December 1 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“This land will be his possession in Israel. And my princes will no longer oppress my people but will allow the people of Israel to possess the land according to their tribes.” ~Ezekiel 45:8

OLD TESTAMENT

Fanciful drawings and paintings have been made of the New Jerusalem as it is described in Ezekiel’s dream. Some of these drawings look like something out of a Tolkien tale. A tall mountain soars into the clouds, and massive stone walls surround the mountain to guard the impressive new worship complex perched high atop it. I can’t help but picture something like the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, famous for being the inspiration behind Disney World’s iconic Cinderella Castle. I could also imagine something like the Vatican City—a massive walled complex that includes the great St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the most beautiful places of worship in the world.

It is a common mistake to think of this vision of Ezekiel’s as the sum total of heaven or the new earth. Revelation tells us that the new city that Ezekiel describes is on the new earth and is in the geographic proximity of today’s Jerusalem. God’s kingdom will be larger than the city itself (kings will come in and out of the city), but Jerusalem, often considered by historians and mapmakers as the geographic center of the earth, will be the new capital city. The new world will be just that—a new world. There will be ministers (priests and Levites) and princes (government officials), places and times for worship and reminders that God has cleansed us. It will be something like this.

Who knows what wonders await us in the new enchanted world God is preparing. What I do know is this: the promise of a new heaven and new earth is real. I do know that He is going to be present there. I do know that it is going to be big. I do know that it is going to be beautiful. I do know that we will be together and that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:1-5).

NEW TESTAMENT

Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? The answer (at least in part) is that He is being merciful. Jesus is showing mercy to those who have rejected Him in hopes that they will hear His Word and change their ways. The Lord has not forgotten His promise to return. However, in delaying, He is acting in a manner consistent with who He is. He is patient and He is merciful. Someday He will say, That is enough. It is time to judge mankind and restore all creation. So let us live with hope—and let us be ready!


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.