How important is it for us to contemplate heaven while we live on this earth? It is incredibly important because it is a real place that will be our eternal home. I am grateful that John has given us a marvelous description of heaven in the book of Revelation. I have read this passage several times in the last few weeks, and I am struck by several of the statements here.
Rev 21:1-4 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. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 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."
John’s description of heaven says that we will be his people, and God will dwell with us. That is a powerful thought to think of as we live fully and completely with God as his people. Secondly, John states there will be no more tears because God will finally wipe every tear from their eyes. We all see sadness every day, and some of it is our own. As a pastor, I see tears almost every day in some form. There is sadness from sickness; there is sadness from death, and sadness from financial hardship. There is sadness in disappointment and sadness from injustice, and on and it goes. But, in that place there will be no more tears. The thought is incredible. Only God can do that! Thirdly, the phrase that there will no longer be any sea is really interesting.
We find this phrase so facinating because so much of our earth is an ocean. What a drastic change from this earth as we know it. David Mc Cloud, in his book The Seven Last Days, gives us a better understanding of this phrase in its heavenly context:
The first heaven will pass away, and a new atmosphere will surround the new world. There will be no more violent deadly storms, smog, or menacing blackness. At first glance we notice that there will be “no longer any sea.” Ocean lovers and fishermen might be taken back by that statement. Consider for a moment why the ocean exists. Over 70 percent of the surface of our earth is covered with salt water, and the avergage depth of the water is 2.3 miles. Why does our planet earth need such a massive covering of salt water? The answer is to cleanse the earth and make life possible. The sea might be described as a big sewer system or better God's great antiseptic solution, composed of 96% of H20, 3.5 % salt, and about 0.5 % trace elements clorine, magnisum, calcium and the like. The salty brine of the sea purges, cleanses and preserves our planet making it fit to live in. Many of the pollutants and waste that humans produce get washed out of the soil and into the streams and rivers. Other places those things are deliberately dumped into there. The rivers wash these materials into the sea, and the antiseptic solitity of the sea absorbs, scrubs, and breaks down these pollutants and waste. The sun heats the sea causing only pure, clean water vapor to float up into the sky forming clouds which bring refreshing rain back to the land, a continual cylce of cleansing and renewal. But in the new earth there will be no more pollution, no more decay, no more need for cleansing and thus no more need for a salty sea. This present order of things is going to come to an end, and there is nothing that more powerfully communicates the idea than the assertion that there is no longer any sea.[i]