Revelation 21.1-8 – Replace don’t renew

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said,

“Behold, I am making all things new.”

Also he said,

“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

6 And 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 from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for 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.”

We own a car that is pretty old and beat up, it’s done almost enough kilometres to get to the moon and it is falling apart, literally…there are pieces missing on the inside, there are pieces falling off the outside, and it usually takes two or three ‘encouragements’ to start. We have reached the point where this car is not going to sell for any real sum of money (plus, morally how can we sell a car we know is falling apart), so for now, it’s our big old tank. It’s still big and safe, and we can strap the boys in with a clear conscience. But, it will never sell, we can never renew it to be like it ever was because it is so old, so beat up, so broken (in parts) that when it drives its last KM we will need to find a new car rather than renew the old one.

This is exactly what we see here, or what John saw here and was commanded to write; it must have been pretty cool as he evidently was so overawed that he stopped writing, Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

We read of new heaven and a new earth, and the original language guides our understanding of this to mean something fresh, not a renewal of existing thing, or just the next in line. We are replacing old with new, not renovating or simply looking at the already-prepared next earth, no, this is a fresh, new thing! Bible commentator David Guzik puts it this way,

“The ancient Greek word translated new here means “new in character, ‘fresh’.” It doesn’t mean…new in time.” This isn’t just the next heaven and the next earth; this is the better heaven and better earth replacing the old.”

This new heaven and new earth are characterised by what is missing; death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”, and by what is now available; Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God…To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment…

So the first heaven and the first earth will pass away, making way for a fresh, new, better heaven and earth. If we choose self over Christ we will never experience this, shown by the list at the end of this passage in v.8, but if we choose Christ over self each and every day He tells us that we will.

Randy Alcorn puts it this way,

“Jesus Christ, the Son of God, loved us so much that he left the riches of heaven to become a man and deliver us from our sin.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3.16).”

So, decision time, are we going to experience the new heaven and new earth? Are we going to experience the special relationship of “I will be his God and he will be my son”? Are we going to experience the fresh, new, better life that Jesus died to provide?


Pause, think, and pray; is there anything in my life that needs to be replaced with the fresh, new, and better life that Jesus died to provide?

Is there anything in my life that is preventing me from having my eternal destination be as a child of God in His presence?

If there is, it is time to replace those things.

Revelation 20.11-15 – Motivation to share

Today the second resurrection takes place one thousand years after the resurrection of believers in the Lord Jesus, and it takes place before the great white throne. It is a judgement for every unbeliever regardless of rank or file (great and small), and, in as few words as possible, those part of the second resurrection and judgement are brought before God in what is essentially a sentencing, not a trial.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.

12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Often times we hear people say

‘Oh, when I get to heaven God has some explaining to do!’, or

‘I’ve got some questions for God and He is going to have to be ready for me when I get there!’. The same kind of person also, usually, believes that all good people go to heaven and it will be settled at the pearly gates by sweet talking your way past St. Peter after ascending up an escalator through the clouds…

The reality is very different; believers have been raised to life with Christ and brought before His judgement (2 Corinthians 5.10), and those who rejected the way, will, words, and work of Jesus are brought before the great white throne for sentencing…and it’s not pretty.

The second resurrection and attached judgement are so final and eternal in consequence (v.10), and this is hell – eternal separation from God’s presence. It is not one big party led by a guy with hoofs, a pitchfork, and a bad beard…it is eternal separation from the presence of God with no chance of return. It is final.

Scaring people into being a believer is never the best way forward, is it, ‘Do this or else…’, think how you see a manic street preacher shouting about hell and you shudder because they are probably pushing people away from Christ not drawing them in. But, for those of us who know the love of the Saviour, for those of us who know with assured confidence that we will stand before our Lord and Master at the first resurrection and reign with Him for a thousand years before watching Him bring about a new heaven and a new earth in which we will dwell with Him for eternity, for us, we need to know the alternative. Not to scare unbelievers into believing, but to motivate ourselves to go and share the love and the life of Christ.

I read recently that there is no more selfish person that he or she who is willing to go to heaven alone.

So, time to share the love and life of Christ with those whom God has put you in the midst of. Don’t shout about hell, but live like you are going to heaven.

Revelation 19.19-21 – A no-go zone

When I was younger I used to walk to school. It took around 25-30 minutes, but this could be made considerably shorter by cutting through what we called a snicket, or a ginnel, or an alley, or whatever you call the narrow connecting passageway that joins two roads but is only wide enough for a person. If it was dark in the morning when I left (as it was for a few months a year), there were some snickets that I would not dare go through unless I was with my friends…peer pressure can really cut time off the walk to school…no, I’m not scared, are you, good, let’s go

Anyway, along with the snickets, there was also the possibility of garden-hopping. This involved, basically, cutting through someone’s garden to cut a big chunk off the walk. However, in my mind that was not a good thing to do, what if they came out and there I was strolling through their lovely manicured lawn? So the garden was a no-go zone, somewhere that was very real, it existed, but was out of bounds for me because I chose not to go there.

Today, we read of the ultimate no-go zone;

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.

20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

The Antichrist and the kings of the earth gather with their armies to make war on Jesus and the army of saints He has with Him. However, it doesn’t even get started, the beast was captured, also the false prophet. Then, the no-go zone – These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

The Bible translates differen words as ‘hell’ (sheol, hades, tartaros, gehanna), but it is clear here that the Antichrist and the false prophet are sent to hell, the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. They are sent before the great judgement before the great white throne of 20.11-15, and they receive special treatment, so to speak, in that they are sent there before the judgement. They are joined in the next chapter by Satan, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. No annihilation, no disappearing, no “I’m dead and that’s the end of it”, that’s now how we are made.

Friends, we need to be doing everything we can to avoid this no-go zone. I once heard a wise man and good friend give a speech to around 300 young people and they asked him for his one golden piece of life advice. This is what he said, and this is where we need to begin and constantly circle back to in our earthly efforts to avoid the no-go zone that is the very real place of hell and eternal separation from God, he said;

25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Luke 10.25-28