Revelation 21:1-22:17 • May 27, 2020 • t1199
Pastor John Miller concludes our series on end-time events and how they will unfold with a message titled, “The New Heaven and New Earth.”
I can't help but go back to John 14 for my opening statements. When Jesus with His disciples in the upper room said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You believe in God." He said, "Believe also in me." And then He made this statement, "In my Father's house are many mansions or abiding places. If it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you."
That Father's house is the place He was going to prepare. "And if I go to prepare it, I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am there you may be also." As children of God, this world is not our home. Our real home is our eternal home in heaven, the Father's house. When Jesus in John 14 said, "Don't be troubled, don't be afraid. I'm preparing a place for you," He called it the Father's house. We know it as heaven. It's the true home of every child of God who has God as their father.
Now, the Father's house is a place. Father's house is a real place. And the Father's house is a prepared place. I love the thought that Jesus is preparing a place for me. He's preparing me for the place and He's preparing a place for me. So, we come in our study to the end of time to the time when time will be no more.
Literally, the subtitle of my series has been The End of Time, How Will it Unfold. Tonight, we actually come to the end of time when we will have no longer any time. You know you're not going to have to have a watch in heaven. You're not going to have to look at a calendar in heaven. You're not going to have to look at the time clock in heaven because time will be no more in the Father's house.
Now, I want to review before we jump into our passage what we've covered in this whole series. We've learned that at the end of time, it begins with a rapture of the church. And if we can have the chart on the screen for just a moment, I'm not going to look behind me. I have a copy of it on my pulpit, but I want you to look at this chart. Maybe you've gotten it off the website. And I want to review where we've been and show you how it comes to this grand conclusion.
So we saw that first of all, we have the church age. After the death of Jesus Christ died, rose again ascended into heaven. And on the day of Pentecost, which is this Sunday, He sent the Holy Spirit and the believers were formed into, baptized into Christ and became one living body. The church is a living organism with Christ as our head. We're all knit together with Him.
Well, at the end of the church age, I believe the church will be raptured and you see it on the chart there, the rapture of the church. John 14, 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4 when the church, the true believers who are in Christ will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we forever be with the Lord.
Then the second thing we looked at and saw unfold was the anti-Christ will be revealed. Revelation Chapter 6, this man of sin, this son of tradition, this little horn, this mouth speaking great things that the church is taken out of the world and the anti-Christ is then revealed. And then thirdly, He will make a covenant with Israel for seven years. And we saw that in Daniel Chapter 2 verse 27. And that it is the 70th week of Daniel's prophecy known as the time of Jacob's trouble, Jeremiah Chapter 30. And we call it the tribulation.
And then the fourth step would be the second coming. The Jesus Christ comes back at the end of the tribulation. If you're looking at the chart behind me, you see the rapture, you see the tribulation, seven years, 70th week of Daniel's prophecy, and then the second coming of Jesus Christ, Revelation Chapter 19. This is the second advent of Jesus Christ when Jesus said in Matthew 24, "As the lightning shines from the east, even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be." And we looked at that together.
And then fifthly, we saw the Millennium and it's on the chart. It's called the kingdom age. It's recorded for as in Revelation Chapter 20. When Jesus comes back in the second coming, He destroys the anti-Christ and the false prophet, puts an end to war. Then He takes Satan, Revelation 20, and binds him for 1,000 years. Six times we see the term 1,000 years or Millennium as Christ comes back, then he resurrects the Old Testament saints.
And then at the end of the Millennium, Satan is loose for short season, tempts people during that time that are still in their mortal bodies and many of them deceived and follow Satan. Then He destroys Satan and those that are following him. He sits on a great white throne, the end of Revelation 20, and He judges the wicked dead who are resurrected and stand before His great white throne.
But it moves from the kingdom or from the kingdom age. This is our topic tonight and I want you to see it on the chart to the new heaven and the new earth. So right after He judges on His great white throne, then He brings in a new heaven and a new earth.
Now, this is not the same as the Millennium. The Millennium is a thousand years of Christ's theocratic reign on the earth. And, yes, it will be a time of peace and prosperity and plenty and blessing, but it's going to be the same earth just revived. But in the eternal state, we actually have a new heaven and a new earth which is what we know as the Father's house or heaven.
So now, we come to the eternal state when we call the place we call heaven. And the text is Revelation Chapters 21 and 22. Now, I want to call your attention to something. It's I think sequential and chronological. Revelation Chapter 19, Christ returns in a second coming. Revelation Chapter 20 is the millennial reign of Christ.
Revelation 21 and the first part, verse five verses of 22, is the new heaven and new earth or description of the New Jerusalem and the new heaven and earth or the eternal state. And I believe that those chapters are in sequential order, that Christ returns and then He ushers in the millennium and then we have the new heaven and the new earth or the eternal state.
Now, the key in Revelation 21 is verse 5, "Behold I make all things new." And I believe that Jesus is speaking there. And basically what we're looking forward to is when God makes everything brand new. We like new. Don't we like new? Like the smell of a new car, it's so amazing to set in a new car, smell a new car. I want to buy it just because it smells so awesome.
But you can imagine everything we know and we see will be made brand new. One of my favorite verses is Paul to the Corinthians when he said, "Everything that is seen is temporal." That means everything you see is going to be gone one day. Only that which is not seen is eternal. So, we're going to be living in eternity where time shall be no more, but it will all be made brand new. And that brand new focuses on two things, a new heaven and a new earth, verse 1 of Revelation 21, and a new city, the New Jerusalem, verse 2. But the focus is not so much the new heaven and new earth as it is the focus of the New Jerusalem.
Now, I want to break this into sections if you're taking notes. I want to first look at the descent of the city. Heaven's going to be described as a city called the New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb coming down out of heaven. And in verse 1 to 8, we have the descent of this city. Look at verses 1 and 2 as it opens up. John says, "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."
Now, I have to confess that at that statement I get a little bit freaked out. I love the ocean, love to surf, but the idea that there'll be no sea in heaven is okay with me because there's no sea in hell either. So, I don't really have much of an option. But I'm sure whatever we have up there, it will be awesome.
Some Bible scholars believe that that statement "no more sea" technically means that everything will be different. We know ocean right now and most of the earth's surface is covered by water. So, everything will be different. It won't be the same.
And then notice verse 2, "I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." Now, I want to stop right there for just a moment as this descent of the city comes down from heaven.
Notice first of all in verse 1, John saw a new heaven. The word new there is an interesting Greek word which means new and of a new kind. So it's a new kind, a new quality so to speak. So, it's going to be a spiritual heavens and it's going to be a spiritual earth. It's not anywhere like or related to the old heaven or the old earth.
For the first heaven, notice verse 1, and the first earth were passed away and no more seas. Now think about that. The first heaven and the first earth, all of the stars, all of the galaxies, the billions of galaxies, trillions of galaxies, trillions of stars, the entire cosmos, the entire universe is going to pass away. Now, there's a lot of talk about the world waxing old and the environmentalists saying that we're going to destroy the earth and it's going to cease to be in global warming and all the stuff that's going on.
But the truth is God's got a plan to get rid of this present world. Now, how will God do that? Well, Peter tells us in his second epistle Chapter 3 that during the time of Noah, remember God destroyed the whole earth with a flood. But then He made a promise by giving them a rainbow saying, "I won't do that again." But he never promised He won't burn it up. So, He doesn't do it by flood but He's going to do it by fire.
And Peter says, "The elements are going to melt with a fervent heat." All God really needs to do is release his hold on the atoms of the universe and the entire universe will explode in one giant explosion. Some people think we started with a bang and we're going to go out with a bang perhaps. But the whole earth is going to be burnt with fire. Read 2 Peter Chapter 3.
So, you certainly don't want to be a materialist. You don't want to put your stock in things. You want to live for the eternal that which is going to last. Even Jesus says it like this, "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall never pass away." So even Jesus confirmed what John says here in verse 1 of Chapter 21.
And then we see John saying verse 2 that he saw holy city, it's a holy city, Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. Again, a new kind, a new quality of city coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I believe and I'm convinced that this new city coming down adorned as a bride is what Jesus was referring to in John 14, "I go to prepare for you a place." That this is the place He has prepared for us and it is going to be amazing.
Abraham in Hebrews Chapter 11 verse 10 says that he looked for a city whose maker in builder was God. That he wasn't really focused on this earth, that he was living for eternity. His life was marked by an altar and it was marked by his faith that he looked for a city whose maker and builder was God. I believe that as Christians that from this passage we cover tonight that that's what should motivate us. We should look for a city whose maker and builder is God.
People are always wanting to find the great place to live where crime is low and schools are good and houses are nice and the cost of living is low and the air is clean and everything's the way they want it. You'll never find a utopia on earth. As believers, we're here to serve the Lord and not put our stock in the things of this earth and knowing that we'll all pass away. And even in our life which will go by like a vaporous smoke, we're going to leave it all behind.
One of the painful things about being a materialist is you can't take it with you. You can't take it with you. The only thing you're going to take to eternity is those spiritual treasures that you lay up right now in serving Jesus Christ. So, he sees this holy city, it's called the New Jerusalem. Hal Lindsey in his commentary on the book of Revelation calls it the New J. I like that.
The New J, the New Jerusalem, it's going to be coming down out of heaven from God. And it's going to be the abiding place of the saints throughout all the ages. Now, what does he mean by a bride adorned for her husband? There's some confusion here and some people think that it's a reference to the church that this is not the New Jerusalem, that it's actually the church descending with Christ. But I disagree, I believe for several reasons that I don't have the time to develop right now, but that this is a reference to the New Jerusalem referred to as the bride adorned for her husband.
It's basically conveying the idea that like a bride who spends hours upon hours prepping to look just right for the wedding. I do a lot of weddings being a pastor and have over the years and it amazes me how early on the wedding day the bride starts getting ready for that event. If she's getting married in 3:00 in the afternoon, she gets up at 2:00 in the morning. And the girls show up and they spend eight or nine hours just putting the makeup on and preparing the hair and getting the dress and everything is prepared. And no bride wants to be ugly on her wedding day.
So, it's conveying the idea that this new city is beautiful to behold. All the weddings that I've conducted, I've never seen an ugly bride. I've seen some grooms that need some help but I've never seen an ugly bride. So this city is going to be glorious and beautiful as it descends out of heaven. And by the way, this is what we are looking for. We're looking for that home that the Lord has prepared for us in heaven.
Now, from verse 3 down to verse 8, we see the new life. We see the first new heaven and earth verses 1 and 2. Then in verse 3 down to verse 8, we answered the question, "What will heaven be like?" Now, let me say before I read these verses, when it comes to knowing what heaven is like, there's only one source, the B-I-B-L-E. Yes, that's the book for me and you. We should stand alone on the word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.
I really don't put a lot of stock in these books where people say, "I died. I went to heaven and now I've written a book and you can get it for $29.99 on Amazon. And I'll sign it for you. And it tells you all about heaven, what it's like." That's subjective. God's word is objective truth.
Even Paul the Apostle in 2 Corinthians 12 was caught up into heaven, which by the way he called the third heaven. First heaven is above the earth where the birds fly. Second heaven is where the stars and sun and moon are. And the third heaven is the dwelling place of God. He was caught up to that third heaven.
And he said, "When I came back," he said, "I couldn't even talk about it because I saw things that were amazing and it would be a crime to try to explain them and utter them. And speech is limited in the human realm to try to explain the eternal splendors and glories and majesties that await us, the children of God." Paul said, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed."
We can never fathom or comprehend the glories of heaven. So, let me give you some wise counsel. Whatever you believe about heaven, you get it from the Bible. You get it from the lips of Jesus. Don't be buying books about, "I died, went to heaven and I want to tell you about it." Read what the Bible has to say. And we're going to see tonight that a lot of what the Bible says about heaven is what heaven will not be like.
So, to tell us what heaven is like, it describes what won't be there and the characteristics, it will be different and won't be happening. So, let's read verse 3 to verse 8 and we'll go back and I'll note them for you. John says, "I heard a great voice out of heaven." Notice, 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.' 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.
He that sat upon the throne," and every time we see the throne, God is sitting on it, "Behold he makes all things new." There's our theme. "And he said into me, 'Write for these words are true and faithful.' And he said into me, 'It is done. I am Alpha and Omega.'" Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. So, Jesus is actually claiming to be the beginning and the ending, the beginning and the end.
"I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. And he that overcometh," that's a descriptive term for the believer, "shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my son."
"But the fearful," verse 8, "and the 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."
Now, I want you to note these six characteristics, or excuse me, these, yeah, these six characteristics from these verses about heaven that the Bible makes clear. First of all, notice in verse 3, God will live and dwell with us. Now, we could just stop right here for the rest of the night, right? Isn't that cool enough? What's heaven going to be like? God will be there. Can you dig that? I can dig that. God will actually dwell with us.
Now, we just finished a thousand years on earth co-reigning with Christ. Now, we're in the eternal state and we have God the Father and God the Son with us. How glorious is that? Notice verse 3, that behold the tabernacle of God is with men. He will dwell with them, they shall be as people. God himself should be with them and be their God. Notice the word tabernacle. We get the idea of a tent or living in a tent. In the Old Testament, the children of Israel lived or God lived among them in the tabernacle, in the tent. And so glorious that was.
But then in John 1:14, it tells us that the word Jesus Christ pitched his tent among us or tabernacle among us, took on flesh and tabernacle among us. God incarnate God in the flesh. So God is going to actually be tabernacling with us or dwelling with us during this glorious time. Let me point out the second characteristic of heaven is that it will be the land of no more. I call heaven the land of no more. Notice that God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. So it'd be the land of no more, no more tears.
Now, a lot of people are puzzled by that. I've never been puzzled by it. It's funny over the years of questions people have asked me that I've always thought I haven't told them but I've always thought, "That's a dumb question. Why think about that?" Or in heaven, who cares why He wipes away tears there? Some people say, "I thought we wouldn't cry in heaven." I don't think that way. I don't worry about that.
And some say, "Well, maybe we're crying tears of joy." Possibly because we're in the presence of the Lord. Maybe we're crying because we realize that we should have done more to serve the Lord. I don't know. But all I do know is that He will wipe away every tear.
I believe it's a figure of speech for saying that in heaven, no more sorrow, no more tears, there will be no more pain. God shall wipe away all tears. So, it won't be anything like we know. Now notice he says, "No more death." And you can do something I've done in my Bible. If you feel led to do that, make a note of all the places that there'll be no more, that there'll be no more death, no more tears, no more sorrow.
All through this chapter and the next chapter, there's a reference to no or no more, no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying. No one will ever die again. And that's man's great enemy. That's the great pain. That's the great pain, the thought of death. The thought of one day you're going to leave your husband, you're going to leave your wife. The thought of one day you're going to leave your children.
If you've lived long enough, you've seen perhaps your parents go or grandparents go. Usually you see your grandparents go then you see your parents go. And then you live long enough and you see friends begin to die and people you love begin to die. But what a blessing, this is going to be an eternity. No one will ever die again and no sorrow, nor crying. Neither shall there be any more pain. There will be no more pain for the former things are passed away.
Notice the third quality of heaven. All things will be made new. Look at verse 5, "He then sat upon the thrones said, 'Behold, I make everything brand new.'" It's going to be a new quality in heaven. And then notice not only will all things be made new but fourthly, there'll be complete satisfaction in the eternal state.
Look at verse six. He said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." Again, that's basically God's saying, "I will satisfy your every desire. Your deepest longings, your thirst will be satisfied and fulfilled."
And then notice fifthly in verse 7, there'll be a divine inheritance when we get to heaven. "He that overcometh," now that term, as I said, is basically a description of all Christians. Sometimes we get the idea that it's describing an elite group of believers, the overcomers of the super saints of the deeper life club. Now, it's a title in the book of Revelation, For All Who Are in Christ. They're overcomers. "Shall," verse 7, "inherit all things, and I will be as God and he shall be my son."
In Ephesians, we actually covered it last Sunday night out on the grass with our outdoor service where Paul the Apostle said in Ephesians 1 verse 11 in whom referring to Christ that we have an inheritance, that we are made an inheritance, that we are his inheritance. So, in Christ, these children of God adopted and reconcile to God. We have an inheritance coming, so we will inherit all things.
And then notice sixthly in verse 8, there will be no one who is unholy in heaven, no unbelievers, no unsaved, no wicked, no vile person. And he describes it. He says, "The fearful and unbelieving." Notice the terms he gives to these people who will be shut out of heaven. Those who are fearful, those who are unbelieving, those who are abominable, they're impure. Those who are murderers. Whoremongers is referring to sexual immorality. And then sorcerers, we get our word pharmacia or pharmacy, the taking of drugs and the mixing of potions, demonic activity. Idolaters, people who worship false gods, all liars.
Now, I know some people are reading this and think, "Oh no." And I'll talk about that. Shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. The second death is eternal death. First death is you die physically. The word death means separation. You leave your body. Second death, separated from God for all eternity. If you're born twice physically and spiritually, you'll only die once. You won't die the second death. So these are described as people who will go to hell.
Now, technically they don't go to hell because they are abominable and idolatrous and liars. They go to hell because they've rejected God's son, Jesus Christ. And they are unregenerated or unsaved. And the reason we know that is because their lives are characterized by continual habitual sins. So, this is the character of their life.
He's not saying that if you in the past at one point in time lied or committed some sexual sin that you won't get to go to heaven. We know that in Christ, our sins are forgiven, that all old things pass away, all things become new, that we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
And that doesn't mean that even as a Christian, if you stumble and fall into some sin that the Bible says in 1 John 1:9, if we confess our sin, He's faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So, don't be worried too much about, "Well, gee, a couple months ago, I had a moment of weakness and I said something that wasn't true. I'm going to go to hell."
No. If you confess your sin, He forgives you. But you don't need to look at your life and say, "Am I a good person or not?" We don't go to heaven by being good. You ask yourself, "Have I trusted Christ? Have I been born again? Is the tenor of my life to live habitually and practice these sins?" So when we get to heaven, there will be no ungodly people. Heaven is for God's children.
But let me move to the second section tonight, verse 9 to 27 and we'll just skim over it. We have a description of the city. First, there's the descent of the city, versus 1 to 8. And then secondly, there's the description of the city. And I want you to notice in verses 9 and 10, "There came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues. And he talked with me saying, 'Come here and I will show the bride, the Lamb's wife.'"
Now, the bride, the Lamb's wife is again a reference to the New Jerusalem. There are different titles used for the New Jerusalem. It's called the bride. It's called the bride, the Lamb's wife. It's called the great city. It's called the holy Jerusalem.
So he says, "He carried me away," verse 10, "in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and he showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God." So John says, "I was carried away to see this glorious city here described as the bride, the Lamb's wife."
Now, I want you to notice some other aspects about this city. Notice the glory of the city in verse 11. The city have the glory of God and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone. It was clear as crystal. This was an opaque clear jasper which is a green. A lot of the stones were different colors. But the city looked like a jasper stone, but it was clear as crystal.
But notice that there was the glory of God. How many cities have you visited lately where the glory of God is radiating? Go to New York or go to Los Angeles or San Francisco. I don't think so. Where you see the glory of God, you see the glory of man and it's pretty sad. But this is going to be a city, you country lovers, where the glory of God is going to be evident.
Then I want you to notice secondly the construction in verse 12 down to verse 14. And we won't go into a lot of detail about it, but some say this isn't a literal city. This isn't really going to be a spiritual city or heaven, that this is just metaphorical for the church and that it's allegory for the church. But it's pretty hard to believe that when it's given the materials and the dimension and the size and all the specs for this city.
But notice in verse 12 to 14, it had a great wall, a wall great and high, and 12 gates. So, if it's allegorical or to be spiritualized, it's pretty strange that they would go into this detail. And at the gates 12 angels and the names written thereon. A lot of number 12s in the construction and the aspects of this New Jerusalem which are the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel.
Israel still maintains its identity in eternity. You have the 12 tribes of Israel listed on these 12 gates. Now, just a quick footnote and I'm not trying to be humorous, but notice it says 12 gates and the gates had 12 angels. No mention of St. Peter standing next to a pearly gate. Isn't it crazy we have all these jokes about Peter standing at the gate and interviewing people to come into heaven? Nowhere is that found in the Bible, just isn't going to happen. And these are the 12 tribes listed on these 12 gates.
And on the east, there were three gates. On the north side of the city, there were three gates. On the south, there were three gates. And on the west, there were three gates. And the wall of the city had 12 foundations, which indicates that this is a settled, permanent place. It's not going to be changed. Twelve foundations and in them the names of the 12 apostles of the lamb. So, you have 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes, Israel's represented. Then you have the 12 foundations with the 12 apostles named on them which represents the church.
And I don't want to get off on this subject but I think it's interesting. Early in my series, I pointed out that you need to keep Israel separate from the church and the church separate from Israel. You need to keep them in their own categories. In heaven, they're going to maintain their distinctions, God's purpose and plan for Israel, God's purpose and plan for the church.
Again, read Romans 9, 10 and 11. And matter of fact, if you read Romans Chapter 11, it fits perfectly with what we're reading tonight about the eternal state where God is going to restore Israel and the promises that he made with them. So, all the foundations are mentioned in verse 14.
Then we move to the measurements in verse 15 to 17, a lot of detail there that I want you to read on your own. We won't go into them all. But notice in verse 16 that the city leith foursquare, the length as large as the breadth and measured the city with a reed, 12,000 furlongs. And the length and the breadth and the height of it were equal.
Now, the most common view is that it's going to be a giant cube. Some feel that it may be a pyramid which is quite interesting in light of all the interest in pyramids but it might be a pyramid with those sides, the throne on the top and a river coming down from the throne of God running through this city. But a lot of people freak out and wonder, "Is heaven going to be big enough? You think God's going to be able to build enough for us all to live in?" It will be big enough. And a lot of Bible students have got into the size of the city and mathematically looked at the population of the earth and the percentage that would be saved in the Old Testament, New Testament and figured out that we have plenty of room with plenty of room to spare in heaven in the New Jerusalem. So, it's interesting to look at all those details of the size of the city.
And then, we see the materials in verse 18 down to verse 21. Just peek at it quick for a moment. The building, verse 18, of the wall, it was of jasper and the city was pure gold liken to clear glass. Think about that. Probably a new kind of gold, a different kind of gold again that's opaque or clear so the glory of the Lord can shine through it all.
And the foundations, verse 19, of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper, second was sapphire, the third chalcedony and the fourth were emerald. And it describes the different stones in verse 20 and all the different colors.
The cool thing for me is that heaven is going to be beautiful and radiant and glorious. You ever notice it in nature that God is so perfect in the colors that he paints. Take the colors on a bird. Take the colors of the sky. Take the colors of the sunset. Take the colors of a forest. Take the colors of a winter day and the creek running and all the colors just are perfect. And I just amazed. When you'd have a flower, all the colors, they don't clash, they match and they just radiate beautifully. God is a God of variety and God of color, how glorious that is going to be.
Then I want you to note the new city in its relationship to God in verse 22 and 23. He says, "I saw no temple there." Here's another no, no temple there. Why? "For the Lord God Almighty, verse 22, and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had," here's another one, "no need of the sun, neither the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it and the Lamb is the light thereof."
So there's not going to be any churches in heaven. We won't worry about the Coronavirus in heaven, churches being shut down. It ain't going to happen. And there's no need of temples there because the whole city is going to be the habitation of God and we're going to be dwelling there with him. What a glorious truth. And no need of the sun nor of the moon.
Now, I read something interesting today and I don't know if you can put any stock in it. But Charles Ryrie is a respected Bible scholar that I love his writings. He points out that it doesn't say there won't be any sun. He points out that it says there's no need of the sun, neither of the moon, with the possibility that there could still be a sun and a moon or a new sun, a new moon. Not necessarily but possible, but we don't need it. Why don't we need it? Because God's there and He's glorious shining and He's radiating.
Other scholars feel that it's basically a way of saying that there is no more sun, there is no more moon, there is no light bodies because God fills the city with the glory of His light. We looked at the transfiguration Sunday morning and we saw Jesus pull back the veil of His humanity and it says that He became bright and light like the sun. What a glorious thing to be able to look at God. Moses saw the face of God or an appearance or manifestation of God and His face radiated and glowed shine with the light of it.
So, there certainly will be at least no need of the sun or the moon and maybe no sun or moon. We're going to have the light of God to light. There's going to be no need of electricity, no electric bills in heaven, no bulbs being burned out, the need to be replaced, but the glory of God will lighten it, verse 23. And the Lamb will be the light thereof.
And then relationship of God in the new city to the nations. Verse 24 to verse 27, "The nations of them which are safe shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day, for there shall be," here's another no, "no night there." You say, "Well, when are we going to sleep?" We are not going to have to sleep.
Wouldn't be cool we'll never yawn? We're not going to yawn. We're not going to get tired. We're not going to say, "I'm going to bed. I'll see you later." It's going to be a constant awake, constant worship, constant praise, constant fellowship, constantly serving the Lord. And we'll never get tired. We'll never get fatigued. We'll never have any pain because there won't be any night there. What a glorious truth that will be.
And these nations, and a little mystery about these nations, we're not sure exactly what's happening here. Possible that different nations will be represented even in heaven showing that he is redeemed. The whole earth or the word nations can also be translated Gentiles and it could be a reference to the fact of Gentiles who are saved through the church and having a place and position in the new heavens and the new earth.
"They shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. There shall no wise," here's again another no, "enter into it," verse 27, "anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh an abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."
Now, again, I want to remind you, we're almost wrapped up here, that this is the Bible's description of heaven as the eternal state. And again, this is objective truth from the Word of God. We can take it to the bank. It's sure.
Now, I want to move thirdly and lastly to the delights of the city, Chapter 22 verses 1 to 5. So we saw the descent of the city. We saw the description of the city. Now, how about the delights of the city?
John says, "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal. And it was proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And in the midst of the street and on either side of the river, there was the tree of life," probably the same tree that was in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve after they sin were forbidden to eat. Now it's in heaven. "Which bear 12 manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations."
Again, some people have a difficult time understanding why we need healing. In heaven, the word healing could be translated health as well that it's the idea that just God gives us health and strength in the eternal state. But in verse 3, it says, "There shall be no more curse." Now, get your pen ready and note again, here's some no, no mores, "no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, His servants shall serve Him. And they shall see His face and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there, there'll be no need of candle nor light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign forever and ever." And I would add forever and ever and ever and ever.
Now again, these verses are worth meditating on and your heart being filled with joy knowing this is the description of the delights of heaven. Let me mention seven of them in this passage. The first is there's going to be a pure river water of life that we can drink from, we can be satisfied with. What a blessing that is.
The second is in verse 2, there's going to be the tree of life. And there's going to be fruit on it, different fruit every month that we can eat from the tree of life and live for eternity. And the third is in verse 3, no more curse. Praise God that the curse will be eliminated. No more shall thorns infest the ground.
Now, I know that the transition was the Millennium, but this is now the eternal state and there will be no more curse. Jesus took the curse and now He takes His position on the throne as King. But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it and then His servants shall serve Him.
Now, just want to point out that that's the fourth delight of heaven. We will serve God. We talk a lot about, "Well, what are we going to do in heaven? Just sit on a cloud, play a harp, sounds kind of boring. What are we going to do?" The Bible here in other places makes it clear that we're actually going to be busy serving God.
It's a joy right now to serve God. If you're a believer, you find that one of the greatest joys and most fulfilling things you can do with your life is to serve the Lord, is to live for Him who died for you. Well, think about it. When you get to heaven, would there be any less joy? Would there be any less satisfaction? Are we just going to sit around and twiddle our thumbs? No, we're going to be serving God?
Now, we're not sure exactly in what way or capacity, but we will be serving him. We'll also be worshiping God in heaven. That's one of the reasons why we sing and we worship God on earth because it's a little taste of heaven. Now, some feel and I think it's interesting that our service in heaven will be based upon our faithfulness in serving on earth.
If you are faithful in a few things, God will give you many things. If you are faithful in what God called you to do in your service right now, then God will give you greater capacities and opportunities to serve Him in heaven which I believe will bring even greater joys. So, what a blessing to know that we will be serving Him in heaven.
And here's the fifth delight. It's in verse 4, they shall see his faith. Faith will be turned into sight. We as believers will actually be able to reach out and touch the face of God. What an awesome thought. Remember when Jesus died and rose again and in His post-resurrection appearances, he told Thomas, "Touch me, reach out your hand and feel flesh and blood," that he had? He's not a spirit. He's a real person.
So Jesus even in His glorified body which we're going to have and we're going to see Him like that in heaven, we can touch Him, we can embrace Him, we will actually see God. And to try to think about that for a moment is just beyond comprehension to think that I will have the capacity in a new body, that my new body will equip me with the ability to be able to see God. Bible says, "No man can see God. But when we are in our new bodies, we'll be able to see God face to face." The Bible says right now we see through a glass dimly, but then we will see face to face. And we will be like Him.
The process of sanctification in the believers' life will come to its completion when we see Him and we're like Him instantly and made into His image. And I want you to notice the blessing and the delight. Number six, that there will be no night and there's no need of candle or light for the sun and the Lord giveth the light thereof. We've already talked about that. In verse 5, the sixth delight is they shall reign forever and ever.
Now, I know we could go to other verses, there's a few, and talk about from other scriptures about heaven. There's no procreation. We're not going to be married. We're not going to have children. We're going to be in our eternal bodies and all that stuff. But here's one of the best passages in describing the delights of heaven, face to face with the One who sought me and bought me and saved me by His grace.
Now, I want to race through these quickly and bringing this study to a head asking the question, how should we then live? And this is not only in light of tonight but in light of the last six weeks including tonight. Write them down, six ways we should live taken from Revelation 22.
First of all, we need to keep God's word. Look at verse 6 and 7. "He said unto me, 'These sayings are faithful and true, the Lord God of the holy prophets has sent his angel, shew to His servants the things which must surely be done. Behold, I come quickly.'" Three times in closing this book, he says, "I come quickly." "Blessed is he," verse 7, "that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book." What do we do in light of the end of time? Keep God's word. Hide it in your heart. Believe the Bible to be the infallible, inerrant, inspired word of God.
Second thing we need to do is we need to live pure and holy lives. Look at verse 11 of Revelation 22. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still. He which is filthy, let him be filthy still. He that is righteous, let him be righteous still. He that is holy, let him be holy still." When the eternal state starts, the wicked will be wicked and they'll be punished for the rest of eternity. The righteous will maintain their righteous relationship with God for all eternity.
What this verse is teaching, verse 11, is that in eternity, your destiny is fixed, that there's no changing. You can't be purged in a place of punishment and then finally make it to heaven. Your eternal state is fixed. So we need to live a pure and holy life right now.
Notice then thirdly, we should live to serve God, verse 12 of Revelation 22. "And behold, I come quickly, my reward is with me, to give every man according to his work shall be." We're laboring, serving the Lord for a reward. And then notice fourthly and lastly, we should live to win the lost, verse 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 come and take the water of life freely."
We need to understand that right now, we have the opportunity to tell other people, "Whosoever come and drink, God and His grace will forgive you and show mercy to you and save you for all eternity." This closing tonight brings us face to face with the reality of the eternal. There's a heaven to gain and a hell to lose and a hell to shun. And everyone will either go to heaven for eternity or to hell for eternity. But right now, it's our opportunity to seek to win the loss. So if you're thirsty, whosoever you are, you can take the water of life freely right now.
Pastor John Miller concludes our series on end-time events and how they will unfold with a message titled, “The New Heaven and New Earth.”