“He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” — Revelation 21:4-5
Modern politicians often end their speeches with a rhetorical flourish that promises a better world “for our children and grandchildren.” Such sentiments strike a chord in most hearts; who doesn’t wish for a better world for the rising generations? Politicians may commit to banishing poverty, providing quality education, putting an end to war, or starting health insurance for all. Noble sentiments all, but desperately difficult to achieve.
It is interesting to note that “the one sitting on the throne” did not promise to make this a better world; He announced a new one! He said, “Look, I am making all things new!” (Revelation 21:5). That is precisely what John saw. He records, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared” (21:1).
The reason for this drastic action—the disappearance of the old and the creation of the new—is explained: “The old world and its evils are gone forever” (21:4). The evils that pervade this old fallen world can never be eradicated by the best government or the most enlightened politicians. Evil is too deeply ingrained. This world will not ultimately be perfected as evil is incrementally abolished. This world as we know it will be abolished and a new one established in its place. This is the message of John’s vision of the end.
But who can accomplish such a feat and produce an environment where “there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain” (21:4)? The answer is “the one sitting on the throne” whose self-description is “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End” (21:6). It stands to reason that the only one who can legitimately bring about this world’s demise is the one who brought it into being, and the only one who can deal with the problem of evil, which is responsible for all that is wrong with this world, is the one who is intrinsically holy, righteous, and just—the Alpha and the Omega! And He will.
This vision of the ultimate conquest of evil and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth has led some to assume that nothing needs to be done about this world’s ills. But compassion and love insist that even if we cannot eradicate evil, we can certainly alleviate it. And we must never forget that when political promises of a better world disappoint, the divine assurance of a new world helps us hope in the midst of death, sorrow, crying, and pain.
For further study: Revelation 21:1-8
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.