Bible Studies for Life
Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-5
Emory Berry, Jr., senior pastor
Greenforest Community Baptist Church, Decatur
Most of us would agree that the beautiful creation story found in Genesis 1 provides us with many colorful and inviting images of God’s handiwork. For example, in reading through Genesis 1, one can’t help but imagine the radiant light (v.3), clear water (v.6), clear skies (v.8), plush land (v.10), full vegetation (v.11), glaring sun (v.16), full moon (v.18), colorful birds (v.24), and lively livestock (v.28). However, we know that God’s original plan for humanity to enjoy His creation was interrupted in the Garden of Eden. If it were not for Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, we would have “had it made!”
The disappointing reality of this act of disobedience is how it broke our fellowship and relationship with God. Although God has never left us, our relationship with Him was broken back in Eden and our eternal ability to live with Him was threatened. However, we thank God for Jesus! Jesus is the bridge that reconciles Christian believers back to God and secures our ability to live eternally with our Creator and Sustainer.
As we fast forward to the Book of Revelation, we are also presented with many colorful and inviting images of God’s handiwork. For example, as one reads through Revelation 21, one can’t help but imagine the adorned Holy city (v.2), and hearing God’s loud booming voice (v.3). In addition, as one reads through Revelation 22, one can’t help but imagine the anointed angel (v.1), flowing river (v.1), God’s elegant throne (v.2), a super-wide street (v.2), a big city skyline (v.2), fruit-filled trees (v.2), healing leaves (v.2), Jesus’ name everywhere (v.4), and God’s glory all around (v.6).
The point here is, just as God created something beautiful in Genesis, He will do the same in eternity based on John’s Revelation on the Island of Patmos. Isn’t it comforting to know that God still has a huge heart for us as His children despite our disobedience? Aren’t you glad that God wants us to be in close fellowship with Him forever?
However, the question is not whether or not God wants unbreakable unending fellowship with us, but do we want it with Him? Beloved, God’s desire and design for our lives is just as valid today as it was 2000 years ago.
In conclusion, many of us have been blessed to have out-of-town guests stay in our homes. Usually we go through length, labor, and preparation to prepare for their arrival. However, could you imagine your invited guest spending more time outside your home with other people in your city than with you? In turn, as the host you probably began to feel forgotten and taken for granted. Ultimately, you will begin to eagerly look forward to your guests leaving your home.
I mention this story to say that God has made a lot of preparation for us to live eternally with Him, but we should not be so distracted by the affairs of this world that we forget about God. God’s invitation to have us spiritually and physically live with Him is available today.
Questions for discussion
- Do you believe that God will create a new Heaven and Earth?
- What are some ways that God shows us that He is in control?
- In your estimation, do people still believe in the lake of fire as punishment?
- Who does God describe Godself to be in Revelation 21?
- Do you believe you will spend eternity with God?
Emory Berry, Jr, serves as senior pastor of Greenforest Community Baptist Church in Decatur.