Sunday, March 05, 2006


Revelation 21


May 25, 2003

Good morning. Over the past year we’ve dealt in the book of Revelation with the greatest tragedies and tribulations that will strike humanity. The book of Revelation is seldom peaceful or comforting. It is not meant to be. It is a book of warning from the classic prophet of doom. But with our last message in Chapter 20, the doom was tempered with a message of hope. We saw the arrival of the millennial kingdom of our Lord where we will rule with Him for a 1000 years. Today in Chapter 21 will be go even beyond that into the dim future beyond the millennium. We will see God’s final triumph and glory.

Let’s look at the text.

Rev. 21 (read)

You will remember back to Chapter 15 that seven vials of destruction were poured out onto the old earth. We will see in this chapter and in 22 God will create seven new things. The first of these are a new heaven and a new earth.

Rev. 21:1 (read)

This was promised from old through prophesy.

II Peter 3:13 (read)

Isaiah 65:17 (read)

Now we are seeing the prophesies fullfilled. But what is going to happen to the old heaven and the old earth?
Hebrews 12:26,27 (read)

II Peter 3: 10-12 (read)

Remember the sea the dragon came up out of? It is gone, totally undone. It was the power God used to destroy the earth once, and now even it is taken away.

Rev. 21:2 (read)

We have already seen in Chapter 19 that the true church is the Bride of Christ and that the church is to be associated with the literal heavenly city. We also saw the false bride, the great harlot who tried to make a poor imitation of that promised city. Now the bride and the city will descend and be forever associated on the new earth with God.

Now we will see God’s 3rd new creation, the new people.

Rev. 21:3 (read)

At long last the great division is over. Humanity through Adam, separated itself from God by sin. From the moment Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit they could no longer walk with God in the garden in direct fellowship with them. In each age He provided a way to approach him, but the closeness was gone. Man has proven in each age that he was depraved. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ could eventually bridge that gap. Now the moment man has waited for and dreamed of has come. God’s house and man’s house have become the same one and they will live together as He meant from the beginning. How close will that relationship be?

Rev. 21:4 (read)

“The former things are passed”! Death, the great curse is gone. All the pain, the physical, wretched pain of our existence is over. The tears are over. When a mother lovingly wipes away her children’s tears, they can return the next time there is pain. But now there will be no next time. Like God’s salvation is once for all, his wiping away of sorrow will be once for all. All the emotional pain and bitterness and mental anguish will be taken away in the twinkling, or at least, the wiping of an eye.

Rev. 21:5 (read)

The throne refers to the final kingdom, God in complete authority. He speaks directly to John. Colonel Scofield reminds us that this is the basis of inspiration. John is describing in his own words what he is seeing and is taking from God dictation when God speaks in HIS own words. We see an example of that in Exodus when Moses tells God that he is not able to put together the right words to speak to the children of Israel.

Ex. 4:15 (read)

Rev. 21:6 (read)

Once more we here a variation of the words of Christ on the cross repeated. But now it’s not just His suffering that is ended, ALL suffering is ended. Once Adam and Eve sinned, we had to be removed from the presence of the tree of life, now the very source of life will be open to us without restriction. His promise to the woman at the well is completed here. At last we will be able to partake of the water that will cancel all thirst.

Rev. 21:7 (read)

The son inherits all the good things the father has. It is said that we are joint-heirs with Christ. Here that comes true also. This verse and the next one are mistakenly used as a proof text for salvation by works and for the doctrine that one can lose his salvation. Let’s look at that verse.

Rev. 21:8 (read)

Who then can be the overcomers? Paul explained it. He repeated a list such as this, then said “but such once WERE you. Every one of us has sinned. Were these sins evidence of not overcoming, no one would be saved. But the bridge has been built. Those of us sinners to appropriate the blood of Christ BECOME the overcomers. Not through our own ability or holiness, but through HIS and His shed blood.

Now John shows us the 4th of the new things God will make. The New Jerusalem.

Rev. 21:9 (read)

Everything is balanced with God. Now one of the angels who did the awful work of wrath, presents the perfect work of God. Scripture does not say so, but I suspect that each of the angels associated with the bowls of wrath is involved in either the creation or revealing of each of these seven new things. Once more we will see that the church of God and the city of God are inseparable.

Rev. 21:10 (read)

Remember, we are looking at a new earth here. The old one has been destroyed by fire, melted with fervent heat, as Peter describes it. John’s feet are placed spiritually on a high mountain to observe this phenomena. Why? I think the Spirit wants John to be able to observe the whole glory of the city and it will be a very large thing to see all at once, as we shall find out.

Rev. 21:11 (read)

The word translated “light” here is “brightness”. If you’ve ever seen a brilliant diamond flash in a beam of sunlight, you have an idea. Imagine a huge city flashing with that same brilliance. The city in itself is transparent, seeable, yet letting light through without restriction.

Rev. 21:12,13 (read)

Again, we see a circle completed. Once an angel guarded the gate of Eden to keep our parents out, to keep them away from the tree of life. Now we see angles at gates open to those who overcame, not blocking, I believe, but beckoning. This wall and the gates are described in the end of the book of Ezekial with the name of each tribe given and the direction the gate will face. Once more we see that God’s promises will be kept.

Rev. 21:14 (read)

This is a verse that you can find 21 opinions on from any 20 scholars. The question is, “Who is the 12th apostle”? Is it possible that Judas’ name will be on one of the foundations of the Holy City? Likely not, but then whose? Is it Barnabus who the other apostles decided by lot should take Judas’ place? Or were they acting without God’s leading there and should they have waited to see who God picked himself, and thus St. Paul’s name will grace one of the foundations? I don’t know. I’m willing to wait and see.

Rev. 21:15 (read)

In the past throughout scripture we’ve seen the image of one measuring with a reed, and here it is again. I might add that the reed was a standard of measurement in those days, roughly equivalent to 10 feet. The angel measures with this golden reed and gives John the results of his work.

Rev. 21:16 (read)

So the city is a cube, as long as it is wide and as high. When Solomon built his temple in 1st Kings, he made the room called the Oracle a perfect cube 20 cubits each way, that would be 30 feet, and overlaid it with gold, by the way. This city is just a tad larger. A furlong equals 582 feet. 582 times 12,000 is almost exactly 7,000,000 feet if my math is correct. That would make the city over 1,500 miles high, wide and deep. Do you wonder that John had to be on a VERY big mountain to see it? Can you see how this earth which seems so very vast to us, is a tiny crumb in the whole of God’s creation?

Rev. 21:17 (read)

There are several ways to look at this verse. One is that the description here is of the width of the wall, say 216 feet thick. Another is that the wall is 144 cubits high and the city rises those many miles above it. Still others believe that John is telling us that the angel’s measurements are much bigger than ours and we are seeing here a conversion of men’s cubits to angels. None the less, the city and its walls will be spectacular.

Now John describes the appearance of the materials of this city. Whether it is meant that it is literally of the materials he states or whether he is describing in human terms the appearance of them is to me unimportant. The picture is of a beauty beyond what we can even imagine.

Rev. 21:18 (read)

John has already described the city as a brilliant, clear, yet colorful gem. And we can see again that the light shines through it brilliantly. Gold is one of the most precious substances we can imagine, unsurpassed in earthly beauty. Now try to imagine that our gold is a poor imitation of the real thing, as poor an imitation as one I might make of the painting The Last Supper scribbled on an envelope with a pencil. That is the comparison between our gold and the transparent gold of heaven.

Rev 21:19,20 (read)

The passage starts out stating that the foundations were garnished with precious stones, then states that they ARE precious stones. I believe John is saying that the brilliance of the transparent gold glows through them and gives the appearance of being one giant gem. We’re all familiar with emeralds, think of an emerald say, 200 feet thick and 1500 MILES across. Think of 11 other gems just as large, and that’s just the foundation! Do you see what glory there is in the fact that He is the chief cornerstone in such a foundation? What it means to say that we have no other foundation than that which is in Christ Jesus? He is greater than even this foundation described by John!

Rev. 21:21 (read)

Here at last we find the pearly gates. But that is a misnomer. They are not pearly, they are each a giant pearl. How big does a pearl have to be to be a gate that fits symmetrically in such a wall? It’s beyond our imagining. And we see the streets of gold. Real gold, not our poor imitation.

Now we come to God’s 5th new thing. The new temple.

Rev. 21:22 (read)

The new temple is no temple. Is that confusing? The temple is where God lives, so there is no temple WITHIN the city, not even the city itself is the temple. God is not confined. God himself IS the temple. To be present in that city is to be present with God. We are to be one with Him. The glory of that, the promise of it goes beyond description, though John does his best.

And doing so he describes the 6th of the new things, the new light.

Rev. 21:23 (read)

Jesus is the light. We’ve always known that now we see it revealed in its totality. The sun and the moon have gone away in the fervent heat. They are too small and insignificant for the new heaven and new earth. What is this light? The very glory of God.

Rev. 21:24 (read)

Do you see what a pale perversion of rightful worship, the pagan worship of the sun is? How the enemy loves his pitiful imitations, and how he must laugh at the nations and people that blindly follow them.

Rev. 21:25 (read)

It was once common practice for walled cities to open their gates in daylight and close them at night. But there is no night here! Darkness has gone away with death and sorrow and pain. The fear of exclusion is gone also. Do you see why I believe these gates will be guarded by angels beckoning instead of excluding? And now we see those beckoned to...

Rev. 21:26 (read)

All the glory of the nations or multitudes of believers will pales in the presence of the very light of the glory of God, yet we will still bring what we have to cast before His throne. What little righteousness we can muster may be as the widow’s mite, but like that mite, it will be all we have and we will gladly, joyfully honor Him with it in His city.

And lastly, John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, brings this warning.

Rev. 21:27 (read)

What a choice! The city of light or eternity in darkness! Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life today? If it is, have you thanked Him? Have you looked around at those you meet and share this bit of eternity with and tried to guide them to it? I have to ask myself, when those around me look at me and the life I live, do they see a tiny reflection of that brilliant light, or do they see only the abomination and the lie?

Let us pray.
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