TEXT: Revelation 21:1-8
READING: John 1:1-18
SUBJ: God dwelling with man in New Heaven and New Earth
AIM: That we might look forward with great hope to the restoring of all things
1. We must consider at the outset, sensational and materialistic notions about Heaven. Much that is said about heaven is self seeking and lacks the exaltation of Christ above all.
2. My tendency has been to be ultra-conservative in opposition to sensationalism.
3. The one goal expressed in Scripture has always been New Heavens and New Earth – The various concepts of millennialism all have this as the culmination of all things.
4. Also, in determining how we deal with these things, we must take scripture as it lies. Ours is neither to read in things that are not there nor to equivocate about the things that are.
THESIS: God’s design in redemption has always been to dwell with a people in perfect holiness and harmony; this is what Christ died and rose for; He will accomplish that purpose.
I. The Aim of Redemption Realized (verses 1-4)
1. Reflections on the original creation before and after the fall.
1) The desirability – without death or sorrow of any kind (consider that even the animals were vegetarians.)
2) The actions of the first Adam and the consequences both to man and creation
i. Man is cut off from God and dies
ii. The earth is cursed.
3) Consider man and the progression of sin and the destruction of the earth and his failure under Law. Note the long lives of Adam and others compared with today.
4) The extent of the curse is universal: From Isaac Watts:
No more let sin and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
5) The divine assessment of human depravity – “Imaginations only evil…” et al
6) The necessity and desire that Christ facilitate the aim of God in redemption and on to New Heavens and New Earth.
7) Redemption – See Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And see also: Romans 8:22-23 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. – Creation is to be redeemed.
2. Consider the connection of the New with the Old
1) The expectation: Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. AND consider: 2 Peter 3:12-13 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
2) A physical earth and heaven for a physical resurrected body.
3) Eden restored and more.
4) Consider that we are taught to pray: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” – We should see that this looks beyond an immediate hope here but sees the perfect future as well.
3. The purpose: The tabernacle (dwelling place) of God with men. See 2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. See also: John 1:14
1) Perhaps here we may allow our imagination to explore the possibilities.
2) All causes of sorrow gone.
II. The Aim of Redemption Certified (vv. 5-6)
1. God declares what is to be done (v. 5)
2. God the Son declares it is done –
1) Alpha and Omega
2) The dispenser of the water of life.
III. The Aim of Redemption Clarified
1. Consider verse 8, first. And especially take note that the list includes the fearful and unbelieving.
2. He that overcomes inherits “these things.”
1) Consider: 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
2) And as we look on to verse 9, we see that it just keeps coming!