And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them and be their God;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
After the sight of the new creation John records that he saw the New Jerusalem, again he uses kainos to describe it, though when he describes it this is not an earthly Jerusalem that is renewed. It comes down from the throne of God and occupies space beyond any earthly city (and as later we will note unlike the earthly Jerusalem there is no temple within it). This New Jerusalem is the bride ready for her husband – Jesus. Later we will look at the identity of that bride.
Then comes the outworking of all persistent movement in Scripture… to put it in our language, God changes post-code. The dwelling place (tabernacling verb) is with humanity. The language used is of movement from heaven to earth, whereas so much of evangelical faith has been of a movement in the other direction and the hope being expressed of the so-called ‘rapture’. So opposite of Scripture and would be so unknown among the Jewish faith expressed throughout the Old Testament and during the time of Jesus.
There is a little quaint aspect with ‘God being their God and they will be God’s peoples’; peoples (plural: λαοὶ) might simply be a way of saying ‘people’ (as translated in many English versions) but maybe there is a little insight here into what is somewhat mysterious – are there different people groups that God identifies with? Does the in / out division ultimately fail us?
The list of what is no more also gives sight to what is here now but then those aspects will have gone. The first things, the things we are acquainted with will be something of the past… when God makes all things new… and even the tense used indicates how God acts; he is making all things new. This is God by nature, the God we partner with. And it is not making new things as if there was no value on the experiences of a former era, but God is continually renewing all things, and in the vision there will be such a transformation that what taints experiences will be no more.
A future vision… but a present focus.