Revelation 21:1-6

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH

INTRODUCTION:

In chapters 2-3 we have studied things take place in the church age. In chapters 4-19, we have studied things which will happen in the tribulation, and in chapter 20, we have studied things which will occur in the millennium.

We move on to chapters 21-22 which deal with eternity future, things which occur after the millennium.

In chapter 21 John's attention is directed to the new heaven and the new earth which replace the old heaven and the old earth which fled away (Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:11 ).

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:11 - And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

We see -

I. THE VISION OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH - 21:1

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:1 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.

I [i.e. John] saw is I beheld and occasionally I looked.

What John saw is a new heaven and a new earth.

For introduces the reason the heaven and the earth that John sees are both new: the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

The first heaven refers to the heavens which are presently in existence, which God will destroy after the millennium.

The first earth refers to the present earth which God will also destroy after the millennium.

Were passed away is simply passed away, came to an end, or disappeared. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. A literal interpretation of this suggests that this is not the result of a renovation but of a new creation. God destroys the present heaven and the present earth and creates new ones. He does not just renovate or renew the present ones. One is reminded of II Peter 3:9-18 .

II Peter 3:9-18 - (9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (11) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (12) Looking for and hasting unto [i.e. hastening] the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (14) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (15) And account [i.e. consider] that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; (16) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [i.e. twist, distort], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (17) Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (18) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

And there was no more sea introduces something else about the new earth which makes it different from the present earth: there is no longer a sea.

Next, we see -

II. THE VISION OF THE NEW JERUSALEM - 21:2

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

In I John saw, I is used for emphasis and John is added for even more emphasis. I John leaves no question who is writing this verse.

Saw is beheld or looked.

What John saw this time is the holy city.

In case anyone is not certain which city the holy city is, John identifies it as new Jerusalem in order to distinguish it from the Jerusalem which existed in the New Testament era.

Coming down [i.e. descending] from God out of heaven further identifies this new Jerusalem as the heavenly Jerusalem.

Out of heaven is literally out of the heaven, and the before heaven in the Greek text specifies it as being the heaven where God dwells while, at the same time, distinguishing it from the new atmospheric and stellar heavens. It indicates that the source of the new Jerusalem is heaven.

The new Jerusalem is also distinguished from the heaven where God dwells but appears as the abode of the redeemed throughout all eternity, which believers commonly refer to as heaven. It is the place Jesus has prepared for believers.

This new Jerusalem is further described by prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

The tense of prepared indicates that its action occurred at some time in the past and that its result has continued on to the time when the new Jerusalem descends from God out of heaven. It thus indicates a state of being. Prepared is also passive which means that someone made it ready. This someone is Christ Who said in John 14:2-3 ,

John 14:2-3 - (2) In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

As a bride adorned for her husband is used as a basis of comparison for the preparation of the new Jerusalem. The thought is as a bride is prepared for her husband or as a bride is made ready for her husband.

Adorned means decorated and pictures the bride on her wedding day, beautifully dressed in her wedding gown, being very well groomed and not having anything spotted, wrinkled, or blemished in any way with great attention having been given to every detail.

For her husband indicates the one for whom the bride has been beautifully adorned. The meaning is that the new Jerusalem has been beautifully prepared and attention has been given to every detail so that nothing is lacking or less than perfect.

We also see that -

III. GOD WILL DWELL WITH MEN - 21:3-4

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:3-4 - (3) And I heard a great voice 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. (4) 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.

I heard a great voice means that John heard a loud voice and suggests that it is a booming voice, making an announcement that can be heard throughout the new heavens and the new earth.

Out of heaven indicates the source of the voice. It came from someone in heaven, but John does not indicate who this someone is. The voice does not seem to be God inasmuch as God is referred to by the one speaking.

Saying introduces what this great voice was saying, and what it said is found in the rest of verse 3 and all of verse 4.

The first thing this voice was saying is, 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.

Behold is understood in the sense of look or see.

The tabernacle of God refers to God's dwelling place, and God is apparently referring to God the Father.

Is with men refers to those who reside in the New Jerusalem and does not include those in the lake of fire.

Men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males.

The spiritual significance of the New Jerusalem is given by the words, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men. It symbolizes that God is present with men in the new earth and in the new Jerusalem. His presence connotes fellowship and blessing.

And he [likely God the Father] will dwell with them is predictive of something which is definitely going to happen in the future. It means God will live with them (i.e. with men, i.e. with His people) and indicates that God is not going to be remote from them or absent from them. He will be where they are.

Also, they [i.e. the men with whom God will dwell] shall be his people, which means that they will belong to God. Again, it is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future.

Furthermore, God himself shall be with them, which implies that God will be where His people are rather than somewhere else. He will never be absent from them.

What God Himself will also be is their God, i.e. the God of His people, the God of all saved people.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:4 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.

Verse 4 continues the statement the voice began making in verse 3.

The presence of God assures an entirely new state for those who inhabit the New Jerusalem. Instead of their former sufferings, which have included going through the tribulation for many of these saints, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

God is God the Father.

Shall wipe away is predictive of a future event which is definitely going to happen.

All tears is actually every tear. Of course, if every tear is wiped away, then all tears will be wiped away. Its meaning is clear that there will never be another tear shed.

From their eyes means from the eyes of His people who are with Him in heaven.

The tears seem to be referring to tears shed on earth as the saints. This is consistent with the rest of the passage which goes on to say that other aspects of human sorrow such as death, sorrow, crying, or pain will also no more be in existence. The former things are passed away makes it plain that not only the old earth and heaven pass away, but also all the details and associations that belong to it which might mar things in the new heaven and the new earth pass away as well, things such as death, sorrow, crying, pain, etc.

And there shall be no more death means that no one will ever die again.

Not only will death no longer exist, but things accompanying death will also no longer exist: sorrow, crying, and pain.

Sorrow is grief, sadness, or mourning.

Crying suggests the shedding of tears in grief or anxiety.

Neither shall there be any more pain, i.e. distress or affliction. Sometimes pain is more than a mere physical feeling of discomfort.

For is the word ordinarily translated because and introduces the reason there will never again be death, sorrow, crying, or pain.

The former things refers to things characteristic of life on earth prior to the redemption of the body or the glorification of the believer. It includes, but is not limited to, things such as death, sorrow, crying, and pain.

Are passed away emphasizes the result of its action in the sense of are gone away or are departed. This has occurred in the past, and its result will exist throughout eternity.

In addition, we see that -

V. ALL THINGS WILL BE MADE NEW - 21:5-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:5-6 - (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He that sat on the throne said refers to God the Father.

The throne is the throne in heaven.

What He said is Behold, I make all things new.

Behold is used in the sense of see or look.

I make is I am making and refers to God the Father Who is seated on the throne.

All things refers to everything He is making new. It signifies that there will be a drastic change.

He said unto me is literally, He says to me or He is saying to me (i.e. to John).

What God was saying to John is, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

The tense of write indicates that it is to be done at once and without delay.

For these words are true and faithful is because what God has said in verses 1-5a are in accordance with truth. There is no falsehood or exaggeration in these words. These words are also faithful which means reliable, dependable, or trustworthy. These words can be trusted. God guarantees them.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He said means that God the Father said.

Unto me is to John. The content of what He said is the rest of verse 6 and all of verses 7-8.

It is done has been stated previously in Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:17 as soon as the seventh angel poured out his bowl filled with the wrath of God at the end of the great tribulation prior to the second coming of Christ. This time, however, it is stated in eternity future after all the saved are enjoying eternal bless and all the lost are experiencing eternal hell. It is done is literally it has come to pass, it has taken place, it has occurred, or it has happened; and it is translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. It is an existing fact. What is done refers to the completion of salvation for all those who believed and the permanent removal to eternal hell of all those who rejected God, His Christ, and the salvation He offered.

The speaker is God the Father Who identifies Himself as I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. God the Father said the same thing in Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:8 . Christ said something similar regarding Himself in Revelation of Jesus Christ 22:12-13 .

I is God the Father and is emphatic.

The appears before Alpha and again before Omega in the Greek text. This suggests that the Alpha refers to the specific Alpha, the first letter in the Greek alphabet, and that the Omega is the specific Omega, the last letter in the Greek alphabet.

The beginning and the ending is literally beginning and end.

Beginning and end is simply another way of stating the same thing as the Alpha and the Omega. It is thus defining the meaning of God the Father as the Alpha and the Omega. He is all there is from Alpha to Omega, i.e. He is all there is from A to Z. God the Father is not only the beginning and the end, but He is also all that comes in between. The same phrase is applied to Christ in Revelation of Jesus Christ 22:12-13 ,

Revelation of Jesus Christ 22:12-13 - (12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

God the Father also states, I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

I is emphatic and refers to God the Father.

Will give is predictive of a future event which is definitely going to happen. Inasmuch as God the Father is making this statement, He is also making a commitment or promise that He will never break.

Unto him that is athirst is to the one who thirsts or to the one who is thirsty.

Of the fountain of the water of life is out of the fountain of the water of life, out of the fountain of living water, or out of the fountain of the water which gives life.

Freely means as a gift or without payment. The promise is made where water from the fountain of life is promised in abundance to the one who is thirsty. It refers to the abundant character of eternal life and the blessings which flow from it. It is a fulfillment of the invitation of Isaiah 55:1 as well as that of Christ in John 4:10 and 4:13-14. It is a reminder that salvation is, and always has been, free as far as the individual recipient is concerned. Verses such as John 3:16 , and Ephesians 2:8-9 also come to mind immediately.

Isaiah 55:1 - Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

John 4:9-14 - 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Ephesians 2:8-9 - (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.