Author: Ron Graham
The Beauty of Heaven (Revelation 21-22) >Seven Final Visions >7th vision >Excursus on Heaven
In the last two chapters of the book of Revelation, a vision of heaven is presented symbolically as a jewelled city of light. "The city does not need the sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God gives it light... There will be no night there" (Revelation 21:23-25, 22:5).
There are certain unpleasant things associated with the night. These unpleasant things will not be in heaven, because “there is no night there”.
At each setting of the sun, each descending of the dusk, we know another of our finite days has gone.
None of us knows the number of our days, but we know God has numbered them and they are not many. Each night brings us inexorably closer to our death. The darkness is a reminder of our mortality and coming death.
We "walk through the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalms 23:4). As Solomon put it, "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth... before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark..." (Ecclesiastes 12:1-2).
How lovely it is to read in the visions that "death and hades were cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:14), and that in the eternal city of light "there shall no longer be any death" (Revelation 21:4).
When we have much to accomplish, night can be a time of frustration.
Night makes us lay down our tools and aspirations, in order to rest. Most of us spend twenty years asleep and idle. Each short day, we know literally as well as figuratively, "The night is coming in which no man can work" (John 9:4).
As Nehemiah and his people struggled to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, they were hindered by the night. "We continued to work... from the first light of dawn until the stars came out" (Nehemiah 4:21).
How encouraging it is to know that "there will be no night" in heaven, no need to interrupt the work we love in order to sleep. We will have unlimited energy and unlimited time to accomplish unimaginable things.
Night is a time when our fears are heightened. We have all known "the terrors of the night" (Psalms 91:4-5).
We can sympathise with the disciples of Jesus when we are told, "During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out walking on the lake to his disciples. When they saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It is a ghost!' they said, and cried out in fear" (Matthew 14:25-26).
How comforting to know that in the eternal day of heaven there will be no more fears for its citizens, for "God himself shall dwell among them" (Revelation 21:3). In that city of light there will dwell "nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination" (Revelation 21:27).
There is no place in that city for anyone to bring fears and terrors and harm for "the cowardly and untrustworthy, and murderers and immoral persons, and sorcerers and idolaters, and all liars" shall be in hell and never in heaven (Revelation 21:7-8).
Evil hides within night's cloak of darkness.
"When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up to kill... in the night he steals forth as a thief. The eye of the adulterer watches for the dusk. He thinks, 'No man will see me,' and keeps his face concealed. In the dark, men break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in. They want nothing to do with the light. For all of them, deep darkness is their morning" (Job 24:13-17).
Because darkness conceals, it has come to symbolize ignorance —one of the great perils of this world. Hence we speak for example of “the Dark Ages”.
Isaiah foresaw Jesus Christ vas the Light. "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine upon them" (Isaiah 8:19 to 9:2). As John said, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:1-5).
How delightful it is for us to look forward to having nothing concealed from us. We will dwell in the light of God, where we will see as God sees, for "no creature is concealed from his sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13).
Pain of every sort, mental and physical, becomes worse at night. From a sore toe to the worst agony of grief, night is the time when throb and fever and distress intensify.
"Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest" (Job 30:17). "Bitterly she weeps at night" (Lamentations 1:2).
How wonderful to know that in heaven "God himself shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall no longer be... any mourning, crying, or pain" (Revelation 21:4).
Tears of pain