Although we have just examined one of the saddest passages in Scripture, the sentencing of unbelievers to the lake of fire, our spirits turn as John begins to describe the things which await those who have believed in Jesus Christ. John writes, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away [2 Peter 3:10-13]. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…” (21:1-2). Jesus had promised His disciples thousands of years before that He would return for them and that He was going to prepare a place for them to dwell with him forever (John 14:1-3). This place, the New Jerusalem (heaven), is the fulfillment of that promise and it will not only be a place for the disciples, but also for the redeemed of all ages.
By this time in future history, the entire earth as we know it will have been destroyed and no evil will remain. Satan, the Antichrist, the false prophet, and all evil men will have been cast into the lake of fire (20:7-15) in eternal punishment for their sin. In contrast to this sad reality, the New Jerusalem descends out of heaven becoming the dwelling place of all believers where God will eternally live with them. John describes this by writing, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them and be their God’” (21:3). The next thing John writes is probably one of the most incomprehensible things surrounding this abode of the saints, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things [sin and the curse] have passed away” (21:4). It is very hard for the human mind to imagine a world without disappointment and pain, but God has promised us an eternity without concern for sin and its effects. John describes it as God making “all things new” (21:5). “The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars” will not be a part of this new kingdom because they will “have their part in the lake of fire which burns with fire and brimstone…” (21:8).
What will this city look like? John is given a personal tour and in turn he provides a brief description of some of its characteristics. Here is an overview:
- God’s glory will give light to the city (21:11,23; 22:5)
- A great wall with twelve gates will surround it (21:12-14,17-18a,19-21a)
- A cube shape city with 1,400 miles on each side – 2 million square miles (21:15-16)
- City is made of pure gold, like clear glass (21:18b)
- Streets are pure gold (21:21b)
- No temple because God is the temple (21:22)
- People of all types will roam freely in the city (21:24-26)
- Nothing can enter which would defile it (21:27; 22:3)
- A river of eternal life will flow from the throne of God (22:1)
- A tree of life will provide twelve fruits of eternal life (22:2-3)
- There will be no night (22:5)
- John also reveals that the people who inhabit the city will serve God (22:3b) and His name will be written on their foreheads (22:4) and they will “reign forever and ever” (22:5).
The angel speaks to John and informs him that the words he has heard are “faithful and true” (22:6). Then the angel tells John that he has been chosen to write these true things in order “to show His servants [seven churches and all believers] the things which must shortly take place” (22:6). John is also reminded that Jesus is coming quickly and those who read and “keep the words of the prophecy of this book” will be blessed (22:7,12-14).
The reading of the book of Revelation should lead to a life of obedience and worship of God (22:9-11,14). As we closely consider the things which will soon take place on this earth, may we be surrendered to obey God’s will in our daily lives and warn others of the future judgment upon all those who hate God. May God help our study of Revelation to be written in our hearts so that we would often be reminded of its truth.
Dear God, thank You for this book of future things and may it result in an obedient life.