Home

,

We will live for eternity in "Eden" (paradise).

Revelation(52) (Part of the Jesus Unveiled(51) series)
by Stuart Johns(120) on March 10, 2019 (Sunday Morning(160))

Heaven(2), Salvation(46)

Jesus Unveiled

Home

(Revelation 21:1-8)

 

INTRODUCTION

“In the 2007 film The Bucket List, two terminally ill men—played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman—take a road trip to do the things they always said they would do before they ‘kicked the bucket.’ In anticipation of the film's release, Nicholson was interviewed for an article in Parade magazine. While reflecting on his personal life, Nicholson said:

 

I used to live so freely. The mantra for my generation was ‘Be your own man!’ I always said, ‘Hey, you can have whatever rules you want—I'm going to have mine. I'll accept the guilt. I'll pay the check. I'll do the time.’ I chose my own way. That was my philosophical position well into my 50s. As I've gotten older, I've had to adjust.

 

But reality has a way of getting the attention of even a Jack Nicholson. Later in the interview, Nicholson adds:

 

We all want to go on forever, don't we? We fear the unknown. Everybody goes to that wall, yet nobody knows what's on the other side. That's why we fear death.

 

Dotson Rader, "I want to go on forever," Parade magazine (12-9-07), pp. 6-8.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2008/february/6021808.html]

 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we do know what’s on the other side! ​​ It’s our eternal home. ​​ In fact we will feel more at home than we have ever felt before. ​​ John explains vividly what that eternal home is like in Revelation 21 and 22, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Vacation

        • I enjoy taking a vacation and spending time in other parts of the country

        • We’ve been blessed to see much of the United States as a family

        • But there’s something about coming home

        • After being gone for a week or two, it’s good to get home and climb into my own bed

        • I enjoy getting back into a regular routine

        • It’s comforting to know where everything is

        • It’s nice to just sit on the couch and enjoy watching some television or reading a book

        • I can just relax, because I’m home

 

  • WE

    • Vacation

        • Perhaps we’re all the same

        • We enjoy taking a vacation, but we also look forward to getting back to the comforts of our own homes

        • Some people talk about taking a vacation from their vacation, so they can get stuff done around the house (others take “staycations”)

    • Hospital and/or nursing home stays

        • Some of us have had lengthy stays in the hospital, rehab center, or a nursing home

        • When I visit people in those settings, inevitably they share their desire to go home

        • As family members, who take care of those in the hospital or a nursing home, we know how our loved one wants to be at home instead of there

        • Even those who are nearing death will express their desire to be at home when they die

    • We can all agree that there is just something comforting about being in our own home, where we can let our guard down and just be ourselves

 

There are some incredible parallels and differences between the beginning of the Bible (Genesis 1-3) and the end of the Bible (Revelation 21-22) [Akin, Christ-Centered Exposition: ​​ Exalting Jesus in Revelation, 326 and Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 2, 621].

 

Genesis

Revelation

Heaven and earth created (1:1)

New heaven and earth recreated (21:1)

Sun created (1:16)

No need of the sun (21:23)

The night established (1:5)

No night there (22:5)

The seas created (1:10)

No more seas (21:1)

The curse announced (3:14-17)

No more curse (22:3)

Death enters history (3:19)

Death exits history (21:4)

Man driven from paradise (3:24)

Man restored to paradise (22:14)

Sorrow and pain begin (3:17)

Sorrow, tears, and pain end (21:4)

The Devil appears (3:1)

The Devil disappears (20:10)

 

John explains that a time is coming when we will live with God in a perfected state. ​​ The effects of sin will no longer be around, because God will make everything new. ​​ While none of us have ever experienced what the Garden of Eden was like, in its perfection, we will one day enjoy that perfection forever. ​​ John wants us to understand that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – We will live for eternity in “Eden” (paradise).

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Revelation 21:1-8)

    • Made new (vv. 1-2, 5a)

        • What John sees in verses 1-2 and then hears in verse 5a is that everything is being made new

          • It’s kind of a small chiastic structure with verses 1-2 and verse 5a both using the word “new”

          • The center of the structure would then be what we find in verses 3-4 and we’ll get to that in just a minute

        • Verses 1-2

          • John sees a new heaven and a new earth

            • In Revelation 20:11 we saw that the earth and sky fled from Jesus’ presence when He sat on the great white throne to judge

            • We now see this restated again in the fact that the first heaven and the first earth had passed away

            • There are two lines of thought concerning whether God will renovate/renew or completely recreate/replace heaven and earth

              • Renovate/Renewal

                • Those who hold to the belief that God will renovate the current heaven and earth use Romans 8:18-23

                • Read Romans 8:18-23

                • All of creation is waiting to be liberated from the effects of sin, so it makes it sound like once they’re liberated they will return to their original state

                • It’s a renovation – getting rid of the old and restoring it to its former glory and perfection

                • While we certainly understand the reason behind why there needs to be a new earth, why does there need to be a new a heaven

                  • Courson and Wiersbe both point to Job 15:15 to help us understand that even the heavens are not pure in God’s eyes

                  • The spiritual realm is the unseen part of this world, which would encompass the heavens

                  • In the book of Job we see that Satan appears before God (God asks him where he has been)

                  • He’s been going throughout the earth

                  • So, a new heaven is in order, because Satan has polluted it just like he did with the earth

                  • Now when we talk about heaven in this sense, we are not talking about God’s eternal, perfected home

                  • That’s what we’ll see next

                • But before we get there, we have to look at the second line of thought

              • Recreate/Replace

                • If we take Rev. 21:1 literally, in light of how we would define “passing away,” then a totally new creation would have to take place

                • Isaiah 65:17, “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. ​​ The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”

                  • Taken literally, it seems as though a new heaven and earth with be created, replacing the old heaven and earth

                  • The previous heaven and earth will not even be remembered anymore

                • 2 Peter 3:10-11a, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. ​​ The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. ​​ Since everything will be destroyed in this way . . .

                  • While there are passages in Scripture that speak of a refining fire that would renew by burning off the impurities, it seems like the fire Peter is talking about is more intense than just a refining fire

                  • Peter seems to be talking about total destruction of the old heaven and earth

              • While scholars may disagree about whether God will renew or replace the old heaven and earth, they do agree that God will provide a new reality that is perfected, without the “discoloration by sin” [Akin, 328]

              • “As the new covenant is superior to and replaces the old (Heb 8:7-13), so the new heaven and earth provide a setting for the new and eternal state.” ​​ [Mounce, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 381]

            • No sea

              • Why would John mention that a body of water is no longer around? ​​ (that’s what most of us would think when reading it literally)

              • We have to remember how John’s audience would have understood this reference to the sea

              • A little Biblical background can help us

                • Isaiah 57:20, But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.

                • Revelation 13:1, 6-7, And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. ​​ He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name . . . He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. ​​ He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. ​​ And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.

              • The original readers of this letter, in John’s day, saw the sea as a place where evil resided – they were fearful about the sea, especially when it was unsettled

              • Osborne cites Beale’s work on the five uses of “sea” in the book of Revelation – 1) the origin of evil, 2) the nations that persecute the saints, 3) the place of the dead, 4) the location of the world’s idolatrous trade activity, and 5) a body of water, part of this world [Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 730-31]

              • Osborne concludes that the reason John mentions the sea in this passage is for us to understand that evil will not be a part of the new heaven and new earth – that will all pass away [Osborne, 731]

            • The old order of things have passed away and John has seen the new order established

            • With the new order established, John now sees the Holy City, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God

          • The Holy City, the new Jerusalem

            • Once again, scholars see two primary viewpoints concerning what is represented by the new Jerusalem

              • An actual city

                • The Holy City of Jerusalem was defiled during Old Testament times and was renewed

                • The Antichrist and his hordes will also defile it during their short reign

                • Matthew 24:14-16, And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. ​​ “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

                • The description of the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-21 makes it sound like it is an actual city with walls and a foundation

                • “The perfect passive participle of the verb hetoimazō, meaning ‘prepare’ or ‘make ready,’ calls to mind the promise of the Lord to his disciples, ‘I am going there to prepare a place for you’ (John 14:2). ​​ The perfect passive participle indicates that this place, having been prepared, now descends, looking like a bride prepared for her husband.” ​​ [Patterson, The New American Commentary, Revelation, 363]

              • God’s people

                • Throughout Revelation, Babylon the Great, that great prostitute, has been used to identify political and religious evil that will flourish during the reign of Antichrist (the political and religious evil is carried out by human beings)

                • The fact that the new Jerusalem is identified as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband is in direct contrast to Babylon the Great, and expresses the purity and holiness of God’s people

                • Some scholars connect the bride of Christ imagery found here with the bride imagery found in Revelation 19:6-8 (where it is more obvious that the bride represents God’s saints, His people, Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)

              • Both

                • There is no reason why the new Jerusalem cannot represent both an actual city and the people who live there

                • “Just as Babylon in Revelation represents the people of Rome and not simply its location, and just as ‘Jerusalem’ in the Old Testament usually included the people and not simply the site, ‘new Jerusalem’ undoubtedly includes the people of God.” ​​ [Keener, The NIV Application Commentary, Revelation, 486]

              • While there may be discussion about whether or not it represents a place or people, the fact that it comes from God and not humans is without question

            • Coming down out of heaven from God

              • God is the One who has been preparing our eternal home

              • He, at one time, would walk and talk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day through the Garden of Eden

              • When sin entered the world, He had to separate Himself, physically, from this world

              • Now we see that, with sin and its effects gone, God is returning to His original plan of having earth as the eternal home of His people [Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary, Revelation, 394]

          • That is first part of the matching units in the chiastic structure

          • The second part is found in the first half of verse 5

        • Verse 5a

          • John hears God speaking from His throne

          • We see again the word “new”

          • John has already seen the new heaven, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem, but now He hears it directly from God, Himself

          • God created the new Jerusalem and has sent it down to earth

          • God is reaffirming what John saw when He says, “I am making everything new!”

        • While there is discussion about what the new Jerusalem represents, the greater point of this passage, and the center of the chiastic structure, is that God will live with His people again

    • God with us (vv. 3-4, 5b-7)

        • John first saw something, but now he hears something too

        • A loud voice (v. 3)

          • We’ve seen this concept of the loud voice before

          • The significance of the loud voice is that it will be clear what is being said, no one will misunderstand

          • Everyone will hear it, no one will miss out

          • This voice is coming from the throne, but it is not God speaking, because we saw in the first half of verse 5 that God speaks there and in verses 6-8

          • This is perhaps an angel, one of the four living creatures, or one of the 24 elders that are surrounding the throne – we’re not told

          • The message is a message of hope for all followers of Jesus Christ

        • The message (v. 3)

          • PRINCIPLE – God promises to physically live with His people again.

            • The Greek word for dwelling is skēnē (skay-nay’) and literally means “tent” or “tabernacle”

            • God made a promise to the Israelites if they were obedient to Him

              • Leviticus 26:11-12, I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. ​​ I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.

              • We see throughout the exodus from Egypt and into the building of the Temple in Jerusalem that God’s presence was with His people through His Shekinah glory

                • His presence was evident through a pillar of fire at night and a cloud during the day as they wandered through the desert

                • At Mt. Sinai His presence covered the top of the mountain with a cloud

                • At the Temple in Jerusalem His presence descended in the form of a cloud

                • At Jesus’ transfiguration, God’s presence was in the form of a cloud

              • While God showed His presence through His Shekinah glory in Old Testament times, in the New Testament times He came to physically dwell among humanity for a short time

            • Jesus was God in the flesh

              • John 1:14, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. ​​ We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

              • God came to dwell among us, through Jesus Christ, so that He could fulfill His redemptive plan for humanity

              • Jesus was born as a baby, grew up to be a man, ministered throughout Palestine for three years, willingly gave His life on the cross to take our punishment for sin, was buried, and came alive again in three days (all to fulfill God’s plan)

            • “God will no longer dwell high and lifted up above his people but will now ‘tabernacle’ in their midst.” ​​ [Osborne, 734]

              • This is a fulfillment of Leviticus 26:11-12

              • It’s also not a temporary dwelling, but a permanent and eternal dwelling with His people

            • We will live for eternity in “Eden” (paradise).

          • We will be His people and He will be our God

            • About half of the English translations of the Bible have “peoples” instead of “people”

              • John uses the plural (laoi) here unlike all the other OT and NT passages that use the singular (laos)

              • The significance of this is that John seems to be indicating that God’s people, in the new heaven and new earth, will be from every nation – a diverse group of people

              • This will be a fulfillment of prophecy through Zechariah

              • Zechariah 2:11, “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. ​​ I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.

            • This should not come as a surprise to us, since we already know that there are followers of Jesus Christ around the world

          • What an incredible day it will be to have God dwelling with us, physically (we will see Him face-to-face)

          • As if, that isn’t enough, we see in verses 4 and 5b-7 the benefits associated with that

        • The benefits of God dwelling with us (vv. 4, 5b-7)

          • The effects of sin are gone (v. 4)

            • PRINCIPLE – God will remove the effects of sin

            • God will wipe every tear from our eyes

              • Think about God taking a handkerchief and gently wiping every tear from your eyes

              • This reminds me of a father caring for his child when they’re hurt

              • These would be tears shed on earth as a result of suffering for the name of Christ, but also tears from pain experienced on earth

            • No more death

              • We already know that death has been thrown into the lake of burning sulfur

              • With death removed there will no longer be any mourning or crying

              • “Death is only a comma to a Christian – not a period!” ​​ [Adrian Rogers cited by Akin, 329]

            • No more pain

              • Think for a moment of everything that you have been through in this life, so far

              • There are all kinds of painful situations that we have experienced that cause us to mourn and cry

                • The loss of a child (either before birth, after birth, or as a teenager or adult)

                • A spouse that has been unfaithful

                • The death of a parent

                • A loved one that has turned away from the Lord or has never turned to the Lord

                • Financial, emotional, physical, and relational struggles and pain

              • All of that will be no more, because the old order of things has passed away

            • That’s what we see when God speaks and tells John to write down the words found in verses 6-8

              • The words are trustworthy and true

              • We can take it to the bank

              • We can believe God’s words with every fiber of our being

              • God is faithful, He’s kept every promise He’s made

            • The promise He makes first is that it is done!

          • It is done (v. 6a)

            • God as completed everything that He set out to do

            • Every one of His promises have been fulfilled

            • “There are in a sense three stages: ​​ At the cross Jesus said, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), meaning God’s redemptive plan for his sacrificial death. ​​ Then in Rev. 16:17 the voice from the throne said, ‘It is over,’ meaning that the events of the eschaton ending this present evil order are finished (cf. 10:6; 11:15, 18; 12:10; 15:1). ​​ Finally, God here says ‘They are over,’ meaning that all the events of world history – including the world’s destruction and the inauguration of the final new age – are at an end.” ​​ [Osborne, 738]

            • Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End

              • God was there at the creation of this world and He will be there at the end of it

              • God will also be there at the beginning of the new heaven and new earth and will live with His people for all eternity

              • God said this of Himself at the beginning of Revelation

              • Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

          • Water of life (6b)

            • This is another benefit of having God dwelling with us

              • The tree of life will be a part of the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem

              • The river of life will run through the city and we will have access to this water

            • PRINCIPLE – God promises eternal life to those who seek it.

              • John 7:37-38, On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. ​​ Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

              • “What does a thirsty man do to get rid of his thirst? ​​ He drinks. ​​ Perhaps there is no better representation of faith in all the Word of God than that. . . . So, dear Soul, whatever your state may be, you can surely receive Christ, for He comes to you like a cup of cold water! (“Good News”) ​​ [Charles Spurgeon cited by Akin, 331]

              • Notice that it takes initiative on our part to quench our thirst – we have to come

              • Also notice that there is no cost for drinking from the spring of the water of life

            • This is the first of three images used concerning salvation, the second is the idea of an inheritance

          • Inheritance (7a)

            • An inheritance is something that is given to those who are part of the family

            • This inheritance includes drinking from the spring of the water of life and having the effects of sin removed, but it also includes what is mentioned in each of the seven letters to the churches [Akin, 332]

              • Rev. 2:7 – Ephesus – Access to the tree of life

              • Rev. 2:11 – Smyrna – Not be hurt by second death

              • Rev. 2:17 – Pergamum – Given hidden manna, a white stone, and a new name

              • Rev. 2:26-27 – Thyatira – Authority over the nations and the morning star

              • Rev. 3:5 – Sardis – Clothed in white garments, name never blotted out of the book of life, Christ will confess you before His Father and His angels

              • Rev. 3:12 – Philadelphia – Pillar in the temple of My God, write on you the name of My God, the name of the new Jerusalem, and My own new name

              • Rev. 3:21 – Laodicea – Sit with Me on My throne

            • “After the great Chicago fire of 1871, evangelist Dwight L. Moody went back to survey the ruins of his house. ​​ A friend came by and said to Moody, ‘I hear you lost everything.’ ​​ ‘Well,’ said Moody, ‘you understood wrong. ​​ I have a good deal more left than I lost.’ ​​ ‘What do you mean?’ the inquisitive friend asked. ​​ ‘I didn’t know you were that rich.’ ​​ Moody then opened his Bible and read to him Revelation 21:7 – ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God.’” ​​ [Wiersbe, 622]

            • The third image solidifies the second image

          • Adoption into God’s family (7b)

            • God promises to be our God and we will be His children

            • Romans 8:15, 23, For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. ​​ And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” . . . Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

            • Galatians 4:4-5, But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

        • We know that God will be with those who have overcome, but He will be separated from those who gave in

    • Separated from God (v. 8)

        • We see a short list, that is not exhaustive, of those who will be separated from God, the new heaven and earth, and the new Jerusalem

        • PRINCIPLE – Living with God means bravely embracing His ways instead of the ways of the world.

          • It is important to note that what John is writing here is still coming from God – He is the One that’s saying that hell exists and that individuals choose to go there

          • Vice list

            • Cowardly – those who deny Christ openly when confronted with persecution (rootless ones in the parable of the sower in Matt. 13:21, when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away)

            • Unbelieving – unfaithful and lacking in trust

            • Vile – abominable acts, like worshiping beast/emperor

            • Murderers – those who killed the saints

            • Sexually immoral – spiritually and physically immoral

            • Magic arts – deceptive tools of demons

            • Idolaters – worshipers of any false god

            • All liars – false prophets, those who falsely claim to follow the truth

        • Their eternal destination is the fiery lake of burning sulfur, which is the second death

 

  • YOU

    • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I will live for eternity with God in “Eden” (paradise).

    • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Receive eternal life and the promised inheritance by becoming God’s child through adoption. ​​ (Read John 1:12-13)

 

  • WE

    •  

 

 

CONCLUSION

“He was just a little fellow. His mother died when he was just a child. His father, in trying to be both mommy and daddy, had planned a picnic. The little boy had never been on a picnic, so they made their plans, fixed the lunch, and packed the car. Then it was time to go to bed, for the picnic was the next day. He just couldn't sleep. He tossed and he turned, but the excitement got to him. Finally, he got out of bed, ran into the room where his father had already fallen asleep, and shook him. His father woke up and saw his son. He said to him, ‘What are you doing up? What's the matter?”

 

The boy said, ‘I can't sleep.’

 

The father asked, ‘Why can't you sleep?’

 

In answering, the boy said, ‘Daddy, I'm excited about tomorrow.’

 

His father replied, ‘Well, Son, I'm sure you are, and it's going to be a great day, but it won't be great if we don't get some sleep. So why don't you just run down the hall, get back in bed, and get a good night's rest.’

 

So the boy trudged off down the hall to his room and got in bed. Before long, sleep came--to the father, that is. It wasn't long thereafter that back was the little boy. He was pushing and shoving his father, and his father opened his eyes. Harsh words almost blurted out until he saw the expression on the boy's face. The father asked, ‘What's the matter now?’

 

The boy said, ‘Daddy, I just want to thank you for tomorrow.’

 

When I think of my past and the fact that a loving Father would not let me go, reached down in his divine providence, and lifted me off of the streets of Harlem, when I think of what he has done for me and then think that he is planning a new thing for me that will surpass the past, let the record show this night in this place that Benjamin Reaves testified, Father, I want to thank you for tomorrow!”

 

Benjamin Reaves, "Living Expectantly," Preaching Today, Tape No. 65.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1998/july/3874.html]

14