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I. Introduction. Most people use the terms, “Heaven and Hell,” to relate to the eternal destinations for all of humanity, as to whether they have been said to be “good or bad.” In this study of the twenty-first chapter of Revelation we will discuss the subjects of heaven and hell, in their correct translations. We will also discuss the qualification for anyone to have a joyful eternal presence with God, and the life conditions that will cause anyone to have an eternal existence of torments.
II. Consider heaven and hell.
A. The present world in which we reside will be destroyed at the end of the millennium (2 Peter 3:10-12). We are promised to have new heavens, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-2).
B. The eternal state of torment is described in Revelation 20:10-15. Verse 10 states, “lake of fire,” which is correct. Verse 13, uses the words “death and hell.” The word, “death,” relates to the state of death, in relation to dead bodies (Luke 16:22). “Hell,” which is incorrectly translated in some bibles, should be translated “hades.”
1. Rev 20:13, death: 2288. thanatos (Strong’s Concordance).
2. Rev 20:13, hadés: 86. Hades, the abode of departed spirits (Strong’s Concordance).
a. As is seen in Luke 16:22, death relates to the physical death of a body.
b. As is seen in Luke 16:22, death relates to the physical death of a body.
C. As is seen in Luke 16:23, Hades refers to the conditions of the conscious state of torment of the soul, for those whom have died not having a saving relationship with God, and which will remain until they stand at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:13-15).
1. Rev 20:13, dead: 3498. nekros. Usage: (a) adj: dead, lifeless, subject to death, mortal, (b) noun: a dead body, a corpse (Strong’s Concordance).
2. Rev 20:13. “death and hades gave up the dead.” The physical bodies of the unsaved will be joined with their spirits which have been in hades, regardless of how far a body has disintegrated. (Bible Knowledge Commentary, John F. Walvoord, B.A., M.A., Th. M., Th. D., D.D., Litt. D.)
3. As is seen in Luke 16:22a, we see righteous Lazarus in death, whose soul is in the bosom of Abraham. In Luke 16:23, while in torment, the unrighteous man’s soul is conscious of his torment. In Luke 16:25, we see that righteous Lazarus is in a state of comfort, while in death, while the agony of the unrighteous dead man is being restated.
D. Consider the Apostle Paul’s understanding of death and the eternal conscious state of deceased believers in Christ.
1. 2 Cor 5:8, “but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
2. Comment. 5:8. After the parenthetical thought of v. 7, Paul resumes where he left off in v. 6. He was not only confident (v. 6) that he was going to be with the Lord, he was pleased that he would be with the Lord after his death. This is one of the passages in the NT that indicates where believers will go immediately after their death; they will be with Jesus in heaven (see also Phil. 1:23). Jesus’ promise to the repentant criminal on the cross next to Him indicates this: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43) (NKJV Study Bible). The thief would soon experience the same eternal blessings as did righteous Lazarus (mine).
E. Consider the following description of conscious states of death. Abraham’s Bosom, Hades, Sheol.
1. “Abraham’s bosom.” This same expression (found only here in Scripture) was used in the Talmud as a figure for heaven. The idea was that Lazarus was given a place of high honor, reclining next to Abraham at the heavenly banquet. “Hades” was the Gr. term for the abode of the dead. In the LXX, it was used to translate the Heb. “Sheol,” which referred to the realm of the dead in general, without necessarily distinguishing between righteous or unrighteous souls. However, in NT usage, “Hades” always refers to the place of the wicked prior to final judgment in hell. The imagery Jesus used paralleled the common rabbinical idea that “Sheol” had two parts, one for the souls of the righteous and the other for the souls of the wicked—separated by an impassable gulf. “I am tormented.” Christ pictured Hades as a place where the unspeakable torment of hell had already begun. Among the miseries featured here are unquenchable flame (see note on Matt. 25:46); an accusing conscience fed by undying memories of lost opportunity (v. 25); and permanent, irreversible separation from God and everything good (v. 26). (MacArthur Study Bible, Luke 16:22-24.).
2. Consider body, soul and spirit (1 Thes 5:23). Body: eyes, nose, toes. Soul: consciousness, emotions, mind. Spirit: that part of us which either has the Spirit of Christ, dwelling within it, or does not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within it. If the Spirit of Christ does not dwell within our spirit, we have not been born again; we do not have an eternal presence with Christ (John 3:3; 2 Cor 5:17).
III. Who will be in the eternal state?
A. Whether a believer is resurrected, or raptured, their mortal body must undergo a total change. Consider 1 Corinthians 15:50-54.
50 Now I say this, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I am telling you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.
B. In our present mortal bodily state, we will either die, or be raptured. Whether dead, or alive, our body must be changed from one that is susceptible to sickness and death, to one that will never succumb to sickness or death. At the time of resurrection, and immediate-following rapture, the body of every believer in Christ will be given a resurrection body that will never be sick or will die.
C. In order for us to enter the eternal state, we must be given an imperishable, immortal, eternal, resurrection body, which will be provided by God; this will happen at the time of the rapture of the church (John 14:2-6; 1 Cor 15:50-54; 1 Thes 4:13-18).
D. Consider the words of the Apostle John, as he describes what we will be like at the time of the rapture:
1. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope set on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
2. My note: “We will be like Him.” Notice that, at the time of the rapture, and forever more, we will be incapable of thinking, saying, or doing, anything that is sinful.
IV. Scripture Study Details.
A. Introduction. Revelation 21 Text and Comments. Scripture notes come from the Ryrie Study Bible, due to the demonstrated knowledge of scripture of Dr. Ryrie, and because of the concise way that he makes his thoughts known. The credentials of Dr. Charles Ryrie (deceased) can be found in the About Sources Page of this site. Everybody should have a Ryrie Study Bible.
B. Text. Revelation 21.
The New Heaven and Earth
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
The New Jerusalem
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. 17 And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. 18 The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was 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 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
C. Comments. Revelation 21. Ryrie Study Bible.
1. 21:1. “a new heaven and a new earth.” The present creation will be destroyed so that it may be cleansed from all the effects of sin (2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12). “No more sea” because climatic and human conditions will be completely different.
2. 21:2. “new Jerusalem.” This heavenly city will be the abode of all the saints (Heb 12:22-24), the bride of Christ (vv 9-10), and the place Christ prepared for His people (John 14:2). During the Millennium, the Jew Jerusalem (described in Rev 21:9-22:5) apparently will be suspended over the earth, and it will be the dwelling place of all believers during eternity (as is emphasized in 21:1-8).
3. 21:3-4 People will enjoy a new intimacy with God and the elimination of those sorrows that sin brings.
4. 21:8. Those whose lives can be characterized in these ways will be cast into the lake of fire, because they have shown themselves to be unbelievers. “brimstone = sulphur.
5. 21:11. The city will shine with the “glory of God,” like “crystal-clear Jasper,” which will allow that glory to shine brilliantly.
6. 21:12-14. Though both Jewish saints and Christian saints will inhabit the city, the names of the “twelve tribes” and the “twelve apostles” are a witness to their continued distinction.
7. 21:16-17. Shaped foursquare like a cube, the city is 1380 mi (2,220 km) on each face, including height, with a wall 72 yd (66 m) thick. It has been calculated that even if only 25 percent of this space were used for dwellings, 20 billion people could be accommodated spaciously.
8. 21:19-20. “chalcedony.” Probably a greenish blue agate stone. (The exact composition and color of all these precious stones is unknown.) “sardonyx.” Bright red. “chrysolite.” Golden in color. “beryl.” Sea green. “topaz.” Yellow-green. “chrysoprase.” Apple green. “jacincth.” Blue. “amethyst.” Purple.
9. 21:24-27. The inhabitants will be only those which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
V. Verses of judgment and condemnation. In the verses that follow, are the lifestyles of people whom have not been born again, “those whom are not Christ’s.” Those whom are alive during the time prior to the tribulation had been exposed to Christ by eyewitnesses of our Lord, and by those whom had been won to Christ by those whom had been won to Christ by converts of eyewitnesses (from the first century until now). Because only eyewitnesses of Christ had actually seen the Truth of Christ, “those whom had not/have not/ seen our Lord,” based their decisions to accept Christ as Lord and Savior on faith, which will be the case of those whom will be tribulation saints. Those whom will live during the Kingdom Age as unbelievers will have the physical Presence of Christ in their lives, and will come under His teaching. In Rev 21:8 such words as “cowardly, fearful, liars,” along with the other verse qualifiers, show a lifestyle of unbelief in Christ, of not having been born again. All whom have direct access to the Person of Christ and to His teachings, should have no reason to be cowardly, fearful, or liars. But, because of their not having been born again, such Kingdom Age unbelievers will find their eternal destination to be in the Lake Of Fire (Rev 20:15), because they did not receive the Person and teaching of Christ; they will have been born in the Kingdom Age as unbelievers, and will exit the Kingdom Age as unbelievers. In essence, those of Rev 21:8, have not been born again (John 3:3). It is important to know that “Kingdom of God” can relate to the Millennium or to the Eternal State, depending on context. John 3:3 and 1 Cor 6:9-10 directly relate to people who be allowed to enter the Millennium/Kingdom Age (Rev 20). Those whom have been born again will also enter the eternal state of the new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem (Rev 21-22).
A. Pre-Tribulation Warning. This message is being taught now, and relates to those whom have not been born again, but may be born again.
1. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Text.
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
2. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Comment.
a. Vs 9-10. These sins, if of lifestyle, show that such a person has not been born again, not having the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, which prompts believers to righteousness.
b. Vs 11. Any unbeliever can come to saving faith in Christ, which will cause such a person to live a righteous way of life.
B. Post Tribulation Judgment. This message is written to relate to those who will be living in the Kingdom Age of the Millennium. The particulars also relate to this age in which we live.
1. Revelation 21:8.Text.
8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
2. Revelation 21:8. Comment.
a. A solemn, serious warning about the kinds of people who will be outcasts from the new heaven and the new earth in the lake of fire. The NT often goes beyond just citing unbelief in listing character and lifestyle traits of the outcast, so that believers can identify such people (1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19; cf. John 8:31). sorcerers. See note on 9:21. lake which burns with fire. See note on 19:20. brimstone. See note on 9:17. second death. See note on 20:6. (MacArthur Study Bibe.).
b. For the people who are identified in this verse, there is no recompense. Their eternity in the lake of fire was affirmed when they denied Christ as their Lord and Savior, and died, while living in the Kingdom Age. For those, who either remained alive throughout the Millennium (not having accepted Christ as Lord and Savior), or were killed as they joined forces with Satan and came against Christ and His people at the Battle of God and Magog (Rev 20:7-9), their eternity in the lake of fire was also sealed.
c. The dead of all time (those not born again, John 3:3), as opposed to “the dead in Christ” (those born again) (1 Thes 4:16), will stand before God, be judged according to their works, which are written “in the books,” and be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15).
d. The “book of life” (Rev 20:12) contains the names of all of those, of all time, whom will have been born again. Their offenses had been “nailed to the cross” (Col 2:13-14), whereby Christ had paid their sin debt.
C. Sin Applications.
1. In today’s world, we have a close resemblance to the events of the Battle of Gog and Magog (Rev 20:7-9). Those whom reside on earth during the Kingdom Age will be taught the truth of Christ (Isa 2:1-3; Zech 8:3). But, in spite of the truth of the words of Christ, many people will not accept His teachings. They will become pawns of Satan in his attack on God’s people at the end of the Millennium, and will show by their works that they have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Consider the words of Rev 21:8, which identify the people directly, whom will be living during the millennium, but have shown by their lifestyles that they have not come to saving faith in Christ. Anyone can have a day where they may commit any of the sins of 21:8, but only if those sins are lifestyle patterns, do they show that they have rejected Christ.
2. In the Apostle Paul’s personal world, he had a daily battle with sin. Consider Romans 7:14-21.
a. The Conflict of Serving Two Masters. The Truth Of Indwelling Sin.
14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good. 17 But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
b. To paraphrase the words of Paul, he said: “The things that I know I should do, I don’t do. The things that I shouldn’t do, I do. It is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
3. When we have been born again, our spirit, is dwelled within by the Spirit of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 17, 20). Our old spirit has passed away, and replaced by a new spirit (2 Cor 5:17). We have a spirit as righteous as the Spirit of Christ (2 Cor 5:21). But, we still have the problem that was present in the life of Paul, which is indwelling sin. When we are born again, our spirit has been born again, but our soul (our mind, our emotions, our consciousness) has not been born again; and “sin which dwells within me,” will stay within us until we die, or are caught up from this earth in the Rapture.
4. The dwelling of God’s Spirit, within our spirit, prompts us to righteousness, per the following scriptures: John 14:26; 16:5-11). When indwelling sin tells us to commit sin, the indwelling Holy Spirit tells us to live as Christ would live. Concerning Rev 21:8, a person having such deadly sins controlling their life, is providing evidence that they do not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within their spirit, prompting them to righteous living. For example, in the Millennium, nobody having accepted Christ as Lord and savior, should have any fear in their lives, because Christ’s influence, Presence, and protection will be everywhere.
5. Consider the following scriptures and associated details that tell of the influence of Christ over everyone who will be living in the Millennium.
a. Isa 2:3. And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
(1) “law.” 8451. torah.
(2) When these events take place many nations will be attracted to Jerusalem (cf. 14:1; 27:13; 66:23; Zech 8:23; 14:16) and to God’s house (the temple, Isa 2:2a). The attraction will be the Lord’s ways, paths, Law, and Word, which will be made known from that place. In fact, the Lord Himself will give forth the Law (51:4). (Zion, referred to dozens of times by Isiah, more than any other author of Scripture, is here a synonym of Jerusalem; cf. 4:3; 40:9; 52:1; 62:1. See comments on Zech 8:3). In the Millennium, people everywhere will realize that God’s revelation is foundational to their lives. They will want to know it (He will teach us) and to live according to it (walk in it). (Bible Knowledge Commentary, John A. Martin, B.A., Th. M., Th. D.).
b. Zech 8:3. “Thus says the LORD, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’
(1) 571. emeth. firmness, faithfulness, truth.
(2) At this time, His (Christ’s) truth and holiness (Joel 3:17; Obad 17) will be imparted in the city (Jerusalem) and throughout the the earth (Bible Knowledge Commentary, F. Duane Lindsey, B.A., B.D., Th. M., Th. D.).
VI. Conclusion. Everyone who will be alive during the Kingdom Age of the Millennnium will have the truth of God made known to them (Isa 2:3/Zech 8:3). Everyone who resides on this earth, prior to the Millennium, is currently receiving the message of Christ through God’s Holy Spirit (John 1:9). To reject Christ is to have a destiny in the lake of fire (Rev 20:15.
A. John 1:9. “This was the true Light that, coming into the world, enlightens every person.”
B. Ryrie Study Bible. John 1:9. “enlightens everyman.” Not that every man is redeemed automatically, for redemption comes through faith in the Savior.
C. John 1:12. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
D. Ryrie Study Bible note. John 1:12. “even to those who believe in His name.” An explanation of what it means to “receive” Him.
VII. Video Details.
A. What will the new heaven and the new earth be like?
B. John Ankerberg Show. Nov 28, 2018.
C. From the series “Revelation: The Last Words of Jesus” featuring very special guests Dr. Ron Rhodes, Dr. Ed Hindson, and, Dr. Mark Hitchcock.(Credentials for each of the men in this video can be found on my “About Sources” Page.
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