Heaven Revealed

Revelation 21-22

Alan Lewis
Elon, North Carolina
July 2023

What will heaven be like?  What will it be like beyond the grave?  Many think they know.  Many claim to know.  Many say they have been there and tell us what they saw.

Many have written books on the subject.  They are called heavenly tourism books.  Some of these books have been made into movies.  They are all based on near death experiences.  Some were clinically dead and came back to life.

They describe the amazing things, the supernatural things that they saw.  In 2016, I had a heart attack on the softball field and almost died.  I was in the ER and started to go unconscious.  I felt like I was going right to sleep.

All of the sudden, I felt this terrible pain.  The doctor used electric shock to wake me up.  It worked quickly.  I felt this sharp pain and woke up quickly.

Later, he asked me if I saw any lights.  I did not see anything. I was not unconscious but was very close to dying.  Many have become unconscious and claimed to see things afterwards.

For the next two weeks, we are going to be talking about heaven.  John has a vision of heaven.  He is taken on a tour of heaven by an angel.  This topic is absolutely fascinating.  It is mind-blowing.

John saw what heaven looked like and he told us what he saw.  He not only give us gives us eyewitness testimony, he gives us inspired, apostolic eyewitness testimony about heaven.

God says, “these words are TRUSTWORTHY and TRUE” (Revelation 21:5 NIV)We can trust what it says.  They are reliable.  Not every story about the afterlife is trustworthy.

In 2004, six-year-old Alex Malarkey and his father were in a horrific car accident in Ohio.  Alex was paralyzed.  He was left a quadriplegic

He claimed to go to heaven.  In 2010, he wrote, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: A True Story.  It was a best-seller.  The only problem is that it was all a lie.

In 2015, he admitted that he never went to heaven.  His dad made up the story.  His last name should have been a hint.  The word “malarkey” refers to something that is not true.

This is John’s final vision in the book.  He has had many visions.  He saw the Antichrist coming out of the sea.  He saw believers persecuted and martyred on earth.  He saw judgment coming down on earth.

He saw Jesus coming back to earth with the armies of heaven.  He saw the binding of Satan and the thousand-year reign.  He saw the Great White Throne Judgment.  John’s final vision is of heaven.  It is of the eternal state.

You can spend a lot of time studying prophecy and very little time studying heaven.[1]  You can spend a lot of time arguing about the Rapture.  Will it be before the Tribulation, at the middle of the Tribulation or at the end of the Tribulation?

You can spend a lot of time arguing about the Millennium (premillennialism, amillennialism or postmillennialism) and yet, if you are saved, the New Jerusalem is where we are going to be for all eternity.

Some preachers only talk about these verses when they are conducting a funeral.  They contain some of the most comforting passages in the Bible.  They make a really good funeral text. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 21:4 NIV)

How much do you actually know about heaven?  For the next two weeks, we are going to think about heaven.  This may completely change the way you think about heaven.

Today, we want to answer one question.  What will heaven be like? The opening verses of Revelation 21 describe three new things that we will encounter in heaven: a new home, a new life and a new relationship.  That is what we are going to be looking at today.

A New Home

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. 2 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 first thing we will get in heaven is a new home.  The old home will be gone.  It will be gone forever.  The first heaven and earth will pass away.  If you are expecting it to stay, it will not.  It will be gone.

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will PASS AWAY, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35 NIV)

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them…The world and its desires PASS AWAY but whoever does the will of God lives forever (I John 2:15, 17 NIV)

“You look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the DESTRUCTION of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat” (II Peter 3:12 NIV) [2]

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. they will PERISH, but you remain; they will all WEAR OUT like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. (Psalm 102:25-26)

The old heaven and earth will be gone, and we will get a new heaven and earth.  It is interesting that the Bible ends just like it began.

The Bible began with CREATION.  It ends with CREATION.  Genesis 1 begins with creation.  Revelation 21 ends with the new creation.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (NIV).  Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth” (NIV).

Three biblical writers mention a new heaven and a new earth.  John predicts it.  Peter predicts it.  Isaiah predicts it.  Isaiah actually mentions it twice.  Let’s read all three in order.

I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17 NIV; cf. 66:22).

You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (II Peter 3:11-13 NIV)

This may mean that we will get a brand-new planet but most Christians see this as a restored or renewed earth.  The Bible describes another passing away and does not involve a complete destruction and re-creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV).

When we got saved, God did not destroy the old person completely.  We have the same DNA but we are changed on the inside.  We experience the new birth.  We got a new nature.

Whether God creates a brand-new earth or completely transforms it, the result is the same.  It will be completely different.

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 (Revelation 21:1 NIV)

There will not be any sea in the new earth.  That is 70% of the planet now.  There will be water in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2).  It mentions a river there but no sea.

In the new earth, there will not be day and night.  In the old earth, God said, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8:22 NIV)

In the new earth, there will be no night (Revelation 22:5).  It will be day all of the time.  The new earth may not need to rotate every twenty-four hours.  It may not even have a Sun.

Revelation 21 describes our new home.  It mentions a NEW HEAVEN, a NEW EARTH and a NEW CITY.  John heard God, the one who was sitting on the throne saying, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5 NIV).

We like new things (new house, car, clothes, shoes). We like the way new things look. We even like the way they smell.  God does not say, “I make some things new.” He says, “I make ALL THINGS new.”   In heaven, everything will be new all the time.

A New Life

We are not just going to get a new home, we are going to get a new life.  This is a life that is completely different from the life we live now.  This is where it gets very interesting.

Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. (Revelation 7:16 NIV)

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV)

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.” (Revelation 21:8 NIV)

 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21: 22-23 NIV)

On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there (Revelation 21:25 NIV)

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. (Revelation 22:5 NIV)

Heaven will be a completely new form of existence.  Life will be radically different.  Heaven will be beyond our imagination but let’s think of what heaven will be like.

1) We will never divided from other Christians in heaven.

There will not be any denominations in heaven.  There will not be Baptists and Methodists in heaven.  There will not be Charismatics and Non-Charismatics there.  There won’t be the black church and the white church.  We will just be saints in heaven.

2) We will never argue about theology in heaven.

We will not have theological debates in heaven.  We spend a lot of time, much of it is pointless, arguing theology.  There won’t be any fights in heaven.  All of our doctrinal disagreements will be settled forever.   If you have a question about what any of the Apostles meant, you could just go ask them in heaven.  All of our theology will be corrected in heaven.

3) We will never be hungry in heaven.

There are many silly questions that people have about heaven.  Will my pet be in heaven?  Revelation answers that one.  There will be cats in heaven but no dogs.  Revelation 22:15 says, “Outside are the dogs” (NIV).  It not talking about animals but people (cf. Philippians 3:1).

It is talking about people who act like dogs.  We have some of those in our world.  Unclean animals stand for unclean people.  There won’t be any dogs and probably no snakes or serpents in heaven either.

Will there be sports in heaven?  Will there be football in heaven?  Will we eat in heaven?  What will we eat?   We will eat in heaven.  Revelation 22 is clear.  It mentions a fruit tree with twelve different kinds of fruit on it (Revelation 22:2).

Revelation mentions us eating food in heaven.  Will we just eat fruit in heaven, like some health nuts or will we be able to eat a nice juicy steak in heaven?  Will there be cheesecake in heaven?

Will there be sweet tea in heaven?  Will there be coffee in heaven?  Will there be Starbucks in heaven?  Will there be Big Macs in heaven?  My kids used to ask that question.

There are many things we don’t know.  What we do know is that we will not have any unsatisfied desires in heaven.  If those things are not there, we will not desire them or miss them.

God is going to create a new heaven and earth and He says, “The former things will NOT be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17 NIV).

Heaven will be so great that we will never think about earth.  We will not think about how great it was on earth.  We will not miss anything we had on earth.  In fact, it won’t even come to mind.

4) We will never get sick in heaven.

We won’t have a fever in heaven.  We won’t have any headaches.  We will never have any aches or pains.  We won’t have any joint pain (no arthritis).  We won’t have back pain in heaven.

We won’t have any chronic pain.  We won’t have any more broken bones.  There won’t be any cancer in heaven.  We won’t need a root canal in heaven.

No one will be deformed.  No one will have defects.  No one will have disabilities.  There won’t be people in wheelchairs in heaven.  There won’t be anyone who can’t stand up or walk.

Everyone will be perfect.  We will be perfectly healthy in mind, in body and in spirit.  No one will be blind in heaven.  We will all have perfect vision.  We won’t need glasses.  This city will be perfect.  It comes from God (Revelation 21:2).

5) We will never need medicine in heaven.

We won’t need any painkillers.  We won’t need any pills.  We won’t need Advil or Tylenol. We won’t have any inflammation. We won’t need any antibiotics.  We won’t need a first aid kit.

7) We will never need a doctor in heaven.

You won’t need a primary care doctor in heaven.  You won’t need a dentist.  You won’t need to see a surgeon.  You won’t need to go to the hospital in heaven.

8) We will never have any accidents in heaven.

We won’t need to call an ambulance. We won’t need to go to the ER.  We won’t even be able to stub our toes.  How many times do we have accidents on earth? We won’t have them in heaven.  Every day will be a good day.  We will never have to say, “Have a good day to people.”

9) We will never get tired in heaven.

At the end of the day, we are exhausted and fall asleep at night.  There will not be any night in heaven.  We won’t be tired.  We won’t be sleepy.  We won’t have any chronic fatigue in heaven.  We will not need a caffeine fix in heaven to wake up.

10) We will never be sad in heaven.

We won’t be depressed. No one will be bipolar in heaven.  There won’t be any mentally ill people in heaven.  People will be happy all of the time.  We won’t be sad.  We won’t be cranky.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 21:4 NIV)We have real tears.  God sees them and knows about them.  In heaven, not only will our tears be gone but EVERY TEAR will be gone.  They will be gone because God will wipe them away.

God cares about our tears.  God has compassion on us when we suffer.  He does not enjoy seeing us suffer.  God will do what loving parents do to their children.  They wipe away their tears.  There are a lot of tears on earth.  There won’t be any in heaven.

11) We will never get old in heaven.

There will be no gray hairs and no wrinkles on your face.  You will be forever young.  You won’t need any wrinkle cream or make-up to make you look better.  We will all look like we are in our 20s or 30s.  There will not be any funeral homes in heaven.  They will not be needed.

12) We will never die in heaven.

In heaven, there will be no more death (Revelation 21:4 NIV).  If there is no more death, there will be no more graves.  There will be no more cemeteries.

There will be no more tombstones. There will be no more funerals.  There will be no more eulogies about departed loved ones.

In heaven, we won’t die.  Death is a big part of our world today. People die every day. Every time we breathe someone dies.

According to the World Death Clock, 106 people die every minute.  Every day, 153,000 people die.  Those are current statistics.

In heaven, no one will die.  The death rate will go from one hundred percent to zero percent.  We will be immortal.  We will live forever.  John said it and so did Jesus (Luke 20:34-36).

The Tree of Life, the symbol of immortality, will be right in the middle of heaven. That tree was in the Garden of Eden.

If you ate the fruit from that tree, you could live forever (Genesis 3:22).  After Adam and Eve sinned, they were kicked out of the garden, so that they did not eat from the Tree of Life and live forever.

That same tree will be in the new Jerusalem, and we will be able to eat from it.  In heaven, everyone will have full access to that tree.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7 NIV).

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 2 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. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 NIV)

13) We will never feel unsafe in heaven

We won’t need to protect ourselves in heaven.  We won’t need to buy a gun.  You won’t need any pepper spray.  We won’t need to study martial arts for self-defense.  You won’t need a big dog to protect your house.

Most big cities in the US are not safe.  They have high crime rates.  They have violent crime.  The New Jerusalem will be a big city and it will be perfectly safe all of the time.  It won’t have any crime.

On no day will its gates ever be shut (Revelation 21:25 NIV).  Gates of a city were normally shut.  We won’t even need to lock your doors in heaven.

These gates will be guarded.  There are twelve gates to the city and there will be twelve angels there as well (Revelation 21:12).  One angel for each gate.

14) We will never be poor in heaven.

We won’t have to worry about finances.   No one will be poor in heaven.  We will have mansions in heaven (John 14:2 KJV).  There won’t be any ghettos in heaven.  There won’t be any slums in heaven.  There won’t be any bad parts of heaven.

We will be walking on streets of gold (Revelation 21:21).  There will not just be gold there but PURE GOLD (Revelation 21:18).

There will not just be valuable precious stones but EVERY KIND of precious stone. (Revelation 21:19 NIV) and pearls there (Revelation 21:21).  Even the measuring sticks in heaven are made of gold (Revelation 21:15).  A member of my class suggested that he used a “golden rule.”

An angel measured the city and measured the walls of the city with these golden measuring sticks (Revelation 21:15-17).  Apparently, even in heaven we will still do math.  Maybe we will some type of heavenly calculus.

14) We will never sin in heaven.

We will be perfect.  We won’t face temptations.  Can you imagine being sinlessly perfect all of the time?  Can you imagine never being tempted by sin again?

People will not walk around with their head down staring into their phones.  There won’t be any addictions in heaven. We live in a world full of sin.  We live in a world full of sinners.  Can you imagine living in a world without either one?

We live in a world full of sin.  We live in a world full of sinners.  Can you imagine living in a world without either one?  There will not be any annoying people in heaven, because we will all be perfect. All of our rough edges will be gone.

The first two chapters of the Bible describe a perfect paradise.  Adam and Eve lived in paradise.  There was no sin, no Satan and no curse.  The last two chapters of the Bible also describe a paradise.

II Peter 3:13 says, “we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, WHERE RIGHTEOUSNESS DWELLS.” 

The earth today is the home of sin and wickedness.  Sin reigns on the planet. It is where depravity dwells.  The new earth will be the home of righteousness.

There won’t be any pornography in heaven.  Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful (Revelation 21:27 NIV).  Nothing there will be impure or unclean.

A New Relationship

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. (Revelation 21:3 NIV)

The best part of heaven will not be the gold streets or the great architecture, although they will be amazing.

The best part will not be the food.  We will be able to eat whatever we want, and we won’t gain any weight.  Foods that taste good won’t hurt us because we will be immortal.

The best part of heaven will not be our glorified bodies.  Think of all of the cool things we will be able to do with them.

We will be able to do some things with a resurrection body that we can’t do with our bodies now.  We will have a supernatural body.  It will be like Jesus’ body.

You will be able to walk through walls.  Jesus did that.  You could go anywhere you want.  You won’t need transportation.

You could jump off of a skyscraper and not die.  There are some high walls mentioned in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:11).

The best part of heaven will not be the angels.  We will get to see them and talk to them.  It will be cool to have a conversation with an angel.

The best part of heaven will not be the people we meet.  It will be the greatest reunion ever.  We will get to reunite with loved ones.  We will get to meet relatives who died a long time ago.  We will recognize them.

We will get to meet the Apostles.  We will get to meet our favorite Bible characters in person.  We will get to meet our favorite Christian in church history.

The greatest thing about heaven is not that we will meet Luther, Calvin, Moody or Spurgeon.  The best part of heaven will not be any of these things.

The best part of heaven is that God will be there.  Jesus will be there.  We will be in the immediate presence of God.

We will be face to face with God.  We will have face-to-face fellowship and communion with God for all eternity.  Everyone wants to know what Jesus looked like.  One day, we will see His face.

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (Revelation 22:4 NIV)

Now we can have a special relationship with God now.  God dwells with us.  He is inside us.  We are His children but there is one difference.

Right now, we walk by faith. We don’t see Jesus right now but in Heaven, we will see his face.  Now, God is near now.

God is near to the brokenhearted, but His presence is not manifested physically.  There is no bright light in the room.  We don’t see a burning bush outside, but God’s immediate presence will be in this city and will NEVER leave it.

In the first two chapters of the Bible, God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden.  In the last two chapters of the Bible, God will with people in a city, not a garden.

If you are saved, this is your inheritance.  This is what you have to look forward to.

Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children (Revelation 21:7 NIV).

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3-4 NIV)

Billy Sunday is the famous baseball player who turned into a preacher.  “One night in 1887, after a game in Chicago, Sunday went drinking with his teammates. As they sat on the steps outside a saloon, he overhead a group of urban missionaries singing hymns. Sunday experienced a religious conversion. Within a few years, he quit drinking, married, and became an evangelical preacher.” [3]

The great evangelist Billy Sunday once said, “When I reach Heaven I won’t stop to look for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, David, Daniel, Peter or Paul. I will rush past them all saying, “Where is Jesus? I want to see Jesus who saved my soul one dark, stormy night in Chicago in 1887.”[4]

[1] Randy Alcorn, Heaven, pp. 9-10.

[2] The  word “destroyed” does not necessarily imply annihilation.  Things that are burned are not annihilated but change form.  Furthermore, the same word is also used in the same chapter of something that is not annihilated. Through which the world at that time was destroyed by being flooded with water (II Peter 3:6 NASB).  Noah’s Flood destroyed the antediluvian world but did not annihilate the planet.

[3] https://www.massmoments.org/moment-details/evangelist-billy-sunday-draws-70000-to-boston-revival.html#:~:text=One%20night%20in%201887%2C%20after,and%20became%20an%20evangelical%20preacher.

[4] Curtis Hutson, ed., Great Preaching On: Heaven, Great Preaching Series (Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1987), 85.

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