Rev 21:4 says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…”
God doesn’t wipe away all our tears today. Notice that the rest of Rev 21:4 says, “…and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” When John wrote about “the former things” he was talking about the things that occur before the time of the white throne judgment. What John saw is way out beyond where we are now. The former things to him are the current things to us. And they are the things still yet to come. We still have to deal with death, sorrow, crying, and pain. We are still going to shed tears. But God, who will be there to wipe away our tears in the future, will be there to comfort us through our tears today. When David cried to the Lord, he said, “put thou my tears into thy bottle,” Ps 56:8.
We’ve been dealing with sorrows since the fall of man, Gen 3:16-17. And we’re going to keep dealing with sorrow until God finally ends it in Rev 21:4. As a matter of fact, we’re getting ready to see sorrows unlike anything the world has witnessed before. The stuff in Matt 24:6-7 leading up to the tribulation is simply called the “beginnings of sorrows,” Mat 24:8. They’re going to get worse, Matt 24:21. Paul said that the death of Epaphroditus would have caused him “sorrow upon sorrow,” Phil 2:25-27. The death of our loved ones surely causes us grief and sorrow. However, because of God’s promises to us in his word and because of our relationship to him as his children, Paul wrote, “that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope,” 1 Thes 4:13. We have God to comfort us, but we are still going to face death and sorrow.
And there’s going to be some more crying, too. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears,” 2 Tim 1:4. Paul told the elders of Ephesus “that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears,” Acts 20:31. Even Jesus in his earthly ministry “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death,” Heb 5:7. The closer we get to the return of Jesus the more it seems that our tears will flow and should flow.
And there will still be some pain. In Paul’s own testimony in 2 Cor 11, he said that he was a minister of Christ “in weariness and painfulness,” 2 Cor 11:27. He was strengthened by the grace of God, thankfully. And we are strengthened by the grace of God when we suffer pain. Those disobedient souls in the tribulation are going to feel pain, too, but they, unlike us, will blaspheme God, Rev 16:10-11, rather than trust him. Don’t ever do this.
Death, sorrow, crying, and pain still accompany the Christian life. We didn’t escape these when we were saved. What we received, instead, is hope and comfort. You want to look to these, and not the removal of the others, until Jesus comes.
God wipes away all our tears in eternity. Thank God that we won’t shed anymore tears in eternity. Death will be destroyed, 1 Cor 15:25-26. And when death has been destroyed, sorrows will end, there will be no more pain, and crying will cease. I look forward to this day with great desire and anticipation.
Don’t try to drown or inebriate your sorrow and pain in drugs and alcohol. Don’t try to assuage your grief and tears in a bad relationship. Don’t raise your fist to God’s face and cry out in agony, “Why me; why this?” These reactions are wrong and harmful. They only add to your misery.
Jesus didn’t come to take away the pain, sorrow, crying and tears, yet. He will in the future. But right now, he will walk with you through the sorrow and pain. He will reveal himself to you in a way that you couldn’t know him without the tears. Don’t resist his help and comfort. The tears will be gone in the future. In the meantime, enjoy his love.
God doesn’t wipe away any tears of the damned. Rev 21:4 is for all of us who will spend eternity with God because we have trusted him. Those of us who are saved today can look forward to a sorrow free, death free, crying free, and pain free, future.
But those who have rejected God’s offer of grace will not escape these horrible things. The rich man who wound up in hell in Lk 16:23-25 was tormented continually with pain. He cried and there was no one to wipe away his tears. He was sorrowing because he didn’t want his brothers to end up in the same place he was, Lk 16:28. And this poor sinner is still in hell waiting for the lake of fire in Rev 21:8, where he will experience the second death.
For this poor man and every other sinner in hell, there is nothing but death, sorrow, pain and crying. “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day and night,” Rev 14:11. Where they spend eternity, “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Lk 13:28. Their eternity will be spent in “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” Matt 25:41.
Conclusion: Today, if you are facing death or have lost a loved one to death, or you are sorrowing, crying, and in pain, thank God that one of these days, these bitter results of the curse will be gone for ever, if you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior. If you have not trusted Jesus Christ to save you yet, now is the perfect time. Through Jesus Christ, you can receive the grace of God in abundance to get you through your current tears. He will comfort you through the Holy Spirit. And you will draw closer to him than you have ever been before. You’ll actually thank God for those tears one day.