Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Monday, March 23, 2009

A New Heaven and A New Earth

"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 - New International Version)

In Chapter 21 of Revelation, the Apostle John begins to describe the Eternal Age. Satan and his demonic allies have been defeated. All of mankind has been judged. The saved are now in the presence of God forever. John's description of this time is majestic. The true glory of it will be greater than we can imagine. So we must approach the last two chapters of Revelation with a sense of humility and wonder.

Heaven is used in the Bible to describe the atmosphere, outer space and God's dwelling place. The passing away of the first heaven refers to the atmosphere and outer space, the physical heaven. It will be destroyed and remade along with the earth.

The Apostle Peter wrote, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (II Peter 3:10 - KJV)

Peter tells us that the heaven and earth will melt away or be burned up. If this refers to the passing away of the first heaven and earth, then it would seem that God will use the same physical matter when he creates the new heaven and new earth.

The Greek word for new that is used in this verse means a new kind. So the new heaven and new earth will have a different nature than the one in which we now live. There will be both physical differences and spiritual differences. John describes some of both of these.

One physical difference is that the new earth will have no seas or oceans. There will be rivers and possibly lakes, but no large bodies of water. The present earth is about three quarters water so the new earth even if it is the same diameter will have about four times the land area. As well the climate will be effected by the absence of seas, because now they greatly effect our weather patterns.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Great White Throne Judgment

"And I saw a great white throne, and Him who is sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven did flee away, and place was not found for them; and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and scrolls were opened, and another scroll was opened, which is that of the life, and the dead were judged out of the things written in the scrolls -- according to their works; and the sea did give up those dead in it, and the death and the hades did give up the dead in them, and they were judged, each one according to their works; and the death and the hades were cast to the lake of the fire -- this [is] the second death; and if any one was not found written in the scroll of the life, he was cast to the lake of the fire." (Revelation 20:11-15 - Young's Literal Translation)

This is called the Great White Throne Judgment. It is when those who had no part in the first resurrection will be judged. Jesus will sit on the throne to judge. He will be so somber that the physical creation will not be able to bear His appearance.

The exact meaning of the last part of verse eleven is difficult to determine. From the context, it would seem that this is the time when this universe will be dissolved in preparation for the creation of the new heaven and earth. There are several other passages that suggest that this world will be destroyed. Jesus Himself said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away. . ." (Matthew 24:35)

Those who stand before Jesus at this judgment will be judged out of books. It is generally believed that these books include both the Bible which is God's law, and records of all that people have done in their lifetimes.

Hal Lindsey, in his book There's a New World Coming, graphically describes the scene:

As each man steps before the throne, God will first open the "Book of the Law." He'll show the man what was required of him if he was to come to God by merit of his own good deeds. He'll patiently go over each point of the Law, showing afresh that the standards are so high that no man could keep them. Then God will remind the offender that this is why He sent His Son - to perfectly fulfill the demands of the Law for us and in us.

After this God will open the "Book of Works," with this man's name on it. God will painstakingly compare it point-by-point with the "Book of the Law," showing the man how he failed to measure up to what the Law of God demanded in the way of righteousness. He'll show the many times that he failed to heed the prompting of God's still, small voice in his conscience which told him to get right with God while there was still time.

Then God will quietly lay down these two books and pick up the "Book of Life." It's quite evident by now that the first two books have confirmed the condemnation that has brought the man to this bar of judgment, but just to prove beyond doubt there has been no mistake, God checks His final record.

He solemnly opens the "Book of Life" and begins to scan the pages for the man's name. Those nail-scarred hands turn first one page, and then another, all the time wishing the man's name could be found there. Tragically, it can't be found on any page, and God slowly closes this final book of judgment and says with great reluctance: "Depart from Me, accursed one, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)

The man begins to tremble, and frantic words rush to his defense - "Lord, Lord, didn't I prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?" (Matthew 7:22,23)

The Father slowly shakes His head and says, "I never knew you."

Those words will ring in the condemned man's ears for all eternity - "I never knew you, I never knew you, I never knew you. . . ."

(There's a New World Coming, Hal Lindsey, Bantam Book, 1975, pg. 273, 274)

Whether this is how it will be or not we do not know. Certainly the spirit of this judgment is shown in this description. Those who never accepted what Jesus did for them will be judged according to their own works and the law of God and will be found guilty.

All the dead, where ever and how ever they died will stand before God in judgment. Those who did not trust in Christ and have their names entered into the Book of Life will be cast into eternal torment in the Lake of Fire.

For a Christian, there can be only one proper response to this passage. We must warn all who will listen of the judgment that they will face while they have time to repent and be forgiven.