Lesson 62 – Revelation 21:1-4
Lesson 62 – Revelation 21:1-4
Revelation 21:1 With unrepentant mankind removed from the earth along with Satan and his demons the present universe destroyed (Revelation 20:11), God will create a new kingdom for the redeemed and the righteous angels to dwell in forever. The expression of a new heaven and a new earth comes from Isiah 65:17 and Isiah 66:22. What Isaiah saw now is realized here. God originally created the earth to be mankind’s permanent home.
The fall of man and the resultant judgment ruined the earth and the universe, and so God needed to replace it with something perfect. Job spoke of the earth in his day as being impure (Job 15:15) Isaiah too (Isaiah 24:5) Jesus too spoke that “Heaven and earth will pass away” (Luke 21:33). The change is so dramatic that there will be no sea, which was present in the millennium (Ezikiel 48:25).
The sea is the great divider of nations and peoples, but in the New Earth there will be no such divider, since there will be no need for it as there will only be one nation consisting of God’s people. All life on earth is dependent on water for its survival, and the earth is the only known place in the universe where there is sufficient water to sustain life. But our glorified bodies will not require water, unlike our present human bodies, whose blood is 90 percent water, and whose flesh is 65 percent water. There will be a river in heaven, but it may not be water, even though it is described as the “water of life” (Revelation 22:1, 17).
Revelation 21:2 The reason for this is that New Jerusalem will be the center of this new creation and the eternal residence of believers (Revelation 21:9-10) —the bride is the Church, which will be all the nations brought into unity with Israel). New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven (Revelation 21:2), so its destination is the New Earth.
The imagery of the wedding is continued from chapter 19, but the picture is now taken one step further, for the bride becomes the wife in Revelation 21:9, suggesting that the wedding feast will endure for the millennium. The ‘ made ready’ of Revelation 21:2 is described in Revelation 21:9-27; the Greek word used here is the root of ‘ cosmetic’ in English. At the conclusion of the millennium, the bride, now the wife, will be taken to her new home, the heavenly Jerusalem!
The new Jerusalem is not heaven, but heaven’s capital. It is not synonymous with heaven, because its dimensions are given in v 16. It will be the third city named Jerusalem. The first is the historic Jerusalem, the City of David, which currently exists in Israel. Scripture repeatedly calls it the holy city (Revelation 11:2; Nehemiah 11:1; Isaiah 52:1; Daniel 9:24; Matthew 4:5; 27:53) because it was set apart for God’s purposes.
The second Jerusalem will be the restored Jerusalem where Jesus will rule during the millennial kingdom. The new Jerusalem does not belong to the first creation, so it is neither the historic city, nor the millennial city; it is the altogether new eternal city (Revelation 21:10; Revelation 3:12; Hebrews 11:10; 12:22-24; 13:14). The new Jerusalem will truly be a holy city because everyone in it will be holy (Revelation 20:6). This fulfills the words of Heb 11 that described its “architect and builder” (Hebrews 11:10). The implication is that it already exists, a truth reinforced by Hebrews 12:22-23.
All heaven is in the new Jerusalem which is separate from the present world, which is polluted by sin. Believers who die go to the “heavenly Jerusalem,” where Jesus has gone before them to prepare a place for them (John 14:1-3). But when God creates the new heaven and the new earth, the new Jerusalem will descend to the new earth (Revelation 21:10), and serve as the dwelling place of Believers for all eternity. The city is pictured as a bride because it contains the bride and takes on her character.
The New Jerusalem will be a place without an angry word (for that is what the word translated ‘ crying’ in Revelation 21:4 means) or hard work. God will wipe away every tear, and the stresses that cause sorrow will be removed; death will be nonexistent, as well as pain.
Revelation 21:3-4 God is going to make his dwelling-place with men. The word used for dwelling-place is skene, literally a tent. There are two main ideas here.
1) Skene is the word used for the Tabernacle. Originally in the wilderness the Tabernacle was a tent. The idea is that God is to make his tabernacle with men for ever, to give his presence to men for ever. Here in this era the presence of God is occasional; but in heaven we will be permanently aware of His presence.
2) There are two words totally different in meaning but similar in sound which in early Christian thought became closely connected. Skene is one; and the Hebrew shechinah, the glory of God, is the other. SKENE-SHECHINAH-the connection in sound brought it about that men could not hear the one without thinking of the other. As a result, to say that the skene of God is to be with men brought the thought that the shechinah of God is to be with men.
In the ancient times the shechinah took the form of a cloud which came and went. We read, for instance, of the cloud which filled the house at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8:10, 11). In the new age the glory of God is not to be a short-lived thing, but something which abides permanently with the people of God.
God’s promise to make Israel his people and to be their God and dwell among them is found throughout the Old Covenant (Leviticus 26:11, 12). In Jeremiah’s account of the new covenant the promise of God is: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). The promise to Ezekiel is: “My dwelling-place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Ezekiel 37:27).
The highest promise of all is intimate fellowship with God, in which we can say: “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3). God say again that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 7:17; Isaiah 25:8). That does not mean that people who arrive in heaven will be crying and God will comfort them.
The tears are not over our sin because that was already dealt with at the cross, and at the judgment seat of Messiah, but refers to the sorrow we might have for loved ones who are not present God will bring us comfort and peace regarding this. But note why. It is because God will recreate the universe. It is because “the former things are passed away,” the earth as it is now is going to pass away.