With this post, we heroically move forward, hopefully beyond verse four, but first, I feel the need to recap where we are in this journey.
We closed out our last look at Revelation 21, discussing verse three, which reads like this.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, (Revelation 21:3 NASB)
If Jesus is seated on His throne in the New Jerusalem, as the millennial reign begins. Isn’t it possible that the promised peace has come? Since the followers of Christ will stand alongside the martyred saints that were resurrected, are now immortals, and cannot be harmed. So then, death too should be done away with, right?
Why ask such a lengthy question?
Because I was recently asked,
“if these things have been done, why does seem that they are being done again at what appears to be the end of time, after the great white throne?”
With a question like that, the following statement would be, I don’t see a need for things such as we see in Revelation 21:4 after the end of judgments.
“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NASB)
Let’s break this down, as usual.
“ He will wipe away every tear from their eyes;.”
This is a continual process.
Why? Because, for the believers who have struggled with heartache and loss, as I have, those things that caused sorrow or agony will be put behind us, just as the Father puts our sins behind Him, never to be seen or heard of again.
While the thousand years roll by, there will be those from among the nations that will suffer pain and loss. But, with Jesus sitting on the throne, comfort will be given to those from the nations that may need comfort. And healing, which comes from the leaves off the tree of life, can also be brought. Of course, I don’t understand all that healing implies. Still, as we saw in the Genesis account, the tree of life brought immortality, so there has to be more to what these leaves do than providing a primitive bandage.
And one last thought on the tears.
The dead, having been resurrected, are now standing before the great white throne. Matthew’s account tells us that these are the nations and conveys that some have their names written in the book of life because of their works.
Those works are explained as acts of kindness – something that Jesus would do, like giving someone a drink of water, a blanket, or a visit to a prisoner.
What are the probabilities that these called sheep are so profoundly and emotionally touched that they cry?
Pretty good, huh? Jesus will also wipe the tears from their eyes.
“There will no longer be any death;.”
I already pointed out that a few from the nations will die.
We have an example in Isaiah 65.
“No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young!” (Isaiah 65:20 NLT)
No more unexpected loss of children; Adults will live full lives, well past one hundred; but, there seems to be a catch as the passage tells us that only the cursed will die young, as in one hundred.
Cursed is a horrible word choice as the Hebrew word qâlal primarily lends itself to someone being of little account. My granddad used to say, of particular people, “they ain’t no account.” I suppose, in his world, they had borrowed money and never paid it back, or perhaps they were the wrong skin color.
I cannot imagine the Father even thinking that way. He seems to find the good in everyone, and thankfully He found it in me. I have a grandson who stopped breathing when he was three days old; this is NOT a good sign, but it led the doctors to the cancerous tumor sitting on his brain stem. One of the scary things we were told is that this cancer looks very similar to brain stem tissue, and to cut into the brain stem would be cataclysmic for my grandson. Most of the tumor got removed, and the rest was killed with chemo. The end result – my grandson, who just graduated from high school, is affected on his left side like a stroke victim. We just watched him get publicly awarded for being a mentor to new students in the program. School administrators all raved about how much they loved him, and I love that they loved him. You know what, though, not everybody can tolerate the repetitious things he says and the occasionally painful high fives he gives. Because of all these things, they might consider my grandson of little account, and some might think he is worthy of death. As you can imagine, I do not feel that way at all. I long to see the day when he finds a place where he can continue to bring his vitality to others.
How do I comprehend this?
Well, here it is, May 26, 2022, and only a couple of days ago, a troubled young man killed more than 20 people, most of which were, in a sense, babies. So naturally, far too many politicians jumped on the anti-gun bandwagon and screamed that people should not have guns. So this evokes the next question.
Is God going to take away all weapons?
The answer is yes, as Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3 both speak of the nations beating their swords into plowshares. (Do not get hung up on the idea that everyone has swords because that would be odd at best, but many people, including little gangsters, have guns. The weapons will be made into farming tools.) I do not think this is a voluntary act on their part. Remember, Cain, killed Able with a rock.
The Hebrew origins aligned with the word plowshares are uncertain; however, we are told that a mattock, which is a pick for turning over the ground, is an alternate usage.
“And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” (Isaiah 2:4 NASB)
The usage of the term nations indicates that they will still have their broken natures, this is the same instincts that brought about what we see in Genesis 6.
“God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them, and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:12-13 NASB)
What’s the point here?
Weapons are now repurposed as farming and gardening implements. The passage gives us the final word when it says, “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” This tells me that organized war is done and that NO one will be teaching the other how to fight.
How is this cessation of fighting possible?
Because Isaiah 2:4 tells us that “ He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples.”
The Hebrew word for judge shâphaṭ means to decide controversies, act as law-giver, condemn, punish, and vindicate when necessary.
Might some heinous acts demand the death penalty?
Based on what we see on the news, I would think so. While Isaiah 11 exhibits mercy, there is one line that conveys how he dispenses justice without fanfare.
“And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:3-4 NASB)
“the first things have passed away.”
What does that mean?
You would think we should know the answer to this.
I wish I could tell you that the law goes away. It might be safe to say, in a sense, that it does because, after the great white throne and the end of all judgment, there would be no more need for the law.
How is that possible?
Because for the Christians, our broken natures from Adam will have been changed at the church’s rapture, right before God’s wrath gets poured out. (See 1 Corinthians 15:52).
If you have been able to follow along with me, you would understand that many from the nations will come to a knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ. However, the methods of gaining salvation seem to vary, as the leaves of the trees of life will bring healing to the nations (although, it would be foolish to think that number includes all of them.) I can understand this because a vast number whose names will not be found in the book of life will be deceived and try to kill God at the end of the thousand years; therefore, Only those who have their names in “the book of life” will make it into the kingdom after the Great White Throne.
So while there may not be a need for a proclaimed law, that law, written upon our hearts, is nothing less than the moral character of God. Since we are in His image, His character is our character, and we will live by those motives.
Don’t even consider the idea that sin would again infiltrate the heavens as it did with Satan. I think it’s safe to say that God will not tolerate this scenario again. It appears that the motive to commit treason will be eliminated with Satan.
What other firsts could we consider?
According to Isaiah 25, the veil that covers the eyes of all people will be lifted.
You might try to angrily argue, I know the Lord, follow him, and, like Paul, pray in the Holy Spirit more than you all, so you are not talking to me. Don’t you wish? Paul’s gospel says differently.
“For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
(1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB.)
The truth is, you have no idea what an unhindered communication with God would be like. Now apply this idea to Adam, and you can better understand the death he brought upon himself and us. Someday soon, we will obtain what Adam had before the fall. So this could easily be one of those issues that will pass.
Ponder this thought.
As I sit here writing about the hope that is in me, I am painfully aware of how this broken, sin-ridden flesh fights against the things of God; therefore, I do something like this and let the words speak to me as well.
Will there be a day in which Satan’s voice does not permeate my thinking?
Absolutely, and it may begin, for the believers, at the rapture. For everyone else, you would think that it should definitely start at the start of the millennial reign of Jesus because Satan will be locked up during this time and unable to afflict people. But it is painfully apparent that human natures continue to be broken for the nations, and their minds work far too freely. The evidence for this can be found in Revelation 21, as God sees it necessary to say,
“and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” – Revelation 21:27 NASB.
As I have mentioned, there are those trees of life along the river that come from beneath God’s throne. We are told that the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations. Just thinking about what this healing can mean boggles my mind, so I accept that it does. So, this moves the idea that Satan’s voice can no longer invade our thinking to the time beyond the throne of judgment. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s look of life can come in. Having given myself over to the King of Kings, I have every confidence that my name is in there. How about you?
I feel as though I could go on for days about the things that came first and will pass away; some were arbitrary, but some came because I fell in love with my Father once again. He is all that I need.