Our study is from a wonderful passage of scripture. It is Revelation 21:5-8. This passage in Revelation gives us more information about our eternal life in heaven. This is part one of two studies on this passage.
Review Last Study
First let me review what our last study was about. In that study we saw that God will destroy the universe someday. He will destroy everything, and the reason He is going to do that is because the earth is filled with sin. Adam sinned and as a result, sin entered the creation and the entire universe was plunged into sin. The universe is sin-polluted like a river polluted with chemicals. The universe is scarred and corrupt.
We saw in 2 Peter 3:10 that God had made a promise that He will destroy everything.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10 (NASB)
We commented in the last study that the word “elements” has the idea of a sub-particle of an atom. That means that God will cause the destruction to start at the sub-particle level of matter. Verse 11-13 adds,
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise . . . 2 Peter 3:11-13a (NASB)
Finishing verse 13 we are told,
. . . we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13b (NASB)
The message is that God will destroy the old heavens and the old earth because He wants to create a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. He is going to get rid of the old sin infested universes.
We found the same message in our study of Revelation 20. Revelation 20:11 said,
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. Revelation 20:11 (NASB)
Here we found that God the Father will cause the earth and the heavens to disappear. Once again we are told He will destroy everything. Verse 12 says,
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. Revelation 20:12 (NASB)
This is a scary passage of scripture because it tells us that someday everyone is going to stand before God and give an account for everything that they have done. Those who are believers are known by their works because they do good works. Those who are not believers do not do good works. In fact, only believers can do good works according to Romans 3:10-18 and Ephesians 2:10. The last verse tells us we were created for good works. Otherwise, the only deeds that unbelievers can do are bad works. The verdict is going to be very clear when you stand before the great white throne of judgement. Non-Christians will not successfully pass God’s review of their deeds because all of their supposed good deeds will be tainted by some wrong motivation. Their goodness is not the highest form of goodness.
Verse 14 reveals what will happen to those who have not placed their faith in and accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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 20:14-15 (NASB)
After God destroys the heavens and the earth, judgement will occur and unbelievers will be given a verdict of guilty.
Revelation 21:1 describes the next event. We are told that God will create a new heaven and a new earth.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them . . .” Revelation 21:1-3 (NASB)
God is preparing a new home for Christians. Verse 2 tells us that God is going to create a new Jerusalem to go along with this new heaven and new earth. The new Jerusalem will be the capital of the earth. It will be the only city on the entire earth.
But the most wonderful news is given to us in verse 3 and that news is that God will live with us. We are called “His people” . . . Verse 4 reveals that sin will not exist in heaven. There will be no stealing, lying, deception or murder or any other evil.
. . . and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 (NASB)
God the Father Sits on the Throne
In this study we will discover that God will make everything new. Verse 5 is where we will start,
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Revelation 21:5 (NASB)
Now, the first question that I want to ask about this verse before we go further is, “Who is sitting on the throne?” Who is speaking? The answer is important and it may surprise you.
If we turn back to Revelation 4 you will see who is sitting on the throne. In Revelation 4:2 we were given our first glimpse of the One sitting on the throne and it was a magnificent view. In verse 2 we were told,
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. Revelation 4:2 (NASB)
The Apostle John was in the Spirit and had a vision. He saw someone in heaven sitting on a throne. In verse 3 we saw God,
And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. Revelation 4:3 (NASB)
Now think about this description of God for a minute. He is described as being like jasper. Jasper is like a diamond – crystal clear. Sardius is red. There is a rainbow around the throne. Here we have a magnificent picture of God. In Isaiah 1 we are given another picture and the picture is very similar. These passages help understand that God is light (1 John 1:5) and He is colorful like a rainbow.
In Revelation 5, a strong angel asks the question, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” In verse 5 we discover who can open the book and break its seals. The answer is Jesus Christ.
. . . behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals. Revelation 5:5 (NASB)
In verse 6 Christ is the “Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes” and verse 7 says, “And He came and took the book out of the right hand.” Christ is worthy to open the book. Christ is the Lamb who took the book out of the hand of the One sitting on the throne.
Finally, look at verse 13 and we will discover who is sitting on the throne.
And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” Revelation 5:13 (NASB)
Notice that the Lamb is not sitting on the throne. Therefore, who is sitting on the throne? The answer is God the Father! God the Father is sitting on the throne and Jesus Christ is the Lamb.
Now back to Revelation 21:5 where we are told, “He who sits on the throne.” The One sitting is God the Father. God the Father is the One sitting on the throne because the imagery of the throne is repeated from chapter 5, chapter 6, chapter 8, chapter 12, chapter 13, chapter 16, chapter 19 and in chapter 20. Every time the One sitting on the throne is God the Father. So this is God the Father. Why did I made a big issue out of the One sitting on the throne? I want you to see what God the Father does for us.
I Make All Things New
Remember in Revelation 21:5 that the Father said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Revelation 21:5 (NASB)
There are two prominent Greek words in the New Testament for new. They are neos and kainos. Kainos has the idea of new, but new with better quality. Not just new! It is better! If I bought a Jaguar or a Rolls Royce, that would be new and it would also be better. That is the idea of the word that is used here. So, “Behold, I am making all things new” is not just new, but better.
And it is better! Why? It is a new heaven, a new earth and a new universe in which righteousness dwells. But then He adds, “I’m making all things new.” The root Greek word for “all” is a terrific word. It is pas. The word has the idea of “all,” “every” or “totally.” It just has the idea that He’s making, watch this — everything new. Not just the universe, not just the earth, not just a new Jerusalem, but everything is new. Everything includes the furnishings and objects. He will be making all things new.
Then the Father commanded, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” I want to ask you a quick question. If He will be making all things new, what is left? He has already told us that He will be making a new universe. He will be making a new earth. He will be making a New Jerusalem. What is left? Us! We are the ones that have not yet been mentioned yet. Guess what? At this point in time we will have new immortal bodies. We will live during the millennial kingdom in our immortal bodies.
Then God destroys the old heavens and the old earth, creates a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem. You are going to be there and see God create these things. You will have a new body. You will be holy and righteous. You will not have to worry about sin. You will not be worrying about doing anything wrong because you will be holy. You will be transformed. You will be like Jesus. Isn’t that what you want to be? If you are a believer in Christ, your goal in this life is to become like Jesus. When you get to heaven, you are going to finally be like Christ. Isn’t that good news? You are going to be transformed. He says, “I’m going to make all things new.” That means everything, including you. Everything is going to be new.
I was really struck by the fact that He says “faithful and true” because the word faithful has the idea of trust. The word “true” has the idea of being correct or being accurate. Therefore, what God is actually saying is that He is the One who can be trusted. It is important to note that Revelation 19:11 says,
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True . . . Revelation 19:11 (NASB)
This refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the One who is called Faithful and True in this verse. Now we have two very important statements. The One who is Faithful and True in chapter 19 is the One who is Faithful and True in chapter 21. In chapter 19, the One who is Faithful and True is Jesus Christ and in Revelation 21:5 the Father says these words are Faithful and True. Do you know what that means? Jesus Christ is our God. Anything He says, anything He promises is Faithful and True. He personifies truthfulness and faithfulness. He is faithful. He is true. I thought it was really terrific just to see that. We can rest because God’s word is faithful. We can rest because His promises are true. We can relax, and we can rejoice.
I am reminded of a song called, “In The Sweet By and By.” I would like to read a couple of stanzas of the song. Here’s how it goes,
There’s a land that is fairer than day
And by faith we can see it a-far
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there
We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed
And their spirits shall sorrow no more
Not a sigh for the blessings of rest
To our bountiful Father above
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days
In the sweet by and by
We shall meet on that beautiful shore
In the sweet by and by
We shall meet on that beautiful shore
And that is what it will be like some day in heaven.
I Am the Alpha and Omega
Next in Revelation 21:6 we are told,
Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” Revelation 21:6 (NASB)
I thought it was terrific that the Father said, “It is done.” In other words, He kept the promise. He will make all things new and “It is done!” means that He completed the task. His plan is so certain that He speaks of it as if it is already done. It is done! It is completed! Then He adds a wonderful statement, “I am the Alpha and Omega.” Now I have a question, “Who is the Alpha and Omega?”
If we go back to Revelation 1:4-8, we find that “Alpha and Omega” is a title used of Jesus Christ. Now go to Revelation 22:13. It says,
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Revelation 22:13 (NASB)
Who is speaking? The answer is given in Revelation 22:16 where we are told that Jesus sent “My angel to testify.” Therefore, it becomes clear from the first chapter to the last chapter that Christ is the “Alpha and Omega”. Therefore, since we have already discovered that God the Father is speaking in Revelation 21:5, He is also the “Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”
The Father is the “Alpha and the Omega” and Jesus is the “Alpha and Omega.” This is a trinitarian statement. We see the trinity in verses 5 and 6 all wrapped together. You say, “Are you sure?” Yes, look at Revelation 22:1.
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb . . . Revelation 22:1 (NASB)
Did you understand that? There is just one throne and who sat on it? The answer is God the Father and Jesus Christ. A trinitarian statement also appears in verse 3.
There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb . . . Revelation 22:3 (NASB)
The Greek word for throne is in the singular so what we have is a single throne shared by two persons. How is that possible? This is a trinitarian statement.
The Water of Life
In the last half of Revelation 21:6 we read that God promises,
I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. Revelation 21:6 (NASB)
Now I want to talk about this statement for a few minutes. This is a promise! God says, I am going to give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the Water of Life. This is a fascinating statement. We find that the Water of Life appears four times in the book of Revelation, and we will see it in coming studies. When I think about the Water of Life, I think about the Fountain of Youth. The Fountain of Youth is a fictitious fountain. Supposedly people could drink from its water and live forever. I believe the Water of Life and the Tree of Life are very similar. The Tree of Life and the Water of Life can be found in only one place – in the new heavens and the new earth. And so you can eat and drink. Then He had great experience in heaven. The verse says, “I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. This means the water is free. This means the Water of Life is a gift. It is free!
I like the fact that He says it to the one who thirsts. Do you know what that implies? If you are not thirsty, He is not going to give you the water. You have to be thirsty to get any. Can I ask, “Are you thirsty?” In Matthew 5:6 Jesus tells us, “Blessed.” The word blessed means happy.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 (NASB)
Jesus does not say those who are pursuing chasing satisfaction are going to be satisfied. That is what we do. We want to be entertained so we turn on the television, read a book or do something that we think will satisfy us. Why do we do that? The answer is because we are chasing satisfaction. Why do we buy new clothes? Maybe because we need them. The usual reason we buy a car or buy items at the grocery store is that we think it is going to make us happy, satisfied. May I ask, “Are you hungering and thirsting after satisfaction?”
Jesus says that if you really want to be satisfied, you must hunger and thirst after righteousness. May I ask you, “What parts of God’s law do you not want to obey?” Do you think that obeying them will make you unhappy or create a problem for you? Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” because that is the way to become satisfied. That is the only way you are going to get there.
Do You Want Eternal Life?
I find it interesting that in the book of Revelation God only gives the Water of Life to the one who is thirsty. Remember in John 4 there was a woman who came to a well. When Jesus was at the well a woman walked to the well. Jesus offered her some water and then a discussion occurred between her and Christ about living water. Then in John 4:13 Jesus makes a profound statement,
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13 (NASB)
This is really great. Jesus says that everyone who drinks the well water will thirst again, but He is going to give her what kind of water? He says that if she drinks of living water she will never thirst and it will rise up to eternal life. Then a brief discussion occurs about this water.
In verses 24 through 26 we are told that she said, God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” John 4:24-26 (NASB)
Jesus said I am the one that you are looking for, and He transformed her life. Then she ran off and brought her friends. She brought them back because she wanted them to see someone “Who told me all things.” Why did she do that? Because she realized finally that she was talking to somebody who could meet her inner spiritual thirst.
May I ask you, do you have a thirst? Do you have a spiritual thirst? Jesus came to take care of your spiritual need and spiritual thirst. God the Father says that He will give the Water of Life to the one who thirsts. He will give you the Water of Life if you want it.
Luke 18:18 introduces us to a gentleman who wanted eternal life. We are told that a ruler questioned Christ saying,
A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:18-25 (NASB)
Then Jesus continued. What did this man want? Verse 18 tells us that he wanted eternal life. He wanted to inherit eternal life.
Jesus then urged him to sell all of His goods. Why did Jesus say that? Does this mean that in order to become a Christian, in order to go to heaven, we must sell everything we have? That is what some people think. I am sure someone read this passage and thought that. But that was not Jesus’ point. Jesus’ point was that a person should want eternal life more than, watch this, anything else in life. The only person who is going to be allowed to drink the Water of Life is one who wants it – thirsts for it.
A person must want it more than anything else in life. This week I was reading a fascinating article written by a pastor who wrote about people becoming Christians. He said that churches used to have an invitation where people stood up and walked forward at the end of the church service in order to profess their belief in Christ. He stopped the practice because he found that people would come forward and think that made them a Christian. Then he would never see them again. He said it became obvious after many years these people were not really Christians. They responded because maybe they wanted their marriage fixed or they wanted this or that fixed or they wanted something else. But they were not thirsting for righteousness. They were not thirsting to have peace with God. They were thirsting for satisfaction.
Remember the Pharisee and the Publican? Earlier in Luke 18:9 a parable of Jesus is recorded for us about a man who trusted in himself. He thought that he was righteous and viewed others with contempt.
Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: “God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.” But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:10-14 (NASB)
What was Jesus’ message? Jesus’ message is that if you really want to come to God, you must humble yourself by repenting of your sins. You must be willing to humble yourself. You must thirst for righteousness. You must really want to get into heaven. This is the evidence of true belief.
When you truly understands who Jesus is, that He is God, that He died on a cross, that He came back to life, then you will understand that you are a sinner who needs a Savior and Lord. You will desperately want your sins to be forgiven in order to get to heaven. Only then are you going to be willing to give up everything. You must desperately want your sins forgiven more than anything else in your life.
Christ says if you are thirsty then He will give you from the spring of the Water of Life – eternal life. He is going to give it to you free. Just think about it. All he wants you to do is to come to a point where you want eternal life more than anything else in your life and that you want God to transform your life. Then He will give it to you as a gift. It is free. You do not have to do anything but believe in Jesus Christ. He does not ask you to do anything else. You cannot earn your way to heaven. Then God will start to transform your life in ways that are unbelievable, and God will start making you like Jesus. What an incredible reality.
Destiny of Christians
Now Revelation 21:7.
He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. Revelation 21:7 (NASB)
Verse 7 is a repeat. It repeats verse 6 in a different way. The overcomers are people who have drank the water of life. Who is an overcomer? 1 John 5:5 answers the question.
Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5 (NASB)
Who is the one who overcomes? Notice the word “believes.” It is the person who believes. It is the person who believes Jesus is God.
What does Revelation 21:7 say will happen? He will inherit all of these things. What will you inherit? You will inherit the new universe. You will inherit the new earth. You will inherit the New Jerusalem. And guess what else is new? You! This is wonderful news.
Next He says, “. . . and I will be his God and he will be My son.” This means the one and only true God will be your God if you are a Christian. You will be a member of His family. You! That means you are adopted by God as a son with all of the rights and privileges. You belong to Him.
Destiny of Non-Christians
When I was a child at home I obeyed my parents. That is what children are supposed to do. I was expected to obey. Now we can understand verse 8.
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8 (NASB)
This verse does not describe an overcomer. Verse 7 was about people who have eternal life and verse 8 is about those who do not. It describes people who live for themselves. They live the way they want to and not the way God wants them to.
How should you respond? First, if you are spiritually thirsty and I mean if you are really thirsty, then you will want a new life. I would encourage you to tell God that you believe that He is God, that Jesus died on the cross to forgive sins, and that you are a sinner. Then tell Him exactly what you feel in your heart. Be repentant and confess your sin. Let Him know that you want Him to change your life. What will happen next? You will have peace. Our next study describes a Christian’s inheritance.
Lastly, did you notice that verse 7 says, “And he who overcomes will inherit these things”? The things that verse 7 is referring to are many things. We are going to talk about them in the next study. We will explore what we are going to inherit.
1. W. E. Vine. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. Thomas Nelson. 1996. p. 431.
2. Lyrics of the song “In the Sweet By and By.”