A.Everything is new, 1a, 5a-e
B.The first things went away, 1b, 4f
C.Sea/Death no more, 1c, 4b-e
D.City from heaven/God with humans, 2a, 3b-e
1.God with humanity, 3b, 3e
2.Intimate relationship, 3c-d
E.From heaven/the throne, 2b, 3a
F.Bride and groom
There is so much in this passage that it will take awhile to unpack. Two things impress me. First, there is an amazing structure to this passage; the translation barely does it justice. Second, everything points to the intimacy between God and his people.
Things to investigate:
- The relationship between “the sea” and “death” (1c, 4b)
- Possible connection between “God with them” (3e) and “Immanuel” in Matthew 1:23
- Connection between the “city”, “tabernacle”, “bride-groom”, and “people” metaphors (2a, 2c, 3b, 3d)
The extent of the newness is staggering. It goes from one end to the other (heaven and earth, 1a) and includes everything in between (all things, 5a). The process began, I think, as soon as the first things were corrupted by humanity’s rebellion (Genesis 3). From that moment the undercurrent of temporal existence has been the continual work of God towards the way it should be—must be. It’s like the pressure building up in a steam cooker with a clogged valve. You have no idea what is really happening until the pinto beans are hurled into every crevice of the kitchen. Now, it’s not that there were no clues. The evidence was there to be seen, but the seer was distracted.
“Behold, I am making all things new…” v.5a
This astounding and beautiful truth is the outside edge of the chiasm whose center is a metaphor of the deepest intimacy possible—a relational, intertwined picture of the beginning of this forever newness (v.2c). We may glimpse this forever newness in more or less frequent moments, but we cannot see it until the distraction goes away.