Heaven (Part Six)


For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’” (Revelation 7:17).

At home in the Father’s house

Our eternal home is a city. God develops his plan in taking his new humanity (those in Christ), not to a garden, but to a city. Cities are marked by density and diversity. The New Jerusalem has both (Revelation 5:9-14; 21:15-17). What will the eternal city be like? Let’s think about our eternal destiny.

  • It will be a new place (Revelation 21:2, 5). It is part of the new creation, suitable for the habitation of those who are new in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:15).
  • It will be skillfully designed and built (Hebrews 11:10) by God (Revelation 21:2, 10), the master builder of all things.
  • It will be beautiful (Revelation 21:2, 11). There will be no ugliness, no urban blight, no slums, no neighborhoods to avoid, and no pollution.
  • It will be pleasant and joyful in the city. The curse of sin and its consequences will be totally removed (Revelation 21:4, 6-8; 22:3).
  • It will be a place of safety (Revelation 21:12). The only fear will be a holy reverence for the majestic God.
  • It will be the meeting place for all God’s people (Revelation 21:12, 14; cf. Hebrews 11:39-40) with God (Revelation 22:23; 22:4). We will always be near those that love the Lord and enjoy him
  • It will be an immense city, about 1,400 miles cubed (Revelation 21:16), if this is intended literally or a figurative way of pointing out its enormity.
  • It will have immeasurable wealth (Revelation 21:18-21). All poverty will be forever removed. There will be an plentiful supply from the God of all grace.
  • It will shine with the splendor of God’s surpassing brilliance (Revelation 21:11, 22-23; 22:5).
  • It will be a place of great human creativity, as we reflect the glory of likeness to Christ (Revelation 21:24-26; 22:3).
  • It will have all we need for life and eternal renewal (Revelation 22:1-2).
  • It will be marked by eternal victory and celebration (Revelation 22:5, 14).

How then should we live, since we have such a glorious destiny?

  • We should worship God (Revelation 22:9).
  • We should focus on the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:12-13, 16).
  • We should invite others to join us there (Revelation 22:17).
  • We should look for Christ’s return (Revelation 22:20).
  • We should rely on his grace until he comes (Revelation 22:21).

So then, let’s do these things!

Grace and peace, David

Thoughts on Leviticus (Part Two)

img_3270Leviticus 9

And Moses said, “This is the thing that the Lord commanded you to do, that the glory of the Lord may appear to you” (Leviticus 9:6 ESV).

Leviticus presents the worship and way of life of God’s old covenant people. The time of the law or old covenant occupied a specific period in the history of redemption. It started at the giving of the law covenant at Sinai after the exodus from Egypt. It ended with the great events of the gospel: Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and pouring out of the Spirit on Pentecost. God’s people under the law were required to live under its rituals and regulations. We look at that time from the perspective of its fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah. Or, perhaps I should say, we ought to look at them that way. But do we know enough about that time to understand what God was doing during the working out of his plan in redemptive history?

Exodus tells the story of God setting his people free from slavery in Egypt, the formation of Israel as his covenant people, the giving of the law covenant, and the building of the tabernacle. It was at the tabernacle that the sacrifices listed in Leviticus 1-7 had to be offered. Leviticus 8 tells us about the consecration of Aaron and his sons to offer the sacrifices of the law. Here we see the binding together of the priesthood and the law as referred to in Hebrews 7:11-12.

This brings us to Leviticus 9. The significance of this chapter is overlooked, because we forget or fail to consider the larger story of God. When God gave the law, he caused his glory to shine (Exodus 19-24). After the people had sinned with the golden calf, Moses pleaded that he would let him see his glory (Exodus 33). When the tabernacle was set up, the Lord’s glory filled it (Exodus 40:34-38). In our text at the start of this article, Moses told Aaron and his sons that the Lord had promised an appearance of his glory to them. The living God had committed to make known his glory through their worship. People could know that the God of glory was with them. He was in a covenant relationship with them. The glorious God had accepted them as his people.

The end of the chapter records the historical event of this fulfilled promise. Aaron made the prescribed offerings, as the Lord had commanded (Leviticus 9:8-22). Read that passage like you were there watching. What would happen next? And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces (Leviticus 9:23-24). Some truths to think about:

  • Moses and Aaron went in the tabernacle after they had done what the Lord had commanded. The ministry of the priests had begun, and there was access to God.
  • When they came out of the tabernacle, they blessed the people. This was an event for the whole covenant community.
  • Next, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. God kept his promise. Later through Isaiah, the Lord God made another promise of the appearance of his glory through his Son. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 40:5).
  • God answered by fire from heaven. Later this would happen at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 7:1) and when Elijah opposed the false prophets (1 Kings 18:38).
  • The response of the people was praise and worship

In the new covenant, we also experience the glory of God. On Pentecost, tongues of fire appeared to the church and rested on every member. The Spirit of God had been poured out on the people of God. Now, we are in Christ, our new covenant with God. We have surpassing glory (2 Corinthians 3:10) and the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us (1 Peter 4:14), the whole new covenant community. Do we respond with praise and worship?

Grace and peace, David