So the climax of all that God planned throughout eternity has come to this awesome point. Just imagine what John saw! From his heavenly perspective, he witnessed both the Eternal and the Millennium pictures in all the fullness of God’s Glory! Much is written in the Old Testament about the New Millennium from the earthly viewpoint.
Let us have a quick look at what Joel prophesied thousands of years before about the Millennium Kingdom.
During this time:
The Lord will make Jerusalem holy and pure…..there will be no “strangers” there, Joel 3:17….only those who have been born again and made righteous by the blood of Jesus, shed on the Cross for the remission of sins….only those who have been adopted into His family by receiving Jesus as the Messiah
The mountains of Israel will drip with sweet wine, Joel 3:18.
The mountains of Israel will nourish cattle that flow with milk, Joel 3:18.
The land of Judah will always flow with springs of water Joel 3:18.
A spring will actually burst forth underneath the Temple and flow into a river down to the Dead Sea, which will be resurrected, Joel 3:18; also Ezekiel 47.
Israel/Judah/Jerusalem will be inhabited forever Joel 3:20.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself will dwell in Zion Joel 3:21.
The Hebrew Prophet Joel gives us a great hope…that God is Sovereign and He will reign from this city and make all things new and beautiful by His Grace and Power. God will have the last say and will be in complete control of all the action at this time, so we can trust Him completely with our lives, Psalm 56:3. God’s perfect creation will be restored and will be similar to the Garden of Eden. The spring flowing from the Lord’s House clearly illustrates that all blessings come to us, from God alone, Who is our Source.
We know that all God has done, and is doing, is perfect and although Satan hindered His plan in the Garden of Eden, that design was no less perfect. Father God chose Abraham and his seed, through which He would bless the Nations. So during the Millennium His intent is to have a righteous people to occupy the new earth, just like Adam and Eve, before ‘the Fall.’ He has also chosen the seed of Abraham to create the perfect Nation of people, Israel. Then there is the group of Believers with glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-57), establishing that they, through Jesus Christ, have overcome Satan. God has not changed His mind about having an immortal being and neither has He changed His mind about having a model nation, such as Israel. God is bringing His Body into perfection through the ministry of the work of Jesus Christ, so that all together we are all like Jesus.
As this time is approaching, it is good to remind ourselves that we should assemble together all the more often with other believers, Hebrews 10:25. It is hard to find a more powerful witness in a community than a strong local church, which demonstrates the Believers’ love of Jesus. Through their Godly actions, they show that His love knows no bounds and radiates out to the hurting world. We do the devil no harm, when people split into small religious cliques, or ‘bless me clubs,’ where the Holy Spirit is not made welcome. Instead, we can use Christ’s power and authority as Believers, when we work together to further His Kingdom and seek accountability with the Word and the abundance of good counsel, Proverbs 11:14.
In these times of increasing terrorist activity by extreme Muslims, someone said, ‘Dear Terrorists, I realise that your god asks you to DIE for him. Allow me to introduce you to JESUS, the God who DIED for YOU!’
John sees that everything will be made new by God as our earth, that we are all going to so much trouble to preserve, is ‘being stored up reserved for fire, being kept for the day of Judgement and destruction of the ungodly people’ 2 Peter 3:5-13. God is not being slow as we think about slowness; He is being amazingly merciful as He is calling more into His Kingdom on a daily basis because He does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. His delay is giving our friends and relatives the opportunity to choose Jesus. In the meantime we keep looking for the dawning of this new day, according to the promises of God, when righteousness and freedom from sin will be restored, Isaiah 65:17-19.
The earth and heaven are a fixed location in eternity. Jesus promised to, “Go and prepare a place for us,” in His Father’s house, John 14:1-4, so reassuringly, there are going to be familiar things about heaven such as rooms, banquets, horses and people, to name but a few. When Paul experienced his rapture, he was not sure whether he was, “in the body,” or “out of the body,” 2 Corinthians 12:3. Home is many things to different people, but in heaven, we will be very much at ease, as there will be many of the good and familiar things, which God has prepared for us.
Think about a longed-for loved one’s homecoming and the care to detail that we might make in preparation? Now compare this to how wonderfully God is preparing the perfect place, for the time when He calls us home. He knows everything about us; the colours we love, the scenery, the flora and fauna we enjoy and all the things that make us happy. All these personal and intimate details, which He has prepared so lovingly for us, will greet us as we enter the Father’s House! Can you begin to imagine how we will feel, when we realise that we have been eagerly expected? What heavenly joy!
God is coming to live with His people, just like He did in the Garden of Eden and also when Jesus Christ came to earth, as God incarnate, John 1:14. What an awesome picture we have of everything new, pure and perfect. How typical of our fantastic heavenly Father, Who longs for perfection for His redeemed children! Of course we have done nothing to deserve this paradise, this euphoria; it is all because of Jesus and what He has done for us. All we have to do is to choose Him and to accept in faith, His Free Gift of salvation. We are His people and He is our God. He will wipe our eyes Himself (Revelation 7:17) and show us the bottle where He has collected every tear. He has known intimately, every detailed situation for Himself. There will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain, because everything belonging to the old order will pass away, Isaiah 65:19-20. That is such good news, whatever we are going through. Remember how God walked with Adam, in the cool of the day, in the Garden before the Fall! When we are forgiven and restored, this is how it will be for us and we will love every moment! Hard as it is to imagine now, by faith we will be holy, as He is holy, and this will be for the whole of eternity! What a magnificent day of rejoicing this will be!
Read Revelation 21:5-8.
Everyone will come to accept that God is the wonderful and generous Creator of this earth. His timing is perfect, so all the changes are in His plan. Just as He was the Creator at the beginning, so He will be the Creator of the new Heaven and new Earth; He is the Alpha and the Omega. So we will move into a brand new home, on a brand new Earth, which will show all the splendour of God’s creative genius. He will lavish unlimited power and resources upon it and in one breath He states, “Behold I make all things new,” and in the next breath He says, “It is done!” He is the beginning and the ending; there is no need for anything more in between. The same Creative Force that said, “Let there be Light” Genesis 1:3, creates a complete new universe. All the horrors of what we have studied can never reduce the Power of God; it is just the same as it was from the beginning, before Time. We cannot imagine what this New Heaven and New Earth will be like. Even in this present world, marred by sin as it is, there are places of awesome beauty, but the landscapes of His Glorious New Heaven and New Earth will be far greater than what we have seen with our eyes.
Now He is promising to always satisfy our thirst for Him. At times, we all have experienced and known what it is like to be dissatisfied in our relationship with Him, but possibly even more so, with life itself? During those trying moments, we need to just sit at His feet, lay everything before Him and quietly allow Him to fill us up, with Himself. Often worship is a great relationship builder and encourager, as we remind ourselves that He is Present, He has not left us, and our thirst is satisfied by being filled afresh with His Love, while flushing out our frustrations. This sometimes has to be in faith, as we may not ‘feel’ anything, but it does not make it any less truthful. The promise for the over-comer is that we will receive all that the new heaven and the new earth contains, and that God Himself will be our God and we will be His Children. This is magnificent!
Again we are reminded of the horror of the second death, which now seems so much worse in the light of all the love, peace and purity of the surroundings, Revelation 21:8. Here it describes the people who will inherit this horror, after they have made the cities all over the world, centres of evil and wickedness. Note that the number one root problem for these offenders will be their fear, which leads to godless behaviour. This is such a challenge, as the world is so full of fear today, which outworks into unbelief. Both fear and unbelief are so closely connected, that we have to frequently examine ourselves, to check out our hearts, as unbelief is at the root of all sin. However tough a situation might be, if we really believe that God loves us unconditionally, then we would have completely different reactions, than we have at present. Here it states that the end for the unbelieving will be in the lake of fire! Let us pick up this challenge to believe every Word we read in the Bible and take God at His Word. Unbelief opened the door to sin in the Garden of Eden, (‘did God really say’ Genesis 3:1) and has since then, kept people away from God and His salvation.
Read Revelation 21:9-14.
When we leave from home for a time, there comes a point when the pull of the familiar becomes strong and we begin to yearn for home. As Christians, we often sense that we are in this world, but not of it! It is perhaps with this thought, that we realise the earth is wearing out, and being here is nothing like what God has prepared for us. There is the Holy City Jerusalem, which is the centre of all activity during the Millennium and then there is the heavenly Jerusalem; the home of the saints for all eternity. It seems that the holy city is suspended in the heavens, shining in all the brilliance of His Light and Glory. God’s original plan was that heaven and earth would work together, so now He is bringing them together. The Holy City is first mentioned in verse 2, as the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven; but now in verse 10, it is the “Great City, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” The first is the new city coming to the new earth, to remain there forever. In the second description it is seen hovering over the earth throughout the Millennium.
Look at the amazing majesty of this stunning city. It does not need light, as it is lit by the Glory of God, Who is Light, Himself. It will be light all the time, with no darkness at all; what amazing security! Men will look up from the new earth and will see it flashing like a mighty diamond. There will be a great high wall, with twelve gates directed towards the four points of the compass and guarded by twelve mighty angels. This city is so strong, as the walls are bedded in twelve foundations and the names of the apostles are written there for all to see. In other words, The City is rooted and grounded in Truth.
Do you sometimes wonder why God goes to so much trouble to create something? It is His Character. He cannot give His children enough blessing, if we only have the eyes to see the beauty in the first creation. Why has He created so many varied species of flora and fauna, when surely a dozen varieties would be enough? This is the abundant outpouring of our fantastic loving Father, as He loves to surprise us and remind us of His intimate personal Love, and the lengths He will go to attract us to Him. Now, imagine the home He has prepared for you? What furniture will He have placed there for you? What personal touch do you feel He will know about you, and provide for you in your new home?
Read Revelation 21:15-27.
John goes to a lot of trouble to describe how the angel measured the city, with a perfect ruler of gold. The New Jerusalem is a flawless cube, which is considered to be the symbol of perfection and this is the same shape as the Most Holy Place in the Temple, 1 Kings 6:20. This city measures fifteen hundred miles square and high. These dimensions are no longer considered impossible, as they might have been in the past! When we consider the International Space Station and the myriad communication satellites hanging in the sky and of course our moon and the planets! We are meant to see that there is room for everyone; we may limit the size of our churches, but we cannot limit the New Heaven!
John now takes a further look at the wall, which is low in comparison to the city. Interestingly, the city was measured by God and so all is vast and perfect. On the other hand, the wall was measured by an angel and is small by comparison. Walls were usually built for defense to keep an enemy out, but that was no longer a requirement! These walls were made of jasper, a hard, brilliant, opaque reddish-brown stone – perhaps a similar colour to earthly bricks? The city itself was of pure gold, so pure, that it was comparable in appearance to transparent glass. The walk ways throughout the city will all reflect the Glory of the Divine Presence, “His Shekinah,” which is in line with His Will. The foundation stones comprised a variety of precious gems, which were ablaze with His reflected light. These stones represent the Glory of God in many different ways. The overall impression is one of wealth and magnificence beyond anything known on earth. Perhaps, the most striking image in the whole picture is that each city gate comprises one vast pearl. In the ancient world pearls were the most highly valued of all stones. These Gates of Pearl have deep significance, as not only are they symbols of unimaginable beauty and un-assessable riches, but they are also a reminder of great suffering. Pearls are formed within an oyster, so they are not a metal or stone. When a piece of sand becomes an irritant under the shell of an oyster, the creature then covers the irritant with layers of nacre, which then builds up to become a smooth pearl; this becomes the oyster’s answer to the pain! In other words, oysters are beautiful symbols of ‘healed hurts!’
As the saints come and go into God’s Kingdom there is a constant reminder that it was the pain of the Cross that enables us to pass through this gate of Glory. As we remember their size, we recognise the horrific amount of suffering that went into making those ‘Pearly Gates.’ Those pearls, hung eternally at the access routes to Glory, will be an eternal reminder to us of The One, Who hung upon a tree and Whose answer to those who injured Him, was to invite them to share His home! These gates will never be shut, showing there is clear communication between people and God.
There will be no Temple in this new city of God, as the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple. We have seen how the city was built in the shape of a perfect cube, reminding us that we are in the Holy of Holies all the day long. The city needs no Temple because the Presence of God is always there, so worship of God will take place anywhere and everywhere. This is so important for us to remember that the Presence of the Living God is what makes a Church, not the building. The fact that there is ‘No Temple,’ also shows us that God’s Presence will not be rooted to one place; He will be omnipresent – everywhere at once. It is not, and never has been in God’s character, to be confined to one place.
As we have seen, the Heavenly City will have no need of light as the Glory of God and the Lamb will completely fill this place with His Shekinah, His Holy aura of Light; there will be no darkness at all, as that is associated with evil. There shall be no night in the city, as everything will be open, so there will be no secrets. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into the city, as an act of worship to acknowledge that heaven rules and in return, the blessing of God will pour down. The times of the mystery of spiritual things are over and heaven is visible from earth. Men will live in the full blaze of Glory that shines visibly from the sky.
This will be the perfect home for all whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and are washed clean by faith in the Blood of Jesus. What a home it will be – a home for all those who are in God’s Covenant family through Grace!
33 Revelation 20 – The Bright New World – Challenge Questions
It is suggested that you answer all the questions in your homework but only do those marked with ‘*’ in your group to save time and give more time to prayer.
1. *Read the Notes and the Bible Verses referred to in them. Highlight the points that ‘speak’ to you and be prepared to share with your group.
2. Imagine the home He has prepared for you, what furniture will He have placed there for you?
3. *What is your overall impression of the new heavenly Jerusalem? Which point do you like best?
4. *Make a list of 5 things that make you lose your focus and sin (eg. Hurtful words, jealousy, lust, financial troubles) next to each one write how worshiping God can refocus you?
Read Revelation 22:1-6
5. *What is the next thing the angel shows John? Describe the surrounding area.
6 *Where have we read about the ‘tree of life’ in a different study and what was the rule about it? How does this change here?
7. What do you think ‘for healing the nations’ means when there is no sickness?
8. *What does John repeat in his description of the city?
Read Revelation 22:7-11
9.What is the promise for those who obey this book?
10. *Again John is in trouble, what for and what does the angel suggest? Why do you think this is so important?
11. What does the angel tell John to do when his vision is over and why?
Read Revelation 22:12-21
12. *Who are blessed and why according to these verses?
13. Why does Jesus give this testimony to John and who does He say He is?
14. Who does the bride and the Holy Spirit give the invitation to?
15. *What warning does John give at the end of his book and what will be the outcome for those who do not heed it?
16. *What promises can you hold onto from this chapter?