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Revelation 21-22

by Chuck Smith

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away (21:1);

Now, we are beyond the thousand years. The first heaven is passed away. Peter tells us it passes away with a great noise with a fervent heat as the elements are dissolved.

Now, God spoke the universe into existence. And in speaking it into existence, He spoke into existence a scientific puzzle. For in speaking matter into existence, He brought the protons and electrons and assembled them together. And in creating the atoms, and bringing into the heart of the atom, the protons tightly knit together in the nucleus of the atom, He violated the law of electricity, Collins Law, which speaks of the repelling force of positive charges. Positive poles repel. Try to put them together and they will fight each other. There is a repelling force of positive charges, tremendously powerful repelling force.

The atom bomb illustrates to us the true nature of an atom. For what is happening is the nucleus of an atom is bombarded with slow moving neutrons that upset the delicate balance of the protons in the heart of the atom and it releases them. As it releases them, you have this tremendous release of energy and power and you see the tremendous power released when protons within an atom are set free. It is an equivalent power that holds them together. It takes an equivalent power to hold the nucleus of an atom together that is released when the nucleus is unbalanced.

Now, God who holds together the universe by the word of His power, and we are told this in the Scripture; He created it by the word of His power and by Him all things are held together. All He is going to do is relax and let it go, and the whole material universe will go up in one gigantic puff. The elements will be dissolved and melted with a fervent heat. The heavens will be on fire. The whole material universe following the natural laws with the protons repelling each other, and this whole material universe will go out of existence in a moment’s time.

And then God said, “Behold, I create all things new,” Isaiah sixty-six. There will be a new heaven and a new earth and the former will not be remembered or brought into mind. We are not going to sit around after that age and say, “Remember down on earth we used to”. God is just going to excise from our brain all those DNA molecules that hold those memory stores and banks and it will be gone, not be remembered or brought into mind.

the first earth and the first heaven passed away; no more sea (21:1).

To bad surfers, but I am sure God will have something quite superior.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (21:2).

Now, this new earth will be orbited by the New Jerusalem. I believe the New Jerusalem will actually be an orbit around the new earth. It will be approximately the size of the moon. It will be cubed however rather than round and it will be fourteen hundred miles cubed.

Now, if we lived dimensionally at that time, you know we live on the surface of the earth, but if you had a cube and we lived dimensionally, it is interesting to get out your pencil and notepad and figure how many square miles you could get in a cube that was fourteen hundred miles in each direction. You would be amazed what fourteen hundred cubed becomes. Needless to say, you could all have a square mile and if we need more space what you do is just move your ceiling down to a half-mile and you double again the capacity.

And I heard the great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, [God is now going to dwell in the midst among His people.] they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. He will wipe away all their tears; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (21:3-4).

No physical infirmities, no weaknesses, no tiredness, and no weariness.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful (21:5).

It sounds like a dream, doesn't it? It sounds like a fairy tale. It sounds too good to be true. And because it is really just so good, that it is hard for us to conceive it so the Lord puts this special little “write these things because these sayings are faithful and true.” God attests now to the truth of what He is declaring. You can believe it. You can trust it.

And he said unto me, It is finished. I am Alpha and Omega (21:6),

Jesus is called the author and the finisher of our faith, the beginning and the end.

I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of water of life freely (21:6).

Jesus, that day on the temple mount, cried, “If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink.” To the woman at the well He said, “If you drink of this water, you will thirst again, if you drink of the water that I give you will never thirst again”(John 4:13-14). And once again the invitation for those that are thirsty, “He will give the fountains of living water freely.”

He that overcometh shall inherit all things (21:7)

“Come ye blessed of the Father inherit,” Jesus said, “the things that were prepared for you from the foundations of the earth”(Matthew 25:34). We are told about the glorious inheritance of the saints in light. That inheritance that has— "If we are sons of God then we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ"(Romans 8:17). We are going to inherit the whole new universe that God creates. It is all ours to enjoy to the fullest with Him.

And I will be his God, and he will be my son (21:7).

Beloved now are we the sons of God. What a privilege and what a blessing.

But outside the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, the drug abusers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. [We've already looked at that] And there came unto me one of the seven angels (21:8-9)

Now, these are the angels that had those seven final vials. One of them showed him the destruction of the religious Babylon system in chapter seventeen. Now again one of the seven angels,

which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, came and talked with me, saying, Come over here, and I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And so he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal (21:9-11);

So you see how light refracts in a crystal and the brilliance or in a diamond the refraction of light, the glorious colors that are coming forth from the new Jerusalem as it descends out of heaven to take its place of orbit around the new earth.

And had a wall great and high, twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel (21:12):

So, the company includes those believers of the Old Testament time, Abraham and all of those who God imputed righteousness through their faith, but also the foundations with the names of the apostles representing the church.

three gates on the north; three on the south; three on the east; three on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and those are the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city is foursquare [it is squared], and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs [fourteen hundred miles approximately]. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. [So it is a square] And he measured the wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man (21:13-17),

A cubit is about eighteen inches, so the height of the wall is about two hundred feet or so.

And the building of the wall was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second was sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gates was one pearl [or one huge pearl at each gate]: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass (21:18-21).

I think that God is doing that to show us that the value system is totally different in heaven as it is here. That which we highly prize and value that men will lie for, kill for and steal for will have no value up there. It is just asphalt.

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it (21:22).

No need of a temple because we meet God everywhere now. He is dwelling with His people. You need no meeting place where you go to meet God. He is dwelling amongst His people.

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof (21:23).

The glorious incandescent light, of the Shekinah of God, the glory of God.

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, or whatsoever works abomination, or a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life (21:24-27).

So, there will be limited access.

Now, perhaps God is going to create another new order upon the earth, the new earth. It is very possible. You can’t limit God. There is no real proof that man is the first order that God created upon the earth here. Adam is the first of the Homosapiens after His type, but what kind of persons or beings or intelligent beings did God create before man? Who knows? And what kind God may create after us, who knows? God has got a lot of secrets that He hasn’t told us yet. And it is going to be a glorious time in history discovering the mysteries of God, that is, the truths that have not yet been revealed.

Now, the church was a mystery. God didn’t reveal the truth of the church until the New Testament times. And Paul said, “that He has hid these things from the Old Testament prophets, but now He has revealed them unto us”(Colossians 1:26), the mystery of the church.

So, there are glorious things. There are nations and the access though to this heavenly city will be the kings. We will reign with Him as kings, bringing the glory of the nations unto him. So, just what kind of order, or whatever, is only speculation and as such worthless, but it will be interesting when we get there and find out. I'm not going to add to it.

Chapter 22

And he shewed me a pure river (22:1)

You know it is going to be new, because these don’t exist anymore here.

of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month (22:1-2):

So, you have an interesting kind of a tree here. And of course, we have been fooling around genetically with trees and plants and we have been able to do a lot of interesting things with genetic manipulation of plants and trees. We have created different types of hybrids and different kinds of resistances and so forth.

In fact, they have created a tomato plant now in Israel at the Beersheba University, a tomato plant that you can irrigate with seawater. You don’t get salty tomatoes. But who knows; maybe they will be able to develop that in time where the tomato would already be salted when you get it. But they are irrigating tomato plants now with Mediterranean Sea water. And they are doing a lot of things with the genetic codes. The new thing here is these new seedless flame grapes. And it’s great what man has been able to do messing around with some of the genetic codes of some of the plants and trees.

When I was a kid we lived off of North Broadway Street here in Santa Ana, and we had a tree that had both Navel and Valencia oranges growing on it, as well as grapefruits and lemons. So, during part of the year we could pick the Valencia oranges, during the winter months pick the navel oranges, and in the meantime, eat the grapefruit and have lemonade. It was just a thing of grafting into the basic root system the various types of citrus fruits. And now you can buy some trees that have peaches and nectarines on them. It is interesting.

God is going to have a tree that has twelve different kinds of fruit and every month a fruit will be ripe. It is going to be a neat tree. I am such a fruit lover anyhow; I am going to see if I can get a few of those planted in my yard.

and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations (22:2).

So, there will be a medicinal value in the leaves of the tree.

And there shall be no more curse (22:3):

The earth, you remember, was cursed as a result of sin. “Cursed will be the ground; thorns and thistles will it bring forth. Cursed be man, by the sweat of his brow shall he earn his bread” Genesis 3:18-19), and so forth. There will be no more curse.

but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face (22:3-4);

“Blessed are the pure in heart”, Jesus said, “for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). “They shall see His face”,

and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, nor light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever (22:3-5).

Hard to believe; isn’t it? That is why he immediately said,

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true (22:6):

It sounds too good to be true. It sounds, wow! So the Lord affirms that these are true and faithful sayings. Again, the affirmation of the truth of what God is declaring for your skeptical mind that finds it hard to believe that God should do such a thing for us. For we are so unworthy and undeserving that we should reign forever and ever in His glorious New Kingdom and New World and new age. So, the Lord assures you these are true and faithful sayings.

and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold (22:6-7),

The Lord is talking here to John now.

I come quickly: blessed is he that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, I heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me those things (22:7-8).

He did this a little earlier and the angel said to him to stand up. “Don't do that.” But John is overwhelmed again; he is just wiped out, overwhelmed that the guy tells him that, so he falls down at his feet again to worship him

Then the angel said, Don't do that: for I am thy fellowservant, of the brethren the prophets, of those which keep the sayings of this book: worship God (22:9).

Again John making the mistake that man so often makes worshipping the instrument of God. “Don’t do that. Worship God.”

And he said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand (22:10).

Now, you remember when he talked to Daniel, he said seal up those things and don’t write them, for they are for the end. In the last days, knowledge will be increased. So, seal them up there will be a time that they will be understood, but they are not for you, Daniel. Now with John, he said, “don’t seal the book. Leave it open, because things are going to start working out”.

Now the interesting thing is that so many people look at Revelation as though it were a sealed book. “Oh, that is a sealed book. You don't want to get into that. No one can understand it.” It is because they don't attempt to or they attempted to spiritualize the meanings, and if you do that it becomes meaningless. So, if you just read it and say "wow" and accept it as it is, not adding to it or taking away, you have no problem. It is only when you try to spiritualize everything in it, and give everything some kind of a weird meaning, that it becomes a difficult book to understand. “So don't seal the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.”

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold [again the Lord is talking], I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be (22:11-12).

Now, as a child of God I will not be judged for my sins; that has all been covered by Jesus Christ. As a child of God the gift of eternal life is just that, it is God’s gift to me. I can’t earn it. I do not deserve it. It is a gift of God. “By grace you are saved through faith and that not of yourself it is a gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast”(Ephesians 2:8-9). However, God is going to reward me according to the works that I do. There will be degrees of rewards in heaven.

Now, as far as eternal life, that is God’s gift. I can't deserve that or earn it. I don't deserve it. It is God’s gift to me by faith in Jesus Christ, faith alone. That is the only basis upon which this gift is predicated and God gave me the faith to believe. However, now that I believe I want to serve God and I offer myself to God to serve Him, and the works that I do for God, I will be rewarded for them, those works that are done out of a pure motivation.

Now, there are a lot of works that people do that there will be no reward. If your work is just for a big show to just be known among people, and they say, "Oh, man he's just a holy Joe." And you do things to give them that kind of a feeling, you learn to close your eyes at the proper time and fold your hands and you learn to talk in such a way that it sort of oozes of righteousness and spirituality, so that people they can just talk to you and know that you walk close to God. That kind of stuff is junky and there is no reward for that.

Jesus said, “Take heed that you do not your righteousness before men to be seen of men, because then you have your reward”(Matthew 6:1). So, when you pray don’t go out on the street corner and do a big thing so that everyone goes by and says, "What is happening? "Oh, he's a spiritual man." “Go in your closet, shut the door and talk to your Father who sees in secret and He will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6). When you give don’t make a big to-do over it; don’t play the Halleluia chorus and do cartwheels. Learn to do things without drawing attention to yourself. "Let your light so shine before men that when they see your good works they glorify your Father which is in heaven"(Matthew 5:16), because we will be rewarded according to those works that have right motivation.

Now, Jesus said, “If we do our works to be seen of men then we have our reward now.” So, be careful about that. There is a real danger, subtle danger there.

“So, I'm coming quickly. My rewards are with Me and I'm going to reward every man according to his work.”

You remember the one who received the five talents? How he brought them and said, “Lord you gave me five and I increased them and I now have ten.” “Good job. I am going to make you ruler over ten cities. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” “Lord you gave me four talents and I went out and used them and I have eight.” All right, good work, make you ruler over eight cities." “Hey, Lord, I know you are an austere man. You like to reap where you didn’t sow and so forth. So I knew how you were about the money that You distributed, so I took the money and buried it and here it is, Lord. So I dug it up and got it out of the napkin and it's all preserved. You can have it back again.” Not so good. No reward. "I'm coming quickly. My reward is with Me."

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (22:13).

Now, these words were declared of God the Father in chapter one. Here Jesus is talking to John and He is declaring the same thing.

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city (22:14).

Jesus said, “I am the door to the sheepfold.”

For without are dogs, drug abusers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. I Jesus have sent my angel to testify unto you these things in the churches (22:15-16).

So, this is for the churches. The Lord sent it for the churches.

I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and the morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come (22:16-17).

God’s invitation to you to come and to share in the glories of His eternal kingdom.

And let him that heareth say, Come. [Come Lord Jesus and establish Your kingdom.] Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely (22:17).

It is open and available. Help yourself.

For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (22:18-19).

I cannot imagine the audacity of man to mess around with the book of Revelation with a warning like that, or to try to read something into or read something out of it. I can’t imagine such audacity. That is why I take the book literally even though I may not understand all of it. I take it literally and I teach it literally, because I don’t want to be guilty of adding to or taking away. I’d rather be wrong in my literal interpretation of the book than to be wrong and add to the book by spiritualizing, or take away from it by spiritualizing.

In other words, this book is not to be messed with, just to be believed and practiced. “Blessed are they that read, hear and practice the words of this prophecy, putting them into practice in their lives.” So, that is what it is for, to be read and heard and put into practice, not to be argued with, or disputed over or whatever.

He which testifies these things saith, Surely I come quickly. So be it. Even so, come, Lord Jesus (22:20).

Well, that was almost nineteen hundred years ago that He said, “Behold, I come quickly.” But Lord it has been nineteen hundred years. Peter said, “In the last days there will be scoffers that will come along and saying where is the promise of His coming? Since our fathers have fallen asleep everything has gone on as it was from the beginning”(2 Peter 3:3). “You know, God stepped out.” Foolishness. Jesus is coming again, foolishness. Where is the promise? Things are just going to go on and on and on. There is not going to be any interruption in history.

But Peter said, "God isn’t slack concerning His promises,” that is the promise of the coming, “as some men count slackness.” But he said, “You need to consider that one day is as a thousand years to the Lord and a thousand years is as one day”(2 Peter 3:8). We say it has almost been almost two thousand years. Well, the Lord says, “It has only been a couple days. Guess we better get back.” “Behold, I come quickly.”

How, quickly is He coming for you? We don’t know; do we? But I do believe that the time of the return of Jesus Christ is very, very near. There is an indication in Hosea that for two days Israel will be as dead, but in the third day God will revive them and they will live before him. Again a thousand years to a day and a day to a thousand years. For two thousand years Israel was like dead, but now they have revived. The prophecy of Hosea is fulfilled. And so I do believe that the day of the Lord is at hand. And I, with John, would respond, “Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

Oh, how my heart yearns for the Lord to come and the establishing of His kingdom. How I desire to see the New World, the new age with Jesus reigning as King and Lord.

John’s final parting words and the closing words of the Bible. How appropriate.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. So be it. (22:21)

Isn’t that beautiful? What a glorious way to end this glorious book. Just the bequest of God's grace or the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ upon you. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ rest or be upon or be with all of you. “So be it.”

Shall we pray.

Lord we thank you for Your grace and by grace we will be able to participate in the glorious inheritance of the saints in light. Thank you, Lord, that you have delivered us from the power of darkness, taken the rebellion out of our hearts, and given us a heart of love, a heart of commitment, a heart of faith. Lord we want to serve You because we love You. And we thank you Lord for that hope that You have given to us of the New World, the new age where righteousness shall reign and Jesus shall reign where here the sun doth her successive journeys run. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.

You didn't think I could do it, did you? Neither did I. Praise the Lord for His Word, a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path, a power in our lives to keep us from sin. Life itself, "For the entrance of thy word giveth life." How we need to walk in the light of God's Word.

I'm sort of excited about the possibility of starting all over again, getting back into Genesis where it all began and see how the Lord works from the beginning to the end. Now we've closed things out. We've entered on into the eons of the eternity, the future. The sun has disappeared, dissipated, gone. And in the ages to come God is now revealing to us the exceeding richness of His love and mercy towards us in Christ, on out forever and ever with our Lord. So we'll go back now and retrace the rebellion of man from the beginning; its effect upon man, mankind and God's patient dealing in love, longsuffering as He draws forth His plan and draws man to His plan that ultimately we might share with Him that eternity in His kingdom of love and grace. So may the Lord be with you and may the Lord bless you and may He prepare your heart as we prepare to start through once more. I really believe this will be the last time. Our glorious adventure learning of Him.

Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in 1965, with just twenty-five people.