Friday, October 3, 2014

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:1-17

“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.” (Revelation 21:1)

II Peter 3: 10 states, “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,” and as we saw, when mankind again chooses to follow Satan rather than God, he will destroy the universe we know with fire, burning away every vestige of sin.  He will start over.

Isaiah 65:17 declares, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”    II Peter 3:13 refers to that promise, saying, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” The new earth will be very different from the earth we know today, but we won’t even miss this old one.

The first thing we notice about the new earth is that there is no more sea.  Today two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by ocean.   One function of the ocean is to serve as heat storage, moderating the earth’s temperature swings, releasing heat when the temperature drops and absorbing it when it rises.  Without the ocean our temperature swings between day and night and through the seasons would be much more extreme than they are now.    The new earth will not need such a moderating influence, so apparently there will be less extremes of temperature. 
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  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.  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.” (Revelation 21:2-4}

The mansions Christ promised us in heaven will come to earth as the city of New Jerusalem, completely refurbished and decorated like a bride fixed up in her wedding dress.  God will establish his throne in the city, living among the people and having personal contact.  There will be no more regrets or sorrows, nor will there be any more death or pain.  All the things that caused those things will be burned away when the earth is destroyed.

“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.  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.  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Revelation 21:5-7)

At this point God’s plan will be complete.  God himself will have made everything new, and these things are definitely going to happen because God is doing them.  Salvation is available to anyone who is willing to ask for it.  Those who accept his salvation, refusing the temptations the world offers will inherit the things god and prepared and be accepted as one of God’s beloved children.

“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.” (Revelation 21:8)

Those who are afraid to place their trust in God or chose not to believe in him, and those who have deliberately refused to live by his standard will all be cast into the lake of fire.  This includes all those who deliberately try to be offensive, those who have deliberately ignored God’s sexual plan, whether by promiscuity, homosexuality, or by sexual abuse.   People who have killed others deliberately, those who have refused to worship God himself, and those who have tried to deceive others about God, and all those who deliberately lie will be cast into the eternal fire of Judgment.  They will never escape it.

“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:9-14)

Often driving at night, you will see the glow of a city’s lights even though hills or mountains keep you from seeing the city itself.  As the angel took John up a mountain to see the city he saw a similar glow about it, like a clear jasper stone with a light shining through it.  Around the city was a great wall.  There were three gates on each side, with an angel identified by one of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel serving as the doorman or greeter.  The wall of the city rested on twelve foundations, each marked as a memorial to one of the twelve apostles.   

“And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.  And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.  And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.” (Revelation 21:15-17)

The wall forms a square fifteen hundred miles on each side, or about the distance from New York City to Oklahoma City.  The wall is also fifteen hundred miles tall, and a hundred forty four cubits or about two hundred twenty feet thick.  

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