Can you imagine the New Heaven and the New Earth?

The New Heaven and the New Earth According to John: Revelation 21

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. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Furthermore he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 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.  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 murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come; I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11  having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates, the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold,clear as glass. 19  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Heaven is the new Jerusalem. Is it real?

The New Jerusalem

Image via Wikipedia

Many people believe heaven is a wishful fantasy that weak-minded people cling to in order to cope with, or escape from, the tough realities of life here on earth. Some assume that eventually everybody will end up in heaven. But others say very few people will make it there. And nearly all argument about heaven typically generate more heat that light and more controversy than understanding.

So much confusion! So many opinions! But why all these different opinions and theories when the Bible is full of details about heaven? Yes, God wants us to know what heaven is like so that we will want to be there! Heaven is not a place He is trying to keep secret from us.

According to a Harris poll taken in January of 2003, 82 percent of Americans believe that a heaven does exist. But the truth is that these days most people–including Christians spend very little time thinking about heaven. From the moment we wake up in the morning till we collapse  in exhaustion into our beds again at night, we’re running, going, doing, eating working and doing all manner of things.

Meanwhile we Christians believe that somewhere inconceivable in the universe is an unseen place that we’ve been taught about and it’s called heaven. It’s part of the distant future, not the here and now. And though we can see and touch the immediate environment we live in every day, heaven is out of sight and out of reach. Therefore, it hardly seem real. Besides, our lives move so fast and are so full that we can barely keep pace with what’s happening around us, much less stop to contemplate a place to which we’ve never been.

Part of the problem is what many of us typically believe about heaven leaves us considerable  less than impressed. What if, for example, you are just not into playing harps all day? What if fleecy white clouds and halos and singing in heavenly choir leaves you cold? And do you really have to run around in a white robe all the time?

Undoubtedly one reason so many of us have a hard time getting excited about eternity is that we carry around a stunted and juvenile view of heaven as a spectacular setting in which we float around endlessly doing bland things and “being holy.”

But John tell us exactly what heaven will be like. “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. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:1,2).

This city is not just something that John saw and know about–God’s people have been aware of it throughout the ages. God tells us that all of His holy prophets had spoken about God’s plan to deal with a sin damaged world. Peter told the people of old Jerusalem that God would “send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets” (Acts 3:20,21)