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The world to come. Revelation 21-22:6
THE WORLD TO COME
Revelation 21:1-22:6

Scripture reading: Isaiah 65:17-25

Today we will be finishing our mini series in the Book of Revelation

-The Book of Revelation is from Jesus, about Jesus, and primarily concerns the events leading up to and surrounding his return
-The big call of Revelation is to faithfulness, to perseverance, to staying true to Christ no matter what-- for we have a victorious Savior to whom all power belongs--- and more than that, Satan is a defeated foe.

This morning I want to talk to you about the world to come- the new Heaven and New Earth

-The New Earth will in many respects be like the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:4-17)
-The Promised Land (which was described to the Israelites as being a land flowing with milk and honey) serves as a picture for the new Earth
-The prophets of old looked forward to the New Earth. Isaiah speaks of some of its conditions (Isaiah 65). Ezekiel anticipates it. Abraham was looking forward to it- for in Hebrews 11:8-10 it says of him "By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."
-On this New Earth we will dwell with the Christ in glorified physical bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-48)
-Heaven/the New Earth, being with Christ our Savior is the goal of our faith. In Philippians 3:20 we are reminded that "our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ."
-Before the New Earth comes, this one will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3). It will swept away- it with all its evidences of sin, death, and strife.

That we might learn more about the World to come, please turn with me in your Bibles to Revelation 21:1-22:6 together.

SCENE 1: THE NEW WORLD Revelation 21:1-8 READ

In Revelation 21:1-8 we are given a big picture view of the new heaven and new earth. The remainder of the text zooms in and gives greater detail.

Stand out features of the New Heaven and New Earth

a. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. The old one will be gone
b. There will be no more sea (By waters this present earth was once destroyed)
c. There will be no more death, sorrow, pain, or mourning v.4 God will comfort us
d. There will be no more sin, no more sickness
e. Everything will be new. It's going to be awesome.
f. Jesus will be at it's centre-- He being the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End.
g.The biggest and most important feature of the New World is that God will dwell with us. v.3

We will have perfect communion with God ---With the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

Sin separated us from God. Because of sin we die. Because of sin there is a hell. Because of sin this world was destroyed and will be destroyed. Because of sin Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. Because of sin we get sick, we have diseases, we have trouble of ever kind. In the new world, there will be none of that and most importantly, God will dwell with us.

Think about the name Emmanuel- which means "God with us". Isaiah introduces us to this name of Christ, telling us that the virgin will be with child and that his name will be Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14) Before ascending to Heaven, Jesus left us with this promise "And surely I will be with you, until the very end of the age" Matthew 28:20.

Interesting: Ezekiel's vision of a future Jerusalem concludes with these words "And the name of the city from that time on will be: The LORD is there." Ezekiel 48:35

What a day that will be when we see Christ and with him we will dwell and never be separated from Him.

h. Not everyone will inhabit the new Earth and be with Christ. v.6-8

Only those who have responded to Christ's invitation (v.6) and whose names are written in the Book of Life will inhabit the new World.

Hell/the Lake of fire is a real place. It is the just end of those who spurn God's love and grace and who say "It's my life and I'll do as I please".


Interesting: This point is made 3 times in Revelation 21-22 (21:6-8; 27; 22:15)

SCENE 2: THE CAPITAL OF GOD'S NEW WORLD: The new Jerusalem Revelation 21:9-27 READ

In verse 9 the scene shifts in that one of the angels who will pour out the wrath of God on the Beast and those in league with him, takes John and shows him a vision of what will be the capital of the New Earth

The New Jerusalem: God's capital city

-Looked forward to by Abraham (Hebrews 11:8-10) as the city whose architect and builder is God
-Prophesied by Isaiah in Isaiah 60.

Why Jerusalem important

Home to the Temple, chosen by God to be His dwelling place, focal point of Jesus' ministry, Jesus crucified there, birthplace of the church, Jesus entered there as king, focal point of the many of the prophecies of the scripture, called the City of the Great King. Called the City of God. During his earthly reign, Jesus will reign from here.

Today's Jerusalem: A poor representation of the one to come- Nevertheless it has served as a type of the Jerusalem to come and does serve as a type

Her Description

-Likened to as a bride of Christ (depicting her beauty, holiness, and purity)
-Big (2200 km square). Point: while this may very well be literal, the point is more than clear, there will be no shortage of space for the saints of God - no matter how many there will be
-Unparalleled in beauty(comprised of the most valuable jewels, paved with gold)
-Where Jesus will be.
-The centre of the New World
-There will be no Temple in it because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are it's temple. v.22. In the days of Christ and before, Jerusalem had a Temple which was the centre for the worship of God and for sacrifices to him. In the New Jerusalem, the throne of Christ is at the centre of New Jerusalem. Christ is there. There is no need for a building.
-The gates of the city will never close (for their will no enemies and no threats for us to worry about)
-The New Jerusalem will be filled with reminders of salvation history and the saving work of Christ (hence the gates with the names of the 12 tribes, the wall bearing the names of thew 12 apostles, the Trees of life lining the River of Life)
-The reference to the glory and honor of the nations being brought into it, reminds us that Heaven is comprised of not just Jews but people of every tribe, tongue, and nations
-Again: As in Revelation 21:8 specific mention is made of those who will not take part in the life of the New Earth and new Jerusalem. Read v.27 which re-iterates that not everyone gets into Heaven. Only those whose names are written in the Lambs Book of Life will be here.

Interesting: The description of the 12 precious foundation stones of the city recollect the description of Aaron (the high priests) breast piece. Exodus 28:15-21.

Interesting: On some level it seems that the church- who is called the bride of Christ- is now being likened to the New Jerusalem (herself being called the bride of Christ). The closest I can come in comment is to say that we- the church/the objects of Christ's affection- are the inhabitants of this new city and hence the city is called the bride of Christ (since it is home to all the saints).

Interesting: No need of the sun or the moon to shine on it (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). See Genesis 1:3 (light before the sun and the moon). Now light from the glory of God.


SCENE 3: THE RIVER AND TREES OF LIFE THAT FLOW FROM THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB Revelation 22:1-6 (read)

The final vision given to John of the New Earth and the life to come is found in Revelation 22:1-6. In this beautiful vision the angel shows John the river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. (use your imagination :))

This river with the attendant trees of life takes us all the way back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). In the Garden was the tree of life and there was a river watering the garden which flowed out from Eden and then broke into 4 as it went throughout the entire land.

Moving forward, ponder the vision of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 40-48. In Ezekiel 47, Ezekiel sees the Temple of the Lord (a Temple never built) and yet from this Temple he water coming out from underneath its threshold. This water then becomes a river that is impossible to cross and it transforms the desert into a lush garden and nurtures fruit trees along its banks that will serve as food and their leaves for healing.

Think also of Jesus' words to the woman at the well in the Gospel of John chapter 4 "Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." In John 7:37-38 Jesus builds on this saying, "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."

A couple of things:

The river from the throne of God and of the Lamb (whom we will worship) and the trees of life remind us that God is the source of life (physical and eternal life). He is our sustainer. Every good thing/blessing comes from Him.

The river and the trees remind us what our possession in Christ is and what the gift of God is: ETERNAL LIFE. Jesus exhorts us to take hold it. It is found in Christ alone- by faith.

Note also: "No longer will there be any curse" v.3. There will no longer be any curse and death that goes with it because their will be no sin or evil in God's new World.



CONCLUSION

In Revelation 22:6 the angel says "These words are trustworthy and true". The events leading up to the return of Christ will happen as foretold.

Further: Revelation ends with three fold "Behold I am coming soon" declaration by Christ.....

RU ready for his return? Is your name written in the Book of Life? Have you put your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.

In response to the words of Christ "Behold I am coming soon" we need to stay faithful. Feed your faith. Guard your heart. Do not turn to the right or the left. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ.