James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.Revelation 21:1-22:21
THE SEVEN NEW THINGS
The seven “new things” are the new heaven, earth, peoples, city, temple, luminary, and paradise.
The “introduction” in this case covers the first two, the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 20:1-8). Observe the sequence of events suggested by Revelation 20:1 : In the present time, we have the church, in the Millennium will be the kingdom, and after that the new world where God shall be all in all (see 1 Corinthians 15:23-28). Man’s soul is redeemed by regeneration through the Holy Spirit now, his body shall be redeemed at the resurrection, and his dwelling-place at the creation of the new heaven and earth. “And there shall be no more sea.” The sea is the type of perpetual unrest, and its absence after the metamorphosis of the earth answers to the unruffled state of solid peace which shall then prevail. A river and water are spoken of in the next chapter, but no sea.
The descent of the holy city upon the earth as the tabernacle of God (Revelation 20:2-8) reveals some wondrous and precious things. Always distinguish between this New Jerusalem out of heaven, and that earthly Jerusalem in which Israel in the flesh shall dwell during the Millennium. The one will be done away with when the other comes. This new Jerusalem will be God’s dwelling place with men in the new earth. It is the antitype of the tabernacle in the wilderness, using the same Greek word as that used of Christ’s tabernacling among us (John 1:14). He was then seen in the weakness of the flesh, but at the new creation he shall be seen in the glory of his Godhead.
The Progression in this instance is the revelation of the New Jerusalem (21:9-22:5). All the details of this city suggest glory, beauty, security and peace. In the Millennium, literal Israel in the flesh dwelling in Jerusalem, is the antitype of the Old Testament earthly theocracy; but in this, the eternal age, the heavenly Jerusalem is the antitype of the church, composed of Jews and Gentiles. This idea seems to be suggested by the names of the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles written upon the gates and the foundations. The fact that no temple is seen in this city is remarkable, and suggests that the means of grace cease when the end of grace has come. Uninterrupted, immediate, direct communion with God and the Lamb will then be enjoyed. The student will be struck by the comparison between the picture in Revelation 22:1-4, and the story of the garden of Eden and the expulsion of our first parents.
The Consummation is the epilogue of the book (Revelation 22:6-21), in which there is nothing more solemn than Revelation 22:11, which emphasizes the thought that “the punishment of sin is sin, just as the reward of holiness is holiness.” Eternal punishment is not so much an arbitrary law as a result necessarily following in the very nature of things as the fruit results form the bud. Notice the allusion to the eternity of sin (Revelation 22:15). May God quicken us who know these things to do our duty in bearing witness to them, that some by all means may be saved. This duty is set before us (Revelation 22:17), and “He which testifieth these things saith, surely, I come, quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
1. Name the seven new things.
2. Give the sequence of events as outlined in 1 Corinthians 15:23-28.
3. Interpret the reference to the sea.
4. How would you distinguish between the earthly and the New Jerusalem?
5. Of what two things is the latter the antitype?
6. How is this suggested?
7. What significance may be attached to the absence of a temple?
8. What two awful things about sin are here taught?