The New Heaven and
1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. 2 Then I saw New Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband.
3 I heard a loud voice shout from the throne:
God's home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. 4 He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.
5Then the one sitting on the throne said:
I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. 6 Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty. 7 All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
8But I will tell you what will happen to cowards and to everyone who is unfaithful or dirty-minded or who murders or is sexually immoral or uses witchcraft or worships idols or tells lies. They will be thrown into that lake of fire and burning sulfur. This is the second death.
The New Jerusalem
9I saw one of the seven angels who had the bowls filled with the seven last terrible troubles. The angel came to me and said, “Come on! I will show you the one who will be the bride and wife of the Lamb.” 10 Then with the help of the Spirit, he took me to the top of a very high mountain. There he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven.
11The glory of God made the city bright. It was dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone. 12 The city had a high and thick wall with twelve gates, and each one of them was guarded by an angel. On each of the gates was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13Three of these gates were on the east, three were on the north, three more were on the south, and the other three were on the west. 14The city was built on twelve foundation stones. On each of the stones was written the name of one of the Lamb's twelve apostles.
15 The angel who spoke to me had a gold measuring stick to measure the city and its gates and its walls. 16The city was shaped like a cube, because it was just as high as it was wide. When the angel measured the city, it was about 2,400 kilometers high and 2,400 kilometers wide. 17Then the angel measured the wall, and by our measurements it was about 60 meters high.
18 The wall was built of jasper, and the city was made of pure gold, clear as crystal. 19Each of the twelve foundations was a precious stone. The first was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was agate, the fourth was emerald, 20the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. 21Each of the twelve gates was a solid pearl. The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal.
22I did not see a temple there. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb were its temple. 23 And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light.
24 Nations will walk by the light of that city, and kings will bring their riches there. 25 Its gates are always open during the day, and night never comes. 26The glorious treasures of nations will be brought into the city. 27 But nothing unworthy will be allowed to enter. No one who is dirty-minded or who tells lies will be there. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will be in the city.
There’s a brand new world coming! The earth, its atmosphere, our galaxy and solar system – all will be destroyed and replaced. God is “making everything new” (v 5). Creation as we know it will be replaced with a new heaven (v 1), new earth (v 1), new Jerusalem (v 2), new world order (v 5), new temple (v 22), new light (v 23) and new paradise (Rev. 22:1-5). John is not the first writer to tell us about the new things. Isaiah saw new heavens and a new earth (see Isaiah 65:17-25, 66:22-24) as did Peter (see 2 Peter 3:7-13).
Chapter 21 is not just the conclusion to the book of Revelation, it’s the grand finale to the whole Bible. All the struggles are over. The judgments are concluded, there’s no more suffering or death, no more pain or tears. The glory of God has come in its fullness, and paradise is restored! The Word of God comes full-circle. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1. And at the end of this life as we know it God creates “a new heaven and a new earth” Revelation 21:1.
While the new creation will display some continuity with the present world, it will be radically different. Everything will be grander. There will be a unity, stability, beauty and symmetry that the old creation does not have. There will be no pollution, decay, or need for cleansing. The new will not run down or wear out – it will last forever.
The new Jerusalem will be heaven on earth – the inheritance for every Christian. Biblically speaking, sinners don’t go to hell for eternity (they go to the lake of fire), and saints don’t go to heaven for eternity (they go to the new Jerusalem). The new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven.
Noticeably, the most startling fact about everything that’s new is not the dazzling or grand nature of the new creation, it’s that God will be with us. Yes, more important and more awesome than everything being new is that “God will make his home among his people” (v 3c).
Lord, thank you that the day will come when I will live with you and you will live with me. Amen.