Key Verse: “He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
FOR ALL things to become new implies that old things must first pass away. In our lesson this is shown to us in the words just preceding our Key Verse: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”—Rev. 21:4
John the Revelator, instructed by a miraculous vision, writes of some of the wonders of the coming paradise of God’s kingdom. Much of what he saw and reported was by way of symbols. We are able to understand many of these because it is now the “due time” for their revealment, through the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) With reference to our lesson, the exalted Lord also spoke, through John, of the time when all things would be made new, by identifying it with conditions in the paradise of Eden prior to our first parents’ disobedience. He states that in that new day there will be a “tree of life … in the midst of the paradise of God.”—Rev. 2:7
We recall that in Eden, there were many trees that provided life-sustaining food for Adam and Eve, highlighted by the “tree of life.” However, also in the midst of the garden was a “tree of knowledge of good and evil,” of which man was forbidden to eat, or even to touch, else he would surely die. (Gen. 2:9,16,17; 3:3) By partaking of this tree, our first parents, and all mankind since, have surely been gaining a “knowledge” of the consequences of evil.
The “tree of life,” however, is still the focal point of God’s plan. Our Lord’s promise is that the overcomers of this present age have the first opportunity to partake of that tree. They are able to do this because they have become “dead to sin,” and are walking in “newness of life.” (Rom. 6:2,4,11) In God’s kingdom, under the rulership of Christ, the world also will be given this privilege. It is this that Jesus referred to when addressing the thief on the cross: “I say unto thee this day”—even though we now are both suffering death—in due time, “With me, shalt thou be in Paradise.”—Luke 23:43, Rotherham Emphasized Bible
Peter describes the conditions of this due time as a “new heavens and a new earth.” (II Pet. 3:13) This does not refer to the literal heavens or earth, but to a new order of religious and civil society. The new heavens and earth will “make all things new” because it will be governed by the righteous rule of Christ and the glorified church—his body members. This will be in stark contrast to the present heavens and earth, which are ruled by Satan, the “prince of this world,” whose influence “now worketh [through] the children of disobedience.”—John 12:31; Eph. 2:2
As John saw in vision “new” things to come, he also observed, “there was no more sea.” (Rev. 21:1) Here again, the thought is not to be taken literally. The “sea” is a symbol of the masses of people in a restless and unstable condition. How true this has been of the present heavens and earth under the rule of Satan. Under God’s new arrangement, however, the reconstructed social order will be so equitable and harmonious that mankind will no longer be as the sea—restless and churned up with dissatisfaction. We long for the time when God will “make all things new!”