I am glad that the Bible does not end with the lake of fire. It ends on a happy note. It ends with heaven and the New Jerusalem.It ends with a warning about the lake of fire, but it also ends with a warm welcome to all who will believe on Jesus to come into this place of eternal bliss with God.
I. THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH
Rev 21:1 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.
The earth in which we currently live and the heavens (atmosphere and outer space) we currently have will one day be destroyed. 2 Peter 3:10–12 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
This truth should motivate us to focus our efforts not on the world and the things of this world but on that which will last – living a holy and godly life, laying up treasures in heaven not on this earth. Matthew 6:19–20 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
The new heaven and the new earth will be totally different from the first.
- No sea – current earth is 75% covered in water
- No sun, moon, or stars (21:23)
- Much we do not know about it, but what we do know is that it will be new
II. THE NEW JERUSALEM
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
The main emphasis of the eternal state is on the new Jerusalem where God will dwell with men and where we will live for all eternity. Notice some things about this city:
1) A holy city (21:2). “the holy city”
- Holy particularly in contrast to earthly Jerusalem which is described as spiritual “Sodom” in Rev 11:8 because of the sin and pollution.
- No unholy person will be allowed in this city (see Rev 22:15).
- All the unrighteous including Satan and his demons will have been cast into the Lake of Fire in Rev 20.
2) A city from God (21:2). “coming down from God out of heaven”
- It comes down from God out of heaven indicated that it already existed before the new heaven and new earth were made.
- It is no doubt the place where God dwells with his people and where those who die go to be with God.
- It is no doubt the place that Jesus was talking about when He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”
3) A dazzlingly beautiful city (21:2). “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”
- No woman puts more effort into looking beautiful than her wedding day and that is the idea here.
- Every effort has been made to make this city as beautiful as possible.
- Absolutely radiant!
Rev 21:3 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) A city where God and man live TOGETHER, FOREVER (21:3).
In a very real and practical sense, once man sinned, man could not longer dwell in God’s presence. Even today in our corrupt bodies, we are unable to stand in His presence. But when Jesus died, the veil that separated the holy of holies (God’s presence) from the common person was torn letting us know that He had made it possible for us to come into God’s very presence. Heaven is the final fulfilment of the truth – nothing separating us now.
Behold, God’s tabernacle (tent/dwelling place) will be with men. God will dwell with men. And we get to be His people! And GOD HIMSELF shall be with us and be our God! We should stop right there and that should and would be enough!
When God told Israel to build the tabernacle and the temple, there was a special place, called the “holy of holies” where only the high priest could go once a year with a sacrifice. The best part of heaven is that God is there.
But there is more….
Rev 21:4-5 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…
5) A city where all things are made new (21:4-5).
- All tears shall be wiped away from men’s eyes by God.
- There will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying.
- There will be no more pain!
- All the former things (everything to do with the previous fallen world) will pass away.
- God is making all things new – He is wiping the slate clean and everything even creation is made new.
- In a sense, this is the spiritual reality of what happens when we believe on Jesus Christ. We have the same body, but our identity is totally made new. 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Rev 21:5…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…
6) A real city (21:5-6)
- The One on the throne (God the Son) has to “remind” John to “Write, because these things are true and faithful (you can count on them; this really going to happen!)
- It all might sound too good to be true, but it is not!
- God says, “It is done.” (Not that is over, but that fis ready.)
- As you can see I am truly the Alpha (first letter) and the Omega (last letter) and every letter in between.
- I am the beginning and the end. I was there in the beginning; and now I am here in the end.
Rev 21:6-7…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.
7) An accessible city (21:6-7).
- I give to the thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely. I died on the cross so all men could freely access that which they need – forgiveness, eternal life, and full satisfaction, restored relationship with God.
- The one who overcomes will inherit all things – I will be His God and He will be my son.
- The way in which you overcome is to believe in the One who has already overcome! 1 John 5:1–5 1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
- You can be an overcomer through believing on Jesus, which birth you into God’s family and makes you an overcomer as well.
- This life and this city is accessible to all who believe on Jesus. No charge, no membership fee, just believe.
Rev 21:8 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.
8) An exclusive city (21:8).
- fearful (afraid of what it might mean to believe on Jesus)
- unbelieving (main sin is the sin of unbelief)
- abominable (doing things that God does not like)
- murderers (everyone had part in the murder of Christ)
- whoremongers (sexually immoral)
- sorcerers (indulging in magic and seeking power through other means other than through God)
- idolaters (put other things before God)
- liars (opposite of God’s nature which is true – see v.5)
- Everything all are able to gain access, not everyone will gain access.
- Some will refuse to turn from their sin and turn to believe on Jesus.
- These people are characterised by their sin:
- Some who love their sin and do not believe on Jesus Christ will be excluded from this wonderful place.
- They will go and have part in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur – which is the second death.
- Don’t miss heaven! Don’t be deceived by sin! It will lead you to hell.
9) A glorious city (21:9-11).
Rev 21:9 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;
- v.9 One of the angels who open the vials of plagues in Revelation 16 came and talked with John and said, let me hew you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
- v.10 So now, John is taken away into a great and high mountain to get some kind of perspective on the vastness of this city.
- v.10-11 This great city, this holy Jerusalem, that descended out of heaven from God has the glory of God.
- v.11 The light of the city was like a very precious Jewel, clear as crystal (jasper today is opaque, but it is probably more like a diamond by today’s definitions).
10) A unified city (21:12-14).
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.
- v.12 It has a great wall with twelve gates and twelve agents guarding each gate. On the gates are written names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. v.13 Three on each side.
- v.13 It has 12 foundations in which were the 12 apostles of the Lamb.
- The city includes both Israel & the church. Hebrews 12:22–24 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
- All things are brought together under one common head – Christ. Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11) A huge city (21:15-17).
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.
- The angel that talked with John had a golden reed (probably signifying that it was given to him by God to use).
- He used the reed to measure the city, the gates, and the wall.
- The city was 12,000 furlongs (about 1500 miles) wide and long (2 million square miles at the base – larger than country of India).
- The city is also 1500 miles high which creates and incredible amount of space. (One building with 12ft per level would have 600,000 levels).
- The wall was measured at 144 cubits (216 feet) – probably talking about the width.
- These measurements are human (literal) dimensions.
- There is plenty space in this city for you and everyone who has ever lived.
- One person estimated that if you ignore public spaces and put everyone in a price-cell sized room, you could fit 1 billion people (1 with 18 zeros behind it).
- Estimated that just over 100 billion have ever lived. If it was divided evenly each person would get a house that was 1500 ft on one side and 150 stories high (12 square miles of living space).
12) A wealthy city (21:18-21).
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.
- v.18 The walls were of jasper which is clear according to v.11.
- v.18 And the city itself was of pure gold like clear glass (allowing the light of God to shine throughout).
- v.19-20 The foundations of the wall of the city were decorated with all types of beautiful precious stones.
- v.21 The gates were of one gigantic pearl and the street was of pure gold.
- If God can use gold for paving and building, and lay precious stones in the foundations, then why would we crave the wealth of this world?
13) A city of light and worship (21:22-27).
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.
- v.22 There will be on temple because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are there.
- v.23 No sun or moon because God’s glory will light up the entire city.
- v.24 All nations (peoples) who are saved will walk in God’s light and everyone, including kings of the earth, will come before God and honour and glorify Him.
- v.25 There will be no need to shut the gates because there will be no night.
- v.26 Everyone will come to glorify and honour God.
- v.27 The only people allowed in the city are the righteous – no defiled, abominable, or liar will be allowed.
- v.27 Only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.
14) A city of eternal life (22:1-4).
22:1 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.
- 22:1 A pure river of water of life, clear as crystal coming from the throne of God (Father) and the Lamb (Son).
- 22:2 In the midst of the street and either side of the river, is the tree of life, producing 12 different kinds of fruit with a different kind each month.
- The leaves of the tree were healing (health) for the nations.
- 22:3 Not that we will have bad health, because there will be no more curse.
- The throne of God and the Lamb will be there.
- And we His servants will serve God forever. We will see His face and be so close that His name will be in our foreheads.
15) A city of eternal day (22:5).
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.
- Finally, every child will love heaven because there will be NO BEDTIME!
- There will be no night there and no need of a candle or even the sun.
- The Lord God will give us light and we will reign for ever and ever.
- What a wonderful truth that it will be one day that will go on and on and never have to come to an end.
III. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?
1) These things are true (22:6).
6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true…
- The angel tells John, you know these things are faithful and true.
- I have been sent by God to tell you these things so you will know that they are really going to happen – you can count on them.
2) These things are going happen soon (22:6-10).
6…and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
- The reason the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew these things is because they “must shortly be done”.
- BEHOLD, “I come quickly” and you will be blessed if you listen up and believe what this book says.
8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
- John is overwhelmed by seeing all this and hearing all this.
- He falls down to worship the angel and the angel rebukes him for he is just a servant of God like him – worship God!
10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
- He tells him, don’t seal the sayings of this prophecy up (as Daniel was told in Daniel 8:26) but let everyone know because “the time is at hand.”
3) Now is the time to change, because soon it will be too late (22:11-13).
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
- The idea here is not that we should remain the way we are.
- Instead, we are told that even though God wants man to repent and come to believe on Him, sadly in the time that is left, no major changes can be expected.
- Certainly, once Christ returns and we enter eternity, we will remain as we were when we died. The unjust will still be unjust. The filthy will be remain filthy. The righteous – righteous. The holy – holy.
- Jesus then speaks v.12-13:
- I am coming quickly. My reward is with me. I will give to every man according to his work.
- I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
- Those who do my commandments will have a right to the tree of life and may enter the gates.
- Those who do not will be left without – dogs (sinners), sorcerers, whoremongers, muderers, idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a life.
4) Come and accept Christ’s free gift of salvation (22:16-17).
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
- Jesus who is revealed to us in this book has given his angel to tell us these things.
- He is the root and offspring of David – came from line of David.
- He is the bright and morning star – all light and life begins with Him.
- And He wants us to come.
- The Holy Spirit of God and the bride (the church) say, COME!
- The one who hears the invitation and believes invites others to COME!
- The one who is thirsty, who longs for this city, this life, this eternity, this relationship with God, should come!
- Come and take of the water of life found in Jesus FREELY!
5) Don’t mess with God’s book (22:18-19).
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
- God is serious about His book. He does not want it tampered with.
- He says don’t add to it and don’t take away from it.
6) Get ready! (22:20-21)
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
- I am definitely coming quickly.
- And all God’s people say, AMEN! Even so, come Lord Jesus.
- John adds, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. AMEN!