The New Heavens and the New Earth
Good Afternoon! I hope that everyone is doing well today. Today we get to talk about one of the greatest truths that is revealed in the scriptures. It is, I believe, one of the most amazing promises that is made to those that put their faith in Christ Jesus. All who believe in Jesus will spend all of eternity with Jesus in a place we call heaven. Now, that’s not quite accurate it is not going to be heaven. But we might just consider it heaven on earth. Because you see we will spend eternity with Jesus here on a new earth, recreated as it was meant from the beginning with neither sin nor death.
In Philippians chapter three verse twenty Paul says,
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Our true and ultimate citizenship is not found here in the United States. No, it is found in the heavenlies alongside our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the home that we should long for the home we should hope for. And this truth needs to make a difference in our lives today. Not just when we stand together before Jesus.
But right here and right now.
I have heard the phrase stated and I believe I have mentioned it before, “he is too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” But let me tell you today that this phrase goes against what scriptures teaches. Our mind and our thoughts are meant to be focused on what is to come in Christ Jesus. We are to be looking towards and yearning for the day we witness the new heavens and the new earth. Paul in Colossians chapter three verses one through two writes.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
But all too often, and I say this from my own experience, we are for too focused on those earthly things that drag us down and keep us from walking the path that Jesus has set before us. And look the things of the earth that cause us to loose focus and listen this are not necessarily sinful realities but they so often get in the way of what we truly need to be focused. For instance it could be worry about a family member, worry about health issues, worry about financial issues, or focusing too much on gaining financially security, or focusing on having that perfect family, or even focusing on becoming the most health person possible. Again none of these are necessarily wrong or evil. But all of them can become a distraction from that which is truly right and good, and that is a life lived eternally in the presence of Christ Jesus.
So, my hope today is to help us to refocus. To step back and see that which is one day awaiting us in eternity. To help us to focus on that which truly matters. To focus on the eternal, not that which will one day simply cease to exist. So, let’s look at the coming of the new heavens and the new earth. That place where Jesus will dwell among his people eternally.
Let’s begin in verse one which reads.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Remember we have already seen the announcement of the destruction of the old order in the last chapter where we read the the earth and the sky fled from the presence of the glory of God. John now looks and he sees a new heaven and a new earth. And as I hinted at earlier the earth is the ultimate destiny of the people of God. You and I were created for an eternal earthly existence. The beauty of a sun rise or a sun set was created for us to enjoy eternally not just for today.
Then in verse two we read.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Here John simply speaks of the arrival of the holy city, the new Jerusalem. In verse nine and following he is going to go into significant detail concerning what he sees. But here and now John is focused on the fact that a city descends from the heavenlies that will be the eternal home of the Son and His bride the church.
In Hebrew tradition prior to the wedding the husband would go and prepare the home for his bride to be. It was essentially his wedding gift to his bride. And that is what we are reading here in this verse. The new Jerusalem is the dwelling place of Jesus and he has gone ahead to prepare it for our eventual arrival. We will all one day open access to the New Jerusalem. Some suppose that we are meant to live within the New Jerusalem with Jesus. They say this because Jesus has gone to prepare a home for this bride. However, I don’t believe that our final home is the New Jerusalem. I believe that the new home that our groom has gone to prepare for us is the new earth, not simply the new Jerusalem that is but a part of what he has gone to prepare for his bride, the church.. I believe that we will all be spread out upon the earth living in nations as Christ has created them. What that all looks like I am not completely sure of those details are never given. But the fact that nations will exist is given. And we will see that in the next chapter.
Then in verse three we read.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
In the Old Testament the first dwelling place of God that we read about is the tabernacle as the people of God wandered in the desert. And then later his presence is found within the temple in the city of Jerusalem. And then God in the person of Jesus took up yet again another temporary residence, we might say, among men.
In John chapter one verse fourteen we read.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The word dwelt is the Greek word that is used to translate the Hebrew verb tabernacled. Which is used for the dwelling place of God.
And this brings us to the age of the Church and during this period of time, which is right now. And now in the age of the church it is you and I that have become the dwelling place of God. But this dwelling today is one that is accomplish by the Holy Spirit and so is only “in the Spirit.” Which can only be known through faith and not by sight.
However when the consummation of the relationship between the groom and the bride is made complete all of that is changed. Our faith and our hope will then be rewarded and we will have the opportunity to see the very face of Jesus.
When we all finally gaze upon the face of Jesus in the new heavens and the earth all of the covenants that Christ has made between himself and men from Gen 3:15 forward will all finally be made complete.
Then in verse four we read.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The primary blessing of the age to come is face-to-face access with our Lord and King, our Christ, our God, our Jesus. However, the benefits of our relationship with Jesus go far beyond that. Our entire existence will be completely transformed. All of the old hurts, habits, and hangups that weigh us down will be completely gone.
In fact the thing that tends to cause humanity the greatest fear, death, shall be no more. Death will be destroyed in the new world. Everything that has ever burdened and cursed your life will flee from the very presence of our God.
Then in verse five we read.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
So great a transformation is not possible unless every single thing in existence is made new. None of that which is old can continue to exist, for it has all been tinged and tainted by the curse that is sin.
And God wants to ensure us that we can trust the words that John has recorded here for us. We need to know that we can cling to these promises and find hope in a future with Jesus.
Then in verse six we read.
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
It is done. All things have be made complete in Christ Jesus. We can rest secure because God is the eternal one. The alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He encompasses all reality in himself. He is the one who brings all things into existence. And so he is the only one who can make all things new.
Listen we are all born with this deep spiritual need that all of us have. There is this deep need to know and experience life eternally. I am going to come back to this idea later. But we need to see here that God Almighty is the only one that can satisfy this deep need that all of us have. This need is the reason that all of us fight against and fear death so much.
Then in verse seven we read.
The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
This water of life is not for everyone. But it is meant only for those who conquer and overcome this world through the faith of Christ Jesus. And those who conquer are those who have already been adopted as son of the Most High, our God.
Finally in verse eight we read.
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
John now lists several types of individuals who will not be given access to the water of life. These are those whom God the Father will choose not to call his children.
We could take time to focus in on who is really represented by each of these individuals. But in the end it doesn’t really matter. The part that should cause us to pause is that these individuals will spend eternity in the lake of fire. You see if we chose to define each of these individuals it is actually quite simple. They are anyone who has chosen to embrace their sin rather than embracing the son.
We were created for the Garden of Eden. The original goal of our creation was not sin and death. Humanity at its core was created as worshipers of God most high. And at our core there is something that knows that we are created for eternity and for worship. Why else would we still to this day seek out that unfindable fountain of youth. We might not be searching the swamps of Florida as others have in the past. But just look at all of the commercials today that promise to make you look young. Or that promise to make you feel younger or to perhaps even live longer. Humans fight death harder than anything in this world. Why? Because something within us knows that our being is not meant for death. We are meant for eternity.
In the book of Ecclesiastes chapter three verse eleven we read.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
From the beginning to the end man has always known that we are to live eternally. What mas has struggled to figure out is how we are meant to find and live out that eternity.
Humanity is Eternal
Humanity is Eternal
Why do we fight death so hard? Because God has placed within our hearts a yearning a spiritual knowledge that we are meant to live forever. There is this great longing within every man, woman, and childs soul to live forever. To somehow escape death itself. This spiritual longing that we all have will one day be fulfilled. And for those who place their faith in Christ Jesus they will know complete satisfaction in that fulfillment. We will find that satisfaction in the new heavens and the new earth. This longing, this desire, can only be fulfilled by Jesus the Christ. And so we must invite all that we can to come and taste of the Lord and find fulfillment, find satisfaction, find hope, to find the rest for the soul that we all long for and desire so greatly to find.
Let us pray.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.