No More Tears: Everything New
Good morning – welcome guests
We are in week three of our No More Tears sermon series, with a message today titled Everything New – We are going to be looking at Isaiah 65:17-25 as our main text today, along with several passages from Revelation 21 and 22.
So far in this series we have learned that Jesus is preparing a place for us, and if he is preparing a place for us we have nothing to worry about…Last week we discussed what happens to us when we die – noting that when we die in Jesus, we truly begin to LIVE out our eternal life in our glorified bodies and that nothing can separate us from God.
Today we are going to look at the concept of the New Heaven, New Earth, and New Jerusalem and that God is going to make everything new. We are going to dive into what the New Heaven and Earth and Jerusalem look like and what it will be like to live there.
Now there are all kinds of pop culture ideas about what heaven will look like, that are somewhat based on biblical ideas, and some that are completely myths. We are going to do our best to see what God’s Word says about the appearance, structure and makeup of heaven & earth and the New Jerusalem…or God’s City that we see in our texts for today.
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach[a] a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
The first thing we learn from this prophecy from Isaiah is that…
Everything is new (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1)
Everything…When you see that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth…that pretty much sums it up…there will be nothing that will not be remade. This concept in this prophecy is echoed in other places in scripture…like 2 Peter 3:10-13
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Rev. 21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
God is going to hit the do-over button and recreate everything new. I remember growing up my brother and I would play with Legos. This story will make David Gregory happy in second service! We would create these cities with a fire station, a police station – we would have road plates and houses and all kinds of other things that we would hook together…and then sometime while we were playing some big disaster would take place…a tornado…a city wide fire…whatever…and much if not all of the city would be destroyed…and we would have a blast rebuilding everything and making it new again.
I think God has been making some great plans…and he is going to make everything over…extreme edition…and the world and the heavens above will once more be in perfect, unfallen order.
Now lets dive a little deeper on this … there will be a –
New Heaven and New Earth
One of the things to take note of, and this kind of goes back to our first message in the series…there will be a place for us – a real physical place, prepared by Jesus just for us.
- There will be dwellings for God and man (Rev. 21:3; 1 Cor. 13:12)
Verse 21 of Isaiah 65 says that we will build houses and live in them. And in the Book of Revelation it says God will live with us.
Now God will not need a house per say…but he will dwell among us…heaven and earth will come together once more, like it was in the garden of Eden… Rev. 21:3 says…
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.
Now while this is a hard concept for us to visualize…and maybe hard for us to even conceive…we will one day get this. So if it doesn’t make sense to us now…it’s ok. We are promised in 1 Cor. 13:12 that we will someday understand…
1 Corinthians 13:12
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
We also see that …
- There will be food to eat (Rev. 22:2)
In verse 21 we also see that we will work planting vineyards and we will eat the fruit from them. We don’t know what the food will be necessarily, but we could assume it will some type of agricultural process that will be part of our work on the new earth. The beautiful thing is there will be no toil in the soil…planting will be easy…there will be no need for weed pulling or any pests to destroy the crops…and we will get to enjoy the fruit of the labor ourselves.
We also see evidence in Revelation 22:2 that we will consume food of some kind in heaven.
Revelation 22:2 2 …. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
The tree of life seems to have two functions – fruit that sustains life, and leaves that produce healing. Now I don’t know that the leaves of the tree are necessarily for medicinal purposes, but could be figurative healing…like being used to bring nations together – as believers from all nations and tribes will be together in heaven…that means that we will also have to share space with Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians…you get the idea. There will certainly be healing done to repair all the national, racial and religious divides.
Isaiah also writes that we will see that…
- Wild beasts and domestic animals will be together. (Rev. 5)
Wolves and lambs hang out together with no worries, Lions will eat straw it says just like the ox… in Revelation 5 we also see the Lion and Lamb a representation of God and Christ standing side by side. The old order of things will pass away…and there will be new laws of nature.
This gives evidence to the fact that there will be animals in heaven, and man will go back to our original role of taking charge of the animal kingdom, managing it, and we and the animals will live peacefully together…nobody will be eating anybody else!
Now some wonder – will my specific pet be in heaven – and sadly we don’t find anything in scripture that would support that idea – but we also find no evidence to say that they won’t be. Here’s the thing…God is God and there is nothing to say that He doesn’t have a plan for this…we just don’t know. I do know that animals, while they have their own unique make up, and an intelligence that can be measured, from animal to animal…there is nothing in scripture that claims that the animal kingdom have souls. Scripture makes it clear that humanity is unique in that way.
Then we are introduced to the concept that there will be…
The New Jerusalem; God’s city, Jesus’ bride. (Rev. 21:2 & 9)
This idea is confirmed in Revelation 21:2 and 21:9…
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.
9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
So what will this city look like…for that description we will camp out in Revelation 21 and 22 for the rest of the morning… first of all it will be…
- Surrounded by a wall. (Rev. 21:12)
12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel
Even when all is new…Jerusalem will be surrounded by a great wall. This wall will be amazing…built on 12 foundations – it will be the most firm structure ever built…each foundation representing one of the twelve apostles…there will be twelve gates in the walls, and each gate will be made of a whole pearl – larger than any pearl ever seen. Each gate will represent one of the twelves tribes of Israel. Next we see that…
- Gates are open yet evil is kept out. (Rev. 21:12-13; 21:27)
12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
The city is kept secure by Angels who stand guard at each gate –it will truly be a city that never sleeps – people will be able to come and go at any time, which reveals that the new earth will still be a vast place, and we will be going out into it to explore and discover the amazing things that God has created. Only those who are in the Lamb’s book of life will be allowed entrance into the city of God. The next thing we can find out about the New Jerusalem is that…
- The city is mammoth.(Rev. 21:15-16)
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.
This city is approximately 1400 miles wide, by 1400 miles deep, by 1400 miles high. The angel allowed John to measure the city with human measurements…which would have been a task to do by the way…and this city is huge…(PIC 1)if we were to put this city in the middle of the United States today it would stretch from Mexico to Canada and from the Rockies to the Appalachians. If it ends up being in the Middle East…it would cover everything from the (PIC 2) Mediterranean Sea to the middle of Iran, from Turkey down to the middle of Saudi Arabia. It would measure so high that it would have 600,000 stories at its highest point. One of the interesting things to point out about the city…being a perfect cube…similar to the space built in the original Temple for the Holy of Holies…the place reserved for God…and it being a perfect cube…three dimensions…representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…very cool to think about…and a city unfathomable even in our modern world. Next in the New Jerusalem there will be…
- No Temple or Worship Building – God and Christ are there! (Rev. 21:22)
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple
There will be no need for a PLACE of WORSHIP or CHURCH BUILDINGS, SANCTUARIES OR FELLOWSHIP HALLS…because worship and fellowship will be going on 24 -7 and GOD and JESUS will be right there all the while…soaking in the worship and praise, providing for and protecting us, their people.
Also because God and Jesus are there…
- Sun and Moon no longer needed for light (Rev. 21:23; 22:5)
21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
No more blackouts, no more eclipses, no more fear of the dark…there will always be light…and it will shine so bright that we won’t acknowledge the Sun or the Moon…it doesn’t say that they will not be there but that we won’t notice or see them because of God’s brilliant light.
- Full of the splendor of the purified earth (Rev. 21:19-21)
24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.[f] 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
When we find gold or precious stones, even diamonds on earth…when we first pull them out of the ground they are anything but beautiful. We have to put them through refinement processes that bring out the beautiful jewel or precious metal, refinement processes that take time. Even with our finest refinement processes of today it will be no contest…when we see these stones, jewels, and metals in their real purity – they’re intended perfection, when they have been through the refining fire of God…there will be nothing to compare it to on this earth…it is going to be amazing. And they will be so plentiful that they will be everywhere you look.
Finally…the New Jerusalem…
- Contains the River of Life and the Tree of Life (Rev. 22:1-2)
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse.
The tree of life and the river of life – restored to their original glory that we see spoken of in Genesis chapter 2, and they will be used in their original intent once again, like they were when Adam and Eve walked in Eden, which shows that in recreating everything New – God is going to restore perfection to His creation…and all of creation – which has been groaning from the time of man’s fall will finally be restored and made new.
Now briefly…I want to point out that some believe all of this to be symbolic only…that each of these things stands for something else…and there are some that say that all of it is literal and it will be just as John described it. From my studies…I am a firm believer that …
The New Heaven and Earth and New Jerusalem are both Literal and Symbolic
There are parts of John’s and Isaiah’s Description that have spiritual meanings and things that we may not yet understand, for instance the section from Isaiah’s text that talked about old men who die before they reach 100 being an oddity relates more to things going back to a place where there will be no old men, we will all be young – or – when John compares the New Jerusalem to the Bride of Christ, there is some dual meaning…that the Bride of Christ will reside in a physical heaven…but the people will become the city and the city will become the people…figuratively speaking – just like the Church is thought of as a building but it is really the believers who comprise the church.…but I also believe that much of what we read here we will see… and it will be a place that we cannot even begin to conceive or imagine.
Main Point: When God makes everything new, we will find protection, peace, and plenty.
High walls with gates guarded by angels, a city that is open all the time but yet has no trace of evil. A place where the gifts of God’s presence and provision is never ending.
This new heaven and earth and New Jerusalem that God is creating will be a safe place…where we will find rest and freedom from sin…and we will never be without the presence of God or his provision. It truly will be paradise, it will be heaven!