We can read it as telling us what happens to people who have already died. But, it also tells us what we can expect while we are still here. For example, this new heaven and new earth is, according to Revelation, going to be a city.
A city, a place full of people, different kinds of people, people who look different and act different and talk different. And they may be closer to us than we would prefer.
A city is often dirtier than we would prefer and in it, we may see some things going on that we don't understand or like.Looking at this passage and my comments on it, as I think about a new year, I wonder why the earth is not already like this, why this is written in the future tense. Is not God already at home among us?
John saw a vision and returned to earth. We also are staying on earth, and we also can see the vision of what a city would be like--is to be like--as we live out being God's people.I turn, as I often do, to Allen & Williamson. According to their Preaching the Letters without Dismissing the Law, the verb in "It is done" is in the perfect tense meaning that the remaking of the world is finished but the effect of the world still abides.