God Dwells With Man

GOD DWELLS WITH MANAnd I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

Following John’s revelation of the New Jerusalem he wrote, “I heard a loud voice from the throne….” This is the last of twenty times that the expression “a loud voice” is used in Revelation (first used in Revelation 5:2). This final proclamation from the throne states that “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them.” In eternity, saints will enjoy a new intimacy with God which has been impossible in the fallen world where sin and death are still present.(1)

The Bible gives an interesting record of God’s dwelling (literally tabernacling(2)) with man.
He Walked – At first, God walked with man in the Garden of Eden.
He Dwelt – Later, He dwelt with Israel in the tabernacle and then the temple. When Israel sinned God departed from those dwellings.
He Came – Jesus came to earth and “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14).
He Indwells – Today, God does not live in man-made temples (Acts 7:48–50), but in the hearts of His people (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) and in the church (Ephesians 2:21–22).

He Will Once Again Dwell – At the consummation of all things, God will once again dwell “among the people.”

In both the tabernacle and the temple, a veil stood between men and God. That veil was torn in two when Jesus died, thus opening a “new and living way” for God’s people (Hebrews 10:19). Even though God dwells in believers today by His Spirit, we still do not fully understand or fellowship with Him as we would like. But one day, we shall dwell in God’s presence and enjoy Him forever.(3)

Up Next – All things made new.

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References

  1. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 984–985). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 601). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

The New Jerusalem

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BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEWThen 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. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

The New Jerusalem –The New Jerusalem, “coming down out of Heaven from God,” is viewed by some as being separate and distinct from the earthly Jerusalem in which Israel in the flesh shall dwell during the Millennium, since it follows the creation of the new heaven and earth. When writing about the old Jerusalem, John uses a Greek term that is used in a political sense. John uses a different Hebrew term, that is used in a holy sense, when he refers to the heavenly city. Paul makes a similar distinction (common versus holy) when refuting Judaism (Galatians 4:26; Galatians 1:17, 18; 2:1; see also Hebrews 12:22). This Jerusalem from above is also referenced in Revelation 3:12 and Hebrews 11:10; 12:22; 13:14.(1)

Like any city, the old Jerusalem meant both the place and the people who lived there. In the same way, the New Jerusalem is a bride because its residents (people) are a bride (Revelation 19:7). Greco-Roman references to cities often described them as people. Jewish people were familiar with Old Testament personifications of Jerusalem and the Old Testament depiction of God’s people as his bride,(2) just as New Testament Saints are familiar with the references to the Church as the bride of Christ. Abraham “looked for a city … whose builder was God” (Hebrews 11:10). The New Jerusalem is that city.(3)

The fact that the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven (it is not created) raises the question by some as to whether it will be in existence during the Millennium. The suggestion has been made that if the New Jerusalem is in existence during the Millennial reign of Christ, it may have been suspended in the heavens as a dwelling place for resurrected and translated saints, who nevertheless would have immediate access to the earth to carry on their functions of ruling with Christ. In the Millennium, it is unlikely that the New Jerusalem would rest on the earth, for there is an earthly Jerusalem and an earthly temple (Ezekiel 40–48). If such is the case, then the New Jerusalem would apparently be withdrawn from its proximity to the earth when the earth is destroyed at the end of the Millennium, and then return after the creation of the new earth. Though this possibility of a satellite city has been disregarded by most commentators, it would solve some questions surrounding the relationship between the resurrected and translated saints to those still in their natural bodies in the Millennium. Otherwise, these questions are left without an explanation.

Up Next – God dwells with man.(4)

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References

  1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 601). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  2. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 21:2). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 856). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 984). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

A New Earth

BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEWThen 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. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

The New Earth – The original condition of the earth was affected by the curse of Adam and Eve’s sinful fall (Genesis 3:17–19). Today, the curse continues as even the scientific community generally agrees that the ecology of the earth is suffering due to the poor stewardship of man. The earth still lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), a daily reminder that many of the earth’s inhabitants are living outside of fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:1, 2).

Various Bible passages (Ezra 47; Joel 3:18, 19; Amos 9:13–15; Zechariah 14:6–9) point to the coming age when the earth will be set free from its bondage to decay, a deliverance for which the whole creation is said to be “groaning” in anticipation (Romans 8:19–23). At that time, “the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). Afterwards, when “the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea,” John looked up and saw “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).(1) It will be so wonderful that the “former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).(2)

Very little information has been provided about this new earth. There is, however, one curious fact. There will no longer be any sea. No other descriptions are given concerning the new earth, and nothing is known of its characteristics, its vegetation, color, or form. What few other references that are found in the Scripture (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; and 2 Peter 3:10–13) reveal no other details.(3) Perhaps it is sufficient to look back at the description of the earth in its original state in Genesis before for fall?

The reference to no more sea could also be a symbolic reference to the removal of evil and chaos (compare Genesis 1:2). It may also be meant to unify the earth’s inhabitants that were separated after the flood and the tower of Babel.(4) A literal view would correspond with ancient Jewish interpretations of Isaiah 65:17, which mentions heaven and earth but does not mention the sea. The symbolic view is seen by some as a reference to the evil powers earlier in Revelation 13:1.(5) If no more sea is taken literally, it does not necessarily mean no more water. It could simply indicate that the new earth will have a different arrangement as far as water is concerned. While today three fourths of our globe consist of water, this may not be the case in the eternal state. In John’s day, the sea meant danger, storms, and separation (John himself was on an island at the time separated from his flock). Thus, if taken symbolically John was giving us more than a geography lesson on the new earth.(6)

Up Next – The New Jerusalem.

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References

  1. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 647). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  2. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 1547). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  3. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 983). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 21:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  5. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 21:1). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

A New Heaven

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BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEWThen 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. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2, NIV 1984)

The New Heaven – In ancient cosmology, there were believed to be seven levels of Heaven: the sky, the clouds, the sky above the clouds, the firmament (domed expanse separating celestial waters from terrestrial waters), and the celestial waters above the firmament, the heavens (the universe), and the heaven of heavens, where God dwells.(1) These have elsewhere been digested down to three: Continue reading “A New Heaven”

The Renewal

BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEWThen 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. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

The Renewal – The end of Revelation is often described in terms of Continue reading “The Renewal”

The Great White Throne Judgment

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GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENTThen I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

The Throne – This Great White Throne apparently differs from the throne that is mentioned more than 30 times in Revelation beginning with Revelation 4:2. Earth and sky fled from His (the one sitting on the throne) presence, and there was no place for them.(1) It is a great throne, because Continue reading “The Great White Throne Judgment”

The End of the Millennium

THE END OF THE MILLENNIUMWhen the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)

Satan Released – At the close of the Millennium, Satan will be released. Revelation 20:3 says he must be released from the pit and permitted to lead one last revolt against the Lord. We are not told why this is the case. But many Continue reading “The End of the Millennium”