When the events of Revelation chapters 20 and 21 finally take place, the ages of testing, probation, and judgment will be ended. History and time will have run their course and “. . . the dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10) will have come. These are the climax chapters of God’s written revelation of His purposes for creation, and chapter 21 especially gives us a glimpse into the eternal wonders all who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will spend in a place called Heaven.
Beyond both the seven-year Tribulation and the 1,000-year Millennial Kingdom of Christ on Earth, there awaits the final reality: The Eternal State in the New Heaven and New Earth and the wonderful place called “The New Jerusalem”. There is, folks, a new and far better world soon coming!
Most people have serious misconceptions about Heaven. Atheists claim Heaven is merely the illusion of a spiritually intoxicated people. The godless scientist dogmatically declares Heaven to be nothing but a mythological fantasy. The humanistic philosopher sneers at the Christian’s idea of Heaven as appallingly foolish, while the liberal theologian believes Heaven to be a worn-out superstition. Some say Heaven is a state of mind; others say it is the here and now (oh dear; that’s depressing). Some propose that Heaven is the total absence of existence (annihilation), while others hold to a non-distinct concept of an airy place of fluffy clouds, golden harps, and angelic wings. Even many Christians have misconceptions about Heaven, which is why it is important to learn from Scripture what the Architect and Carpenter of Heaven Himself has revealed to mankind about this magnificent place!
One clear truth gleaned in the last two chapters of Revelation is that the Eternal State is not a spiritual condition void of a physical, specific locality. The New Heaven and Earth will be a literal place on the map of God’s providential plan. Believers will feel more “at home” in Heaven than in our present earthly homes. Heaven will contain much with which we are fondly familiar, except everything will be perfectly beautiful, perfectly holy, and permanent (no decay). Heaven does not float around somewhere in a “pie-in-the-sky” cloudy dream world. It is not a place of fantasy and make-believe. It is a real place where God the Father, the bodily risen Christ, the Holy Spirit, holy angels, and all the redeemed saints of God will ultimately reside. It is a place exceedingly more stable, secure, and permanent than the Earth we presently know.
New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21:1)
John saw “a New Heaven and a New Earth” and also saw that “the first heaven and the first earth [not the second earth, which eliminates the Gap Theory] were passed away” (21:1). This current Earth, although it will be divinely renovated in the Millennial Kingdom, does completely pass out of existence when God ushers in an entirely new creation. This is not some new teaching only revealed in the final chapters of Scripture. Isaiah 65:17 says, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind”. Psalm 102:25, 26 says, “Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou [God] shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall Thou change them, and they shall be changed” (see Hebrews 1:10-12).
In “The Olivet Discourse,” Christ said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Second Peter 3:13 says, “Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, and Peter explained how Earth would be removed when he was inspired to write, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10). This current Earth will be destroyed by fire (and that, folks, is real “global warming”!)
There are three heavens according to God’s Word. They are: (1) The atmospheric heavens, where birds and airplanes fly and where Satan is now the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). (2) The stellar heavens, home of our solar system, Milky Way Galaxy, the thousand-million other galaxies, and the unlimited billions of stars. (3) The Third Heaven, where God dwells and the souls of saints go the moment of death. The heavens that pass away after the Millennial Kingdom, with this Earth, are the atmospheric heavens. God will completely destroy the Earth, which has been so defiled, marred, and cursed by evil. This includes the atmospheric “heavens” because they, too, “. . . are not clean in His sight” (Job 15:15).
In the days of Noah, the earth was renovated and purged by water in the global Flood. Earth’s second purging will be by fire (II Peter 3:6, 7). The first Earth was created and designed for man’s probationary state. The New Earth will be re-created and designed for man’s perfected state. The New Earth and New Heaven will be better than anything this world has ever known, including Eden. Satan was permitted to enter Eden, but no evil of any kind will gain admittance into the Eternal State!
While there will be numerous similarities between today’s Earth and the New Earth (i.e., cities, residences, walls, gates, water, trees, people, songs, thoughts, praise, etc.), there will also be many new things. One “new” thing will be the absence of seas (Revelation 21:1). Earth is approximately 70% water. God has used the oceans of Earth to separate people, thereby preventing tens of hundreds of additional wars! A “sea” pictures separation; it also pictures storms and danger, none of which will be present in the Eternal State. All boundaries between people and nations are eliminated in the New Earth because there is perfect harmony. There will be no need to separate people, for all will be in one accord. Storms and dangers will no longer exist. Yet, the absence of seas does not mean there will be no water. In Revelation 21:6, we read about the fountain of the water of life.
Although John was amazed by the destruction of Earth and the creation of a New Earth, his astonishment only increased by what he saw next. His focus was directed to the central feature of his vision of the Eternal State: “. . . the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven”.
New Jerusalem Descends (Revelation 21:2)
Please notice there is nothing in Revelation 21:2 to imply the creation of the Holy City at this time. The language suggests that this marvelous city has existed in Heaven prior to her descent.
The Holy City is a literal place prepared by Christ. In John 14:2, He told His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you”. It is also the city for which Abraham looked; the city “which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). It is the city described as “Jerusalem which is above . . . which is the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26).
The New Jerusalem will come down from Heaven to the New Earth. Christ has been preparing this place for 2,000 years (John 14:1-3). If He could create the magnificent creation we see all around us (which was far lovelier before the Fall) in merely six days, what fantastic wonders await us in the glories of the eternal abode He has been preparing for several millennium!
It is to the Holy City (in the Third Heaven) the souls of believers in Christ go to await His return to Earth. It is possible, if the New Jerusalem is brought from Heaven to Earth during the Millennial Kingdom, that she will be like a satellite city suspended over Earth (perhaps hovering over “the old” Jerusalem) for the duration of the 1,000 years. Resurrected saints may dwell there, able to easily journey to Earth beneath as necessary. Travel is not a problem in a resurrected body.
If this “suspension theory” is correct, perhaps the New Jerusalem is withdrawn from the earthly realm following the Millennial Kingdom, prior to Earth’s destruction by fire (II Peter 3:7, 10; 20:11; 21:1a). Then, as per John’s description in Revelation 21:2, she comes down to the New Earth (not hovering this time) to remain eternally. Christ will only bring His Holy City to an Earth free from the effects of sin. Although the Kingdom on Earth is to be free of demons and Satan, it will not be totally free from sin. People born during the 1,000 years will still inherit the Adamic sin nature, which is well demonstrated when so many humans join Satan in the final rebellion of Gog and Magog (20:8)!
The New Jerusalem descending from Heaven appeared so lovely, John’s description of her was as a bride adorned for her husband (21:2b). Because all Old Testament, Tribulation, and Millennium saints will occupy this breathtaking city with the Church saints, we cannot say she is described as “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (21:9b) because it is to be the exclusive home of the Church. The city will be populated by believers of all ages, but a distinct feature is that she is the dwelling place of Christ’s Bride. We must remember Revelation was written directly to the Church, the Bride of the Lamb.
As John beheld the vision of the New Heaven and Earth, and the beauty of New Jerusalem, he heard (for the 21st time in Revelation) “a great voice” from Heaven (21:3). It spoke of new blessings.
New Blessings (Revelation 21:3-8)
God’s Presence (Revelation 21:3)
The heavenly “great voice” of Revelation 21:3 said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men” (21:3a). There will be many stupendous and new blessings in Heaven; blessings we cannot begin to imagine. Scripture says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9). However, the most wonderful blessing will not be the street of gold, the gates of pearl, or the foundation jewels. The most wonderful blessing will be the presence of our Lord and Saviour!
Christ the Lord will “dwell” or “tabernacle” with His people, fellowshipping with us eternally. The citizens of the New Jerusalem will be His people, and He will be our God, with us always. This was not even true in the Garden of Eden. The Lord walked with Adam in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8), but He did not permanently dwell in the Garden. And though the Lord did tabernacle with men at another time, it was only for the brief span of 33 years. In the Eternal State, “the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them” (Revelation 21:3b). The Lord Jesus, the only visible Member of the Trinity, will dwell with us forever in the full display of His glory. “God with us” or “Emmanuel” is one of His many names. So, the greatest new blessing of the New Jerusalem will be God’s presence. Another new blessing will be the absolute absence of grief.
Grief’s Absence (Revelation 21:4)
Since Adam and Eve first sinned, sorrow has been the rule of the world. Job 5:7 says, “. . . man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward”. Yet, from the beginning, God promised to restore joy and peace to the world usurped by Satan. “He [the Lord] will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8).
Death will be a thing of the past in the Eternal State. There will be no graves scarring the surface of the New Earth. There will be no need for funeral parlors, cemeteries, tombstones, undertakers, or mortuaries. Nor will there be hospitals, nursing homes, mental institutions, rehab centers, or Hospice care. There will be no need for armies, prisons, law enforcement, firemen, or first responders. There will be no more broken homes and broken hearts. The tissue industry will go out of business, for there will be no more tears, unless they are tears of unrestrained joy! All things are to be made new (21:5)!
Glorious Water (Revelation 21:5,6)
In Revelation 21:5, God spoke from Heaven’s throne saying, “Behold, I make all things new”. He has planned a new way of life we cannot yet comprehend. We will enter a dimension of life beyond our present ability to grasp. All things will be made new. Not only will there be a New Earth, New Heaven, and a New Jerusalem, there will be a new song on our lips (5:9)! We will receive new names given to us by Christ Himself (2:17; 3:12)! Even He will have a new name (19:12)!
We will have new bodies, new homes, new surroundings, new perspectives, new understanding, new attitudes, and new wisdom. As God said, all things will be made new (21:5a). The Eternal State in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth will not just be a repair job of this old world. It will not be a major overhaul. It will be a brand-new creation. Hearing the “all things new” statement, John was in such deep thought he had to be reminded to “Write”. He was also reminded that the words he heard were “true and faithful” (21:5b).
Many of us would like the prospect of moving into a brand-new home, especially if it was beautifully furnished and decorated perfectly to our individual taste, with everything in fine working order. Because God’s Word is “faithful and true,” we who believe on Christ will one day experience a brand-new home and a brand-new world. That future home will put the beauty of this present world to shame (and this world is awesome)! The unlimited creative power of Christ will be displayed in exceeding abundance in the new world. As there is no end to His designs for individual snowflakes, fingerprints, and faces, there is no end to His creative genius in the Eternal State.
The voice from the throne of Heaven spoke again, and John heard the words, “It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (21:6a). The voice is Christ’s, Who introduced Himself to us (through John) in Revelation 1:1 as “. . . the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last”. The Lord’s whole redemptive plan, for man and Earth, will be complete with the initiation of the Eternal State. Again, we have divine revelation to prove the Deity of Christ, for only Eternal God can claim to be “the beginning and the end”. So, either believe Christ is God – or do not claim to believe the Bible!
Three times in Scripture, Christ speaks the words, “It is finished,” or “It is done”: (1) on the cross, when atonement for sin was paid in full (John 19:30), (2) at Armageddon, when judgment on sin is irrevocable (Revelation 16:17), and (3) at the dawn of the Eternal State when a new world order, eternally without the presence of sin, is established (21:6).
In Revelation 21:6b, Christ spoke a promise He had made on another occasion (recorded by John in his gospel). To a Samaritan woman at a well, He said, “. . . whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14; 7:37-39). In Revelation 21:6, the same invitation is presented: “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely”. “The water of life” symbolizes the Holy Spirit and eternal life, both freely given to all who believe on Christ.
The river of life in Heaven will be a literal, sparkling pure, abundant water supply freely flowing forth from the throne of God throughout the Holy City (22:1). The saints will thirst after God and always be satisfied. Symbolically “the water of life” represents the complete satisfaction of the believer’s condition in the Eternal State. We will be satisfied above and beyond all we can imagine (a stark contrast to the raging, unsatisfied, eternal thirst of those condemned by their unbelief in the Lake of Fire).
Not only will there be the new blessings of God’s presence, grief’s absence, and unlimited satisfying water to drink, but the saints of eternity, called “overcomers (21:7), have a guaranteed inheritance.
Guaranteed Inheritance (Revelation 21:7)
In the seven church letters of Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Christ included special promises to the overcomers of each church (an “overcomer” is one who believes Jesus is the Son of God – I John 5:5). In Revelation 21:7, the eighth and final promise is given the overcomer, and it encompasses all the others. It says the overcomer will “inherit all things” (21:7a). Because Christ is “Heir of all things,” those “in Christ” are “joint-heirs” with Him (Romans 8:17). Believers will receive “. . . an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for [us]” (I Peter 1:4).
The heir relationship to Christ is also a son relationship, the second promise given the overcomer in Revelation 21:7: “I will be his God, and he shall be My son”. First Corinthians 3:21-23 says, “. . . all things are yours; Whether . . . the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s”. What will be our glorious, guaranteed inheritance? EVERYTHING, and GOD, too!
Guilty Banished (Revelation 21:8)
In contrast to the wonderful inheritance that belongs to the saints, “the second death” is the guaranteed experience of the unsaved, who are in their lost condition because of unbelief, fear (i.e., the fear of man, of persecution, ridicule, peer pressure, etc.), and unrepentant sin committed against both their fellow man and God. The second death” is eternal separation from God in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (21:8b; also 20:14). Verse 8 is the Spirit’s one final warning to the unrepentant, willfully unbelieving, or fearful sinner to come to Christ while he (she) still can (today)!
New Jerusalem Described (Revelation 21:9-21)
One of the vial-carrying angels (his vial already poured out) then invited John to “Come hither” to see “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (21:9). John was carried away “in the spirit” to a great mountain, where he was privileged to see the “great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God” (21:10). There is no way to fully perceive the splendors of this resplendent city, for the things John beheld transcend earthly experiences. To give us even greater anticipation of our future glorious residence, John was permitted to share his brief glimpse of Heaven. If not for Revelation 21 and 22, we would know little about our future Home. Paul is no help, for though he also viewed Heaven, he was not permitted to write about it (II Corinthians 12:2-4). We are dependent on John for a description of Heaven.
The first sight to capture the old Apostle’s attention as he gazed at the descending Holy City was her glory. She has “the glory of God,” he wrote (Revelation 21:11a). She shines with the same Shekinah Glory of God that once filled the Holy of Holies in the wilderness Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple. Her shining brightness is described as “. . . like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (21:11b). The New Jerusalem is arrayed in the radiant, glorious light of God Himself, said to be like “a jasper stone”. Jasper is a transparent crystal similar to a diamond, but with a golden cast. The facets of a precious diamond sparkle with every color of the rainbow spectrum. The New Jerusalem evidently will look like a giant, transparent, gleamingly bright golden diamond. It will not only characterize “the Bride” of Christ, it will look like her wedding ring!
The next feature of the New Jerusalem described by John is her surrounding wall, which symbolizes the security of God’s people. Although “great and high” (21:12a), it is small compared to the height of the city. The wall serves as a beautiful boundary for the Holy City of the New Earth. In the wall are twelve gates, each one inscribed with a name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel (21:12). As the saints of God enter the celestial city, they are reminded that it was through the Jews (sovereignly chosen by God to reveal Himself through both the written and Living Word) that Gentiles entered into (symbolized by the gates) Heaven’s Holy City. The “honor guards” positioned at each gate are holy angels (21:12), which tell us angels also will dwell in “the heavenly Jerusalem” (see Hebrews 12:22) and further emphasizes the security of both the city and God’s glory.
In Revelation 21:13, John spoke of the position of the twelve gates. The city, at its base, forms a square (21:16). Thus, the wall around the city is also a square. The gates are symmetrically located with three in each of the four segments of the wall. Three gates are on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west. These gates eternally remind God’s people that His salvation was for all men, regardless of their national origin!
Continuing his description of the external appearance of the New Jerusalem, John wrote of the twelve foundations of the wall of the city, which had written in them “. . . the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (21:14). How thrilling it must have been for John to see his own name written on one of those foundations! The Apostles, being Jewish, were “of Israel”; yet they were called out of Israel to be the “foundational leaders” of the New Testament Church. In a sense, they represent both Israel and the Church, although they more significantly represent the Church.
By the inclusion of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel in the gates of the city and the twelve Apostles in the foundation of the city wall, it is evident the citizens of the eternal city will be both Old and New Testament saints. Hebrews 12:22-24 specifically states that the heavenly Jerusalem is the eternal dwelling place of God, and “an innumerable company of angels,” as well as “the general assembly and church of the firstborn . . . [and] the spirits of just men made perfect”. These terms include the saints of Old Testament Israel, the Church, the Tribulation, and the Millennium. The Holy City will also be occupied by every miscarried or aborted baby, young infant and child who has ever died before the age of accountability! Praise the Lord!
In the event someone wonders how large the New Jerusalem will be and questions whether it is large enough to house the billions of people and angels who will reside there, the angel took a golden reed with which he measured the city, gates, and walls (Revelation 21:15). The base of the city is a “foursquare” (21:16). It is the shape of a square, with all sides equal in length (“the length is as large as the breadth”). Each side measures “twelve thousand furlongs”. A furlong is equal to 582 feet, which means that each side is 1,342 miles. If we were to superimpose the Holy City over the United States, her area would expand from Canada in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south, and from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to Colorado in the west! When God does something, He does it in grand style!
Not only is the base size of the New Jerusalem tremendous, so is its height. Since “. . . the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal” (21:16), the city is more than 1,300 miles high! Clouds are at a height of seven miles above the earth, and larger airplanes fly approximately 8 miles high. These measurements tell us the city is either in the shape of a gigantic cube or a pyramid. Most Bible expositors tend to believe it is in the shape of a cube, the same shape of the Holy of Holies in both the Tabernacle and Temple of Israel (I Kings 6:20).
Our glorified bodies will not be limited by gravity or electromagnetic forces, as they are today. It will be just as easy for our resurrected bodies to travel vertically as horizontally. Dr. Henry Morris, in his book Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science, roughly calculated that there might be some 20,000,000,000 occupants from the human race living in the eternal city. Accounting for the theory that at least 25% of the city will be used for “dwelling places,” this still leaves each person a space of one-third of a mile in all directions if equally distributed throughout the city!
The angel then measured the city walls, which were “. . . an hundred and forty and four cubits” (21:17). A cubit is about eighteen inches. Therefore, the height of the wall is 216 feet (72 yards), which is incredibly small compared to the city’s height, yet very high in our current human standards. In New Testament times, walls were built for protection against enemies. The New Jerusalem will need no protection. The walls are evidently only for boundary and beauty.
Although the dimension of the wall is interesting, the construction material is even more interesting. The entire wall is made of jasper (21:18). The exact nature of jasper is not known precisely, but is a fine, translucent stone, clear as crystal (see 21:11), but goldish in color. The city itself, John said, “. . . was pure gold, like unto clear glass” (21:18). The wall is clear, with a gold cast, and the city is gold, like clear glass. With human eyes, we would need extra-strength sunglasses to even look at the city! Again, remember that John was limited to using human vocabulary to describe something that transcends all earthly experiences. His continuous mention of transparency (21:11b, 18b, 21b, 22:1) suggests the heavenly city is designed to transmit God’s glory no matter where one is positioned in it!
In Revelation 21:19 and 20, John gave further information about “. . . the foundations of the wall of the city”. Each foundation is “. . . garnished with all manner of precious stones”: jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolyte, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst. Each stone represents the glory of God in a special way. Although the precise color of some of these stones is not dogmatically known, the overall impression is one of immense wealth and magnificent beauty – far beyond anything known in today’s world.
Some of the colors of the stones (as best as can be determined) are: crystal clear gold, which refracts all the colors of the rainbow spectrum (jasper), deep, rich blue (sapphire), sky blue or translucent milky quartz (chalcedony), bright, grass-green (emerald), reddish-brown and white mixed (sardonyx), red or honey-colored (sardius), transparent gold (chrysolyte), translucent bluish or sea green (beryl), translucent yellowish or yellow-green (topaz), clear apple-green (chrysoprasus), translucent bluish-smoke color or violet (jacinth), and brilliant purple or transparent violet (amethyst).
There is considerable uncertainty about the precise identity of some of these precious stones, but this may be intentional. The purpose for this revelation of Heaven is to present an overall impression of the indescribable glories awaiting the child of God. Such magnificence not only symbolically speaks of God’s infinite wisdom and power, but of the grace and love He extends to those who happily receive His free gift of salvation.
Built in the walls of the city are twelve gates (see 21:12, 13), each “of one pearl” (21:21). This does not mean the gates are made of pearls (plural), but that each gate is one pearl. They are obviously very large pearls since the redeemed saints pass through them as they enter and leave the city! Although the Holy City will be our “home address,” we also will have access to the rest of the New Earth and New Heavens. We may even travel to places yet unknown in other parts of the universe!
A pearl is the only precious gem that is not a metal or a stone. It is a gem formed inside a living creature: the oyster. Dr. John Phillips, in his commentary Exploring Revelation, wrote: “The humble oyster receives an irritation or a wound, and around the offending article which has penetrated and hurt it, the oyster builds a pearl. The pearl, we might say, is the answer of the oyster to that which injured it. The glory land is God’s answer, in Christ, to wicked men who crucified heaven’s beloved and put Him to open shame. How like God it is to make the gates of the New Jerusalem of pearl. The saints as they come and go will be forever reminded, as they pass the gates of glory, that access to God’s home is only because of Calvary . . . What gigantic suffering is symbolized by those gates of pearl! Throughout the endless ages we shall be reminded by those pearly gates of the immensity of the suffering of Christ. Those pearls, hung eternally at the access routes to glory, will remind us forever of One Who hung upon a tree and whose answer to those who injured Him was to invited them to share His home.”
Revelation 21:21b seems to suggest there is just one street in the city (“the street of the city”). As there is only one way to Heaven (John 14:6), so there is only one way in Heaven! Like the city (Revelation 21:18b), the street is made of “. . . pure gold, as it were transparent glass”. In today’s world, streets are primarily made of concrete, asphalt, or blacktop. Gold is what we wear (if we can afford it), not what we walk on! But in Heaven, we will walk on a street the beautiful sunshine color of the finest translucent gold, which permeates the radiant light of Christ throughout the entire city!
New Temple (Revelation 21:22)
Something else that surprised John is the absence of a Temple structure in Heaven (21:22a). There is no need for one when all the purposes for an earthly Temple are accomplished. In the New Jerusalem, “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it” (21:22b). The presence of the Triune God with the redeemed saints of all ages will eliminate the necessity of a Temple, for all will have direct, intimate, and immediate communion with Him. The physical Temples of Israel were poor substitutes for the presence of God Himself.
New Light (Revelation 21:23-26)
Since God is Light and “in Him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5), and since Christ is “the Light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5), the Holy City has no need of any created light (i.e., sun, stars, reflected light of the moon). The glory of God illuminates every corner so that nothing is hidden! The good news is that nothing needs to hide in Heaven! The saints of the ages will walk in the light of Christ’s purity forever! Presumably, the light from the Holy City will be sufficient to illumine the entire New Earth.
Revelation 21:24 states, “. . . the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it”. This verse speaks of Gentiles who are neither part of Israel or the Church. They, too, will walk in the physical and spiritual light of God’s glory. Among them will be some with honored positions (i.e., “kings”), yet they easily attribute all glory and honor to the Father and His Son.
John gives a further word about the city gates. They will never shut at night or against attacks because there is only continuous day – and no more enemy attacks (21:25). In God’s presence, there can be no night, for in Him there is no darkness. There will never be the absence of light, for God and Christ are Light Personified. Also, there will be no need for nighttime’s rest! Glorified bodies need no rest. Eternity will be full of vigorous activity, as the holy angels presently experience (and never grow weary).
New Purity (Revelation 21:27)
The New Jerusalem is distinguished by significant “missing” features. There will be no Temple, sun, moon, darkness, closed gates, or need for rest and in verse 27 we are further assured that nothing defiling or abominable will ever enter the city. Alleluia! The New Earth, Heavens, and Holy City will remain eternally free from everything that curses and mars our lives now. The Hell of war will be over forever, the incredible power of sin will be ended forever, and the pain of the separating power of death will be swallowed up in final and total victory forever!
God will have accomplished His purpose for man, which is to have unhindered fellowship with him. He will have a creature who, as a free moral agent, willingly chose to worship, love, and serve Him. Who will be these free moral agents of fellowship? Verse 27 states it is those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life!
Is your name there, my friend? Be absolutely certain it is! How? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
Enjoy this poem from Katherine K. Caldwell:
Bursting forth with wings of praise
My soul finds sweet release.
Because I placed my faith in Christ,
I sail to sights of peace!
A living light of harmony
Embraces me about
New warmth and solace hug my heart;
In transport bliss, I shout:
“Holy, holy, holy!
The Lamb of God divine
Has purified and glorified
This thankful soul of mine!”
A stream of flowing water
Surges from the light,
Reflecting rainbow colors;
Resplendent hues most bright!
The water, clear as crystal,
emerges from the throne.
I realize a joy complete,
God’s promises full known!
A street of gold and gates of pearl
Meet my wond’ring eye;
I never could have visualized
Such awesome sights on high!
But though the beauty I behold
Is like a perfect earth,
It fades before the face of Him
Who met me at “death’s birth!”
His love consumed me head to toe,
When He so gently smiled,
And said, “Well done, My faithful one,
I love you, My dear child.”
O, finally, I know just how
To give Christ Jesus praise!
I’m seeing life’s reality
Without sin-shadowed haze!
I’m free at last to worship Him
In undefiled delight!
I see in full His holiness,
His grace and love and might.
I understand now what Paul meant:
To die is surely gain,
For Christ has wiped away all tears,
And every former pain!
Forever I will praise my Lord,
The Lamb of God divine
Who purified and glorified
This thankful soul of mine!
©Katherine K. Caldwell