Ancient Words —
Revelation: A New Heaven and a New Earth
Revelation 19 tells about the false prophet and the beast being thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. Revelation 20 completes the elimination of all evil with Satan, himself, being cast into the same fiery lake but only after Christ’s reign of 1,000 years, which in turn comes after the first resurrection and seventh trumpet.
After Satan’s doom, the Great White Throne Judgment is described. Earth and sky flee from the presence of the Almighty God and the books are opened for the judging of the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. If anyone’s name is not found in the book of life, then he or she will be thrown into the lake of fire. The completion of the destruction of death itself has happened with the eternal death of Satan, the author of death and prince of the former world.
Paul explained this final event to the church at Corinth when he wrote in 1 Co. 15:24-27, “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
The Holy City is now ready to come down from heaven as a bride beautifully dressed for the marriage to the Lamb of God. The Lamb has sacrificed his life for his bride, the church, and the gates of hell have been forever extinguished in the fiery lake. The voice from the throne is loud and proclaims in Rev. 21:3-4, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘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. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
God the Father is the one seated on the throne. We know this from Revelation 4-5 and now God speaks in Rev. 21:5-8: “I am making everything new!” Then God said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” God says to John, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
John now sees the wonder and splendor and beauty of the heavenly city. He sees in panoramic vision all of its structure and size. He sees the wall four-square, the angels guarding the 12 gates and the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. He sees the 12 foundations of the city and the names of the 12 apostles. He sees the 12 precious stones of the foundation, the 12 pearls making the 12 gates and the great street of gold like transparent glass.
John sees that the glory of God gives light to the city and the Lamb is the lamp for this light. John sees crystal clear water flowing by the tree of life on either side and bearing 12 crops of fruit. John sees no night, no tears, no pain, no crying, no mourning, no curse, no death. The old order of things has passed away — a new heaven and a new earth has come to be! We will see the face of the Lamb and His name will be on our foreheads and we will serve him forever — Amen!
These Ancient Words are expressed through a song written by S.F. Bennett in 1868: “There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it a-far; for the Father waits over the way, to prepare us a dwelling place there. In the sweet – by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore. In the sweet — by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.”!
(Scott Johnson is pastor at East Faulkner Church of Christ and author of the BRG Bible).
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Sparks From The Gospel Anvil
In Luke 11:1 it says that the disciples came to the Lord and asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” It is not recorded that He ever taught them to preach, but most importantly, it was teach us to pray and if you look into the life of our Lord you can see He was a man of prayer.
It was the late evangelist, Dwight Lyman Moody that once said, “If you get love into your soul, so that the grace of God may come down in answer to prayer, there will be no trouble about reaching the people. It is not by eloquent sermons that perishing souls are going to be reached; we need the power of God in order that the blessing may come down.” (Prevailing Prayer by D. L. Moody).
This prayer that the Lord taught His disciples is really a test of sonship; if we can pray it all from the heart we have good reason to think that we have been born of God. No man can call God Father but by the Spirit. Though this prayer has been such a blessing to the world, I believe it has been a great snare; many stumble over it. They do not weigh its meaning, nor take its facts right into their hearts.
I have no sympathy with the idea of universal sonship – that all men are the sons of God. The Bible teaches very plainly that we are adopted into the family of God. If all were His children then God would not need to adopt us. We are all God’s by creation; but when people teach that any man can say, “Our Father which are in Heaven,” whether he is born of God or not, I think that is contrary to scripture.
“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Sonship in the family is the privilege of the believer. “In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil,” says the apostle. If we are doing the will of God, that is a very good sign that we are born of God. If we have no desire to do that will, how can we call God “Our Father”? Just think we can’t really pray for God’s kingdom to come until we are in it. If we should pray for the coming of God’s kingdom while we are rebelling against Him, we are only seeking for our own condemnation.
No unrenewed man really wants God’s will to be done on the earth. You might write over the door of every unsaved man’s house, and over his place of business, “God’s will is not done here.”
In the gospel of John we read, “If ye” (that “If” is a mountain to begin with), “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” The latter part is often quoted, but not the first, where Jesus said, “If ye abide in Me.” Why? There are very few that are abiding in Christ now-a-days!
You may go and visit Christ once in a while; but that is all. You treat Him as if He is a spare tire and only pull Christ out when you have a blowout on the road of life. Many wait, until their back is against the wall and then blame everyone else except themselves when troubles come their way. They don’t allow Christ to have their complete life and will. This is what is meant when Jesus said, “to love the Lord your God with ALL of your heart, soul, strength and might and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
If Christ is in my heart, of course I will not ask anything that is against His will. And how many of us have God’s Word abiding in us? Psalm 1:2 reminds us that the person that is blessed will meditate upon the Word of God day and night because they find delight in the Word. We must have a warrant for our prayers. If we have some great desire, we must search the scriptures to find if it be right to ask it. So are you living in the moment of prayer and listening to the very voice of God while reading the holy scriptures.
So many today are looking for answers when all the answers are actually found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He desires a relationship with you, for you to know Him and to make Him known..
(Lieutenant Charles Smith is commanding officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado).