So let us begin by speaking of the eternal reward of the saints. This has been anticipated by Christ Himself and it goes beyond the millennial reign. Christ said to His servants “enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21). This is that joy! He had a joy that was set before Him when He endured the cross (Heb. 12:2). This is that joy! Of that joy John recounts.
First, we see the sight of eternity. The sight of eternity involves three specific things: the new heaven, the new earth, and the holy city. “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 John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” To start with, this is the great desire of all who followed God. They look for a country and a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:13-16). When we say we are looking for something better, something unstained by sin, a place of righteousness, this is what we are looking for. John saw a new heaven and a new earth. Both were seen. It is a reality intermixed where there is no veil between them. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and there was harmony between them. God looked upon all that He created and said they are good. And so shall they be again. John saw both. Since the fall of man there has been a division between the two. That is why we have prayed, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The prayer of the saints has been of old; “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth” (Ps. 57:5). And again, “Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven” (Ps. 85:11). This is indeed the day that the Lord hath made. This is inevitable newness that came from Christ who descended from heaven and to heaven to bridge the two in His reconciliation (Prov. 30:4). This is what Isaiah prophesied; “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” (Isa. 65:17-19 – Note for later, Jerusalem is created in the same sense that the heavens and earth are, new). Again, “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain” (Isa. 66:22). There will be no point which we will cast out. There we will be secure forever in perfect fellowship between heaven and earth.
The former things are gone. Every promise having been fulfilled, heaven and earth pass away and we enter the infinite reality of eternity (Matt. 5:18). “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). So the old world has passed away. We spoke about that in the 20th chapter at the great white throne. It was that the heavens and earth fled away from the presence of Christ. This is all things being made new. “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Pet. 3:12, 13). The writer of Hebrews spoke of this as well: “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:26-29). We know that what we will have is the dwelling place of righteousness and it cannot be moved. And I am aware as I am trying to formulate these words that I am failing to describe the spirit and truth of the words. The mysterious point that we run into in our sight of the new heaven and the new earth is that there was no more sea. This again speaks of the many waters or many nations (Rev.13:1, 17:1, 11). Here are the true utopian dreams. There will be one kingdom that has come. There will be one people. There will be no more division. There will be no more factions or nations. The utopian dreams of this world are foolish for it assumes that heaven can be created on earth without God. This is wholly made of God. There will be one language and one culture of righteousness which has God as its cause and God as its end (Zeph. 3:9 – see Gen. 10 and 11 if the nations or the sea came from the confusion of the language then the dissolving of the nations to be under God alone will be the return of one pure language). Paul stated, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (I Cor. 15:25-28 – this speaks of the reign of Christ, the Son of Man in is humanity, that reigns till the day that death and hell are finally cast down and then all things shall be under the authority of God alone – it does not teach that Christ is not God but that His humanity will forever be subject to God – the age of human governments are gone forever and God is over all). This is what we look forward to. There will be no schism, no of Paul or of Apollos, but our God will be all in all.
And thus we see not only a new heaven and new earth but also a new city: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” “Thy kingdom come….” That is the prayer of the saints and it is this coming city that unifies the will of God in heaven and in earth. God will now be all in all. We really should work through this great sight by considering the end of this verse. The city that was seen was said to have been “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” and in the 9th and 10th verses of this chapter we see that John is offered to be shown the bride, the Lamb’s wife, and what follows is vision of this city. So, there is a basic and fundamental connection between the city and the bride. The description of the city itself will follow in coming verses. Let us then limit ourselves to the declarations of this verse. One would surmise that it is closely identified with the bride because it is the place where the bride will dwell. It is her riches and her adornments. When Christ said that in His house are many mansions that are prepared for those who believe upon Christ and that when He comes we will dwell where He dwells, this is the full reality of that declaration (John 14:6). It comes down from God out of heaven. And when it comes down it comes down as a bride adorned for her husband. We surmise two further things from this. First, that the new heaven and new earth that were created after the passing of the old world did not affect the bride. She was kept safe through it and now brought down in the newness of existence. Secondly, that being adorned of all her beauty she has put on her eternal rewards. She has been arrayed in all of her gorgeous apparel. She has been made eternally ready. This is the grand moment in which she has been presented to the Lord without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27, 28). It is interesting in the book of Ephesians that speaks so much of the glorified church being the bride but it also speak of the church as a building which answers to the city and the temple within of our text. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22). The church is both the building and the bride. We would add one further thought here, and that what John saw was a bride “for her husband.” This is His due as well as our reward: “all things were created by him, and for him…” (Col. 1:16). The Son of God that has taken on humanity receives a perfected bride and it is for Him. We are to enjoy Him forever and He is to enjoy us forever. What a great love affair. He delights (oh! What grace!) were with the sons of men (Prov. 8:31).
So, let us speak of this city. It is known as the holy city, the new Jerusalem. This is a heavenly city for it what we spiritually came to when we were saved. “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:22-24). It belongs to those who have been born again, born of promise: “For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now” (Gal. 4:25-28). Jerusalem has always on this earth been the place that God has chosen to meet with men. It was the place of ancient Hebrew sacrifices and it will be the place where the Savior will yet reign on this earth during the millennium. It is beautiful. It is the city of our Great King (Ps. 48:1, 2). But that Jerusalem will pass away with the world and will be replaced by the true substance of which the first Jerusalem was but the shadow. This city was the kingdom to which we have been born again into (John 3:3, 5). It is our mother land. It is our true home. All who have been born of promise have been looking for that city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:12-16). Our citizenship is there in heaven right now (Phil. 3:20). One day that city, that kingdom, that home which is filled with glory and holiness shall be the intersection between a new heaven and a new earth. In that sense, this is “new” Jerusalem. We remember the promise to the saved, the overcomers; “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev. 3:12). That is what we seek and long for: “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). This is the holy city for it is the dwelling place, not just of the saints, but of the holy God. It is this city that the psalmist expected when saying these words: “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early” (Ps. 46:4, 5). This is what John saw with his eyes and one day, though our eyes have not seen them or our ears heard, we shall not only see them but be immersed in their reality.
Thus we continue to see the sound of eternity: “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.” We get closer and closer to the Holy of Holies as we enter into eternity. As is always true, the presence of God is revealed by Himself alone. It took a great voice out of heaven to announce that God was there. This again must be Christ who was the voice that walked in Eden and the revealer of God alone (Gen. 3:8, Ps. 29, see also John 1:18). Christ is the messenger of the covenant and as the voice of God He speaks of the covenant again as the great voice of our text (Mal. 3:1). The message is for us to behold. There are two things for our consideration in this verse: the tabernacle of God being with men and God Himself being with men. I am amazed by this verse for it touches on great mystery of the Godhead. The tabernacle of God is Christ who took upon the nature of mankind to be our Emmanuel; our God with us (John 1:14, Matt. 1:23). The Son of God, Christ, is God but is also distinct in His person from God (John 1:1). We rightly worship Christ as the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9). But we also recognize that He is the means of bringing us to God, the Father (John 14:6, I Pet. 3:18). The tabernacle of God is the place, the medium in space and time by which we that are temporal and finite may meet with the infinite. God Himself entered into space and time to become temporal and finite; that is the Man Christ Jesus, our Tabernacle where we meet with the eternal and the infinite. We love Him indeed and He will forever be with us. Christ will dwell with us. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6). The tabernacle will be with men, and “He” (that is the tabernacle given that personal pronoun) will dwell with them (i.e. men, the saved of men), and they shall be “his” (again referring back to the tabernacle – note the “and God…” that follows in the verse to distinguish from God) people. The verse make a clear distinction between the tabernacle and God and gives equal glory to both. The Psalmist spoke of “the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High” (Ps. 46:4), as we have seen above. Let us speak frankly of the body of Christ. What is true of His resurrection is true of us for we are part of His resurrection. We will share in His resurrection life. As Christ said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), so we also say, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (II Cor. 5:1). Our text speaks to me in the sense that we will enter into the very fellowship of God. We will belong to Christ as “His people” and we will belong to God as He being our God. Our life will forever be hid with Christ in God. What is true only spiritually will be true in body, soul, and spirit. Not only shall Christ dwell with us but God Himself shall be with us. The eternal love relationship of the Father and the Son and we rejoice together in it; among them. The question then is this, what is it that is being beheld in the first to verses that is here proclaimed to be emblematic of perfect fellowship with God and His Anointed? I am tempted to say that it is the city alone, the New Jerusalem. But, I am ready to go beyond that and say that it is everything in the first two verses that is now described. Behold, a reality of perfect fellowship with God and Christ. New heavens and a new earth and a New Jerusalem wherein dwells perfect peace and righteousness. A whole new world where we abide in God and God abides with us. God will be all in all. The new heaven, earth, and Jerusalem will be the perfection of salvation whereby our Lord Jesus Christ as our priest will forever be bringing us to God: “Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building” (Heb. 9:11). This will be the greatest possible state of blessedness. “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 144:15).
But, as we step further into the realm of eternity we learn of the comfort of eternity. “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.” Of all the singular verses of comfort to be found in the Scriptures this stands as one of the greatest gems of all; beloved and quoted by Christians for centuries. There is here a removal of the former things. Christ has promised that in this world we shall have tribulation (John 16:33). We are not to be discouraged over those because He has already overcome those things and we know that we will as well through Him. We await that day. While those who are separated from Christ must dwell in a death, a place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, this will be far from the fate of those who are in His presence (Matt. 22:13, 24:51, Luke 13:28). The bliss and comfort of eternity is difficult to describe in positive terms, as has been pointed out by many, and therefore when John peeked into eternity he began to describe this bliss in negative terms, what you will not and cannot find there. There is a four-fold removal of the former things, the tribulations that are known now, that will be absent from that world yet to be. There will be an end to death, and end to sorrow, and end to crying, and an end to pain. When the old world passed away those things passed away with it. There is no enemy of life and happiness left to trouble those. I praise the Lord that reality is not dualistic in the sense of eastern religions. The ultimate reality is God and God is good. The ultimate reality is not good and evil existing in some form of balance, some light and darkness, for God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Evil has no existence except for its departure and deprivation of the good. Darkness has no existence except in the deprivation of light. Evil exists only as it has departed from the good. Good is the eternal reality that we will experience.
We begin with a simple general statement “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” and then there follows what appears to be four dimensions or categories of things absent from that world that are experienced in this world. This would indicate that the tears that are shed in this life are a result of those four things that are removed and the term “all” tears refers to the removing of those things. We note that it is God alone that is able to accomplish the removal of the tears. We also not the tenderness by which he removes them for it says that He will “wipe away” those tears. As the woman washed the dirt from the feet of Jesus with her own tears and wiped them clean with the hairs of her own head so with love and tenderness God wipes the tears dry from our eyes. Every tear for every reason will be wiped away eternally. The experience of many believers who have through much affliction entered into that kingdom is thus, “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God” (Ps. 42:3)? That will all come to an end. But there will be a rendering of such a reality at the final judgment (Ps. 56:8). One day we will be able to say with all saints, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling” (Ps. 116:8). That will not only be the spiritual reality but the physical reality as well. The promise will become truth: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Ps. 126:5). The full promise as prophesied by Isaiah will be brought to pass, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isa. 25:8, 9). In the New Jerusalem there will be no tears: “And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isa. 65:19). That song we often sing will also be real to us: “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isa. 51:11).
Our text says the former things are passed away. Regarding the new heavens and new earth, Isaiah stated that “the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isa. 65:17). Therefore there is a blessed forgetfulness. There will be no death and no tears shed over death any more there. No more tears will fall over death in all its forms. Physical death will no more haunt our houses. There will be no long departures, weeping parents, weeping lovers. There will be no spiritual death, no hiding from God due to our stinging consciences, no more separation because of sins. There will be no eternal death. Those tears over loved ones lost will be wiped away and those tears will not be remembered (This seems terrible to the unbelieving world, why should we mourn forever over a loss, all that is good in those who are cast out ceases to be, we may mourn over the loss of that good but that good is no more – we may mourn over the beauty of the art lost in the fire but we will sooner or later stop mourning over the ashes that may remain out of our sight). There will be no more sorrow for us to shed tears over any more. Sorrow entered the world due to sin (Gen. 3:16, 17) and it intermingles itself in the greatest of our joys (the birth and raising of children, the enjoyment of our bread – “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness” – Prov. 14:13). Barnes noted that this “denotes sorrow or grief of any kind; sorrow for the loss of property or friends; sorrow for disappointment, persecution, or care; sorrow over our sins, or sorrow that we love God so little, and serve him so unfaithfully; sorrow that we are sick, or that we must die.” Oh! How true in this life is the declaration of Moses, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow…” (Ps. 90:10). But, how much more true will we find the proverb to be true, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22). Praise the Lord that Christ carried our sorrows and one day we will know them no more (Isa. 53:3, 4).
Our text goes on to say that there will be no more crying. No more tears will be shed in crying. The idea here is one of tumult or clamor. It speaks both of external crying of a city over loss or social turmoil and an inner turmoil. In the sense of the former, there will be only perfect peace in the society of the saints and perfect fellowship with their God. There will be no cause to turmoil. The end of inner struggling is even more profound to consider. How often due do we struggle in prayer over our weaknesses and our besetting sins? How often do we cry out feeling as if we are at the end of our rope and can go no further? That will all be gone. “Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! May I thy consolation share, Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height, I view my home and take my flight: This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise To seize the everlasting prize; And shout, while passing through the air, ‘Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!’” There shall also be an end to pain. Barnes explained, “There will be no sickness, and no calamity; and there will be no mental sorrow arising from remorse, from disappointment, or from the evil conduct of friends.” A world without pain and suffering! That is a wonder indeed. I cannot find the words to even express this concept. Pain exists to tell us that something is wrong, either we are sick or we are sinful or something else. But there will be no sickness and there will be no consciousness of sin. All the former things are gone. The world was created to be a place of fellowship between God and man; a place where God delights and takes pleasure in man and man in God. Death, sorrow, pain, and crying were not part of that and entered in because man sinned. God is leading us back to that original design. The world mocks the idea of God because of these dimensions of suffering. It was the will of man and not the will of God that brought those things. The will of God is one day to wipe them all away.
We also see the invitation of eternity. It is here that John is specifically led by God to write. “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. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Again, this picture and peek into eternity can only come from God. It is the voice of the one who sate upon the throne (that is God from the fourth and fifth chapter) that tells us to behold. God declares to all. “I will make all things new.” How wonderful does that sound! We have been promised that one day we will sing a new song. “O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory” (Ps. 98:1). We have got a taste of this in salvation but we long for it to be true in all realms of reality. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17). The end goal of placing the new wine into new bottles will be reached. We notice the future tense of this declaration of God. He presently is working toward this end where all that was old was done away and we live in the newness of all things. He has been working since the fall of man to make all things new. God is able to bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing. It is God that brings us to newness of life in a new heaven and a new earth in a New Jerusalem. While in this world we know that there is nothing new, it is decaying and breaking down, evil men wax worse and worse. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9, 10). But, God is going to create a new reality which is wholly different than what we know. It will not be known by its oldness and decay but its regeneration and newness. While we are unable to comprehend this, God still asks us to behold with the eyes of faith the things that He is preparing for us. “There is a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar, while the Father waits over the way, to prepare us a dwelling place there.” God turns specifically to John here in our verse and asks him to write for us. John here again reminds us that this book is what he was guided by God to wrote for us (1:11). God wanted us to have this hope before us. He wanted us to know that there is something far better in that country for you and me. He wanted us to know that these words are faithful and true. These words are the very character of Christ (3:14, 19:11). These words are faithful to all the promises of God and true to the very character of God. They are sure and steadfast and can be counted on fully as we move forward after our God.
The words are faithful and true because they are wrought by Christ. And so we are invited to come to Christ through this promise. “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Not only are the words we have studied faithful and true but they are already completed in the work of Christ. It appears to be the voice of Christ speaking directly to John here and saying to John, “It is done.” Isaiah got a short glimpse of this completed salvation before Christ ever came to the earth and saw it stretching out to this eternity future from the redemption of Christ: “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things…” (Isa. 44:21-24). It is sure because it is based fully on the finished work of Christ. When we speak of eternal security this is what we speak about. “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30). It is already done. Paul told, all in past tense, “whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:30). In the eyes and mind of God we are already glorified. The moment Christ said, “It is finished” our glory was made secure in Him. We, according to Paul, have this in Christ: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will…” (Eph. 1:11). And again, “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6, 7). The blood of His cross has already finished it and guaranteed the day in which all things are reconciled unto Him; “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Col. 1:19, 20).
It is already done. It was effected by Him who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. This is another of the long line of “I am” statements that belong to Christ which speaks of His deity (Ex. 3:14). This “I am” statement above all speaks of the deity of Christ where He effects all things from creation to regeneration and restoration. Alpha being the beginning character of the alphabet indicating that Christ is the First Cause of all things and Omega being the ending character of the alphabet indicating that He is the Final Cause of all things. He is also therefore all letters in between. All things are by Him and for Him and to Him. “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:17). We have dealt with this truth already and we know that this is indeed Christ (1:8). We will see this yet again (22:13). There is an unchanging eternal nature to Christ and all the promises are done for they are based upon the sure foundation of His deity. That is the altar that sanctifies the gift. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 6:17-20). And based on the finished work of that person of Christ who is eternally changeless (Heb. 13:8), we have this precious invitation given to us as a promise: “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Three concise and direct complete sentences made up this sixth verse and this is the crescendo thereof. It is a promise of Christ that begins with “I will.” It is all of grace for it is based solely upon what Christ gives. It is a universal promise that belongs to all for it says that He will give “unto him” that comes. It is a gift that is offered “freely.” He gives it not of debt or by any matter of justice but by grace from His own nature of mercy and love. If anyone will come to Christ they can lay hold of the promise. This is the equivalent to whosoever (John 6:37). It is a promise that can be claimed by anyone that has a realization that they have a need. If you are thirsty and ready to perish with thirst then this promise is for you (Matt. 5:6). If you know that you are dying because of your sin, this is for you. The promise is Christ. He is the fountain of the water of life. He is the fountain and the source of living water and “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:10, 14). Christ renews the promise here that He gave to men during this first advent: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). And once we take part in Christ we have that within us that springs up unto everlasting life, which life will be enjoyed at the time of our text (John 7:37-39). He is the fountain of all blessing and this eternal end is promised to all that will come and take part of His person and finished work. And it is all free. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1). Oh! How we will sing as Isaiah did when we get to that place: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee” (Isa. 12”2-6). Therefore with joy will we enjoy Him forever.
This leads directly into the eighth and final promise to the overcomer found in this book of Revelation. The first seven promises we studied in the second and third chapters. Now the crowing promise: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” We know that this promise belongs solely to the saved. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God” (I John 5:4, 5). This reality is for us. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). Brethren, we are rich. All things means just that, all things. Everything is ours. Beyond the bare words I feel like little commentary needs to be made. We are rich. Everything in heaven and earth, will belong to us. We are rich indeed. This is the idea behind many promises (Matt. 5:5, Ps. 25:13, 37:22). This is what is meant by inheriting everlasting life (Matt. 19:29). It is what is meant by these blessed words that we wait to hear, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). This is, as Peter says, “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you…” (I Pet. 1:4). We may rightly say, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Ps. 16:6). But more important than that, we are promised an eternal relationship. God will be our God. That distinction will never go away. We do not become God but we will enjoy God. He will be ours. And we will be sons of God. We will be His children ever learning of Him. Note, this is still Christ speaking. Christ will be our God. We will be His children. Another declaration of His deity. He is to be our Everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6). We are now the sons of God but it is not yet known what we shall be (I John 3:1-3). There will yet be a dimension of that relationship that we cannot now know. Now we are sons received who are chastened that we may take part in His holiness (Heb. 12). But, there will come a time that we will no longer walk and talk as children but will come unto that perfect man. We will know even as we are known. There will be fellowship of father and son that we will experience in full maturity of our glorified state. Brethren, this indeed is a promise that is worth cherishing. A sustained eternal relationship with God as our Father and our God will be ours to forever enjoy.
With every invitation there is a consequence for those who will not heed it. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” While all the blessings above belong to the saved who have partaken of the water of life that is offered freely of Christ and therefore shall never die, there are those who refuse it that will instead inherit the second death that we have already spoken of at length in the last chapter and the end of that old world. They will never see those blessings and let us now weep for them. Instead of having a part in this new heaven, this new earth, and this new kingdom, they will only have part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. We have no need to revisit these horrors that were spoken of in the last chapter. This is set here by Christ through John as a reminder of what you may lose by embracing sin instead of seeking Christ. To refuse the water is to die of thirst (Luke 16:29). We note here the justice of God as opposed to His grace in mercy that is highlighted in the first seven verses of this chapter. The wicked will one day hear, “depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23). The fact that they are workers of iniquity will be fully known and fully shown. By their fruit they are known. This is the true character of every sinner who knows not the redemption of Christ. Those who are known by their practice of sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:9, 10). The character of the sinner will be known and judged. I may hear someone hear object that the saved are guilty of these things. This is true but they have taken the character and righteousness of Christ (II Cor. 5:21). They cannot be seen by God to have these characteristics. Because of the help of Christ they free from sin. But, those who stand without Christ must stand in the character of their own defining sins with no hope of overcoming in this life or the life to come. The fearful will be cast out. That is the ones that cowardly. They ones that are consumed with their own health and safety at the expense of the health and safety of others. Or those that are snared by the fear of man and will not follow Christ for fear of persecution or ridicule. They will have a part in hell. The unbelieving will have their part in hell. Those who refuse to believe God and His word. It is only for those who believe on Christ to enjoy eternity on Christ. They believe the witness of men and reuse the witness of God, that thunders from their conscience and from nature itself as well as from the revelation of Christ, which is far greater (I John 5:9). The abominable will have their part in hell. We should weep over this as we behold our current society and pray that men will turn from their abominations. This would include those who engage in the sins of homosexuality, bestiality, transsexuality, and such abominations as the worshipping that which is against the God of nature (Lev. 18:22, 20:13, Deut. 22:5). The murderers shall have their part in hell. Those who love not their neighbor but conspire to take their life or destroy their persons or character will not find a home in heaven (Matt. 5:21, 22). The whoremongers will have their part in hell. Those who are consumed with sexual sins. Those who dishonor the marriage bed or chase sexual pleasure outside of the will and boundaries of God (Heb. 13:4). The sorcerers shall have their part in hell. We have discussed this word already in our study. This is those who seek other gods through the use of drugs or other spirits. As we look at a culture drowned in addiction we can weep over their lost state and pray that they will come to Christ. No one has ever found peace and happiness in an altered state of conscience. All idolaters shall have their part in hell. Those that choose to worship that which is not God. Those that make their priority in life to bow before things that must perish instead of the eternal God. All liars shall have their part in the second death. The idea here is not just those who speak lies but those that live them. It speak of hypocrites or actors that play the role of followers of Christ but are not living honestly. They are something else in truth. God knows the genuine from the fake. God looks beyond the words of your mouth and sees your heart. I pray that people will flee from that wrath to come. They will find a place before Christ where they can freely drink of the water of life. If they do so they can leave their sins and their sinful characters to put on the righteousness of Christ. They can be with God and our Father forever. I would hate for anyone to miss the blessings of eternity.