Chapter 6 LIFE IN ETERNITY
Jesus tells us in John 10:10, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. While it is true that those who accept Jesus as their Savior and follow Him as the Bible specifies have a much happier and more abundant life on earth, the life which is waiting for them in the new earth defies description. The best in science fiction does not even hint at the fantastically advanced civilizations which exist throughout the universe, all in complete harmony with the government of God. Those who are saved from the earth will share in this glorious life forever.
First Corinthians 2:9 says, But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Our minds cannot even begin to conceive of the wonders that God has in store for His people after the trials of earth are over. As we consider the various Bible texts which describe the life style throughout eternity of those who will be saved, we get at best only a small peek through the keyhole, but this peek is enough to allow us to realize that life will be far beyond our loftiest imaginings. This life in eternity will be worth any sacrifice we have to make in order to be ready when the Lord returns.
In the last chapter we saw that God is going to create a new earth after the lake of fire destroys this present world. Revelation 21:1 says, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. The seas of the earth today are what remains of the flood during Noahs time. Originally there was no vast expanse of water on the earth, and in Gods new earth there will again be no vast expanses of water. There will be many lakes and streams to water a beautiful verdant countryside, but no oceans.
Revelation 21:2 describes the Holy City of God, like a giant space ship from heaven, coming down to the earth. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. The Holy City of God is adorned in a dazzling beauty and glory that defy description.
Today, the earth is the stage, the theater of the universe, where the tragedy of sin is being revealed; but then, throughout all eternity, after God creates the new earth from the ashes of the old, the Glory of the universe will be centered here. Today God rules from heaven; but after sin and sinners are destroyed, He will make His home and His throne on the new earth. This world will be the center of Gods government and the home of the righteous throughout eternity. Verse 3 says, And I heard a great voice out of 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 shall be with them, and be their God. The word tabernacle means tent, and it signifies the home of God on earth with those who are saved from all ages. Yes, this world where the great Creator God of the universe, Jesus Christ, was brutally murdered by those whom He created will be Christs throne throughout all eternity. The next verse tells us that there will be no unhappiness or problems of any kind in this new earth. Everything will be perfect. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
In verse 5 God assures us that these promises are true. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. Gods promises must come to pass, for God cannot lie.
Verses 6,7: And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Those who overcome this world and the evil and sin therein will have a very close companionship with God throughout all eternity, for they will be the sons of God. But the wicked will not even see the breathtaking beauty of the new earth.
Verse 8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Notice that even those who are fearful will be excluded from the Holy City, for fear is a result of not believing and trusting God. When one puts his whole faith and trust in God, of what is there to be afraid?
In vision, the apostle John is shown the details of Gods Holy City, which he records for us in Revelation 21:10 through Revelation 22:5. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Words simply cannot do justice to a description of the dazzling beauty of this city, as light in a symphony of color is refracted from the facets of the many gem stones of which the city is built.
Verses 12-16: And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
We see here that the Holy City is square and has three gates on each side. The measure of the city is 12,000 furlongs, a distance of about 1378.4 miles. It was customary to speak of the size of a city by its perimeter. If it is the perimeter which is indicated here, the sides of the city would be about 344.6 miles, and the city would have an area of about 118,750 square miles. This is about the size of the state of New Mexico.
The height of the city is also 344.6 miles, for The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. Think of that: skyscrapers hundreds of miles high! Impossible, you say? Remember, this is a city built by God Himself. The Holy City is huge by earthly standards, and there will be plenty of room in the city for all the righteous.
The wall surrounding the city, according to verse 17, is 144 cubits. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. The exact length of a cubit is not known. A cubit was the distance from a mans elbow to the tips of his fingers with his hand outstretched, a distance of around eighteen or nineteen inches. There is some indication that angels are larger than men, and therefore the cubit according to the measure of an angel would be somewhat longer. Based on the measure of a man, the 144 cubits is probably a distance of about 210 feet. John does not say whether this is the height of the wall or the thickness, but probably it is its height.
When men build cities, they use bricks, stones, and concrete. The city of God is built of pure gold and the most precious gem stones, as indicated in verses 18 through 21. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several (each) gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. Gods city is constructed from all manner of precious stones, and as the light plays on the surface of these gems, dazzling colors are refracted in all directions. The streets are of gold so pure and burnished that they appear to be as glass.
The Lord God will dwell inside the city with the righteous. Verse 22 says, And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
The city will have a source of light from God, and will not need the sun, although the sun and moon will still be in the sky. Verse 23: And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Today we all get tired and must have sleep in order to be refreshed and to be able to handle the situations and problems of the next day. In the new earth, however, people will never get tired! They will never need to sleep, for they will always feel alert and energetic. Since it will never be necessary for the people to sleep, there will be no night in the Holy City. Verse 25 says, And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
Once again, in verse 27, the fact that those who have rejected and ignored the law of God will never enter the Holy City is emphasized. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lambs book of life.
Next, in chapter twenty-two, verses one and two, the fantastic tree of life is described, which bears twelve different kinds of fruit, one kind each month. This, of course, is unlike any tree we have on the earth today. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Verses 3-7: And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads (minds). And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. Those who are saved from the earth will have a very close association with God, for they will see Him face to face and will reign forever with Him in the new earth, which will then be the throne of the universe. We also see in this verse that there shall be no more curse. This, of course, is a reference to the fact that after sin and sinners are destroyed in the lake of fire, no one will ever again break any of Gods laws, the Ten Commandments.
At the return of the Lord the righteous, both dead and alive, will be given new, immortal bodies, which will be just like the body of Christ when He rose from the dead. Philippians 3:20,21 says, For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.
Let us now consider just what kind of body Jesus had. Luke 24:36-43 describes the scene in which Jesus came and stood in the midst of the disciples after His resurrection. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. (How many people today believe that they will be spirits after they die?) Continuing in verse 38: And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Jesus said here that He was made of flesh and bones, He had hands and feet, and the disciples could handle Him and touch Him. He was definitely not a spirit; He had a real body. Likewise, as we read in Philippians, the righteous will have real bodies with flesh and bones and hands and feet, just as Jesus did. Continuing with verse 40: And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands, and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. Jesus, you see, had a real body. He had a stomach and digestive system, for He ate some of the food the disciples were eating. The righteous will not be spirits; they will be real people, with real bodies, just like Jesus. Revelation 2:7 says that the righteous will eat the fruit of the tree of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Also, when they get to heaven, Christ will serve them dinner as Luke 12:37 describes. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. The people, therefore, must also have stomachs and digestive systems just as Jesus has. They have real, physical bodies. They are not spirits.
Isaiah 35:5,6 tells us, Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart (deer), and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Everyone who is saved from the earth will have a perfect body with no trace of crippling or disease. They will have eyes, ears, tongues; they will be able to run and jump; they will be able to sing all with their real, physical bodies, which will be in perfect condition. The only one who will have a body which is marred from the earth will be the Lord, Jesus Christ, who will continue forever to bear the scars in His hands, feet, and side from His ordeal on the cross.
Isaiah 65:17-19 gives us a little more information. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. Everyone will be completely happy forever with never an unhappy moment. Verse 17 says that the former things will not be remembered. The unpleasant details of life on the earth will be forgotten, but the lessons which prevent the reappearance of sin, which were learned in this theater of the universe, will never be forgotten. It is, in fact, to insure that these lessons are never forgotten that Jesus carries His scars from the earth. After the resurrection of the righteous, a man will come to Jesus to ask Him about His wounds, as described in Zechariah 13:6. And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Everyone will always remember what happened when a society of people disobeyed Gods law, but nothing will be remembered from the earth to mar the perfect happiness of Gods people throughout all eternity.
Consider next some of the activities the redeemed will enjoy in the new earth. Isaiah 65:21 says that they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. After Christ recreates the earth into the breathtakingly beautiful new earth, the righteous will leave the Holy City, New Jerusalem, and will roam all over the new earth. Each will look for a beautiful spot which particularly appeals to him; all will build themselves houses to live in. Perhaps one might find a beautiful, gently rolling meadow, covered with grass and flowers, but no weeds, with a stream, clear as crystal, flowing through. There he will build his dream-house. The redeemed will plant gardens and will eat the food they grow. On earth today, many times when we plant things, they do not grow as they should, or insects eat the fruit. In the new earth everything that is planted will be perfectly healthy and will produce abundantly. There will be no harmful insects to eat the plants, and no disease will attack them. Verse 22: They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. The people will have work to do, but it will not be drudgery. It will be like a hobby; it will be work which they particularly like to do and which will give them great pleasure.
Have you ever wished that everything you tried to do would turn out to be a complete success? If so, your wish will come true in Gods beautiful new earth. Isaiah 65:23 says, They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. The people will not labor in vain, for everything they do will turn out perfectly. Everyone will be a success at everything he sets his hand to do, and he will do it easily without any trouble. It is hard for us to imagine a life like this, for everything we do is fraught with mistakes and trouble. Life on the earth today is so imperfect that our minds simply cannot grasp the perfection and quality of life in heaven or on the new earth.
Each of the saved will be able to talk to God face to face anytime he wants to, and the Lord will answer immediately. Today, because of our rebellion against God, we do not enjoy this close association and companionship with Him. Verse 24 says, And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Even before the righteous can call for the Lord, He will answer them. What a wonderful life this will be to be able to have a conversation, face to face, with the Creator of the universe anytime we want to!
And through all eternity, all the animals will be our pets; nothing, not even man, will ever again hurt anything or cause any unhappiness. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpents meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. (Verse 25). What a tragedy it would be for us to miss out on this glorious life with God in His new earth! It is worth any sacrifice we might have to make to be right with the Lord and ready when He returns.
First Corinthians 13:12 tells us, For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. On earth today we see through a glass darkly, that is, we cannot perceive the indescribable life in heaven and the new earth; but after the resurrection of the righteous, the dark glass will be removed from our eyes and we will behold the Lord and the inhabitants of the universe face to face. Now we know in part. Now our knowledge is severely limited, and we have just the slightest peek through the keyhole at the future paradise; but then we will know the inhabitants of the universe as well as they know us today. Today they are the audience; they are watching and examining in detail all the events on earth, and they know us better than we know ourselves.
Isaiah 66:22,23 gives us more information on the activities of the righteous who are saved from the earth. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that, from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. Once each week on the Sabbath day the entire population of earth will go to the New Jerusalem to worship the Lord, and once each month at the new moon the people will gather at Jerusalem to eat the fruit of the tree of life, which produces a different kind of fruit each month.
The redeemed will have a country home, which they will build themselves, and they will have a city home, the mansion which Christ prepared for them. During the week the people will live in their own houses, which will be scattered all over the globe, but they will be able to travel to the Holy City with ease, for they will not be limited by the physical laws which limit us today. In fact, those who are saved from the earth will be able to travel wherever they want to, even throughout Gods vast universe.
How long will Gods new earth last? Every once in a while we hear scientists speculate about how the planet Earth will end. But what does God say about this? Ecclesiastes 1:4 tells us that the earth will continue throughout all eternity, for it is to be the throne of God. One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. Proverbs 10:30 says, The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the (new) earth.
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