The New Jerusalem Under a New Heaven and in a New Earth
Revelation 21:1-8
r21a
Text
Comments
The Bible text was divided into chapters and verses in relatively recent times. The first eight verses of chapter 21 could well have been added to chapter 20. The contest of the wicked and the protection of the righteous in chapter 20 involve the city, "the camp of the saints." Here in 21, we cycle back to learn more about that city and finish again with the lake of fire the end arrived at in chapter 20 (20:9, 10, 15) r20t1. At the same time, one could argue that the chapter division is correct since it begins with an extensive expansion on the holy city that was surrounded by the wicked. In a similar way, we found 8:1 to belong to both chapter 7 and chapter 8 0801a. Aside from chapter divisions, the structure of the book of Revelation, as well as its message, is certainly of divine appointment.
.Re 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.

  New From kainos. New in quality.
  New heaven We assume this to mean the atmospheric heaven 2co1201,2. Of course sin has caused sorrow for the whole universe. The end of sin and sinners will certainly bring relief and joy everywhere. 
 
  First ... passed away The removal of this polluted earth (or its surface as we know it) is easy to understand. Does the new heaven mean that God's command center disappears? According to v3, it could be transferred right here after the earth is cleansed. The "heavens" are better understood as our atmosphere and perhaps the whole universe which will then be relieved from witnessing the evil of our planet. As we see the earth being depleted of its resources, we may take comfort that God will rebuild it from chaos as He did at the time of creation.
  No more sea No vast expanses of water which likely came about as a result of the flood. And symbolically, no place for evil beasts to arise from.
.2a And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.   I John saw The apostle refers to himself elsewhere in the apocalypse only in 1:9, and 22:8. Perhaps he wants us to know that he really did see the city.
  Holy city, new Jerusalem Old Jerusalem should have been holy. The temple was there. The ark was removed for safety and is still hidden. God's presence had come to it 1ki0810, 2ch0513 as to the tabernacle ex2943. By the time of Jesus it had become a "den of thieves" mt2113.
  City Are we looking at walls and foundations and gates here? Perhaps, but a city is also its people just as a church is its members. In verses 9 and 10 we discover that the city that came down is the bride who is also the Lamb's wife. And we remember from studying the marriage supper of the Lamb that we, as the righteous, are collectively the bride re1907fr. This means we will come down from heaven to earth at the end of the thousand years as part of the New Jerusalem.
.2b And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.   Coming down from God During the thousand years now ended, the righteous have been reigning with Christ as assistant judges re2004. Near the end of chapter 20, we saw the city on earth surrounded by the wicked re2009asu. Here we learn how it came back to earth from heaven. After the wicked showed that they had not changed and surrounded the city, fire came down from God out of heaven re2009b. Did I hear someone say that the city comes down before the end of the thousand years? This idea doesn't fit the picture. Please review our discussions on the topic and the Bible verses involved re2004ju and re2009be.
  Prepared As Jesus had promised jn1402.
  Bride See re1907.
  Adorned From kosmeo. The grammar indicates a work begun earlier had now brought to completion.
.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.   Great voice out of heaven From where and from whom the city had descended v2.
  Tabernacle From shene meaning "tent" or "booth." The words "will dwell" are from the same root word.
  Be his people During the thousand years, the righteous will have reigned with Christ in heaven in judgment of the wicked re2004. Here we see God the Father personally being with them. He has immortality, "dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see. . . ." I am unaware of any text that explains His relationship to the millennial judgment. We do know that here, we will be with Him and He will be our God. What a promise! Compare zp0315, zc0210, 2co1207.
.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.
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  No more death The clause reads literally, "the death shall be no longer." What specific death? The one that came to all humans with disobedience in Eden ge0217. Now is the victory 1co1554.
  Crying Literally, "outcry." 
  Pain Many on this sick planet suffer pain. We explained how the fire of final punishment devours the wicked. When their penalty has been paid, they will be no more ob16. We can know that the case is closed and that they are not hurting. If this were not so, we would still have reason for tears. And the text says, "no more sorrow." Sorrow won't end until the wicked are finally gone. We will finally be at peace in a universe cleansed of sin and sinners is2508. Compare ez2033-end.
  All tears Literally "every tear." One normally thinks that all sadness will end when Jesus takes us to heaven. Only here at the end of the millennial judgment are the tears gone. Think a minute. Why would we cry during the thousand years? The judgment will show the lives of loved ones who failed to accept Christ's power to overcome their evil habits. Will we rejoice and smile over the fate of those we knew who rejected the Spirit's call to repentance? Of course not. Although we will understand just why they are eternally lost, we will be sorrowful. From looking at the records of judgment, we will see God's fairness. In fact, the lost will be destroyed in mercy. They would not be able to endure the purity of the holy city, and sin is never happiness even though it might seem to be for a moment.
.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.   Write Compare the statement in chapter 19 where  was told to write because what was said was true re1909.
.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.   It is done Literally "it has happened." The Lord was the Alpha in creating a perfect world. Here He has fulfilled His work as the Omega bringing an end to sin and evil. He has made all things new v5. Compare re0108. Compare is5501. Just before the seventh plague, Jesus will say these same words, "It is done" re1617b. And on the cross, He said "It is finished" jn1930. You may wish to compare the three statements. The Greek word in each case is different, by the way. It is ginomaee, in this case.
  Him that is athirst We may have that water for our spiritual needs mt0506, jn0414, is5501. What will it be like to drink the water from the fountain in the new earth. Perhaps it is the river that flows from the throne? re2201. I look forward to the experience.
.7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.   Overcometh The Greek indicates habitual or continual victory over sin. If this is a problem for us, we may ask for strength and put it to work in our lives is2705, 2co1209.
  Inherit This is beyond our imagination 1co0209.
  God ... son We may now be children of God but then, in a special way will we be His sons and daughters! With the curse of evil gone we will be able to see Him face to face! ge1707, 2sa0714
.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.   Fearful Or "cowards" Those who fear the temporary consequences of following Christ. See the word in mt0826, mr0440.
  Abominable From bdelusso. See the the noun form of the word in re1705, lu1615, v7.
  All liars Including those who teach false doctrines  re1313. Could we be pleased with ourselves for avoiding one type of sin and not realize we come under another?
  Their part in the lake This text seems clear enough that the wicked don't burn without end in the burning lake. There are two resurrections. Those that come up in the first escape the second death. In the pattern, there is no resurrection following the second death re2006a. They will have rejected the gift of God in His only begotten Son. Read the promise again noting the alternative to "everlasting life." jn0316.
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May God draw us ever closer to Himself and help us to be overcomers.