Updated: May 10
John, while exiled to the penal colony in Patmos, received a visit from Jesus, the Lamb of God. He is told “Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.” (Revelation 1:19, ESV). Those that he has seen occur in Chapter 1, where Christ appears to him. Those that are, were the letters Christ dictates to the seven churches then existing in Asia. “Saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:11, ESV)
Those that are to take place after this are the things briefly described in Matthew 24:15 ff and cover chapters four through 22.
Without going through the entire book and discovering the things that “. . . must soon take place. . . (Revelation 1:1, ESV), we find John writes, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1–2, ESV). John sees that the “first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more.” Jerusalem, as we know it today of course would be destroyed as well. Let us look at the old closer before we get to the new.
The psalmist wrote “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,” (Psalm 102:25–26, ESV).
Jesus foretold of this as he said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, ESV). Other New Testament passages tell of this as well. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17, ESV). Quoting Psalm 102:26, “they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,” (Hebrews 1:11, ESV).
Some commentators believe that the earth will simply remain but simply (or complexly) renewed; they are wrong! A Jehovah Witness once asked me, “do you really believe that God would destroy all this beauty that He created?” I answered, “Yes.” She then asked me why I believe that.” My quick and simple answer, “because He said He would! And my God is a God that keeps His Word.” Reading through Matthew 24:15 ff will not only tells us of the final events in a nutshell but open one’s eyes to the terror of that time. The following verse, among others, tells us:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (2 Peter 3:10, ESV).
Yes, the earth and all the heavenly bodies, burned up, dissolved etc. What does it mean, “the works will be exposed?” The Great White Throne Judgement comes in Revelation 20:11–15.
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11–15, ESV)
While yet another study, notice that there is no need for hell, and it too is thrown into the lake of fire. Now that all is destroyed, God will create the New Heaven, the New Earth, and the New Jerusalem.
Scripture tells us about them as well.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” (Revelation 21:1, ESV)
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17, ESV)
“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.” (Isaiah 66:22, ESV)
“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13, ESV)
Notice in the beginning of the Great White Throne Judgement, . . . “From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.” (Revelation 20:11, ESV)
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;” (Revelation 19:7, ESV)
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3, ESV).
Where will this New Heaven and New Earth be? It appears as it will be in the middle of deep darkness. Some commentators believe here that it will be among the vast stars, but I do not think so. Remember “the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved.” 2 Peter 3:10. Deep darkness? Stick with me.
John writes “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2, ESV)
Of all the places on earth, Jerusalem is the most sacred to Jews and to Christians. The city was considered holy because it was the habitation of God’s holy temple. In fact, the name itself signifies that it was a holy city. Jerusalem is translated from two Greek words Ierousalem and Hierosoluma. The former is the Greek transliteration of the Old Testament Aramaic form; the latter reflects the Greek word hieros (holy)—a Hellenistic paranominen.
This is the New Jerusalem, whose description is vividly provided later in this chapter. It will sit on the New Earth, which is part of the New Heaven. God will then fulfill the Levitical promise.
“I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.” (Leviticus 26:11–12, ESV)
“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” (Revelation 3:12, ESV)
“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.” (Revelation 21:22–26, ESV)
What a beautiful place to be! Read the rest of the chapter for the wonderful description of the New Jerusalem.
Best of all:
“But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27, ESV)
 Carpenter, E. E., & Comfort, P. W. (2000). In Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained (p. 344). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.