In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety and depression ramped up among people of all ages. The isolated and unstable conditions, constant news reports, and conflicting information increased our feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. People struggled not just with the threat of illness but also with fears of the unknown future.
While as believers, we can relate to those feelings, we are also thankful that no matter the circumstances we have a true source of help and hope in Christ. Today’s reading reminds us of our secure future with Christ. The new Jerusalem will be perfectly ruled from the “throne of God and of the Lamb” (vv. 1, 3). The Good Shepherd will have established shalom for His entire flock. Worship and service will be our normal mode of existence. God will dwell with His people continuously and directly, and we “will see his face” (v. 4; see 1 John 3:2). His presence will light the city always (v. 5).
“The river of the water of life,” that is, salvation, will flow from His throne (see John 7:37–39). Alongside the river will be the tree of life, bearing fruit monthly (v. 2). Ever since the Fall, humanity has been barred from eating from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22–24), but that will change. Eden will be restored. The leaves of the tree will be for the “healing of the nations,” that is, “no longer will there be any curse” (v. 3).
Human history will be healed of the consequences of sin and death. Believers from around the globe, with His name on our foreheads identifying us as His (v. 4), will sing praise to the Lamb (Rev. 5:9)!
>> We’re coming to the end of our study of Sheep and Shepherds. We hope you have enjoyed learning about the rich symbolism and meaning of these two terms. Next month, join us as we begin a study on the Old Testament book of Hosea!