Chapter 13: Beyond the Millennium
|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.|
|And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,|
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,
and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,
and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said,
‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And he said unto me,
‘Write: for these words are true and faithful.’
Our Pre-millennial world today has nothing that can even bear comparing with the wonders of the age that will follow the Millennium. Our finite minds can scarcely begin to comprehend its transcendent beauty, joy, prosperity, happiness, peace, love and light. Even John the Revelator was at a loss for words to describe it.
But what he has written in the last two chapters of Revelation is surpassingly grand. He sees that bright New World, complete and perfect, filled with the glory and knowledge of the Lord. Lacking any better way to convey thoughts, he uses a series of negative statements to describe it.
“…And there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1).
The “sea” is a term for “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,” in the symbolic language of Revelation (17:15). when the “new heaven and new earth” are complete, there will be no one outside God’s fellowship; all will be part of one holy, immortal family, for “the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).
By this we are not to think God Himself will make His abode on earth, but Christ, “Emmanuel,…God with us” (Matt. 1:23) will dwell with His own forever. the disciples enjoyed being with their Master during His ministry, but He was taken away. At this time He will be with His own forever.
“…And there shall be no more death” (Rev. 21:4).
In that day the sod will not be cut with graves. streets will never be lined with funeral processions. There will be no obituaries published. For death shall be swallowed up of life—life that is lasting, even eternal life!
“…Neither sorrow, nor crying” (Rev. 21:4).
In this text John pictures God as doing a most tender and loving act: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev. 21: 4). In this world, bright as the lives of some may seem, each “heart knoweth his own bitterness” (Prov. 14:10). Now a thousand sorrows and heartaches beset the children of men; then, hallelujahs of joy will ring throughout the land.
“…Neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev. 21:4).
Even the healthiest will appreciate this, much more they who experience constant pain. We can scarcely comprehend a world where no one is sick or suffering.
In this life all ties of friendship must eventually be broken. But in that Eternal age, friends will dwell together and enjoy each other’s company forever.
Three short words assure us that this blessed state is a definite promise: “he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (21:-5).
“…There shall be no night there” (Rev. 21:25).
Now we appreciate a night of rest in which to renew our strength. But someday it will get dark for the last time. Why? Because immortal beings will be there, and immortal beings radiate light, their radiance will mean the end of night; it will be light all the time.
What about the sun and the moon? The sun and moon will continue to shine, the Bible tells us, but they will not be needed for light. “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory” (Isa. 60:19).
A prophet of God centuries ago spoke of the “wise” as sources of light: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:3). The light of the immortals will make light for the mortal nations during the Millennium, for we read: “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it” (Rev. 21:23-24). When all who live are equal to the angels, shining and immortal, the earth will indeed be filled with light, light that will never dim.
“And the gates of it [the Holy City] shall not be shut at all by day” (Rev. 21:25).
If the gates are not shut at all during the day, and there shall be no night, the gates will be always open!
Open gates: here is a symbol of perfect safety, perfect freedom, warm hospitality and free interchange of friendships.
“Open gates” suggest that while this beautiful earth will be the permanent abode of the saints, yet the dwellers in that city will not be confined. The whole universe will be open to them! They will be permitted to come and go freely in all parts of God’s vast domain. And everyone who passes through these heavenly gates will be an angel of light. What privileges when earth becomes a part of heaven! (And what a change from the locked doors and security guards that we must have today!)
“I saw no temple therein” (Rev. 21:22).
In this new world, there is no one place especially sacred or holy, for the whole earth is hallowed. What need of a temple when all the earth is paradise?
There will be a spiritual temple, however, of which every glorified being will be a part. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God” (Rev. 3:12). Each will have a permanent place in that eternal realm, a place of strength, honor and beauty. Each will be an integral and eternal part of the glorious whole.
When Jesus walked with His disciples on earth, wherever He went there was a temple, whether in the mountains, in the wilderness, in the midst of the street or by the concourse; on the heights, in the upper room, along the way to Emmaus, or on the shores of Galilee—wherever He was there was a temple. So it will be someday for all people on earth.
“There shall be no more curse” (Rev. 22:3).
This suggests the absence of retribution for sin—because there will be no sin. Beyond the Millennium sin cannot go. Sin will be gone forever; God will be all in all.
There will be nothing to harass, nothing to torment, persecute or frustrate. There will be no hindering circumstances to resist and no inner feelings to restrain. There will be no weariness or weakness. With perfect freedom, life can be developed to its fullest potential.
In the present life we expect difficulties; we need them to develop virtue and character. But if we are granted a place in the Holy City, all this warfare will be over. Life will be one joyous experience.