MAKING ALL THINGS NEW
The New Testament book of Revelation consists of an extended vision given to John the apostle by an angelic messenger (Rev.1:1-2) concerning events that were of great consequence to the early Christians. This book is titled, The Apocalypse - - the Greek word for a “disclosure” or “unveiling”, thus our English title, “revelation”. This revelation, which was communicated to John by God's angel, was declared from the outset to be about things shortly to take place - - the time is near (Rev.1:1 & 3). That same emphasis is strongly reiterated in the postscript (Rev.22:6 &10). These time tags applied to the days of the first-century. Remember, John was directed to write to the seven churches of Asia, real congregations of God's people dwelling in the last days prior to AD 70. cf. Rev.1:19 with chapters 2 & 3.
Essentially John's revelation is a double-pronged missive bearing bad news and good news. The bad news was that Jerusalem was soon to be destroyed. Jesus predicted this in His Olivet discourse (Mt.24:1ff) - - not one stone would be left upon another (Mt.24:2). The Revelation of John is not just about the fall of the ancient city of Jerusalem. The thing that made this city so important was that it was the home of The Temple. Just prior to the Olivet discourse Jesus pronounced, Behold, your house is being left to you desolate (Mt.23:38)! This was a prophetic utterance of God's plan to withdraw His presence from the nation of Israel. The word desolate implies abandoned or orphaned.
The city of Jerusalem had been ordained by God to be A LIGHT TO THE NATIONS so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth (Isa.49:6), but she had failed miserably. Jerusalem was intended to be the light of the world in the form of a city set on a hill (Mt.5:14), but she had become darkness and wickedness incarnate. The key to understanding the book of Revelation is to view it as God's judgment against an apostate Israel. The book describes God's wrath against “the great city”. John reveals that this great city is none other than Jerusalem, where the Lord was crucified (Rev.11:8). This once-great city is spoken of symbolically with the pejorative labels, Sodom and Egypt (Rev.11:8). In the heart of John vengeance revelations, Jerusalem takes on the persona of a harlot under the name of Babylon, one of ancient Israel's most degenerate enemies (Rev.14:8; 16:19; 17:1, 5-6 & 18; and 18:2, 10, 16, 19 & 21). A quick comparison of Mt.23:35 with Rev.18:24 makes it crystal clear that Babylon is indeed Jerusalem.
The wonderful thing about John's revelation is that it closes with GOOD NEWS. Yes, God has issued a divorce decree against Israel, but that's not the end of the story. The good news is that God was replacing the old Jerusalem with a holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev.21:1-2). God announces, Behold, I am making all things new (Rev.21:5). This testifies to the arrival of the New Covenant realm - - a new and living way which (Jesus) inaugurated for us through the veil (Heb.10:20). That which was lost by a corrupt Israel is now redeemed by the blood of The Lamb. This good news is encapsulated by the words of a loud voice from the throne, saying: Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them (Rev.21:3).
Terry Siverd / Cortland Church of Christ