special standing in Exodus 19:4 through 6: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special trea- sure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. ✞ Revelation 21:3: “...and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God...” in the eternal New Jerusalem! ✞ But let us remember that the Son of God, through the Holy Spirit, is even now tabernacling (indwel- ling, taking up residence) within those who have opened their hearts and lives to Him as Savior and Lord!
Revelation chapters 21 and 22, at the end of the Bible, describe “…the holy city New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…” (Revelation 21:2). This holy city is the forever-dwelling place of Almighty God! And it is the glorious forever-abiding place of those redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ! In this New Jerusalem, “…God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).
- Oh, there are tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain in this old world – ever since sin entered into the human race! And the extent of sin is horrendously evident, especially where believers in Jesus Christ are persecuted! Peter Walker, in an article in the online publication, the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk), states, “The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) says 900,000 Christians have been ‘martyred’ in the last decade, equating to 90,000 a year and one every six minutes.” In many places in this world, Christians already feel like they are going through the Great Tribulation!
- But God takes notice of His people!
✡ He has seen our tears! As it is written in Psalm 56:8 (Contemporary English Version): “You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in Your bottle and counted each of them.” ✡ He has heard our groanings! The psalmist says in Psalm 38:9 (King James Version): “Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.” ✡ He takes note of our sorrow, as He did with the writer of Psalm 116:3, 4, and 8 (Bible in Basic English): The nets of death were round me, and the pains of the under world had me in their grip; I was full of trouble and sorrow. Then I made my prayer to the Lord, saying, O Lord, take my soul out of trouble....You have taken my soul from the power of death, keeping my eyes from weeping, and my feet from falling.
- The Lord knows what we are facing as we live our lives in this fallen world!
✞ Jesus told us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” ✞ And Paul writes in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
- Consider whom Jesus is especially comforting in Revelation 21:4. He is drying the tears of the faithful of Israel who just came through the hell of the Great Tribulation! (See Matthew 24:4-26; Revelation 6:9-11; 12:17).
- But also what blessing and encouragement Revelation 21:4 has been to all those who are going through hard times!
Revelation 21:5: “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ ”
- It has been a rough year for so many in this time of global pandemic, even for those who normally enjoy a measure of peace, freedom, security, and prosperity!
- God gives us a promise appropriate for 2021 that holds out hope for a better year: “Behold, I make all things new….”
✞ Yes, this promise is applicable to the eternal future. But remember, He has already started the process! God is making us ready now, for Saint Paul writes in II Corinthians 5:17, “...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” ✞ And He will continue this process according to II Corinthians 3:18 (English Standard Version): And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transform- ed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ✞ This transformation will continue until we reach God’s goal described in... ➔ Romans 8:29: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” ➔ I John 3:2 (Easy-to-Read Version): “...we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like Him. We will see Him just as He is.”
So take heart, “…for these words are true and faithful…”!