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New Heaven/New Earth


New Heaven/New Earth Revelation 21:1-4 Tuesday, 5 Jul 2011 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: New Heaven/New Earth

New Heaven/New Earth
  • Revelation 211-4
  • Tuesday, 5 Jul 2011 Mennonite Church Canada

Beginning with the Climax!
  • Our first Bible study focuses on what is the
    climax of the book of Revelation!
  • What a place to begin!
  • Stanley C. Shenk Revelation is like an
    impressionist painting you need to stand back a
    ways to understand itto really see what it is
    saying. If you get too close, all you may find is

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Beginning with the Climax!
  • While Revelation rewards close study, I agree
    that it is crucial to understand the primary
    affirmations of Revelation before querying the
  • So Revelation 211-4 is a great place to start!
  • But lets pause first to get oriented to the book
    as a whole.

Revelation Getting Oriented
  • Revelation is a wonderful and powerful text
  • to affirm the believers in Asia in their worship
    of God,
  • to reveal the work of Jesus Christ as the Lamb
    that was slain,
  • to warn the inhabitants of the earth about the
    judgment coming on all who would give their
    allegiance elsewhere, and
  • to direct the worship and allegiance of Gods
    people to their proper object to God and to the

Philip Benders Reflections
  • The Book of Revelation was written to instruct
    and strengthen early Christians who were being
    compelled to compromise their commitment to
    Jesus as Lord and Savior.
  • Rather than a detailed scenario of future
    history, ready to be set in motion by a future
    event (e.g., the rapture), as popular prophecy
    makes it out to be,
  • Revelation first addressed Christians in the
    mid-90s who were facing pressure to accommodate
    themselves to the wealth and power of Rome.

Philip Benders Reflections
  • We must not interpret the symbols of Revelation
    as forecasting specific phenomena in our own day,
    such as Russia, credit cards, radical Islam, the
    United Nations, etc.
  • Rather, we must first ask, What would these
    vivid and puzzling symbols have meant for the
    first believers who first read this book?
  • Only then can we apply its message to our own

Orientation Questions
  • Who wrote it? A prophet John, known to the
    churches (11, 3-4, 9 1011 228-10, 18-19).
  • To whom/for whom was this book written? To the
    seven cities in Asia Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum,
    Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea (14,
    11 cf. 23).

The Seven Cities of the Apocalypse
Orientation Questions
  • Who wrote it? A prophet John, known to the
    churches (11, 3-4, 9 1011 228-10, 18-19).
  • To whom/for whom was this book written? To the
    seven cities in Asia Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum,
    Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea (14,
    11 cf. 23).
  • When was it written? Probably around 95 CE (cf.
  • Where was it written? On Patmos (19-10).

Loren Johns
Loren Johns
Orientation Questions
  • Who wrote it? A prophet John, known to the
    churches (11, 3-4, 9 1011 227-10, 18-19).
  • To whom/for whom was this book written? To the
    seven cities in Asia Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum,
    Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea (14,
    11 cf. 23).
  • When was it written? Probably around 95 CE (cf.
  • Where was it written? On Patmos (19-10).
  • What is this book? What kind of literature is it?
  • An apocalypse, a genre that emphasizes direct
    revelation from God to a human in the form of a
    story in which God discloses Gods final
    salvation of humanity and judgment on evil
  • a prophecy, a genre that emphasizes Gods
    perspective on human affairs (not necessarily
    prediction about the future) and
  • a letter.

Orientation Questions
  • Why was it written?
  • God gave John a revelation and told him to write
    it down and send it to the seven churches.
  • John was on Patmos because he was banished there
    for his prophetic activity likely for speaking
    out against the new temple built in Ephesus to
    honor the Roman emperors, dedicated around 8990
    CE. He was concerned about the spiritual welfare
    of the believers in Asia facing threats both
    internal and external.

Domitians Arch (part of new temple in Ephesus)
Why Revelation is Important
  • Canadians probably realize more than those south
    of the border that they live in the shadow of a
    world-dominating empire.
  • Revelation is at heart a critique of empire. It
    has an ethical message particularly relevant for
    todays North American church.
  • Revelation is a reminder that the world is in
    Gods hands.

To the Brink of Revelation 21 From Where Have We
  • In the first 20 chapters of Revelation, we have
    seen a lot of drama the drama of needing but
    lacking a redeemer, the announcement of the Lion
    of Judah and the appearance of a slain but
    living and conquering Lamb! Through a circuitous
    route, we have witnessed the last battle, the
    binding of Satan, a thousand-year reign of Christ
    with his followers, the last judgment, and the
    defeat of Satan.
  • So whats left?
  • The renewal of heaven and earth life as it was
    meant to be!

Revelation 211-4
  • 211 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for
    the first heaven and the first earth had passed
    away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the
    holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of
    heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for
    her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the
    throne saying,
  • See, the home of God is among mortals.
  • He will dwell with them as their God
  • they will be his peoples,
  • and God himself will be with them
  • 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
  • Death will be no more
  • mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
  • for the first things have passed away.

New Jerusalem?
  • The exact phrase, New Jerusalem, appears in the
    Bible only in Revelation.
  • But the concept clearly comes from the prophets
    expectation of the restoration of Jerusalem (cf.
    Isa 21-5 6517-19 Jer 3138-40 Mic 41-4).
  • This vision of a restored Jerusalema new
    Jerusalemis particularly striking in the third
    part of Isaiah.

Isaiah 6517-19
  • 17 For I am about to create new heavens
  • and a new earth
  • the former things shall not be remembered
  • or come to mind.
  • 18 But be glad and rejoice forever
  • in what I am creating
  • for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
  • and its people as a delight.
  • 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
  • and delight in my people
  • no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in
  • or the cry of distress.

The New Jerusalem A Broadly Shared Hope
  • Tobit 13
  • 9 O Jerusalem, the holy city,
  • he afflicted you for the deeds of your hands,
  • but will again have mercy on the children of the
  • 15 My soul blesses the Lord, the great King!
  • 16 For Jerusalem will be built as his house for
    all ages.
  • The gates of Jerusalem will be built with
    sapphire and emerald,
  • and all your walls with precious stones.

The New Jerusalem A Broadly Shared Hope
  • Tobit 13
  • The towers of Jerusalem will be built with gold,
  • and their battlements with pure gold.
  • The streets of Jerusalem will be paved
  • with ruby and with stones of Ophir.
  • 17 The gates of Jerusalem will sing hymns of joy,
  • and all her houses will cry, Hallelujah!
  • Blessed be the God of Israel!
  • and the blessed will bless the holy name forever
    and ever.

Testament of Dan 59-13
  • 9 Therefore when you turn back to the Lord, you
    will receive mercy,
  • and he will lead you into his holy place,
    proclaiming peace to you.
  • 12 And the saints shall refresh themselves in
  • the righteous shall rejoice in the New
  • which shall be eternally for the glorification
    of God.
  • 13 And Jerusalem shall no longer undergo
  • nor shall Israel be led into captivity,
  • because the Lord will be in her midst living
    among human beings.
  • The Holy One of Israel will rule over them in
    humility and poverty,
  • and he who trusts in him shall reign in truth in
    the heavens.

Gods People as Gods Bride
  • Even the image of Gods people as Gods bride is
    not new.
  • Isaiah 54
  • 6 For the Lord has called you
  • like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, .
  • 7 For a brief moment I abandoned you,
  • but with great compassion I will gather you.
  • 8 In overflowing wrath for a moment
  • I hid my face from you,
  • but with everlasting love I will have
    compassion on you,
  • says the Lord, your Redeemer.
  • Isaiah 61
  • 10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
  • my whole being shall exult in my God
  • for he has clothed me with the garments of
  • he has covered me with the robe of
  • righteousness,
  • as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
  • and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
  • 11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
  • and as a garden causes what is sown in it to
    spring up,
  • so the Lord God will cause righteousness and
  • to spring up before all the nations.

A City, a Bride (2 Esd. 1025-44)
  • 25 While I was talking to her, her face suddenly
    began to shine exceedingly her countenance
    flashed like lightning . 26 She suddenly uttered
    a loud and fearful cry, so that the earth shook
    at the sound. 27 When I looked up, the woman was
    no longer visible to me, but a city was being
    built, and a place of huge foundations showed
  • 38 He answered me and said, Listen to me, and I
    will teach you, and tell you about the things
    that you fear for the Most High has revealed
    many secrets to you. 40 This therefore is the
    meaning of the vision. 41 The woman who appeared
    to you a little while ago, 42 (you do not now
    see the form of a woman, but there appeared to
    you a city being built) 43 and who told you about
    the misfortune of her sonthis is the
    interpretation 44 The woman whom you saw is
    Zion, which you now behold as a city being built.

New Jerusalem?
  • We should not expect to see a city coming down
    out of the sky in the future.
  • What we should expect is the renewal of all of
    Gods creation, with Gods peoples at the center
    of it allbeautiful, renewed, redeemed, restored.
  • The word peoples is plural in v. 3 an inclusive
  • The word for home in v. 3 is skene,
  • the same word used of the Tent of Meeting in the
  • related to the verb dwell in v. 3,
  • the same verb that appears in John 114
  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven?
  • I have never read The Five People You Meet in
    Heaven, by Mitch Albom.
  • It was on the New York Times Bestseller list for
    almost two years running (10,000,000 copies, 35
  • I was offended with the title yet another syrupy
    sentimental projection of humanitys hopes,
    which, if taken far enough, becomes idolatrous.
    (I have no idea if this is anywhere close to
  • But then I read M. Eugene Borings excellent
    commentary on Revelation. Boring emphasizes that
    human language goes only so far in its ability to
    capture what John was seeing in his visions.
  • What kind of language is adequate to express what
    the consummation of all history will look like?

A Paraphrase of 213-4
  • Leader God will be at home with Gods peoples.
  • People Relationships will be restored.
  • Leader God will be with us in person!
  • People God will wipe every tear from our
    eyes. Hallelujah!
  • Leader There will be no more death!
  • People Hallelujah!
  • Leader We will no longer see mourning, crying,
    or pain!
  • People Hallelujah!
  • Leader For the old struggles have come to an
  • All Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus!