The New Heaven and the New Earth
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
The New Jerusalem
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21 Commentary
by Hank Workman
We all have our share of sorrows and heartaches. We all have experienced the unending trials at time. We all have sat in the ashes of life and relationships that have burned up. “On earth you will have many trials,” Jesus said in John 16:33. And we could all testify to this being true. But this is not the end all be all. This is not where our hope rests.
If our hope rests in a relationship (whether that be a friend, a loved one, a family member, a child); if our hope rests in a reputation; if our hope rests in a fat bank account – in time they will crumble and fall; in time they disappoint. But take note, the rest of John 16:33 says, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
As a child of God, our hope must rest in the very fact – that the Warrior Lamb, Jesus rides victorious in all of those trials and suffering. And He, yes He, has overcome the world!
In Revelation 21, we read of John seeing a great white throne and the One sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His presence but they found no place to hide. (Revelation 20:11) Everyone stood before God for judgment as books were opened – specifically the Book of Life. Death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire as well as those whose names were not written down. Revelation 22 becomes a virtual tour of what awaits the people of God who are faithful to the end.
Although John states that the earth and sky flee, there really is no explanation of how this takes place; but they’re gone. Peter provides a graphic description of the end however.
“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.” -2 Peter 3:8-14
Very remarkable passage here that is so full. God’s patience, the reason that things continue on and the end doesn’t come, is for you, for the lost. Why did Jesus come? That all would come to know Him. That all would come to trust Him. His desire is what? That no one would perish but have everlasting life. “He is being patient for YOUR sake.” For the sake of others.
We best not fall in love with this world. This world will burn up. This world will come to an end, will be over – in the twinkling of an eye – Jesus will return. But as Peter warns here, and Jesus spoke of so many different times throughout the Gospels, we must be ready. We must be alert. We must stay true to the things God has called of us.
The things of this world will pass away. And in the end, what has taken place will not matter. What will matter is where we each stand, individually with Jesus. There is so much that awaits each of us – if we will simply turn to Him, give Him our hurts and pain, and in turn make what matters in this life – being Him – of utmost importance.
Jesus said: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” – John 14:1-3
A place is being readied for you. We may groan here in the life that has been dealt to us, in the ways the world has come against us. But there is a place beyond this place – that far surpasses the realities of what we even can understand. There is a place, there is a room, where a nameplate has been hung, with your name on it. It is a place Jesus has readied for you.
How many tears have you cried? How many heartaches have you endured? How much sadness has this life offered to you? He will wipe every tear from your eyes. He will take the effects of death from you. Sorrow, the unending sorrow some have experienced in this world, will be removed. Pain will no longer be present. All of these things are gone —- forever.
Can’t you wait for all the hardships and turmoil of this life to be gone? They will. Abolished forever are the debilitating effects of sin. Death, mourning the pain – all these things we have experienced are no more. The grief, the rejection, the failures and disappointments, the frustration and suffering, the persecution that has defined human lives since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden will be no more.
“It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”1 Corinthians 15:42-44
This day, my friends, is coming. Oh yes, it is coming!
Jesus had left Judea and was in route to Galilee when He stopped in Samaria. It was the middle of the day and he was hot and needed a drink of water. It just so happened that a Samaritan woman was at that well. And what followed was a remarkable conversation where He intrigued her with various statements and eventually got to the truth of the matter about her life.
Within this discussion, he said to her that He had Living Water where no one would thirst again if they drank of it. Stating it would become a fresh bubbling spring within that would give eternal life. And it is here in John’s vision that this thirst is addressed again and water of life promised to her, promised to us, is seen.
“To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”Revelation 21:6-7
Oh, the thirsting of this life. The things we pursue, the things we believe will bring fulfillment yet cause us to still be thirsty. It is only through Jesus Christ, that this thirst will be quenched. And it is only in His making all things new – that this spring of living water will be found eternally.
What we see ultimately for those who are overcomers in this life, are the inheritance of blessings to come to those who stand strong. If you recall, in the 7 letters to the churches at the opening of Revelation we saw many promises for those who would follow; for those who would be obedient.
The overcomers, it told us in those initial letters, will eat from the tree of life (2:7), not be hurt by the second death (2:11), be given hidden manna and a white stone (2:17), receive authority over the nations (2:26) not have their names blotted from the book of Life (3:5), be a pillar in the temple of God (3:12), and sit with Christ on his throne (3:21). All this is inheritance is given to those who remain constant in their faith and are children of God.
May we be diligent in our walk. May we keep our eyes focused on the things that matter. May we renew our commitment and our love for this Lamb, who died for us, stands slaughtered before the throne of God and intercedes even now on our behalf. May we be faithful!
Revelation 21 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
There is a lot of crossover between what Isaiah writes in chapter 65 and the 21st chapter of Revelation.
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. 18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness. 19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.Isaiah 65:17-19 NASB
If I had to choose a passage that sums up the message Revelation seeks to communicate, Rev 21:3-8 would have to be at the top of the list. It is a message God has been communicating since the beginning.
‘Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. 12 ‘I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.Leviticus 26:11-12 NASB
“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.Ezekiel 37:26-27 NASB
“Many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.Zechariah 2:11 NASB
At the heart of this announcement from God is something new that’s never before been experienced by humans. The new world created for us will be in the presence of God with no sin, no pain, and no death. But although this picture is the fulfillment of many OT passages, it also satisfies everything that Jesus spoke of in the NT. The Son of Man declared to the woman at the well that He was Living Water. No one who drank of this would ever thirst again.
Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.Revelation 21:6-7 NASB
God welcomes each overcomer (believer) into His family. He will be our God and we will be His sons and daughters. As a final fulfillment of the age-old covenant with Abraham, the work of Jesus on the cross will qualify us for this blessing based on our faith.
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.Galatians 3:29 NASB
But God is not sovereign without a picture of His justice as well. Though he extends grace and mercy to those who place their faith in His Son, verse 8 reminds us that those who oppose Him will suffer under the second death.
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8 NASB
It’s a very interesting list to consider. It does not begin with a traditional pagan description of unbelievers. It begins with cowardly. This is fitting considering that both in John’s time as well as the end times people will be under immense pressure and persecution. It would be easy and convenient to discard your faith in order to continue to live comfortably. Cowardly may refer to those who “quickly fall away” because of trouble or persecution as told by Jesus in the parable of the sower.
In this context, it seems as if the beginning of this list (cowardly, unbelieving, abominable) could be describing people who professed to believe but fell away! This point is further strengthened by the fact that verse 7 commends the overcomers before moving into this strong rebuke. The truth is, many will deny their faith under pressure once persecution is ramped up. It happened to the early church and it will definitely happen during the end times.
It is wise for us to soberly examine these warnings and take them to heart. The trials we face today will produce perseverance so that we can finish the race no matter what stands in our way. As God told Jeremiah in chapter 12, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?