Check out today's episode
The New Heaven and the New Earth (v. 1-8)
Then John saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old earth had passed away and the sea was no more.
It's funny, I didn't quite make this connection until the mention of the sea, during the time of the apocalypse, the sea was turned to blood. This made me realize why a new earth is needed, it's because God allowed the old earth to be completely screwed up during the apocalypse. It must have been easier to simply start from scratch that to fix the old one.
A nice new city, new Jerusalem, came down from heaven "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" and God said his dwelling place is with man. He will be with them, he will wipe away every tear. Death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more, as these things have passed away.
Is this a description of heaven? No death indicates the immortality that we normally think of. And no pain, mourning or crying certainly fit well into my mental picture of heaven. And yet this somehow feels much different than the picture I have in my head, it seems much more physical maybe, I'm not sure. I always picture things being up in the clouds, could it be that my image of heaven is heavily influenced by lazy newspaper comic artists who want to get away with drawing clouds instead of landscapes?
Also, let's take a moment to look at the inherent sexism that is contained within the description of new Jerusalem. The bride being adorned for her husband sounds awfully like she's a commodity to me, being served up for his liking. Are we sure these are the people we want to take our morality from?
God says he will make all things new. He will give the thirsty the water of life without payment. For the one who conquers I will be his God and he will be my son.
It's funny to me that it says "without payment". There might be no money at this point in time, but getting here isn't free. If you were rich you had to get rid of all your stuff and sell it to the poor, if you lived through the apocalypse you had to not get the mark of the beast and forgo commerce for 3.5 years. There are countless other costs to get to this point. To say you are getting this water of life without payment is like saying the food on a cruise is free. Sure, I don't have to whip out my credit card at every meal, but I certainly pay for the food.
Not everyone will get this fate though, if you are among the following list, you will burn forever in the lake of fire and sulfur: cowardly, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, liars.
If you take a close look at the list, the only really bad item is murder. Being a coward seems more of a problem for the person than for anyone else, certainly doesn't seem like a reason to burn someone for eternity. Being faithless is good. I'm not completely sure what detestable means, but I guess like being a coward, it seems like more of a personal problem than anything. As long as everyone consents sexuality is fine. Sorcerers and idolaters just show the time period this thing was written in. And finally liars, well if lying gets you thrown into the lake of fire then everyone will be in there together, because everyone lies from time to time.
The New Jerusalem (v. 9-27)
An angel took John to a high mountain where he could see new Jerusalem coming out of the sky. A ridiculous amount of detail is given about the city, including the fact that it is made of transparent gold. Also, the city was a cube, measuring about 1380 miles long, wide, and tall. The city gives off light, so it doesn't need the sun to shine on it.
What lessons are contained in today's reading?
--Lists-- (I hate these stupid lists and never know how to categorize them)
Revelation 20:8 These things earn you hellfire
"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Revelation 20:2 Women are commodities
"And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."