Revelation 21 Devotional
By Pastor Mark Hudson
In this penultimate chapter of Revelation, we will take a slightly different approach. Usually we explain the chapter and draw out main themes. But since we are in the last book of the Bible and almost the last chapter, we will compare and contrast the first book with the last book. While not a complete analysis, this will prompt you to see more themes between these two important books. I am sure others have pointed this out to you. We are assisted by Hendricksen’s commentary p. 197.
In Genesis, there is no church or tabernacle because they are walking with God in the first few chapters, until sin enters the human race in Genesis 3. This rebellion brings tears, weeds, hard work, enmity, darkness, alienation, and strife. But more importantly separation from God and sin always evokes God’s wrath. In Genesis we witness the very beginning of the creation of the natural world, the creation of Adam and Eve and in breathtaking simplicity and beauty the reader is ushered into chapter 3.
Almost as quickly as we gaze upon the beauty of the stars, the trees, animals, and birds, we are shocked to see the outright rebellion of Adam and Eve. Their sin, and all sin for that matter, is a shockingly ugly stain against the God of beauty and grace. So in the morning song of creation, we distinguish the clamor of sedition.
In Genesis we see the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. In Revelation there is no need for these lights because “the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” v. 23. Genesis describes a paradise lost; Revelation a paradise restored. In Genesis, especially chapter 3, the devil is cunning and deceitful and seems to deceive Adam and Eve. In Revelation 20:10, “the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur. . . . “ He finally meets the demise that Gen 3:15 promises. In Genesis, Adam and Eve hid themselves from God and closing themselves off from all the God wants to share with them and all the good God wants to give them. In Revelation 21, God will dwell with them v. 3 and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes. . . . “ One cannot wipe away tears six feet away as social distancing requires. This is an intimate gesture that a parent may offer a child or a husband to a wife. Only in the closest human relations do we dare touch a person’s face like that. But while there will be “a great multitude that no one could number,” 7:9, God will know every one of them and relate to them in the most personal way.
In Genesis, after eating the fruit, God placed a “cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:24). Not only are they removed from the garden, they may no longer eat from the tree of life. Yet in Rev 22:14, 14 (believers) may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Where they were once removed, they are not granted full access.
After Genesis 3 the relationship between man and God radically changed. But in Revelation, God’s grace is displayed in mysterious and attractive beauty. Instead of humans rejecting God, they worship Him in joyful submission.
In Gen 11:1ff the nations are trying to make a name for themselves as they build a city in rebellion against God. In Rev 21:24, By the “light (of the Lamb) will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day– and there will be no night there.26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.” Once thrust out of the garden and then building a city against God’s wishes, the nations who love Christ will bring their wealth and riches to God and the gates will be open for their entry.
Believers will see wonder and glory we cannot imagine in heaven. No one is heaven will grieve for their losses on earth. No one in heaven will wish they owned more camels (or cars) or had a larger farm (or home). The beauty, love, and wonder is why Jonathan Edwards called heave a world of love. Someday, every believer will enjoy to the fullest this majestic and eternal place of endless pleasure.