“The difference between day and night, between the Sabbath and the workdays, has been suspended. Time is charged with the eternity of God. Space is full of his presence. Eternal becoming is wedded to immutable being. Even the contrast between heaven and earth is gone. For all things that are in heaven and on earth have been gathered up in Christ as head (Eph. 1:10). All creatures will then live and move and have their being in God [Acts 17:28], who is all in all [1 Cor. 15:28], who reflects all his attributes in the mirror of his works and glorifies himself in them.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, pp. 729–730).
“In that life [in the new heavens and earth], religion—fellowship with God—is primary and central. But that fellowship will be richer, deeper, and more blessed than it ever was or could be on earth, since it will not be disturbed by any sin, or interrupted by any distance, or mediated by either Scripture or nature.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 722).
“Revelation is designed not only to assure us of God’s final purposes, but also to increase our longing for him and the realization of his purpose. The sureness of that final bliss comforts the saints during times of temptation and persecution. It purifies our desires by directing them to God and his glory. And then the tawdry counterfeits of this world are seen to be what they are. We have eyes to see the beauties and joys of this creation as pointers to God and his goodness (Acts 14:17), rather than foolishly perverting created things into idols (Rom. 1:18–23).” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 192).
The blessings John portrays are not only future, they are truly, though not yet completely, ours now. We already have benefits from the new heavens and earth, though we do not yet possess its fullness. As you trust the One who hung on a tree, you can taste of the tree of life. As you respond to the one calls you to come to him, you drink of the living water, and in turn, as part of the church which is connected to its heavenly head, you become a source of living water by the power of the Spirit whom he has poured out. As you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father! You will serve him in the new Jerusalem. Worship and serve him today.
Come to the garden-city. Eat from the tree of life. Drink the living water. See the very face of God in Christ and live!
From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.