Revelation 21:1-3

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Rev 21:1 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.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 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.

Introduction

Our goal in this study, as it has been throughout, is to understand how it is possible that a new heaven and a new earth are come within, and how the first heaven and the first earth are passed away, and there is no more sea, in the sense that “the things written herein must shortly came to pass” with all those who “read, heard, and kept the things written here” two thousand years ago as well as those who read, hear, and keep the things written in this prophecy to this very day. We want to make clear that these words “are spirit… which will never pass away”, and therefore have been being kept by believers in every generation since Christ.

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Mat 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Here are some of those words which have been being kept by those who have been reading and hearing them for the past two thousand years.

Rev 21:1 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.

Is it possible that there is even now a new heaven and a new earth? As always these things we are to keep are to be seen as primarily spiritual and within “until the redemption of the purchased possession”. But this is all true only within those to whom it is given to read, hear and keep these “things which are written here”. For those few here is how “there is now a new heaven and a new earth”.

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

But does “all things” include heaven? Should we really see ourselves as being in heaven?

Eph 2:6 and raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, (LITV)

So when those who “keep the things written therein” read of a “new heaven and a new earth”, they are not to think only of a future event, but they are also to think in terms of what Christ has accomplished within us.

Isa 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Isa 65:18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
Isa 65:19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.

This is what God is doing within us if we are this “Jerusalem” which He is creating. This is the end product of what God is doing now within His chosen few.

Isa 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

What is the name given to those whose “seed will remain”?

Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

These are words which we are to keep here and now (Rev 1:3). This “New Jerusalem” is to be understood as a present reality “in earnest” for God’s elect (Eph 1:14).
How does our Lord go about making “all things new” for all men who are “in Christ”? Here is how that is accomplished in every man in his own appointed predestined time:

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Which men have defiled the temple of God? Is it only sinners who do that? Yes, that is right, it is only sinners who defile the temple of God and who must, one and all, be destroyed. Who then must be destroyed?

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If “all have sinned” and if “the wages of sin is death”, how then is anyone saved? Here is how that is accomplished.

Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

There it is. “There is no difference” between “all… and all them that believe”. So much for the heresy of Calvin that “all” here means only “all kinds of men”. Not so. If that were the case, the phrase “for there is no difference” would have no contrast at all. How would that then read? ‘… by faith of Jesus Christ unto all kinds of people, and upon all kinds of people, who believe, for there is no difference’??? The words “kinds of people” are not in the Greek and are not the point being made. What is the point being made is that “The righteousness of God is by the faith of Jesus Christ, and it is coming unto all, as well as to all believers, because there is no difference” between the process of salvation which is coming to all sinners, as well as “all who believe”. All will be judged, either now in this life, or else they will be judged in the lake of fire, called “the second death”. “There is no difference, because there is but one event which destroys the old man in present believers, and then it is the very same event which will one day destroy the old man in all the rest of mankind, who will be “cast into the lake of fire”. It is all one and the same experience. It is simply experienced at a different time.

Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

So we are told that the overcomers of this life will be the first to enter into this symbolic city called “new Jerusalem”, and to serve as the channel, or agency, by which all unbelievers will be shown mercy and be brought to faith, to repentance and eventually come into that city.

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

God’s “elect… overcomers” have “in earnest” and “in the spirit”, already been granted to “come unto” and to be the children of this “holy city, new Jerusalem”.

Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

The reason this “holy city, new Jerusalem”, is called our mother while Christ is called our “everlasting Father”, is that this New Jerusalem is Christ’s bride. This New Jerusalem is the Biblical symbol of “the church which is His body” but which is also His bride, His elect.

2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

If we are God’s elect, then we are espoused to Him as “a chaste virgin” who is also called His bride.

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

It is this very same “new Jerusalem” which is symbolically said to be “written upon” those who are Christ’s bride, His elect.

Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

In the final analysis whether we are a bride, a city or an overcomer, it is all just symbolism for the greatest honor ever to be bestowed upon any person. The dream is one, and these symbols are all the one Christ of Christ. Christ and His Father are dwelling within His firstfruit elect, for the purpose of using them to bring all the rest of mankind to themselves.

Rev 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.

This is first true of the 144,000. God “tabernacles with them” first. Afterward it is also true of “a great multitude which no man can number”, who go through the same tribulations and wash their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. There are two separate groups of mankind who are being saved. One is symbolically numbered as being 144,000. The other is “a great multitude, which no man could number”.

Rev 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

What we are not told in Rev 7:9 is that there is a symbolic thousand years between these 144,000 and the appearance of this “great multitude which no man could number”. We are given more revelation concerning these 144,000 in Rev 14.

Rev 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

Now notice what these 144,000 are called:

Rev 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

These one 144,000 are virgins and firstfruits. They are not called the only fruits, they are “firstfruits unto God and the lamb”. Who else is identified by these same symbols of a virgin and being firstfruits?

2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Jas 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Again, the dream is one, and the firstfruits and the virgin are just a couple of more symbols of those who will be the first to have Christ and His Father living within them, and who will rule and reign with Christ on this earth for a thousand years.
And so God will “judge the world”, and “all men will be saved”, and God will one day dwell within all of mankind who have ever lived.

Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Here we have it again. It is called “the assembly of the firstborn”. It is not called ‘the assembly of the only born’. So there is obviously a group in whom God dwells first. They are His “firstfruits”, in whom He dwells before He dwells with the “great multitude which no man can number”.

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

“They that are Christ’s at His coming” are also called “a kind of firstfruits… unto God and the Lamb”. That is why Israel is given three seasons of harvest. The first of the firstfruits is called the barley harvest at the passover and the days of unleavened bread. This is where the wave sheaf of barley was waved before God as the offering of the first of the first fruits. The second harvest season is called both Pentecost and “the feast of firstfruits”. This harvest is in the summer. It is the harvest of the wheat. But there is yet another harvest of the souls of mankind “in the end of the year”.

Exo 23:14  Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
Exo 23:15  Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
Exo 23:16  And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
Exo 23:17  Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.

These are the “each in his own order” harvests to which the apostle Paul refers in 1 Corinthian 15:

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:24  Then cometh the end [ of the year harvest], when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

We will not get to verse four in today’s study, but will get to it next week, Lord willing.

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