Revelation 21 to 22: New Heaven, Earth, and Jerusalem

This study concludes this pass at a study of the book of Revelation, Daniel, and associated other passages about the end times of the Earth.

Revelation 21-22 brings a description of the New Heavens and New Earth, along with the New Jerusalem. The book, and the New Testament itself, then end with continued warnings to heed the writings and prophecies, to not alter them, and to be ready at all times for Christ's return so you won't have to worry about most of the contents of the book of Revelation.

Revelation 21

New heaven and new earth

Revelation 21:1:

21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

This should be read in conjunction with 2 Pet 3:5-18:

2 Pet. 3:5-18:

3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

2 Pe. 3:5-6 speak of the original creation of the earth and its destruction with the flood of Lucifer. The earth in this state is described in Genesis 1:2. This is not talking of the flood in Noah's day, as the social system (the kosmos or world) didn't perish with Noah but continued after the flood.

2 Pe. 3:7-9 speak of the timeless aspect of God's dispensations and how he views things from an eternal perspective where one day or 1,000 years are not particularly different to Him, when measured against eternity. Here, we see the prophecy that the world is reserved until a future time of judgment where the world would be renovated with fire. The promise of the Lord is again given, calling all to repentance.

2 Pe. 3:10 warns of the destruction of the world with great heat and the destruction of the Earth itself in times to come. 2 Pet. 3:11-18 go on to challenge us to live as Christ would have us live knowing what is to come. They warn us to not fall away from what we know, led by the wicked and our own fleshly lusts, into sin and destruction, but to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ daily!

Revelation 21, opens with the Earth at this point in its existence. The old heaven and earth have passed away. A new heaven and earth are present. Whether they are reshaped from the same raw materials and constitute a remade planet or whether they are completely new is not stated. The only difference between them that is noted is that there isn't any large collected body of water we would call a sea on the new earth.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:2:

21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

John gets a glimpse of the new Jerusalem that Christ is preparing for those who are true to Him and have accepted Him as their Savior.

God's Majesty and Christ's Compassion

Revelation 21:3-4:

21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

We see that God will set up residence with His people. He will wipe their tears away Whether they are tears of joy or tears of sadness aren't specified, but He will comfort us in the later case. When we become accustomed to the new life He provides for us, there won't be any scourge of death, sorrow, pain, nor crying, for all of the curse that the old earth was under will be passed away and will be no more.

Revelation 21:5-7:

21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Christ Himself then makes a promise of things to come. He promises that all who overcome will inherit these things. Jesus will be His God and those who overcome shall be His sons. He will provide the fountain of the water of life freely for eternal life in Him. He promises that what He is speaking will be true and faithful words.

Those Who Will Not Inherit Eternal Life

Revelation 21:8:

21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

There is also a warning, given both here and in Rev. 22:15, that there will be classes that will never inherit the kingdom of God. They will instead exist in a lake of fire and brimstone as we discussed last week. This is literally the second death. Combining both verses, Dake has these comments.

10 classes in eternal hell

  1. The fearful. Gr. deilos, cowardly; craven; vile; worthless; miserable; wretched; and unhappy. Found only in v 8.; Mt. 8:26; Mk. 4:40. In Sept. in Dt. 20:8; Judg. 7:3, 10
  2. Unbelieving. Gr. apistos, infidel, faithless (note g. Tim. 5:8)
  3. Abominable. Gr. bdelusso, to cause to stink; make loathsome; feel disgust; detest; have horror of; to be abominated. It refers to those polluted with unnatural lust. Trans. abominable (v 8) and abhor (Rom. 8:22). This latter passage refers to abominable immoral practices in connection with idolatry (2 Chr. 21:11; Isa. 23:16-17; Ezek. 16:15, 26, 29; Acts 15:20, 29, 21:25; Rev. 2:14-21, 14:8, 17:2-4, 18:3, 19:2)
  4. Murderers. Gr. phoneus, Trans. only murderer (v 8, 22:15; Mt. 22:7; Acts 3:14, 7:52, 28:4; 1 Pet. 4:15)
  5. Whoremongers. Gr. pornois, fornicators (5 classes, p. 213 -- a male prostitute; a debauchee; libertine;...)
  6. Sorcerers. Gr. pharmakeusin, persons who by use of drugs, enchanted potions, charms, and enchantments seek to produce supernatural effects in the lives of others. Only here; 22:15
  7. Idolaters, Those who practice idolatry and abominable immoral acts in worship of idols, as in point 3, above.
  8. Dogs. False prophets and homosexuals are called dogs in Scripture (Dt. 23:18; Isa. 56:10-11; Phil. 3:2; Rev. 22:15)
  9. Liars (Rev. 21:8, 22:15)
  10. Lovers of lies (Rev 22:15)

This is but one summary of many in scripture listing classes of sin people will be judged for if they haven't accepted Christ's sacrifice for their sin and repented of the evil they have done in their lives. All are born with sin through Adam's act of disobedience. No matter how good a life we try to live, we cannot exist in God's sight in any self-righteous sense for that inborn sin nature will separate us from Him. Regardless of the sin nature, you can't make it very far past the age of accountability until you have broken one or more of His laws. You need to accept Christ's sacrifice for you sin in order that His blood sacrifice will be accepted as a cleansing for your sin.

Description of the New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:9-27:

21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

21:12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

21:15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

21:17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

21:18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

21:19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;

21:20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

A summary of the description would be...

  1. The city is mountainous, culminating in a high mountain (Mount Sion or the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north, or the mountain of His holiness).
  2. Light described like a clear sea-green glow (Re. 21:11);
  3. Encompassed by a high wall, with 3 gates on each side of the city, each named for a tribe of Israel and guarded by an angel. Each gate appeared to be a pearl in color and texture. The gates remain open at all times.
  4. The surrounding wall had 12 foundations, each named for an apostle. Notes on stones from Dake:
  5. With a cubit at 25 in., the surrounding walls are 300 feet high - puts the Great Wall of China to shame.
  6. The city is square, with a reed measuring 12 1/2 feet, making it about 1,500 miles square.
  7. The walls were of jasper and the city was golden - like clear glass - with nothing to hide.
  8. Streets were of gold
  9. Men no longer go to a temple alone to worship God, for He is among men.
  10. City doesn't require sunlight, since God and the Lamb provide the illumination. This doesn't say that there will be no sun nor moon - simply that their light isn't needed to see by.
  11. The nations of the saved walk in the light of the city. The kings bring glory and honor into it. This reflects that the nations, led by kings, that finish out the Millennium will inherit the New Earth as well, and will continue to carry out God's original plan for His creation. They will come to the New Jerusalem as and when needed and required. They will remain holy and eternally saved. There will be no unholy thing allowed to enter the city.

Revelation 22:1-5:

22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

22:4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 22 continues the description of Heaven for a bit. A river of pure water will proceed from the throne of God and Jesus. Trees of life which bear twelve different types of fruits will be provided. The leaves will heal the nations. There will no longer be any curse on the ground as was given in the time of Adam. We will serve God eternally. It again repeats that in the New Jerusalem, God will provide the light and shall reign forever and ever.

Closing Warnings

Revelation 22:6-7:

22:6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

The rest of the book of Revelation is given over to warnings. In verse 6, the angel giving the visions tells John that everything he has seen is true. We hear Christ's warning that He will come quickly, and that those who keep the prophecies given in this book will be blessed.

Revelation 22:8-11:

22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

22:9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

22:10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

When John starts to bow down to the feet of the angel that shewed him the prophecy, he is warned to not worship his fellow servants. All churches should heed this and not venerate those who have gone before us. We are all fellow servants of the king, but none of us deserve any more honor than others for we are all saved by grace.

We are again warned to keep the sayings of the book and worship God alone. He warns that the time is at hand for these things to be fulfilled. There would be no delay in the beginning of the church age that John started recording in chapter 2 and 3. Then there would be a rapture of the church combined with a time of prophecy fulfillment from both the New and Old Testaments - the seven years of tribulation. Then, there would be a Millennial reign of Christ, lasting 1,000 years. Then there would be an end to rebellion and a New Heaven and a New Earth. All would proceed at God's prophetic pace.

This section ends with a prophecy that man stays in whatever condition he dies in. If he was righteous or holy, then those characteristics would endure. If he was unjust or filthy, those characteristics would endure. There is no purgatory that someone can bribe a priest or pray you out of. There is no method to be baptized into the church by proxy after you die. There is no reincarnation. There are no second chances after death.

You may have several chances to make the right choice before you die. On the other hand, if you aren't a Christian this could be the only chance you will get. A tomorrow, let alone a next second isn't promised to anyone. Neither our life span, nor the time of Christ's return is known to any of us. If this gets posted, then Christ didn't come while I was typing this sentence and I didn't die before then. Neither did you. Don't put off making a decision for Christ. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.

Revelation 22:12-15

22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

We again get a warning that He is coming soon. He will reward those according to their works. If we do His commandments, we have the right to access the tree of life and will enter into the great city of heaven. Those who do not accept Christ are again classed as those who will not inherit heaven. They will be forever lost to the blessings of eternal life with Christ.

A Final Appeal for Salvation

Revelation 22:16-17:

22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The book of revelation ends with three separate phrases. The first proclaims the truth that Christ has sent an angel to witness these things to John so that he could spread the word to the New Testament church. The Spirit, the bride, and Christ all give an open invitation to come and be saved and to take the water of life freely. There is no charge or cost to salvation. It can't be bought. It can only be accepted as a gift. The Spirit pleas with you "Accept the gift today!"

The Final Warning

22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Next is a warning to not add to or take away from the words of prophecy that are written here. All will come about as Christ has told. If you take away from the prophecy, you will have your name removed from the book of life, the New Jerusalem. For my part, I have tried to explain what is there as best I can, to the best of my understanding, but all the words are also printed (unless I've missed a cut and paste somewhere), so please read and study all of the scriptures for yourselves. None of us is perfect. As I have read this text again, I've corrected many typos and edited as I thought best. You are all responsible for reading. Let the Spirit of God enlighten your understanding of the prophecies that you may be ready.

Revelation 22:20-21:

22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The New Testament ends with a benediction and a prayer to hasten Christ's coming. Let it be so.

Conclusion

God speaks out to His people and to all those who are lost to pay attention and not be lured into eternal destruction by the combined effects of the sin that is rampant in the world, the continuing sense that the world tries to portray that there is nothing to worry about yet - you have more time so you can put off the decision, or that God does not exist, Christ didn't die on the cross for your sin, that there are multiple paths to different eternities or there is no eternity to be concerned about in the first place.

Don't be deceived. Listen to what your heart is telling you right now! Christ Himself declared many times, directly and by parables, that He was the only way for man to be saved...

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

He also warned...

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

There is a great deal of prophecy in Revelation and the other studies we have done. If you haven't yet done so, go back and read the study on the church age from Revelation 2 and Revelation 3. Decide where you, your church, your denomination, or all three are falling short and fix the problems.

If you don't see any problems there, go back and read Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in its entirety. The above is but a brief passage from it. See how you measure up against His standards as He described there. Above all, don't be like the Christian He describes above that was doing great works, supposedly in His name, but had no true relationship with Him.

Finally, I close with this, since it's the most important item of all. I know I've mentioned it several times already in this message, but if you just skipped down to the conclusion then I want to leave you with this. If you haven't yet made a decision to accept Christ as your Savior... there will never be a better time.

Next find out what church home He wants you to attend. It'll be one that preaches the Holy Bible from cover to cover without sugar coating His Truth. It won't be one that says Black or Grey is really White, just because it's the 21st century after all. Work to let the Spirit transform your life into a walk of repentance. The Bible says to repent of the sinful life you have led. Stop sinning. You need to attend church that will stand up to the world and declare White and Black. Otherwise, you'll slip back into the gray and eventually backslide and lose out with God. Satan will be working through anyone he can to ensure that that happens. It could be through family. It could be through friends. It could be through co-workers. Be the light and salt of the world. Don't lose your new flavoring.

The church you pick also shouldn't be one that just has a Bible stored on the property someplace, but emphasizes other books for true study. This is true even when the books are written by the staff themselves. No matter how friendly those churches may be you need a church that emphasizes the Word of God before the words of man. God's Holy Bible is the rock we can count on. I'm not opposed to Bible commentaries. I really appreciate the work Mr. Dake did in providing his annotated reference Bible. It helps me understand more about God's word. But you will be truly amazed at what the Holy Spirit will point out all on His own as you read the Bible. This is important as it is God addressing things in your own life rather than you seeking to address the things you think are important and trying to see what the Bible says about those. Attend church faithfully. Take your family. Invite your friends.

Study His Word as you have time, but make time to read His Word. Read both the New and Old Testaments. Perhaps read the New Testament a couple of times before trying the Old, but don't ignore the Old. There are parts of each where the passages detail genealogies or talk about the law where it is easy to get bogged down. If necessary, skip over these parts and plow forward till you've read most of the Bible at least once. The next time around, try to read the whole thing.

Be baptized in water as a symbol of your new walk with Christ. Seek the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to empower you to live and work for Christ. Don't be ashamed of Him in private or in public. Do His work - for His day is approaching quickly.

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Dake excerpts taken from Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, © 1961, 1963 by Finis Jennings Dake, and is reproduced on our web site with permission from representatives of Dake Publishing.