ALL THINGS MADE NEW – He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:4-5a)
“Behold, I make all things new” is the first time since Revelation 1:8 that God is specifically referenced as speaking directly (who else would be sitting on His throne?), though voices have come from the throne (Revelation 21:3) and out of the sanctuary (Revelation 16:1, 17). While these too may be from God himself, they seem more likely to be coming from one of the angels in His Presence. The message here is not addressed to John (contrast Revelation 7:14; 17:7; 21:6; 22:6), but to the entire world of the blessed.(1)
The vision is so wonderful that the best way John found to describe it was by describing what it was not (i.e. “no more”). Ever since John first recorded this revelation, believers have rejoiced to know that, in Heaven, there will be no more pain, tears, sorrow, or death. This blessed hope of Heaven has encouraged God’s people in times of suffering.(2)
Little else is said here in Revelation about the future of mankind, aside from the implication that kings and nations still exist. Humans are still human (albeit with glorified bodies), not angels, and none who enjoy this new and endless existence are tainted by sin. To see more of what the future holds for us, we must look at other New Testament passages.
We Shall Be Like Him – We find that when we stand in God’s presence, we will be transformed into Jesus’ likeness. “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Paul said that God has predestined us “to be conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
Raised Imperishable – Paul told the Corinthians that the believer’s resurrection body will be imperishable in contrast to our present perishable body. It will be marked by power rather than weakness. It will be controlled by the spiritual, rather than subject to the physical. The dead “will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52, see also verses 35–54). When the mortal becomes immortal, then death itself will be swallowed up in our great victory. In these words of Scripture, we see a glorious promise. But the scene is so far removed from our present situation that it is difficult to fully comprehend. We can perhaps see a bit more in the Gospel’s description of Christ after His resurrection. He could eat with His disciples. He had flesh and bones (Luke 24; John 21). Yet He also could “appear” among them in a locked room (John 20:19). He was recognizable, the same individual, yet at the same time different. These post-resurrection capacities of Jesus will likely be ours as well in resurrection.
Free from Our Sin Nature – The greatest wonder of all is that we shall be like Him, freed from every stain of sin. To be perfected and yet retain our individual self—this is our glorious destiny. “He who overcomes,” God promises, “will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be My son” (Revelation 21:7).(3)
Up Next – It is Done.
- Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Re 21:5). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
- Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (pp. 1088–1089). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.