As we look at this month's passage, we notice that:
- The pattern of the universe will be changed. Verse 1 tells us that our physical surroundings will be brand new and will be unlike anything we presently have. The prophet Isaiah had this to say about the new universe: "See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy." (Isaiah 65:17-18)
- Our present physical environment will pass away. All the things we trust in to give us a sense of security and belonging are going to be wiped out. The apostle Peter had this to say: "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare." (2 Peter 3:10-12)
- Our future environment will be undefiled. Verse 2 tells us that the character of the city will be holy. The present Jerusalem is far from being holy while the New Jerusalem will be completely holy.
In Paul's letter to the Galatians 4:24-26 we see a contrast between the Jerusalem of the bond slave and the New Jerusalem. The present city of Jerusalem is a city of bondage, but in the New Jerusalem there will be no more sin or corruption, there will be no more curse, and it will be completely free of sinners.
In Rev. 21:2 we see that the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, meaning that right now at the present time it is in heaven. It is the place which Jesus has been preparing since His glorification. (John 14:2)
If creation only took 6 days to complete just imagine how lovely the new heavenly city will be. The New Jerusalem is said to be like a bride adorned for her husband. (2 Cor. 11:2) All that we now know will pale in comparison.
- The purpose of God will be fulfilled. Verse 3 tells us: "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'" The presence of God will include the visible manifestation of his presence before our eyes.
We shall see him as he is! The infinite God who made us will live with us forever! This is our hope, our blessing, and our joy beyond comparison.
- The past will be removed. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Verse 4)
God will swallow up death forever - it will be gone forever!
- The promises of God will be fulfilled: "He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" (Verse 5-8)
As Christians, we believe in many things we have not seen and cannot see. But the things God promised will ultimately be realized for several reasons:
- It will be based on God's ability to do it. God says: "Behold, I make all things new" . . . not just some things . . . everything will be completely new.
- It will be based on his word. God cannot lie. Things are either true or false...but God's words are always true. That's how we know that the promises of God are going to be fulfilled.
- It will be based on God's authority. Jesus never appealed to anything other than who he is. In verse 6 he declares it is done! "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End."
- It will be based on the assurance that God gives. In John 4 Jesus declared that everyone who thirsts and comes to him will be filled with the water of life. Jesus is the author of life, and apart from faith in him no one can ever enter into the new city.
We might question the ability of someone like John living in the first century to see something that is thousands of years in the future. But in the Book of Revelation we see that it contains 44 distinct and separate visions given to John, and more than 60 times we have John's words, "I SAW IT." Did he see it? ABSOLUTELY!
As we continue to read John's vision in verses 9-22, John describes the shining light of the city. To him, the appearance was precious like jasper, referring to a crystal substance which light shines through brilliantly.
He describes the structure of the city having walls, 12 gates and foundations. The 12 gates are located 3 on each side which is the way Israel always assembled around the tabernacle.
In verses 15-21 John describes the size of the city. Its length, width and height are all equal. 1500 miles means the city is 1500 miles long, 1500 miles wide and 1500 miles high. Its wall is 216 feet thick, and is made of jasper, and the glory of God shines through the entire city . . . far beyond what the human eye has ever seen. John tells us that the gates are of pearl and the walls consisted of 12 foundations which are decorated with every kind of precious stone. The walls have the 12 apostle's names on them, the streets are pure gold, transparent like glass, and the city itself consists of pure gold, showing the great value of the city.
What happens in the new city will also be out of this world. The presence of the Lord will eliminate the need for the sun and moon. Isaiah 60:19 tells us: "The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory." The final thing that John sees is a pure river which flows from the throne of God. Psalm 46:4 tells us: "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells."
The river portrays a picture of eternal life. On either side of the river is a tree. The tree will bear 12 kinds of fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree will be for the health of the nations, another symbol of the eternal life which comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. Finally, we are told about our existence in the New Jerusalem.
First, we will not have to struggle anymore because there will be no more curse. In Genesis 3:17-19 Adam was told that he would have to struggle every day of his life, but when the curse is gone, there no longer will be any struggle.
Second, we won't be sitting on clouds strumming harps, but we are told that as his servants we shall serve him.
Third, we shall see his face. We will finally enjoy the joy of seeing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One whom we sing about and worship, face to face.
Finally, as his servants, we will rule and reign with Jesus forever and ever.
Love, blessings and thanksgiving for your faithful financial donations as we reach out to show the love of God to the hurting children of the world.
Pastor Roman & Pat Kozak