Revelation 21/ June 9
“…the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Judgment has been rendered, the division has been made. Those who would not surrender their lives to God through His Son, Jesus would be cast into the lake of fire (20:15), and for the redeemed alone does life start new. Exactly how this all happens remains somewhat unclear, there is the idea of a new world and atmosphere (21:1). Heaven is here not spoken of as the dwelling place of God but of the planets and universe. Life begins as never had been before, and mankind will now live for God. We shall now know God as never before. In this new Jerusalem (21:2) there shall be no sorrow or pain or any limitations which are experienced while here on earth (21:4), that has passed away. Anyone who was blind will now see, anyone who could not walk will now be able. No diseases, no disablements. It is now all perfect, all things are new (21:5)
This is eternity, this is forever with God. This is what the Christian life has been about, why we resist satan, why we persevere. Why Christians have been tortured and put to death. This is the gift that is given to the faithful. This is why Jesus died- to bring us to heaven. This is why we place faith in Him.
The ones who dwell here are those who have overcome; they have resisted satan, they are found to be faithful.
Absent are those described in v8- “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (21:8) Cast into the lake of fire are those who were too scared of the world and not being liked and accepted by unbelievers that they wouldn’t surrender to Christ. Scared of missing out on what this world has to offer. Those who would not surrender in faith to there being a God who sent His Son to die for our sins. The abominable, the murderers, the immoral individuals who lived in a manner that was opposed to anything good and holy. Those who relied on the powers of satan to create religions that worship him. And liars, those who are dishonest- for God is holy and pure and true and hates lying and all the others who are here named. God hates sin.
John is told in v9 that he will be shown “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (21:9). People, though, are not described here but instead it is a dwelling place. The people of God are represented by the new Jerusalem.
This is seen in many ways, primarily its beauty and costliness. To God, the church is beautiful, likened unto the jewels used to describe it. And it is very costly for it was at the expense of the life of God’s Son that it was purchased.
We are told in v11, “having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.” The eternal dwelling place for God’s chosen ones will be filled with His glory. No longer is there any sin, any unrighteousness, the former things have passed away (21:4). There is no longer any desire for sin, no interest in it in the citizens of heaven. They only want to praise God!
The magnificence of the city is described in vv12-21; we are told that above the twelve gates of the city are the names of the tribes of Israel (21:12) and the foundation stones have on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (21:14). The apostles, representing the New Testament believers are the foundation of the church. But the church was ushered in, so to speak, through the gates of Israel.
There is no temple (21:22), no place to go and worship in the new Jerusalem, for the Father and the Son dwell in that place and are its temple. There will be continual worship, not a stagnant weekly type service.
And the Son of God now literally becomes the sun as He illumines this dwelling place 24/7 (21:25). The psalmist wrote, “Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” (Psalm 139:12). There can never be darkness in the presence of God. Is there need for sleep or rest? That really isn’t explained.
Also to be expected is the complete purging of evil from the presence of believers, in no way will there be anything regarding sin within this city. Where is all evil? As v8 has said- it has been locked away to torture. No longer do Gods children ever need to again worry about being diseased, impaired, scoffed at, bullied, tempted, or overrun by sin, for it has been banished forever to the lake of fire.