The Bible Helps Us to See What the Future Holds

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Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Identifying the AntiChrist second coming Cover
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

A benefit of Bible study is its prophecies, which will help us to understand where we are in the stream of time, and what is yet to unfold. Notice the conditions that are coming in the text below.

Revelation 21:3-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

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, and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

ANGELS AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_ ezekiel, daniel, & revelation

21:3–4. For the third and final time John hears a loud voice from the throne (16:17; 19:5). The word for dwelling is traditionally translated “tabernacle” or “tent.” When the Israelites had lived in the wilderness after the exodus, God’s presence was evident through the tent (Exod. 40:34). Part of the reward for Israel’s obedience to God was, “I will put my dwelling place [tabernacle] among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Lev. 26:11–12). Israel’s disobedience, of course, led finally to the destruction of the temple.

The permanent remedy began when God became enfleshed in Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). A form of the same verb translated “made his dwelling” in John 1:14 is now used by the heavenly voice: he will live with them. Here, then, is the final eternal fulfillment of Leviticus 26.

They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God is a divine promise often made, particularly in context of the new covenant (Jer. 31:33; 32:38; Ezek. 37:27; 2 Cor. 6:16). In eternity, it will find full completion in its most glorious sense. One striking note here is that the word translated “people,” while often singular in Revelation (for example, 18:4), here is plural, literally “peoples.” This points to the great ethnic diversity of those in heaven.

The great multitude who came out of the Great Tribulation received the pledge of many blessings including the final removal of any cause for tears (7:15–17). Now this promise extends to every citizen-saint of the New Jerusalem. The picture of God himself gently taking a handkerchief and wiping away all tears is overwhelming. It pictures the removal of four more enemies:

death—destroyed and sent to the fiery lake (20:14; 1 Cor. 15:26)

mourning—caused by death and sin, but also ironically the eternal experience of those who loved the prostitute (18:8)

crying—one result of the prostitute’s cruelty to the saints (18:24)

•   pain—the first penalty inflicted on mankind at the Fall is finally lifted at last (Gen. 3:16)

The Holy Spirit_02 THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

All these belonged to the old order of things where sin and death were present. The last thought could also be translated, “The former things are gone.” No greater statement of the end of one kind of existence and the beginning of a new one can be found in Scripture. Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 394–395.

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