A Whole New World
The Last Battle is the last book in C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. The final chapter, titled ‘Farewell to Shadow Land’, includes these words:
The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.[i]
That sums up the message of the closing chapters in the book of Revelation. We have now moved out of the shadow land. Satan, the beast, the false prophet, and all who have worshiped and followed them are no longer threatening enemies. They have been thrown into the lake of fire. This is the beginning of a new age for the seed of the woman. As Lewis writes: ‘It is the dawning of a new day. The dream has ended: this is the morning.’
The message of the Bible is that God is already working to bring us into the new age of his perfect society, known as the Kingdom of God. We have had some foretastes of it already in this life. Hebrews 6 speaks of our tasting ‘the powers of the world to come’ (6:5). The author of Hebrews is not talking only about Christians. He is also talking about nominal Christians, who are deceived about their Christianity. But they too sit under the preaching of the gospel and mingle with true Christians. So they also have tasted ‘the powers of the world to come’. Whenever the gospel is preached in the power of the Spirit, it foretokens the age to come. This gospel makes things new.
But the only people who will live in this new world are those who are joined to Jesus Christ by true faith. God gives them victory over sin and death. You are either an overcomer who will inherit a whole new world, or else you are one who is overcome by sin and by Satan, and you will have no part in God’s new world. You are either an overcomer or you are overcome. Rev. 21:7 says, ‘He that overcomes shall inherit all things.’ That is no pipe dream, for verse 5 says, ‘These words are true and faithful’. They are trustworthy. You can rest your future on these words, because ‘they come from the One who sits upon the great white throne. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of all things.
“In ancient mythology, the pillars of Hercules at the Straits of Gibraltar bore the warning, ‘Ne Plus Ultra, meaning ‘nothing more beyond,’ for across the Atlantic was a great unknown. However, after Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, Emperor Charles V adopted as his motto Plus Ultra, meaning ‘more beyond’, which with the pillars of Hercules became the national emblem of Spain. That is the message of the book of Revelation: there is more beyond for all who, by God’s grace, confess their sins and come to Jesus Christ for salvation. Death for them will not be what Sir Walter Scott called ‘the long halt’ which closes all. It will rather be like what Lewis said: ‘Chapter One of the Great Story… which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.’”[ii]
Are you clinging to this world, as though this life is the only life that you will ever have? Have you discovered that there is a new world ahead, a new heaven and a new earth? Have your horizons been enlarged by the gospel of Jesus Christ? Fix your eyes on the world that lies just beyond this one, ‘looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God’ and looking ‘for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness’ (2 Pet. 3:12-13). Join us this Lord’s Day as we consider ‘A Whole New World’ from Revelation 21:1-22:5. And while you are praying for our services and preparing to come, why don’t you invite someone along with you? Grace to you, my friend.
Grace upon Grace, Wayne
[i] C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle, The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 7 (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 210-11.
[ii] Joel Beeke, Revelation, The Lectio Continua: Expository Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016), 551-2.