Author: Ron Graham
The Beauty of Heaven (Revelation 21-22) >Seven Final Visions >7th vision >All things new
This lesson is a study of Revelation 21:1-8. The passage is summed up in the words of the reigning Christ: "Behold, I am making all things new." (Revelation 21:5). The vision pictures a new heavens and a new earth with a new Jerusalem. Those who dwell in this new world live a completely new and blessed life —eternal life.
new heavens, new earth John sees "a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth passed away" (Revelation 21:1). The heaven and earth which John saw pass away is that which God created in the beginning (Genesis 1:1-31). Peter reminds us of how that world was destroyed by flood and will, at Christ's coming, be utterly destroyed by fire. "The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." He goes on to say, "According to his promise we are looking for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2Peter 3:3-13).
new Jerusalem John saw a beautiful city descend upon the new heaven and earth. He calls it "the holy city, the new Jerusalem" (Revelation 21:2). The vision of this city is described in detail further on in the chapter (Revelation 21:10ff). Jesus anticipated this vision in his message to Philadelphia (Revelation 3:12).
a bride adorned John likens the glorious city to "a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2). This metaphor of the bride is repeated (Revelation 21:9, 22:17). Paul says, "The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother" (Galatians 4:26). Paul uses the wife metaphor for the church of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:22-32). Such highly figurative language may not sit well in the analytical mind, but it does touch the heart. When Jesus pictures his church as his holy bride and the mother of us all, he chooses an analogy soaked in joyous love.
tabernacle of God John hears an announcement from the throne, "Behold the tabernacle of God is among men and he will dwell among them..." (Revelation 21:3) This is a parallelism, a common poetic form in the word of God. The metaphor of the tabernacle of God among men is followed with its literal meaning that God will dwell among them. The tabernacle in the time of Moses, was the tent of worship in which God dwelled. Later it was replaced by the temple in Jerusalem. It served to connect the people with God in a special way. God is of course present with us today and we have fellowship with him (1John 1:3). However in the new Jerusalem God himself will be the temple (Revelation 21:22), and the presence of God will be utterly unveiled to us.
every tear from their eyes When the saved go to heaven, they will take many sorrows with them. But God "shall wipe away every tear from their eyes" (Revelation 21:4). He will take away every sorrow, every pain. There will be no more place found for them in heaven —no more than there was for the old heaven and earth where those sufferings were endured. They will all pass away forever. Instead we will be given a new world where all things are as they ought to be. There will be gladness never spoiled. "The first things have passed away... behold I am making all things new" (Revelation 21:4-5).
Alpha and Omega Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet. The full declaration is, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (Revelation 21:6, 22:13). Jesus is claiming that "In him dwells all the fulness of the deity bodily" (Colossians 2:9). See Alpha and Omega, Jesus is God.
water of life The water of life promised by Jesus (Revelation 21:6, John 4:14) is seen in a later vision as a river coming from the throne of God. Eternal life is the greatest promise and gift ever offered to human beings. Yet it is freely available to anyone who thirsts for it.
inherit ... be my son There's an inheritance for all the sons of God (Ephesians 1:11). Any man or woman can become a son of God (Romans 8:15-17). This inheritance is imparted by the will of God through the covenant he mediated to humankind through his Son (Hebrews 8:6). It is an inheritance reserved in heaven for us (1Peter 1:3-5).
second death In contrast to the promises above, there is the second death seen in the visions as a lake of fire (Revelation 21:8, 20:10,14). This sounds terrible, and indeed it is. However for those who do not practise evil, and who overcome through Jesus, it is good news —it assures them that nothing will spoil heaven, because everything that could will be cast into hell.
We look for a new world,
All beautiful and bright.
We look for a new world,
Where never comes a night.
We long for a new world,
Where there's no pain or tears.
We long for a new world,
Where no one dies or fears.
We'll go to the city
That's built by Christ the King.
We'll kneel down before him,
While God’s good angels sing.
We'll live in the city,
And never shall we leave.
This the Lamb has promised
To all who will believe.