Then & Now - Revelation Chapter 21

Revelation 21:1–2
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.


Have you ever thought about what Heaven is going to be like?

How beautiful heaven must be Sweet home of the happy and free; Fair haven of rest for the weary, How beautiful heaven must be.

Revelation chapter 21 is really summed up in the first two verses of the chapter. From there, John goes on to describe, in some ways, what that new heaven and new earth will be like. God, through John’s testimony, gives us a tiny glimpse of what it will be like.

God will physically dwell with us.

Revelation 21:3
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

One of the great promises that God has given to us is that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Hebrews 13:5
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

This promise has enabled us to face unbelievable circumstances and difficulties with strength and courage. God has fulfilled that promise by giving us the indwelling Holy Spirit.

John 14:26–27
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

This promise has enabled us to also face unbelievable circumstances and difficulties, not only with strength and courage, but also with peace - God’s peace!

But, then, in the new heaven and the new earth, while it is hard to explain and imagine, God will dwell with us physically just as you and I are physically near to one another tonight in this room. And He will never leave!

God shall wipe away all our tears.

Revelation 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 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.

There is much in this world that brings tears to our eyes - death, sorrow, pain.

“No matter what path of life we choose, we cannot escape sorrow.” Lehman Strauss, The Book of the Revelation

We have likely all experienced each of those to some degree. In this life, there is no way that we will ever fully escape them. In fact, at times, simply singing certain hymns is enough to bring a tear to our eyes as we are reminded of loved ones who have gone on before and the longing that we have to be reunited with them in glory! Praise the Lord that the time will come when there will be no more tears!

Psalm 30:5 KJV 1900
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

God will give allow us to drink freely of the fountain of the water of life.

Revelation 21:6 KJV 1900
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

This should remind us of the words which Christ spoke to the woman at the well in John chapter 4.

John 4:13–15 KJV 1900
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

It is interesting that the woman at the well said, “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.” You do realize that she still had to go back to Jacob’s well on a daily basis to meet her physical need for water.

Christ was speaking of satisfying her spiritual needs. She still would have physical needs.

When we accepted Christ as our Savior, He met every spiritual need of our heart once and for all. Amen? But we have still struggled from day to day with a physical body that has physical needs that must be constantly met.

Praise the Lord that the day is coming when we will be able to drink of the fountain of the water of life freely. Not only will our spiritual needs be met but every need of every other sort will be met once and for all. Then, we will never have to utter the words, in any sense of the words, “I need [fill in the blank].”

We will finally experience the true and complete meaning of Philippians 4:19...

Philippians 4:19 KJV 1900
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Revelation 21:5
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.

In this chapter, John gives us further description of what Heaven then will be like. However, we don’t have the time to look at all of them because I want to take a few moments to consider...


Revelation chapter 21 explains the “then” but what about the “now?” Right now, in 2019?

Revelation 21:1 KJV 1900
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Notice that John says, “…for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away...” We see similar phrasing used by Peter in 2 Peter chapter 3.

Peter describes it in this way...

2 Peter 3:13 KJV 1900
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Both Peter and John reveal for us that the “old heavens and earth” will be replaced with “new heavens and earth.” While John, in Revelation chapter 21, focuses on the “then,” Peter focuses on the “now.” In other words, “Because of what we know is going to happen, how should we live right now?”

2 Peter 3:11 KJV 1900
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Exploring the Epistles of Peter: An Expository Commentary i. The Practical Exhortation (3:11–12)
Contemplation of God’s grace in holding back judgment, and of His wrath that will assuredly bring on this judgment, ought to have a sobering effect on all of us. Holiness and godliness ought to characterize our behavior.

The events of September 11, 2001 had a sobering affect upon most of the U.S. population. But it didn’t last long. It was soon back to “business as usual.” Knowing what is to come should affect our daily life. It should affect our behavior. We should live differently than the world.

  • Our marriages should be different.

  • Our families should be different.

  • Our work should be different. We should be different employers and employees.

  • Our enjoyments should be different.

  • Our goals should be different.

2 Peter 3:14 KJV 1900

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

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