The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 10 : The Revelation (Commentaries on the Revelation)

[Chapter 21-2] (Revelation 21:1-27) We Must Have the Kind of Faith That Is Approved by God

(Revelation 21:1-27)
 
God has given us the New Heaven and Earth. God tells us that what you see now, the first heaven and earth, and all its belongings, will all disappear, and that He will give us in their place a new heaven, a new earth, and a new sea, and renew all things in this newly created universe. This means that the Lord God would give the New Heaven and Earth as His gift to the saints who had taken part in the first resurrection. This blessing is a gift from God that He would bestow on His saints, who have received the remission of their sin.
God will therefore give this blessing to the saints who had participated in the first resurrection. This blessing is permitted only to those saints who, by believing in the holy gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ, have received the remission of their sins. Our Lord would thus become the saints’ Bridegroom. From now on, all that remains for the brides to do is to be clothed in the Bridegroom’s protection, blessings, and power as the Lamb’s wives, and to live in glory in His glorious Kingdom forever.
The passage also tells us that the Holy City, New Jerusalem, descended from Heaven. This was no ordinary city, for it says that the City was as beautiful as a bride adorned for her husband, coming down from Heaven.
God has prepared a holy city for the saints. This City is the city of Jerusalem, the Temple of God. This Temple is prepared only for God’s saints. And it has been planned for the saints all along in Jesus Christ, even before the Lord God created this universe. The saints therefore cannot help but thank the Lord God with their faith and give glory to Him for this gift of grace.
All these things—that saints are made the people of God and that He has thus become their God—are the grace bestowed by God and a gift that the saints have received from Him for believing in the Word of salvation of the water and the Spirit.
Therefore, all those who are blessed to enter into the Lord’s Temple and live with Him will give thanks and glory to God forever, for the Scripture tells us that God would wipe away their tears, that there would be no more death, nor crying, nor suffering any longer, and that the former things would have passed away. Though sorrow, crying, pain, death, wailing, and sadness abound in this world now, in the New Heaven and Earth, all such things would have passed away. Those who live in the New Heaven and Earth given by the Lord would no longer shed any tears of sadness or cry out in sorrow for the loss of their loved ones, never again.
When this time of the saints’ entrance into the New Heaven and Earth arrives, the first heaven, the first earth, and all their sorrows would simply disappear, and all that awaits the saints would be to live their lives of glory and of all the blessings with God in this New Heaven and Earth forever. God would have taken away all the imperfections of the first world and made this new world perfect.
The main passage of chapter 21 tells us of the New Heaven and Earth, which will follow the complete extermination of this world, after the Millennial Kingdom described in chapter 20 passes by. With chapter 20, anything that is even remotely related to this earth has all ended. The age of the Antichrist (the Beast), false prophets, his followers, and of the ones who had not believed in God but had stood against Him in this world, has all passed away. As they were all cast into fire when the Millennial Kingdom came to its close, now the only place where they can be seen is hell.
Thus, in chapter 21, God tells us of the New Heaven and Earth that He would give to the saints, a place of perfection where no sinner can ever be found. Just as when you want to see wild animals you go to a zoo, when this time comes, anyone who wants to see Satan and his followers will have to make a trip to hell.
In the place where God would give us the New Heaven and Earth, our Lord, too, will live with us. God has also made for us the Holy City with beautiful nature and brilliantly green gardens. When the New Heaven and Earth come, all the things of the first world and all its imperfections would have disappeared, only the truth would exist, and the perfect saints would reign the whole Kingdom of Heaven forever and ever.
 
 
Don’t Be Disheartened at Your Present Condition
 
This present age is an age of darkness and hopelessness. Hope is not to be found anywhere in this age, whose future is only clouded in uncertainty. This is why, at times, we feel frustrated and weak even though we are preaching the gospel. As for myself, my heart had often been down because of this, but while reading the Word of Revelation and explaining its passages, I have realized that the saints and servants of God facing the end times have nothing to be saddened by. By making me realizing that the present tribulations and sufferings are only ephemeral, and that a bright world stands right before my eyes, God has strengthened my heart to never again be troubled.
If we look at only our present conditions, our lives are indeed depressing, sad and uninteresting, and we are prone to be disheartened by the ceaseless troubles that visit us while serving the gospel. But because of all the blessings of the Lord that are approaching us, though they may not be seen by our eyes of the flesh, our hearts are freed of all disorientations, and are instead filled by great hope and joy. The reason why there is absolutely no need for us to live in sadness is because our God has already given us His New Heaven and Earth.
Do you believe in the New Heaven and Earth? Though you have not experienced it, have you ever contemplated on it?
This earth, too, have some beautiful places. When we are talking about a good living environment in this world, we are usually talking about trees, green pastures besides the rivers, flowers in the fields, and good people. There must also be clear water flowing, and it must not have any bad people, nor lack in anything. When all such conditions are met, we say that it’s the most fantastic environment. But in Heaven, everything is perfect, far more and better than what the best place in the whole world can boast of.
The question is, then, for whom God has prepared and would bring down from Heaven this Holy City built so perfectly. God has made this City for none other than the saints. This is why we can all forget everything about the first earth. Though we would live in glory in the Millennial Kingdom, in the next world, in the New Heaven and Earth described in chapter 21, which God truly wants to give to us, we will live with the Lord in even greater glory. To do so, God has saved us by sending us Jesus Christ, and will resurrect and rapture us. Living with the Lord in bodies made perfect like the Body of resurrected Jesus provides a picture-perfect image of the blissful and blessed life that awaits us.
To give us the Kingdom of New Heaven and Earth, God has made you and me to be born onto this earth, and He has saved us. If the saints live this world with the realization of God’s profound providence, they can all live well, without facing any difficulty, suffering sadness, or facing depression. By looking at what the Lord has done and what He would do for us in the future, we can all live enterprisingly and positively.
But if we look at ourselves and the hopeless state of the politics, economics, and societies of this earth, there is no other choice but to fall into despair. You and I must never forget that God has given us the New Heaven and Earth, and that Heaven is ours. This is the reality. This is the fact. Even if this world tries to make you sad, never be saddened by it, nor angered, but only look toward the Lord. And live your life with hope, believing that the Lord has indeed given the New Heaven and Earth to His saints.
God said that He would make all things new. He told John to write these Words, that He would make all things new, “for these words are true and faithful.” Those who take part in the first resurrection will also partake of all these blessings of living in the place where God would have made all things new. This is something that we cannot even dream of with our man-made thoughts, but it is something that God has prepared for His saints. The saints and all things would thus give all glory, thanks, honor and praise to God forever for fulfilling this great work.
The Bible says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).” Though we cannot see these things with our eyes, in other words, they are all true nonetheless. We had hoped to be saved from all our sins, and by believing in our salvation we have indeed been saved. And because we have, after being saved, wanted and hoped to live forever in a whole and perfect world that lacks nothing, God has indeed fulfilled this hope for us. Everything that we have wanted and hoped for will all come true, for all our hopes are true.
In chapter 10 of Revelation, when the Lord spoke to John through His angel who stood on the sea and the earth, and when John tried to write them down, God told him not to write. Among the things that the Lord spoke, there are certain things that He did not allow to be written, for these are the mysteries that He would reveal only to us the saints.
This mystery is none other than our rapture. To know exactly at what point our rapture would happen, we must first realize that the seventh trumpet of God is the decisive clue to solving this mystery. When, then, will the seventh trumpet sound? The seventh trumpet will sound when the first three and a half years of the seven-year period of the Great Tribulation are slightly passed by. This is when the saints’ resurrection and rapture will come. And when the rapture is over, the plagues of the seven bowls will shortly follow.
Some years ago, I held a revival meeting with a topic titled “the Seven Churches of Asia Minor.” I also wrote a book on these seven churches of Asia Minor, and its content corresponds to what I have explained of the present passage here. Looking at the sermons in the book, I can feel that though the times have changed quite a lot, the Word of God has not changed a bit regardless of the passing times.
Do you want to live in the New Heaven and Earth, in the place that God has prepared for you and me? The imperfections of this world are no longer found there. When God said that He would make all things new, some people could interpret this as saying that He would transform what were already there, as in recycling. But from chapter 21 and on, it absolutely is a whole new world, completely different from the past. The born-again would take part in this New Heaven and Earth made completely new by God, because they are the ones who have partaken of divine attributes. It is, in other words, because they have become the partakers of the divine realm.
Instead of basing all our thoughts on material concepts, we must think in spiritual dimensions. I pray that you would all be the kind of saints and servants that believes in what God has actually given to our souls, and that believes, in faith, that these things, though they are yet to be fulfilled, will indeed come true. God has given us great blessings.
God said that He would give the fountain of the water of life freely to those who thirst. This Word does not refer to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When people believe that God has delivered them from their thirst by giving them His gospel on this earth and saving them from their sins, this, too, is akin to drinking the water of life. But the passage here does not refer to just this, but it refers to the actual water of life that would be drunk in the New Heaven and Earth, where whoever drinks this water of life would never die, his/her body would be turned like that of Lord, and he/she would live with Him forever.
Our Lord God has planned and fulfilled all these things, from the very beginning to the end. All the things that the Lord has done, He did them for Himself and for His saints. As such, the saints are now called by God Himself as Christ’s, and have become the true children of God according to His plan. Those who have become saints by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can now realize, from their faith in this great love of God and His wondrous works, that there is nothing lacking for them to forever give thanks and praise to the Lord.
As the Lord said, “I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts,” He has indeed given the fountain of the water of life to His saints and has allowed them to enjoy eternal life. This is the greatest gift that God has bestowed on His saints. Now the saints are to live forever in the New Heaven and Earth and to drink from the fountain of the water of life, from which they will never thirst again forever. The saints have now become, in other words, God’s children who would have eternal life, just like the Lord God, and live in glory. I give thanks and glory to the Lord God once again for giving us this great blessing.
 
 
The Faith in the True Gospel Enables Us to Overcome the World
 
The Apostle John now returns to his present time. Verse 7 says, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” “He who overcomes” here refers to those who defend their faith given by the Lord. This faith allows all the saints to overcome all troubles and temptations. Our faith in the Lord God and in the true love of the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Him is what gives us victory over all the sins of the world, over the judgment of God, over our enemies, over our own weaknesses, and over the persecution of the Antichrist.
I give thanks and glory to our Lord God for giving us victory over all. The saints who believe in the Lord God can overcome the Antichrist with their faith, because to each and every one of them, our Lord God has given this faith with which they can triumph in their fight against all their enemies. God has now allowed the saints, who have thus overcome the world and the Antichrist with their faith, to inherit His New Heaven and Earth. I give thanks and praise to our God for giving us this strong faith.
God said that to those who overcome, He would give as their inheritance His New Heaven and Earth, where there are neither tears, nor sorrows, nor worries. Only those who overcome would deserve to receive it. The faith of this victory is the faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has given us. This is the faith with which we can overcome the world, our sins, our own weaknesses, and the Antichrist.
As the reward for our faith that overcomes the Antichrist, we will soon receive the New Heaven and Earth from God. Because we will receive all these blessings for our faith, when the Antichrist stands against us and tries to take away our faith, we can triumph over all the schemes of all our enemies by faith. Those who overcome believe in the Word of God no matter what others say to them, and defend their faith in the truth that the Lord has taken away all their sins. Those of us who, after having received the remission of our sins and having been born again, are now living the end times, must overcome the schemes of the Antichrist with faith.
We can overcome the short-lasting tribulations with our faith in the truth that the Lord has given us His New Heaven and Earth, as well as all wealth, splendor and glory. When a better world awaits us, would we in reality betray the gospel of this faith? When tomorrow better things will come to us, when amazingly wonderful things await us if we would only persevere through just a day, would we not be able to withstand today’s hardship? We can all persevere.
The Bible tells us frequently about ‘faith, hope and love’ as the essential virtues that the saints should keep in their minds. Those who have hope are more than capable of overcoming their present tribulations by believing that all these blessings God has given them are their reality. And because the plagues of the end times last only a short while, and because God will also give His saints ways to escape them, we can all persevere through. I hope that you would, from this very moment and on, already enter the New Heaven and Earth and live in it in the realm of faith.
In the realm of faith, all this Word must touch your heart through faith, rather than your skin of the flesh. When it does so, your heart will become strong as it finds new strength, and it will have hope.
All the saints will be martyred in the end times. Looking at the hope that we have placed in the New Heaven and Earth, we are more than capable of embracing martyrdom with renewed strength.
In His essence, our Lord God is the God of truth and the God of love. Who, then, are the people that are fundamentally cowardly before God? These are the ones who are born with the original sin and who have not cleansed of all their own sins with the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. Because in their essence they worship the evil ones more than they worship God, they have clearly become Satan’s servants. It is because they worship the evil before the Lord God, and because they love and follow the darkness more than the light, that they are cowardly before the Lord God. All those who are cowardly before God will partake of the lake burning with fire and brimstone.
It is an established fact that these people, who by themselves are the darkness itself because of their sins in their hearts, have no other choice but to fear God. As the souls of those who belong to Satan love the darkness, they are cowardly before Jesus who has become the light. This is why they must take their evilness and weaknesses to God and receive the remission of their sins from Him. Those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord are the greatest sinners before God and His enemies.
As their souls belong to the abominable, and because they stand against God, love and commit every sin that there is, follow false signs, worship all kinds of idols, and speak all kinds of lies, by the righteous judgment of God they will all be cast into the lake burning with fire and brimstone. This is their punishment of the second death.
The second death will be sentenced to the people who would be sent to hell, and these are the ones who are cowardly, who do not believe, who are abominable, who are murders, sexually immoral, sorcerers, and idolaters, who, together with the Antichrist and his followers, do not accept God’s love now. The ones who do not believe in Him are the most evil ones. The Bible tells us that all these evil ones would be cast into the lake burning with fire and brimstone. This is why the Bible calls it the second death.
Those who take part in the second resurrection will not die even when they are thrown into fire, and for this very purpose of being cast into fire, they are to be resurrected in bodies that would live forever.
Unbelievers in God will be raised again to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. The second resurrection, which will bring eternal suffering in the fire of hell without dying, is reserved for all these people who do not believe.
Shortly after the pouring of the seven bowls containing the seven plagues, the Millennial Kingdom will be fulfilled, and when its thousand years pass by, the saints will move to the New Heaven and Earth. In the phrase, “I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” the Lamb’s wife here refers to those who have been saved by the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ and by believing in it.
 
 
The Glory and Beauty of the Holy City Are Beyond Description
 
The city of Jerusalem refers to the Holy City where the saints are to live with their Bridegroom. This City that John saw was indeed beautiful and fantastic. It was majestic in size, adorned by precious stones inside out, clean and clear. The angel showed John where the brides of Jesus Christ would live with their Bridegroom.
Imagine living in a palace built with precious stones. In this City built with twelve different kinds of precious stones, those who are to become the Lamb’s brides will live forever. This City is the gift of God that He would bestow on the Lamb’s wife. The passage tells us that the city of Jerusalem shines brilliantly, and that its light is like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
The glory of God is therefore with the City and all those who live in it. God’s domain is that of light, and so only those who have been cleansed of all their darkness, weaknesses and sins can enter this City and live in it. As such, to enter this Holy City, we must all believe only in the true Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that our Lord has given us.
The passage says that the City has a great and high wall with twelve gates. And it says that on the gates names are written, and that these are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. God tells us that He has indeed and actually prepared this City for His saints, surrounded by a great and high wall.
This is a spiritual indication that the way to enter this Holy City is that much difficult. It tells us, in other words, that being saved from all our sins before God is impossible with human efforts or the material things of the world of God’s creation. To be delivered from all our sins and enter God’s Holy City, it is absolutely required that we have the same faith of the twelve disciples of Jesus, the faith that believes in the truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As such, no one who does not have this faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can ever enter this Holy City.
The City is guarded by twelve angels standing as gatekeepers appointed by the Lord God. The phrase, “names written on them [gates],” on the other hand, tells us that the owners of this City have already been decided, for its owners are none other than God Himself and His people, and the City belongs to the people of God who have now become His children.
This Holy City has three gates in each of its four directions of north, south, east, and west. I am sure that the Lord mentioned these three gates specifically here to tells us that they are especially related to the gospel that we believe in. 1 John 5:7-8 state that there are three that witness the true gospel both in Heaven and earth. Only those who believe in these three witnesses, both in Heaven and earth, can enter Heaven. We, the born-again, believe in Triune God and His righteous act of saving us through the water, the blood, and the Spirit.
The fact that the names of the twelve apostles are written on the twelve foundations of the City’s wall tells us that the Lord has done exactly as He had promised, that He would not blot out their names from the Book of Life but write them in.
A furlong, ‘Stadion’ in Greek, is a unit of measurement for distance, about 600 feet (185 m) in today’s measurement. When the Bible tells us that each side of the quadrate City in Heaven measures 12,000 furlongs, it is telling us that each side measures about 2,220 km (1,390 miles). We are also told that its length, width, and height are the same. The majestic size of the City tells us just how great and glorious the Kingdom of God is.
The biblical meaning of the number four is suffering. The faith that the Lord demands from us is not something that just anybody can have, but this faith can be had only by those who accept the Word of God as it is, even if they cannot entirely comprehend it with their own, man-made thoughts.
As a Christian, it is impossible to enter God’s Holy City just by believing in Jesus’ Cross, and that the Lord is God and Savior. Just as our Lord Himself said, no one can enter into the Kingdom of God unless he/she is born again of the water and the Spirit. People can be born again only when they believe that all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist, and that He atoned for their sins by shedding His blood and dying on the Cross in their place.
The phrase, “the city was pure gold, like clear glass,” tells us that only those whose faith is like gold—that is, only those who truly believe in God—can enter it. It tells us that the faith that allows one to enter the Lord’s Holy City is the kind of faith that believes the Word of God as it is written, one that is pure and free from all worldly things. It tells us, in other words, that one must accept God’s Word of being born again of the water and the Spirit in its purity, truly believe in this Word, and have his/her faith refined.
The foundations of the wall of the City are adorned with all kinds of precious stones, telling us that we can be nourished of different aspects of faith from the Word of our Lord. We must have the disciplined faith, not just the faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit or of hope for Heaven and the Millennial Kingdom. This trained faith also comes through the Word of God while enduring the present sufferings.
The Lord has given the saints not only His blessing of the remission of their sins, but also the blessing of the fulfillment of their hope, that those who are forgiven of their sins will enter the Millennial Kingdom and Heaven. We the saints can only thank God for qualifying us to enter the New Heaven and Earth, where neither sadness nor sorrow is ever found.
The saints who are to enter the Holy City needs to have much patience while on this earth, standing firmly anchored to the center of their faith. Those who believe in the Word of truth spoken by the Lord God, in other words, need to have great perseverance to defend their faith. When the end times come, the age of the Antichrist, the opponent of faith, will arrive.
This Antichrist will, as Satan’s servant, bring great persecution to many people of faith, seeking to make them betray their faith. If people stand at the Antichrist’s side and abandon their faith, not only will the Millennial Kingdom and Heaven be beyond their reach, but they will also be thrown into hell together with Satan.
Therefore, amidst the trials, persecutions, and plagues of the end times, we all need the perseverance that would allow us to defend our faith resolutely, for this unflinching perseverance is what will make the New Heaven and Earth ours.
Living in the New Heaven and Earth is like living embraced in the arms of the Lord. Because Jesus Christ, who has become the light of the new world, shines on this holy earth as its light, there is no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it. Jesus Christ is our Savior, Creator, and Judge, and in the New Heaven and Earth He is God who lives with us. By Him we enter Heaven, and from Him all blessings flow. The saints will have nothing else to do but to always praise this Lord.
In King James Version, verse 24 is written as the following: “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.” When it says here that the glory of the earth are brought into Heaven, this does not mean that the ones who had reigned on the first earth, since they were wealthy, would bring their riches into the New Heaven and Earth. The earth here refers to the earth of the Millennial Kingdom.
Although the saints are saved and would enter the Millennial Kingdom all in the same manner, they would nevertheless be given different authorities, some reigning over ten cities and others over five cities, depending on their endeavor for preaching the gospel while living in the first world.
What verse 24 here tells us is that these kings who had different authorities would move to the New Heaven and Earth. Those who had reigned in the Millennial Kingdom, in other words, will enter the New Heaven and Earth as kings bringing along their faith in the Lord and all their glory and honor. It therefore has nothing to do with this first earth where all of us are living right now.
Because the New Heaven and Earth, where the Holy City is located, is already filled by the holy light, there can be no night in it, nor any evil ones. Among both Christians and non-Christians of this world alike, all those who do not know the truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit are defilers, abominable, and liars. They therefore cannot enter the Holy City. Because whoever believes the gospel of the water and the Spirit can enter Heaven, this gospel of the water and the Spirit is the key to Heaven and the key to the remission of sin. You must realize that when you recognize and believe that God has given you this key, your name will be written into the Book of Life. And when you accept the truth of this gospel, you will be clothed in the blessing of entering this Holy City.
Believe that the Holy City has already been given to us. And live your life accordingly, with hope.
Because everything that we are facing at the present time is measured by the value system of this secular world, we cannot really figure out what true happiness is. But when we measure with God’s measuring rod, we can all realize that those who have Heaven in their possession are the truly happy ones. Why? Because sooner or later, the things of the world will all disappear. Offering us nowhere to place our hope, they will all disappear as the tribulations and plagues are brought at their end, as according to God’s plan. Nothing could be more foolish than placing one’s hope in such things of the flesh that would simply rot away and burn down to ashes.
But in contrast, those who place their hope in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven that would neither rot away nor ever burn down are the blessed ones. Only those who are sinless can enter the Holy City of Jerusalem prepared by God. The happiest people in this world are the ones who have Heaven in their possession, whose sins have all been forgiven and cleansed away.
We must live our lives blessed by God, as the ones who give glory to Him for giving us the New Heaven and Earth, and who dedicate ourselves to the preaching of the true gospel that enables each and every soul to enter Heaven.
Let us all live in such blessings, let us be loved by God, and, when we stand before the presence of our Lord, let us all live forever embraced in His arms.