The Bible’s Covenant Story 14. Revelation 21:1-8 Covenant consummation

One distinctive feature of the biblical view of history is that time is moving in a straight line towards a goal ordained by God.  History is the unfolding of God’s plan to redeem a people for himself and bring them into covenant with himself.  In The Bible’s Covenant Story, we finally consider 14. Revelation 21:1-8 Covenant consummation.

1. New creation

Note v1 ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth’.  The Lord is going to bring about a renewal of the material universe, envisaged in e.g. Isaiah 65:17ff.  It will be a renovated universe, not a replacement.  The material creation shares in man’s fall (Genesis 3:17) and will share in ‘the glorious freedom of the children of God’ (Romans 8:21).  Satan will not triumph.  The Lord is going to provide a suitable home for his covenant people.  Body and soul they will live in a transformed world – ‘the home of righteousness’ (2 Peter 3:13).

2. Covenant fellowship

John sees ‘the Holy City, the new Jerusalem’ (v2).  This symbolises the perfected church – ‘a bride beautifully dressed for her husband’.  The Lord is ‘married’ to his people (see 19:9) in a covenant of marriage.  The basic covenant promise is repeated (v3).  This is the greatest blessing of life in the new creation.  We have covenant fellowship with the Lord, the life for which he made and remade us.  Knowledge and fellowship will continue to grow eternally.

3. Complete transformation

The sovereign Lord ‘seated on the throne’ (v5) proclaims ‘I am making everything new’.  No part of creation will be untouched by his powerful and gracious work.  All the effects of the fall will be removed. The hard and sad experiences will be gone for ever.  He will ‘wipe every tear’ (v4), whatever the cause.  We can rejoice that there will be ‘no more death or mourning or crying or pain’.  He says, ‘Come and share your master’s happiness’ (Matthew 25:21).

4. Full satisfaction

‘It is done’ (v6) – a perfect tense, indicating that the work is completed and will never be undone.  The Lord expresses his satisfaction in bringing his eternal plan to a perfect conclusion.  At his death which sealed the covenant Christ cried, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30).  A glorious outcome is guaranteed.  We share in the satisfaction – ‘I will give to drink’ – the Lord slakes our spiritual thirst with his presence.  We enjoy an inheritance and sonship (v7).

5. Righteous judgment

In the midst of the joy and anticipation of glory there is a word of warning.  After a diverse list of sinners, the Lord says, ‘their place will be in the fiery lake’.  No-one enters the new creation with sin unforgiven.  We must make sure we are truly members of the Covenant of Grace through faith in Christ alone and are thus on the path to glory in the new creation.

Leave a Reply