All Things New

“The one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” -Revelation 21:5

Read Revelation 21:1-6

Have you ever read a billboard convinced it said one thing only to find you’d misread two crucial words that completely altered the message?

It was March 2005. Approaching a tour kiosk on the island of Samos, I saw the sign “Boat tours to Ephesus.” I had made the trip to Greece expecting to visit Ephesus in modern Turkey, the region addressed in the book of Revelation. As I turned the corner, a new problem confronted me, a smaller sign reading “Beginning April 15.” I was a month too early!

Readers of Revelation could be excused for feeling battered by repeating visions of judgment, rebellion and destruction in the first 20 chapters. What a relief to hear in the opening lines of Revelation 21 the words “See, I am making all things new!” (21:5). “Yes!” we say instinctively, “this sounds right!” In light of the graphic human and demonic evil this text exposes and the chaos we know all too well in our world, it seems entirely appropriate that God “start over” and make all new things: new heaven and earth (21:1), new city (21:2), new relationships (21:3), new life (21:4). But that’s not what the text says.

Our world in its brokenness and our past with its disappointments often lead us to misread these words. Not “all new things” but “all things new!” God’s promise is that redemptive love restores, repurposes and reimagines into its truest (good) expression the experience in life that we already know!

God of creation, father of lights: we embrace your affirmation of this good world and anticipate your restoration of what is yet chaotic. We joyfully live toward fully restored relationship with you, where all things are new.

Ron Herms, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Humanities, Religion, & Social Sciences, Fresno Pacific University