What will eternity be like? What will it be like to live with God forever and ever? Chapter 21 tells us. All the bad and negative things of this world are going to be conquered and destroyed. All the pollution, the ungodliness, the evil, all the suffering and pain, even death will be gone. It’s all going to be erased
God is going to take Satan and the evil of this world and destroy them. He is going to make a new heavens and a new earth. All things will be made new. This is the subject of tonight’s passage.
Read 1. Here we see the new creation. The heaven and the earth that we know are going to pass away. This means that all the heavens above—the sun, moon, starts and planets—are going to be destroyed and remade. This means there will be no more violent thunderstorms, or typhoons, or hurricanes or any kind of destructive rains and weather.
We look up at night and are awed by the beauty of the moon and the stars. But the new heavens will be even more splendid. All things in the universe will be alive and reflect the glory and splendor of God Himself.
The universe then will be perfect, a place where nothing burns out or wears down or wastes away or dies. We can’t imagine the glory and beauty. It’s beyond our finite minds.
The earth is going to pass away. There is going to be a new earth. The present earth suffers under all kinds of natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, destructive storms, floods, scorching heat, deserts, famines, diseases, and death. But when God remakes the earth, all that will no longer exist.
The new earth will flourish and be fruitful, bearing all the good that can be imagined. Just think how beautiful, green, lush, productive, and fruitful it will be. Note the statement, “there was no longer any sea.” This can mean one of two things.
The sea will be eliminated and the new earth will have no sea. Or it can mean the same thing that is meant with the heavens and the earth. The heavens and the earth and the sea are to pass away and be made newly created. The sea that causes devastation and destruction will be destroyed right along with the earth and the heavens, but it could mean that there will be a new sea along with the new earth, a part of the new creation. A perfected earth is beyond our comprehension. But the Scripture declares that is exactly what will happen. READ 2.
Here we see the new city of God, the Holy city, the New Jerusalem. The idea is that the New Jerusalem will be the capital city in the new heaven and earth. God’s presence will be manifested everywhere in the new heavens and the new earth.
The holy city will give the believers a place that they can identify with as they serve God throughout the universe.
The heavenly city is the tabernacle, the very presence of God that comes down to dwell with man. The New Jerusalem is discussed in detail in the next passage. But the point in this verse is to show that God has prepared His own capital city to sit upon the earth. The Lord’s throne will sit in the New Jerusalem and from there He will rule and reign throughout eternity. Note that the city comes down out of heaven.
It’s not constructed here on earth. God has it built in heaven and then moves it to earth. It is said to be as beautiful as a bride who is prepared for her husband. Remember when Jesus told His apostles that He was going away to prepare a place for them. There is the possibility that He was referring to His preparing the New Jerusalem. READ 3.
There will be immediate fellowship with God. Here’s the picture: when the New Jerusalem, the capital city of eternity, is moved to earth, then the very presence and glory of God will dwell and live right here upon earth. When the New Jerusalem is established on earth, God’s glory and presence will be forever on earth. God’s presence will never again be dulled or removed from the presence of people.
Think how wonderful it will be: we will never be without the presence and glory of God. God says He is going to live and dwell with us. We will serve and work for God face to face. That is what eternity will be like. READ 4-6
Here we see the perfection of all things. Let’s note a couple of things.
1. Life will be perfected. This means that the body of man will be perfected, so will the environment and earth. Life will be totally different from what it is now. The utopia that man has longed for will be a reality. Scripture explains the change in a beautiful way. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Imagine a world where never again will there be a tear shed.
No more death, no aging, no more sorrow, no disappointment, no failure, no crying, no arguing, no fussing, no more problems with the sound system being too loud or too soft, no more problems with it being too cold or too hot during worship, no more pain, no disease. But note why. All this is because God recreates the universe.
It’s because “the old order of things has passed away.” Again, we can’t imagine how perfect it will be. God can only say that the old earth is going to pass away.
2. The second thing to note is that God assures us that He is going to perfect all things. There are three assurances He gives us.
a. God Himself assures us. God Himself spoke from the throne of heaven and declared that HE was going to make everything new.
b. God’s Word assures it. God gives a double declaration. He says His words are true and faithful. By true he means that He will do exactly what He says. We can all count on it. God instructed John to write down all that He said. God wanted us to know about His promise of a new heaven and earth.
c. God’s sovereignty assures it. How? By the power and sovereignty of God. God says, (v.6) “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.” Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter. God is the creator of all things. All things have their beginning in Him and He is the end of all things. All things find their meaning and being in Him.
Note that God has willed a new heaven and earth. He has already spoken it into being. He has already declared, “It is done.” The clock is set. The minutes are ticking away and the hour will come when the set time arrives.
READ 6-8. God is still speaking. What He is saying is important, so important that He must make the declaration Himself. It’s too important to have an angelic messenger declare the message.
God tells us who the citizens of His new heavens and earth will be. But He also tells us who will not be citizens. He warns us that not everyone will be acceptable to Him. But He shows us how to make sure that we are acceptable. He shows us how to receive the right to become citizens of the new heavens and earth. So, how do we do that?
1. First, the citizens of the new heavens and earth will be those who thirst for life. God says that He will give the water of life to all those who thirst after it. God will give life to those who thirst after it. We must thirst after the life that God gives.
2. Secondly, the citizen of the new heaven and earth will be the overcomer. The overcomer is the person who overcomes this world and remains faithful and loyal to Christ. That is the person who overcomes all the temptations and trials of life. The overcomer will inherit all this, all that the new heavens and earth offer. He will be a son of God.
3. Thirdly, the fate of the people who will be rejected is clearly spelled out. We will end our study tonight with this list of those who will be rejected. Keep in mind that this warning is for us NOW so that we won’t be included in this list.
a. The cowardly. Those who do not confess Christ because they fear what others might say. Those who are afraid to give up the world and deny self. Those who fear taking a stand for Christ. Those who fear to fellowship or become identified with Christian people. Do you know any of the cowardly?
b. The unbelieving. Those who don’t believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Those who reject Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for their sins. Those who profess Christ, but live hypocritical lives, who show by their sinful behavior that they do not really believe Him. Does this bring anyone to mind?
c. The vile. Those who are worldly and who live worldly lives. Those who reach out to touch and taste the impurities and lusts of the world. Those who are stained and contaminated and polluted with worldliness. Those who refuse to separate from the pleasures and possessions of this world and refuse to turn to God.
d. The murderers. Those who kill and take away the lives of others. This brings a question to mind. Can you kill someone without physically killing them?
e. The sexually immoral. Those who are sexually impure. Those who commit sexual immorality or have sex before marriage. Those who commit adultery and homosexuality and all other sexual acts that God forbids. Those who look and lust, read and lust, think and lust.
f. The ones who practice magic arts or sorcerers. Those who engage in astrology, witchcraft, devil worship, spiritism, séances, palm reading, fortune telling, and all other forms of false beliefs that claim to reveal and control one’s fate, life, and destiny.
g. The idolaters. Those who worship idols, whether idols made with one’s hands or just conceived in one’s minds. Those who have an image of what God is like and worship and follow that image instead of following the God revealed by the Scriptures. Those who put things of this earth before God. Those who give their primary attention and devotion to someone or something other than God.
h. The liars. Those who tell falsehoods and do not tell the truth. Those who deceive and mislead others. Those who are gossips and talebearers and who pass rumors along. “But I don’t gossip. Everything I say about someone behind their back is true.”
What a tragic list. Any person who doesn’t repent and turn away from these things, any person who doesn’t turn to God for forgiveness of these things, any person who doesn’t forsake these things, that person will not enter into the new heavens and earth. He will not be a citizen of the new heavens and earth.
So where does he go then? The Scripture is clear. “Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
We stop here for tonight. Next time we will get into the detailed description of the New Jerusalem, the City of God.