We are given a choice in everything that we do. Daily you and I make decisions that lead to choices on how to live our lives here on earth. The last couple posts have been about the two great battles in Revelation, one that already took place and one that is yet to come. Today I want to look beyond the battles and into the future for the Christ follower, for the person that has their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and not in the other book. So let’s dive in, shall we?
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell 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.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 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 water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21: 1-8, (New International Version or NIV).
There are some people who teach a false doctrine about heaven and earth. They teach that we must take great care of the earth we live on today because it is to last forever, but this is not true. Notice in the very first verse what the Apostle John, the author of Revelation, writes. God will create for His people a new heaven and a new earth because the old earth will have died. Wow! I mean just WOW! I love to get new things and I am sure most of you do as well so I can hardly wait to see what the new heaven and the new earth will look like. I mean this earth is absolutely beautiful and so are the heavens. I can’t even begin to imagine what the new heaven and earth will look like, can you? There’s going to be a new Holy City, a new Jerusalem, one that I can live in, one that you can live in, one that will be so beautiful that it will look like a bride on her wedding day! Awesome! But there is more good news. (You know I can’t wait to meet the person behind the loud voice that announces that God will be coming to dwell in person with us on the new earth. I suppose that is rather trivial, but it is something I do look forward to.) We will actually see God’s face and not die (Exodus 33:20) as it was before judgement takes place and evil is destroyed.
So what besides the earth and the heavens will pass away and be no more? Well, in this passage we are told that after God moves in among us there will be no more tears because He will wipe them all away. That means there will no longer be sorrow or pain or hurtful feelings or betrayal or grief or anything else that has caused us to cry. You see all of those things were part of our life when sin ruled the earth but God won the battle and defeated Satan. Satan was the cause of all our tears working through people and situations that caused us to shed tears. Now we will be living a life where sin no longer exists, and where we no longer struggle daily with sin and the consequences of sin. I am so excited to live in eternity because I am tired of the struggles caused by sins in this life, aren’t you? Think about it, no more sickness, no more divorce, no more betrayal, no more murders, no more selfishness, no more hurt feelings, no more anger, no more abuse, no more haves verses have-nots, no more war, no more…no more…no more sin! Sin is gone and so are the sinners. Words fail me right now as I soak this in.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21: 9-27, (NIV).
What a beautiful description of what John saw the new Jerusalem to be. When my children were young and we would be reading a Bible story about heaven they had no idea of what jasper or chrysolite or onyx really were. To help them understand the beauty of heaven I asked them to describe to me a place that was everything they dreamed of as being the perfect place. They painted a verbal picture of a child’s dream come true, trees that held lollipops rather than apples or other trees that you could pick off a caramel apple rather than a plain one. They described rivers of chocolate milk, chocolate berries, ice cream igloos, and child-sized houses that were made for playing in and eating. My eldest who loved to read described a place to read her favorite books and time never interfered. They wanted the sun to always shine and bedtime to never come. I told them after they described their ideas that heaven would be even better than what they imagined it to be. Maybe you should take some time to think about what heaven will really be like. I know that it will be a place we love because God is love and He will be there. You know the most amazing thing to me from this passage is that whoever enters the new home where Jesus and God will live will be completely pure. Think of a young child and how innocent they are and then think of adults and how impure and jaded they are. We will be pure because our life on earth as a Christian has been a process of purification. At our physical death we are made perfect because we will be judged as being a part of Jesus since His blood will cover us and our sins will be no more. To live among people who are completely pure with no hidden hatred, no guile, no sarcasm, no hidden agenda as to what they can get from you, pure and perfect in every way, now that is something to look forward to!