Revelation 21:1-8

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 8, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved?

We are at the climax of history. After the seven year Tribulation where the antichrist rules and God’s wrath is poured out …

The Second Coming (Rev. 19)

Jesus comes back on His white horse, with us behind Him.

All the unbelievers alive on the earth will be put to death by Jesus.

The Millennium (Rev. 20)

Satan is bound up in prison while Jesus sets up His kingdom in Israel and will rule the world for a thousand years.

The Great White Throne (Rev. 20)

All the unbelievers that have ever lived through history will meet their maker face to face and find themselves condemned to the Lake of Fire.

Eternity (Rev. 21-22)

The Forever of the Bible starts. We will be with God forever.

21:1-8 New Heaven and Earth

:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

:1 passed awayparerchomai – to go past, pass by; to pass away, perish

:1 newkainos – new; recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn; of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of

Not “new” in respect to time (neos), but “new” in respect of quality, as in fresh or unworn.

In a sense, Jesus has been preparing this place for us for a couple thousand years:

(Jn 14:2 NKJV) In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

:1 new heaven and a new earth

Isaiah saw it as well:

(Is 65:17 NKJV) “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.

:1 the first earth had passed away


It’s all gonna burn

Whenever you get a new car, you will have to one day face that fact that you will get that first “scratch”.
Some people get quite upset at their first “scratch”.
We used to have a saying about those things, “It’s all going to burn”.

In other words, why get upset? One day everything will burn up. Nothing is forever.

Peter tells us how the first heaven and earth will “pass away”
(2 Pe 3:10 NKJV) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

This world – heaven and earth, will all burn.

The problem is that sometimes we get a bit attached to the things of this world.
90 year old Lonnie Holloway loved his 1973 Pontiac Catalina so much that …
Play Buried with Car clip.

I got news for you, if Lonnie got to heaven, he did it without his car.

Jesus warned us about what kinds of things we ought to get attached to:
(Mt 6:19–21 NKJV) —19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

A good test to see what your real treasure is – what happens to your heart when things break, get scratched, or stolen? (“It’s all gonna burn”)

Eternal Things
Now to be honest, not everything in this room will burn up. There are actually two things in this room that are forever. Only two things in this room are going to make it into this next chapter in Revelation.
God’s Word

(Ps 119:89 NKJV) Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.

(Is 40:8 NKJV) The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”


Every person you know is an eternal being.

Some will live for eternity in the Lake of Fire, some will live for eternity with God.  Everyone lives somewhere forever.

So where should your priorities be?
If you want to invest in a “sure thing”, invest in something that lasts forever.

:1 no more sea

That doesn’t mean there will be no water.  There just won’t be a “sea”.

No more surfing. Bummer.  Maybe we’ll do “cloud surfing”?

Why no sea? There are many theories, but basically God hasn’t told us why.

Some have suggested that the purpose of the earth’s oceans is to act as a cleansing agent.
70% of the earth’s surface is covered with oceans at an average depth of 2.3 miles.  The antiseptic value of the salt water (3.5%) works to clean the earth of poisons.  But in the new earth, there will be no need for cleansing.

:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

:2 coming downkatabaino – to go down, come down, descend

:2 preparedhetoimazo – to make ready, prepare; drawn from the oriental custom of sending on before kings on their journeys persons to level the roads and make them passable

:2 adornedkosmeo (“cosmetics”) – to put in order, arrange, make ready, prepare; to ornament, adore

:2 New Jerusalem

We will see more about the New Jerusalem over the next couple of weeks.

John says it is “coming down”, but he never mentions it actually landing. Some have suggested that this “city” will be in orbit around the planet.

:2 prepared as a bride adorned


The Makeover

Both “prepared” and “adorned” are passive verbs. That means that the bride didn’t prepare herself, but somebody else did the preparing.
I’ve been to a few weddings, and I’ve never seen an ugly bride.
The Greek word translated “adorned” is where we get our word “cosmetics”.
Even though this is speaking about the city called “New Jerusalem”, there is a sense in which we are in this picture because we too are called the “bride of Christ”.
(Eph 5:25–27 NKJV) —25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
When Jesus died on the cross, He was paying the price for us to go to heaven – He paid for our sins.
But He didn’t stop there.
He continues to work on us, “preparing” us for this grand presentation.

:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

:3 tabernacleskene – tent, tabernacle, (made of green boughs, or skins or other materials)

:3 He will dwellskenoo – to fix one’s tabernacle, have one’s tabernacle, abide (or live) in a tabernacle (or tent), tabernacle; to dwell

:3  tabernacle … dwell

In the Greek, both words are related.  Both words speak about living in a tent.

He’ll pitch a tent among us.  We will see Him face to face.


God with us

At various times in history, God has “dwelt” with man.
In the Garden of Eden, God walked with man.
When Israel came out of Egypt, the Tabernacle was set up as a picture of God dwelling with His people.
When Solomon built the Temple, God’s presence filled the Temple.
Ezekiel painted a picture of God’s glory leaving the Temple with the destruction of Jerusalem.
When Jesus took on human flesh, He “dwelt” (tabernacled) with us.
(Jn 1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
As believers, we have a taste of heaven because we are called the “Temple” of the Holy Spirit.
But in heaven, we will be with Him face to face.
If you’ve ever been away from a loved one for a period of time, you know how difficult it is to not see their face.
When we’ve been on trips oversees, it’s a great thing to see my wife on Skype.
It’s even better when I see her face to face.
Paul wrote,
(1 Co 13:12 NKJV) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

:4 will wipe awayexaleipho (“out” + “not” + “anoint”) – to anoint or wash in every part; to wipe off, wipe away; to obliterate, erase, wipe out, blot out

:4 everypas – each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything

:4 sorrowpenthos (“suffering”) – mourning

:4 cryingkrauge – a crying, outcry, clamor

:4 painponos – great trouble, intense desire; hardship; painful hard labor

:4 formerprotos – first

We often will quote this verse in funerals, but technically this is a description of what eternity is like after the Millennium.

Yet any form of heaven throughout the ages has this same sense of comfort.

During the Tribulation, those who are martyred will be greeted with this:

(Re 7:16–17 NKJV) —16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Jesus told of the poor beggar Lazarus and a rich man both dying and going to different places. Abraham said to the rich man:

(Lk 16:25 NKJV) …but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

:4 God will wipe away every tear

What a comfort it is for us when a loved one dies who is a believer, and we know that they are no longer experiencing any pain or sorrow.


Understanding comfort

When we get to heaven, we will have no more tears.
Does this mean that God will just wipe away every bad memory with the tears?
There must be some kind of memory and recognition beyond the grave.
Peter was somehow able to recognize Moses and Elijah when they appeared with Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration (Mat. 17).
And there will be things in heaven that are definitely tied to the old life such as nations (21:24)

(Re 21:24 NKJV) And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

Even in eternity, Jesus is still called the “Lamb” which implies the One who paid for our sins. (Rev. 22:3)

(Re 22:3 NKJV) And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.

Some say that all our bad memories will be erased. I'm not too sure of that. I don't think heaven is going to be a place where we have blank memories. But if we remember any of these painful things, the promise is that it won't cause us tears any more. We'll understand. It'll all make sense.
In the New Jerusalem, we are told that there are walls and gates (Rev.21:12), and that outside is where the unbelievers are (Rev.22:15). I don't think it unreasonable to think that those inside will know what's outside.
It's just that the knowledge of what's outside won't cause us mourning. Instead we will begin to grasp God’s infinite wisdom, justice, and mercy.
Being “face to face” with God in heaven comes with an added bonus:
(1 Co 13:12 NKJV) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

We will understand.  That doesn’t mean we will understand now, but we will understand then.

Knowing things from God’s perspective will bring us great comfort.

:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

:5 newkainos – new; recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn; of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of

Not “new” in respect to time (neos), but “new” in respect of quality, as in fresh or unworn.

:5 truealethinos – that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine; true, veracious, sincere

:5 faithfulpistos – trusty, faithful

:5 these words are true and faithful

You can count on these words.


Counting on heaven

It is real. We WILL one day be there.
That means you can make plans based on that fact.  You can learn to lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, and you won’t be the fool in the end.
There was an investment firm in New York that had a very select, very exclusive clientele.  While others offered just a bit lower return on investment, this firm paid an incredible 10% return to investors for over ten years.  For some, it seemed too good to be true.
And then in December, 2008, it was found out that it was too good to be true.

Bernie Madoff was the designer of the biggest investor fraud in history, having set up a giant, elaborate Ponzi scheme.  His investors lost well over $50 billion dollars.

If what we believe about heaven is just a Ponzi scheme, we are in big trouble.
Paul told the Corinthians that if the resurrection wasn’t true, he was wasting his life because of all the difficult things he was putting up with.

(1 Co 15:30–32 NKJV) —30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

Paul was saying we should just party if the resurrection isn’t real.

But the resurrection IS true.  The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is one of the best attested facts in history.  There IS life after death.  There IS a real heaven.

You are not a fool for counting on heaven.

:6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

:6 It is doneginomai – to become, i.e. to come into existence; i.e. to come to pass, happen

This is not the word Jesus used on the cross, “It is finished” (teleo)

This is simply saying that at this point in history, God will present the new heavens and earth and say, “Here it is!  I’ve finished preparing heaven!”

:6 Alpha and the Omega

The Greek simply uses the letters of the alphabet here. “I am the “A” and the “O””.

:6 Beginningarche – beginning, origin

:6 Endtelos – end

:6 him who thirstsdipsao – to suffer thirst, suffer from thirst

:6 fountainpege – fountain, spring

:6 freelydorean – freely, as a gift

:6 the Alpha and the Omega

These are simply the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

This is another way of God saying that He is the beginning of all things and He is the end of all things.

The scientific community is appropriately excited about the discovery of the Higgs boson particle.

In 1964, physicist Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh theorized that this particle must exist, and that it’s the key to what gives matter “mass”.  It’s supposed to be the key to the “big bang” and the beginning of the Universe.  Some have called this particle the “God particle”.
Play Higgs boson clip
I am not a scientist, and I won’t pretend to be one.  But the truth is, no matter what this discovery is all about, God, not the Higgs boson, is the one who has started everything, and He will end it as well.
He is at the beginning, He is at the end.

:6 to him who thirsts

If you are thirsty to heaven, then God will give you eternal life freely.

You just have to be thirsty and ask.

:7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

:7 overcomesnikao – to conquer; to carry off the victory, come off victorious

:7 shall inheritkleronomeo – to be an heir, to inherit; to receive the portion assigned to one, receive an allotted portion, receive as one’s own or as a possession

:7 He who overcomes



There seems to be three parts to being an “overcomer”
This is how we start the journey of being an “overcomer”
John wrote in one of his letters about the key to being an “overcomer”.

(1 Jn 5:4–5 NKJV) —4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

All believers are considered overcomers.

When I put my trust in Jesus, He comes into my life and gives me the potential to overcome the things of the world.

(1 Jn 4:4 NKJV) You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

The process of overcoming works itself out when I choose to do what is right.

(Ro 12:21 NKJV) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Don’t just let evil things defeat you, but become a victor by doing what is right.

For the person with an addiction, you aren’t an overcomer if you just believe but are still addicted. You are an overcomer when you make right choices with each temptation to stop your addiction with Jesus’ help.
“Overcoming” is not just having a momentary encounter with God and believing. It is not having a single victory over temptation followed by a lifetime of giving in.
It is a continual believing, a continual walking with Jesus, even through the hard times.

(Re 2:26 NKJV) And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

Don’t quit. The enemy wants to discourage you and tell you that you’re wasting your time. The enemy wants you to stop running the race and sit on the sideline.

But we need to be like the runner who has his eye on the finish line, the tape across the lane. We need to keep running until we cross that tape.

(Pr 24:16 NLT) The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again…

:7 shall inherit all things


After the great Chicago fire of 1871, evangelist Dwight L. Moody went back to survey the ruins of his house. A friend came by and said to Moody, “I hear you lost everything.” “Well,” said Moody, “you understood wrong. I have a good deal more left than I lost.” “What do you mean?” the inquisitive friend asked. “I didn’t know you were that rich.” Moody then opened his Bible and read to him Revelation 21:7—“He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God.”

:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

:8 cowardlydeilos – timid, fearful

The word is only found in a couple other passages in the New Testament, once in a story about Jesus and His disciples (see also Mark 4:40)

(Mt 8:23–27 NKJV) —23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

(2 Ti 1:7 NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

:8 unbelievingapistos – unfaithful, faithless, (not to be trusted); unbelieving

:8 abominablebdelusso – to render foul, to cause to be abhorred; to turn one’s self away from on account of the stench

from bdeo (to stink)

Nine times in NT

139 times the Hebrew form is used in OT.

(Pr 15:8 NKJV) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

:8 murderersphoneus – a murderer, a homicide

:8 sexually immoralpornos – a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse

:8 sorcererspharmakeus (“pharmacy”) – one who prepares or uses magical remedies

:8 idolaterseidololatres – a worshipper of false gods, an idolater

:8 all liarspseudes – lying, deceitful, false

:8 their part in the lake


What keeps you from heaven

cowardlydeilos – timid, fearful
The implication is being too cowardly to stand up and follow Jesus.

(Mt 10:32–33 NKJV) —32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

Unbelief (unbelieving)
unbelievingapistos – faithless; without trust

This is the main thing. If you do not come to the place where you are going to trust Jesus to pay for your sins, then you will have to face God and have to pay for them yourself.

Stink (abominable)
abominablebdelusso – to render foul, to turn one’s self away from on account of the stench; from bdeo (to stink).

A little old lady goes to the doctor and says, “Doctor, I have this problem with gas, but it really doesn’t bother me too much. They never smell and are always silent. As a matter of fact I’ve passed gas at least 20 times since I’ve been here in your office. You didn’t know I was passing gas because they don’t smell and are silent.” The doctor says, “I see. Take these pills and come back to see me next week.” The next week the lady goes back. “Doctor,” she says, “I don’t know what the heck you gave me, but now when I pass gas although still silent they stink terribly.” “Good,” the doctor said, “now that we’ve cleared up your sinuses, let’s work on your hearing.”

Here you have it: The abominable snowman will not be in heaven.
There are all kinds of things in our lives that are “stinky”, but the problem is that sometimes we don’t realize that we’re the ones that are stinking up the place.  Probably the most stinkiest of them all is when we fall into being a hypocrite, pretending to be something that we’re not.

(Pr 12:22 NKJV) Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

 (Le 18:22 NKJV) You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

(Pr 11:1 NKJV) Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.

Disobedience (all the rest …)
These include things like murder, sexual sin, drug use (“sorcerers”), those who worship false gods, and even liars.
liarspseudes – lying, deceitful, false

Some of these things we don’t have a problem in thinking that they are really bad. But “lying”? What’s one little white lie? It leads to another white lie. It leads to a life of deceiving others. Worst of all is a person who has deceived himself into thinking that he doesn’t have a problem when he does.


What gets you into heaven?

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:
(1 Co 6:9–11 NKJV) —9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Having done one of these sins isn’t what keeps you from heaven.

It’s when you refuse to be forgiven and washed by Jesus that you are kept out of heaven.

You are washed when you come to trust in Jesus.“Which List Is Your Name On?”

There is an exhibit about the Titanic that has been on display in select museums across the country. There is a re-creation of the Titanic’s grand staircase, the simulation of one of the ship’s cabins, and the artifacts that have been retrieved from the Titanic’s watery grave. As you enter the exhibit, you’re given a ticket with the name of one of the ship’s passengers or crewmen. At the end of the tour is this large wall with two lists of names, one short list and one long list. Next to each name is one of four designations: first class, second class, third class, and crew. But no matter what your class, your name ultimately appears on one of those two lists - which are under one of two headings - “Saved” ... “Lost.”
Are you ready to be “saved”?  Are you ready to follow Jesus?