You will remember in John chapter 14 the Lord began to prepare His disciples for the time when He would leave them and return to heaven. The Lord told them that He had to go away, but that one day He would return to get them so they could be with Him again. You will also remember the famous words of the Lord where He said, “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 your, and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there ye may be also.”
Many assume that Christ went to prepare a mansion or home. As we learn in this chapter, Christ did not go to prepare a mansion but a city. This chapter reveals the work of Christ, the place He promised to prepare for His bride. Imagine how wonderful this city will be. If it took the Lord six days to create the earth in which we live today, how wonderful will that city be which took 2,000 years to prepare?
A Renovation by fire
Immediately after the destruction of Satan and his armies, John writes: "I saw a Great White Throne and Him that sat on it, from whose face the Earth and Heaven fled away; and there was found no more place for them." Then John goes on to describe for us the judgment of the wicked dead. After this judgment John declares, "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."
This transformation was predicted by our Lord in Matthew 24:35 when he said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away.”
As this change comes John tells us that it is happening, but he does not tell us how it is coming to pass. But Peter does.
2 Peter 3:7-13
The fact that these two are talking about the same event is clear for Peter tells us that it occurs during the judgment and perdition of ungodly men. This no doubt is the Great White Throne judgment.
At first glance when reading these verses one would think that we are being told that the entire earth and heaven is being done away with by the fire. This is not so if you study further. The present earth and the present heaven are simply to be renovated by the fire.
The exterior surface of the earth will be completely changed and all that sin brought into the world will be done away with. When man sinned, the earth brought forth thrones, disease, gems and so on. All of this will be destroyed.
Just as the flood of water did not change the framework of the earth, the earth’s framework will not change when it is baptized with fire.
No doubt as the earth’s surface begins to burn and melt away the intense heat will cause the gases in the earth’s atmosphere to explode. This is what Peter describes when he says the earth will pass away with a “great noise.” The end result will be that all animal life will be destroyed, all vegetable life will be destroyed and the earth’s surface will be totally altered.
The Lord promised the meek would inherit the earth and that the children of Israel will dwell in the earth forever. If God's people are to dwell on the earth forever, then the earth must abide forever. God will never totally do away with the earth. He will simply purify it and make it a suitable place for His people to dwell.
“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.” Isaiah 66:22
On this new earth there will be no more sickness. Health will be preserved by the tree of life. The new earth will never see the heavens angry with blackness, no flashing with thunderbolts of Divine wrath. No more hail or devouring floods and tornados. Many believe that the earth will again bring forth mist to water the face of the ground as it did in Eden.
On this new earth there will be no more death. For the apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians that death, the final enemy, will be destroyed. This will truly be a day when we can cry out “O death where is thy victory, O grave where is thy sting?”
The new earth will not have a sea. Now that does not mean there will not be any bodies of water, for we know that there will be rivers that flow from the temple, simply that there will be no great bodies of water.
Think about it, this new earth where there will be no more sin, sorrow, sickness or dying is only available to those who have trusted in the shed blood of Christ. John declared that this is only possible to those who are “over-comers”. How do we overcome?
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4
The Revelation of a City
As John begins to view this city he is amazed. In these verses we see that John is amazed at the sight of the city. John describes it as being like a precious stone clear as crystal.
Then John tells us that the city had a wall all the way around the city, and on each of the four sides of the walls three gates. In Bible times walls around the city were used for protections, but there will be no protection needed in this city. This wall will no doubt be for an eternal reminder that God protected us while we were upon earth.
The cities gates were named for the twelve tribes of Israel. Angels stood at the gates to welcome all who possessed the right to enter in. Just as the walls are inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel the foundations are inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Next John is amazed by the size of the city. As the angels measure the city John records the sizes. We learn that the city is a perfect cube for its length, width and height are equal. The city is 12,000 furlongs, which is 1,500 miles. If you were to place this city on the current United States of America it would reach from the northern most part of Maine to southern most part of Florida, and from the eastern seaboard to Colorado. The wall is 216 feet high for the measure of a cubit is the distance from a man’s elbow to the point of his finger or approximately 18 inches.
Lastly, John is amazed by the beauty of the city. First, the wall of jasper pictures Christ in His glory surrounding His saints. Next, the city of pure gold pictures the righteousness of God’s holy nature. And then the colorful precious stone pictures the attributes of Christ as well as aspects of His redemptive work.
On earth God always had a dwelling place, a temple or tabernacle where men could come and visit with Him. Such a place is no longer needed, for God is now dwelling with man.
This final chapter of the book of Revelation concludes our sightseeing tour of the New Jerusalem. It also gives us one final warning that only those who are prepared may enter into this wonderful place.
We Will Have Real Bodies
These first two verses in chapter 22 establish the fact that in our new glorified bodies we will still enjoy eating. This only makes since, for the Bible teaches us that when we shall see Him, (Jesus), we will be like Him. And since Jesus ate in his glorified body so shall we.
“And he took it, and did eat before them.” Luke 24:43
We will also drink in our new body. We will drink from the water that flows from the river that comes from the throne of God. The waters of the rivers today are certainly not crystal clear, most of the time they are muddy or contaminated. But this wonderful river we shall drink from is crystal clear.
Notice that the source of this water is not another body of water. We are told in chapter 21 that the new earth will not have any seas. This water flows from the throne of God.
The Bible teaches us that we will eat of the fruit of the tree of life. These trees will bear forth twelve different kinds of fruit, a different fruit each month. The Bible then goes on to tell us that the leaves of the trees will be for the healing of the nations.
You will remember when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, that God drove them from the garden and placed an angel guardian at the gate. The reason for the angel to guard the gate was so that Adam could not enter into the garden and eat of the tree of life, for if he did he would live in his sinful state forever. Now we are given access to the tree that Adam could not eat from.
Many misunderstand this verse where it says that the leaves are for the healing of the nation. You must remember that there will be no sickness in this new city, so these leaves are not to heal sickness. They are rather to be used to preserve the health of the nations.
We Will Realize God Like Never Before
Can you imagine a time when we will forever look upon the face of the Lord, and then to see him looking at us? Many times we feel like the apostle Paul when he said that “now we look through a glass darkly, but then face to face.” Many times we pray and read our Bible and we see the Lord, or He makes himself real to us, but there is coming a day when He will be more real to us than ever, the day when we shall see Him.
The Bible then says that we will have His name written upon our foreheads. During the tribulation hour the followers of Antichrist had the number of his name upon them, the 144,000 had the seal of God upon their heads, and now in the New Jerusalem we will have the name of our Lord forever inscribed upon our forehead.
Are You Ready?
In verse six the angel tells John that the things he has seen will come to pass “speedily.” And now in this verse Jesus proclaims that He will come “speedily.” The word used “speedily” in these verses does not speak of time, hours or minutes. It speaks of events taking place in a rapid succession once they begin.
In other words once these things come to pass, the things will fall into place so suddenly that one should make preparation before they begin. Things will come to pass so quickly that one will not have time to prepare, once the events begin to unfold. Therefore we are told, “Blessed are they which keep the commandments of this book.” Or blessed are you if you are prepared.
You will remember that when God had finished giving a revelation to Daniel He told him to seal up the book for the time was not at hand.
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4
John however is forbidden to seal up the book for the time is at hand. The word used in this verse “time” means an opportunity, moment or season. Therefore the time for the revealing of prophetic scripture is come. It is time for people to learn what will shortly come to pass. It is time for us to get our head out of the sand.
We should learn the prophetic truths about the times of the church dispensations and know that the coming of Christ is at hand. We should also know that once the events begin they will quickly come to pass. If we know we will prepare.
Some will hear the message that the rapture of the church, the judgment of God and the Great White Throne Judgment, will soon come to pass and therefore they will prepare by asking Christ into their heart to save them. Others however will continue to harden their heart and reject Christ. What you do with Christ is totally up to you, but make no mistake about it you must decide. Many do not realize that doing nothing with Christ is the same as rejecting Christ.
God’s time clock is ticking. Things are quickly coming to pass. No doubt the next great event on God’s time clock or time line is the rapture of the church. It could be today. Are you ready?
I have said before and I will say it again, the rapture of the church is a signless, timeless event. There is nothing that needs to be fulfilled before Christ can come. It could be today. Once it happens things will begin to spin so quickly you will not know what hit you, if you are not prepared.
We read of the 10 virgins in the book of Matthew. In this story we are told how that 5 of them are prepared and had oil, but 5 were not ready. The five that were not ready frantically begged for oil, and sought to buy oil at the midnight hour when the cry came, but then it was too late. Don’t wait until it is too late. Make preparation today.