(This is Day 26 of our 30-day examination of the all-too-misunderstood Book of Revelation.)
Genesis and Revelation are the bookends to the entire story of how God works and will work in the world.
At the end of Revelation, in chapter 21, we envision with John of Patmos a new creation–a new heaven and earth–in which unity that was there “in the beginning” is re-established in a radical way.
Recall that in the beginning … day was divided into morning and evening. In the glorious end as seen in Revelation, there will be no more darkness (Revelation 21:25).
In the beginning … the earth, sea and sky were separated from each other (Genesis 1:9-10). In the end, “the sea will be no more” (Revelation 21:1).
In the beginning … the sun was there to light the day and the moon (Genesis 1:16). In the glorious end . . . a gorgeous new city will have the Lamb for a lamp. (Revelation 21:23).
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Genesis is the story of one collapse after another. In Genesis, humankind is so broken and sin-sick that families (and creation itself) are always breaking down.
If Genesis shows us anything, it shows that the “dysfunctional family” became the “new normal” a long, long time ago.
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The good news of Revelation is that a beautiful city of “pure gold” with foundations adorned of “every precious stone” will come down from heaven.
John, whose brilliant book of Revelation if full of Old Testament references, harks back to Genesis 2:10-12. In that scripture we find a river in Eden that waters the garden. It divides into four branches, the first being Pishon, which flows through a land of gold and other treasures.
In the new city, the angel leads John to the river of life-giving water that sparkles like crystal (Revelation 22:1). We end up seeing the wonderful “the tree of life.”
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In what is called “the beatific vision,” communion between humankind and God will be restored in a new way.
In the end, Paradise ruined with its tainted garden will be a new and improved Paradise in the form of a magnificent city.
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26. For all its imagery of gloom and doom, Revelation is, in the final analysis, a beautiful and divine gift.
Catch the vision and keep hope alive!