The New Heaven and New Earth – Gospel in Life

The New Heaven and New Earth

Tim Keller |  April 12, 2009

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  • Hope
Revelation 21:1-7
RS 312-10


When Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, he was called the first fruits for the dead. The first fruits are the beginning of a harvest. As great as the resurrection of Jesus Christ is—and it means everything—it’s only the first installment on something to come. On what? The new heavens and the new earth.

John was not writing this for us to sit around in an abstract academic way trying to work out the symbols. He wrote it for a group of people facing terrible things, in order to give them a living hope. If you understand that when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, he was a first installment on something to come, it enables you to face things that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to face. Because you have not just an abstract idea, but a living hope.

To understand what this text is about, and even what the resurrection of Jesus Christ is about, let’s look at 1) the nature of this hope, 2) the need you have for it, and 3) how to get it.

Revelation 21:1–7

The fact that Jesus came back to life shows us that God has an even bigger plan. The way Revelation describes a new heaven, a new earth, and God’s Holy City gives us hope, especially when things are tough. Understanding this hope, why we need it, and how to get it, can help us face life’s difficulties bravely.

1. What this hope is all about

Our hope isn’t about leaving this world as separate souls, but about heaven changing the earth. It’s about an improved world where friendships are healed, there’s no more sadness, and everything works as it should. This is the hopeful world that John promises us.

2. Why we need this hope

Hope can change lives. We see this in the early Christians who kept their faith even when times were really hard. Hope helps us act bravely in the present because of what we believe about the future. Just think about people who were slaves but still held onto hope. This kind of long-lasting hope, which promises a better future, helps us get through our own tough times.

3. How do we find this hope?

To find hope, we need to believe in Jesus’ death and his coming back to life. His death shows us the sadness we deserve, but his sacrifice allows us to freely receive the water of life. His coming back to life promises us a fresh start, showing us that even our struggles can make us better or change us. This living hope should make us satisfied, calm, humble, and joyful.



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