What will it be like in heaven? What awaits us in eternity? The Bible provides us with pertinent information, giving a glimpse of how eternity will be. In our text for today, we see four particular items which are new in eternity.

We See the New Creation (Revelation 21:1)
A reporter viewing this scene may ask three questions: When? What? How? John answered each of these. When this will occur is identified from the preceding chapter. It will transpire after the great white throne judgment, from which God will pronounce His final verdict on the unbelieving world.

What the new creation replaces is also known from the preceding chapter. At the appearance of the great white throne, the current creation, including Earth, will pass away (Revelation 20:11). In place of the old creation, John saw a new heaven and earth. The Greek word for new points to that which is new in form or quality, different from what preceded it.

How is eternity different? Remarkably little is said about this new creation. John does, however, focus on the fact there “was no longer any sea.” Because John was on the island of Patmos, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, this would be especially noteworthy. Many interpreters say this refers to the principle of disorder, violence or unrest that marks this current creation. This non-literal view of the sea, however, would consistently require that the following six details also be non-literal (death, mourning, etc.). Rather, the sea is literally absent, meaning a new type of atmosphere will exist.

We See the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2)
John next describes the heavenly city and sets it in contrast with the earthly Jerusalem. The present Jerusalem is called “Sodom” (Revelation 11:8), and the “beloved city” (Revelation 20:9). The new Jerusalem, however, is the “Holy City” (cf. Isaiah 52:1; Matthew 4:5). It comes down out of heaven and has all the freshness and beauty of a bride adorned for marriage.

We See the New Tabernacle (Revelation 21:3-4)
John heard a loud voice from heaven, this being the last of 21 times such a voice occurs in Revelation. The voice first announces God’s relationship to His people (v. 21:3). God’s dwelling is with people; the fellowship is unhindered. God is visible and approachable. We confidently observe that we belong to God, and God belongs to us for all the ages to come.

The presence of God guarantees His constant care. As a result, there are no tears as occur on this new Earth: no tears of sorrow, poverty, bereavement, sympathy, anguish, penitence or disappointment are permitted in God’s presence. Death and mourning are not in God’s eternal Presence. Crying will exist no more. We come into this world with a cry and go out with a groan; in the middle is much wailing; but that is not the case in eternity. Pain also will pass away. All our ills, aches and hurts will be things of the past.

We See the New Beginning (Revelation 21:5-6)
God, seated on the throne, said He makes everything new. This refers to a totally new creation, surpassing His original one. God told John to write this down. John must have been so overwhelmed by this vision that he forgot to write. All that John heard was trustworthy and true; we can depend on its fulfillment.

God will complete His new creation (v. 21:6). The words, “It is done” show the present history of man, begun in the Garden of Eden, has been accomplished. The new creation supersedes it. We are assured because God said it; He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (cf. Revelation 1:8). This eternal God offers to all “the water of life” freely (cf. Revelation 7:17; Revelation 22:17); in Him alone we find full satisfaction and the abundance of eternal life.

A little girl once walked at night with her father in the country away from all city lights. She gazed into the dark sky, studded with its vast array of stars sparkling like diamonds. She said to her father, “Daddy, if the wrong side of heaven is so beautiful, what do you think the right side will be like?” Knowing Christ as Savior, drinking of the water of life, guarantees we will see the right side and enjoy it for eternity.

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