esus is coming again. Before parting with His disciples on the earth, He gave them the promise of His return. “Let not your heart be troubled,” He said “in my Father’s house are many mansions: . . . I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also . . .” [John 14:1-3]. . . .
Jesus is coming, coming with clouds and great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend Him. He will come to honor those who have loved Him and kept His commandments, and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them or His promise.
There will be a re-linking of the family chain. When we look upon our dead, we may think of the morning when the trump of God shall sound, when “the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” [1 Corinthians 15:52].
That time is near. A little while, and we shall see the King in His beauty. A little while, and He will present His faithful ones “faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” [Jude 24].
The Earth Made New
No human language can fully describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known to those only who behold it. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living water. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. There are everflowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the widespreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.
“My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places” [Isaiah 32:18]. “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise” [Isaiah 60:18].
“They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: . . . mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” [Isaiah 65:21, 22].
There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, . . . for the former things are passed away” [Revelation 21:4]. “The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity” [Isaiah 33:24].
In the earth made new, only righ-teousness shall dwell. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in his temple” [Revelation 7:14, 15].1
Fellowship With Jesus
In the world to come, Christ will lead the redeemed beside the river of life, and will teach them wonderful lessons of truth. He will unfold to them the mysteries of nature. They will see that a Master-Hand holds the worlds in position. They will behold the skill displayed by the great Artist in coloring the flowers of the field, and will learn of the purposes of the merciful Father, who dispenses every ray of light, and with the holy angels the redeemed will acknowledge in songs of grateful praise God’s supreme love to an unthankful world. . . .2
Soon we shall be in our promised home. There Jesus will lead us beside the living stream flowing from the throne of God, and will explain to us the dark providences through which He led us in order to perfect our characters. . . . There we shall cast at the feet of our Redeemer the crowns that He has placed on our heads, and, touching our golden harps, we shall offer praise and thanksgiving to Him that sitteth on the throne.3
There the redeemed ones greet those who directed them to the uplifted Saviour. They unite in praising Him who died that human beings might have the life that measures with the life of God.4
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin.
One reminder alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in His glory: “He had bright beams coming out of his side: and there was the hiding of his power.” Habakkuk 3:4, margin. That pierced side whence flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God—there is the Saviour’s glory, there “the hiding of his power.” . . . And the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise and declare His power.
“O Tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto Thee shall it come, even the first dominion.” Micah 4:8. The time has come to which holy men have looked with longing since the flaming sword barred the first pair from Eden, the time for “the redemption of the purchased possession.” Ephesians 1:14. The earth originally given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. All that was lost by sin has been restored. . . .
The Reward of the Righteous
Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying: . . . for the former things are passed away.” “The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick. . . .” Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 33:24.
There is the New Jerusalem, the metropolis of the glorified new earth. . . . In the City of God “there shall be no night.” None will need or desire repose. There will be no weariness in doing the will of God and offering praise to His name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close. “And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light.” Revelation 22:5. . . . The glory of God and the Lamb floods the Holy City with unfading light. . . .
The people of God are privileged to hold open communion with the Father and the Son. “Now we see through a glass, darkly.” 1 Corinthians 13:12. We behold the image of God reflected, as in a mirror, in the works of nature and in His dealings with men; but then we shall see Him face to face, without a dimming veil between. We shall stand in His presence and behold the glory of His countenance.
There the redeemed shall know, even as also they are known. The loves and sympathies which God Himself has planted in the soul shall there find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the sacred ties that bind together “the whole family in heaven and earth” (Ephesians 3:15)—these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed. . . .
Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized; and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body.
All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar. . . . With unutterable delight the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. They share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through ages upon ages in contemplation of God’s handiwork. With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation—suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator’s name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed.
Questions for Reflection
1. What are you most looking forward to when Jesus comes again?
2. What will make heaven endlessly new and interesting?
3. This reading contains many wonderful promises. Which one appeals to you the most? Why?
And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13.
The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.5
1 Review and Herald, Nov. 22, 1906.
2 Review and Herald, Jan. 3, 1907.
3 Review and Herald, Sept. 3, 1903.
4 Review and Herald, Dec. 17, 1908.
5 The Great Controversy, pp. 674-678.
Ellen G. White, whom Seventh-day Adventists believe had the gift of prophecy, was one of the founders of the church.