The Old Testament prophets did not see beyond the Messianic Age apart from revealing the fact that Christ would reign for ever. Isaiah alone had brief glimpses of a new Heaven and a new Earth before going on to describe the Millennium.
Isaiah 65:17: For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Isaiah 66:22: For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me, says the LORD, so shall your descendants and your name remain.
So, our main source of information about the Eternal State
is Revelation 21 and 22.
Revelation 21:1,2: 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 (there is water but no oceans. One possible reason is that God gave us large salty oceans to deal with all the corruption on earth, He bathed the planet with ‘dettol’ because of sin, but this would no longer be necessary). Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (the city is likened to a bride because it is beautiful, and sparkling and glorious).
This city already exists and is where all believers truly
and eternally belong:
The Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all (Gal 4:26).
Jesus went to prepare a place in it for us (it is the bridal home of the Church):
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:1-2).
It is also the eternal home of the Old Testament saints
By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God ....These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind from where they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:9,10,13-16).
Thus, although the earthly land of Palestine was promised to Israel as a nation (this promise will be fulfilled in the natural people living in the Millennium), God’s promise to individual saints (Jew and Gentile) was to be resurrected and live eternally in the New Jerusalem, as we have seen with Abraham, the father of all who believe.
Hebrews 12;22-24 describes this city as the eternal
home of all the groups of the redeemed:
You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
to an innumerable company of angels,
to the general assembly
and Church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven,
to God the Judge of all,
to the spirits of just men made perfect (the Old Testament saints),
to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant,
and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
The Heavenly Jerusalem is the eternal home of the resurrected saints so even at the start of the Millennium they will have entered their eternal state. Thus the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem will be part of earth government during the Millennium and so the city might be brought into proximity to earth at that time. We cannot be sure.
Revelation 21:3-5: I heard a loud voice from Heaven saying: Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. In Eternity, we will have endless fellowship with God and all sin and the curse will be gone and forgotten forever.
Write, for these words are true and faithful.
And He said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (v6a). God has now brought His plan to completion.
I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son (v6b). Anyone who wants to, can be part of this.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers,
sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part
in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death
This is not salvation by works but those who do not believe will be marked by these sins. Those who truly believe show it by their changed lives.
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife (v9). As in v2 the city is likened to a bride because of its beauty and glory. It is also true that the Church (the Bride of Christ) lives in the city and is part of its glory.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and
high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending
out of Heaven from God (v10).
The city comes down and lands on the new earth for the Eternal State.
It shone with the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal (v11). The overall impression is that of a gigantic, sparkling, brilliant, beautiful jewel. As God’s glory shines out of this crystal clear, beautifully cut diamond, it glitters with all the colours of the rainbow.
Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west (v12,13). Here we get the impression of perfect symmetry and order. Twelve, the number of perfect governmental order is the key number of this city. The great wall and the guarded gates symbolise perfect security and that no one may enter the city that does not belong there.
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (v14). Although the distinct groups of God’s people as Jews (v12), Gentiles (v24,26, 22:2), and the Church (v14) will remain, all the redeemed are united together in one city.
He who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: 12,000 furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal (v15,16). It is not much smaller than the moon! It is probably either a cube like the Holy of Holies or a square-based pyramid with the Throne on top and the river of life flowing down like a spiral from the Throne watering the whole city. The most impressive dimension of the city is its height, which is equal to its length! This means it is unlike our cities because it is three-dimensional, existing on many layers. This means there is a massive amount of room for all the billions of redeemed men and angels. When Jesus described mansions he was not exaggerating! There is room for anything you could imagine or desire - country estates, parks, garden-paradises etc. There will be all kinds of flowers and animals. Probably as you ascend towards the throne-room the degree of glory will intensify. Part of our eternal reward will be where we live in relation to the Throne. Wherever we live it will be fully satisfying to us in every way. The atmosphere will be full of life, love, joy and all the fruit of the Spirit. There will be beautiful colours and musical sounds that are unknown to us in this life. The difference between the natural and spiritual realms will disappear. The outward (natural) and inward (spiritual) realities will fuse into one, so that everything outward will be a perfect expression of spiritual qualities and realities.
Then he measured its wall: 144 cubits, according to
the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The
construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like
clear glass (v17,18).
Relative to the size of the city the wall is tiny - like a pavement kerb against the Empire State building. This reflects the fact that a wall is actually not needed because the kingdom of darkness has now been completely subdued. The city with its walls is entirely transparent and shimmering with different colours. The main material it is made from is transparent gold!
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned
with all kinds of precious stones:
The 1st foundation was jasper (crystal clear)
The 2nd sapphire (blue)
The 3rd chalcedony (greenish)
The 4th emerald (green)
The 5th sardonyx (red and white)
The 6th sardius (fiery red)
The 7th chrysolite (golden yellow)
The 8th beryl (aqua green)
The 9th topaz (golden green)
The 10th chrysoprase (blue-green)
The 11th jacinth (violet)
The 12th amethyst (purple) (v19,20).
All these stones share the special property of being transparent to pure (polarised) light (surely no coincidence). Like a prism, these stones allow the pure light of the Glory through and produce a variety of beautiful colours.
The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual
gate was of one pearl (v21).
Pearls are unique among jewels - formed through an injury in the oyster. This Kingdom is formed through the wounding of Christ (see the Pearl of great price in Part 2). Pearl Gates indicate that the entrance to the city is only through the sufferings of Christ (see Rev 21:25-27).
And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass (v21b). Gold represents the Divine Nature.
But I saw no Temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty
and the Lamb are its Temple (v22).
The whole city is filled with God’s Glory and is a Temple of worship so there is no need for special places of worship. All Temples are types of Christ (GOD united to MAN) and redeemed man (GOD in MAN). They represent God’s purpose for man which is fulfilled in eternity. So no Temple is needed. God’s people are the Temple of the Living God.
The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light (v23). This does not say that there will not be any sun or moon, but that the city does not need them for light, for it has its own light source - the glory of God.
And the nations (Gentiles) of those who are saved shall
walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour
into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall
be no night there) And they shall bring the glory and the honour
of the nations (Gentiles) into it. But there shall by no means enter
it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those
who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (v24-27).
Believing Gentiles are present as well as Israel and the Church, and everyone lives by the continual light of the glory of God.
The description of eternity finishes with a River of Life and a Tree of Life (Rev 22:1-5). This reminds us of Eden which was watered by a river and had the Tree of Life. Thus God will restore all that was lost in Eden and a lot more! He will bring all things to perfection and restore what has been lost. This passage shows that all effects of sin will be obliterated and that what God intended for man will be restored forever.
Rev 22:1,2: He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its Street, and on either side of the River, was the Tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the Tree were for the healing (health and benefit) of the nations. The River goes down the middle of the main street and the Tree of Life extends along its length. The ‘Street’ for such a large city must refer to a Street System, and this System must have a 3D arrangement to cover a 3D city. Moreover, it is likely that the River will divide into various branches as rivers do. My speculation is a River/Main Street system that centres on the Throne at the top of the Pyramid. The River has four main branches (as in the original Eden) corresponding to the four sides of the city. The River and Street will descend directly down each of the four sides of the Pyramid, each part dividing to connect with each of the three gates on their side. As well as this radial system, there will be a transverse system crossing at right angles. This is the part of the Street/River gently spiralling down from the Throne. In this way there will be a Street/River system servicing the whole city and moreover it means the Tree of Life and its fruit will also be available everywhere! The fruit is not to cure sickness which is non-existent in the city, but eating it imparts blessing and strength as will drinking from the River of Life. It is also clear from these verses that we will still experience the passing of time throughout eternity (in the KJV Rev 10:6 says ‘there will be time no longer’ but it means ‘there will be delay no longer’). In fact the Tree of Life will function as a monthly clock. There will still be past, present and future because it is intrinsic to human creaturely existence. To experience any event means there is a before and an after. Thus we will continue to grow and learn throughout eternity, especially in the knowledge of the infinite God. However, our experience of time will, no doubt, be different and we will be somehow less limited by it.
God will put on an eternal show and display of His
glory and grace.
1Cor 2:9: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.
Ephesians 2:4-7: But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Rev 22:3-5: And there shall be no more curse, but the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there. They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
These verses tell us the fulfilment of God’s purpose
1. We will be busy in eternity worshipping and serving God.
2. We will have intimate face to face fellowship and communion with God, through which His Name (character) is imparted to our beings.
3. Eternity is endless ages of continual joy, glory, light and of ever-increasing revelation of God’s wisdom, power and glory (1Cor 13:10-12).
4. We will reign with Him forever.
Revelation 21-22:7 show the consummation of God’s
plan and purpose;
Bride and Bridegroom united forever in love and joy.
There are two Final Eternal Homes and Destinies.
The Lake of Fire with satan or the New Jerusalem with God.
Each person must choose and time is running out.
Everything that was begun in Genesis is brought to completion in eternity.
1. The Book of the Beginning. 1. The Book of the End.
2. The Earth Created (1:1) 2. The Earth Passed Away-and a New Earth created (21:1).
3. Satan’s first rebellion 3. Satan’s final rebellion (20:7-10).
4. Sun to govern the day (1:16). 4. No need of the sun (21:23).
5. Darkness called night (1:5) 5. No night there (22:5).
6. Waters called seas (1:10) 6. No more sea (21:1).
7. A River for earth’s blessing (2:10-14) 7. The River of life restored (22:1,2)
8. Man created in God’s image to rule (1:26). 8. Man restored and reigns with Christ.
9. Man’s dominion lost to satan (3:24). 9. Satan’s dominion ended and man’s restored (22).
10. Man created for fellowship with God. 10. Fellowship perfectly restored.
11. Entrance of sin (3) 11. End of sin (21,22).
12. Curse pronounced (3:14,17). 12. No more curse (22:3).
13. Death entered (3:19). 13. No more death (21:4).
14. Man driven out from Eden (3:24). 14. Man restored to Eden (22).
15. Tree of Life guarded (3:24). 15. Right to the Tree of Life (22:14).
16. Sorrow and suffering enter (3:17). 16. No more sorrow (21:4)
17. Marriage of first Adam (2:18-23). 17. Marriage of last Adam (19).
18. A Bride sought for Abraham’s son
18. A Bride prepared and brought to
(Isaac) and found (ch24). Abraham’s Son - Jesus Christ (19:9).
19. A promised seed to possess the
19. The promised seed coming into
gate of his enemies (22:17). possession (11:18)
20. The old serpent causing sin,
20. The old-serpent bound for 1000 years suffering,
and death (3:1). and then cast into the Lake of Fire (20).
21. The doom of the old serpent
21. The doom on the old serpent executed