Revelation 18-22 (NLT)

Discover His heart: Not willing that any should be lost, He waits to return for us

We often describe something that delights and thrills us as a little bit of heaven on earth.  Some individuals attempt to create their heaven on earth, their little piece of utopia, by surrounding themselves with all the tangible things they enjoy most, and still others drug themselves into a state of oblivion because heaven is where they cannot remember, cannot feel.

The understanding most of us have of heaven, God’s dwelling place, is limited to what we read in the Bible, including John’s description in our reading today.  I don’t know much about heaven and my future home; but one thing is for certain, I’m going to live there one day! 

@ Revelation 21
And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.’  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (2-4)  I’m tempted to stop reading because this is enough.  In my finite thinking, this is heaven for me, this is heaven enough – God with me and no death, sorrow, crying or pain.  Oh, but there’s even more.

“And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’ (5)  We’ll be moving into a brand spanking new earth, unmarred by nature’s destruction or man’s input, a happy day for the environmentalists to be sure.  Nothing will exist to remind us of old hurts, scars and pain. Yet there’s more…

John went on to describe the New Jerusalem, God’s Holy City “built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones” and the twelve gates of the city “made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.” (19,21)  I’ve seen some of the world’s famous treasuries and read about many others and none compare to the beauty of John’s description.  As believers, we long to see it, and we long to live with Him there in this perfect place.  Most of us say, “Anytime, Lord, come quickly, we’re ready.”  What is He waiting for anyway?

Of course God’s timing is always perfect and these plans were laid long before we existed. He will return for us at just the right moment in this world’s history.  A few years ago I had a glimpse into what I felt to be God’s heart on this subject.  It wasn’t prophetic but something I could imagine to be God’s heart.  I walked into our Sunday morning church service during praise and worship.  The moment I entered the sanctuary, I sensed God’s presence and felt like I was walking through deep water as I went to my seat.  Then, in my mind’s eye, I saw this scenario:  The Father and the Son were peering into our sanctuary from heaven.  The Son was thrilled with our worship and in response to it said to the Father with excitement, “Is it time?  Is it time to gather up the believers?  The worshipers are calling to us.  They desire to fellowship with us. Is it time? Can I go?”  In response, the countenance of the Father lifted, and I followed His gaze to view an endless sea of people, so many lost souls who do not yet know Him.

I fell to my knees and wept for the lost that morning. I believe that He longs for us to dwell with Him, but His compassion for those who have not accepted His Son as Savior constrains Him.  Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

How very fitting for the Bible to end with an invitation to come to God, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’  Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.” (22:17) Amen!

Moving Forward:  “He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’  Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20)  My heart joins with John, “Yes, come, Lord Jesus,” but my spirit joins with the Lord, “Come…Let anyone who is thirsty come.”

Tomorrow @ Deuteronomy 33-34