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When I pondered Krista Hamrick’s beautiful artwork, When We All Get To Heaven, I was reminded of the old hymn which my dear Daddy would sing with great enthusiasm during my childhood days in our church, especially after January 18, 1968.
On January 18, 1968, my precious grandfather, William Frank Willis, went home to be with Jesus. It was such a crushing blow, an unexpected loss to our whole family, but especially for my dear Daddy, Eston Frank Willis. My Daddy had purchased a brand-new Scofield Chain-Referenced Bible just the day before his father’s sudden homegoing. In his grief and sorrow in those early hours, he turned to God’s Word for comfort. When he opened his new Bible, he noticed that there was one page which had a torn page, which was folded over, as if it was an arrow, pointing to a specific Scripture, it was Revelation 21:4. This wonderfully comforting passage gave my Daddy the assurance he needed to face the uncertain days that would lie ahead for our family. This memory led me to do a word study of Revelation 21:4.
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.
ESV: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Amplified: God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away
Young’s 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.
Author Neil Chethik wrote a book about the way sons cope with the death of their dads. He commissioned a survey of 300 men and found that 65 percent said the death of their father affected them more than any other loss in their lives. Chethik said, “Each man, it seemed to me, experienced a significant reordering of his inner landscape.” One 48-year-old minister said: “When my father died, it was as if I had lived in . . . a house with a picture window looking out on a mountain range. Then one day I looked out the window, and one of the mountains was gone.” For most of us, our fathers will die before we do. We should feel free to grieve our loss, whether our memories are happy or painful. God promises that one day “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4). Until then, tears are God’s gift for the cleansing of the soul when we must cope with losing Dad.
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. Tears of misfortune, tears of poverty, tears of loneliness, tears over lost love, tears of sympathy, mercy, pity, tears of persecuted innocence, tears of remorse, tears of regret, tears of penitence, tears of neglect, tears of yearning for what cannot be are all gone forever. Bliss, joy and nothing but for eternity. Tears, you see, are part of, what he says at the end of verse 4, the first things that have passed away. They don’t exist.
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.
And there shall no longer be any mourning. Somewhere before tears come grief, sorrow, distress, repression that leads to tears. There won’t be any of that, not at all. There won’t be anything to get depressed about. There won’t be anything to get distressed about. And he says, another no more just along the same line, really almost a synonym, “or crying.” Not only no longer any mourning, but he adds crying, just to make sure he covers all the ground. No tears, no mourning, no crying…all gone. Then he adds, “No more pain.” No more pain? No, because the healing promise in the atonement is fulfilled. Isaiah 53 verse 5, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities,” we know that, Jesus died for our sins, but how about this? More than that, “By His scourging we are healed.”
You say, “Well isn’t He talking about spiritual healing?” Yes, but not just spiritual healing because if you go over to chapter 8 of Matthew, it says that Jesus took the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law, touched her and fever left her. He healed all who were ill. Then in verse 17, “In order that He might fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah, He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.” And that’s exactly what He did at the cross. We just don’t realize that until we get to heaven. But Jesus died for our diseases and someday they’ll all be gone. He died for our tears and someday they’ll all be gone, and our mourning and our crying and our pain and death will be gone and all sin.
That’s the catalog of the “no mores.” And at the end of verse 4 he says the first things have passed away. He just sums them all up as the first things. They belong to the first heaven and the first earth. They belong to this life which we now live. But they are the blessed exemptions from heaven. They won’t be there. It will be absolute eternal bliss. Everyone will be as happy as it is conceivably possible to be in the presence of God in a perfect condition all the time…all the time…unmitigated, unrestrained, unlimited, unhindered, unrestricted, undiminished joy. We can understand it by what it won’t be.
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.”
In 1991, famed British guitarist Eric Clapton was stricken with grief when his four-year-old son Connor died as a result of a fall from an apartment window. Looking for an outlet for his grief, Clapton penned perhaps his most poignant ballad: “Tears In Heaven.” It seems that every note weighs heavy with the sense of pain and loss that can be understood only by a parent who has lost a child. Surprisingly, however, Clapton said in a television interview years later, “In a sense, it wasn’t even a sad song. It was a song of belief. When it [says that] there will be no more tears in heaven, I think it’s a song of optimism—of reunion.” The thought of a heavenly reunion is powerful indeed. For everyone who has trusted Jesus Christ for salvation, there is the hope that we will be reunited forever in a place where “God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4). And, most of all, it is a place where we will “see His face” and forever be with Christ Himself (22:4). In our times of loss and grief, of tears and sorrow, isn’t it comforting to know that Christ has purchased for us a heavenly home where there will be no more tears.
When we fear death, we can remind ourselves of the Lord’s care and concern, as we meditate on God’s power and majesty, and as we trust and praise God’s Word, our fear will begin to flee. When circumstances cause us to be afraid, the only way we can avoid being overwhelmed by fear and genuinely trust in almighty God is by experiencing and declaring who He says He is in his Word. It is there that we learn of Him and come to know Him. As He speaks, His very words and presence bring peace, calmness, rest, and stillness in our inmost being. Therefore, we trust in God, so why should we be afraid? As children of God, we learn to live by His precious, powerful Word so that we can walk before Him in the light of life. We can trust Him and not give way to fear. Christians of times past felt that prayer found its greatest inspiration in the Lord himself, and they had a term called “pleading God’s attributes,” in which they would recount particular attributes of God’s character to him and then ask him to answer their prayer on the basis of those attributes: “Lord, you are merciful and gracious, so have mercy on me.” “Lord, you are full of unfailing love. Show us your love in this situation.” “Lord, you delivered your servant Daniel; I pray for your deliverance in my life.” “You revealed your character and deeds to Moses and your people. Likewise, please reveal yourself to me!” Since God’s attributes are numerous throughout Scripture, they provide a never-ending source of inspiration for our prayer life. Praying God’s attributes renews our faith and confidence and reminds us of his greatness and his ability to save. Choose one of the attributes of God from this psalm to “plead” as you pray today.
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.
Look Up—meditate on Revelation 21:4 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.
Look In—as you meditate on Revelation 21:4 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is_________, I will_____________.”
Look Out—as you meditate on Revelation 21:4 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ