Revelation - Chapter 21
The New Heaven and the New Earth: 21:1-4.
The final two chapters of Revelation describe the completed purposes of God in His salvation. Using the imagery of marriage, John shows the eternal union of believers with Christ. This speaks of the bright and glorious future awaiting God's people. When Christ’s thousand year reign ends the millennium merges with eternity. John saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and there is no more sea (21:1). It is not going to be a cleaned-up and renovated heaven and earth. They are new because God made them new. He makes all things new (21:5). It is true in our salvation also. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Reformation and good work will not save us. Scripture clearly teaches that we should look forward for new heaven and new earth (2 Pet 3:10-13). And John saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband (21:2). Here we see the picture of the church, the bride of Christ (21:9). This speaks of believer’s eternal relationship with God in the New Jerusalem. The heaven is believers's eternal home where God is worshiped and Christ is praised for His worthiness. It is God's eternal and perfect dwelling place where believers dwell with Him in the perfect union. Many people deny the reality of heaven because they refuse to believe in the eternal judgment. Some hold the distorted view that heaven will be a dull and eternal church service. But heaven is the ultimate soul satisfying place of fellowship and splendor where believers live with Christ forever.
Behold God is with Men: 21:5-8.
Then John heard a loud voice from heaven saying “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men”. God always desired to dwell with us. He created us to fellowship with us (Gen 3). God wanted to dwell in the midst of Israel in the tabernacle and temple (Ex 25:8). But they failed in their devotion to God (1 Sam 4:22). Christ first came to tabernacle among us in order to save us (John 1:14). He dwells in the midst of believers and in the church today (1 Tim 3:15). The Holy Spirit dwells in us to comfort us (John 14:16-18). God will wipe away every tears. The former things on earth have passed away and behold God makes all things new (21:4, 5). It is the poetic way of saying there will be no curse of sin in the New Jerusalem. God is the eternal one who is the creator of all things. There will not be any sin because Satan has been thrown into the lake of fire once for all (20:7-10). New Jerusalem will be far better place than Millennium because only believers will be there. There is no sin and death there. Those who trusted in Christ will be rewarded for their faithful serve (21:7). Heaven is believers's Father house (John 14:2). When believers die, their souls immediately go to the presence of God in heaven (2 Cor 5:8). Paul preferred to be far from this sinful world and at home with the Lord (Phi 1:21-23). One day all of Sin's influence will be gone and believers will be with Christ forever.
The New Jerusalem: 21:9-22.
John was given the vision of the New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb descending out of heaven from God (21:9). John describes the glories of heaven here. Its location is not specifically told. But it will be in the vicinity of the earth. It is a literal city. Heaven comes to earth where God will dwell with His people forever in the holy city. This new heaven and earth will be new in quality (Rom 8:19-24). There is no corruption, decay, death and sin there. From Genesis to Revelation God promises to dwell in the midst of His people (21:8). Very few people received a glimpse of heaven's glory (2 Cor 12:2-5). Its radiant glory is like sparkling costly jewels. It is beyond human comprehension. Here the redeemed believers would live forever, untouched by the power of sin. They are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and without any blemish (Ephesians 5:27). The glory of God permeates this city. It has great and high wall with twelve gates. This wall is made of jasper and pure gold clear as glass (21:18). On the gates, names of the twelve tribes of Israel are written. Each of the gates is made of one giant pearl (21:21). The wall of New Jerusalem has twelve foundations. The names of the twelve apostles are written on them. It may represent the twelve apostles who laid the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20). New Jerusalem is huge and covers an area of 1500 miles in length, breadth and height (21:16). Scholars suggest that Its shape may be like a cube. In the tabernacle the Most Holy Place was a cube and it was a perfect place where God dwells. The precious stones and pure gold used here speak of the unimaginable beauty and glory of New Jerusalem. There is much we do not know about New Jerusalem. Undoubtedly it will be place of of wonder where we worship and fellowship with God.
The glory of the New Jerusalem: 21:22-27.
John saw no temple in the holy city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb (21:22). There is no more need for a temple because we meet with God Himself directly in the person of the Christ. There will be complete access to God to fellowship with Him. Human hearts long for God and we are created to appreciate His glory. Heaven will be the perfect place of God's greatness and splendor. There is no need of sun or moon because the glory of God illuminates the city and the Lamb is its light. The gentile nation will enjoy the beauty and glory of New Jerusalem and their kings will bring tributes to the Lamb. Its gates never will be shut because nothing unclean or sinful will ever enter the holy city. This is the blessed hope of the redeemed people of God. This thought motivated the Old Testament saints to endure hardship and long for heaven (Heb 11:16). This is the kingdom that cannot be shaken. (Heb 12:28). Those who purposefully endure hardship and wait for this eternal Kingdom will find inner peace and joy in Christ. He is able to present you blameless before the presence of God. Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?