THE ETERNITY OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE
No More Tears
Adam and Eve, living as they did in the Garden of Eden, enjoyed God’s presence and proximity (see Gen. 2:15–23, 3:8–9). And today’s passage tells us that we will one day enjoy God’s companionship as well. God’s people will live with Him in the New Jerusalem, the centerpiece of a new heaven and new earth. Between these two historical bookends, God has lived two other times with humankind.
The first of these two times was with the people of ancient Israel. The Israelites, enslaved as they were in Egypt, had not known God personally for four hundred years. They knew of the God of their fathers, but they did not know Him. As slaves, their tears and cries for freedom went seemingly unheard until God sent Moses to deliver them. As desert nomads, however, they received startling visible evidence of God’s personal presence in the tabernacle (Ex. 13:21, 40:34–38) and saw similar evidence later in the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:10–11). But their tears returned often as God judged them for their sin. Finally, the glory of the Lord departed from them (see Ezek. 10 for a symbolic description).
Another four hundred years passed before God lived with his people again. Jesus, God’s only Son, came and lived on earth, showing God’s glory once again to Israel (John 1:14). But in spite of God’s appearing to them as a human, most of the Israelites did not recognize God in their midst. And this time Jesus Himself, rather than the people, wept over the pain of sin, the confusion of His people, and the reality of death. While He knew no sin Himself, God’s Son knew its consequences and its sting—eternal death. So He died to cover our sin and was resurrected to bring us new life. He defeated everything that causes men and women to hurt, cry, mourn, and die.
The next time God comes to dwell with us it will be for good and forever. “There will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things [will] have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). If you have wiped away a tear or massaged an ache or pain in recent days, take heart. Those who know Jesus are destined to live with the God who wipes away every tear and soothes every pain—and keeps the tears and pain away for all eternity.
Those who live in the New Jerusalem will never cry again.