Revelation 21:4

Saturday, 7 August 2021

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

The previous verse noted that the people of God will dwell with Him. They will be His people, and He will be with them and be their God. In this precious position of intimacy, it next says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

It is an indication that in the renewed state, there will be no reason to weep. For God to wipe away our tears signifies that He will remove anything that would cause tears to come forth. That is then explained by the next clauses, beginning with, “there shall be no more death.”

This great enemy of man has been cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14). As such, death will no longer be a consideration, nor will it come to mind again. Death resulted from the entry of sin into the world, but it couldn’t hold Jesus. This was impossible because He was born without sin, and He never sinned after His birth. In Romans 6:23, it now explains that we too can have what He accomplished because He offers to be our Substitute –

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

At this point in time, death is defeated in God’s people, but it is allowed to run its course until the time of renewal. But someday, as Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 15:54, death will be swallowed up in victory. This is the state that is promised to those who are in Christ. As such, John next says, “nor sorrow.”

The Greek word is penthos. It actually goes beyond sorrow. It is a sorrow that cannot be hidden from sight, thus it is a state of mourning. It is well described by the state of Nehemiah when he stood in the king’s presence. The king could openly see the condition of Nehemiah’s soul –

“Therefore the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.’” Nehemiah 2:2

Such a state as this will never be seen again. It is to be replaced with an eternal joy of the Lord filling the souls of the redeemed. Along with this, John says, “nor crying.”

The word is kraugé. It signifies “clamorous screaming (shrieking) that is extremely boisterous, like a wounded person emitting ‘unearthly’ (non-human) types of sounds” (HELPS Word Studies). This goes beyond the mere crying of joy or sadness, but it extends to the emotions that well up in a person overwhelmed with grief. This will be gone forever, never to be remembered again. Further, John says, “There shall be no more pain.”

This is one of the great enemies of man’s joy, and it is that which can rob us of concentration, sleep, and the ability to perform properly. It can even take away our capacity to utter praises to God. Pain can be so overwhelming that it destroys anything of value in our day, including the ability to simply function normally.

Pain was introduced into the narrative in Genesis 3:16 when the Lord God noted that the woman would bring forth children in pain. From that first mention of it, the idea of pain permeates Scripture, and it permeates the human experience – both in physical and emotional ways. This foe is defeated in Christ, and it will be realized some wonderful day. It is a sure promise from our God who cannot lie.

All of these things will be gone and forgotten because “the former things have passed away.” The idea here is that an entirely new state of existence will be ushered in. That which exists now will come to an end, the way of things will close out, and a new economy that is completely new will be realized.

It should be noted that there were those who were punished with the seven bowls of God’s wrath in Revelation 16, and they faced all of the evils that the redeemed in this verse will never again face. A contrast is made to the judgment of those who fail to come to God, and the joy of those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Life application: In a mere brushstroke of the magnificent panorama of what John’s words signify, we can revisit passages from the Bible that show us where we were, where we are, and thus the glory of what lies ahead.

There is coming a time when the eternal joy intended for man will be finally realized. In the psalms, David acknowledges his life of tears, but that God is aware of every one of them –

“You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?” Psalm 56:8

Some beautiful day that bottle will be opened and poured out never to be remembered. The Book of Life will overcome the death and anguish of the soul in God’s redeemed. This will be realized when death is forever removed from the equation.

If we accept Christ’s work, then we move from Adam to Jesus. Our sinful state is crucified along with the Lord, and we are granted His sinless perfection. It is completely just, and it perfectly satisfies God’s righteous standard.

Because of this, sorrow will forever be removed from man’s existence. As noted above, pain entered into the narrative in Genesis 3:16, but that is also where sorrow is first mentioned –

“To the woman He said:
‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.’” Genesis 3:16

The bride of Adam received these woes because of his disobedience. The bride of Christ will forever have them removed because of His obedience. This is the hope that we possess because of God’s goodness to us in Christ.

From the first moments of life apart from God, sorrow entered humanity and it has been carried by each subsequent generation. Mourning and sadness have overwhelmed life and have sent many even to the point of suicide. This, in turn, only produces more grief. Such a life is an endless pit that overcomes the hearts of sorrow-laden humanity. But through Jesus’ work, the pit is to be completely covered over by the endless love of God.

This work of Jesus wasn’t just a trial of physical pain. Rather, it was a walk filled with sorrows and griefs as well. An example of this is found in John 11 where we see that Christ Jesus was intimately involved in the state and condition of those around Him. In order to demonstrate to us His full understanding of our situation, God took on flesh and lived a life like any of us – experiencing pain, trials, separation, and weeping –

“Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’
They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’
35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’” John 11:33-36

Though the multitudes rage and strive against God, searching for fault in Him, none can truthfully say that He isn’t intimately aware of our needs, emotions, and desires. The loving Creator has demonstrated His compassion for His creatures in every possible way.

Instead of directing our anger at Him for what we now experience, we should be praising Him for what He has done in Christ, and for what that means in the ages ahead. Not only will we be freed from the emotional woes that we now experience, but we shall be free from any sort of pain – be it emotional, mental, or physical. There will be a new order of existence for God’s people. It will be as He intended for us all along.

What Adam had was a taste of what we will possess, but it will be even better. You see, without the fall, without the tears, without the death, the sorrow, and the crying, we couldn’t appreciate the joy. It would be like a person who had never gotten sick. Without sickness, health can’t be fully appreciated. But coming out of our fall and all of the evils that resulted from it, there sprang a hope and an anticipation of something better.

That which is better, even infinitely greater, came in the form of a Baby, lived in the form of a Man, and died in the form of a Savior. By the power of the work of Jesus Christ, and through the glory of His resurrection which destroyed death, we now have the hope of eternal and unending joy. Thanks be to God for the glorious work He has worked for the sons of men. Thanks be to God for Jesus!

“So the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness;
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11

Yes, indeed! Thank God for JESUS!

Jesus, thanks be to You for the marvelous work You accomplished for Your redeemed. Yes, even for me. Amen.