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Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home - Revelation 21-22

Taught on | Keywords: heaven, eternity, eternal state, new heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem, universe, end of the world, ocean, sea, water, city, tabernacle, Holy of Holies, future, believer, sinner

Through the years, I have observed that most people (even Christians) have ideas about what heaven will be like that are vastly different from how Scripture describes heaven. In this series, we have followed the chronological flow of the book of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. We turn now to what the Bible describes as the final phase of heaven—the eternal state. Here are a few things that might further surprise you about your future home:

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6/5/2016
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Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home
Revelation 21-22
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Through the years, I have observed that most people (even Christians) have ideas about what heaven will be like that are vastly different from how Scripture describes heaven. In this series, we have followed the chronological flow of the book of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. We turn now to what the Bible describes as the final phase of heaven—the eternal state. Here are a few things that might further surprise you about your future home:
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What's Next?

What's Next?

We live in a culture that is constantly asking, "What's next?" We want to know the latest fashions, trends, stocks, and gadgets. In a world that's always looking for the next big thing, we can sometimes forget the most important thing. As Christians, we are called to wait with anticipation for the return of Christ. In this series through the book of Revelation, we look forward and ask ourselves, "What's next?"

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Outline

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  1. It Will Require Destruction

  2. It Will Be a Fresh Design

  3. It Won’t Have an Ocean

  4. It Will Have a Capital City

  5. It Will Feel Unfamiliar

  6. Not Everyone Will Be There

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: June 5, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home"
Text: Revelation 21-22

Path

Most people, even believers, have misconceptions about what heaven will be like. In the What's Next? series, Pastor Skip has followed the flow of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. In this final installment, he shared some surprising biblical facts about our future home, showing us that heaven is truly the final frontier.
It Will Require Destruction

  1. It Will Be a Fresh Design
  2. It Won't Have an Ocean
  3. It Will Have a Capital City
  4. It Will Feel Unfamiliar
  5. Not Everyone Will Be There
Points

It Will Require Destruction (Revelation 21:1)

  • At this point in Scripture, many things have happened: the rapture, the tribulation, and Jesus' second coming and millennial reign. Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet have all been sent to their eternal punishment.
  • John saw "a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away" (v. 1). This includes the restored earth of the millennial kingdom.
  • Jesus holds all things together (see Colossians 1:17), and the Bible indicates that one day, He will let go and it will all come apart.
  • Probe: Read 2 Peter 3:10-11. Since everything's going to burn, how should we conduct ourselves as believers?

It Will Be a Fresh Design (Revelation 21:5)

  • In verse 5, new means something completely different from what has gone before—something new in quality, not just in chronology. The new heaven and earth will be different from the old ones.
  • Probe: God created the wonders of this world in six days; imagine what He can do with a couple thousand years!

It Won't Have an Ocean (Revelation 21:1; 22:1)

  • There will be no sea, sun, or moon (see Revelation 21:1, 23). But we won't care because God will be there, and it will be wonderful.
  • There will be water (see Revelation 22:1), but the point is that the new heaven and new earth won't operate on the same principles as ours: we won't be water-based creatures living in a water-based ecology anymore.
  • Probe: No oceans also means no separation among peoples. How are you building community now?

It Will Have a Capital City (Revelation 21:2-3)

  • The new earth will have a headquarters: New Jerusalem, a cube-shaped city roughly the size of the moon, possibly hovering above the earth or orbiting it.
  • It will be 1,500 miles cubed; 1,500 miles is the distance from Albuquerque to Spokane.
  • The city will be the new tabernacle (see v. 3). In the old tabernacle, the innermost room—the Holy of Holies—was also a cube (15 feet cubed).
  • Probe: Read John 20:19-21, 26-27; Mark 16:12; Luke 24:36, 43. Think of how Jesus' glorified body functioned. What might our lives in New Jerusalem be like?

It Will Feel Unfamiliar (Revelation 21:4-6)

  • Heaven is described in negative terms—by what it's not—because we can hardly imagine what it will be like.
  • There will be no more tears, death, sorrow, crying, or pain. No death means none of the conditions that bring death will exist; therefore, there won't be a need for doctors, hospitals, or funerals. You will have a perfect, glorified body that will not age or wear out.
  • Probe: Which of these missing things will you be the happiest about? Why?

Not Everyone Will Be There (Revelation 21:4, 24, 27)

  • There will be three surprises in heaven: who is there, who isn't there, and that you're there.
  • How do you become one who overcomes (see v. 7)? One word: faith.
  • Probe: Take hope: many who have committed the sins listed in Revelation 21:8 will be in heaven because they came to Christ, repented, and had their names written in the Lamb's Book of Life (see v. 27).

Practice

Connect Up: Heaven will be God continually blowing your mind with His majesty, glory, power, and love. Paul said God's intent is that "in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).

Connect In: Read Hebrews 6:10; Galatians 6:10; Romans 12:9-13. Do you know someone who is dealing with chronic pain or sorrow? How can you pray for them, reach out to them, and serve them?

Connect Out: Knowing the common and widespread misconceptions people have about heaven, what can you do to surprise them with these facts about heaven? Pray for an opportunity to share not just the glory and wonders of God's eternal state, but the forgiveness available in Christ that gains them entrance—that gets their name written in the Book of Life.


Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. People have a lot of misconceptions about the next world:
      1. Heaven does not exist
      2. We turn into angels when we die
      3. Heaven will be boring because all we will do is sit on a cloud playing a harp
      4. Before you go to heaven you have to go to a place where your sins are burned away
    2. The only authoritative voice we have for life after death is the Bible
      1. The Bible speaks about heaven about 500 times
      2. Revelation 21 deals with the final stage of eternity, the eternal state
  2. It Will Require Destruction
    1. In this chapter, a lot of future events have already taken place
      1. The rapture
      2. The tribulation
      3. The return of Jesus
      4. Jesus' millennial kingdom
      5. The great white throne judgment
      6. Satan, his demons, the Antichrist, and all unbelievers are in the lake of fire
    2.  Heaven and earth will pass away
      1. Jesus predicted the world would come to an end (see Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33)
      2. It will end with fervent heat (see 2 Peter 3:10)
      3. Until recently, the prevailing cosmology was called the steady state theory
        1. The universe has no beginning and no end
        2. It has since been replaced with the big bang theory
          1. The sun's radiation is produced by the loss of part of its mass
          2. It's running down, thus it has an end
          3. If it has an end, it had a beginning
    3. God designed the universe to be temporary
      1. Jesus created all things (see John 1:1-3)
      2. He is the one who holds everything together (see Colossians 1:17)
    4. How should we live here if everything is eventually going to be burned up? (see 2 Peter 3:11)
      1. Our focus should not be here
      2. Colossians 3:2
  3. It Will Be a Fresh Design
    1. New heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem
      1. Kainos = fresh, new, unused, novel
      2. Qualitatively new
      3. Not a renovation
    2. If God created our current world in six days (see Genesis 1), imagine what He can do in thousands of years
      1. He has been preparing a place for us (see John 14:2-3)
      2. God's creative genius
    3. It will be brand new
      1. We like new things
        1. New things do not stay new
        2. They get beat up and scratched
      2. It will last forever (see Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13)
  4. It Won't Have an Ocean
    1. Sea could possibly be a metaphor for nations or people as restless seas
      1. Isaiah 17:12; 57:20; Revelation 13:1; Revelations 17:15
      2. But we take the Scripture literally as it was written, so we accept that there will literally be no more sea
    2. Life on earth will be very different
      1. No longer water-based
        1. Our current earth is three-quarters water
        2. Humans are made up of mostly water
      2. We will have glorified bodies in a world that does not operate on the same principles
      3. This does not mean there will be no water at all (see Revelation 22:1)
    3. A blessing
      1. In John's day, an ocean represented separation
      2. In the new earth, that separation will be gone
  5. It Will Have a Capital City
    1. No other landmarks on the new earth are described
    2. The New Jerusalem will come out of heaven
      1. A huge city
      2. 1,500 miles long, wide, and high
    3. The tabernacle
      1. Old Testament tabernacle
        1. Outer and inner courts
        2. The Holy of Holies
          1. High priest could enter once a year
          2. Fifteen feet cubed
      2. God will dwell with us in the eternal tabernacle
    4. We may be able to move not only horizontally, but vertically as well
      1. Our glorified bodies will be like Jesus' body
      2. He could walk through walls (see John 20:19, 26)
  6. It Will Feel Unfamiliar
    1. It is hard for us to get our minds around this
    2. The future is described in negatives so we can better imagine what it will be like
      1. No more tears
      2. No more death
      3. No aging
      4. No sorrow
        1. We have a hard time relating to this
        2. We relate better to Psalm 6:6
      5. No pain (see Romans 8:18)
    3. Life is hard, but eternity is coming
  7. Not Everyone Will Be There
    1. Only believers will be there
      1. We overcome by faith (see 1 John 5:4-5)
      2. People who have committed terrible sins will be in heaven
        1. Because they have been saved
        2. Their soul is cleansed by the blood of Jesus
    2. God forgives all who ask Him
  8. Closing
    1. Heaven is not going to be boring
    2. Instead, it is going to be God continually blowing your mind with His power, glory, and majesty (see Ephesians 2:7)
Figures referenced: Napoleon Bonaparte, Dr. Lee Chestnut, C.S. Lewis, Henry Morris

Works referenced: The Atom Speaks

Greek words: kainos

Cross references: Genesis 1; Psalm 6:6; Isaiah 17:12; 57:20; 65:17; Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; John 1:1-3; 20:19, 26; 14:2-3; Romans 8:18; Ephesians 2:7; Colossians 1:17; 3:2; 2 Peter 3:10-11, 13; 1 John 5:4-5; Revelation 13:1; 17:15

Topic: Heaven

Keywords: heaven, eternity, eternal state, new heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem, universe, end of the world, ocean, sea, water, city, tabernacle, Holy of Holies, future, believer, sinner

Keywords: heaven, eternity, eternal state, new heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem, universe, end of the world, ocean, sea, water, city, tabernacle, Holy of Holies, future, believer, sinner

Transcript

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Hello and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray God uses these teachings to impact others for His glory, and we're excited to hear how lives are being changed by His perfect love. If this message encourages you, we'd like to know. Email to us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving.

As we conclude our series "What's Next," we look to the future and eagerly await the time when we will dwell with God forever. Now let's turn in our Bibles to Revelation 21 and 22, as Skip begins the message, "Surprising Facts About Your Eternal Home."

I've discovered, as you have, that people have misconceptions about life based on misinformation about life-- commonly thought truths that have been debunked. For example, that carrots help you see in the dark, that vitamin C is an effective treatment for a cold. You could check with the Mayo Clinic. They will tell you that is not true. That it takes seven years to digest chewing gum-- I don't know if any of you had your mom's tell you, don't eat that. It won't come out for seven years. Frightening, isn't it? That's just not true.

That when you flush the toilet in the southern hemisphere, the water rotates in the other direction-- not true. That the Great Wall of China is visible from space, or here's one that I didn't know until I researched it, that Napoleon was not short. I thought he was short. Well, he was 5' 7", and the average height in his day for a male was 5' 5". So he exceeded and he was actually taller than the rest.

Now, that's misinformation about this world. What kind of misinformation do think people have about the next world? A lot. In a survey of American belief, 40% believe that happen as a place, 47% say it's just a state of being or a state of mind. 25% say those who are good get into heaven. You have to be good to get into heaven. While 10% believe everyone gets into heaven. And I've even discovered but those people who say they believe in heaven have misconceptions about it.

I've heard people say that when you die, you turn into an angel, or a relative who dies before you will become your guardian angel, or that heaven is really boring because you sit on a cloud all day and play a harp, or that heaven is like one long, boring church service-- no thank you. Or the common belief some people have that you first have to go to a place to pay for your sins and have them burned away before you're admitted into heaven.

One of the things I know you believe in is that the only authoritative source that we have for life after death comes from the Bible. And the Bible speaks about heaven about 500 times. I want to show you some things that may surprise you about your eternal home today. Now, by the time we get to Chapter 21, we are dealing with the final phase of eternity, what theologians to refer to as "the eternal state," the eternal state for believers.

Let's read the first eight versus, and we'll start there. "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. Then I, John, saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And 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 there 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.' And He said to me right, 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. 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. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'"

Let me throw out a few surprising facts about your eternal home. Fact number one, it will require destruction. Most people would never think about that when they think of heaven. But it will require destruction. Look at Verse 1-- "I saw a new heaven and a new Earth, for the first heaven and the first Earth had passed away." We saw that in the previous chapter. Heaven and earth fled way from God.

Let me tell where we are chronologically. By the time we open to Chapter 21, a lot has already happened. And life as it once existed on this Earth is over. Jesus has come back to receive His church. The tribulation is over. He is also then returned in glory, setting His foot on the Mount of Olives. He has established and run the course of the millennial kingdom on the Earth. The Great White Throne judgment is over. Satan and the false prophet and the Antichrist and all unbelievers are in the lake of fire.

This is a different phase. Heaven and Earth, it says, passed away. Now, isn't that exactly which Jesus said would happen? Didn't He say these words, "heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my word shall never pass away?" In other words, Jesus, from his own lips, predicted the world will come to an end . And how will it end?

Well, Peter gives us further revelation in Second Peter, Chapter 3, "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements, that is the physical universe, will melt with fervent heat." Did you know that up until this past century, the prevailing cosmology, that is the study of the development of the universe, the origin of the universe, et cetera, the prevailing cosmology was called the steady-state theory. And the steady-state theory was the belief that everything just continued as it once was, with no beginning and no end-- just the continual, perpetual state.

Now, that belief system has gone away, replaced by the Big Bang theory. That's the general cosmology. And one of the reasons that the steady-state theory is no longer believed is because we have observed, for one, one clue is the sun. The sun's radiation is produced by the loss of part of its mass. Every second 4,200,000 tons of the sun's mass is lost, producing the radiation called sunlight and warmth. What that means is it's running down. If it's running down, it's going to have an end. If it had an end, it had a beginning.

God designed this universe to be temporary. The Bible tells us that he created the world. In fact, to be more specific, Jesus, called by John The Word, created all things. And then Paul tells us in the Book of Colossians that He is before all things, and by Him, all things-- listen to this word-- consist-- literally, are held tightly together. So Jesus created it. He took chaos, unformed mass, and created cosmos, the ordered system that we enjoy today. And He holds all things.

He holds all matter. We know that matter is made up of moving particles of opposite charges. And it's always been a mystery. How does it all hold together? I've always enjoyed what Dr. Lee Chestnut, who wrote The Atom Speaks, said about this, and I'm quoting, "consider the dilemma of the nuclear physicist when he finally looks, in utter amazement, at the pattern he has now drawn of the oxygen molecule.

Here are eight positively charged protons closely associated together within the confines of this tiny nucleus. With them are eight neutrons, a total of 16 particles-- eight positively charged, and eight with no charge. Earlier physicists had discovered that like charges of electricity and like magnetic poles repel each other. And unlike charges or magnetic poles attract each other. And the entire history of the electrical phenomenon and electrical equipment has been built up on these principles, known as Coulomb's Law of Electrostatic Force and the Law of Magnetism.

So what was wrong? What holds the nucleus together? Why doesn't it just fly apart? And therefore, why do not all atoms fly apart?"

Now, I'll go out on a limb and be as naive as to say I know the answer to that. Jesus holds it together. He is before all things, and by Him, all things are held tightly together. Can you imagine what would happen if He did this, just let it go, just released it? The Bible seems to indicate that one day He will release it. It will collapse.

Now, I quoted you just a moment ago Second Peter Chapter 2 about the heavens and the Earth melting away. Peter has a question I want you to apply. He says, therefore since all of these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all godliness and holy living?

In other words, here's the question, how should we leave here, if everything here is going to be burned up? Well, certainly, our focus shouldn't be here. Our focus ought to be, as Paul said, set your mind on things above, not on things of the Earth. So that's the first surprising fact. It will require destruction.

Here's the second. What's coming is going to be a brand new fresh design. Look at Verse 1 again. "Now I saw a new heaven and a new Earth." And then look in Verse 2, "I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem." So we've got new heaven, new Earth, new Jerusalem. Verse 5 is the summary statement, "He who sat on the throne said, behold-- or look-- I make all things new."

Now, that word "new" is an important word in the Greek language. It's the word kainos. And it means new of a different kind, that is qualitatively different than the first. It's not just chronologically new. It's qualitatively new. It's a new design. It's different from this. We're not talking about land improvement. We're not talking about renovation. That was the millennial kingdom. That's over with. And everything on this Earth, the heavens and the earth, is destroyed. This is different-- different materials, different atmosphere.

Now I like to think that if God did this great of a job in six days-- isn't it amazing? God just said, let there be light. Bam-- there it was. And then He said let there be this, and let there be that. And He just created things, spoke them. It took, the Bible says, six days. And the days, the Bible indicates, are six 24-hour periods to put it all into existence.

Can you imagine if God applied all of that creative genius for thousands of years? Jesus that I go to prepare a place for you. You may have heard about the scientist who one day looked up in the sky, and he said, God. I know that you made life and all that stuff. But you must feel terribly outdated now that we scientists can do everything you can do. God said, OK, I challenge you to a contest. The scientist said, good, we're on.

So God reaches down, takes a handful of dirt, blows on it. Out comes this beautiful flock of exotic birds. Now it's the scientist's turn. So he takes in a deep breath, and he thinks, I have mastered all of the principles of genetic cloning and soil manipulation. Here it goes. And he reaches down to take a handful of dirt, and God says, wait just a minute. Get your own dirt.

So God made the worlds. God will uncreate the worlds. He'll destroy the Earth. All the will be left then is energy. And God will make something brand new. We love new things, don't We children love new toys, so do adults, whether it's a new outfit or a new house or a new car or a new guitar or a new whatever thing you would like to have new.

The problem with new things is they don't stay new. In a few years, you'll have to get a new water heater for the house or patch the roof of the new house. There was a period of time in my life where I was getting new things that I had saved up for. I was single, and I remember getting a new camera and then a new guitar, then a new surfboard. And every time I got something new, it got dinged up or scratched, or I dropped it accidentally. And it worked, but it just was a new any longer. And it was as if the Lord was just reminding me, it's all going to burn. Don't get too attached to it.

The prophet Isaiah says, "thus says the Lord, I will make a new heavens and a new Earth, which will last forever." This one will not. The next one will last forever. Second Peter, Chapter 3, he agrees with that. "We, according to His promise, look for a new happen and a new Earth, in which dwelleth righteousness."

So this is a new Earth-- new heavens and new Earth, new universe, new physical planet with dimension and substance. So two surprising things-- it's going to require destruction. It'll be a fresh design. Here's the third surprising fact, and I shun to say this, but I will say it because I'm a Bible teacher, and I can't make up what I want heaven to be like. I can't say it's one big long golf course in the sky.

I have to say what the Bible says. And here's the third surprising fact. It won't have an ocean. I hate to say that. But it won't have an ocean. And let me add to that. It won't have an ocean, and you won't care. Verse 1 says, "and there was no more sea." I got to tell you, I struggled with this verse. It is not underlined in my Bible.

I read this, when I read it for the first time, I said, ooh, this is harsh. This is very disappointing-- a brand new world without an ocean? I mean, if I were creating this, it would read, and there were no more cities, and there were no more deserts. But there's plenty of ocean and plenty of palm trees and plenty of surf and sand. But it says, "and there is no more sea." and so I remember reading this, and in my study I even rationalized that perhaps it doesn't really mean what it says it means. It could mean metaphorically nations that the Bible sometimes describe as a restless sea.

For example, Isaiah 17, "the uproar of many peoples, it is a roar like the roaring of the seas." That verse I underlined. Or Isaiah 57, "the wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest." Or Revelation 13 that says, the anti-Christ comes out of what? The sea. In Revelation 17, "the waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues."

So you can see I've spent time studying this through, hoping that I can come up with some alternate interpretation. But I have finally settled on the interpretation that I give to the rest of the scripture, that there will be no more sea. That's just a way of John, in this vision, telling us that life will be very different on the new Earth, and in that new universe.

It's no longer going to be water-based. It's going to have a different climate altogether. The world we live in now is a watery planet. In fact, it's the only place in the universe, that we know of, that has the ability to sustain human life, animal life, and plant life. 3/4 of the Earth is water. And that's because your made up of water. 65% of your flesh is water. 90% of your blood is water. If you don't take in water, you know what'll happen? You'll die. You will dehydrate. You need the intake of water for your life to be sustained.

But he says, I saw no more sea. Why? Because you will be in a glorified body in a world that doesn't operate on the same principles, with the same hydrological system that is needed for life here. Before you get too bummed out and say, you mean, there won't be any water at all? No, I didn't say that. Revelation 22, Verse 1 describes, "John sees a pure river of the water of life."

Now, let me tell you why when John says "I saw no sea" that wasn't a bummer. That was a blessing. Because in John's day and age, a sea, an ocean, meant separation. People didn't fly over oceans in John's day. They had to go across them, and many times they didn't make it because it was treacherous. It was mysterious. It was filled with storms and dark. So that separation will be gone. It will be a different kind of world.

Here's the fourth surprising fact about your eternal home. It's going to have a capital city. Verse 2, "then I, John, saw the Holy City new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her bridegroom. And 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. And God himself will be with them and be their God.'"

I find it fascinating that no landmarks on this new Earth are described really whatsoever-- no characteristics, no color, no form. But we are told, and in great detail we are told, about a city. In Chapter 21 and 22, "the headquarters of your eternal home, new Jerusalem." Different from any other city ever-- because this one, rather than being built on the Earth, comes out of heaven.

Look at Verse 10, "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." Today we know of cities like New York or states like New Jersey or New Mexico or cities like New Orleans, as they say down in Louisiana. This is New Jerusalem, the headquarters, the capital of the eternal state.

How big is it? Well, he says it's a great city. Versus 15 tells you the dimensions. "And He who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, its wall. The city is laid out as a square. Its length is as great as its breath." And he measured the city with the reed-- 12,000 furlongs. Its length, its breadth, and-- watch this-- its height are equal.

What's a furlong? Well, it's "fur" and long. That's stupid, I know. 12,000 furlongs is 1,500 miles. 1,500 miles is the distance from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Spokane, Washington, or from Dallas to Philadelphia, or from Maine to Florida. That's 1,500 miles in one direction. This is 1,500 miles in a square, or, listen to this, 2,250,000 square miles at its base. But then it goes up to 1,500 miles, or the equivalent of 780,000 stories high.

Capable easily of housing 100,000 million people. So it's 1,500 miles cubed. And if you're just trying to wrap your head around this description, it's just slightly smaller than our moon. Wild, isn't it, coming out of heaven, descending toward the Earth, perhaps even rotating around the new Earth? But I want to see something else in Verse 3, "behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people. And God himself will be with them and be their God."

How many of you remember the Tabernacle in the Old Testament? do remember the Tabernacle, that tent structure in the wilderness? It had courts. There was the outer court in the Tabernacle, where the priests made sacrifices. There was the inner court, where the priests did their service of lighting the lamps and putting out the show bread and lighting the incense.

But then there was the inner-inner court called the holy of what? Holies-- the holy of holies. And a high priest could go into that room one day a year-- one day a year, the day of atonement. What's interesting about the holy of holies-- do you know, it was a cube? It was a perfect cube. It was 15-feet by 15-feet by 15-feet.

So we're not really all that surprised that when God chooses to dwell with mankind eternally, tabernacle with them, His tabernacle among men is this 1,500-mile cube coming out of heaven toward the Earth, where He will dwell with them. Now, a lot of people have put pencil to paper in trying to describe this. One of them is a scientist by the name of Henry Morris. He guessed that 20 billion people could inhabit this, assuming that only 25% of new Jerusalem was given over to dwelling places, and 75% was used for whatever else-- streets, parks, public spaces, public buildings. And he calculates that every person who lives there, at only 25% occupancy, that each person would have a cubicle block of 75 acres on each face to call their own.

Now, I'm making an assumption, and I think it's a right one, that we won't just be able to move horizontally, but vertically. Why do I say that? Because the Bible says our new bodies, our resurrected bodies, will be like Jesus' body. Do you remember Jesus after the Resurrection? He could go through walls. He didn't have to use the door. He didn't have to knock. He just showed up. And He was in one place and then in another place almost instantaneously.

So you could conceivably then be on the bottom level of new Jerusalem and then (SPEEDING NOISE) up to the top. it's not like you're waiting on an elevator. It's been four years now. Just (SPEEDING NOISES), which leads me to the fifth surprising fact about your eternal home.

It will feel unfamiliar. Now, before I read the text, let me make a statement that I believe to be true. Everything so far I have said to you describing your eternal home sounds really weird. Admit it. To the average ears, everything I have mentioned in this sermon sounds so outlandish. It sounds weird. Because, yes, we can read the scriptures, and we can try to visualize the description, but it's hard to get our minds around this. It's so different than anything we've ever known.

CS Lewis said, "our ability to imagine what eternity will be like is like two infants in a womb talking about what they will be doing once they're born and are 25 years old." That was helpful to me. It's like, yeah, what do you think you'll be doing when you're 20? It's impossible. So that is why every time we give a Bible study about heaven, you walk away be disappointed. Honestly, you do, because you'd love it if I'd show slides. But I can't.

We look through a glass darkly. We have words and visual descriptions. And we get a little bit of a hint, but it's like, ah, it's so different. It's unfamiliar. This is one of the reasons when the future is described, it is described in negatives. As if to say, it's not at all what you have experienced so far in life.

For example, notice what it says, Verse 4, "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying." Those are all negatives. "There shall be no more pain." That's a negative. "For the former things have passed away." And He who sat on the throne said, 'behold, I make all things new.' And He said to me right, for these words are true and faithful. And He said to me, 'it is done. I am the alpha, the omega, the beginning, the end. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.'"

Think of those thoughts. God'll wipe away every tear. There won't be Kleenex in Heaven. God will get to the very root of all of the problems, and they won't exist there-- no tears. It says there will be no more death. You'll never go to a funeral again. You'll never visit a cemetery. And you know why? Because you'll never age. You see, if there's no death, then there are no conditions that bring death-- no disease, no hospitals, no doctors.

You'll have a perfect body. Some of you are going, Skip, I already have a perfect body. Been working really hard on this baby. To which I immediately reply, just wait. Gravity is not your friend, nor is entropy your friend. Both of those things are fighting against you, and you'll lose the battle, like all of us will. But you will have an ageless perfect body in heaven.

Notice what else it says-- "nor sorrow." Are you eve3r grumpy? Do you ever get moody, sullen? Some of you live in that a lot. And that's why you relate to Psalms, like what David said in Psalm 6. He said, "I'm weary with my groaning. I make my bed swim with my tears." That you relate to. This you don't relate to-- no sorrow.

The stupidest thing you could ever hear in heaven, and you'll never hear it, is this, have a good day, because every day will be a good day. There won't be such a thing as a bad day. There won't be sorrow nor pain. My heart goes out to people who live with chronic pain. I know some who deal with it all the time.

I hope you're encouraged by some of these little descriptions of heaven, like there's no pain. Paul said in Romans 8, "I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us." Listen, life is hard, but eternity is coming, which leads me then to the final, the sixth. There are many more, but this is all we can handle.

This is the sixth surprising fact about your eternal home. Not every one will be there. Now, you've heard me say this on so many occasions. I've said there's three surprise in heaven-- who's not there, who is there, and that you're there. You're going to look for people and say, well, where's she? I surely thought she'd be in heaven. She's not here.

But then you're going to see other people, you're going to go, how did you get here? And they're going to say, that's what I was about to say to you. Not everyone is there. It's a city of only believers. Verse 7, "he who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators, and all liars will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Skip down to Verse 24, "and the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light. And the kings of the Earth will bring their glory and honor into it." Go down to Verse 27, "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."

What does Verse 7 mean when it says "he who overcomes?" Who's that? What's an overcomer? How do you overcome? Do you just determine that you're going to rise above the common man, and I determine and I purpose that I'm going to live this certain way? No. You know how you overcome? One word-- do you know what that word is? Faith. You overcome by faith.

First John, Chapter 5, it reads thus, "everyone who is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that is overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So you read this list of the people who won't be there. And here's the best news. Many people who have committed these sins listed and far worse will actually be in heaven. You know why? Because they become saved.

They get their names written in the book of life. Their soul gets cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. That's how you get your name in the book of life. They may have been these things at one time. They practiced these things. But there came a point in their life where they repented, turned around, and turned to Christ, and asked Him to forgive their sin. And their names were written in the book of life. That is the real issue.

So in the very least, I hope you'll walk away never again thinking that heaven is going to be boring. There was a Far Side cartoon that showed a man sitting on a cloud in heaven with a little halo attached to the wire in the cartoons, little wings on, and he's playing a harp. And he has the most forlorn bored look on his face in this cartoon. And there's a little caption that reads, "I wish I had brought a magazine."

In other words, that's how bad it is. It's so boring that the first five minutes or like the first five million years is all going to be a long church service, where I have to play a harp. You know what heaven's going to be? s It's going to be God continually blowing your mind with His power, His majesty, His glory, and His love. How do I know that? Because Paul said in Ephesians 2 "that in the ages to come." What is that? That's eternity. "That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness toward us, in Christ Jesus." In other words, it's going to take God all of eternity to show you the fullness of who He is and how much He loves you. That's what heaven's going to be like.

I hope you go there. Father, thank you for a little glimpse for us to think about it. It's really impossible to get our heads around an experience we've never had or a place we've never been. But it's a place where You are, and it;s why we want to go there, because we want community with You. And the thought that we'll be with You and see You in everlasting glory, a place that doesn't need a sun or a moon, because the glory of God shines it.

It's very attractive to us. That is our home sweet home. That is the place Jesus said is being prepared for us. It is described in these chapters. It is where we will spend forever being very active, it says, serving the lamb and serving the God who sits on the throne.

Father, I pray for anyone going through a chronic pain, struggling financially, struggling with issues of depression, anxiety, where life is a struggle to them. I pray, Lord, that they would take heart, that their spirits would be lifted, that these truths of no sorrow, no pain, no doubt, but glory revealed that our sufferings can't compare to what's coming. Strengthen, Father, your flock. I pray for them.

I also pray for those who don't have a personal relationship with You. They don't know You. Lord, I pray that the words of scripture combined with the work of your Holy Spirit in their hearts would be enough to convince them that just living for this world isn't enough. The whole world isn't enough for them. It'll never satisfy them-- that an eternal dimension is what we were made for, and it's what we need it. And so I pray that some would say yes to Jesus this morning.

Before we dismiss, our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed. But if you want to give your life to Christ for the first time, or you need to come back to Jesus Christ because you've walked away, wandered away from Him-- I don't know your circumstances. I'm not going to get into the theology of that. All you know is that you need Him and you want your sins forgiven, and you want to make sure that if you die, when you die, you will go to heaven to experience all of the phases of that eternal glory.

If you want to make sure that, you need to receive Christ. And if you're willing to do that, I want you to raise your hand right now as we close in prayer. Raise your hand up so I can see it. And I'll close in praying for you. God bless you and you. I see your hand. Anybody else? Please raise it up high. God bless you. Anybody else? Anyone else? Raise it up high. God bless you. Thank you. Thanks for pointing that out. And you my right.

Lord, I just want to, and I have the honor of doing so, praying for those who have raised the hand, because these are lives that You love. These are people that You love. You made them. You love them. You have a plan for them. I pray You reveal that plan to them. I pray they would experience the awesomeness of a new life, the forgiveness of sin, a new joy, a new peace.

Right where you are, wherever you raised your hand, you might even be outside, I'm going to ask you to say a prayer right now where you are. Say to the Lord right now, Lord, I give you my life. I give my life to You. I know that I am a sinner, Lord. I know that, and I'm sorry for it. And I believe that Jesus died on a cross for me, shed his blood for my sin and rose again from the grave for me. I turn from my sin, Lord. And I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I pray that You would fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to live for You in Jesus' name, amen.

As believers, we can be confident in our future because our hope is in Christ. How does this truth strengthen your faith? Let us know. Email us mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzit of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
1/10/2016
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What's Next?
Revelation 1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
People have always been fascinated with the future and what's next. As we study prophecy, we can't help but wonder if current events play into an end-time scenario. The book of Revelation is John's written account of the spiritual revelation he received from God about the future return and reign of Christ. As Skip begins in Revelation 1, he encourages us to look at the future with faith and hope.
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1/17/2016
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Come Up Here
Revelation 1:19-20; Revelation 4:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
As believers, we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed hope of eternity with Him. Unfortunately, some are put off by the idea of the rapture, because the date has been incorrectly predicted for so many years. In this message, we get a glimpse into the throne room of heaven as we anticipate the joy we'll have at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.
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1/24/2016
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What Is Heaven Like?
Revelation 5:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
There are many preconceived ideas about what heaven is like: we might picture ourselves sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a harp, or we see ourselves sitting on a porch or playing a round of golf. Some even think heaven sounds boring. In this message, we examine what heaven will really look like for believers and what we can expect when we get there.
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2/7/2016
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Stampede
Revelation 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The tribulation period will be a time of deception, war, famine, and death for the occupants of the world. The Antichrist will rise to power and masquerade as the Messiah, pretending to bring peace, but instead bringing war. In this message, we learn what will unfold when the first four seals are opened and their terrors are unleashed on the earth.
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2/14/2016
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The World's Greatest Revival
Revelation 7
Skip Heitzig
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During the earth’s greatest trial and tribulation will also come its greatest opportunity for salvation. Even after the church is raptured off the earth and ensconced in heaven, there will be gospel preaching during this time of global pain. This is the flicker of hope that will be offered to the world while God pours out His wrath on it. There are three unexpected discoveries we make about the upcoming tribulation period.
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2/28/2016
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What's Next? from Jerusalem
Matthew 24:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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One of God's greatest attributes is that He knows what is going to happen before it actually happens, and His Word clearly maps the events of the future. In this message from Jerusalem, we learn why this city is the center of the world, as well as what we can expect to take place when Jesus fulfills His promise to return for the church.
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3/6/2016
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Cosmic Conflict
Revelation 12:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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There has been an invisible war between satanic forces and God’s purpose and people since time began. To fail to understand this conflict is to fail to understand both history and prophecy. Without the lens provided by Revelation 12, our vision of everything is obscured. We will never fully grasp the plan of God through the ages, the cross of Christ, the tribulation, and the future reign of Christ unless we can comprehend the cosmic conflict that is displayed in this chapter.
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3/13/2016
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Satan's Global Conflict
Revelation 12:7-17
Skip Heitzig
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"War in Heaven Brings Wrath on Earth!" That could be the headline of Revelation 12. The ongoing battle of the ages that began in heaven and has played out on earth will reach fever pitch in the coming years. If you're asking What's Next?, the answer in part lies here. The cosmic battle becomes a global battle that will be filled with both woe and worship, both fury and freedom. Let's get more insight into the motivations and actions of the archenemy of God's people.
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4/3/2016
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The Most Interesting Man in the World
Revelation 13:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Unlike the fictional beer commercials, the most interesting man in the world is coming. Dynamic, persuasive, and a breath of fresh air, this leader’s diplomatic skills will be off the charts. On one hand, he will be everything the world has been waiting for; on the other hand, he will be its biggest nightmare. Since the number six is often the designated number of man in Scripture, let’s examine six characteristics of this most interesting coming ruler.
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4/10/2016
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The Coming Deception
Revelation 13:11-18
Skip Heitzig
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We know for sure that a ruler who will have international authority is coming to the earth. We also know that he will not be alone. There will come a religious deceiver who will aid and abet this global leader. Today, we consider the end-time teaching of the world’s fastest-growing religion to see if there is an interface with the Bible’s predictions about what’s next.
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4/17/2016
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The Return
Revelation 19:11-21
Skip Heitzig
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We now come to the culmination of all redemptive history—the second coming of Jesus Christ. After history runs its sinister course, after the final period of man’s rebellion, Satan’s retaliation, and God’s judgment, the end of the world will come. But the end of this world will actually be the beginning of a new one. The event that hinges these together is the future coming of Christ to the earth. Let’s consider five aspects of His return, spoken of here and throughout Scripture.
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4/24/2016
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Heaven on Earth
Revelation 20:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Mankind long ago gave up on the idea of a future utopia. The thought of perpetual peace and undisturbed harmony became the stuff of fairy tales. But that is precisely what God promised He will bring to this earth one day. Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God’s creation for several millennia, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Let’s explore this thousand-year phase of your eternal future.
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5/22/2016
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What's Next...for Everyone!
Revelation 20:4-7; Revelation 20:11-15
Skip Heitzig
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but I eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let's consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.... But where and how?
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.