By Pastor Mike Taylor
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed there was no more sea.
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.
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.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
Finally, the end of this present world passes away. We have seen down through the ages of the reign of mankind, that it has been fraught with evil and mankind’s inability to rule themselves with any given success. Jesus came to rescue those who would believe on His Name and come to Him in faith for Him to apply mercy and grace.
This lasted for 2000 years or the Age of Grace, until the Tribulation started and the finishing of the age of the law, known as Jacob’s trouble. We have believed that God will separate His chosen Bride away from His coming wrath and bring us to heaven. We have seen the destruction and the rebellion of mankind against God’s Anointed, God’s Only Son. Until mankind was given a brief respite from all the evil found in this world for a Millennium. As we saw in the last study of Revelation 19 and 20, Jesus came and was victorious over the Beast power, the last dictator of the world, the false prophet who deceived the whole of the nations, and laid waste to the vast army gathered into the Valley of Jehoshaphat or commonly called Megiddo/Jezreel and blood rose up about 5-6 feet deep and 184 miles long and 5 miles wide.
But that was not the end of it, because Satan was loosed for a little season and deceived those who just could not stand to be ruled, even righteously by a sovereign Lord God on earth and came against the Holy City of God’s Throne in Jerusalem and fire came down and destroyed them all. We saw where Satan was again grabbed by strong angels and cast into the Lake of Fire, no more to deceive mankind, and God has changed all who dwell on the earth found in Jesus Christ into Spirit being of flesh and bone, just as was when He appeared to His apostles nearly 3000+ years ago and from this point we start the coming chapters that speak of the glory that is coming for all who have received grace through faith from God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH
If you read the above verses slowly and meditate on what the word picture John is attempting to convey, it is beyond the scope of our imagination and no one at this point in this mortal life can fully comprehend the spectacular view the apostle John sees and witnesses, and now becomes real to all who stand back and watch God in action. Can you even envision the power that will be displayed, when God wipes away this old rock we have lived on for many ages in the past, and rolls the heavens back like a scroll, and creates everything brand new?? The earth was made for mankind, and the Garden of Eden was a paradise, but this coming New World and heavens are for the Saints of God, including His bride and all who have believed on our God, in faith, and the glory is beyond anything we can fully comprehend. The prophets down through the ages have spoken of this time in particular that we will see with our own eyes.
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create a Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (Isaiah 65:17-19)
“Of old, You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes all of them will grow old like a garment, like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end. (Psalm 102:25-27)
“Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat . . . Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:12-13)
It’s worth remembering that the new heaven referred to doesn’t mean the heaven where God is enthroned. The Bible uses the word heaven in three senses. The first heaven is the earth’s atmosphere, the “blue sky.” The second heaven is outer space, the “night sky.” The third heaven is the place where God lives in glory. When the Scriptures speak of a new heaven, they mean a new “blue sky” and a new “night sky,” not a new heaven where God dwells.
WHAT IS THIS NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH?
New heaven . . . new earth: The ancient Greek word translated new here (kaine) means “new in character, ‘fresh’.” It doesn’t mean “recent” or “new in time.” This isn’t just the next heaven and the next earth; this is the better heaven and better earth replacing the old (the first earth had passed away).
There are those who disagree, thinking this old earth will never pass away, but God says that He will make all things brand new, not revise it, but completely burn up with fervent heat of what was, so that He may bring to pass what the ancient Hebrew word for “create” (bara) means to “create out of nothing,” instead of re-fashioning existing material that the Old Testament prophets spoke of.
THE SAINTS FUTURE HOME
John sees the Holy City, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, and the city is adorned in glory, as a new bride before her husband. Never has God the Father been on this earth since, at least I believe, Adam and Eve committed sin, but now that is all changed. The Tabernacle of God comes down from heaven, and the Ancient of Days, our ABBA Father takes His place among His adopted children and there will be no more pain, suffering, sorrows or tears, as all things of this mortal age has passed away.
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.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Revelation 21:5-7)
God the Father and God the Son, will reign eternally from the New Jerusalem, and both are of the beginning and the end. Remember that Jesus said that God the Father and the Son “Are ONE”….They have always been and the mortal mind cannot comprehend the infinite with the finite mind, but we will some glorious day coming. I have contemplated the Divine and tried to understand how God and the Son were One from eternity. It’s to me, and I could be totally wrong, as I am limited just as you are, but mankind is body, soul and spirit, just as God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit but as we are one within ourselves, He is One within Himself. I am reminded of what John wrote in the Gospels concerning who Jesus is and was..
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
What are we to make of this? Jesus who is God everlasting, was with God and they both were God. Note that God is Spirit and it speaks of the seven spirits of God meaning in its completeness. God spoke and it was done. God stepped out of eternity and His spirit became flesh lowering Himself to be a servant for the suffering of death for our salvation. Jesus was a brand new man when He arose from the dead. He was not like Adam to be perishable and mortal, but an entirely new “prototype” of a New Man that we will be as well. And when He returned to the Father who sent His Spirit to indwell inside Mary and live till He died at 33.5 years old on Roman cross of torture and death, then Jesus returned to be what He had always been, but different, as He now was a Spiritual “Man” who was fully God and reclaimed His glory that was from the beginning. Like I said, it is beyond my scope and ability to fully comprehend. As the Prophet Isaiah wrote under Holy Spirit direction:
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
That is my feeble attempt to comprehend God the Father, God the Son who is God the Holy Spirit and they are ONE, but three. We can’t make heads or tails of the belief, but God said it, and He will explain it in the sweet by and by.
8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the 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.
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,” (Revelation 21:8-10)
Verse 8 is self explanatory, as there will NEVER be evil on the new earth or the new heavens, as they have all been cast into the Lake of Fire and will never be let out of their separation from God or their torment. It is their second death.
But here the angels that were responsible for unleashing the wrath of God in the bowl judgment beckon John to show him the New Jerusalem. The text speaks of the Lamb’s wife, but to me, it is a metaphor of the glory that it shines as a New Bride on her wedding day. She will be the home eternal of God’s children and the Bride of Christ.
11 “Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
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.” (Revelation 21:11-14)
The description is beyond belief, as the city is adorned with jewels of the color of the rainbow, and is laden with gold. The gates are one huge pearl each, that is mostly like pure white and the foundation the names of the twelve apostles who started where Jesus left off and spread the Gospel far and wide where it spread as a wild fire over the whole earth. This is the Jerusalem of hope (Hebrews 12:22), the Jerusalem above (Galatians 4:26), the place of our real citizenship (Philippians 3:20).
15 “And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.” (Revelation 21:15-20)
The size of this city of God is, for a lack of a better word, HUGE. It is 1500 miles long, 1500 miles wide, and 1500 miles high. Some say it would be covering the land mass from Florida to Maine, and Charlotte to St. Louis, if they were still present, and rise 1500 miles high. Some have suggested that it will be a low flying satellite to orbit the new earth, but we don’t even know how big this new earth will be, and there will be no more land divisions of seas. And we don’t need oxygen to breath, as we are spirits and the universe will by our oyster. What a glorious thought. John attempts to describe the beauty that will be present and the colors of precious stones will adorn the walls, line the streets of pure gold and the gold will be so pure that it will be near transparent, like crystal.
“This is the greatest glory of heaven, and the ultimate restoration of what was lost in the Fall. “I do not think the glory of Eden lay in its grassy walks, or in the boughs bending with luscious fruit-but its glory lay in this, that the ‘Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of the day.’ Here was Adam’s highest privilege, that he had companionship with the Most High.” (C. Spurgeon) So shall we, the children of God and we will inherit all things.
21 “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:21-29)
John continues with the description of this Holy City, trying to impress on the reader the grandeur, the glory, and the eternal nature of this city. It will be a new star in the heavens, as the light of God will be its light that is brighter than many suns. It is done! God’s eternal purpose in Jesus is now accomplished. Ephesians 1:10 has been fulfilled: that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; in Him. At this point, all things have been resolved or summed up in Jesus – it is done!
This city is beyond earthly description. She has room for everyone that ever believed on the Name of our Lord. That is how big she is. There will be no temple, no church, no place of worship, save the throne of God as the Father and the Lamb of God are the glory within this city and their light shines to the end of the universe and back.
CHAPTER 22: THE RIVER OF LIFE AND THE TREE OF LIFE
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:1-4)
The description of what is in store for the children of God is beyond glorious. Here the river of life, and the tree of life, that was in the Garden of Eden is restored to God’s people.
A pure river of water of life: Through the Old Testament, prophets used the picture of a river as a powerful expression of richness, provision, and peace (Isaiah 48:18, Zechariah 14:8, Ezekiel 47:1-9).
Or, as expressed by the Psalmist in Psalm 46:4-5: “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.”
From the throne of God and of the Lamb: This river of provision comes right from God’s throne. Because it comes from God, it cannot be anything other than pure and abundant.
Ezekiel saw a glorious river (Ezekiel 47) flow down from the temple in Jerusalem and into the sea, but that river belongs to the millennial earth. It is perhaps the final preview of this heavenly river. This is a better river with better trees.
“One of the gladdest things on earth is water. There is nothing in all the world so precious to the eye and the imagination of the inhabitant of the dry, burning and thirsty East, as a plentiful supply of bright, pure, and living water.” (Seiss)
Matthew Poole wrote that this idea of this river was “To let us know, that in heaven there shall be no want of any thing that can make the saints happy.”
Verse 4 reveals that sin will be eradicated, as there is no more tempter of the people. And we will not have the ability to sin and submit to the will of the deceiver or to our prior evil ways.
“Henceforth, eternal praises to his name, the throne of God is the throne of the Lamb. It is a throne of righteousness, but no less a throne of grace. There, on the throne of the Almighty, mercy reigns. According to the merit of the sacrifice and the virtue of the atonement all the statutes and decrees of the kingdom of heaven are issued. The altar and the throne have become identical. From that throne no fiery bolt can ever again be hurled against the believer, for it is the throne of the Lamb as well as the throne of God.” (Spurgeon)
We will gladly submit to the will of God. And God will be among His people and His name shall be in their foreheads. Does this mean that it will be a brand, or that the thoughts of God and His glory will be foremost in our minds?. Everything will and always has been about Him. Here we will concentrate all our efforts to be the children, the obedient children of a wise and Living God as we will see His face, and we will have a personal one on one relationship with Him. NO barriers, no limitations, and no hindrances to come into His presence, as He will never tire, and since He never tires, neither will we. We will be as Paul said:
16” The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:16-19)
As John describes what he sees, it is something hard to understand and visualize, as the street has a river going down it, much as the canals of Holland have flowing water, but this water will be beyond anything we have seen in this life. There will be trees lining this street that will produce fruit every month. I see them be diverse and being better than apples, plums, or orange trees. Etc., but a fruit that will make the people of God gloriously happy and the water will be clear as crystal and we will never thirst. Some people wonder if we will eat in heaven. The best answer is that we can eat, but will not have to. In His resurrection body, Jesus enjoyed food (Luke 24:41-43, John 21:12-14). Angels ate with Abraham (Genesis 18:6-8). The great heavenly reunion between Jesus and His people is described as a marriage supper (Revelation 19:9). Even though man fell by what he ate, God will still allow us to eat in heaven.
Like the golden table of showbread which ever stood in the ancient Tabernacle and Temple for the priests to eat, so the Tree of Life stands in all the golden streets of the New Jerusalem, with its monthly fruit for the immortal king-priests of heaven.
We shall be able to enjoy food, because we will be flesh and bone, just as Jesus was, as He had no blood and needed none, as His life force was the Spirit of God. It will be the new source of our life as well.
5 “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:5-7)
The world we will live on will be totally different than the one we see now. There will be no sun for heat and light, as God will be the Light of our world and our universe. We shall reign with God forever and ever and one would unable to even imagine what our duties will be in this new world. We will be able to go from planet to planet, or star to star in a flash. The universe will be our oyster and I don’t believe there will be any limits to what we as God’s Children will be able to accomplish. Who knows what other worlds there are out in the cosmos. Does anyone think that an eternal God has only created one species of life found only on our planet? God has always been and is always creating. Will He also allow us to help Him create and manage the affairs of other worlds?? This is questions that cannot be answered just yet, but God will not be idle, and neither will we. The idea of sitting on a cloud strumming a harp is foolishness, as we will never tire and we will live forever. What can be accomplished in all of eternity. Does that make anyone get a little excited about the promise of our future? I know it does me.
8 “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 22:8-10)
Thus God is closing down this apocalyptic book and gives warning and admonitions to those who read these words. John falls down to worship the one who is showing him these things, as just as he had before, this elder admonishes him not to do so, as he is a fellowservant and of they brethren the prophets. This elder is a glorified man who has been showing John what is in store for those who believe on Jesus Christ and are adopted into the the family of God and it is almost too much for him to handle and he worships out of turn, and the elder says “Worship God”.
11 “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:11-12)
It is a warning to all those who read this book, no matter what part of time they inhabit and when and how they come to read this passage. But God says that He is coming quickly and will reward all those who have done works for the Kingdom of God and for His Son, Jesus Christ. It reminds me of the Bema Judgment seat of Christ when Jesus gives rewards for those things done in His Name and they stand forever. But everything else will be burned up. (1st Corinthians 3:11-15)…Each man and woman will receive reward for service in His Name, and some will rule many cities, and some just a community based on their service. But we all we be rewarded eternal life and would not anyone think that is a reward enough? The rest will be gravy and beyond our scope of understanding. It will be that glorious that no one, not even John could fully use the words enough to describe what is in store for us. The Amplified Bible uses adjectives that flesh out the King James version to describe this:
“But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].” (2nd Corinthians 2:9)
13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:13-16)
As Jesus told John at the very beginning, it is He who is doing the revealing of what will be the final reward of the righteous, right along with the wicked. God will eradicate from His presence all wickedness and separate them from Him for all eternity. Some call that hell, or the Lake of Fire. But to have no hope, and nothing that anyone can call good for all eternity, is beyond the description of hell. It is the second death. Jesus is the bright and morning Star and He has revealed to all of us what is coming. From the beginning of the Tribulation, to the Millennial reign, to the beginning of eternity that will have no end.
I find the closing verses of this chapter most revealing of who it is that Jesus speaks to and who will be preeminent in the New World. As The Bride of Christ along with the Spirit of God beckons to all who read this message.
17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:17-21)
The Bride of Christ is already in heaven, even before the foundation of this world. God knew who would be His bride, who would love Him and come to Him, and who would do His commandments, because of this love for our Bridegroom and our Savior. Each beckons to all who will not be the bride YET, but can be part of that heavenly body before the end of this Age of Grace which is close at hand. Would you like to experience all the blessings that I have described in these last two chapters? Or would you rather experience the horror, the wrath, and eternal destruction from a God who takes vengeance against all unrighteousness? The choice is definitely up to each individual. No one can coerce anyone to accept anything, as each of us have our own free will. Choose today who you will serve. Either the gods on the other side of the flood, (paganism), or serve the Living God? As Joshua said “
15”If it is disagreeable in your site to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day who you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
The choice is yours, my friend, but the ability to choose life is so easy that a child can do it…it comes down to two simple passages, not counting all the others that say the same thing.
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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Let that confession flow into all the world and make others know that Jesus has become your Lord. As God will proclaim those who do not deny His Name to the Father in heaven, but deny those who do.
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10-8-11)
This is pastor Mike Taylor, witnessing to you that this earth in its evil form is about to be consumed. Do not be left behind when Jesus comes for the Church, as the alternative is fraught with pain and suffering. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly listening ear, email me at [email protected], or vist me online for more biblical lessons that proclaim the nearnes of our Lord. God bless you all,