Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1-2, NIV).
The beginning of Chapter 21 reveals the conclusion of the book of Revelation. God has accomplished His purpose in saving his people and this is the fitting consummation to the story of redemption: God has brought His people home and He will dwell with them. “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3, NIV).
We have now arrived at the cosmic event that divides time and eternity–the point in time where heaven and earth conjoin to bind the future to the present.
If there is a chronology to the book of Revelation then the progression of events has brought scenes into view that actually lie beyond the resurrection and final judgment. Having consigned the wicked to the lake of fire at the end of Chapter 20, John’s vision now proceeds to reveal the glorious abode and destiny of those whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (vs. 21:27).
In these two chapters we catch a rare glimpse of eternity as it will be beyond the confines of this age in the description of life in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9 – 22:5).
In the new heaven and earth, a shining city, the New Jerusalem, comes down from heaven. It’s a massive city built completely from precious stones and metals. Even the streets that you walk on are paved with the purest gold.
Oddly, the City of God has no temple, no church, no sacred places of worship “because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (vs. 21:22). It’s all sacred ground!
The curse on humanity invoked in Genesis 3 will be lifted, “No longer will there be any curse” (vs. 22:3) and God’s people will live eternally, “And they will reign for ever and ever” (vs. 22:5).
We who were banished from eternal life in the Garden of Eden and doomed to traverse the world that lies east of Eden are now allowed back into the presence of God to partake of the Tree of (Eternal) Life: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month” (Revelation 22:1-2, NIV).
So, with the end of the book of Revelation we find that the future has returned us to our past as God officially reopens Eden!
Look, I am coming soon! (Revelation 22:12, NIV)