Title: BEAUTY NEVER BEFORE SEEN…I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT
Text: Revelation 21:1-27
We saw in our last lesson how God will deal with those who choose not to believe in His Son. They are banished away from His presence in eternal fire. They have chosen not to believe; therefore their destination is of their own choice.
But tonight we open a grand chapter…a chapter that has eternity written in every word. Human history began in a Garden…but our eternal home begins with a paradise that puts the first garden on a small scale. Coming down out of heaven is a regenerated earth without the curse of sin…and along with it, Heaven…it’s Heaven in every sense of the word…it’s our eternal home! Read Text.
When man sinned, death and decay were introduced to God’s beautiful garden. Creation has been in bondage ever since and is waiting for the day when it will be released from that bondage. Rom. 8:18-23 Even the current heavens are impure in God’s sight. Job 15:15 Look at the contrast:
Heaven and earth created New heaven and earth created
Sun created No need of the sun
The night established No night there
Seas created No more seas
The curse was announced No more curse
Death enters history No more death
Man driven from paradise Man restored to paradise
Sorrow and pain begin Nor more tears or pain
1. Do you have any idea how long God has promised His people a new heaven and a new earth? (2700 years) Isa. 65:17 Why must God do away with the old creation? How will God do away with the old creation? 2 Pet. 3:10-13
Insight: Think of what regeneration will bring when there is no longer the curse of sin and creation is clothed as paradise restored. It’s hard to imagine, for we have never known a moment without sin’s corruption.
2. Any ideas on why the new creation won’t have a sea?
Insight: For many, the sea means danger, storms, death, and separation. In God’s new earth all those things have passed away.
3. What’s the most beautiful thing about the Holy City? (The fact that God’s people get to dwell with Him there.) Rev. 21:3
Insight: Previously we have seen God’s dwelling place on a mountain in a burning bush, a pillar of cloud and fire over the ark of the covenant, but one day we will gaze into the brightness of His glory and not fear death! Even though we have fellowship with God in our heart through the Holy Spirit, we all yearn for the face-to-face fellowship with Him who has sustained us!
4. Verses 2 & 9 state the Holy City is the Bride adorned for her husband. Which is the Bride of Christ…the Holy City or the Church?
Insight: All through Scripture the consistent picture is that the Church is the Bride. The City is just “adorned” as a bride would be adorned. It is Christians who dwell there that are the Lord’s Bride.
5. There’s a real benefit to being in the presence of the Lord, and verses 3 & 4 describes it. Which best describes the longing of your heart?
Insight: Human hands are poor at drying tears. If they succeed in removing some, others come. Only the hand that made us can reach the deep sources of its sorrow. Death has invaded every home. Every newspaper we pick up has several obituaries. The Immortal One will erase death forever. All of us have been tormented by heartaches and grief. But there is a boundary over which no sorrow will ever pass. All crying will be hushed, whether it be from pain or passion, fear or strife, oppression or danger, torn affection or blasted hopes…all the cries of a thousand unnamed hurts will be transformed into a loud shout of “hallelujah” as we stand before the Source of all comfort! The King of Heaven will declare, “I am making all things new!”
6. It is no mistake that John quotes God saying in verse 6, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Why is this so appropriate at this point?
Insight: just as Jesus had declared, “It is done” from the cross, now indeed is that salvation plan finished. It was all done to bring redeemed man back home…and they are now safe at home. What He began in the Garden (Alpha), He has now completed, and the Bride is back home (Omega). Whatever thirst this earthly walk created in you…you will then have an invitation to drink your fill from the spring of the water of life. What the Samaritan woman missed in understanding…all Heaven’s citizens will fully realize.
7. What does God promise to the overcomer? 21:7 Do you recall other things being promised to the overcomer? Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21
Insight: Each of them will be fulfilled on that day when He claims you as His Bride. This is His promise to those who don’t abandon Him when under fire from Adam to the last martyr. 1 John 5:4-5
Insight: No mortal hand can provide all these promises. Truly the fact that we will be there will be the workmanship of God’s hand…and you are His pride and glory…not the City…for in this city gold is only paving material.
8. Notice the contrast of those who did not overcome sin in 21:8, 27. Are there any surprises to you in that list? (Liars are equated with murderers; cowardly – Matt. 10:32-33; abominable means polluted from indulging in sin and will not forsake it.) What is the destiny of those who continually practice these things?
9. Verses 10 & 11 say the New Jerusalem will be filled with the glory of God. What is it like when the glory of God fills a place? 2 Chr. 5:2-14; Isa. 6:1-5
10. This Holy City coming down out of Heaven, John says has the brilliance of jasper stone, clear as crystal. Normally this stone is opaque with waves of colors of the rainbow, but here it is crystal clear with color, like diamonds. What picture does your mind paint of a clear wall 216 feet thick with colors of the rainbow?
11. When you think of foundations, what adjectives come to mind? (Permanence, stability, strength.) What is different about the foundation of Heaven? (It’s size, what it is made of, it’s visible rather than buried.)
12. What do you think God is trying to tell us by his naming the gates with the names of the tribes of Israel and the foundation stones with the Apostles? (All God’s people from both covenants are united in Heaven.)
13. John was told to measure this city. How big was it? (1,500 miles cubed – San Francisco to Chicago)
Insight: There’s ample room for your family in God’s house…for every tribe, tongue and nation will sing praises and experience the redemption of Christ Jesus. Imagine walking on streets of gold so refined that it is translucent so you can gaze upon the 12 foundations stones…looking through crystal walls with splashes of deep blue (sapphire), greenish-blue (chalcedony), deep green (emerald, with streaks with brown (sardonyx), brilliant red (sardius), crystal clear yellow (chrysolite), green (beryl), yellow-green (topaz), marbled gold texture (chrysoprase), blue hue (jacinth), and lavender (amethyst). All this shines with eternal brilliance for there is no sun…but the Lord radiates through every golden wall and through every brilliant color. But even greater still is that His light will illuminate every soul there so that their inner radiance is greater than the City! Our God is a God of beauty and He will lavish that beauty on His Bride!
14. How is Heaven Heaven if there is no temple there? Where do you go to worship God in a place that is as big as from here to Chicago?
Insight: This is no oversight, for Heaven’s citizens will enjoy direct communion with the eternal Spirit with His manifested glory, which will encompass you. You will be able to worship in His very presence any time you feel like it there. Like a consecrated high priest, you will come into the holiest of all, into the very cloud of God’s glory, which is your covering, your temple, your God! “And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light.” Praise God there is spiritual illumination for the soul as glorious light for the eyes!
If you’ve ever prayed for a long night to end, or shivered in your soul because of dark shadows, have no fear – in Him there is no darkness at all, and the night will be banished from His presence forever.
Ever had a door slammed in your face, or a closed door on a relationship? Never with God, for the gates of His house are never closed.
This chapter closes stating Heaven’s citizens are only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. After seeing the glories that wait for those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb, I can’t think of any priority more important than making sure your name is written there…and those you love and care about.