“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’
5 “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ 6 And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
We live in a time when the world system wants the earth to last forever. If we would just stop using fossil fuels, just stop using straws, stop polluting the atmosphere, stop being humans and using the resources of the earth, it will last forever. But the word of God tells us that there will come a time when we get a new heaven and a new earth. We find this promise in Isaiah 65:17,
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”
And then in Isaiah 66:22, “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.”
These promises are fulfilled in Revelation 21. Notice that John wrote in verse 1, “I saw.” He saw the fulfillment of these prophecies. They had not yet happened 2,000 years ago and are yet to be fulfilled, but John “SAW” them, past tense. The fulfillment of God’s promises is secure and sure.
One more thing before we move on: notice in Isaiah 65:17, the “former things shall not be remembered, nor come to mind.” This earth that people hold so dear will be gone and erased from the memory of all those who are around at this time. I personally cannot imagine not remembering Niagara Falls; maybe some of you have been to the Grand Canyon, maybe to the top of Everest, others to the savannahs of Africa or the rainforests of South America; none of these will be remembered anymore. The NEW heaven and the NEW earth will be so much that all remembrance will be wiped away.
Folks, I am all for caring for the planet that we live on, but we are not called to worship it, and we need to be reminded that this planet as it is will be here for at least another 1,000 years if the Millennial era started today. Christians should not let the misinformation of the world confuse them. God’s word is the absolute truth. When in doubt, when in conflict, when there is a question, trust God’s word.
The New Heaven and Earth, verse 1
These are not simply a remodeled heaven and earth, but NEW. Jesus told us in Mathew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Here Jesus tells us that the earth that they see and the heavens that they see will stop being there; they will pass away. What a contrast to the last chapter with Hell and death and war! Now we have New. The word New here is not just a remodeling as we mentioned before, but new as in very NEW, so much so that there is “no more sea.” Right now, the seas cover some 70% of the world’s surface; but in the new earth, there is no more sea. The words used in the Greek refer to being made out of nothing, a new creation, not remodeled. The Hebrew in Isaiah suggests the same things: a new creation, made out of nothing.
The obvious question that many ask is what will Heaven be like. My little 6-year-old was quite distraught that the new heaven will not have TV, nor will her cat be there. The new heaven is mind-blowing. The apostle Paul, one of the most highly educated men in the scriptures, saw the new heaven and was not allowed to write about it; he was actually dumbfounded about it. See in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4,
“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
Paul wrote that he could not lawfully write about the new heaven. He had seen stuff that he simply could not put into words. Be careful about people who claim to have gone to Heaven and then come back and write books about it. If Paul, one of the most brilliant men in the scriptures, could not put into words what he saw, neither will the people today. But God gives us a few ideas to hold on to: there is no more sea, just land; there are no more tears, no more death, no sorrow and no pain. These are tangible things that we can look forward to. The most noticeable thing that man would see first is that there is no more sea.
The New Jerusalem, verse 2
According to some scholars, John MacArthur being one of the ones that I researched among others, Jerusalem has always been designated as a Holy City. In the scriptures we are shown three cities of Jerusalem. The one we have today in modern Israel is the same city that David took from the Jebusites; that city is referred to as the Holy City in Daniel 9:24, Hosea 11:1, and Isaiah 52:1. Then, as we journeyed into the Millennial era, we saw a Jerusalem that was the center of the earth, and there Jesus was enthroned on the throne of David. That city, of course, is holy since Jesus is there, as is everyone who lives in it (Revelation 20:6). But this new Jerusalem that we encounter here in verse 2 is just that, a new one.
We are told later in the chapter that it is about a 1,500-mile cube (see verse 16). This is huge. From Toronto to Miami is about 1,450 miles, so you will have a city that covers from Toronto to Miami, and then from Miami to 200 miles west of Dallas, and then 1,500 miles high as well. Imagine the population that will inhabit this city.
In John 14:3, Jesus promises to go and prepare a place for His bride; and man, does He prepare a place! This is the best bridal house ever built in the history of time and man. This place will blow your mind and shut your mouth. Now you can understand why Paul was speechless at the glimpse of the new heaven.
This city is Holy, NO SIN at all. Think of the large cities in our time: New York, Los Angeles, even Toronto; the good is no longer good. Think of Chicago, Boston and Miami; these are cesspools of sin, debauchery, crime, pain, loss, the poor and the rich live together, lots of crying, death, suffering and loss. But not this new Jerusalem; it is HOLY. It is PERFECT. We see this promise in Hebrews 12:22-24,
“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, 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, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
This is a heavenly Jerusalem, the new one, the holy one. In it are an innumerable number of angels, the general assembly and the church of the firstborn and God. In it the spirts of men are made perfect. God gives us all we can handle about the new heaven and the new Jerusalem in the Bible. Stop buying these man-made books and movies; they are lies, mere fables that pull at our heart strings, give us false expectations, and diminish the glory of what God has for us.
God with us, verse 3
God made man to have fellowship with Him. God used to visit Adam and the woman in the Garden of Eden. When one reads Genesis 3, you get the impression that it was normal for God to come and see Adam; but then, because of sin, one day they hid from Him. There will be no more separation from God. Why, you ask? Because we will be perfect as He is perfect.
Now, in our time, today, we are declared righteous in Jesus as far as our renewed spirits are concerned. We have become ‘lively stones’ as we see in 1 Peter 2:4-5. But then, we will have perfect minds and perfect bodies to match our perfect spirits. We can then have ‘face-to-face’ fellowship with God like Adam had before the fall in Genesis 3.
One writer, Guzik, makes an astonishing assessment: it is easy to blame Adam and wish that we had never fallen; but in the fall, we gained much more in Jesus than we ever had in Adam. In the act of redemption, we have more in the awareness of God’s character than we had in innocence. This in no way endorses what Adam did, nor exemplifies what Jesus did in response for us.
God will wipe away all of our tears (verse 4). There will be no more death, nor crying, nor pain, and on we can go. No more bad stuff. Why? God is with us and He is perfect. We will be called God’s children (1 John 3:1). Also see verse 7 of our text.
The Redemptive Work is Done, verse 5-8
Jesus finished the redemptive work when He rose from the grave. There is nothing else to be added or done. In Ephesians 1:7-14 we see this promise from the Lord penned by Paul,
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 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 “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Look at this with me. We have redemption through His blood, verse 7; He has revealed the mystery of His will, verse 9; He will gather us all together, verse 10; we have an inheritance, verse 11; we have the Holy Spirit as the ‘earnest,’ the down payment of our inheritance, verse 14. We have it all: salvation, an inheritance, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the mystery of God has been revealed, all in our time and in our dispensation. There is nothing else to be done.
Now there is the choice; will you trust Jesus or choose the rightful inheritance of the wicked in the lake of fire? The choice is yours. Look at all God has done for you, there is no more to be done. He has left nothing out, there is nothing lacking, and you will have it all in Jesus. Once again, the choice is yours.