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It is by God's grace that I hold this series of meetings with you, brothers and sisters. Maybe this is my last, so I am constrained to speak to you about Heaven --- the New Jerusalem. It's a pity the Lord has not permitted me to study the whole book of Revelation with you. But in the forthcoming Bible Conference at Hangchow, we will pay special attention to this Book. Let us go to Hangchow to understand this Book!
I know when Jesus returns this world will be destroyed. At that time we will be caught up to meet with Him in midair. When Jesus returns the Jews will rule this earth! During the millennium Jesus will rule from midair. We shall reign together with Him. Nations will still be on earth. Man's life will be specially prolonged. To die at 100 would be considered an infant. After the millennium this world will be annihilated. Then will succeed the age of a new heaven and new earth.
Vs 1 John said, "I see a new heaven and new earth." The old world was gone. In the new heaven and new earth there was no more sea. The sea represents death. Death will be abolished.
Vs 2 John said, I saw Jerusalem, very high indeed. Beautiful! It came down from heaven, prepared by God, for us --- our everlasting home. Some ask, Christians will number by tens of millions. How to contain them? If this material world can contain us, how much more the new heaven and new earth will.
Vs 3 Now we cannot live together with God. In the new heaven and new earth we shall see him all the time, what joy! Praise the Lord. As God's children, we shall live with Him. He shall wipe away our tears.
Vs 4 In the new heaven and new earth there will be no more death, sorrow, pain or sickness. I remember my mother was sick for half-a-year. She was bed-ridden. I wasn't born yet. My mother was very hard-pressed with my three elder brothers and one elder sister. So she sent them to stay at a friend's house. My mother was separated from her children for a long while. One night at year's end, an angel told Mother she would recover. She did. She longed for her children. Father brought back the children. O, how dirty looking they were. No bath for half-a-year! Full of lice! When mother saw them how pity welled up within her. She said, "Without your Mum, you can't live!" Yes, in this world we can't help but go through death, sickness and sorrow. In the new heaven and new earth, God will wipe away all our tears. No more sorrow! This world is not our home. We're like orphans. In the new heaven and new earth we shall see our loving Heavenly Father.
Vs 5,6 God said, "Look, I renew all things. Nothing in the new heaven and new earth is old. Not a dream! God said, "This word is true and trustworthy." There will be no more sickness, tears, sorrow, and death. God said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End." God is waiting for us in the new heaven and new earth, to give us the fountain of life, that we might drink when thirsty. Our home is in the new heaven and new earth, everlasting, real, no dream. Let's see:
Vs 9,10 God led John to see the new heaven and new earth by the angel holding the seven golden bowls. The angel showed him the new heaven and new earth, the bride of the lamb, the New Jerusalem. Now Jerusalem is the spiritual Church, prepared by Jesus, most beautiful. Her attire is most beautiful, and this is she in midair. God then led John to Mount Zion to see New Jerusalem.
Vs 11 This city, four square, is in midair. Clear as crystal, brilliant like a precious stone, filled with God's glory, very holy and clean.
Vs 12 The city wall was high and broad, having twelve gates, three on each side, giving free entry to the entire world. Twelve angels over the gates stood guard. The names of the Twelve Tribes were engraved thereon. When we reign with Christ we shall rule over the Twelve Tribes. The twelve gates were filled with God's glory.
Vs 13,14 John saw the names of the Twelve Tribes written over each of the three gates on each side. This New Jerusalem is the capital of the new heaven and new earth. The twelve foundations are a remembrance of the Twelve Apostles. As the Apostles had followed Christ to death, the foundations were set over them. Peter the fisherman was crucified upside down for Christ. James was the first martyr. John the aged the last to die was exiled on the isle of Patmos. Andrew was crucified. The rest all died one form or another. So the foundations were laid in remembrance of the Apostles. God doesn't remember great scholars or philosophers, great politicians or scientists. These have nothing to do with the Church of God. Beloved brothers and sisters, the Cross is our glory for ever. When we go to heaven we will not boast of our eloquence, but the cross of Christ. Jesus says, "Be glad to suffer for my Name's sake; great is your reward in heaven." Praise the Lord, God remembers the Twelve Apostles for the Cross is most precious.
Vs 16,17 The City was great and broad. God said, "Measure it with a golden reed." Gold stands for unchangeable The City was square, for God's work was according to measurement. The length was 4,000 li (Amoy to Shanghai is 500 miles). Its height was 4,000 li (The highest building I saw in New York City was just over 100 stories). The City was 4,000 li wide. What an immense place to dwell in! The thickness of its wall was 144 cubits. Such a thick wall could well withstand Satan's assault. One day I was making measurements of the new City in my own room. My wife couldn't make out what I was doing. Look! How great is the new Holy City, how strong!
Vs 18 The wall was not made of stone but of jade. Within was paved with gold. The gold on earth are but the residues fallen from heaven! In my chemical experiments with gold tried many times in fire, how 10 times bright the gold did shine in all its beauty. That's the beauty of gold in the new capital.
Vs 19,20 The Wall was made of all kinds of precious stones, of the same 12 substances used for the priest in the Old Testament. The glory forever is mine in the cross, in the cross.
Vs 21 A great pearl forms each gate, wherein the street is paved with pure gold. In an American home I visited, the floor was paved with Italian marble, shining bright. It happened to be raining that day and my shoes being muddy, I left marks all over that shining floor. What an ugly sight! I dared not to precede any farther. With sin on us we will leave many marks of it as we enter heaven. You yourself would not dare to go in. Nor can a sinner find joy there. Heaven, God's throne, is holy and pure.
Vs 22-26 In the City we have God the Father and the Lord Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. There is no need to spend a cent on electricity for light. The gates are never shut. Within there's the Tree of Everlasting Life. Now we cannot behold Heaven's beauty, but through the Bible. Once while I was at the mental hospital God showed me the City as recorded in the Bible. There is not a speck of dirt here. It is all holy and pure, our everlasting home.
Vs 27 There are those who cannot enter. The first class are the unholy, the second the hypocrites. Pity! The third are liars. No matter how they work their influence, they cannot enter. Only the born again can, whose names are written in the Book of Life. Now there are eight debarred from entry, according to Vs. 8. With Vs. 7 these two are the most precious verses in the whole chapter. Who can enter? The victorious. God says, "I am your Father, You are my children. Here's your inheritance."
Eight kinds of people cannot enter:
1. The mentally disbelieving. Too proud, these reject Genesis, the Resurrection and the Precious Blood. These are the unbelievers.
2. The fearful. These fear to testify, very fearful.
3. The abominable. These are the conceited, the high-nosed.
4. The murderers (with their hands).
5. Adulterers, even lusting with their eyes, as Jesus has said.
6. The sorcerers, which include the rebellious.
7. The idolaters, which include the covetous.
8. The liars. All these not only cannot enter, but also shall be cast into the fire to burn.
In Shantung there was a woman who saw Jesus upon her death. She saw but a few names, of a few elders, old ladies and children there. No names of missionaries, pastors, preachers, none! Then she woke up. When she told this vision, the pastors and preachers repented. Great revival broke out. Brothers, are your names written in the Book of Life? You pastors and preachers? If not, repent! You members, brothers and sisters? A born again person has his name written in the Book of Life. He can enter the New Jerusalem, to everlasting bliss.