In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain. Isaiah 4:2-6 ESV
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:22-27 ESV
In hospitals it is very important that everything be clean and completely free of the germs that can make people very sick. There’s a department in hospitals called central services where hospital instruments are cleaned and sterilized. Everything is handled very carefully, and the people who do this important work wear protective clothes. They first wash the hospital instruments using equipment that is kind of similar to a dishwasher or a car wash. This will get rid of the dirt on these instruments, but then they have to be sterilized too. There are different ways to do this. Central service workers might use steam, chemicals, gases, radiation, or dry heat. Whatever they use, the goal is to make sure there are absolutely no germs of any kind left on the instruments that are used to take care of hospital patients.
When God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, he talked about his people becoming clean because their filth and their bloodstains would be washed away from them through judgment and burning. Burning has long been used, and is still used today, to take germs and impurities out of metal, and Isaiah used this as a picture of God’s judgment and the punishment for all their sins. Isaiah said that when God’s people turned away from their sins and went to the Lord for help, God would forgive them and make them beautiful and holy. He would cover them with a canopy of fire and cloud, just like the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud that had led and protected the people of Israel so long ago when they wandered through the wilderness to the promised land. God himself would be their refuge and shade from the hot sun and from storms and rain.
God’s heavenly kingdom described with a similar picture. It shows God the Father and Jesus, the Lamb of God, as the temple of his people and as their light, so that they don’t need the sun or the moon. This picture of God’s heavenly kingdom shows not only God’s people Israel, but people from all over the world coming into this light. They are pure and holy, because God won’t let anything sinful or unclean into his heavenly kingdom. No sin will be able to hurt us in heaven, because Jesus died to take all our sins away. He took God’s judgment and punishment on the cross for us, and we are washed clean in Jesus’ blood. He is our helper and our protector, now and forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for washing us with your blood and bringing us into your heavenly kingdom. Amen