The Book of Revelation (part 35) Revelation 21: The New Heavens and New Earth
June 9, 2021
The Book of Revelation (part 35)
Revelation 21: The New Heavens and New Earth
Jesus has returned. The final battles have been won. God’s enemies have been subdued. Satan and all personalities that followed him are in their eternal home, the lake of fire. Every unredeemed human has been judged, and every eternal sentence carried out. Believers are in their glorified bodies, and now, the earth is being transformed into an eternal home for those God created to fellowship with Him and be His friends for eternity.
The future of the earth is a hidden mystery that will unfold to us after the millennial reign of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Ephesians 2:6-7 (TPT)
He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ!
7 Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of his grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ.
Revelation 21:1 (NKJV)
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
A New Heaven:
There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible.
2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (NLT)
This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.
The first heaven is the atmospheric heavens directly above the earth.
The second heaven is the cosmic heavens where the stars and planets abide.
The third heaven is the abode of God, where the righteous go after death, and where the throne of God exists.
A new heaven refers to the atmospheric heavens directly above the earth where Satan and his fallen angels set up a kingdom during his reign after Adam’s sin and where the principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places rule over the spiritual darkness.
A new earth:
The earth is not annihilated and replaced, but it is changed and renovated by fire from the effects of the fall and sin.
Passed away: Definition
(Dake Study Bible Notes) Greek: parechomai (G3928), pass away; pass from one condition to another. It never means annihilation.
Matthew 24:35 (NKJV)
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Much like the change we experience in the New Birth:
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Hebrews 1:10-12 (NKJV)
And: “You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.
Hebrews 12:26-27 (NKJV)
…whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Romans 8:21-23 (NKJV)
Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
The earth will be renovated by fire:
2 Peter 3:5-13 (NKJV)
For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 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? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Isaiah 65:17 (NKJV)
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Isaiah 66:22-24 (NKJV)
For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the LORD, “so shall your descendants and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD. 24 “And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
(Dake Study Bible Notes)
All flesh–natural men on the earth will be permitted to look into eternal hell, at certain openings, and see the punishment of rebels forever as a perpetual warning against sin and transgression.
Also there was no more sea.
(Dake Study Bible Notes)
[no more sea] The large oceans covering about three-fourths of the earth will be no more, but there will be an abundance of rivers, lakes, and small seas on earth forever (Ps. 72:8-17; 97:1-6; 146:6; Isa. 42:10; 60:5; 66:19; Ezek. 47; Zech. 14:8; Jer. 5:22; 31:35; 33:22; etc.).
Revelation 21:2 (NKJV)
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
The Holy City:
Nothing that defiles can enter this city:
Revelation 21:27 (NKJV)
But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Revelation 22:14-15 (NKJV)
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
Coming down out of heaven from God:
Revelation 3:12 (NKJV)
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 19:7-9 (NKJV)
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
Revelation 21:3-4 (NKJV)
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Zechariah 2:10-11 (NKJV)
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD. 11 Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.
Zechariah 8:3 (NKJV)
Thus says the LORD: “I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’
Ezekiel 43:7 (NKJV)
And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places.”
Revelation 7:15-17 (NKJV)
Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Isaiah 35:10 (NKJV)
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 25:7-9 (NKJV)
And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth;
for the LORD has spoken. 9 And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
1 Corinthians 15:24-28 (NKJV)
Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Revelation 21:5-7 (NKJV)
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”
6a I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
Alpha and Omega are the beginning and ending letters of the Greek alphabet.
Revelation 1:8 (NKJV)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 22:13 (NKJV)
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.
God is eternal and never-changing.
(Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Study Bible Notes)
The phrase sums up the entirety of God’s sovereign power over all things, specifically His control over all human history. “The Alpha and the Omega” has the power to begin and end all things in accordance with His decree, and the phrase provides strong affirmation of Jesus’ deity and messianic lordship.
6b I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
Revelation 22:1 (NKJV)
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Revelation 22:17 (NKJV)
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
John 4:13-14 (NKJV)
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Ezekiel 47:9 (NKJV)
And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.
7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
1 Corinthians 3:21-23 (NKJV)
Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
Ephesians 1:9-11 (TPT)
And through the revelation of the Anointed One, he unveiled his secret desires to us—the hidden mystery of his long-range plan, which he was delighted to implement from the very beginning of time. 10 And because of God’s unfailing purpose, this detailed plan will reign supreme through every period of time until the fulfillment of all the ages finally reaches its climax—when God makes all things new in all of heaven and earth through Jesus Christ.
11 Through our union with Christ we too have been claimed by God as his own inheritance. Before we were even born, he gave us our destiny; that we would fulfill the plan of God who always accomplishes every purpose and plan in his heart.
In contrast, the wicked who are without Christ have no inheritance to look forward to in their future. The lake of fire is now awaiting them in their refusal to yield to Christ.
Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV)
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
(Bible Knowledge Commentary (2 Vols.))
Christ explained that he who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be My son. This expresses the intimate relationship between the saints and God in the eternal state.
By contrast, those who practice the sins of the unbelieving world will be excluded from the New Jerusalem and will be destined for the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This judgment is a righteous punishment for their sins, eight of which are itemized here. He adds, This is the second death.
It should be obvious that this passage is not affirming salvation by works, but rather is referring to works as indicative of whether one is saved or not. Obviously many will be in heaven who before their conversions were indeed guilty of these sins but who turned from them in the day of grace in trusting Christ as their Savior. Though works are the evidence of salvation or lack of it, they are never the basis or ground of it. Similar lists of sins are found elsewhere in Revelation (cf. v. 27; 22:15).
- Are you living everyday in the expectation of the new heavens and earth God has prepared for us?
- Are you putting God first in life right now? Are you living in the promise of His care right now? If He has a grand future planned for us, will He not take care of us now?
- Are you sharing Jesus with others when God opens up the opportunity, warning them so that they will not spend eternity in the lake of fire?