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Essentials of Discipleship: Seminar 13 - Future Hope

Dear church,

Last Sunday, Tan Yee Kiat taught a session titled "Future Hope" on the topic of heaven.

We learnt that the book of Revelation, describing Christ's second coming and the new heaven, echoes many other parts of the Bible. Revelation 21 opens in a way very similar to how Genesis begins, referring to things like the heavens and the sea, light and darkness. While the first earth had a sea and darkness, the new earth has no sea and no darkness. There will be, in the new earth, no more pain or sin or suffering.

Yet, recurring themes like the river and tree of Life, and importantly, marriage show how, in the new earth, there will be a fulfilment and perfection of the things of the first earth. The numerous echoes of Genesis in Revelation point to how the new earth will be better than the first. In particular, the marriage in Revelation shows the final, ultimate union between Christ and His church.

Also, John notes that there is no temple in the new earth, but that the entire City of God is a cube, like the Holy of Holies in the temple, signifying that God will be present in all His city, dwelling with His people. As the temple was holy, the new City of God is perfectly holy. Nothing sinful or unclean may enter it, showing how God has cleansed His people and made them righteous.

Do you remember how Jesus described himself as the temple of God? This showed how, in His time on earth, He was God's dwelling place among man. In different times and ages God dwelt with His people in different ways. Today, He dwells in His church and one day will dwell physically with His people again. This gives us hope for the future.

How then should we live in view of this? The following are several practical points:

  • Pursue Jesus, and be transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, be sanctified into the dwelling place of God, which we are supposed to be.
  • The church should display its heaven-like qualities now in this earth, showing that it has different values; its values are not those of this world but those of God.
  • Be willing to bear the reproach of Christ's name knowing that we have no lasting city or home here.

Question 52 of the New City Catechism asks:

"It reminds us that this present fallen world is not all there is; soon we will live with and enjoy God forever in the new city, in the new heaven and the new earth, where we will be fully and forever freed from all sin and will inhabit renewed, resurrection bodies in a renewed, restored creation."

Do join us next week, when Pastor Bobby Lee and Elder Seah Kah Yin will be teaching on the topic of sharing the Gospel. The session will start at 5:00 pm after the English service.

The Discipleship Seminars Committee