As you turn to
Revelation 21 let me read a letter Dr. Harry Rimmer wrote in 1953, just a
week before his death. He wrote to the great radio Bible teacher, Dr. Charles
Fuller who was just starting a series on heaven, just as we are doing. Listen
and carefully ask yourself if your confidence is as firm as his. If not may I
urge you to make preparation for heaven before its too late?
Next Sunday you are to talk about Heaven. I am interested in that land, because I have held a clear title to a bit of property there for more than fifty-five years, I did not buy it. It was given to me “without money and without price.” But the donor purchased it for me at a tremendous sacrifice. I am not holding it for speculation, since the title is not transferable. It is not a vacant lot.
For more than half a century I have been sending materials, out of which the Great Architect and Builder of the Universe has been building a home for me, a home which will never be remodeled nor repaired, because it will suit me perfectly, individually and will never grow old. Termites can never undermine its foundations, for they rest upon the Rock of Ages. Fire cannot destroy it. Floods cannot wash it away. No locks nor bolts will ever be placed on its doors, for no vicious person can ever enter that Land where my dwelling stands, now almost completed and almost ready for me to enter in and abide in peace eternally, without fear of being ejected.
There is a valley of deep shadows between the place where I live in California and that to which I shall journey in a very short time. I cannot reach my home in that city of gold without passing through this dark valley of shadows; but I am not afraid, because the best Friend I ever had went through the same valley long, long, ago and drove away all its gloom. He has stuck by me through thick and thin since we first became acquainted fifty-five years ago, and I hold His promise in printed form that He will never forsake me nor leave me alone. He will be with me as I walk through the valley of shadows, and I shall not lose my way when He is with me.
In Revelation 21 we find Jesus taking His Bride home to a world that is perfect. It is just as God wants it to be. What will heaven be like? Certainly not sitting on clouds with harps. Here is the guided tour God has laid down in His Word.
PLEASE STAND WITH ME FOR THE READING OF REVELATION 21:1-8.
So what will heaven be like? The Scriptures describe it as NEW. Let’s look at the new aspects:
1. THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH ARE MADE OF NEW MATERIALS (21:1) – Remember 2 Peter 3:10-13 says the very atoms are affected with change for Satan, evil and his rebellion infect the universe. 2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Heaven is including a NEW EARTH (21:1b) – Not a failure corrected, but triumph – the place where God intersected with time and won the victory and paid the price. NO SEAS – to the ancients they were dangerous, unpredictable, causing separation…no more.
2. HEAVEN IS INCLUDING A NEW JERUSALEM (21:2)-The one crucified in old Jerusalem is now crowned in new because:
- the message is that the Lamb is the foundation. Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,)
- Atlast The City – with foundations Hebrews 11:10, 13-16 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
- It’s holy (Rev. 21:27)
- It’s prepared (John 14:1-6)
- It’s gorgeous – tonight we note the wonders of its foundation.
HEAVEN IS INHABITED BY NEW PEOPLE (21:3-8) – At last John 17 fulfilled as we
all are one from Eden’s first redeemed to the last of every kindred nation
tribe. Murderers/addicts proud – all repentant sinners transformed by
WHAT WILL NOT BE
THERE IN HEAVEN
- No oceans (21:1), No tears (21:4), No death (21:4), No crying (21:4), No pain (21:4), No temple-no church building (21:22), No sun, no moon, no night (21:23), No sin, no unbelievers, no evil forces (21:27), No sickness (22:2), No curse (22:3), No time (yesterday, tomorrow, early, late)
WHAT WILL BE
THERE IN HEAVEN
- Visible, face-to-face fellowship with Christ (Rev. 22:4; 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:1,2)
- Full, complete knowledge (1 Corin. 13:12b)
- Full, complete knowledge (1 Corin. 13:12b)
- Abundance…freely provided without charge-no restrictions, no restraint (Rev. 21:6)
- A celestial city – a place of unbelievable, shining, brilliant beauty (Rev. 21:10-21)
- Meaningful service, although we do not know exactly what is involved (Rev. 22:3).
HOW LONG WILL WE BE
THERE IN HEAVEN
HOW LONG? (22:5) FOREVER because of faith in the Lamb sacrificed for us. Rev. 7:4, 22:14
In this passage we discover the HUSBANDLY LOVE OF JESUS unveiling Paradise for His Bride (21:1-8). Like John Wayne taking the bride home atop hill see it in distance. Standing on the hill with the rising sun and says here it is darling. And we look as His bride and we say, what is that tree? One tree with many fruits, one tree both sides river.
“There grows the red Rose of Sharon, the Lily bright and fair,
But there’s no flower sweeter in all that land up there-
Than the blest Lamb of glory; the Savior, He’ll be there,
For the Lamb is all the glory-in Emmanuel’s land!”
Let us look today to the fair land of our pilgrimage and see that city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God. And in the wonders that we shall behold, let us see Him Who has made it our home to be-the Lamb is all the glory of Emmanuel’s land!
Today advertisements mesmerize us into thinking we are to be amused, comforted and secure in this world. God says only through Him, thus we live in conflict. Today we each have an appointment made for us. At a precise moment each of us will face death. Although not a very happy subject often, it really can become one for us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ . For you see, it is He who made that appointment for us. It is He who will wait to walk us through that doorway called death should He tarry and not come to snatch us from this world.
We need to look at the heart of John that ancient author whose words by inspiration of God’s Spirit are presented for us in Revelation 21 and 22. Join me learning from this wizened veteran of the Cross. Note how he looks at his soon to be appointment with death. And note how in that appointment he saw it as the glory of seeing Christ which filled him with hope, joy and peace.
The Apostle John, beloved apostle. The place, a barren rock called Patmos in the blue green Aegean Sea. The Book, the Revelation of Jesus Christ written at the end of a long and fruitful life. Exiled to the quarries of the Emperor, the last living apostle of Christ toiled to build temples of pagan deities. But was sustained by a Sight that Satisfied him. See with John a sight that filled him with hope and joy. No matter how toilsome and exiled life may be for you, as John found overflowing joy and unbounding purpose in life, so can you. I hope his sight that satisfied is a sight you shall never forget!
The subject of heaven is often spoken of as the sweet by and by: harps, clouds, angel wings, and a seemingly ethereal world of misty spirit forms. But in reality, Heaven is a gloriously described place of wonder and beauty. First, we find seven facets of the love of Jesus for all the saints, His Bride. Of all the indescribably beauties and unending glories, there is above all else the most beautiful aspect of Heaven, and in the words of Anne Cousins’ “Emmanuel’s Land”:
1. JESUS IS WITH US, AND NO MORE PROMISES (21:3) – “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them.” There is first the unbroken presence of Him Who promised to be “God with us.” (Emmanuel). There is, secondly, the fulfillment of all that He has promised, for He is the completion of all His promises. To fear God is acknowledge by what I do, that God is watching me! “If you fear men, you are not fearing God. If you fear God, you won’t be fearing men!”
Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it is His Word;
Once His gifts I wanted, now the giver owns;
Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.
Once ’twas painful trying, now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, now the uttermost;
Once ’twas ceaseless holding, now He holds me fast;
Once ’twas constant drifting, now my anchors cast.
Once ’twas busy planning, now ’tis trustful prayers,
Once ’twas anxious caring, now He has the care;
Once ’twas what I wanted, now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking, now ’tis ceaseless praise.
Once it was my working, His it hence shall be,
Once I tried to use Him, now He uses me;
Once the power I wanted, now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, now for Him alone….
A. B. Simpson
2. JESUS IS COMFORTING US, AND NO MORE FORMER CONFLICTS (21:4) – “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall no longer be any death, there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying or pain, for the first things have passed away.” The sadness of disappointments ends with the security of divine appointment. The dread of death ends with the Lord of life. The frailties of the flesh are ended with the entrance of the heavenly habitation. The future like the past is kept by Him with Whom our anchor is cast.
3. JESUS IS REFRESHING US, AND NO MORE FAINTING (21:6) – “I will give to the one who thirsts from the springs of the water of life without cost.” A life of dryness or of refreshing fountains.
- Jeremiah 2:13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water. NKJV
- Psalm 84:5-6 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. NKJV
- John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”NKJV
- It is an endless supply, for He within us shall be that Fountain. Are you a Cistern or a fountain?
- It is freely bestowed upon us by His grace, without cost save to Him.
4. JESUS IS CAPTIVATING US, AND NO MORE TYPES (21:22) – “And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb are its temple.” The culmination of all the types in that from which they were fashioned – the True One. Which satisfies you, the picture or the person? The figures were for the time then present, but the fullness is for all eternity. Worship will be unbounded by location or proximity-it is unending and all-present.
5. JESUS IS KEEPING US, AND NO MORE REBELS (21:27) – “And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” There is a narrow, blood stained path that climbs to a rough-hewn tree where God became man gave Himself to ransom me from the slave market of sin! The exclusion of all evil forever-at last, freedom completed! At Calvary by Christ – from the penalty of sin. At the cross by faith – from the power of sin by faith. At the celestial City by grace – from the presence of sin. The welcoming of all the washed ones, washed in the Lamb’s blood and written in the Lamb’s book.
6. JESUS IS LEADING US, AND NO MORE SEPARATION (22:3) – “And there shall no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bondservants shall serve Him.” The return of His rule – that Kingship of the Kingdom will be unhindered. No dictator ever demanded so much as Christ. He wants complete dedication not mere compliments. He never said accept me, rather He said leave all and follow Me! The submission to His service – as bondslaves forever to our Master, to serve gladly and unhindered. The complete destruction of the curse’s doom-no more shall God’s path have the weeds of man’s sin.
7. JESUS IS LIGHTING US, AND NO MORE DARKNESS (22:5) – “And there shall no longer by any night, and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp, nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them, and they shall reign for ever and ever.” The Source shall be the Savior; the Lamb is the light, and in its glow shall we walk in unbroken communion. The despair of darkness will be ended; no more unfinished plans, for He is the completion of all. The denial of dark deeds – they are consigned to the blackness of darkness forever, while we shall rule by submission to Him forever. Luke 1:78-79 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” NKJV
Oh, the wonders of our promised Haven, the glories of that eternal Home! But nothing will compare with the knowledge that Heaven is just the outflow of Him. In each aspect we looked at concerning that heavenly City, we see a character trait of Him, our Savior. Let us seek Him, and in the words of the song – writer so true:
“Tis heaven below, my Redeemer to know,
For He is so precious to me.”
The last thing will not be the intellect of Athens, nor the luxury of Babylon, nor the power of Rome, nor the fashion of Paris, nor the commerce of New York, nor the splendour of London, but the New Jerusalem, which stands for religion and character, which shall descend out of heaven from God.
The last thing will not be bombs, but blessings; not war, but peace; not uncertainty but confidence; not sickness but health; not weakness, but strength; not longing, but satisfaction; not sorrow, but joy; not weariness, but vigour.
There’s a great time coming, so let us lift up our heads and our hearts, for the day of our redemption draweth nigh.
Hymn # 471 “The way of the Cross leads Home” Jessie Pounds
I must needs go home by the way of the Cross,
theres no ther way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light,
if the way of the Cross I miss.
Chorus: The way of the Cross leads home, the way of the cross leads home; It is sweet to know as I onward go, the way of the Cross leads home.
Before the turn of the century, a group of archeologists digging in Egypt in search of fabled treasure found an area untouched.
Workers excitement grew as steps were unearthed. Though shaft dangerous, pressed on – One temporarily buried – then a door! Scarab seal intact exhilarated, glitter in eyes. Door opened with a hiss and light penetrated darkness of over 2,000 years! With torches in hand, they groped into the chamber only to find twelve mummified crocodiles! The buried alive worker in a moment of angry disappointment struck one. It burst open and with it our study of the New Testament! The ruptured crocodile spewed forth piles of wadded papyri.
Turn to HEBREWS 11:1.
One word was filling those papyri of 2,500 years ago – HUPOSTASIS – Indeed for the scraps of paper came from a law office and by careful study, the word at last burst from the pages of Hebrews and the Word of God!
Let’s read this verse in each of the major translations:
KJV Faith is the substance.
LV Faith is the confident assurance.
NIV Faith is being sure.
TEV Faith is to be sure.
JERBIB Only faith can guarantee the blessing.
PHILLIPS Faith means we have full confidence
RSV Faith is the assurance
NEB Faith gives substance
They all talk of confident assurance of God’s promises=faith, right?
Now, back to the Egyptian rubbish heaps and this Greek word, faith, is Hupostasis. What did it mean when it was written 2,500 years ago. Well, all those scraps in the crocodile translated it – Title Deed.
Look at 11:1 again.
Faith is the Title Deed to what? To all, God has punished!
Now, to v.13. Again these of the faith…
Having seen them.
Having welcomed them from a distance.
Having confessed, they were stranger and exiles.
WHY? V.16 – TEV-Refugees; NEB-Passing Travelers; PHILLIPS-Foreigners; JEWS-Nomads; KJV-Pilgrims; – Living Strangers visiting down here.
God prepared a city for them.
NOW, TO CHAPTER 12:22-23
THERE IT IS – V.22 – Mt. Zion – City of the Living God.
HEAVENLY JERUSALEM – ALSO CALLED –
- “My Father’s house” – Christ
- “New heaven and a new earth” – John
- “Paradise” – Christ
- The tabernacle of God” – John
- “The holy city” – John
- “The heavenly city”
- “Heavenly kingdom”
- “Before the throne”
- “With the Lord” – Paul
AND, LOOK AT ITS BEAUTY – V. 22-23
- Thousands upon thousands (Myriads) or hundreds of millions of angels (Ken Taylor said). (LB “countless happy angels).
- NEB continues “The full concourse and assembly of the firstborn citizens of heaven.
- Enrolled in heaven!
- And to God, the Judge of all (God the Son).
- And, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect.
After the great Chicago fire of 1871, evangelist Dwight L. Moody went back to survey the ruins of his house. A friend came by and said to Moody, “I hear you lost everything.” “Well,” said Moody, “you understood wrong. I have a good deal more left than I lost.” “What do you mean?” the inquisitive friend asked. “I didn’t know you were that rich.” Moody then opened his Bible and read to him Revelation 21:7-“He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God.”
Remember – We have come to the conclusion of God’s revelation what started in the Book of Beginnings “Genesis”, finds its conclusion in the Book of Endings “Revelation” which is actually the fulfillment of God’s purposes to be with man (Isaiah 9:6-Matt. 1:22). He walked with man in the garden until mankind fell – He led the nation, Israel until they apostatized – He walked on earth in person until He was crucified.
Now He comes to finish all things….many times God says the present earth will pass away. Ps. 102:25-26; Matt. 5:18; Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; Hebrews 1:10-12; 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13. And, of course, our text, Rev. 21:1.
Over and over God predicts the dissolution of this planet and the surrounding atmospheric universe, but what will it be? Let’s compare God’s first and second creation.