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Revelation 21:1-8

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Introduction

We’ve come a long way since beginning our study of the book of Revelation last September. We’ve seen heavenly visions and the terrible judgments to come, ending with the judgment of the wicked and the complete end of death itself.
Now what? What happens after the tribulation, after the destruction of Babylon the Great, after Satan and his demons are cast into hell, and the judgment of wicked humanity?
We come to the ultimate purpose in God’s decrees: a people whom He Himself redeemed from sin and death and judgment and raised to eternal life, who will dwell with Him for all eternity.
Eternity begins with a new creation.
We’ve come a long way since beginning our study of the book of Revelation last September. We’ve seen heavenly visions and the terrible judgments to come, ending with the judgment of the wicked and the complete end of death itself.

A New Creation

We’ve come a long way since beginning our study of the book of Revelation last September. We’ve seen heavenly visions and the terrible judgments to come, ending with the judgment of the wicked and the complete end of death itself.
Now what? What happens after the tribulation, after the destruction of Babylon the Great, after Satan and his demons are cast into hell, and the judgment of wicked humanity?
We come to the ultimate purpose in God’s decrees: a people whom He Himself redeemed from sin and death and judgment and raised to eternal life, who will dwell with Him for all eternity.
Revelation 21:1 ESV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
The original creation has been beaten and torn by human sin and Satan's war against God.
Now what? What happens after the tribulation, after the destruction of Babylon the Great, after Satan and his demons are cast into hell, and the judgment of wicked humanity?
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
says that the entire creation is in bondage to corruption, which means that death and decay is inevitable and cannot be avoided. says that the heavens themselves are not pure in God’s sight.
The entire creation is in bondage to corruption and groans to be remade:
What do we see in the eternal state?
We come to the ultimate purpose in God’s decrees: a people whom He Himself redeemed from sin and death and judgment and raised to eternal life, who will dwell with Him for all eternity.
Romans 8:21–22 ESV
that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
Romans 8:20–22 ESV
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
Eternity begins with a new creation.
We see a new creation
(). The heavens themselves are impure in God's sight (). The sea uniquely represented danger, storms, and separation.
This is because of the utterly lethal and venomous nature of sin. The Bible compares sin to the yeast that is added to bread dough; a very small amount of yeast, 1/4 of an ounce, is enough to cause three pounds of bread dough to rise. Botulinum A toxin is the deadliest poison known to man; an amount equal to half a single grain of sugar would kill an adult.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
The heavens themselves are impure in God's sight:
Job 15:15 ESV
Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in his sight;
But sin is so deadly, so poisonous, that one sin, from one man, brought death to the entire universe. And mankind is not guilty of just one sin. Sin has poured out of us and polluted all creation.
The original creation has been beaten and torn by human sin and Satan's war against God. This creation is in bondage to corruption and groans to be remade (). The heavens themselves are impure in God's sight (). The sea uniquely represented danger, storms, and separation.

A New Creation

Let's make sure we understand the utter sinfulness of sin, as describes it. Sin did not remain neatly contained within us; it poured out of us, along with death, and polluted all of creation. The impact of our sin on God's perfect creation was far more serious than any carbon emissions bringing about global warming.
Revelation 21:1 ESV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Human sin polluted all creation.
Sin did not remain neatly contained within us; it poured out of us, along with death, and polluted all of creation.
The impact of our sin on God's perfect creation was far more serious than any carbon emissions bringing about global warming.
Why is there death? Adam sinned.
The original creation has been beaten and torn by human sin and Satan's war against God.
Just as sinners must be made new if they are to live eternally, the entire creation must be made new, just as God promised in Isaiah:
Long before Jesus was born, God promised that there would be a new heaven and earth:
Isaiah 65:17 ESV
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
There is such a strong break between the old and the new that “the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.”
says that the entire creation is in bondage to corruption, which means that death and decay is inevitable and cannot be avoided. says that the heavens themselves are not pure in God’s sight.
This is because of the utterly lethal and venomous nature of sin. The Bible compares sin to the yeast that is added to bread dough; a very small amount of yeast, 1/4 of an ounce, is enough to cause three pounds of bread dough to rise. Botulinum A toxin is the deadliest poison known to man; an amount equal to half a single grain of sugar would kill an adult.
This new creation is necessary. This current creation was made to suit man, but the righteous are going to be raised with very different natures.
There will be a new heavens and a new earth; that is, a new creation. Just as sinners die and are then resurrected, the creation will die and be remade.
This is what says about our bodies now and the bodies we will have in eternity:
says that our resurrected bodies will be very different from the bodies we have now, even the bodies that Adam and Eve had before the fall:
1 Corinthians 15:42–44 ESV
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
But sin is so deadly, so poisonous, that one sin, from one man, brought death to the entire universe. And mankind is not guilty of just one sin. Sin has poured out of us and polluted all creation.
Speaking about our resurrection, says that our resurrected bodies will be very different from the bodies we have now, even the bodies that Adam and Eve had before the fall:
Speaking about our resurrection, says that our resurrected bodies will be very different from the bodies we have now, even the bodies that Adam and Eve had before the fall:
It's clear that this creation was created for man's needs and according to man's nature. We are perishable (even Adam and Eve were perishable, which is why they perished when the sinned), dishonorable, weak, and nature.
Human sin polluted all creation.
Why is there death? Adam sinned.
It's clear that this creation was created for man's needs and according to man's nature. We are perishable (even Adam and Eve were perishable, which is why they perished when the sinned), dishonorable, weak, and nature.
Just as sinners must be made new if they are to live eternally, the entire creation must be made new, just as God promised in Isaiah:
God’s people will be raised imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual.
It's clear that this creation was created for man's needs and according to man's nature. We are perishable (even Adam and Eve were perishable, which is why they perished when the sinned), dishonorable, weak, and nature.
The new creation, both heaven and earth, will be made to suit our eternal state.

A Glorious Existence

Revelation 21:2–3 ESV
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Isaiah 65:17 ESV
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
What is the new Jerusalem? While some believe that it is a literal, physical city, others believe that it is the people of God who have been saved by Jesus Christ and brought into eternal life; this is also my view.
I’ll tell you why - there are five reasons.
First, the text describes the Bride and city as parallels. (21:2).
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
This new creation is necessary. This current creation was made to suit man, but the righteous are going to be raised with very different natures.
Both v. 2 and v. 9-10 are talking about the very same thing: the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, and described as a Bride.
First, the text describes the Bride and city as parallels. (21:2, 9-10)
Second, the angel promises to show John the Bride, and shows him the city. (21:9-10)
What is the new Jerusalem? While some believe that it is a physical city, others believe that it is the people of God who have been saved by Jesus Christ and brought into eternal life; that's my view. This is why.
This is what says about our bodies now and the bodies we will have in eternity:
The language is very clear: “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And there is no bride seen, only the city. Either the two are the same thing, or the angel got it wrong, or worse, lied. It seems clear that the two are exactly the same thing.
who calls John to come and see the Bride, the wife of the Lamb, immediately shows John the holy city Jerusalem, and not the Bride ().
Second, the angel promises to show John the Bride, and shows him the city. (21:9-10)
Third, John’s view of the city is part of a vision; it is not a photograph, he is “in the Spirit” (21:10).
He has used this phrase three times to introduce visions, in , , . This tells us that what John sees is not literal image, but a metaphorical image pointing to a concrete reality.
Third, John says that he was “in the Spirit” in , a phrase he has used three times to introduce visions:
Revelation 1:10 ESV
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet
Revelation 4:2 ESV
At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
Revelation 17:3 ESV
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns.
This tells us that what John sees is not literal, but a picture.
Fourth, the city is adorned with the same sort of jewels as the high priest () and the king of Tyre ().
We never see this sort of list used to describe a building or a place, only people. I would add that says that the church is a kingdom of priests, and it is perfectly appropriate that we would be adorned as was the high priest.
and so the priestly description in suits the people of God far more than a physical city.
Fifth, the people of God are often compared to buildings (, , ).
The church is built on the foundation of Christ and the apostles (). God does not dwell in man-made temples, but in His people (). To describe the people of God as a city perfectly agrees with the way the church is described elsewhere.
beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst
Why describe the people of God as a city? How would you expect a vision of the church in its eternal state to be described? It would not be possible to offer a literal description of what the church actually looks like, because it has never been seen before. It must be compared to something that we know.
In fact, the church is described as TWO somethings, isn’t it? First, a holy city, coming down from heaven from God – a single community of individuals living together in peace, unity, community, love, joy, and every other good thing. And second, a Bride, a holy Bride, the wife of the Lamb of God (Lamb of God is obviously also a metaphor), redeemed by Jesus’ blood, brought into perfect and eternity unity with Him.
So, I believe that the focus of is not a physical city, but the people of God, and the glory, beauty, splendor, purity, holiness, and loveliness of the Bride of Christ. We see here the beginning of our glorious, wonderful, eternal existence, joined to one another as a perfect city, joined to Christ as a perfect Bride.
The focus of is not a physical city, but the people of God, and the glory, beauty, splendor, purity, holiness, and loveliness of the Bride of Christ. We will have a glorious, wonderful existence throughout eternity.
This does not diminish eternity; it increases the wonder and and glory of it. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell in the people of God now; how much more will the Triune God inhabit His people throughout eternity? Believers are frequently described as being in Christ throughout the New Testament; how much more will we be in Him when we are sinless, holy, immortal, and imperishable?
The focus of is not a physical city, but the people of God, and the glory, beauty, splendor, purity, holiness, and loveliness of the Bride of Christ. We will have a glorious, wonderful existence throughout eternity.
This does not diminish eternity; it increases the wonder and and glory of it. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell in the people of God now; how much more will the Triune God inhabit His people throughout eternity? Believers are frequently described as being in Christ throughout the New Testament; how much more will we be in Him when we are sinless, holy, immortal, and imperishable?
Sin brings about death, and death ultimately means separation from God. Those in hell will be eternally separated from God. We who believe will be eternally joined with Him. As C. S. Lewis once wrote, we won’t simply be in love, we will be IN Love Himself, and He will be in us.
1 Corinthians 15:42–44 ESV
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Yes, Jesus is preparing a place for us, just He promised in . But it is also true that God is the temple in that new city (), just as He dwells within us now, both individually and as a Body. He promises in ,
Hebrews 13:5 ESV
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
There will never be a time in eternity when God is not in us, or we in Him; He has promised.

A New Life

The life of God's people in eternity is something that we cannot begin to understand now. We have virtually no information about the eternal state. There will be no barriers between ourselves and God. God Himself will be with us. It seems that God was a visitor to the garden (), but He will dwell with us throughout eternity. The dwelling place of God is with me.
God’s people will be raised imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual.
Now, Jesus says in that He went to prepare a place for us with the Father, and He has; that's not in doubt. Remember that God does not dwell in houses made by hands, but within His people. There is no temple in the new city, because GOD is the temple (). And what is the church, but the temple of God ()? God left the temple of Solomon when idolatry had polluted it (), but Jesus says that He will never cast His own away (), nor will He leave us or forsake us ().
Revelation 21:4–5 ESV
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Saying that the holy city, new Jerusalem, is not a physical city but a picture of all the people of God together with Him and one another in unity, is not saying less about eternity, but more. The focus is not on the glory and beauty and wonder of the city, but of the glory and beauty and wonder of the church, made splendid, holy, and blameless by Christ.
The new creation, both heaven and earth, will be made to suit our eternal state.
Now, Jesus says in that He went to prepare a place for us with the Father, and He has; that's not in doubt. Remember that God does not dwell in houses made by hands, but within His people. There is no temple in the new city, because GOD is the temple (). And what is the church, but the temple of God ()? God left the temple of Solomon when idolatry had polluted it (), but Jesus says that He will never cast His own away (), nor will He leave us or forsake us ().
God is making everything new – everything. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. There will be a new and glorious relationship with Him. And everything about our lives in eternity will be new.
We are new now, of course, as says,
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
We have been declared new; we have the promise of being made new; it is guaranteed. But we shall be MADE new, and the promise will be fulfilled, and the guarantee brought to pass. This will not be a theoretical newness, or a newness that we embrace by faith, but actual, real, literal newness.
What are the former things that will pass away? We’ve seen them in :
The Antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more false gods.

A New Life

A Glorious Existence

The false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more false religion.
Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more spiritual warfare.
The wicked will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more sin.
Death and Hades will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more judgment.
With all these enemies and opponents removed, the Lord will go on to eliminate the impact they have had on our lives.
Every tear will be wiped away. The Lord will comfort us for all our suffering and trials, regardless of why we endured them.
When God wipes away tears, they don’t return.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” …
Death will be no more.
Revelation 21:2–3 ESV
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” …
Everything will change. Every tear will be wiped away. The Lord will comfort His people for all the suffering they have endured, for whatever reason they suffered. Praise God, when HE wipes away tears, they don't return.
Death will be cast into the lake of fire and never emerge.
Death has been man's enemy since the fall, the God-ordained punishment for sin. For all of God's forbearance in the Old Testament, and all of Christ's mercy in the New Testament, death still has us by the throat. We are forgiven, and have received mercy, and know something of the peace of God, but we still die.
Everything will change. Every tear will be wiped away. The Lord will comfort His people for all the suffering they have endured, for whatever reason they suffered. Praise God, when HE wipes away tears, they don't return.
What is the new Jerusalem? While some believe that it is a literal, physical city, others believe that it is the people of God who have been saved by Jesus Christ and brought into eternal life; this is also my view.
Mourning, that deep sadness and grief that follows us everywhere, will be no more.
Death will be no more. Death has been man's enemy since the fall, the God-ordained punishment for sin. For all of God's forbearance in the Old Testament, and all of Christ's mercy in the New Testament, death still has us by the throat. We are forgiven, and have received mercy, and know the peace of God, but we will still die. But death will be cast into the lake of fire, and that new creation will never know its evil touch.
I’ll tell you why - there are five reasons.
Mourning, that deep sadness and grief that follows us everywhere, will be no more.
First, the text describes the Bride and city as parallels. (21:2).
Mourning, not a momentary sadness, but a state of persistent grief, will be no more.
Both v. 2 and v. 9-10 are talking about the very same thing: the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, and described as a Bride.
Crying, the outward expression of grief and pain, will be no more.
Pain, the personal experience of suffering, sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, will be no more.
Second, the angel promises to show John the Bride, and shows him the city. (21:9-10)
All the former things – all the causes of tears and death and mourning and crying and pain – will have passed away, never to return.
The language is very clear: “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And there is no bride seen, only the city. Either the two are the same thing, or the angel got it wrong, or worse, lied. It seems clear that the two are exactly the same thing.
Third, John’s view of the city is part of a vision; it is not a photograph, he is “in the Spirit” (21:10).
I bet that most of you can think of one person right now, and experience grief and pain. Most of us could think of many people and experience grief. All of us experience regret; we wish that hadn’t said something, or wish that we HAD said something. We would all like to go back in time and turn right instead of left, or stay put instead of running away, hug someone instead of hitting them, comfort someone instead of cursing them. All of those pains, tears, regrets, griefs, sorrows, will be wiped away by our Lord.
God is going to make everything new. This is not a second chance to live THIS life, but a new life in every way. We don't make it new; we couldn't make it new if we tried.
People will say they're making a fresh start; usually that means that they are moving to a place where no one knows who they are, so that they can be different people. We know that the Ethiopian can't change his skin, and the leopard can't change his spots, and the sinner can't change his ways, so it’s really pointless to try.
We can change our address and our hair and our legal name, and in some states you can actually change the sex on your birth certificate, but you can’t change YOU. You are always YOU, until the One who DID create you makes a new YOU. And that’s just what He will do for each of His people.
We know that the Ethiopian can't change his skin, and the leopard can't change his spots, and the sinner can't change his ways, so it’s really pointless to try.
But we also know that nothing is impossible for God.
God has promised to give us life that is not just eternal, but eternally new.
God is going to make everything new. This is not a second chance to live THIS life, but a new life in every way. We don't make it new; we couldn't make it new if we tried. People will say they're making a fresh start; usually that means that they are moving to a place where no one knows who they are, so that they can be different people. But the Ethiopian can't change his skin, and the leopard can't change his spots, and the sinner can't change his ways.
He has used this phrase three times to introduce visions, in , , . This tells us that what John sees is not literal image, but a metaphorical image pointing to a concrete reality.
Fourth, the city is adorned with the same sort of jewels as the high priest () and the king of Tyre ().

Conquerors and Cowards

Revelation 21:5–8 ESV
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Jesus has John stop now and write about THIS moment of time, and not the future. Everything God set out to accomplish has been accomplished, perfectly. The Alpha – the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and so the beginning – who created all things is also the Omega – the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and so the end. He determined to save a people for His glory, and He will do so. He determined to judge the wicked, and He will do so.
is not a prediction of what God MIGHT do, but a promise of what He WILL do.
It is done; God, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, will accomplish every single purpose He has for this world. He has determined to judge the wicked, and they will be judged. He has determined to save those who trust Him and they will be saved.
Those who are thirsty for this new life, and for the peace, safety, joy, comfort, and holiness it means, can find it in Jesus Christ today.
We never see this sort of list used to describe a building or a place, only people. I would add that says that the church is a kingdom of priests, and it is perfectly appropriate that we would be adorned as was the high priest.
Put your faith in Him and keep it there, bow your knees to Him as Lord, and you will have eternal life with Him.
You will hear those beautiful words every Christ-follower longs to hear:
Jesus says in the words that we long to hear:
Matthew 25:34 ESV
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
matt 25
Fifth, the people of God are often compared to buildings (, , ).
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
The Lord pauses to make sure that John is writing all this down. These words of promise and hope are trustworthy and true. And the Lord emphasizes it for us. It is done! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Creator and the Sustainer, the Redeemer and the Judge.
The church is built on the foundation of Christ and the apostles (). God does not dwell in man-made temples, but in His people (). To describe the people of God as a city perfectly agrees with the way the church is described elsewhere.
Those who conquer, who put their trust in Jesus Christ and keep it there, who will not abandon their faith in Him, who bow their knees to Him as Lord, will have eternal life as their inheritance. Jesus says to them in ,
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Why describe the people of God as a city? How would you expect a vision of the church in its eternal state to be described? It would not be possible to offer a literal description of what the church actually looks like, because it has never been seen before. It must be compared to something that we know.
In fact, the church is described as TWO somethings, isn’t it? First, a holy city, coming down from heaven from God – a single community of individuals living together in peace, unity, community, love, joy, and every other good thing. And second, a Bride, a holy Bride, the wife of the Lamb of God (Lamb of God is obviously also a metaphor), redeemed by Jesus’ blood, brought into perfect and eternity unity with Him.
The Gospel is simple and clear: repent of your sins, be a believer in Jesus Christ, and He will save you, not just when you die, but today. He begins the process of transformation the very moment that we truly believe in Him. Every blessing described in this chapter, and in fact in the entire Bible, will be yours if you do. There are no second-class Christians, no bad seats for latecomers; believe and be saved!
Those who are thirsty for new life, for forgiveness, for rebirth, for eternal life, will receive it. You can drink from the spring of the water of life without payment. Just come and believe and drink. Those who conquer – those who believe, and continue in belief, and grow in their faith, and who by God's grace persist in belief, will receive the promises God has made.
What an incredible thing is said here! I will be his God, and he will be My Son, my Daughter. This fulfills God's promise to Abraham:
So, I believe that the focus of is not a physical city, but the people of God, and the glory, beauty, splendor, purity, holiness, and loveliness of the Bride of Christ. We see here the beginning of our glorious, wonderful, eternal existence, joined to one another as a perfect city, joined to Christ as a perfect Bride.
Drink the water of life, eat the bread of life, believe in Jesus Christ! Everything described in this chapter, every other blessing God has for His people, will be yours if you do. There are no second-class Christians, no bad seats for latecomers; believe and be saved!
This does not diminish eternity; it increases the wonder and and glory of it. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell in the people of God now; how much more will the Triune God inhabit His people throughout eternity? Believers are frequently described as being in Christ throughout the New Testament; how much more will we be in Him when we are sinless, holy, immortal, and imperishable?
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
That's the nature of our eternal relationship with Almighty God, Creator of Heavens and Earth, the Lord of Hosts, the Judge of the Whole Earth: He is Father to all who believe in Him, and all who believe are His children.
Sin brings about death, and death ultimately means separation from God. Those in hell will be eternally separated from God. We who believe will be eternally joined with Him. As C. S. Lewis once wrote, we won’t simply be in love, we will be IN Love Himself, and He will be in us.
But pay close attention to the warning of verse 8.
Revelation 21:8 ESV
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
It doesn't matter how good a father YOUR father was. Some fathers are really fantastic; others are truly awful. There are fathers who are so wonderful that we might wish they were OUR father. There are fathers who are so wicked that we know that it would be better for a child to have no father at all than to have THAT one.
This list is not completely new; we're used to seeing murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators, and liars, identified as under the judgment of God.
But God the Father is a Father indeed: loving, gentle, tender, faithful, kind, providing all that we need, granting us eternal life, staying by us in the nightmares of this world. And He promises that He will one day take away all of those nightmares, and bring us into the new heaven and earth made for us and Him.

A New Life

Revelation 21:4–5 ESV
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
God is making everything new – everything. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. There will be a new and glorious relationship with Him. And everything about our lives in eternity will be new.
8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
This list is not completely new; we're used to seeing murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators, and liars, identified as under the judgment of God.
We are new now, of course, as says,
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
But Jesus says that the cowardly and faithless are equally lost. Faithless is usually translated unbelievers, and it refers to those who make no pretence of faith in Christ.
The only other time cowardly is used in the New Testament is when Jesus calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee. Matthew and Mark write that Jesus was asleep in the boat when the storm came up, and the disciples were terrified. They woke Him up and immediately rebuked Him: Save us, Lord, we are perishing! Do you not care that we are perishing? And Jesus asked them, Why are you so afraid? Why are you so cowardly?
The only other time cowardly is used in the New Testament is when Jesus calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee. Matthew and Mark write that Jesus was asleep in the boat when the storm came up, and the disciples were terrified. They woke Him up and immediately rebuked Him: Save us, Lord, we are perishing! Do you not care that we are perishing? And Jesus asked them, Why are you so afraid? Why are you so cowardly?
Here in cowardly clearly refers to the suffering that will come during the tribulation, and the suffering we experience in life. Those who abandon Jesus Christ because of suffering prove that they were never truly in Him to begin with. Does Jesus expect us to be faithful to Him no matter what? Yes.
The disciples dared to ask the Savior, the one who would be crucified for their sin, Don’t you care? Their bodies were in the boat, but their hearts and minds had already abandoned ship, and abandoned Him.
It’s not that they were afraid, but that their fear led them to question His character and goodness. They dared to ask the Savior, the one who would be crucified for their sin, Don’t you care? Their bodies were in the boat, but their hearts and minds had already abandoned ship, and abandoned Him.
We have been declared new; we have the promise of being made new; it is guaranteed. But we shall be MADE new, and the promise will be fulfilled, and the guarantee brought to pass. This will not be a theoretical newness, or a newness that we embrace by faith, but actual, real, literal newness.
Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and abandon Him when life gets hard, when He doesn’t rescue them like they think He should, when it turns out that their unsaved family and friends mock them, when they suffer as He said they would suffer, are cowards. They aren’t leaving Him because of conviction, but because He won’t do what they want.
What are the former things that will pass away? We’ve seen them in :
This word cowardly is only used three times in the Bible. In and we read that Jesus and His disciples were in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was asleep, and a terrible storm came up, swamping the boat. His disciples woke Him up: Save us, Lord; we are perishing! Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing? And Jesus rebuked them. Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith? Why are you so afraid, O you of little faith?
It makes no sense to me that anyone would abandon faith in Jesus Christ. The harder life is, the more fragile life is, the more tightly we should hold to Him.
The problem was not that they were afraid; neither Matthew nor Mark say that they were afraid. They were cowardly; they were ready to abandon Christ because their lives were in danger. Their bodies were still in the boat, but their hearts and minds had abandoned ship. That was a temporary setback for them.
Jesus promises to give the water of life to those who are thirsty for it, and come to Him in faith:
The Antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more false gods.
Those who abandon Christ in life prove that they were never in Him in the first place.
We are told that they were cowardly, and in their cowardice accused the Lord Jesus of apathy: Don’t you care? Their faith was abandoned because of their cowardice, and rather than committing themselves to Jesus, they abandoned Him. Their bodies were still in the boat, but their hearts and minds had abandoned ship.
Those who have a brief flirtation with Jesus Christ, and then abandon Him for a better offer, or because life gets hard, are not going to be with us in eternity. They will prove that their faith was a fraud. Their tears won’t be wiped away; death will consume them; eternity will nothing but mourning, crying, and pain. The former things that they refused to renounce for Christ’s sake will be all they ever know.
john 7:37-
John 7:37–38 ESV
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”
The false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more false religion.
Their fear – their cowardice – overcame their faith. Their bodies were still in the boat, but their hearts and minds had abandoned Jesus to His fate in that sinking ship: every man for himself!
It doesn’t have to be that way; that’s why the Lord makes it so clear through John: to the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The promise of life is so clear, and so simple: believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more spiritual warfare.
In Jesus promises that those who conquer – who remain faithful against the lovelessness infecting the church of Ephesus – will eat of the tree of life.
In Jesus says to the suffering church of Smyrna that those who conquer – who remain faithful – will receive the crown of life and not be hurt by the second death.
The wicked will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more sin.
In Jesus says to the wavering church at Pergamum that those who conquer – who remain faithful – will receive the bread of life and a new name which only Jesus and that person knows.
Death and Hades will be cast into the lake of fire – there will be no more judgment.
With all these enemies and opponents removed, the Lord will go on to eliminate the impact they have had on our lives.
In Jesus says to the idolatrous church at Thyatira that the one who conquers – who remains faithful – will have authority and rule the nations and receive the morning star.
In Jesus says to the dead church at Sardis that the one who conquers – who remains faithful – will be clothed in righteousness, and never be blotted out of the book of life, and that Jesus will confess his name before the Father.
Every tear will be wiped away. The Lord will comfort us for all our suffering and trials, regardless of why we endured them.
In Jesus says to the struggling church in Philadelphia that the one who conquers – who remains faithful – will be made a pillar in the temple of God, and remain there eternally, with Christ's own name written on him.
When God wipes away tears, they don’t return.
And in Jesus says to the useless church of Laodicea that the one who conquers – who remains faithful – will sit with Jesus on His throne.
Death will be no more.
Death will be cast into the lake of fire and never emerge.
Death has been man's enemy since the fall, the God-ordained punishment for sin. For all of God's forbearance in the Old Testament, and all of Christ's mercy in the New Testament, death still has us by the throat. We are forgiven, and have received mercy, and know something of the peace of God, but we still die.
Mourning, that deep sadness and grief that follows us everywhere, will be no more.
Crying, the outward expression of grief and pain, will be no more.
Pain, the personal experience of suffering, sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, will be no more.
All the former things – all the causes of tears and death and mourning and crying and pain – will have passed away, never to return.
God is going to make everything new. This is not a second chance to live THIS life, but a new life in every way. We don't make it new; we couldn't make it new if we tried.
We can change our address and our hair and our legal name, and in some states you can actually change the sex on your birth certificate, but you can’t change YOU. You are always YOU, until the One who DID create you makes a new YOU. And that’s just what He will do for each of His people.
God has promised to give us life that is not just eternal, but eternally new.

Conquerors and Cowards

Revelation 21:5–8 ESV
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Jesus has John stop now and write about THIS moment of time, and not the future. Everything God set out to accomplish has been accomplished, perfectly. The Alpha – the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and so the beginning – who created all things is also the Omega – the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and so the end. He determined to save a people for His glory, and He will do so. He determined to judge the wicked, and He will do so.
is not a prediction of what God MIGHT do, but a promise of what He WILL do.
Those who are thirsty for this new life, and for the peace, safety, joy, comfort, and holiness it means, can find it in Jesus Christ today.
Put your faith in Him and keep it there, bow your knees to Him as Lord, and you will have eternal life with Him.
You will hear those beautiful words every Christ-follower longs to hear:
Matthew 25:34 ESV
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
The Gospel is simple and clear: repent of your sins, be a believer in Jesus Christ, and He will save you, not just when you die, but today. He begins the process of transformation the very moment that we truly believe in Him. Every blessing described in this chapter, and in fact in the entire Bible, will be yours if you do. There are no second-class Christians, no bad seats for latecomers; believe and be saved!
But pay close attention to the warning of verse 8.
Revelation 21:8 ESV
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
This list is not completely new; we're used to seeing murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators, and liars, identified as under the judgment of God.
But Jesus says that the cowardly and faithless are equally lost. Faithless is usually translated unbelievers, and it refers to those who make no pretence of faith in Christ.
The only other time cowardly is used in the New Testament is when Jesus calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee. Matthew and Mark write that Jesus was asleep in the boat when the storm came up, and the disciples were terrified. They woke Him up and immediately rebuked Him: Save us, Lord, we are perishing! Do you not care that we are perishing? And Jesus asked them, Why are you so afraid? Why are you so cowardly?
Here in cowardly clearly refers to the suffering that will come during the tribulation, and the suffering we experience in life. Those who abandon Jesus Christ because of suffering prove that they were never truly in Him to begin with. Does Jesus expect us to be faithful to Him no matter what? Yes.
It makes no sense to me that anyone would abandon faith in Jesus Christ. The harder life is, the more fragile life is, the more tightly we should hold to Him.
Jesus promises to give the water of life to those who are thirsty for it, and come to Him in faith:
John 7:37–38 ESV
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”
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