The final chapters of Revelation are extraordinary passages. As we come to the third Sunday of Advent, we step together into Revelation 21. Suffering, pain, death, and dysfunction overwhelm our world today. Can you imagine a time and place where these realities are no more. Join us on Sunday as we explore the beautiful picture that John describes of a new heaven and earth. During the season of Advent, we anticipate the coming of Jesus. As we encounter this passage, we get a glimpse of what new life will look like when God’s Kingdom is firmly established.
I will include this week’s passage in the NTE version. I hope you will read it as you prepare for worship on Sunday.
(Revelation 21:1-21 NTE) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, from God, prepared like a bride dressed up for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne, and this is what it said: “Look! God has come to dwell with humans! He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or weeping or pain any more, since the first things have passed away.” The one who sat on the throne said, “Look, I am making all things new.” And he said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water to the thirsty, water from the spring of the water of life. The one who conquers will inherit these things. I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for cowards, faithless people, the unclean, murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars – their destiny will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.” Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came over and spoke to me. “Come with me,” he said, “and I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb.” Then he took me in the spirit up a great high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God; it is radiant, like the radiance of a rare and precious jewel, like a jasper stone, crystal-clear. It has a great high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names inscribed on the gates, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. There are three gates coming in from the east, three gates from the north, three gates from the south and three gates from the west. And the wall of the city has twelve foundation-stones, and on them are written the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the lamb. The one who was talking with me had a golden measuring-rod, so that he could measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city stands foursquare, with the same length and breadth. He measured the city with his rod: it was twelve thousand stadia (that is, fifteen hundred miles), with the length, the breadth and the height being equal. Then he measured its wall, and it was one hundred and forty-four cubits in terms of human measurement (which was what the angel was using). The material of which the wall is built is jasper, and the city itself is pure gold, like pure glass. The foundations of the city wall are decorated with every kind of precious stone: the first foundation is jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates are twelve pearls, with each gate consisting of a single pearl. The street of the city is pure gold, clear as glass.