Advent Week 4: God With Us Forever
Advent means “coming”. Jesus Christ has come and he will come again. Advent season is about rejoicing in the reality that God came to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ so that we could be with him forever. It is a celebration of Jesus’ first coming in humility and it produces eager anticipation for his second coming in glory. This season is a time for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting. Follow along with us this Christmas season as we anticipate and celebrate the birth of Jesus together.
ADVENT: WEEK 4
GOD WITH US FOREVER
In one of the final chapters of Scripture, we are introduced to a heavenly city which will serve as our home for all eternity. Revelation 21 describes events in dramatic fashion and lets us become witnesses to the destruction of our world as we know it. It also introduces us to a new heaven and earth that rivals anything beyond our imagination. In a final ceremony of redemptive history, all of the redeemed will be made part of Christ’s bride and will be gathered in this new city. And in this city, God will dwell with us.
Can you imagine what it will be like to hear a loud voice from the throne exclaiming, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man”? This is the very voice of God proclaiming that, from this point on and throughout eternity, he will live with his people. These nine words are some of the most beautiful and hope-filled words that could ever be uttered.
It is difficult to not let your mind wander and speculate on details that surround the events described in this chapter. Will our glorified, spiritual bodies be confined to physical limitations that we experience today? What does a 1500-mile cubed city made of pure gold look like? How big are the oysters that make pearls large enough to be used as gates for a fortified city? Though much detail is given to paint a rich picture of what our future home will look like, the first five verses at the beginning of Revelation 21 are what should capture our undivided attention. Take a moment to read this section again.
The good news at the heart of these verses is the proclamation, “Behold, I am making all things new.” God considers this a trustworthy and true pronouncement, so crucial to the message of the book that John is immediately commanded, “Write this down.”
Can you see God interacting with John in this moment? Nudging him, asking yet again, “Did you get this? This is the good part. Make sure you write this down.” Much time will pass between when this vision was given and when it will be accomplished. Though the message is future-oriented, it is intended for us today. There are good reasons why the hope of heaven should motivate us.
Anticipating Christ’s second coming motivates us to be like Christ and grow in Him. The hope of being with him forever motivates us to joyfully endure any mistreatment as we pursue holiness, righteousness and purity. The joy we experience today is real but not yet complete as we struggle with sin in this fallen world. It is but a small taste of what heaven will be like. And while what we experience today is temporary, what we hope for and will have has been assured by God and is eternal. If you have embraced Jesus through faith and repentance, then a day is coming when you will forever live in the presence of God and you will enjoy an all-satisfying relationship with him. All of this because God came to be with us at Christmas. All of this because God is coming again. All of this because of Jesus—Immanuel—God with us.
In Revelation 21, God banishes tears, death, mourning, crying and pain to this present existence. A new universe will come into being. Christ’s bride—perfected, holy and complete—will be able to experience pure, absolute and eternal joy. Our joy will no longer be tainted or defiled by sin, but we will be able to enjoy perfect relationship with God for eternity. We will be able to do so because we enter his joy. It is not a joy that we own or bring, but HIS. He is the source of our joy.
What is something you are looking forward to?
What are you most excited about for eternity?
When you read that God will get rid of tears, death and mourning, do you think about any specific hurt or difficulty you are experiencing? Take some time to bring it before the Lord in prayer.
End this Advent season by praising God for the joy, hope and peace we have in Jesus. Thank him for coming at Christmas to rescue us from sin and to bring us to be with him forever. Thank him for being with us in the Spirit while we wait for the hope of eternity. Thank him that one day, we will be with him forever.