1. The book of revelation is a book of judgement and hope. We have spent much time on considering how the wicked will be judged and how God will destroy all evil including the one from whom all evil flows. As we said last week God’s judgement is complete.
2. And now we spend our last two weeks of our study considering the positive, glorious outcome of those judgements. We will consider our eternal state of existence. And what a glorious life it will be!
3. John begins the chapter by saying that he saw two things. In verse 1 he saw a new heaven (firmanent) and a new earth. And in verse 2 he saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem. Very little is said about the new heaven and the new earth. That is because the focus is more on the Holy City.
4. But there are a few things we can say about the new heaven and the new earth. We are told that the first earth had passed away. But this does not mean that the first earth, the earth as it is today, is totally destroyed or annihilated. It will be destroyed by fire so that all impurities, all sin, all the consequences of sin, including death and pain will be no more. The passing away of the old and the coming of the new can be compared to the resurrection of the body. The new creation is not a creation out of nothing but a renewal.
5. The sea will be no more. The sea is that which separates continents and peoples. There may be a renewed sea but if there is it will no longer be a barrier between peoples.
6. The new creation will be radically different. A transformation. As we said, sin and its effects will be gone. All divisions will be gone. All creation will be united in Christ. It will be a time of perfect bliss and unity.
7. We cannot find the words to describe the new earth and the new heaven and the new earth. It is beyond our earthly language. And so it is described as to what will not ne there.
Rev 21:4 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."
8. The New Jerusalem is not the same as the new creation but it will inhabit all of creation. Is this a literal city that John sees? The answer is no.
First, because what John is seeing is a vision. And much of what is seen in visions is symbolic.
b. Second we need to remember that the city is also described as the bride of the Lamb. And a bride is not a literal city.
c. Thirdly, we also need to remember the symbolic meaning of Jerusalem. In the OT is was the capital of the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people. In the NT it was the church of Jesus Christ (still is). But in the end, it is the perfected church
9. The New Jerusalem is the church triumphant in its perfect glory. This city is the NEW Jerusalem, different from the old Jerusalem. A city is a place of community and fellowship. In the OT our fellowship with God was more or less external. God was with His people. In the NT that became more internal as God, the Holy Spirit dwelt with His people. The church today is in fellowship with God but because of our sin that fellowship is not perfect. And the church contains hypocrites and unbelievers. But the New Jerusalem will be perfectly holy and we will have a perfect fellowship with God.
10. In verse 3 John hears a loud voice. He announces that the dwelling place or tabernacle of God is with me and He will dwell with them. The great blessedness of the city is that it is the dwelling place of God. I the OT the tabernacle was the sign of God’s presence, His fellowship with His people and His covenant promises. Now His covenant promises have been fully realized they see God face to face. In vs. 5, God, seated on His throne, says "I am making everything new." 1 Cor 2:9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."
11. This promise is a promises of a blessed life that we cannot begin to comprehend. Vs. 7 says we will inherit all this. All these new things will be freely given to us. And we will be renewed as well so we will be able to possess all these things and enjoy them and use them.