Monday, December 29, 2014

NO MORE TEARS (Revelation Chapter 21)

Revelation 21:1-4, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, 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, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation chapter 21 unveils to us a new heaven and earth that will be the eternal dwelling place of the redeemed.  Paradise lost in Genesis chapter 3 is paradise regained in these final chapters of the book of Revelation.  Specific details of this new creation are revealed.  There will be no more sea (Cf. Revelation 21:1).  A city, New Jerusalem, “coming down out of heaven,” will be the dwelling place of the saints in the presence of God (Revelation 21:2-3).  There will be no more sin (Cf. 2 Peter 3:13).

The most difficult aspects of life here on earth will be non-existent in heaven.  These things have troubled man since the fall.  Were there tears shed by Adam and Eve when they fell in sin?  There have been plenty shed since.  Mourning, crying, and pain are all sourced ultimately in sin and death.  Creation itself groans under the burden of the curse (Cf. Romans 8:22).  We do too (Cf. Romans 8:23).  No estate in this present existence can avail these “no longers” to us.  There is no place on earth devoid of these troubles which have long plagued man’s existence.  No set of circumstances can guarantee to us the absence of death, mourning, crying or pain.  And though we, as believers in Christ, are strengthened and comforted amidst our afflictions by God, it is the Spirit-borne hope of glory which ultimately works to encourage and sustain us.

John MacArthur has commented on this, “He shall wipe away every single tear. What it means is there never will be a tear in heaven, not one single tear. There will be nothing sad. There will be nothing disappointing. There will be nothing unfulfilling. There will be nothing lacking. There will be nothing wrong. There will be nothing limiting. There will be nothing to cry about.  Tears of misfortune, tears of poverty, tears of loneliness, tears over lost love, tears of sympathy, mercy, pity, tears of persecuted innocence, tears of remorse, tears of regret, tears of penitence, tears of neglect, tears of yearning for what cannot be are all gone forever. Bliss, joy and nothing but for eternity. Tears, you see, are part of, what he says at the end of verse 4, the first things that have passed away. They don't exist.  To put it in a clinical form, you won't have any tear ducts. Furthermore, you might not even have any water in you. How about that? I told you there's no more sea. It's not a water-based existence. No more tears, gone, nothing to cry about.”

An old hymn, “There’s No Disappointment in Heaven,” speaks to what awaits the believer in Christ in this eternal abode:

“There’s no disappointment in Heaven, No weariness, sorrow or pain;
No hearts that are bleeding and broken, No song with a minor refrain. 
The clouds of our earthly horizon, Will never appear in the sky,
For all will be sunshine and gladness, With never a sob or a sigh.

We’ll never pay rent for our mansion, The taxes will never come due,
Our garments will never grow threadbare, But always be fadeless and new,
We’ll never be hungry or thirsty, Nor languish in poverty there,
For all the rich bounties of Heaven, His sanctified children will share.

There’ll never be crepe on the doorknob, No funeral train in the sky;
No graves on the hillsides of glory, For there we shall nevermore die. 
The old will be young there forever, Transformed in a moment of time;
Immortal we’ll stand in His likeness, The stars and the sun to outshine.”

Words and Music by Frederick M. Lehman, 1914.

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