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During 250 years of slavery in America, slaves often expressed their longing for freedom with slave songs like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Their songs often carried double meanings. They sang about the freedom they hoped to have when they crossed the Mason-Dixon Line. They also sang about heavenly freedom when torture on earth would be over. During the early church age, Romans tortured Christians. They found hope in God’s promise that a better day was coming. Revelation depicts that better day in symbolic language. In Revelation 21, John says, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” The New Jerusalem shone with the glory of God, and it sparkled like precious stones of diamonds, gold, and pearls. One writer said John “ransacked the resources of language” trying to describe the city. God is preparing this city for those who belong to Him. That is why we share the Good News about God’s love and His offer to forgive our sins. That is why we love others and work for justice today. We look forward to living forever with Him in that eternal city.

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