And the one sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making all things new!" And then he said to me, "Write this down, for these words are true and faithful."—Revelation 21:5.
There are many 'new things' spoken of in Scripture, some of more, and some of less importance. Of the less important we have such as these—Samson's new cords (Judges 15:13); David's new cart for the ark (2 Samuel 6:7); the new sword of the giant who sought to slay David (2 Samuel 21:16); Elisha's new cruse (2 Kings 2:20) the new tongues of Pentecost (Matthew 16:17); Joseph's new tomb (Matthew 27:60). These are not so directly connected with things spiritual and eternal, and so we may call them of less importance; yet they have all their important lessons.
But let us take up the following as specially the new things of God—
I. The new TESTAMENT or covenant(Matthew 26:28). That which was old has vanished away. It was insufficient; it could not help the sinner; it said nothing of forgiveness. But the new covenant is all a sinner needs; it comes at once with a free pardon; it presents a work done for the sinner, not a work for the sinner to do. The motto or theme of the new covenant is, 'Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.'
II. The new MAN(Ephesians 4:24). This seems to correspond with the 'new creature' (2 Corinthians 5:17); with the 'new heart' (Ezekiel 18:31); with the 'new spirit' (Ezekiel 11:9); with the 'heart of flesh' (Ezekiel 36:26); with the 'new birth' (John 3:3); and the being 'begotten again' (1 Peter 1:3). It supposes the destruction or removal of the old man and the creation of the new—this new thing being the workmanship of God, the production of the Holy Spirit. Newness of nature, or heart, of life, of words, of the entire being, is the basis of all religion and true worship.
III. The new WAY(Hebrews 10:19). The approach or access to God by the sinner is said to be by a 'new and living way'—that way being Christ Himself, for through Him we have access by on Spirit to the Father. It is a new way in contrast with Adam's old way; a new way, because newly made by Him who had newly died; a way into the holiest; a way through the veil, by means of the blood. All God's dealings with the sinner are on a new footing, that of free love, simple grace. It is a free way, a sufficient way, an open way, a perfect way. He who walks thereon is safe; for the way not only leads to life, but is the life. Yes, life and truth are in Him who is the way; for Christ is all and in all.
IV. The new SONG(Psalm 33:3; Revelation 5:9). Every new day brings with it a new song; or rather it brings materials for many new songs, which we should be always singing. Our whole life should be full of new songs. Yet the old songs are not thereby made obsolete; they do not grow tame or unmeaning. As the old songs of a land are always fresh and sweet, so is it with the old songs of faith. They never come amiss, and they help us with the new. These new songs have to do with the past—for often, in looking into the past, we get materials for a new song—with the present, and with the future. They are connected with ourselves, our families, with the Church, with our nation, with the work of God just now, with resurrection, with the restitution of all things, with the glory, the new Jerusalem, and the new creation. It is specially with the last that the new song of the Apocalypse is connected,
V. The new COMMANDMENT(John 13:34; 1 John 2:8). It is both an old and a new commandment which Christ gives us; substantially the same as from the beginning, yet in many respects altogether new; a new lawgiver, a new motive, a new standing-place (Zion, not Sinai), new light fullness; everything in the commandment now connected with Christ Himself and with His love. This new commandment bases itself on 'God is love,' and revolves round the cross. Love me, says the Master; love one another with a pure heart fervently; love the brethren as I have loved you—thus fulfilling both the old and the new commandment at the same time, more—treating them as one.
VI. The new WINE(Matthew 26:29). In one sense the Lord's Supper is new wine; and there we remember His love, which is 'better than wine.' But Christ, in using the expression, 'until I drink it new with you,' refers to the heavenly feast, the marriage supper of the Lamb. There is in the highest sense and degree 'the new wine'—wine made from no earthly vine, but from him who is the true vine, and from the juice of whose grapes there comes the new and royal wine, the wine of the kingdom. He is Himself the giver and the gift. His blood is drink indeed here—much more hereafter. It is 'new' here—it will much more new hereafter.
VII. The new Jerusalem(Revelation 3:12, 21:3, 10). This is no earthly city. It is not the old Jerusalem rebuilt; that is another thing. This is a new and more glorious city, heavenly and divine, which comes down out of heaven from God; and it has the glory of God and of the Lamb. It is altogether new; for the risen and the glorified; for God's kings and priests; the city and the palace of the Great King.
VIII. The new HEAVENS and new EARTH(Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13). The whole of what God had made, and which sin had defiled, is made new. The universe is renewed; it is the restitution of all things; it is the replacing of all creation on a higher and more glorious footing, from which there shall be no second fall. There dwells righteousness; it is the kingdom of the righteous King.
IX. The new NAME(Revelation 2:17). This is for the dwellers in the new Jerusalem, the inhabitants of the new heavens and earth. Let us consider what it is and what it means. What the actual individual name is we know not; it will be as unlike the past as 'Israel' (the prince with God) was unlike 'Jacob' (the supplanter). It will be—
(1) A name of love—The Father's love will be in it—Christ's love will be in it.
(2) A name of honor—It will be no mean nor common name—but glorious and celestial.
(3) Of blessing—It will proclaim blessing—it will be a name of blessing—a blessed name.
(4) A name of wonder—It will astonish the possessor, and everyone who hears it; no one shall know it or guess it until it comes out. As Christ's new name is one which no one knows but Himself (Revelation 19:12), so with the conqueror. It will be a name of glad astonishment.
(5) Given by Christ—'I will give.' As He gave names to Abram, Jacob, Peter, John—so will He give this new name, superseding our old earthly appellation.
(6) A name most suitable and characteristic—It will in itself condense and summarize our past history and character, or perhaps our eternal prospects, as seen by God Himself. It will be a name full of divine meaning—interpretative, perhaps, of God's dealings with us, and indicative of His love.
(7) A name contained in a white stone—The white stone is the stone of acquittal. In that stone of acquittal the new name is inscribed by Christ. It is as an acquitted man, a conqueror, one to whom the Master says, 'Well done,' that we get the name. It is the everlasting seal of forgiving love.
They shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads. The Father's name is there (Revelation 3:12, 14:1). But this new name is something more. What manner of love is this!