A few years ago we studied the book of Revelation in our adult bible study class.  And as we read through and studied that book chapter by chapter, verse by verse, one of the recurring themes that we kept noticing was just how little in that book was original to John.  Much if not most of the book was taken directly or indirectly from previous writings, and a lot of it from the book of Isaiah.  Today we find just such a passage; one that was taken by John and incorporated in his Revelation.

Here we find the first promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth.  It’s been hard for many to reconcile their views of the afterlife with the scriptures.  Their idea was that there would  be a rapture and we would all be taken to heaven to live forever with Jesus in the sky.  This Escapist view of the afterlife leads to some pretty terrifying beliefs and behaviors by its proponents.  Among them is the belief that if the world is going to be destroyed anyway, why conserve it, care for it, or protect it?  Another is the idea that the things of this world are temporary and therefore meaningless in the long run so we should devote 100% of our time to spiritual things instead of tangible ones.  And the list goes on and on.

Scripture again and again tells us that this earth is not going to be recycled but reconciled.  This very world on which we live is to be redeemed, restored as a New Heaven and a New Earth.  Jesus will return, meaning come back to this earth, and reign as king forever.  And this New, redeemed earth will never see war, or pain, or tears, or sorrow, or injustice, or sin again.  This is the promise of scripture and so must dictate our behavior in the here and now.

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