Across all time, God’s purpose was to dwell with his people in the best way possible.
He started it in the Garden of Eden. Creation at its perfection. God dwelled with Adam and Eve. They walked and they talked with him.
Then sin happened. And because of this sin, we have not experienced the same relationship with God Adam and Eve experienced. Despite this, God has worked hard to remain among his people. Individuals like Noah, Abraham and Joseph. But then his nation through the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle.
Fast forward 1,000+ years and Jesus shows up. His name is Immanuel. God with us. Jesus was God with flesh on. Jesus came to sacrifice to draw us into relationship with God again. But even his existence had limitations. God with flesh on could only be in one place at one time.
So now, Immanuel is through the Holy Spirit. God as Spirit no longer has the limitations of flesh. He is with all people at all times over all time. But as great as this is, there are still limitations.
Sin is still our limitation. Distraction is still our limitation. As great as the Holy Spirit is, we miss God with us because we’re still human. We do not experience relationship in perfection.
However, these limitations are not on God. He has bent over backward to be Immanuel to us. And he has one more step to go to make Immanuel complete.
New Heaven and New Earth
In comes the New Heaven and New Earth. This will be the perfect, the complete, dwelling place of God with his people for all eternity. He will be everything in this new reality. No more sin as nothing profane will ever enter the new city. No more death, grief, crying or pain. God’s light will be the illumination of the new city. Sun and moon are no longer needed because we are dwelling with the All-Encompassing Light.
And far from a picture of heaven of chubby angels with harps, this picture of heaven is that of a functioning city. This city will function the way God intended from the beginning. If there were never any sin in the Garden, our city would be that of perfection. A perfect community. Economically perfect. Work would be perfect. But even that would have a difficulty. We’d all be on edge as to who would be the first to sin.
But now the picture of this eternity is of peace, not fear. We go through this life of imperfection to experience the life of perfection of all eternity. All by faith. Faith that through all the battles and difficulties, God will make everything right. And he will make everything amazingly perfect and beautiful.
Throughout this year (Aug. 2016-Aug. 2017), CrossPoint will be reading through the New Testament. We are doing this because we’re learning about the Church and the New Testament is the handbook for the church. Therefore, join us as we follow this reading plan. Today’s reading is from Revelation 21.