Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Revelation 21 – New Jerusalem

This chapter describes the New Jerusalem following the Millennium and the final judgment.  Heaven and earth are replaced by a new heaven and a new earth.  Everything is now cleansed from all sin and is ready for God’s people.  Everything is made new!  Earth had been the domain of Satan and now is purified so God can come down to the new earth.  It will be like the Garden of Eden. 

John saw a new heaven and a new earth.  The 1st earth and the 1st heaven were now gone.  Even the sea was gone.  2 Peter 3:13 says the earth will be destroyed by fire.  It will be consumed, destroyed, and completely forgotten.  Why then do we try to build riches of houses, cars, large bank accounts?  Nothing on earth is going to survive this fire.

Then John saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven.  This city is called holy because everyone who in it is holy.  It is Christ’s Kingdom.  John heard a loud voice saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”Rev. 21:1-4   

New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to us just like Jesus came down to earth to us.  God desires to dwell with us ever since the garden.  With the New Jerusalem God will be with us continually and believers will literally see Him as He is.  All sin will be gone and all tears, pain, sorrow, fear, and death will be removed.  God repairs creation and re-creates it for His children.  There will be eternal life there for all believers.  God’s dwelling with His people is His grand plan of redemption, which He has stated throughout the Bible.

How much time do you spend with Him each day?  He wants to be with you all day long every day.
What in your life needs to pass away?

John was told by God to write these words because they are trustworthy and true.  God said, “I am making everything new!”Rev. 21:5  Everything that He said will happen.  Then He said, “It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.”Rev. 21:6  God has completed His final work.  He completed creation in Genesis.  He completed His work on the cross.  Now His has completed His plan for renewing creation.  His plan is complete.  He leaves nothing unfinished.

Alpha and Omega is the A to Z in the Greek alphabet meaning He is the first and the last.  The water of life is free.  People today are thirsting for so many things that won’t give them fulfillment – like money possessions and even relationships.  Only Jesus can give you satisfaction to never thirst for anything again.  All you need to do is ask God to deepen your thirst for Him.  Then He will fill your life with satisfaction and joy.

The overcomers will inherit all this, but the unbelieving have their place in the fiery lake, the 2nd death. (Rev. 21:7-8)  There are 2 kinds of people – believers and unbelievers.  They experience 2 different lifestyles on earth and go to 2 different eternal destinies.  Believers go to eternal life.  Unbelievers will experience the 2nd death - the lake of fire, because they are vile, murderers, sexually immoral, practice magic arts, idolaters, and liars as described in verse 8.  Those whose lives are characterized by such things are evidence they are not saved and will not enter the heavenly city.  All who prefer sin to Jesus Christ are assured of the 2nd death.

How can we be overcomers?  If you have belief, faith and trust in Jesus, you have overcome the temptations of the world.  Your inheritance of eternal life is sure.  The promise of eternal fellowship with God is the believer’s reason for living and motive for witnessing to others.  Accepting Him is the most important thing you will ever do.

We all will have eternal life, but where will you spend it?

Then one of the 7 angels who had the 7 bowls of plagues called John to come and he would show him the wife of the Lamb.  At this point the marriage had already taken place.  John was carried away in the Spirit to a mountain where he saw the Holy City of Jerusalem coming down from heaven.  I am sure John had a hard time describing what he saw with human words.  He said it shone with the glory of God.  It had brilliance like precious jewels, clear as crystal.  It had a high wall with 12 gates with 12 angels at the gates.  On the gates were written the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.  Three gates were on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.  The city wall had 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. (Rev. 21:9-14)  The Lamb’s wife is described as the new city of Jerusalem.  This is where the bride of Christ, the church will live forever.

This world is not our home.  Our home is in heaven.  There is nothing like going home.  There is no place like home.  There is a peace, joy, rest, tranquility, and a sense of belonging.  The best part is that Jesus will be there with us.  That is what heaven will be like.  John gives us a beautiful description of our heavenly home.

The city was laid out in a square, as long as it was wide.  It measured 12,000 stadia in length, wide, and high.  Its wall was 144 cubits thick and made of jasper.  The city was made of pure gold as pure as glass.  The foundations of the walls were decorated with all kinds of precious stones – jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst.  The 12 gates were pearls.  The streets were pure gold like transparent glass.  (Rev. 21:15-21)

Who is serving as the foundation in your life?

The number 12 is considered a perfect number indicating completeness and symbolizes God’s power and authority.  There are 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles, Jacob had 12 sons, the woman in chapter 12 wears a crown with 12 stars, the Holy City has 12 gates with 12 angels, and 12 precious stones mentioned here.  The 144,000 we saw sealed in chapter 12 is 12,000 cubed.  A stadia or furlong is about 1,200 miles in length.  The city then is approximately 1,200 miles times 12,000 on each of its 4 sides so there is plenty of room for billions of God’s people who are not limited by gravity.  I love how the Bible ties everything together in a neat bow.  God leaves nothing to chance or coincidence. 

I looked up what all these precious stones were:
Jasper = Diamond
Sapphire = Brilliant blue stone
Chalcedony = Sky blue with colored stripes
Emerald = Bright green stone
Sardonyx = Red and white striped stone
Carnelian = Various shades of Red
Chrysolite = Transparent gold or yellow
Beryl = Shades of green, yellow and blue
Topaz = Yellowish green
Chrysoprase = Gold tinted green
Jacinth = blue or violet colored
Amethyst = Purple stone

Precious stones like these are highly treasured and sought after.  God treasures His people.  We are precious to Him and He seeks after us. 

John didn’t see a temple, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  It didn’t need the sun or the moon for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp.  It’s never nighttime.  The Lord’s glory will illuminated the city.  This city is full of the glory of God.  At no time will be gates be closed, because there will be no enemy to enter.  Nothing impure will ever enter it, only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 21:22-27) 

What is your source of light?
How are you letting the light of Jesus shine in your life?

This is not a city that we can really understand.  Even John probably had a hard time describing it in human language.  The city is very large, because it would have to be since it is a place for all of God’s people.  It will be the center of the new earth and a place where the Lord will be the King over all nations.  He has already dealt with the unholy and only clean and good will exist there.

Do you want to live there?  I sure do.  It will be a place of rest, a place of complete security, a place of refreshment for God’s people, a place without fear, a place of true worship, and a place of joy and holiness.  God will provide security and stability and lavish provisions for His people.  We will enjoy its beauty and unity with other believers for eternity.  We will walk in His presence.  We will have unending fellowship with Jesus.  Hallelujah! 

Why would anyone want to miss out of this?
Will I see you there?

John’s revelation says eternity is real!  Believers will go to an eternal heaven forever, but unbelievers will go to eternal punishment forever.

Next week we will study Revelation 22.  Hope to see you here.

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