The eternal state begins after Satan leads a final unsuccessful rebellion at the end of Jesus’ thousand-year reign. In eternity, God brings His heavenly home to a recreated earth to live among His people. God will make everything new, and there will be no more sorrow but eternal blessedness.
The last two chapters of Revelation show great contrasts. Our destiny is one:
|Contrasts Between Unbelievers and Believers|
|Refuse the water of life||Share in the river of life|
|Home: lake of fire||Place: live with God|
|Forever impure||Forever cleansed and purified|
|Fate is with Babylon||Share in New Jerusalem|
|Suffering the Second death||Share in the tree of life|
|Wore the sign of the beast||Wear God’s name on their forehead|
From Damnation to Blessedness
Eternity begins after the Great White Throne Judgment. And after that, God shows us a new heaven and earth. From unbelievers’ destiny in the lake of fire to eternal blessing (Revelation 20:15-21:1). Quite a contrast! God has patiently tolerated evil since Adam sinned in the garden. But sin won’t exist in eternity. So, God’s creative beauty will shine.
Eternity on Earth not in Heaven
Most people think believers will spend eternity in heaven. But the Bible says we won’t. God brings His heavenly home to earth, dwells with His people, and wipes away every tear.
- “I, John, saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:2).
- “Look! The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them. They shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
The Eternal City
The Eternal City will have an Enduring Jewish Flavor
- The featured city in eternity is the New Jerusalem (21:10). It will have twelve gates with the names of the tribes written above them. The city is a massive cube, measuring 2200 kilometers in length, width, and height (1400 miles).
- God honors the names of the twelve apostles throughout eternity:
“The wall … had twelve foundations, and … the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14).
God Gifts the Eternal City to His Redeemed
- People tried to reach heaven with their works at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), and this struggle continued throughout history. But people can’t earn it; salvation comes through receiving what God has provided through His Son (John 1:12; 3:14-18).
- God’s people will be marked with His name and have access to rivers and trees of life (Revelation 22:1-5).
The Eternal City has God’s Glory
- It shines like a diamond (Revelation 21:11; Luke 9:32; John 1:14).
- The Builder used pure, clear gold, like transparent glass, to make the main street (Revelation 21:21).
- He also used precious jewels to cover the foundations of the city’s walls–superior building materials available only to God (Revelation 21:19-20).
- The twelve gates are made of twelve pearls.
Even common tools are made of gold (Revelation 11:1; 21:15; Ezekiel 42:16-18;):
- “He (the angel) had a golden rod to measure” (Revelation 21:15).
- Gold typified Israel’s golden age:
“All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were made of gold…. None were made of silver, for it was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon” (1 Kings 10:21).
The Eternal City Doesn’t Have
- The city has a wall, but there’s no danger. Walls were built around cities to provide security. These walls picture perfect protection and contrast with the earthly threats we face.
- Gates were closed when the city felt threatened. But there are no more threats.
“Its gates shall never be shut by day, for there shall be no night there” (Revelation 21:25).
- A Temple
Because the Lord God and the Lamb are its temple (Revelation 21:22).
- The Sun or Moon
Because God’s glory lights it (Revelation 21:23; 22:5).
- A Curse on Creation (Revelation 22:3)
The Eternal City Does Have
- The River of Life
- In the Millennium, a river flowed from the temple in Jerusalem that sweetened the waters of the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 47:1-12). But this eternal river comes from the throne of God and the Lamb. The city’s main feature is God’s throne, and the street leads directly to it.
“A pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1).
- God provides this water for His people. In the original creation, water was abundant. There were four rivers, and “springs would well up from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground” (Genesis 2:6, 10-14).
- The Tree of Life
“The tree of life on each side of the river … is for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2)
God restores our access to the tree of life; it was lost when Adam fell in the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24). Redeemed life will be enhanced by eating the tree’s fruit.
- The Light of Life
“Night shall be no more (the) Lord God will give them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5). In the new city, there will be no darkness (in symbolic language) or evil. God’s light will always shine, and He will always reign.
Only the people of the Lamb and they boldly wear His Name on their foreheads (Revelation 21:24-27).
“God’s servants shall serve Him … see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4). Believers will worship God openly.
God is the beginning and the end, and as someone said, “history is His story.”
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