Lesson 13

Creation, Again

(Revelation 21 & 22, 1 Corinthians 15)
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Introduction: Have you ever taken a picture and realized that the focus was on the wrong point? This morning I read a headline that said 1/3 of the people who die of old age are affected by dementia. If you look forward to retirement, do you also look forward to dementia and a nursing home? I used to look forward to retirement, until I decided that I was not going to retire if I could help it. Am I now looking forward only to dementia and a nursing home? No. Like the picture with the wrong focus, I'm slowly refocusing on my real "retirement" - heaven! Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about heaven - the "Creation, Again!"

  1. New Earth, New Heaven, New City, New Circumstances


    1. Read Revelation 21:1. I get the idea of a new earth, but why do we need a new heaven?


    2. Read Revelation 21:2-3. What does this tell us about the old heaven? (It is no longer the place where God dwells. It is no longer the location of the Holy City.)


      1. What does this suggest about the reason for referring to a new heaven at the same time as we refer to a new earth? (The two seem to be combined. Heaven has now come to earth. God and His Holy City are now on the earth made new.)


    3. Read Revelation 21:4. What is the "old order" under which we now live? (That we get old and progress towards dementia and a nursing home. Death and pain, crying and mourning are our earthly destiny.)


      1. What is our new destiny? (Read Revelation 21:6. We drink from the fountain of eternal life. No deterioration.)


    4. Read Revelation 21:5. Do you like new things? (Yes! God is making everything new. Plus, God tells John the Revelator to write these things for our benefit so that we will rely on this promise!)


  2. New City


    1. Read Revelation 21:10-14. If everything is new, why all the historical references? (The New Jerusalem is tied to our experiences here on earth.)


    2. Read Revelation 21:15-17. Is any city in the world as big as the New Jerusalem? (Not even close. The New Jerusalem is like no city we know about. It is shaped like a cube, about 1,400 miles (2,200 kilometers) long, wide and tall. Since we learned it has three gates per wall, it is more than 450 miles (700 kilometers) between the gates. This is a little less than the distance between Denver, Colorado and Washington, D.C. - and that is just the length of one wall.)


      1. Revelation 21:17 tells us that the wall of the city is 200 feet thick. What do you think of the engineering of a 1,400 mile high wall?


    3. Is the New Jerusalem a hazard for air travel? (Yes! Planes fly at about 33,000 feet in the air. The city rises 7,392,000 feet into the air! No wonder it needs twelve foundations.)


    4. The mind-blowing size of the New Jerusalem caused me to do some further research - thinking that someone must have done some further calculations on this. I found the following at www.remnantreport.com (I have not checked their theology, I'm just using their calculations.)


      1. The New Jerusalem contains 2.25 million square miles;


      2. It is big enough to accommodate one hundred thousand billion people; and,


      3. If the population is 10 billion, each of us could have a 14 square mile mansion with 100 foot high ceilings.


    5. Read Revelation 21:18-21. Are these pearls 1,400 miles high? How would you place the great street of the city that is pure gold?


      1. Is the city transparent? What do you think is meant by "pure gold, as pure as glass?" Or, "of pure gold, like transparent glass?"


      2. Put yourself in John the Revelator's place. Consider his audience. What would be the grandest thing he could describe that they would understand? (Precious jewels and gold.)


        1. What is the grandest thing you could describe? (Can you imagine the technology of this place? The engineering of the super-thin wall (considering its height) tells us that God is doing something very special with the technology.)


    6. Read Revelation 21:22-24. When I think of a cube 1,400 miles on a side, I immediately think it must be pretty dark inside. What is the light source of this astonishing city? (God. Remember, of course, the references to the city being like glass - so perhaps this is part of the lighting arrangement.)


      1. The Bible says that it does not need the sun or moon. Consider this, would the sun or moon be sufficient for a city like this? (No! Indeed, If they had a sun I think the temperature control problem would be extreme because of the height of the city.)


    7. Re-read Revelation 21:24. Do people live outside the New Jerusalem? (Apparently. For "kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it." Notice that the city is a light source for the earth.)


      1. How far away could you be and still see the top of a 7,392,000 foot high city? (Talk about dominating the landscape! Think of what it would look like since it radiates light.)


    8. Read Revelation 22:1-2. If the New Jerusalem is a 1,400 mile cube, how does this river run? How is the "great street" laid out? From the top to the bottom? Is it like a waterfall beside a road descending a great mountain? How big is the tree of life? Is it 1,000 miles tall?


    9. Do you ever look at some grand home or grand condo and wish you could live there or retire there? Well, I want to live in this city! Forget the nursing home or my current house!


    10. Read Revelation 21:27. How do you sign up for a mansion in this grand place? (Your name is written in the "Lamb's book of life." I want my name written there! I need Jesus' robe of righteousness covering me. I want to live in this place!)


  3. New Circumstances


    1. Read Revelation 22:3-4. What curse is being written about? (In Genesis 3:17 we read about the ground being cursed because of sin. In Genesis 4:10-12 the ground is cursed for Cain to the extent it will not grow anything. In Genesis 8:20-21 God speaks as if the flood were another curse upon the ground.)


      1. Instead of a curse, what glorious opportunity do we have? (We can see the face of God.)


        1. Do you think the "name on their foreheads" is a tattoo? (I think it means God will be on our mind. We will be His.)


    2. Read John 14:1-3. Are we like visitors, able to see God's face and then we move on? (No. Jesus speaks as if we live with Him. We get to live in that great city with Jesus!)


    3. Read 1 Corinthians 15:26 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-54. What no longer exists? (Death. It has been defeated. It has been swallowed up in victory.)


    4. Read Daniel 12:2-3. How long will we be able to live in the presence of God? (Forever.)


      1. What do you think the Bible means when it says you will "shine like the brightness of the heavens?"


    5. Look again at 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. Why do you think Paul uses the phrase "in a flash, in the twinkling?" (There is something bright about the new you.)


      1. Read Ezekiel 1:25-28 and Genesis 1:26. If God's goal was to make us like Him, and God looks like fire, what should we look like in the earth made new? (It seems that we are going to look like light in some way. This suggests that Adam and Eve were light sources when they were created, thus explaining their post-sin concern about becoming naked. See Genesis 3:7-10.)


      2. Read Revelation 4:5 and Revelation 15:8. Why would God's glory create "smoke" and His throne "lightening" and "rumblings?" (We believe that the sun and the stars are burning. They have a power source that causes them to create light. The reference to smoke suggests that this is also true for God. Perhaps our light and brightness is the result of our being given a power source that allows us to do all sorts of things!)


    6. Read Revelation 5:11-13. What else will we do in the earth made new that we can start right now? (Praise God! Worthy is the Lamb who was slain! Worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise - for ever and ever! Amen!)


    7. Friend, do you want to be there? Is your name written in the Lamb's book of life? If not, why not confess your sins, ask God to forgive you and accept the sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf? Then, praise God that He has made you a new creation!


  4. Next week: We start a new series of studies on the "minor prophets" of the Old Testament.

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