New Heaven, New Earth

Rev. 21:1-8

These two final chapters of Revelation the part we’ve been waiting for! Don’t forget God promises blessing for reading entire book, not just 2 chapters. First 20 are vitally necessary for proper understanding and appreciation of last 2.

Second important point – “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.” LBCF I.1 God has told us in his word all we need to know about heaven. What God has said is indisputable and unable to mislead the hearer. If you want to know the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth about heaven, go to God’s word the Bible, not your local bookstore or NetFlix. Then bring your conceptions of heaven into accord with the Bible, compare all you hear about heaven with what Bible says and reject what conflicts or goes beyond God’s word.

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged includes some 470,000 entries. Less than 15,000 used in Bible, yet we struggle with precision. Use words heaven, hell, earth, universe to mean different things, have mental picture corresponding to each. Often think of heaven / earth as distinct places, exclusive of one another – earth where we live, heaven where God lives and Christian goes when he/she dies. Heaven where will spend eternity with God, earth… not quite sure about that! Then throw in Paradise, Hades, Sheol, Abraham’s bosom and your eyes begin to glaze. Trust your eyes don’t glaze, that you gain richer understanding of what awaits Christ’s church described here in ch. 21-22.

As we come to our text, we move from this age to the next – former days before Christ, latter days after Christ of present finite age, now looking at the next age that will be without end. See the place, the purpose, and the plan God has in store for those who are his.

A. the place v.1-2

finally here – read Isa. 65:17-18 – paradigm shift, radical change in framework for life and circumstances

language that goes back to very beginning – first heavens and earth – Hebrew idiom for universe:

“in the beginning of this age God created the universe” — “in the beginning of the next age God creates a new universe”

first universe created by God’s authoritative command from nothing in six days and all very good… but with potential for evil

new universe created by God with no potential for evil – similar, perhaps same means God will use when bodies are resurrected

universe like God’s people “will be set free from its bondage to decay” (Rom 8:21) – creation waiting its redemption, too

whatever effect sin and resulting curse had on stars and planets, rest of creation beyond our earth, will be removed

new heaven

characteristic of first universe: distinction between where mankind lives and where God/angels live – occasionally God/angels cross barrier, man is not free to do so

even before sin entered world, Adam and Eve lived on earth, not in heaven – God walked with them, he also disappeared from sight

wherever it is, however it works, life in present heaven different from here – Jesus only one there with a body, God’s will done there absolutely

on rare occasion, God permits sight into heaven: Stephen, Paul, John – Jesus said: “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.” (John 3:13)

no longer boundary between heaven and earth

a sense in which heaven comes to earth: God present with his people without barriers to hinder sight and fellowship

new earth

restored from consequences of both Fall/curse, God’s judgment(s) incl. Flood, depredations of sinful man

earth has already taken bunch of hits, not from asteroids or space junk – the process of decay, messed up behavior of weather and climate, rearranging of surface from Flood

then everything mankind has done – dig up dirt here, pile it up there; dam this river to empty that lake and fill this one

every last trace of sin/Curse will be gone, not present in new earth – even better, will be renewed in such way that no potential or possibility for sin to ever corrupt it

no longer any sea: place for dragon to hide, source of what disturbs God’s people

seas, as in oceans, often viewed negatively in Bible – hindrance to deliverance (Red Sea), place of storm and tempest (Jonah, Paul) in Revelation the Dragon’s abode

frightening, disheartening to people… but most of all, name given to huge bowl made for Solomon’s temple: bronze Sea – where priests symbolically washed their impurities/sins away

if there are oceans in new earth, will have nothing evil or threatening or fearful associated with them

new city

true city of God (in contrast to city of man) – is just as fit a habitation for church as she is fit bride for Christ

pictured both as the bride of Christ and dwelling place for bride – another indication that life in next age will be different

categories like in / with / among will have different significance then – God dwelling in his people, with his people, among his people

B. the purpose v.3-4

new worship

like never-before enjoyed – God living visibly with perfectly righteous people in perfect place designed for worship

in tabernacle, then Solomon’s temple, glory of God hidden behind thick veil in Holy of Holies, seen only by high priest

even glory of Incarnate Son of God present in 1st century temple a pale shadow of this – his divine glory then hidden from view

true, saints in God’s presence worship him now, but with limitations – this worship in new universe will have no limitations, no hindrances

God’s people in God’s immediate presence worshiping him and receiving blessing from him in perfect purity

no need for temple walls to keep sin at bay, God’s glory hidden from those who would be consumed by it – all walls will be down

will be continuous fellowship – God living immediately and intimately among his people – worshiping God, receiving blessing 24/7

new experience

Ada M – 50 long hard miserable years – general character of life, common lot in this age/universe for all mankind

sorrow no respecter of persons – each can quickly think of numerous things that cause genuine grief

death comes to all, whether saved or lost – and manner of death not decided on basis of eternal destiny

many times believers experience greater pain, shed more tears – are more sensitive to more things thanks to sanctifying work of Holy Spirit

anything that causes pain, death or sorrow removed – not simply insulated from it, will no longer exist in new earth

all those are essentially result of sin’s entry into world, corruption caused by sin passed down through generations

are limited to believer’s experience in this universe – will not be present in any form at any time in new universe

C. the plan v.5-8

fullfillment

God’s plan is to carry out all his promises, bring everything decreed for this age / start of next to completion… and will do so

but what about all those promises made in OT that don’t seem to have been fulfilled yet? remember to whom were made

Gal. 3:16Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.”

promises made to Abraham… and to Christ – and remember what Jesus said about his kingdom – is not of this world

many of those promises could never reach total fulfillment in this universe – can only be achieved in new universe

his words true and faithful because God is true and faithful

as unbelievable as all this might seem, can take as absolutely reliable – is God who declares its authenticity, speaking from place of authority, his throne

full restoration

all things newly made

all universe, even to remotest corners, and all mankind who will inhabit new earth remade to be suitable for one another

includes full healing – finally fit to drink from water of life

tree of life accessible to first parents… until sin – then made off-limits, guarded by cherubim with flaming sword (Gen. 3:24)

nothing in saints as newly re-made that would make that a bad thing – will in every aspect be perfectly suitable for eternal life w/o compromise of any kind

and… everything needed for our full satisfaction will be present and supplied – God among us will not simply give water, will be water of life supplied freely from its very source

full inheritance

because of union with the Firstborn Son, heir according to the promise Gal. 3:29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Matt. 25:34“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

is an inheritance that in its fullness is reserved for new universe where saints will be able to enjoy it completely

full relief

from all that tempts or harms us – both people and practices

this statement both a blessing/guarantee and stern warning – nothing contrary to God’s holy nature will be allowed in his presence or presence of his people

will be absolutely nothing to disturb peace and purity of our new home

Is serious and weighty message given to apostle John here – one of great hope and encouragement to those who belong to Christ. The God who sits on the throne declares ​”He who overcomes shall inherit all these things”. Same God also declares those who persist in sinful rebellion and die in their sins face an eternity of just torment. We, people of God, must persevere in faithful dependence on Christ, staying loyal and faithful to him in all circumstances, no matter how difficult. Must also as God gives opportunity warn others to flee the wrath to come, finding refuge in holy God who receives all who come to him by faith.

 

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