Revelation 21:7-14

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH

INTRODUCTION:

Remember that we are living in a period of time which is known as the church age. In chapters 2-3 we have studied things that take place in the church age. It will last until the Lord Jesus Christ returns at the rapture when every believer still living will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Those believers who have died during the church age will be raised from the dead and will also meet the Lord in the air. We will all be given new bodies. Our old sin natures will have been removed, and these new bodies will never die or be sick or experience pain again. We do not know when the rapture will occur, but we are expected to live for the Lord until He returns at this time. It could occur at any time.

The rapture of believers will end the church age and begin a 7-year period known as the tribulation. In Jeremiah 30:7 , the tribulation is referred to as the time of Jacob's (or of Israel's) trouble. In chapters 4-19, we have studied things which will happen during this 7-year period known as the tribulation. This period ends with the second coming of Christ when He comes to the earth.

In chapter 20, we have studied things which will occur in the millennium. It is the one-thousand-year period which follows the second coming of Christ. During this time, Satan is bound in the bottomless pit from which he will be set free at the end of the thousand years and go out and deceive the nations one last time but will ultimately be cast into the lake of fire. The last event in the millennium will be the great white throne judgment where all unbelievers will be judged and will then be cast into the lake of fire.

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

In chapter 21 John's attention is directed to the new heaven and the new earth which will 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 have already seen -

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.

We have also already seen -

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 addition, we have already seen 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.

Furthermore, we have already seen 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.

We move on to -

VI. THE BLESSINGS OF THE OVERCOMER - 21:7-8

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:7-8 - (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and 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.

Verse 7 continues the statement made by God the Father begun in verse 6.

He that overcometh is the one who overcomes, the one who is victor, the one who conquers, or the one who prevails. It applies to everyone who overcomes, female as well as male. The overcomer is identified in I John 5:4-5 as the believer.

I John 5:4-5 - (4) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (5) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God [i.e. that Jesus is the Messiah]?

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

What he will inherit is all things, which likely refers to the all things which God will make . . . new in verse 5.

I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

I is God the Father.

Will be is predictive of a future circumstance which is definitely going to happen.

His God refers to he that overcometh, and it suggests that God will be the One Whom the overcomer worships exclusively.

He shall be my son also refers to he that overcometh. It is likewise predictive of a future circumstance which is definitely going to happen.

My shows possession and refers to God the Father. It makes it very personal for each individual believer.

What the overcomer will be is my son, i.e. God's son. Although there will be many others, each believer is treated individually as a particular son of God.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and 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.

In contrast to the abundant blessings on the child of God is the sad inheritance of unbelief outlined in verse 8, which continues the statement made by God the Father begun in verse 6.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to what has been stated in verses 1-7 regarding the new Jerusalem and its inhabitants.

The fearful are cowardly ones or timid ones. They may be like those unsaved people in the parable of the sower and the soils characterized by the stony soil where the good seed of the word of God was sown in stony ground and immediately germinated, but it had no deepness of earth. When the sun came up, it was immediately scorched and dried up. In Matthew 13:5-6 Jesus said,

Matthew 13:5-6 - (5) Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: (6) And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

In Matthew 13:20-21 Jesus explained its meaning,

Matthew 13:20-21 - (20) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon [i.e. immediately] with joy receiveth it; (21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth [i.e. endures only] for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended [i.e. immediately he stumbles].

Some may have chosen to worship the beast rather than be killed, which demonstrated that they were not genuinely saved. They are the sort who would draw back unto perdition in Hebrews 10:38-39 , which says,

Hebrews 10:38-39 - (38) Now the just shall live by faith [i.e. the ones who are righteous by faith shall live]: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition [i.e. we are not of those who draw back unto destruction (in hell)]; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Unbelieving are people without faith or faithless ones. They do not believe Christ died on the cross in order to pay for their sins. Hence, they are unbelievers. Unbelieving may also mean unfaithful, untrustworthy, or unreliable in contrast to Christ Who is the faithful One, the trustworthy One, or the reliable One.

Abominable are those who are detested or those who are abhorred. They are abominable in God's sight, perhaps, because of their heathen practices.

Murderers are those who have committed murder by taking the lives of others. It does not mean that a murderer can never be saved; instead, it means that these persons were never saved and, therefore, never ceased being murderers.

Whoremongers are fornicators or those who practice sexual immorality. They have never given up their immorality because they have never been saved.

Sorcerers are literally mixers of poisons or magicians. They have never been delivered from their sorcery by being saved.

Idolaters are those who worship other gods. They have never ceased from their idolatry by being saved, and they have never begun worshiping the Lord exclusively.

Liars are those who have not been truthful but who tell lies. They are characterized as liars because they have not experienced the new birth and the changed life which accompanies it.

These things are all characteristic of unsaved people.

Shall have their part [i.e. will have their place (or will have their share), suggesting will have their inheritance. It is in contrast to the inheritance of believers in the New Jerusalem.] [they will have their place] in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, i.e. in the lake, the one which is burning with fire and with sulphur.

Which is the second death refers to being in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. By contrast the first death refers to physical death, the separation of the soul from the body. The second death refers to the separation of the soul from God in hell.

Next, we see -

VI. THE NEW JERUSALEM AS THE BRIDE - 21:9-11

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:9-11 - (9) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (10) And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (11) Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

In verse 9 one of the seven angels who had previously poured out one of the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues tells John that he will show him the bride, the Lamb's wife.

There came unto me is there came to me [i.e. to John] and indicates that the angel had not been with John prior to his coming to him.

One of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues distinguishes this angel as one of the group of seven angels who had previously poured out the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues but does not tell the reader which one of the seven he was.

A second thing this angel did is indicated by and talked with me, i.e. and he spoke with me (i.e. with John).

Saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

Come hither is come here.

I will shew thee is I will point out to you, John, or I will make known to you, John.

What the angel will show John is the bride which is further identified as being the Lamb's wife. Verse 9 provides a definite contrast with Revelation of Jesus Christ 17:1 where one of the angels with the seven bowls of wrath told John that he would show him the judgment of the great harlot and then proceeded to identify the harlot as Babylon the Great (17:5).

Since a city is not a bride nor a wife, the truth represented here is that the city, the residence of the saints of eternity future, is to be compared to a bride for beauty and is intimately related to Jesus Christ the Lamb.

John actually saw what he recorded, and what he saw is to some extent interpreted to him. Obviously, what he saw went way beyond any experience he had ever had; and it was necessary for him to describe what he saw in terms that were meaningful to him. This must not be construed, however, as an inaccurate description because John was guided by the Holy Spirit when he wrote; and the description must be viewed as accurate. The passage itself, however, as in the description of the gold, implies that the material substances were different from what exists in this present earth.

Of major importance are the facts that John actually saw a city, that this city was inhabited by saints of all ages, and that God Himself was present in it.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

He carried me away is he (i.e. the angel) took me away.

In the spirit means that John was not transported physically to the place which he saw but was carried there in a trance or in a vision. His body remained on the Isle of Patmos.

It is the fourth time that in the spirit is used in Revelation to describe John's situation. He was in the Spirit on the Lord's day in 1:10, he was in the spirit in 4:2 after being told, Come up hither, and he was carried . . . away in the spirit into the wilderness in Revelation of Jesus Christ 17:3 .

The place where John was carried in the spirit is to a great and high mountain.

Great is used in the sense of large.

High speaks of the elevation of this mountain or hill.

Something else this angel did is shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

Shewed me that great city is pointed out (or made known) to me that large city.

The holy Jerusalem identifies the great city.

Descending [i.e. coming down] out of heaven from God.

Out of heaven indicates that heaven, the abode of God, is the place of origin of this great city, holy Jerusalem.

Out of implies that this city had to have been in heaven before it could descend out of heaven.

From God indicates that the One Who sent this great city, the holy Jerusalem, out of heaven is God the Father. In verse 2, John, referring to the same city, said,

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.

Whereas in verse 9 the angel was going to show John the bride, the Lamb's wife, in verse 10 he shows him that great city, the holy Jerusalem. Thus, John refers to the bride as that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. The new Jerusalem, therefore, symbolizes the bride of Christ who dwells in it.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

In verse 11 is found the beginning of a description of that great city, the holy Jerusalem. It has the glory of God, and her light is described as being like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

Having the glory of God, i.e. having God's brightness, having God's splendor, or having God's radiance. It is obviously a beautiful city which believers in the church age long to see and inhabit.

Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

Her light refers to the light of the holy city, new Jerusalem, and suggests the new Jerusalem's radiance or splendor.

Was like unto is was of the same nature as, was like, or was similar to.

What the light of the city was similar to is a stone most precious, i.e. a most precious stone or a very costly stone.

Even like is simply as, and a jasper stone is a precious stone which is mostly reddish but which is found in various colors including green, brown, blue, yellow, and white.

Clear as crystal is likely taken with the second usage of stone rather than with the first usage even though the meaning would not be affected and means shining like crystal or being as transparent as crystal.

Finally, we see -

VII. THE WALL AND THE GATES OF THE CITY - 21:12-14

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:12-14 - (12) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (13) On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. (14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The new Jerusalem had a wall great and high.

Had is simply having and refers to city.

It is a city having a wall where wall refers to the city wall which was used for the protection of the city from threats coming from outside the city. The presence of the wall is a reminder of the security of the city even though security is not needed because at this time all the enemies will have already been confined forever to the lake of fire.

The wall is described as great and high, which is the same description of the mountain in verse 10.

Great suggests that the wall is massive, very thick, and unable to be broken through from the outside.

High suggests that the wall would not be able to be scaled or climbed over by enemy forces.

Had is the same word seen in the previous phrase meaning having. It is a city having twelve gates.

Gates are entrances into the city. The city forms a square, and three of the twelve gates are found on each side of the city.

At the gates twelve angels suggests that an angel is positioned at each one of the twelve gates of the city.

Names written thereon means that each of the twelve gates is named, and the name of each gate is written on the respective gate.

Written thereon is written on or written in. These names were written on these gates before John saw them; they were still written there at the time that John first saw them; and they will stay written there forever.

The names of the twelve gates are described by which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.

Which refers to the names.

The tense of are indicates that this is always the case; it is always going to be true.

The names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel is (the names) of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. Apparently one gate is named for each tribe.

The twelve tribes refers to the descendants of each of the twelve sons of Israel. The sons of Israel in order of their births are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. Whether all twelve will actually have gates named after them or whether one of Joseph's sons will be substituted for one of them, as Manasseh was substituted for Dan in Revelation of Jesus Christ 7 , is open to speculation. It will all be clear soon enough in God's timing.

The children of Israel are the sons of Israel, the new name given by the Lord to Jacob in Genesis 32:28 .

Genesis 32:24-30 - (24) And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (25) And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. (26) And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (27) And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. (28) And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (29) And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. (30) And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

Verse 13 continues the description of the holy Jerusalem. In verse 12 it was learned that the city wall has twelve gates named after the twelve sons of Israel. Verse 13 indicates that each of the four sides of the city has three gates in the city wall.

On the east, on the north, on the south, and on the west are all indicating where three gates are located.

Are, are located, or something similar must be supplied as a verb in the mind of the reader before the words three gates in each of the four parts of this verse so that it reads, On the east (are located) three gates, etc.

Three gates are located on each side of the city, but the reader is not told which names will be on which side of the city. Some things must wait to be learned until the readers are there.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

In verse 14 it is learned that the city wall has twelve foundations with the name of one of the twelve apostles on each foundation.

The wall of the city refers to the city wall of the new Jerusalem.

Had is having.

The fact that the city has twelve foundations suggests that it rests upon the new earth and is not suspended in the air above the earth. The arrangement of the foundations is not revealed. Hence, their arrangement is open to speculation; but no one can be certain what their arrangement is until he sees it for the first time. Were the foundations stacked one on top of another or were they laid end to end around the city?

And in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb introduces another fact regarding the city wall.

In them refers to the twelve foundations. Are, are written, or something similar must be supplied in the mind of the reader as a verb so that it reads, And in them (are written) the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The twelve apostles are the twelve sent out by Jesus minus Judas Iscariot plus Matthias who was selected as the replacement for Judas in Acts 1 . Apparently the name of one of the twelve apostles was written on each one of the twelve foundations.

Similarly, in Ephesians 2:20 the believers in the church at Ephesus are said to be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. . . .

Of the Lamb means that these are the Lamb's apostles. He is the One Who sent them out. The Lamb is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.