The Beginning, Part 4
Revelation 21:1 NKJV
So far in this series we’ve studied creation from the view point of Genesis 1, the character of God from Galatians, creation from Genesis 2, an introduction to Revelation and prayer (how God receives and keeps our prayers, Revelation 5:5-10), so now we will look at the new creation of heaven and earth from the end of Revelation.
Revelation 21:1 says, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.”
I looked for a simple outline for Revelation because understanding the Big Picture is sometimes helpful (at least it is to me):
John’s 1st vision of Jesus is in Revelation 1:8-20
The Vision of the 7 Churches is in Revelation 2:1 through 3:22
The Vision of 7 Scenes in Heaven in Revelation 4:1 through 5:14
The Vision Seals in Revelation 6:1 through 8:15
The Vision of the 7 Trumpets and Scourges in Revelation 8:6 thru 11:19
The Vision of the Judgments of Beasts in Revelation 12 - 20
The 7 Signs in Revelation 12:1 through 14:20
The 7 Plagues in Revelation 15:1 through 16:21
The 7 Final Visions in Revelation 17:1 through 20:15
We will look at the above sections at a later date but for this study of The Beginning, Part 4 we will look at:
The New Heaven, Revelation 21:1-8
The Heavenly City, Revelation 21:9 -27
Heavenly Eden, Revelation 22:1-5
And the Last Words of Jesus, Revelation 22:6-21
At this point it would be helpful to know more about the writer of Revelation and gain an understanding of his life in Christ as well as his location and surroundings when he received the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
John was the youngest disciple. Most Biblical scholars agree he was the writer of the Gospel of John, and I, II and III John. He also received the Revelation and wrote down what he saw in his visions. Near the end of his life, John was imprisoned on the island of Patmos. Many scholars believe that is where John received the vision of the Revelation.
Facts we know about John the Disciple:
His brother was James and they were called the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:16-19)
According to tradition, John’s mother was Salome, sister of Jesus’ mother, Mary. That would make him a cousin of Jesus.
John was one of three disciples Jesus kept close at hand and He names him in personal encounters (Mark 5:37, Matthew 17:1-11, and Matthew 26:36-46).
At the Last Supper (and several times before) Jesus referred to ‘the one I loved’. In John 13:23-24 it’s clear that was not Peter. Most scholars believe John was the disciple Jesus was referring to as the one He loved. (We need to remember that John was younger than the other disciples. Jesus loved all His disciples but the meaning of ‘the one I loved’ would have referred to a special connection they had. The Gospel of John is a perfect example of the character of John. The writer gave us a different viewpoint of Jesus’ love).
When Jesus was betrayed in Gethsemane only two disciples followed closely and stayed with Jesus. They were Peter and the disciple Jesus loved, John (John 18:15-17).
As Jesus was dying on the cross he told John to take charge of his mother, Mary. That was a big deal because women needed a male relative to care for them in that culture.
When Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb, she found Peter and the disciple Jesus loved, John. John ran to the tomb and he was the first disciple to see the empty tomb.
As we look at the final Chapters of Revelation we need to know when looking at dreams and visions from God, truth is often clothed in symbolism. Think of how the prophets wrote. One great example is found in Ezekiel’s 37 when the prophet saw the Valley of Dry Bones. The dry bones represented Israel.
The visions given to John in Revelations are true and sure, but most likely they are representative of what is to come. If we were to actually witness the events and read John’s vision in Revelations, we would understand what God is showing us. But since the final Revelation has not come to pass, we wait for what is to come.
According to John 21:1, John saw a new heaven and a new earth.
While we don’t know exactly what that looks like, we can ascertain that the earth will be restored and like new again. We can think of it as being closely aligned with what earth and heaven were like in Genesis 1 and 2, before the Fall of man. In the new heaven and earth we know that evil has been defeated and peace reigns.
We need to know this new heaven and earth was not mentioned in Revelation as an afterthought. Prophets who also saw the new heaven and the new earth are found in, Isaiah 65:17-19, Psalm 102:25-27, and 2 Peter 3:12-13. This was not a new proposal.
From Revelation 21:1 we know heaven and earth have been healed and now they are perfectly aligned.
Revelation 21:1 clearly states there is “no more sea.” In Isaiah 57:20 and in Psalm 89:9 the sea represented a place where evil resides or where the opponents of the Lord reside. (https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/revelation-21/).
That tells us in the new heaven and the new earth there will be no evil and no opponents of the Lord.
Because God gave the vision of the Revelation of what is to come to John, we have great hope for all that is good. We see God’s love and faithfulness for us now and in the future. God gave us time to open our hands to Him. God is joy and shows restraint. God is patient, gentle, and kind. By studying God’s ultimate plan for His creation given to John in Revelation 21-22, His character and nature are revealed.
Today’s Spiritual Practice: God’s Plan
Studying the life and writing of John helps us see the plan God had for John the Apostle. God has a plan for us/you as well. If you do not know where God is leading, you can ask and listen. Spend time sitting with God in silence. Ask God to show you or tell you one piece of His plan for you.
In God, Deborah