The descent of the New Jerusalem is the last prophetic event of John’s Apocalypse (21:1-22:5). The arrival of the holy city gives the fulfillment of all hopes, the answer to all the longings of the world, the quenching of all thirsts (21:6). With its coming, seven of mankind’s enemies are forever removed: the sea,1 death, mourning, crying, pain, night, and the curse (21:1, 4, 25; 22:3, 4). Everything is made new (21:5). The former painful things that human beings have experienced on earth are forever gone (21:4). The deeply personal and existential nature of this eschatological moment is capsuled in the imagery of God wiping away all tears (every tear) from every citizen-saint of this city of light and life.2 The context suggests that God “accounts for the wounds of the past.”3 This healing is both individual and communal. Here the human family—and all the families of the earth—finds both blessing and final reconciliation: for “the leaves of the tree of life heal the breaches of the nations” (22:2). 4 All national and linguistic barriers and alienation are removed. Humanity is now united in one family, at peace with one another and God (cf. 21:3, 7). The redeemed not only see God’s face, they reflect His character. His name is in their forehead.5 They “share his holiness and righteousness” (22:4; cf. 1 Jn 3:2). 6 No greater statement of the end of one kind of moral existence and the beginning of a new one can be found in Scripture.7 The vision casts an enduring and compelling moral horizon. This “moral horizon” provides a conceptual canvass on which Revelation’s tacit and explicit moral themes and values are painted. It provides lenses through which we are invited to interpret moral reality and frame ethical discussion. It unfolds a moral/spiritual metaphysical context in which Revelation frames human existence, being, action, and moral responsibility. The foregoing imagery of God’s gracious consummation of all things draws us into a moral context—a worldview. It tells us who the players are. It tells us what condition human life has been in and is in. It tells us where we are and where we are going. It provides a worldview against which the book’s various moral themes and values are to be considered. It offers an example of Revelation’s many tacit orienting “horizon generating” (worldview) contexts, and helps us to maintain the book’s own agenda in our query after its ethics.8 This study explores the final vision’s New Jerusalem’s “tree of life” motif together with its “insider and outsider” imagery in order to unfold implications for the book’s ethical trajectory and tacit moral values.

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