“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21: 1-8
Here’s the main idea of the passage: “Having seen Christ’s enemies destroyed, John finally sees ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ the eternal home of the Lamb with His bride. After the new cosmos is described, the bride herself is introduced (Revelation 21:9-22:5). Scholars differ as to whether this ‘new earth’ is entirely new (newly created) or is the old earth transformed in a way analogous to the transformation of believers’ resurrection bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-49; Philippians 3:21; 2 Peter 3:10).” (The ESV Study Bible Commentary)
- 1-8- “If there is one speech that captures in a nutshell the meaning of the entire book of Revelation, this is it. John hears a loud voice from the throne announcing (in the third person) the significance of what he has just seen (vv. 3-4). Then he who was seated on the throne continues, speaking in the first person (vv. 5-8). The message is one, in spite of the changing voices. The voice from the throne begins by calling John’s attention to the vision he has just seen: Now the dwelling of God is with men (that is, with humankind). This means that “he will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them” (v. 3 NRSV). As the speaker shifts from present to future tense, we get the impression that John no longer stands at the scene of the last judgment, fast-forwarded into the future with a new sky and a new earth, but back in his own time, on Patmos on the Lord’s Day (as in Revelation 1:9-10).” (The IVP New Testament Commentary)
- 1- “Some have thought that the new universe will be an entirely new world with no connection with the old. But 65:17–25 and Rom. 8:21–23 indicate that a transfiguration of the old world is in view, like the way in which our new bodies will be transfigurations of the old (1 Cor. 15:35–57). Everything is new (v. 5), which indicates the thoroughness of transfiguration, but the result is redemption and not simply abolition of the old. See theological note ‘Heaven.’” (R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible Commentary)
- 4- “Since there will never be a tear in heaven, nothing will be sad, disappointing, deficient, or wrong.” (John MacArthur Study Bible Commentary)
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” ~ Isaiah 25:8
- 6- “The spring of the water of life is the throne of God and the Lamb (Revelation 22:1), a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) because here the thirsty drink without payment, by God’s free gift (Isaiah 55:1).” (ESV Study Bible Commentary)
- 7-8- “Verses 7 and 8 form an interlude; they are directed to the readers who must make a choice whether they will be part of the victorious ones who will inherit all these blessings or cowards who turn away from God and face their doom. Because they stubbornly refused to drink from the water of life and receive salvation in Christ, their doom will be the Second Death- the Lake of Fire. The ‘First Death’ is a physical death. But all the dead will be raised to be judged, and those who are sent away to punishment will face the ‘Second Death,’ which is spiritual.” (Life Application New Testament Commentary)
How is this text applicable in the 21st Century?
Look at verses 7 through 8 again. Let’s look at the wrongdoers listed here. Notice anything?
“The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for the murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:7-8
This list pretty much includes us all at one point or another in our lives. Does this mean we are all going to Hell? No, absolutely not. Christianity is not about being perfect- despite a relatively small population of tools who attempt to portray this image and criticize everyone else’s shortcomings.
In fact, I’d argue exactly the opposite. Christianity is about coming to the realization that you are nothing without the Blood of Jesus. The Church should be a hospital for the broken, the sinners, the thieves, the desperate, the druggies, the alcoholics, and the deplorable, who realized their need for a Savior. Not a high society for the perfect.
Take for instance the Twelve Disciples. Both James and Jude were terrorists. Judas eventually betrayed Jesus, but prior to walking with Him, he was thought to have been an assassin. Matthew was a tax collector, the equivalent to a drug dealer in our day, who sells crack to kids in front of an elementary school, and Peter of course denied Jesus. That is to name just a few of the sinners, criminals and rebels that God used.
Jesus frequently used imperfect people to accomplish His perfect will. He is the medicine for our sickness. Jesus is the crutch to help us walk. Jesus is the wheelchair when we can barely move. Yes, our selfishness often gets in the way of our relationship with Him. Nevertheless, if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ wholeheartedly, and trusted solely in Christ by faith alone, your sins are forgiven. This list does not apply to you.
But rather the list is addressed to those who have stubbornly denied Christ. Or those who do not truly know Jesus, whether they claim to or not. There is a difference between trusting in Jesus, and giving intellectual assent to His existence. The Lord will sort this out when the time for Judgment comes.
In the end, God demands our all. However, we will fall flat on our face. Failures will occur. Yet the great thing about the grace and mercy found in Jesus is when we fall, we do not have to stay down. Get back up, refocus your eyes back on Christ again and pursue Him, and drink from His endless fountain of water!
“What does a thirsty man do to get rid of his thirst? He drinks. Perhaps there is no better representation of faith in all the Word of God than that. To drink is to receive- to take in the refreshing draught- and that is all. A man’s face may be unwashed, but yet he can drink; he may be a very unworthy character, but yet a draught of water will remove his thirst. Drinking is such a remarkably easy thing, it is even more simple than eating.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
Additional Readings: Revelation 21
Prayer: Father God I pray that I live genuinely for You today. Consume me whole. And I pray that I drink from Your endless fountain of water. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.