God’s Promise of a New Home

Week of October 11, 2015

Bible Verses: Revelation 21:1-8.

The Point: A life in Christ means a life with Christ forever.

The New Heaven and the New Earth: Revelation 21:1-8.
[1] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. [2] And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. [4] He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” [5] And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” [6] And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. [7] The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. [8] But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” [ESV]
PRELIMENARY STUFF
The book of Revelation is actually a letter written by John while imprisoned on the island of Patmos to a persecuted church. It is an exhortation to stay the course in the face of adversity up to the possibility of death. In this letter John demonstrates the history of redemption beginning with the coming of the Messiah and concluding at the end of the age. It is only after Revelation chapter 20 (where John describes the final judgment 20:11-15) that he discusses our new home or heaven.

VERSE 1
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away”. Here John makes a big distinction between two completely different orders of things. What we know as the “first heaven” is the state of affairs that we experience today. It is characterized as “fallen” or corrupt. Something interesting here, many Bible teachers when they read the words “new heaven and a new earth” immediately register in their minds a second earth. Maybe it is because they are following John’s order of a “first heaven and the first earth.” While that is understandable it is not what John said and we shouldn’t automatically assume it. The Greek words that John uses are καινὸν καὶ γῆν which has to do with a different kind or type of thing meaning that the new heaven and earth is different from the current heaven and earth. The present heaven and earth is temporary and will perish. The new heaven and earth belong to the age to come which is eternal.

VERSE 2
John “saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared
as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Here John refers to this new heaven and earth as the new Jerusalem. You can reference Isaiah 52:1 which speaks of a time of restoration at the end of the messianic age. This is what John is seeing in his revelation of the new heaven and earth the new Jerusalem which at this point in Revelation is made up of believers. It is the actual Kingdom of God fully realized in its complete manifestation.

VERSES 3-5
This actualization or realization as I referred to above is the reality that we as believers so desire to see. As we wait in anticipation in a fallen and sinful world that is full of pain, suffering, cruelty, we long to hear the words, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God (3)”. John tells us that God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (4)” and God is making all this new (5).

Here it is. This is the culmination and completion of our salvation. These words of being God’s people and He being their God are remincent of God’s covenant promise made to Abraham (Genesis 17) and extended out to all his covenant people as many as there are stars in the heaven (Genesis 15). Here promise as become fulfillment, type and shadow have become a reality as God dwells with His covenant people who are forever fully redeemed and glorified. This is the reality of the “promise land” that had been spoken of as God’s people had finally entered in and enjoy the true Sabbath rest.

VERSE 6
“And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” In short God is sovereign above all things in this world. Not just things present but things since the beginning through things yet to come to include the new heavens and earth.

VERSES 7-8
“The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. [8] But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” As with all covenants (promises) there are covenant keepers and covenant breakers. The severity of this covenant is the second death. Those who are in Christ keep the covenant of grace and those who reject Christ will be judged on the basis of the law which no man but Christ can survive the scrutiny of the law.

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