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God’s Final Declaration on Heaven 

Revelation 21.1–22.5

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 14, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – Songs on heaven


  1. What is heaven?

    “Delete the thought of heaven from man’s lexicon and he is soon reduced to a one-dimensional environment, living without any invisible means of support” (Paul Minear).

    1. Heaven tell us that there is more than meets the eye, for
    2. even as we have discovered the microscopic world and
      1. that without it life could not be,
      2. so the Scriptures reveal
        1. the spiritual world, namely, heaven, and
        2. that without it life could not be.
  2. Appropriately, the last vision that Jesus gave John 
    1. pictured the ultimate blessing.
    2. However, to say it is the last vision does not mean the end for man, but
      1. the last vision shows a new beginning for God’s children.
      2. God begins and ends His story with a beginning.
        1. In Genesis, He showed the beginning of the heavens and the Earth.
        2. in Revelation, He shows the beginning of a new Heaven and a new Earth.
  3. To us the heavens never end. 
    1. However, that is how we perceive things,
    2. living in a material universe.
      1. All things material will have an end, but
      2. God wants us to see material things as reflections of spiritual things.
        1. Jesus—and John writing of the ministry of Jesus—used everyday things
        2. to make us see the spirit as recorded in the Gospel According to John.
          1. In John 4, Jesus used natural water to illustrate spiritual water.
          2. In John 4, Jesus used natural meat to illustrate spiritual meat.
          3. In John 6, Jesus used natural bread to illustrate spiritual bread.
          4. In John 8, Jesus used political bondage to illustrate bondage to sin.
        3. Almost all chapters in John, have some such comparison.
          1. Natural laws exists in the spiritual world, or rather
          2. spiritual laws exist in the natural world.
  4. We think of heaven as a place far away, but 
    1. the closing chapters of the Book of Revelation, and
    2. truly the whole Book of Revelation,
      1. show that heaven is just on the other side.
      2. Heaven is much more present than we realize.
        1. Heaven has more than just an interest in our affairs, but
        2. involves itself in what goes on here.
          1. What heaven does affects us on the Earth, and
          2. what Earth, namely, the church does affects heaven.
    3. We look at Heaven through earthly lenses, but
      1. we should look at Earth through heavenly lenses.
      2. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote,

        “Earth’s crammed with heaven,
        And every common bush afire with God:
        But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
        The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
        And daub their natural faces unaware.”
        – Elizabeth Barrett Browning


  1. The City 
    1. What kind of place would you call, “Heaven on Earth”?
      1. I dream of a tropical paradise.
      2. Would anyone think of a massive city,
        1. more massive than anything you and I have ever experienced?
        2. Americans view cities differently than the rest of the world.
          1. We want to flee cities and live in the country.
          2. Most of the world wants to flee the country and live in the city.
    2. Yet, the most detailed picture
      1. that we have of our living place in heaven is a city.
      2. And that city is actually more of a picture of us than it is of heaven,

        1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev 21.1–2).

        9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal (Rev 21.9–11).

        1. Revelation 19 shows the church as the Bride of Christ.
        2. Here the Bible uses another metaphor to picture the church.
    3. Now think of the city that Revelation 21 shows us! Jerusalem!
      1. We know of great people and great things associated with Jerusalem, but
        1. there have also been bad things associated with Jerusalem.
        2. How many prophets did Jerusalem persecute?
          1. Stephen asked the Jewish Council an embarrassing question,

            52 “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? (Acts 7.52)
          2. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, because of how she treated others,

            37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate…” (Matt 23.37–38).
      2. How does the city and its surroundings appear today?
        1. If Revelation 21 showed a city like what Jerusalem is today, but
        2. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the angels, and all the saints were there,
          1. would we still want to go there?
          2. Or are we must interested in the place itself?
          3. [The dog at the doctor’s illustration]
    4. Yet, the Lord uses Jerusalem to picture us in heaven.
      1. The Bride symbolizes us.
      2. The City symbolizes us.
    5. See the names on the gates and on the foundations,

      12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev 21.12–14).

      1. Who were these men?
        1. Did the sons of Jacob always act honorably?
        2. Did the disciples of Christ always have the spirit of Christ?
      2. Were they always the best of characters?
        1. How could God use them?
        2. How could He use us?
    6. The gates allow access from any direction, because
      1. Heaven is not for one people alone, but for all.
      2. Remember the promise that God made to Abraham,

        3c “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
        (Gen 12.3)
    7. To show us the size of the city
      1. that symbolizes us and
        1. to show how many will be there,
        2. the Spirit pictured the city as a cube.
      2. It is 12,000 furlongs or 1500 miles long, wide, and tall!
        1. That equals 3,375,000,000 cubic miles.
          1. Sitka, Alaska is America’s largest city in land size
          2. with 2,870 square miles.
            1. Josephine County has 1,642 square miles.
            2. Grants Pass takes up 11 square miles.
        2. However, in comparison to a cube,
          1. these places are two-dimensional, that is, on a plane.
          2. This Jerusalem would occupy 2,250,000 square miles on a plane.
      3. The city can contain everyone whom the Lord has saved.
    8. Light fills it.
      1. Revelation 22 reveals the source of the light,

        5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever (Rev 22.5).
      2. What did God create first?
        1. Genesis 1 says,

          3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (Gen 1.3).
        2. We could not function long without light.
      3. How did the Revelation begin?
        1. Jesus as light in the midst of seven lights.
    9. Heaven gives life.
      1. Revelation 22 shows that heaven provides a cure for all that ails us,

        1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Rev 22.1–2).
      2. In Revelation we gain what we lost in Genesis and in Revelation we lose what we gained in Genesis.
        1. Natural Creation
          1. Gained: Gen 1.1
          2. Lost: Rev 20.11
        2. A Home for Man
          1. Gained: Gen 2.8
          2. Lost: Gen 3.22–24
          3. Regained: Rev 21.9–11
          4. The rest of chapter 21 and 22 show a Garden of Eden-like setting
        3. The Serpent
          1. Gained: Gen 3.1
          2. Lost: Rev 20.10
        4. Pain and Sorrow
          1. Gained: Gen 3.8
          2. Lost: Rev 7.13–17; 21.4
        5. The Curse
          1. Gained: Gen 3.16–19
          2. Lost: Rev 3.3–4
        6. The Tree of Life
          1. Gained: Gen 2.9
          2. Lost: Gen 3.22–24
          3. Regained: Rev 22.2, 14


  1. In my opinion, the following pictures the greatest part of Heaven,

    3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev 21.3).

    1. The Family Promise of God finally has its ultimate fulfillment:
      1. The tabernacle of God will be with us.
      2. God will dwell with us.
      3. We shall be God’s people.
      4. God Himself will be with us.
      5. God Himself will be our God.
    2. We experience those things now, but
      1. we shall experience them
      2. to a degree that we do not now.
    3. See the degree to which we will experience them.
      1. God’s light shall shine upon us and touch us,

        22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light (Rev 21.22–23).
      2. Now see just how full the experience shall be,

        4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads (Rev 22.4).
  2. Do you know for sure that you shall experience those things?