Benjamin Franklin is famous for many things. But one of his most well-known sayings, written in 1789, is this: “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Death and taxes. And having lived in places in the world where taxes are far from certain, I would reduce that to one: death. Death is the single, solitary experience that all mankind will experience in common.
So one would think that more people would be truly interested in the question, “Is this life — this world — all there is?” Because all of us are certainly going to find out the answer to this question one day.
But what if God has shared the answer with us already? What if the author of the universe has written into the script of our universe — his word — hints of what’s coming next? What if he gave one of his apostles a vision of a future universe — a new heaven and new earth that will one day replace our current heaven and earth?
Well, in fact, that’s exactly what he did. And John, the apostle, gives us a report of what he witnessed when God gave him a preview.
There will be, following the death of this world, a new material world. The church, the “bride of Christ,” will find a home there. And God himself will come down and live in our midst.
God will be with us there for eternity. He will make everything new, and everything will always be safe and good. Grief and sorrow will be a thing of the past. Pain will be unknown in this new heaven and earth.
The old sin-mangled, death-demolished order of things will pass away. And he will make everything new.
As the “old order” of 2015 passes away, and God takes us into a new year, let’s take the cue that the passing of the years is a hardy reminder to us: A far more important new beginning is coming soon.
And we can be certain of it.
“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘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!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true'” (Revelation 21:1-5, NIV).
Jesus, thank you for saving me from sin, death and the power of the devil. Thank you for dying on the cross for me, and for rising from the grave for me. Thank you for promising to prepare a new heaven and new earth where I will live with you forever, and never again experience grief or pain.
Our Bible reading for Wednesday, December 30, is Nehemiah 11:22 – 12:47, Revelation 21:1-27 and Proverbs 31:21-31.
Header image based on "Clouds cover the top of the Andes..." by Matthew Straubmuller, CC By 2.0