Revelation 21:1-27 Part 1

Revelation 21:1-27 Part 1


1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27) By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.


There’s a time and a place for everything.  Yet there are things about which we’re not privy… we’ve not been made privy; after all, we’re creatures – not The Creator.

Job just didn’t know.  Given Israel’s constant flight from reality, the writers of the wisdom literature were often very cynical about things they didn’t know.  Their convoluted reasoning was rife with cynicism because the answers to their questions had not been revealed to them.

When the kinsman-redeemer refused to buy Ruth’s property and give her dead husband offspring, Boaz didn’t know, when he stepped in to perform that duty, that the offspring would be Obed – the father of Jesse, the father of David… whose offspring would be David’s son and David’s Lord!

When Esther saved the tribes of Jacob from extinction at the hand of the Persian beast, she didn’t know that their return to the promised land would result in the birth of the Savior of the World in Bethlehem of Judea.

There is much that we don’t know!  It’s not our will and purpose.  We don’t “will” anything to be!  It’s ours to be faithful… and to anticipate what God has promised.  And to be thankful and rejoice in it!

The final chapters of The Revelation of Jesus Christ give us a whole-Bible view into the purpose of Almighty God for all that He made.  There’s a lot that we don’t know.  But He showed John all that he was to write to the Churches in order that they be comforted and assured, and that they anticipate the fullness from the origins, and that they be messengers of the Good News of salvation of the world in Christ Jesus.

It’s the Revelation of the will and purpose of God; and it is all for His glory; and it is all prophesied.  And it is imperative that we know what has been shown to the Churches.

In 30AD, fifty days after our Lord’s crucifixion, and forty years before His Parousia, the risen and ascended Jesus Christ sent Holy Spirit to inhabit the new tabernacle of God with man. 

Unlike the former tabernacles made with hands, this one is a “holy” tabernacle, for it is the body of the risen and ascended Christ.  It is holy because HE is holy.  He is the Lamb of God Who gave His body and poured out His blood that this new tabernacle be spotless!  Unlike the former tabernacles, there would be nothing abominable in this one!

And this tabernacle is occupied by His “holy ones”… those who are resurrected from death unto life, those re-born from death in Adam to life in Christ the second Adam.  These are “members” of His body… His “brothers”, members of His family (His new humanity).  And these inherit the earth in Him… all promised at the creation, and all prophesied throughout the written Word.

The inception of the new – and holy – tabernacle of God with man was at Pentecost, 30AD.  On that day the earthy representation of His tabernacle – the Church of Jesus Christ – was established in every nation on earth.

Several years before our Lord’s appearance at His Parousia, the apostle John was shown the “fullness” of the written Word… The Revelation of Jesus Christ Who is the Word of God – His Strong Right Arm.

The last chapters of John’s letter to the Churches in the nations reveal what he was shown – beginning at the Parousia and extending to the completion.  It is the finished work of the One Who was given all authority in the heaven and on the earth for the purpose of glorifying Almighty God the Father in all that was made.

John was shown seven exalted and penetrating sights as the glorified God-man reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords from His seat above the heavens.

And while I’m here let me just say once more that our Lord Jesus Christ – Son of God/Son of man – was raised out of death bodily; and He ascended into the glory cloud bodily; and, as humanity raised up out of death, He pierced the veil of the firmament to take His place at the Right of Glory.  And He was given the authority to rule from the heaven.

This is a man!  He is the express image of the Father; David’s Lord and David son!  A real human entered the glory cloud and pierced the veil of the firmament into the very Presence of God and took His place at the Right… and we IN HIM!  Those of us written in the Lamb’s book of life from the beginning sit with Him – IN Him.  He is of our flesh; and we belong to Him; we are His brothers.

This isn’t some nebulous, spirit-world concept dreamed up by a false prophet.  Our Lord is a real man!  He is the second “Genesis”… the second “beginning” of humanity.  He is the human express image of the Father.

The first man sinned against God, and he died; and he didn’t take dominion of this earth as he was commanded to do.  Paradise was denied him.

But the second one was raised up out of death; and He would take dominion!  And it is a physical – bodily – dominion!  He is a man; and this concrete, physical cosmos would come under His dominion and would be returned to its original “paradise” state; and all those resurrected into Him are rebirthed into His humanity, and would reign with Him – In Him – during all the years until the multitudes of mankind from all the nations (promised to Abraham) would fill the earth.

This is a physical dominion of a real creation – not some ethereal, other-worldly, celestial creation of human imagination!  Our Lord Jesus Christ reigns bodily over this tangible, material world from His Seat above the firmament.  And this world will reflect the glory of Almighty God and His glory-cloud tabernacle.

That’s a “promise” from Him; and it’s one that you and I can count on… one that we can anticipate – yearn for!  God has promised the salvation of the world by His Son Jesus.  He has done so for His Own glory; and the promise is for you – and for me.  Holding on for dear life to the world order that was, and which (even now to some degree) is, against that which will be, is a rejection of all that He has promised!

And He has given us – His Church – a view of it all through His apostle John.  We are to remember it; we are to be fully engaged with it and delighted by it!  Like the newborns that we are, we are to be captivated and enthralled with it!  It should nourish us and invigorate us!

And it is to assure us and comfort us and console us until such time as He brings it all to completion.

What John is shown, from the last half of chapter nineteen through chapter twenty-one, is the fullness of the work of the Savior of the world!  In a few short verses, we have it all; it’s the completion of the written Word, and it’s what God has purposed for us and for His creation.

God presents John with seven views of His intent – His purpose.

The first vision that John was shown was the imminent Parousia of The Christ of God – The Savior/Redeemer of the world.  As prophesied throughout Scripture, the “One Coming” was to be presented to all creation as its Overcomer/Redeemer.  All of creation was altered at His Coming!

As John looked on, His Parousia was “near”.  It was shortly to come.  Jesus Christ would appear in the glory cloud… King of Kings and Lord of Lords, having authority over all created things.  And with Him – IN HIM – would be the holy ones of old (the seed of the woman who He had kept for Himself), and there would be the hundred and forty-four thousands of the house of Jacob who He had come to seek and to save.  It would include the apostles and the three thousand newborns at Pentecost.  That would be the total number of the ones In Him – in union with Him – and present at His Parousia.

And during all the years, all who are written in the book of life would be united to Him; and they, also, would sit with Him as priests and judges of the earth.  You see, the whole world was changed at the Coming of God’s Anointed.  We’ll see that all through this chapter twenty-one.

The “second” of the last seven things that John was shown was the imminent execution of the harlot by the Sword that proceeded from the mouth of the Christ at His Parousia.

Rather than being the “paradise” on earth and the light of the world, Israel was the prostitute of the nations.  She caused all the nations of the earth to drink of the wine of her fornication; so she would “die the death” required in the Law.

At His Parousia, the wheat in the field would have been fully harvested; and the bitter zizanium would then be gathered and thrown into the fire.

Then John was shown the third of the seven final things of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  As prophesied by Moses, the ultimate path of complete ruin would come upon Israel.  The One with all authority to judge would see to it that the seed of the serpent and harlot of the nations was not only to be executed by the sword, but she would lie in her own blood, unburied, for the vultures to consume her body.

Then John writes “then I saw….”  It was the fourth of the final seven shown to Him.  At our Lord’s appearance the serpent of old – the devil – the satan would be bound and sealed in the abyss so that it could no longer deceive the nations.  And it would remain bound for all the years decreed… until the promise to Abraham was fulfilled.

And in conjunction with the binding of the satan, John is shown the fifth of seven.  John sees the “seats”… not only the seats of the holy ones of old, and not only those of the remnant of Jacob; but he sees the seats of those from the nations who, by way of the first resurrection, would become priests and judges of the earth In Christ.

Not only are they to be reborn into His humanity (the first resurrection from death unto life), but the Gentile peoples of the world would also be co-members of His high Priesthood and co-judges of the earth with Him… IN HIM.

Through all the years, in the fullness of the promise to Abraham, a great multitude of mankind from the nations and tribes and tongues of the earth would constitute the seed of Abraham In Christ.

No longer would they be members of dead humanity in Adam.  They would be members of humanity IN CHRIST.  Therefore they would be seated with Him – In Him - as He reigns, and as He rules this creation.

And the earth itself, having suffered the curse, and having groaned for its redemption, would be freed from its gross darkness and from the enmity of the seed of the serpent.

Through all the years decreed, the light would increasingly replace the darkness.  And the River of Life would heal the raging sea of depraved and dead humanity until the earth would be filled with the knowledge of God as the water covers the sea.

And then the satan would be released from the abyss to find its former domain in the full light of the Savior of the world.  And any scheme that it might have for destroying the seed of the woman – as devised previously through the Persian beast – would prove totally fruitless!  Its release from its bondage is to the end that it would be cast into the lake of fire.

And then, at verse eleven of chapter twenty, we read the sixth thing John is shown at the coming appearance of the King of Kings.  Let’s read it once more, for it flows directly into what John is shown in chapter twenty-one….


1)        Then I saw a magnificent white seat, and One sitting on it at Whose appearance the earth and the heaven did vanish, for no place was found for them;

2)        and I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the seat, and books were opened.  Then the other book was opened which is of the living.  And the dead were judged from what was written in the books according to their works.

3)        And the sea did yield the dead in her; and death and hades did yield the dead in them, and they were judged according to their works;

4)        then death and hades were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death (the lake of fire).

5)        Anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


After all the years decreed for the satan to be bound and sealed in the abyss… after all the years decreed for our Lord to judge the seed of the serpent and their enmity for the seed of the woman… after all the years decreed for our Lord to rebirth His people and take dominion over the kingdoms and peoples and tongues and tribes of the earth (as promised to Abraham)… after all the years decreed for the earth to yield its increase… after all the years decreed for the knowledge of God to cover the earth as the water covers the sea, John is shown the judgment of those who are dead in Adam.  Those alive in Christ (those of the first resurrection) have already been judged “just”; and those dead in Adam would be judged “cursed”.

After all the decreed years are complete, John is then shown the judgment of death itself and the place, or state, of those who are dead.

He’s already seen the judgment of the satan itself; and now he’s shown what would be the judgment of its seed!

John writes “… then I saw” (verse eleven).  It’s judgment day.  John sees the day of judgment of the dead!

In the tabernacle of Almighty God in the heaven, John is shown what will occur after all the years of our Lord’s reign and rule over the kingdoms and nations and tribes and tongues of the earth!

After all the years decreed, the earth will be in the full light of the Savior of the world.  After all the years the raging sea of humanity will be healed and quieted and stilled by the River of Life, and there will be justice and peace and prosperity.  And even the earth itself will bloom with fruitfulness due to the lack of enmity from the seed of the serpent!

This is our inheritance in Christ!  This is what we are to anticipate!  It is the completed work of the Savior of the world for the glory of the Father.

And when He’s finished (as John sees there, beginning at verse eleven), He is to appear in judgment.

Listen to it again:


11) Then I saw a magnificent white seat, and One sitting on it at Whose appearance the earth and the heaven did vanish, for no place was found for them;


John’s vision here, what he is shown, is limited to the ONE – the Judge of heaven and earth.  Nothing else is visible to him except our Lord Jesus Christ as He appears seated on His glorious white seat.  The tabernacle in the heaven isn’t visible to him; the earth isn’t visible to him… just God the Son, the Son of God/Son of Man at the seat of judgment.  He IS the new holy tabernacle of God!

As the Anointed One of God, it is all His to judge.  When He returns it to The Father for His glory, for Him to inhabit, it is all to be clean.  No sin; no satan; no enmity; no death; no hades.

His is the glorious white seat of judgment; and it is Him only that John is shown. All that has been shown to Him in the tabernacle; all that has been shown to him of things on the earth… all of it now disappears from his view as the King of Kings appears in judgment of all in His domain.

And His exaltation includes the complete impotence of all His enemies.  Nothing remains of them.  Under His feet is the lake of fire.  The satan is already cast into it.  Then all of the seed of the serpent are cast into it; and lastly death itself, and hades, are cast into it!  And the Scripture is fulfilled when it says that He will reign until all His enemies are put under His feet!  He will have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River unto the ends of the earth!

Please note once again that the “dead” are those who are not written in the Lamb’s book of life (which we’ve already seen in chapter thirteen, verse eight).  The book of life is mentioned here by John to reveal that the names of the dead do not appear in it!  They are the dead in Adam; they are the seed of the serpent.

They only are convened here before the Judge.  They only are judged by their works; for their works are the works of their father the devil.  The “sea” of depraved humanity has given them up; hades, the place of the dead, has given them up.  And each one of them stands condemned by the Judge for their works.

The ones who are alive in Christ are not convened here before the Judge.  They are not judged by their works, for they have already been judged “just” through faith given to them as a gift, and they’ve been “resurrected” from death unto life!  They are all alive in Christ… written in the Book of Life.

In First Corinthians chapter fifteen, the apostle Paul proclaims that on Judgment Day at the end of all the years of our Lord’s Mediatorial Kingdom, “the last enemy that will be abolished is death”.

And that’s exactly what John is shown, isn’t it?  Death itself, and the place of the dead (hades), would be cast into the lake of fire beneath the feet of the Christ.  So, death and hades are ultimately as powerless as the satan and its seed.

There is no power, there is no authority, there is no dominion but that of Jesus Christ the Lord.  All else is completely impotent!  Everything and everyone outside of Christ is subjected to remediless ruin.

On this day of judgment, all who are alive in Christ (the first resurrection) are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world!  So there is no judgment for us who are alive in Him.  There’s no record of the works of the seed of the serpent that are ascribed to us, for the perfections of the Lamb of God have been set to our account.

All who are not inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.  This, John is shown, is the “second death”.

Death itself is cast into it with them; hades is cast into it with them; and there is no remedy.

The dead will never live; for there is no life outside of Jesus Christ.  Their works are the works of their father the devil; and there is a record of their works; and they are judged by their works.

And our Lord will empty every place and every space where they are found, and rid this creation of every vestige of sin and enmity and vengeance and depravity and death.

And all of God’s creation will be cleansed of sin; there will be no death in all the earth; no abominable thing will exist in all of God’s creation.  Only the ones alive in Christ Jesus will inhabit the earth.

The earth will be the Edenic paradise that was prophesied in the first one; and prophesied again when God brought Israel into the land of milk and honey. 

The first paradise was called “heaven and earth”.  The second (Israel) was called “heaven and earth”.  Being prophetic of the third, both of them were destroyed.  The third paradise will be the one that glorifies the God Who created it.  And it is the “Warrior/King” Jesus Christ Who brings it to pass.  He is the Word of God – His Strong Right Arm – Who accomplishes the will and purpose of Almighty God the Father… a will and purpose prophesied from the beginning.


And that brings us to chapter twenty-one.

Please note, once again, what was said when we began these last seven visions shown to John.  The focus is not “sequence”, but the covenantal continuity and “fullness” of the Word of God.

Chapter twenty-one (the seventh “then I saw”) isn’t to be seen as a new event in sequence after the sixth one.  John isn’t shown something new here that comes about after the completion and fullness of Christ’s work.

The reason that we’ve reviewed what John was shown so many times, was to the end that we all see that His work would be finished as John saw it in the sixth vision!  Then the seventh is the covenantal confirmation of all that God had purposed from the beginning!  And it’s as He sees it, and as it is revealed in His Own prophetic language.

Here it is once again –  the review, just as John was shown:

He saw the imminent Parousia of Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Then he saw what would be the termination of heaven-and-earth Israel – the execution of that harlot of the nations by the Sword of His mouth.

Then John was shown the binding of the satan so it could no longer deceive the nations.  And he was shown that which began at Pentecost.  During all the years decreed, the peoples and tongues and tribes of the nations of the earth would increasingly come under the dominion of Christ the King through the preaching of the Gospel.

John saw “the many” resurrected in Christ (reborn into Him), newborns in His humanity, seated with Him as priests and judges until all the earth would be filled with the knowledge of God as the water covers the sea.  And for all the years decreed, all the earth would be increasingly renewed and prosperous as those in the nations who belonged to The Christ would become the vast multitude promised to Abraham.

Then John was shown the release of the dragon from the abyss, at which time it would be cast into the lake of fire.  And he was shown the coming “day of judgment” at which point there would be a general resurrection.

And all who were not written in the Lamb’s book of life (from the foundation of the creation) would be judged according to their works (the works of their father the devil).  They are the “dead” in Adam.

All of them are cast into the lake of fire, along with death and hades; and every last place and space of God’s creation would be in the full light of Jesus Christ… no sin, no darkness, no death – paradise on earth – the earth filled only with those written in the Lamb’s book of life, the ones “alive” in Christ the Second Adam.

And by the way, just as an aside as I was writing this sermon, it occurred to me how ironic it is that present-day dispensationalist preaching has it completely backward.  It declares that Christians will be raptured out of this evil world, where John is shown just the opposite!  He’s shown that it’s all those In Christ that are “left behind” (if I can use the title of the books by Tim LaHaye); and the dead in Adam are the ones taken away and deposited into the lake of fire!

Anyway (recovering from the irony), let’s see that the work of Jesus Christ the Savior of the World is complete at the sixth “then I saw….”

The satan, death and hades, along with all who are not written in the book of life, will be cast into the lake of fire, leaving paradise on earth created in Christ Jesus the Lord.  He’s finished!  The “Originator” of this creation (the Alpha and the Omega) will have completed His work of re-creation and returned it to His Father cleansed of sin and death in order that it all glorifies The Father.

As in the heaven, so also on the earth.  That’s what we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, isn’t it?   And it will be done.  By the work of the Savior of the world, the cosmos will again image God’s tabernacle in the heaven and reflect His glory.

Just as the satan was cast down from the glory cloud/tabernacle, so the creature and all its “seed” would be cast from the earth into the lake of fire.  And there will be “paradise” on earth – the very “center” of God’s created cosmos.  And He will dwell among us, reflecting His tabernacle in the heaven.

That’s the sixth vision shown to John just a few years prior to our Lord’s Parousia.  So he is shown the “end” from the “beginning”, the Alpha and the Omega, the “completion” from the “origin”.

And now John is shown another vision… the seventh of seven.  And it is God’s perception of the whole.  And it is all in His language as prophesied.  It is the work of the Christ, the Son of God/Son of Man, the Word of God made flesh.

It is the work of His eternally begotten One – the One Anointed – His Strong Right Arm Who would, from the beginning, re-create heaven and earth for the Father’s glory.  He is Alpha and Omega – the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  He is the Origin; and He is the Consummation.

John is now shown all of the work of Jesus the Christ.  It is the view from the heaven of complete cosmic reconciliation, regeneration and resurrection.  He is the Originator – from the beginning – of all that John is shown here.

The seventh “then I saw…” is not to be understood sequentially … as the next thing to be anticipated.  It is not to be perceived (i.e. from our point of view) to come “after” judgment day and the completion of the Christ’s work.  It is not wholly future!

As we’ll see as we proceed through this chapter, all of that which is revealed regarding the eternality of paradise on earth is definitively and progressively true right now!  That’s God’s perspective here in chapter twenty one.

The enjoyment of our eternal inheritance in Christ will be a “perfection” of all that’s true right now concerning our Lord’s Kingdom and His work.  The tabernacle of God IS with man!

We aren’t simply to look forward to the blessings revealed here to John.  They aren’t just for an eternity to come, but they are all to be enjoyed now; we are to rejoice in it all now.  And we are to extend them to others now (as messengers).

John was shown present realities (not just realities to be gained far in the future)!  The original Churches of the first century were to see these present realities and be comforted and assured.  Our Lord ascended into the glory cloud to be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords and receive His inheritance.  And we IN HIM.  It is a present reality, you see.

And that’s God’s perception as revealed to John here in our chapter twenty-one.  It has to be our perception!  What John sees was present then (at the Parousia of the Christ); and it is present now.  And it will continue to its perfection at the end of all the years.

This text must not be misconceived.  A misappropriation of all that God has revealed here leaves Churches in a theological labyrinth from which it is difficult to emerge.  The danger can’t be underestimated.

We already live in eternity.  There is already a new heaven and a new earth; there is already a new Jerusalem; there is already a tabernacle made without hands.  And it will all be completed and perfected through all the years.

It’s how God sees it; it’s how He purposed it, and it’s how He revealed it to John.  And it’s how we must see it.