We concluded Revelation 20 with the end of the millennium, the judgment of the wicked dead, and their fate in the lake of fire. What follows is the remaking of Eden and earth made new by fire and as we’ll see in chapter 21, Heaven makes it home on the earth made new.
It is also worth mentioning that in Revelation 21 and 22 we have a parallel to the beginning of the book with the letters to the seven churches and promises to overcome, and in the end of the book we see the promises to the church fulfilled.
Let’s look at some highlights from our study in these chapters…
Revelation 21:1-4 — The New Jerusalem descends from Heaven to make its new home upon the New Earth. It is a contrast to the Great City of Babylon and the apostate religious because this city is inhabited by only those who faithfully worship the true God through His grace and His righteousness (Revelation 21:27 and Revelation 22:15).
As we read on in this chapter we see that the New Jerusalem is a square cube of a city that is estimated to be about 1500 miles on each side and about 1500 miles high. There has been some Bible scholars who have drawn an opinion that we will have a home in the New Jerusalem and a home out in the country side of the New Earth, considering Isaiah 65:21 “And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.”
What’s important for us to know and find hope from is in the New Earth and the New Jerusalem the order of things as we know it today will be no more. Sin, injustice, suffering, death, deceit, evil intentions, all will be banished to the lake of fire. Revelation 21:4 says “the former things are passed away.” Eden will be restored, God will be with us, and sin will be no more (Revelation 22:3 and Nahum 1:9).
Revelation 22:1-2 — The presence of the river of life and the tree of life speak to our continued dependence upon God throughout eternity. We sometimes talk as if Heaven is the end-goal like a trip to the beach when we finally arrive and throw out our umbrellas and blankets and just relax basking in its beauty. I think Heaven will be a continuation of the Christian life here, but without the temptations and sinful natures. We’ll certainly bask in its beauty but I don’t think life will be like a long pause or a vacation break with “nothing” to have to do.
Verse 2 tells us that “the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” and this something we talked about at the Chapel as a possible reference to the idea that we will grow up in physical stature. I read something years ago by a scientist who suggested that Adam may have been 10-feet tall with the ability to walk at approximately 60-miles per hour. I can’t say that it’s definitely a fact but after 6000 years of sin I am sure mankind has lost his original physical perfection.
Revelation 22:11-12 — We are reminded that the day is coming when the probationary time for humankind to accept Jesus will end. The Lord will stand up and declare that the opportunity is closed and the sinful of heart have missed their day of salvation. Regarding that day, our Lord declares “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
The message of Revelation for the believer is one of hope. Hope in the return of our Lord to put an end of sin and all it’s caused to be wrong with our world. To know that our Lord has a plan in place to bring sin to an end is a reason for hope. When we know that, we simply can not stand before sorrow, suffering, and death, and not exclaim, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Revelation 22:21 — How fitting that the Bible ends on a note of encouragement that points us to live by the grace of Jesus Christ. Even the message of Revelation is Christ’s saving grace from wrath, not dependence on our works. No matter how good you are, how smart you become, or how pure your family heritage is, you are a sinner who can only be saved by grace through faith.
God’s people are not marked among the world by their perfect behavior but by their perfect Savior because they intentionally go to Him for forgiveness of sin, claiming of His righteousness, and continually growing in His grace, and this is what Heaven will be like.