The New Heaven and New Earth – Revelation 21:1-22:5

 

In Revelation chapter 21 and 22 we have the culmination of human history. There are several major events in human history to keep in mind. (1) The fall. Because of the fall of man, the earth and all its inhabitants is cursed. Because of Adam’s sin, all have inherited a sin nature and we all live under the consequences of a fallen world. (2) The cross. Jesus is the second Adam. Just as the whole world is cursed because of the first Adam, in Christ, the second Adam, the world is redeemed from the curse. (3) The Resurrection. Everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus. Apart from the resurrection there is no life. (4) The birth of the church. We are living in a dispensation of time that began with the giving of the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2. This is the age in which all may come and believe on the Lord Jesus for Salvation. The church is God’s instrument through which the Gospel goes forth in this fallen world. (5) The rapture of the church. There is coming a day when Jesus will call all believers home to be with Him in heaven. (6) The great tribulation. While the church is in heaven with Jesus, there will be a period of great tribulation on the earth for seven years. During this time, God will once again deal with the nation of Israel and will execute wrath and judgment upon the earth. (7) The second coming of Christ. At the end of the tribulation period, the church and all saints of God who are in heaven will come back with Christ to the earth. Jesus will destroy the nations of the earth and will set up His kingdom on the earth. (8) The Millennial reign. This is what we refer to as the kingdom age. It is during this time that Christ will rule and reign on the earth for 1,000 years. During this time, Satan is bound and he will have no influence on the earth. After the 1,000 years are over, Satan will be loosed for a season in order to try and deceive those who were born during the kingdom age. He will lead a rebellion and God will wipe them out and throw Satan into the lake of fire. (9) The great white throne judgment. After Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, all unbelievers from every dispensation, will stand before God. There, their names will not be found in the book of life and they will be cast into the lake of fire. (10) A new world. After all is done, there will be a new heaven and a new earth where all believers in Christ will live for all of eternity. This is the time that is described to us in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation. As Fausset and Brown says, “The earth was cursed for man’s sake; but is redeemed by the second Adam. Now is the Church; in the millennium shall be the kingdom; and after that shall be the new world wherein God shall be all in all.” [1]  Revelation chapter 21-22 describes to us this new world. It is going to be the most wonderful and beautiful place imaginable. “Human history begins in a Garden and ends in a City that is like a garden paradise. In the Apostle John’s day, Rome was the admired city; yet God compared it to a harlot. “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). The eternal city of God is compared to a beautiful bride (Rev. 21:9), because it is the eternal home for God’s beloved people.”[2] There are several things we see about this new world in our text.

The people of the new world. Those who will live in this new world are described in Revelation 21:1-8. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 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. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” [3] There are several things we see here concerning the people that will live in the new world.

First of all, they are the people of God. In verse three, it tells us that ‘they shall be His people.’ Who are the people of God? It is those who are justified by faith. Every single person from every dispensation of time who has received the gift of God’s grace will be there in that wonderful place.  Will you be in that new world? Have you received God’s gift of grace by faith?

Secondly, they are a joyful people. At this time, there will be no more tears, pain, or death. All of the sorrow and suffering that came with a world cursed by sin; will be completely wiped away. We suffer today because we live in a sin-cursed world. In the new world, the curse will be no more. Imagine! No more pain! No more death! No more sorrow! What a day that will be!

Finally they are an overcoming people. Those who are in the new world are those who overcame the bondage of sin by placing their faith and trust in Jesus. According to verse 8, those who fail to trust in Jesus and believe on Him, will find themselves in the lake of fire.

The place of the new world. The place of the new world is described as great city. Notice what it says in verses 9-27. “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” [4] In this new world, the earth will be like the Garden of Eden. It will be a perfect paradise. The Holy City, a New Jerusalem will be suspended above the earth. All those living in this new world will have complete access to this glorious city. This city is where God Himself dwells. This New Jerusalem is probably in existence and functioning during the millennial reign. The city perhaps will be removed from being close to the earth when the earth is destroyed and a new earth is created. Once the new earth is created, the Holy City comes back to its place over the earth and will be there for all eternity.

The power of the new world. In Revelation 22:1-5, we see the power of the new world. “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”[5] There are several things we see here concerning the power of the new world.

First of all, we see the holiness of God. The river coming out of the throne is most likely a literal river that is a symbol of the holiness of God. The perfect holiness of God will prevail throughout all eternity. It is a holiness that the inhabitants of the new world will share in.

Secondly, we see the throne of God. Notice who is on the throne. It is the Lamb. It is Jesus. For all eternity Jesus is truly the King of kings and Lord of lords.

A third thing we see concerning the power of the new world is the sustaining of the inhabitants. The tree of life is found in this glorious place. This is perhaps a group of trees that are found along the river that proceeds from the throne. There is no reason to not believe this tree or group of trees is not literal. Since this is to be seen as a literal tree, then the fruit of tree is assumed to be for eating. It is given as a healing agent. “Based on this statement some have referred this situation back to the millennial times when there will be sickness and healing. However, another meaning seems to be indicated. The word “healing” (therapeian) can be understood as “health-giving.” The English “therapeutic” is derived from this Greek word. Even though there is no sickness in the eternal state, the tree’s fruit and leaves seem to contribute to the physical well-being of those in the eternal state.”[6] Though this is difficult to grasp, it should be understood that God is the sustainer of our eternal state. There will be no fear of that eternal state ever being disrupted, because God is on the throne.

Finally, we see the light. The light described in verse 5 is a light that comes from God. There will be no need of a sun, because the glory of God illuminates the whole place. There is nothing more powerful or great than the glory of God. His glory expands through all of space and time. In the new world, everything will be touched by the glory of God.

Thinking of living in the new heaven and new earth causes ones imagination to run wild. However, the reality of that place does not even come close to our most vivid imaginations. The most amazing thing to think about is the reality of it all. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you will live in that eternal state. You will be there just as sure as you are alive today! We can only imagine what it will be like. The real question to consider simply is, ‘will you be there?’ The only way to have the hope of heaven is by receiving Jesus as your Savior by faith.

[1] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 600). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 621). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 21:1–8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 21:9–27). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 22:1–5). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6] Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 987). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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