How glorious is heaven?

Hi friends,

Today, the liturgical reading included Revelation 21:22-22:5, but I read through to Revelation 22:27:

I did not see a temple in it, because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never close by day because it will never be night there. They will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The best part of heaven is that we are bathed in the glory of God. We live in his loving presence always and forever.

Yet God promises us that the glory of heaven is not only spiritual but also physical: in the new heavens and earth, the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

To my modern ears, it’s like a picture of a ‘world cruise’: every cuisine is represented in endless buffet lines: Mexican tacos, Japanese sushi, Brazilian steaks, and Indian curries.

For breakfast, you can enjoy Ethiopian coffee, fresh Parisian croissants, Greek yogurt, and Manuka honey.

You wear a Swiss watch, Italian leather shoes, a silken Chinese vest, a shawl made of alpaca wool from Peru, and Native American jewelry.

In every age, the kings of the great nations have accessed the best of each culture. Today, these benefits flow to the wealthy - and in a globalized world, many of us can enjoy the glory of the nations.

However, not everyone has equal access to these earthly blessings. Many faithful believers have faced persecution, martyrdom, or poverty while remaining devoted to Jesus. They have sacrificed their comfort, security, and even their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

It seems deeply unfair: those faithful to Jesus are suffering, while those who don’t care about God are stuffing themselves.

It raises the question: what does God do for believers who have endured so much for their faith?

Revelation 22 provides a remarkable answer!

It shows us that God intends to give everyone faithful to Jesus the fullness of His glory and blessings.

In the new heavens and earth, the glory of the nations will be shared by all God’s people, not just the wealthy or powerful.

And again, the ultimate reward for faithfulness is not just the absence of suffering or the very best of every culture, but the eternal presence and light of God.

So, how do we apply this to our lives today?

First, if we’re suffering for Christ, this passage is a consolation.

If we are well-off, this passage encourages us to live in light of eternity, rather than for the moment. It can be difficult to voluntarily make sacrifices for God, but if we trust that this promise is absolutely certain, then we are motivated to live generously.

Finally, this is a compelling picture of what is to come.

Our friends might think it is a fantasy - but here’s one question we can ask: if this were true, would you want to enjoy the glory of the nations in the presence of God?

How does the picture of our future hope inspire you to live for Jesus?

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