January 2020

“Behold, I am making all things new”

 Revelation 21.5   (ESV)

If you find Revelation a hard and complex book to understand, you are not alone! It is full of strange, lurid and at times bizarre and violent imagery. Although we may enjoy such things in a SciFi movie, in the Bible such picture language can seem so alien to us that we often shy away from getting to grips with John’s vision. However, in many ways this book offers us hope and a really clear vision of God’s ultimate purpose for the whole of creation. Despite the powerful forces of evil which are at work both openly in secular political systems, or covertly in the hidden recesses of the minds of those who would manipulate the vulnerable for their own ends, we know that salvation is real and, in its broadest terms, was ultimately given to us for all time through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Our word comes to us from the end of the book where the promise is spelt out to us in sentences which tumble one after another. Resonating against the old image of the first creation, we hear that God promises a completely ‘new heaven and a new earth’. Everything will be different in ways that are beyond our imagining.

Using the image of Jerusalem as the holy city, a new creation is described in the beauty of a bride adorned on her wedding day for the delight of her adoring husband. And this wonderful God is not a remote deity but has come to dwell with the people in all that their human lives entail. There is a completely new beginning as it was in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth and it was all good, a blank canvas where all previous experience of pain and suffering will no longer exist.

And in our word for contemplation, Revelation 21.5, the Greek implies that this is an ongoing act by God…. “Behold, I am making all things new”. Not ‘has made’ or ‘will make’: in this saying we have the promise that God has acted and will continue to act in real time.

This is a wonderful promise which has the power to comfort and touch us all.