|artwork by Krista Hamrick|
KJV: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.
Youngs Literal: and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and the death shall not be any more, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, because the first things did go away.
Pastor John MacArthur writes: “In Revelation 21:4, look at what John says. "And He shall wipe away," and here come the negatives, "He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes and there shall no longer be any death, there shall no longer be any mourning or crying or pain, the first things have passed away." And what John is saying is it's not going to be like life here. It's going to be different. All those things which make up life here which are so much a part of life and the negative features of life will be utterly absent. John then rehearses the changes that describe such a dramatically different life by rehearsing for us a series of negatives. Again, I say we can't really comprehend something we can't comprehend so he has to tell us what it won't be like and use what we know as a starting point and back off from there. Now the first thing he says is God is going to wipe away every tear from their eyes. Some people have said, "Well what that means is you're going to get to heaven and you're going to start crying all over the place, the Lord is going to come along and wipe your tears away." No, that is not what it means. It doesn't mean we'll arrive weeping. On what basis would we arrive weeping? Well you say, "We're going to have to face the record of our sins." Not so, the record of our sins was put on Jesus Christ, He already paid the penalty for it. "There is therefore now no condemnation." Romans 8:1. "Well," you say, "well wait a minute, we're going to see our wood, hay, and stubble burned up." Well after wood, hay and stubble are burned up all that's left is gold, silver and precious stones and Paul says, "Not only that, every man will have praise from God," 1 Corinthians chapter 4. So we're not all going to be moaning and groaning and weeping and wailing all over heaven while the Lord comes around with a supernatural handkerchief and mops up all our tears. That is not what we are to comprehend by this.
He shall wipe away, pan dakruon, every single tear. What it means is there never will be a tear in heaven, not one single tear. There will be nothing sad. There will be nothing disappointing. There will be nothing unfulfilling. There will be nothing lacking. There will be nothing wrong. There will be nothing limiting. There will be nothing to cry about.
To put it in a clinical form, you won't have any tear ducts. Furthermore, you might not even have any water in you. I told you there's no more sea. It's not a water-based existence. No more tears, gone, nothing to cry about. And he adds, some more of the no mores, there shall no longer be any death. The greatest of mortal curses is gone. Death, as Paul promised in 1 Corinthians 15, is swallowed up in victory. Death is gone. It is eliminated. Nobody ever dies.
O Father, how awesome it all is. Lord, we do pray that You would cause us to set our affections on things above and not on things on the earth. We sap so much strength, so much energy and so many resources fussing about the trivialities of this life, instead of investing our energies and our thoughts in that which is eternal. Thank You for the hope of heaven which enables us to endure anything here in the light of what is to come. Thank You for the hope of heaven which is the greatest incentive to excellence in our Christian character which is the truest path to joy which is the best defense against sin. Thank You for the hope of heaven which strengthens our spiritual service and causes us to honor you. Help us to live in the light of the glory to come and to treat very lightly this world for there is a far more eternal weight of glory. May we hold lightly to the passing things and feel the true weight of what is eternal. Should there be anyone in our midst, Lord, anyone who reads these words, that is not on the way to heaven, we pray that You would save them by Your grace and turn their course from a course to destruction to a path to glory for Jesus' sake. Amen.”
Heavenly Father, when I am afraid, I trust in you, and I praise you for the sustaining power of your Word. Help me to lay hold of your words to me, for they alone bring me life, health, and peace. Let my trust in you continue to grow deep and wide so that I can fulfill the plans you have for me in order for your kingdom to increase. Thank you for the gift of your Word, which comforts, inspires, and guides my path each day. Lord, you are merciful, gracious, full of unfailing love. I ask you to reveal this in my life today. Thank you for revealing your wondrous attributes to us in your Word. As I read it, continually open my eyes to who you really are so that my prayers will rest on the solid foundation of your character. May my prayers have power because they are based on the truth about you.