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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Revelation 21

 

 

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Introduction

A New Heaven and A New Earth
- Revelation Twenty-One -

Revelation Twenty-one begins with the encouraging statement, "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. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2) The "new heaven and new earth" was a picture of victory for the saints of God.

2 Peter 3:13 also speaks of a "new heavens and a new earth." Peter wrote, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." The most glorious characteristic of this new heaven and new earth is that it is a place in which righteousness dwells. Isaiah 44:1-28; Isaiah 45:1-25; Isaiah 46:1-13; Isaiah 47:1-15; Isaiah 48:1-22; Isaiah 49:1-26; Isaiah 50:1-11; Isaiah 51:1-23; Isaiah 52:1-15; Isaiah 53:1-12; Isaiah 54:1-17; Isaiah 55:1-13; Isaiah 56:1-12; Isaiah 57:1-21; Isaiah 58:1-14; Isaiah 59:1-21; Isaiah 60:1-22; Isaiah 61:1-11; Isaiah 62:1-12; Isaiah 63:1-19; Isaiah 64:1-12; Isaiah 65:1-25; Isaiah 66:1-24 likewise deals with the theme of a new heaven and a new earth.

Isaiah, Peter and John all had in mind the same thing as they wrote of the new heaven and new earth. They are writing about the time when persecution will be over and the saints of God will be victorious. The "new heaven and the new earth" means a new order of things. God"s faithful people will be victorious!

Revelation Twenty-one gives us a look at the wonderful fellowship with God that will be enjoyed by those that die faithful. "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 21:4) We are also provided a glimpse into the beauty and protection enjoyed by those that die faithful.


Verses 1-7

Wonderful fellowship with God - Revelation 21:1-7 : God"s faithful people do not die without hope. The sea that had prevented intimate fellowship in the presence of God is no more. (Revelation 21:1) The New Jerusalem is the church. "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:2) Those that die faithful in the church enjoy heavenly hope.

The amazing fellowship that saints enjoy with God is beyond anything they could have hoped for. This is a picture of the final state of the redeemed. In this state: (1) God dwells among His people (Revelation 21:3), (2) God is their God and they are His people (Revelation 21:3), (3) There will be no more tears (Revelation 21:4), (4) There will be no more death (Revelation 21:4), (5) There will be no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4), (6) There will be no more crying (Revelation 21:4), (7) There will be no more pain (Revelation 21:4), (8) All things are made new (Revelation 21:5), (9) God will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely (Revelation 21:6), (10) He that overcomes shall inherit all things (Revelation 21:7), (11) They shall be God"s son. (Revelation 21:7) It is a wonderful thing to overcome!


Verse 8

The wretched state of the ungodly - Revelation 21:8 : In sharp contrast to the state of the righteous John wrote of the state of the ungodly. "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) This is the final description of those that do not overcome.

Observe these sins: (1) the fearful are those that in cowardice chooses self and safety before Christ. God"s faithful people must do the right thing and to hold fast to the faith. (2) Unbelief is the result of spiritual wickedness. (3) The abominable likely were participants in the rites of paganism and the unmentionable perversions of that day. (4) Murderers do not respect God and therefore have no respect for human life. (5) Fornicators violate the eternal law of God by their sexual behavior. (6) Sorcerers practice an especially despicable sin because they try to substitute some other power for that of God. (7) Idolaters give the glory that should belong to the Creator to the creation. (8) Liars can never be pleasing to God. God cannot allow any place in heaven for those that practice these things. They "shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."


Verses 9-17

John is shown the New Jerusalem - Revelation 21:9-17 : The description of the New Jerusalem had to do with the glory of God. There was security because of the gates and the walls that were great and high. There was hope because of the size of the city. It was 1,400 miles in each direction. The city "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." (Revelation 21:12)

God provided perfect protection. The wall around the city stood 216 feet high. "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 21:17) "We are to conceive of the city itself as towering immensely above the walls. Its glory, therefore, would not be obscured by the wall that was thrown around it for defense."


Verses 18-27

Nothing that defiles will enter into it - Revelation 21:18-27 : God takes the most precious things that we are familiar with and made the city of these. Imagine the worth of this wonderful place. It will be a place of great blessings because of the presence of God. "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." (Revelation 21:22-23)

The inhabitants of heaven will all be pure and holy. Those that are unclean and practice abominations or falsehood will have no access into the heavenly city. "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb"s book of life." (Revelation 21:27) Nothing will be found in that blessed abode which is unholy or sinful. The gates of heaven have been opened wide for the righteous by the blood of Jesus. However, nothing that defiles will be there because they will all be cast into a lake of fire.

The blessing awaiting those that die faithful to God should motivate us to obey the gospel and serve Him faithfully. To obey the gospel one must hear God"s truth (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism one must serve God faithfully regardless of circumstances. Under any condition, we are always better off to serve God. Think of the blessings that can be yours!

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/box/revelation-21.html. 2014.

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