Topic: The New Heaven And The New Earth
TEXT: Revelation 21:1-27
God reveals the eternal abode of saints of all ages to Apostle John in this text. He saw “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). This heavenly city is the eternal Inheritance that God has prepared for all who love and worship Him in spirit and truth. John describes it as a place of happiness without sorrow, life without pain or death, gladness without sadness, contentment without agitation, and perpetual health without sickness or weakness. He describes it first from the outside as he saw it descend out of heaven; then he describes it from the inside, seeing it from within the gate of the city. This heavenly, holy city will be the centre of God’s government; His people will dwell there and He will dwell among them.
DECLARATION OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH (Revelation 21:1-7; Isaiah 65:17-25; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 20:11)
“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. 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.” The word of God reveals God ‘s plan to replace this polluted evil earth and atmospheric heavens with new ones, which will match His glory, holiness and righteousness. This underscores the fact that heaven is neither a fiction nor a myth. “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17). In this old earth, the seas and oceans occupy about three-fourths of the surface of the globe, limiting the number of inhabitants. In the new earth, everywhere will be habitable. There will be perfect and perpetual fellowship with God throughout eternity. The present age is marked by evil, the dominion of Satan, wickedness, terror, corruption and all manner of sins (Ephesians 6: 12; Galatians 1:4). It is characterised by denial of God and the righteous (2 Timothy 4:3,4; 3:1-8). The land is under a curse (Genesis 3:17). The atmospheric heaven and clouds will pass away. me stars and the entire universe will be changed. A new heaven, created by God, will take their place. This old earth will pass away and be replaced with a new one. The new earth will not be infested with thistles, thorns and briars. It will not be stained with sin and the blood of the innocent. Although believers presently groan under the harsh conditions of the earth, they look forward to the new heaven and new earth “…wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3: 13). The heavenly city is prepared for true believers who now serve as Christ’s ambassadors on earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). As Christians, knowledge of the unsurpassed beauty of heaven is not enough; we must strive to be there to inherit the great blessings prepared for all heaven-bound saints. The most comforting message of Christ to His disciples when they were troubled and sorrowful was the promise of heaven and His return to take them there. He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2,3). The hope of spending eternity with God in heaven should calm and comfort the troubled, sorrowful and discouraged saints. It should spur believers to more earnestness, endurance and commitment, and keep them focused and watchful. Every believer ought to be fully persuaded of the absolute certainty of our eternal hope. This will go a long way in making our faith vibrant.
The purpose of our redemption is to have fellowship with God as it was before the Fall. It is only in heaven that we can fully enjoy full fellowship with God. As long as we are on earth, our purchased privilege is not fully explored. In heaven, our toils, trials and trauma would be over as our redemption would be consummated and we will receive rewards for our faithfulness, sacrifice and selfless service on earth. But the Scripture gives the condition: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Revelation 2 1 : 7). Only “the overcomers” will have the privilege of living eternally in the New Jerusalem. These are believers who, through God’s grace and faith in Christ, overcome sin, temptations, evil, persecution, false prophets, the world and Satan (2 Peter 2:19-22; Romans 6:12-16; Revelation 2:26-28; 3:4,5; Romans 12:17-21; Revelation 2: 10,11; 1 John 4:3-6; Revelation 2:6,7; 15:2; 1 John 2:15-17; John 16:33; 1 John 5: 18; Revelation 12:11). They shall inherit all things and enjoy uninterrupted peace and happiness in the immediate presence of God forever. Neither sinners nor Satan will be there to oppress or torment them. How different our heavenly state will be from our earthly experience!
DESCRIPTION AND DIMENSIONS OF THE HEAVENLY CITY (Revelation 21: 11-21 ; Leviticus 26: 11 ; Revelation 22: 14; John 14:1-3)
Heaven is the eternal residence of saints of all ages. ItsIts beauty and glory is beyond description and man’s imagination. As God created the present heavens and earth, so will He create the new heavens and a new earth which will be NEW in quality and TIME. The great, holy and eternal heaven will have new Jerusalem as its capital. This new creation will be free from any taint of sin and its consequences. There, Christ and saints from all ages will reside forever. The new Jerusalem, capital of the great, holy, eternal city is called “the bride” because of its virgin beauty — unstained with sin. The Builder and Maker of this celestial city is God Himself. The city is described as being full of the blazing, brilliant glory of God. Everything there is transparent — “clear as crystal “like unto clear glass”, “as it were transparent glass”; “the gates shall not be shut at all” and there will be “no night there” There is no death, sorrow, pain, tears or separation from God in the heavenly city (Revelation 21:4). The new Jerusalem is a material city, not a mystical one. The city is laid out as a cube in dimensions. Each side of the city is 12,000 furlongs (1,500 miles) in measurement. This glorious eternal city is 2,250,000 square miles in one layer of mansions. Millions of intersecting layers of avenues are there. The ground floor alone would provide enough living space for far more people than have ever lived in the history of the world. There are 1,500 miles of additional floors above it. This is big enough to accommodate all who seek and walk in the narrow way (Matthew 7: 13, 14).
DELIGHT AND DESTINY OF ITS HOLY CITIZENS (Revelation 21:9, 10,22-26; 19:7,8; Psalm 48: 1,2; Isaiah 2:2; Zechariah 8:3; Hebrews 12:22,23; Revelation 22:5; Psalm 87:3; Isaiah 60:18-20; Psalm 24:3-10)
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels… and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” The Bride of Christ — all who are washed in the blood of the Lamb and clothed with the robe of righteousness — will dwell in that city. John was lifted to a high place where he could have a clear view of “that great city having the glory of God and her light was like unto a stone most precious…” The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones (coloured gems). The first foundation was jasper (clear diamond); the second, sapphire (blue); the third, chalcedony (sky-blue agate); the fourth, emerald (green); the fifth, sardonyx (red and white); the sixth, sardius (red); the seventh, chrysolite (gold); the eight, beryl (sea-green); the ninth, topaz (yellow-green); the tenth, chrysoprasus (green); the eleventh, jacinth (violet); the twelfth, amethyst (purple). Nothing could give a more striking view of the magnificence of the future home of the saints. Everything will reflect the glory of God in all details and at all times. The appearance of the city reveals unparalleled beauty and grandeur. The size, the combination of vibrant colours and the layout of the city make it glow as a brilliant gem in the sky. The redeemed shall bring their glory and honour into the city whose gates are never shut. “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” (Revelation 22:5). The life of the redeemed in the eternal city will be glorious. It will be a life of fellowship (1 Corinthians 13:12), rest (Revelation 14: 13), full knowledge (1 Corinthians 13: 12), holiness (Revelation 21 :27), joy (Revelation 21 :4), service (Revelation 22:3), abundance (Revelation 21 and worship (Revelation 19: 1; 7:9-12).
It needs be stressed that heaven is not reserved for only 144,000 as some sects erroneously teach (Revelation 7:9). Such half-truths are aimed at turning people away from the path of righteousness and we must be wary of such deceptions. The sealed 144,000 would be those set apart and preserved among the Jews from wrath during the great tribulation.
THE DEFILED DENIED ENTRY INTO THE HEAVENLY CITY (Revelation Matthew 7:21-23; 13:41-43; 25:1-13; Revelation 22:14,15)
Admittance to the holy city is strictly based on holy living here on earth. “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21 :27 . It declares the absolute exclusion of all who are unrighteous, unholy and sinful from the eternally holy city. No sinner will ever enter the holy city to stain or desecrate it. All unrepentant sinners will be denied entry to that holy, eternal city. They will forever be banished from the presence of God and from the holy city. “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.” The fearful are those who do not have the firmness to boldly maintain their godly conviction. The unbelieving are those who do not have true faith in Christ. The abominable refers to all who are detestable and offensive in God’s sight on account of their sins. The murderers are those who terminate human life, including those who harbour hatred in their hearts (1 John 3: 15) while the whoremongers are adulterers who violate the marriage covenant, being unfaithful (Hebrews 13:4). The sorcerers are those involved in witchcraft and idolaters are idol-worshippers. All liars refer to all who are false in their statements to men and God (Acts 5:1-3). All who are unrepentant and unsaved till the end will be excluded from heaven and punished forever. Partaking in the new heaven and new earth should be the utmost pursuit of everyone. Salvation, holy living and a steadfast walk with the Lord are indispensable to making it to that beautiful city.