Last week, we saw the Millennial Reign of Christ. At the end, the devil was loosed for a time, and the nations were again deceived. Again, God's opponents were destroyed, then the Great White Throne judgment was completed.
The Lord now creates a new heavens and a new earth. The Psalmist wrote,
Ps. 102:25-26 Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed.
After 7,000 years, it will be time for a new creation. Not a refurbishing of the old, but one that is completely new\. In 2Peter 3 we read,
2Pet. 3:5-13 ...The heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Consumed in a massive burning of fire - it will all be gone. The Lord told Isaiah,
Isa. 65:17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind."
It will be consumed, destroyed, and completely forgotten. Why do we try to build a lasting legacy here with riches, houses, cars, fame? Not one thing on this earth will survive this fire. Nothing.
Why will there be no more sea? There are three areas that I believe could explain this: a spiritual, a practical, and an observational.
As we discussed back in chapter 13, there is a spiritual mystery about the sea. The antichrist will arise out of the sea, and as we read in chapter 20,
Rev. 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them...
In Matthew 8, Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea during a storm, and the legion of demons begged not to be sent into the abyss, but entered a herd of pigs, and "rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters" instead.
There is definitely something spiritual going on with the sea that will not be in existence in the new creation.
Practically, the sea is a filter, a purifier of our world's impurities. In the new earth, there will be no more pollution, no more curse. It will no longer be needed for that purpose.
Observational - The sea is also a barrier and a fearful mystery. It creates separation between people, as well as hiding the unknown under its surface. There will be no more barriers, nothing left that is covered up.
So, for these reasons, or maybe others, the new earth will not have any sea.
John sees the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. It is the "city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb 12:22), "the Jerusalem above" (Gal 4:26). Why is it called "Jerusalem," when so many terrible things happened in the first Jerusalem? Jerusalem in Hebrew is "Yer-oo-shaw-LAH-im," and means "provider of peace." This was God's desire for the first city, and will be realized in the New Jerusalem.
The tabernacle of God is among men - He shall dwell among them. God dwelt with His people in the tabernacle in the wilderness, then later in the first and rebuilt temples. But then, as John wrote,
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (literally: "tabernacled") among us...
Jesus in the flesh on earth! This was far superior to a building. He said,
Matt. 12:6 "But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here."
Now, as eternity begins, God Himself will again tabernacle among men.
John has been shown the day that he will once again be with a tangible Jesus. I can only imagine that he is overwhelmed, overcome, spellbound, and he forgets to continue writing - he just stares in a numb disbelief. The Lord says to him,
Rev. 21:5 ..."Write, for these words are faithful and true."
Almost as if He is saying, "Hey John, wake up - you've got to get this down on paper!"
The Lord says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega." This is the A and the Z of the Greek alphabet, the first and the last letters. Three times in Revelation He calls Himself this (Rev 1:8; 21:6; 22:13). Also, three times in Revelation (Rev 1:17; 2:8; 22:13) and three times in Isaiah (Isa 41:4; 44:6; 48:12), the Lord calls himself "the First and the Last".
In Rev 1:8, it is "the Lord God" who says He is the Alpha and the Omega. In Isaiah, it is "The LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts, there is no God besides Me" who is the first and the last.
And yet is is Jesus Christ in Rev 22:13 who is the Alpha and the Omega. It is Jesus who says three times that He is the first and the last. If you've been wondering how to prove to the cults that come to your door that Jesus Christ claimed to be God, do a study of the nine occurrences in the Bible regarding who is the Alpha and the Omega, and the First and The Last.
The water of life is free to those who thirst for it. Remember that Jesus said to the woman at the well,
John 4:13-14 ..."Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
And at the temple, Jesus cried out,
John 7:37-38 "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'"
People are thirsting for so many things that they think will fulfill them - money, possessions, relationships. But there is a thirst that we have that cannot be satisfied by anything or anyone but God. Jesus gave this invitation to all, inviting them to come and drink - to finally know satisfaction - never to thirst again.
A blessed promise to the overcomer. But how can we overcome?
1John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world our faith.
If you have faith in Jesus Christ, you have overcome the world, and your inheritance is sure, and it is reserved in heaven for you (1Pet 1:4). What is that inheritance? You will inherit eternal life (Mat 19:29), the kingdom of God (Mat 25:34), and salvation (Heb 1:14).
And through the faith that overcomes the world, we also become sons of God. John wrote,
1John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.
The book of Galatians says,
Gal. 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Do you have faith in Jesus Christ today? If so, you are a son of God.
This is the judgment that we saw last week - eternal separation from God for those who have chosen to be apart from God in this life. Interesting to note that in this list, "immoral persons" is "POR-nos" in Greek, where we derive our word "pornography." "Sorcerers" is "far-mak-YOS," meaning one who prepares drugs. This is where we get our word "pharmacy."
The church is the bride of Christ - we are presently espoused to Him, engaged. But one day soon we will be caught up to heaven for a seven year marriage feast. And the church will be forever married to the Lord from that time on.
One of the angels calls John over to see the church's eternal dwelling place.
John tries his best here, but the city is seen by human eyes and described by human words - we cannot begin to even fathom its beauty and splendor.
It is a cube 1,500 miles in length, width, and height. A total of 3,375,000,000 cubic miles. That is about the volume of the moon. And it is more than enough room to give every believer in history lots and lots of room to dwell in.
There are 12 gates, each with the name of a tribe of Israel on it, reminding us for eternity that "salvation is of the Jews." Each of the foundation stones of the walls have the name of one of the 12 apostles on them. This tells us for eternity that the knowledge of salvation came through the foundation of the apostles' teaching.
In ancient times, cities had walls around them, with gates that were closed at night to protect them from enemies. But the new Jerusalem will never close its gates for two reasons: no enemy will ever enter it, and it's never nighttime! The Lord's glory illuminates the entire place!
So now the angel shows John inside the new Jerusalem, with the river of the water of life, the throne, the tree of life, and all these wondrous things.
Sin is no more, the curse is no more, the way to the Tree of Life is freely open. All things have been made perfect. No more darkness, no more pain, no more tears. What a great way to spend eternity!
Notice the word "nations" being mentioned these three times (21:24; 21:26; 22:2). There are new nations on this new earth! Now, I don't believe the Bible tells us any more about this than what we've read, but I do know that we will be an example of God's grace and mercy to the people of these nations.
Eph. 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
There are ages to come, ages we have not been told about. And we will be examples of God's grace.
There is that blessing again that was at the beginning of the book:
Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it
You've read along, you've heard it, but the real question is, will you heed these words? Jesus is coming quickly - is that reality to you? People are going to be judged if their names aren't written in the Lamb's book of life - is that reality to you? Your eternity is based on your relationship with Jesus Christ - is that reality to you? Blessed is he who heeds these things.
John is pointing out that he was so overwhelmed by these things that he fell down and worshiped an angel in chapter 19. What is your response to the book of Revelation? Do you have a desperation to share the gospel? Are you overwhelmed with a desire to know Jesus? If you heed this book, you will be blessed.
If you've studied the book of Daniel, you will recall that he was told,
Dan. 12:4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end..."
But now the things of the last days are freely open to us to comprehend and prepare for. The prophecy given to Daniel was sealed up, but now is opened in the Revelation.
As for what is meant in verse 11, it follows the flow of Daniel 12. There it was written,
Dan. 12:9-10 ...These words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. Many will be purged, purified and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.
There will always be people that reject God. He won't force anyone to obedience. We were given freedom of choice, and we all have the choice of one of two paths: wrongness and filthiness, or righteousness and holiness. And when all is said and done, when you have chosen your way and died in it, there is no second chance. Choose today which path you will take.
To get into the heavenly city, you must be washed in the blood of Christ - having the filthiness of your sin cleansed by the righteousness of Christ. No one will get in without this - they will be on the outside - in outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Twice now, we've been told that the water of life is without cost.
Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Salvation was not free to God when He provided it, it cost Him His Son. But to each of us, He offers it freely.
There are so many "theologians" who explain away this section of Scripture, and that part of the Bible. They tell you that Revelation is the paranoid schizophrenic nightmare of a delusional John, and it should not be read. Utter nonsense!
2Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Don't add to the word of God - that is the traditions of men. Don't subtract from the word of God - that is to say that God has made a mistake in His eternal Word. Leave it as it is and take it as it is given. It's not for you to mess with.
And with this amen, we come to the conclusion of the book of Revelation. Jesus is coming quickly. The things prophesied in this book are real, and they are happening sooner than most of us really believe they will. Make sure that your life is being lived heeding the words that we've studied.