So, in Revelation 20, Satan, having been released from the pit, makes a last-ditch effort to kill off God and His people. Satan was only able to accomplish an attack of this size by deceiving the nations.
If you are wondering, Revelation refers to all those coming into the kingdom as these “people.” These people who have come to God borders on uncountable. It’s fascinating about these “nations.” which are also uncountable, as only those who do not have their names written in the book of life fall for the deception.
For months now, I have been saying that all those caught up in the rapture and the martyred saints are now immortals, just as Jesus is; and death cannot touch Him or us. By bringing up this immortal aspect, I am reminding myself that heaven is real, and it will be a time of peace. That means no fear, and I don’t know if you noticed, but the level of fear and anxiety is rising.
Chapter 20 closes as all judgments are ended, and Satan is permanently tossed into the lake of fire.
In trying to wrap our minds around heaven, we now migrate into chapter 21, where we read.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”
(Revelation 21:1-2 NASB)
Yes, the old earth burned up. But, if that concerns you, I would like to remind you that as followers of Jesus, it will not matter what happens to this polluted planet we now stand on. Why, you might ask? Because we are immortal, just like comic book characters, and we are safe within the arms of the Father. My guess is that this new earth will be technology-free and look very similar to the planet that Adam first encountered. Add to that thought the promise we have about heaven.
“But as it is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,” nor has it entered into the heart of man, “the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9 MKJV)
Your mind can’t even conceive of an idea that surpasses what God has in store for us. This thought makes me aware of the movie Avatar. Please spare me the religious negativity, as I was in awe of plants that lit up as the characters touched them or those which produced music. A tree of enormous proportions spiraled to the sky and could be walked on, and another that emanated light. I also happen to think that riding a dragon would be very cool. But my thoughts show my limitations. Let’s simply say that I long for this time with Jesus.
The Holy City has been restored to its appropriate location; it’s spectacular and filled with colors. Suddenly, a great voice from the throne is heard. Most translations say the same thing; however, the Moffatt translation says the voice came “out of the throne.” Since the grandchildren practice their non-listening skills, if I have the freedom to step in, I make sure they can hear me, and I am not trying to be pleasant at those moments. So forgive me for a moment as I consider the possibility that the furniture just spoke. I can’t disprove it.
The Greek word used to convey this voice coming out of the throne is the word thronos. Terms to define this include to seat. A seat, usually high and having a footstool, a throne as the emblem of royal authority.
Just knowing this tends to push my thoughts toward the idea of God doing the speaking.
Well, what did He or it say?
Revelation 21:3 NASB “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,”
Let’s break this down.
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men,”
Since we, in our previous study of Revelation 21:1 and 2, saw that the Holy City had already come down; and that Jesus and the martyred saints sat as judges over the earth for a thousand years, you might think that it would be safe to say that “God” was among men.
Remember, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and in unity. One thing that is clear to me is that Jesus sits on a throne, in the Holy City, on earth and is approachable.
That does not mean that the nations get to dance into the throne room and disrespect Him. Oh no. A piece of evidence for what I just said comes from Revelation 22:15, and yes, it seems ludicrous to consider that this activity level could still exist during the millennium.
“Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.” ( NASB)
I just cut that thought short as I remembered that we are looking at Revelation 21, where it seems that the story has moved beyond the thousand years. Undoubtedly, nothing like this “Outside are … everyone who loves and practices lying” could exist beyond the great white throne.
Having discussed this with others, I have pointed out how God’s people (I see this terminology applied to those who are coming and going in and out of the Holy City during the thousand years) during this time are taking the leaves from the trees of life and bringing healing to the nations. Healing is more than a simple bandage; this is an internal and eternal change where the brokenness and propensity to sin are removed.
Remember that after the fall of humanity, Adam and Eve were prevented from accessing the tree of life in the center of the garden. Surely, you have asked why that had to be. If they had taken from the tree of life in their newly broken condition, they would have been the evil and immortal gods of the universe. The leaves from the tree of life, improperly applied, would allow these people to be immortals and yet keep their ways that conflict with God.
If you are good students of the Bible, then you know that NONE of what I just said is clearly defined in the Revelation. You have to come to this understanding by looking at what happened with Adam in the garden and then applying what you know from Paul’s letters about how Jesus took our sins upon himself and is NOW offering this same relief to the nations throughout the thousand years.
“ and He will dwell among them,”
Here again, the Father and the Son seem to be seated in the Holy City.
And the peoples will say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will give us knowledge of his ways, and we will be guided by his word; for out of Zion the law will go out, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3 BBE)
In this phrase, “the house of the God of Jacob,” God is the Hebrew word’ elōhiym and is plural. This plurality is one of the ways we come to understand that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. All three have a seat and can sit upon the throne. Since the Holy Spirit is the helper who leads and guides us into all truth, it might explain why we don’t see Him seated at all.
We can make foolish arguments about how God sits exclusively above all sin. One of the verses that are used to push horrendous negativity is this.
“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?” (Habakkuk 1:13 NASB)
To understand verse 13 and why he says this, you have to go back to verses 2 and 3. Habakkuk is ranting about God not hearing his prayers while evil things and violent behavior go on all around him; not so unlike today, which is increasing in violence every day.
“How long, O Lord, will your ears be shut to my voice? I make an outcry to you about violent behaviour, but you do not send salvation. Why do you make me see evil-doing, and why are my eyes fixed on wrong? for wasting and violent acts are before me: and there is fighting and bitter argument.” (Habakkuk 1:2-3 BBE)
So Habakkuk makes a massive assumption if he believes that God cannot look at sin. If that were true, we would NOT be here. Remember, God so loved a world that did not want nor love Him that He sent His only Son to die a violent death on a cross so that the world through Him could be saved. Try to explain how He could do that without looking. And there is also the example of God returning to the garden, calling out for Adam, even though the man now represented sin.
And one more thing, while we are forgiven of our sins, we perpetually continue to sin. Please don’t assume that your sin has to be murder for it to be deemed a sin. Gluttony is a sin, and there are many of you guilty of that. Besides all that, we are told that if you thought it, you did it, and with that, you can throw your argument that you never murdered anybody right out the window.
“and they shall be His people,”
This statement is oriented toward the Jewish people. To put it bluntly, they rejected the Messiah. Scripture tells me that when Jesus returns, riding a white horse and having a sword come out of His mouth, at that time, the veil over their eyes and hearts will be lifted, not only from Israel but the entire world.
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart, I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34) (NASB)
When Jesus comes back to reign, as Revelation 19 points out, two-thirds of Israel will have been killed.
‘One-third of you will die by plague or be consumed by famine among you, one third will fall by the sword around you, and one third I will scatter to every wind, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them. (Ezekiel 5:12 NASB)
The word Plague is interchangeable with pestilence. The ISBE defines pestilence as “any sudden fatal epidemic. The word is most frequently used in the prophetic books, and it occurs 25 times in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, always associated with the sword and famine.“
Since virtually any outbreak lately of pestilence, like a baby formula shortage, is always manufactured, it is easy to picture where these future pestilence events will come from. Here is a clue, forced inoculations are a weapon.
And the scriptures speak in terms of survivors.
“Yet, behold, survivors will be left in it who will be brought out, both sons and daughters. Behold, they are going to come forth to you, and you will see their conduct and actions; then you will be comforted for the calamity which I have brought against Jerusalem for everything which I have brought upon it.” (Ezekiel 14:22 NASB)
The point being this relatively small number of Jews, His people, will fall in love with their Messiah, and yet, it is evident that the number of people entitled to enter the Holy City is beyond counting. These are all God’s people.
“And God Himself will be among them,”
I like this verse because it is befittingly in the face of Israel and the nations.
“They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God. “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd, and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. “They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David, My servant, will be their prince forever. “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. “And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”‘” (Ezekiel 37:23-28 NASB)
Since I know that this theme, where God is among His people, is rampant throughout the scriptures, I could potentially leave this right here. I will not do that because we are told, by God, in the law, that NO ONE is prosecuted on the word of one witness. This law sets a precedent for proof, and we have to apply it to the Word of God.
“My eyes will be on those of good faith in the land, so that they may be living in my house; he who is walking in the right way will be my servant.” (Psalms 101:6 BBE)
We are focused on Revelation 21:3, where it says, He will be among them. “Them” is His people. You become His people through this relationship where you accept Jesus and the forgiveness offered.