Revelation Prophecy – Chapter 21

What will the new heaven and the new earth be like?

I. Opening Video. John Ankerberg Show. John Ankerberg (M. Div., D. Min.); Ron Rhodes (Th. M., Th. D.) ; Mark Hitchcock (Th. M., J.D., Ph. D.)

II. Introduction.  Dr. C.I. Scofield (D. D.; 1843-1921) Scofield Study Bible (1909, 1917, 1937, 1945, 1984, 1998, 2002, 2006, Editor, C.I. Scofield, Editorial Revision 1967 Committee Members: Charles L. Feinberg, Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., John F. Walvoord, Th. B., Th. M., Th. D.).

A. 21:1-8: The new heaven, new earth, and the new Jerusalem. B. 21:9-27: The Lamb’s wife; the new Jerusalem.

III. Overview.

A. Dr. Kendell H. Easley (M. Div.; Ph. D.) The Book of Revelation, Holman New Testament Commentary.

1. 21:1-8: The Holy Bride City – New Jerusalem. 2. 21:9-21: Description of the Heavenly City and Its Splendor. 3. 21:22-27: The Lord as the Light of All Nations at Last.

B. Dr. David Jeremiah. (Th. M., D.D.) Jeremiah Study Bible. 

1. 21:1-8: All Things Made New. 2. 21:9-21: The New Jerusalem. 3. 21:22-27: The Glory of the New Jerusalem. 

C.  Dr. John Phillips (D. Min; 1927-2010) Revelation Commentary. 

1. 21:1-8: The Bright New World. a. 21:1: It is planned as a new creation. b. 21:2: It is provided with a new capital. c. 21:3-4: It is prepared for a new community. d. 21:5-8: It is protected by a new constitution.

2. 21:9-22:5: The Brand New City. a. 21:9-14: John’s first impressions. b. 21:15-27: John’s further impressions.

D. Dr. Daniel Green (Th. D., D. Min.) The Moody Bible Commentary.

Revelation 21: The New Heaven and New Earth. 

E. Dr. Robert L. Thomas  (Th. M., Th. D.; 1928-2017). Revelation Commentary.

One might expect the judgment of the Great White Throne to end the last of the seven last plagues, but it does not. One more scene remains. It may seem inappropriate to call this scene a plague or a bowl judgment, but alongside the future bliss of the saints (21:1-7) comes an indication of the exclusion of those in the lake of fire from the promised blessings of the new creation (21:8). So, besides the structural features that indicate a continuation of the last plague in this section, the continuing theme of misery and punishment shows how this section belongs in the scroll of judgments first introduced in chapter 5.

F. Dr. Charles L. Feinberg (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., 1909-1995).

1. 21:1: Passing of the Old Heaven and Earth. 2. 21:2-7: New Jerusalem. 3. 21:8: The Portion of the Ungodly. 4. 21:9: The Wife of the Lamb.5. 21:10-27: Description of the New Jerusalem.

G. Dr. John F. Walvoord (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., 1910-2002) The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Following the judgment of the great white throne depicted in the closing verses of chapter 20, John’s attention is next directed to the new heaven and the new earth which replace the old heaven and the old earth which fled away (20:11). The expression “And I saw” is the first of three such statements in this chapter marking the major elements of the revelation (cf. 21:2, 22). The new heaven and new earth presented here are evidently not simply the old heaven and earth renovated, but an act of new creation (cf. discussion at 20:11). No description is given of either the new heaven or the new earth in verse 1 except for the cryptic statement “There was no more sea.” There is remarkably little revealed in the Bible concerning the character of the new heaven and the new earth, but it is evidently quite different from their present form of existence. Most of the earth is now covered with water, but the new earth apparently will have no bodies of water except for the river mentioned in 22:2.

H. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost (Th. B., Th., D., 1915-2014) Things To Come. p561, 562 .

1. After the dissolution of the present heaven and earth at the end of the millennium, God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev 21:1). By a definite act of creation, God calls into being a new heaven and earth to be the scene of the eternal “theocratic kingdom” of God (italics, mine). 

2. Israel’s covenants guarantee that “people the land,” a national existence, a kingdom, a King, and spiritual blessings in perpetuity (italics mine). Therefore, there must be an eternal earth in which these blessings can  be fulfilled. By a translation out of the old earth, Israel will be brought into the new earth, there to enjoy forever all that God has promised to them. Then, it shall be  eternally true, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people (Rev 21:3). The creation of the new heavens and new earth is the final preparatory act anticipating the eternal kingdom of God. It is now true that God has a kingdom “where dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet 3:13). 

3. In relation to the eternal destiny of the church saints, it is to be observed that their destiny primarily is related to a Person, rather than a place. While the place looms with importance (John 14:3), the place is overshadowed by the Person into whose presence the believer is taken.

IV. Scripture Text. Revelation Chapter 20 (NASB 1995). Link pasted from Bible Gateway. 

V. Verse Examination. Revelation 21.

Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D.; 1925-2016) Ryrie Study Bible).

A. 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 Pet 3:7, 10. 12). No more “sea” because the climactic and human conditions will be completely different.

B. 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 is preparing for His people (John 14:2). During the Millennium the New Jerusalem 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). 

C. 21:3-4. People will enjoy a new intimacy with God and the elimination of those sorrows that sin brings.

D. 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.

E.21:11. The city will shine with the “glory of God,” like “crystal-clear Jasper,” which will allow that glory to shine “brilliantly.”

F. 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 continual distinction.

G. 21:16-17. Shaped foursquare like a cube, the city is 1,380 mi (2,220 km) on each face, including height, with a wall 72 ye (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.

H. 21:19-24. Whether these nations and kings are millennial people, or resurrected people in the eternal state, is unclear. In either case, only the redeemed will be allowed to enter the city (v. 27). 

VI. Summary.

Dr. Orville J. Nave, Nave’s Study Bible, 1978 (D.D., LL. D., 1841-1917). Orville J. Nave (Editor). Anna Seamans Nave (Editor).

In this twenty-first chapter of Revelation, we see” 1 A new heaven and new earth. 2 The blessings of God’s people. 8 The doom of the wicked. 9 The heavenly Jerusalem described. 22 No temple there. 23 The light and glory of the city. 27. Nothing that defiles can enter therein.

VII. Parting Thoughts. 

A. Dr. Ryrie’s comment on Revelation 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.”

B. Revelation 21:8 shows a correlation to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. 

a. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “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.” (This passage is a message to those of us who are present in this age of the church. Each offending identity shows a person who continues in a lifestyle that shows such a person has not been born again, not having the Spirit of God dwelling within their spirit prompting them to righteousness; they will not be caught up in the rapture which will precede the Tribulation, 1 Thess 4:16, “the dead in Christ; 1 Thes 4:17, we who are alive.” Only those “in Christ,” living or deceased, will be caught up by Christ and taken to Heaven prior to the Tribulation.)

b. MacArthur Study Bible note: (1 Corinthians 6 :9-10).

While believers can and do commit these sins, they do not characterize them as an unbroken life pattern. When they do, it demonstrates that the person is not in God’s kingdom. True believers who do sin resent that sin and seek to gain the victory over it (cf. Rom. 7:14–25). fornicators. All who indulge in sexual immorality, but particularly unmarried persons. idolaters. Those who worship any false god or follow any false religious system. adulterers. Married persons who indulge in sexual acts outside their marriage. homosexuals . . . sodomites. These terms refer to those who exchange and corrupt normal male-female sexual roles and relations. Transvestism, sex changes, and other gender perversions are included (cf. Gen. 1:27Deut. 22:5). Sodomites are so-called because the sin of male-male sex dominated the city of Sodom (Gen. 18:2019:45). This sinful perversion is condemned always, in any form, by Scripture (cf. Lev. 18:2220:13Rom. 1:26271 Tim. 1:10).

C. Consider Revelation 21:8.

1. Rev 21:8: 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.” (This passage comes after the Battle of Gog and Magog (Rev 20:7-8). An assault is mounted on God’s people at the end of the Millennium, not the same as Ezek. 38:1. The large number of rebels will come from the many people born during the Millennium, who, though giving outward obedience to the King (Jesus), never accept Him. 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. (Ryrie Study Bible, Rev 20:8; 21:8). Rev 20:12 shows “the dead,” as opposed to “the dead in Christ” (1 Thes 4:16), with “the dead” being those who have not been born again, and the “dead in Christ” those having been born again. 

2. All unbelievers, typified by their behaviors in 21:8, will be excluded from the new Jerusalem ( Dr. Daniel Green (Th. D., D. Min.) The Moody Bible Commentary.

3. Consider “cowardly: (Rev 21:8). 1169 deilós (an adjective derived from deidō, “fear-driven”) – properly, dreadful, describing a person who loses their “moral gumption (fortitude)” that is needed to follow the Lord. (Bible Hub).

4. MacArthur Study Bible note. Revelation 21:8.

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. 6:910Gal. 5:19; cf. John 8:31).

5. Consider The New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:2.

A. “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”

B. MacArthur Study Bible note.

  1. New Jerusalem. Cf. 3:12Heb. 11:1012:22–2413:14.  This is the capital city of heaven, a place of perfect holiness. It is seen “coming down out of heaven,” indicating it already existed; but it descends into the new heavens and new earth from its place on high. This is the city where the saints will live (cf. John 14:1–3). 
  2. bride. An important NT metaphor for the church (cf. Matt. 25:1–13Eph. 5:25–27). John’s imagery here extends from the third part of the Jewish wedding, the ceremony. Believers (the bride) in the New Jerusalem come to meet Christ (the bridegroom) in the final ceremony of redemptive history (see note on 19:7). The whole city, occupied by all the saints, is called the bride, so that all saints must be finally included in the bride imagery and bridal blessing. God has brought home a bride for His beloved Son. All the saints live with Christ in the Father’s house (a promise made before the church began; John 14:2).

VIII. My Bucket List shows the references, of people and documents, that I use when I write my articles.

IX. My Websites To Follow. Eternity Equipping The Saints Website Israel Website Israel, History And Prophecy


Author: Equipping

The Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel. The Church did not replace Israel, and is not spiritual Israel. In the New Testament, “church” and “Israel” are mentioned as being separate entities. In the New Testament “church” is mentioned 112 times; Israel is mentioned 79 times; both are mentioned as being separate entities The Kingdom “has not yet come,” and will not come until the Jewish bloodline of Israel accepts God’s chosen king (Deuteronomy 17:15), which will take place at the end of the Tribulation when the nation of Israel faces decimation and calls on Messiah, Christ, in faith, to save them (Zechariah 12:10). Individual salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and comes through Christ (John 14:6). Things are discussed in this website that relate to God’s creation, from “eternity to eternity,” and all that is addressed within those parameters. Consider Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is no one who can rescue from My hand; I act, and who can reverse it?” The Moody Study Bible adds a comment: “God is the ruler of all, and there is nothing that can stand against Him. His will is irresistible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds this thought: “No one can reverse what God puts into action or thwart His plans.” The articles that are found in this site may relate to anything that is found in the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation22.21, as well as anything else that may relate to the Bible.

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