[Ede is now Putten]
I would like to speak to you about the first eight verses of Revelation 21. You can open your Bibles while I read these verses. We have 1,100 chapters in the Bible, but only two chapters which tell us about things that will happen after the Judgement Day, and they are written in Revelations 21 and 22.
I would like to point out that these things written there are after the Judgement Day. We will look together at the verses written in the 20th chapter, starting at verse 11 where it tells about the Judgement Day. This 11th verse shows us that the old heaven and the old earth will pass away. That means the old heaven and earth as we are now on.
The apostle Peter tells us that the old heaven and the old earth shall pass away, but not only does Peter tell us that, but the prophet Isaiah also records that. In Isaiah it says, “Behold I create a new heaven and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered nor come to mind.” Isaiah 65.17, and then in chapter 66.22, “'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.'” That shows us that the new heaven and the new earth shall never pass away, and in chapter 65 it shows us that the time will come that this present heaven and earth shall be completely forgotten.
We might ask why should the Lord want to bring this present heaven and earth to naught? It is because both have been corrupted through sin.
The first sin we read of was not committed on earth. It was committed by fallen angels of whom Satan was the head or leader, and was committed in heaven. We read that the devil was cast out of heaven and his angels with him. There were many angels in Heaven who were on Satan’s side, and because the present Heaven was spoiled or tainted by sin, therefore the Lord will create a new Heaven, and I believe from my heart that this new Heaven will be the everlasting dwelling-place of the angels that will remain faithful. It is to be understood that that the Lord will give these angels a new pure Heaven to dwell in, even as He will give His people a new earth to dwell in, and it is upon this new earth that Christ will dwell with His people. We read that in Revelations 20.
As we have already mentioned, the Old Heaven and Earth shall pass away on the Judgement Day. This Old Earth will have to be here until the Judgement Day – it will be necessary because Jesus will reign 1,000 years on it, and after that, Satan will be loosed for a season when those 1,000 years are passed. After that this old Earth won’t be needed any more, and therefore will pass away, and the Lord will create a new Heaven and a New Earth. The God who created the old Heaven and earth can also create the new, and what God plans to do is to gather together a people on this old earth to dwell with Him on the New Earth. From the beginning of Creation, God has been working thus. God began this work already, in the life of Abel, and from then on He has been working on men who are willing to make a start to live for Him, and to serve Him, and God helps them to become new creatures in Christ, because He wants to make them ready to dwell with Him on the New Earth.
In this Chapter that we read are six words that are very important. These are the words, “Write…for these words are faithful.” This something is very important to us, and we don’t want to forget it. It is the New Heaven, and the new earth, and the new Jerusalem, and the Lord says, "If you want to dwell there, then you must allow me to make you a new man in Christ," – that is why He told John to write down these words. It seems to me that this is the last message that God gave to mankind: a very important warning, because I am certain all people will not allow God to make them a new being, and therefore they can never dwell with Him.
If I look back on my own life, I can see very clearly that I wasn’t fit to dwell with the Lord. I don’t want to say that I am perfect now.
When Paul wrote to the Philippians he said, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, that I may apprehend (or grasp) etc., I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” This is what we must strive after, or aim for.
God’s work finds a place in this world. It is not after we die that the Lord will do His Work - it is while we are still alive.
Something that came to pass in the Old Testament came to my mind. When Solomon built the temple there was no hammer nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in the building. One would say, "How was that possible?" It was possible because David had prepared material for it before hand. It says that he prepared for it with all his heart and mind. David had desired with all his heart to build the temple, but God had sent Nathan to him, to tell him that he was not to build it, but his son Solomon. David made preparations for it with all his might, and therefore Solomon could build the temple without a chisel being used on the stones.
There was another thought that spoke to me. It says that when David prepared these stones for the temple, he didn’t let the people of Israel do the work, but the strangers of the land. God also uses the strangers, or unsaved people to prepare us. Sometimes people think that if they could live in a place where all the people were Christians, and then everything would be perfect. But that would be the worst place for us. The best place for us is to live amongst worldly people. Remember Noah, - he was a perfect man in the world, but when alone with his professing family he made the greatest mistake of his life. Those are the ones that God uses to make us ready or prepared. They can use the hammer or chisel on us, and we must bear it calmly and humbly. If some of our brothers or sisters would to that, we might resent it, and lose the victory, but we will bear it, from the world. That is the way God makes His people ready – so we can be a light and a help to the unsaved people. God has planned it so, that we should be a blessing to those yet without Christ.
As we have said before, it is during our lives here that God prepares us as stones for that Heavenly Temple, and when that is built we will all fit in place perfectly.
Now, John speaks of a New Heaven and a new earth, which shall be after the Judgement Day, and those that will dwell on the new earth are those whose names are written in the Book of Life. Those who are not born again, will not be there. Jesus says, "Verily I say unto you, ye must be born again, and unless ye are born again ye cannot enter the Kingdom of God." When Children are born in a natural family, their names are registered in the books of this world, and when people are born again, their names are registered in Heaven, and confessed in Heaven, by Jesus. He said, "I will confess their names before My Father and all the Holy Angels."
Another thought I would like to express about the new earth is this – there will be no more sea. On this present world where we live, there is more sea than land. We probably wonder why God created it thus. Why did the Lord make a large piece of land here and there, and have seas between? The seas rescued the generations. If the earth had been all land, then the people here and there would have killed each other, and God saw that it was good to scatter the people here and there, over the earth. You know what happened in England during the last war, and what saved them? 21 miles of sea between France and England. If it had been all land, the tanks of Hitler would have come there, just as they did in France and Holland. Satan causes people to make war and strife with each other. There will be none of that on this New earth – no quarreling, etc. It will not be necessary to keep them apart. Anyone who likes to quarrel or fight will not be on this new earth. If you are busy having friction in your little Church or with your neighbours, don’t do it anymore, because it will be a hindrance in preparing for that new earth, and also you will be no help to others. There will be no sea in this new earth. John said, "I saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down from Heaven prepared for a bride adorned for her husband.” That was God’s people - a prepared people. A bride just doesn’t put on any old dress, but a very special dress, and takes very special pains to look fit and be attractive – that is how God’s people must be prepared as a Bride. It says, “She came down from Heaven.” That shows us that she was in Heaven.
When our bodies die here, and the spirit leaves our bodies, then that spirit returns to God from whence it came. God has made it possible for the spirit to dwell with Him until the appointed time comes. God has not made it possible for our bodies to be in Heaven. These bodies cannot dwell there – God has never planned that they should be there. God’s plan is that our mortal bodies shall return to the dust when the spirit departs from our bodies. The grave is the place God intends for our bodies. In this life, as we well know, people are more concerned about their bodies than their spirits. The Bible mentions ‘Spirit, soul, and body.’ The Spirit is the most important to the Lord, because it is the Spirit that returns to God. You will remember that Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Therefore, to God the spirit is the principal thing, but to people, it is the body.
Just consider how people fix up and dress – how they look in their mirrors, and how they are about their looks. Just look in the stores, and see all the preparations made for our outward appearances, and according to the latest styles. How much care is given to the bodies, and so little for the spirit – the spirit which is so important.
The time will come when these spirits will leave Heaven, and come to dwell on this new earth where God will dwell with His people.
In the 3rd verse it says, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.” It doesn’t say that the tabernacle will be with the angels. The angels stay in Heaven, and God comes to the new earth to dwell with His people. It says that God will be their God and shall wipe all tears from their eyes. Doesn’t that show us that there are tears on this earth? It has often caused God’s people tears to do His Will. There will be no more tears then, when we are on this new earth, for we will have new bodies that will never die anymore. These new bodies will be forever with the Lord where there will be no more sin, no more grief, for the former things have passed away.
The 7th verse says, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be His God, and He shall be My Son.” Not everyone will be there, although God has made it possible for all to be there. Why won’t all be there then? Because not all are willing to serve the Lord, but it says, "He that overcometh shall; inherit all things,” and then it speaks of the fearful, the unbelieving, the abominable, etc. They shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Every person that has lived on this earth, or is living now, or will live in the future, will have a place in this Chapter, either on this new earth with God, or in the lake of fire with Satan.
In the 20th Chapter, it speaks for the 3rd time of being cast into the lake of fire. The 1st are the false Christians, and the false prophets, which we spoke about yesterday. When Christ comes to dwell and reign on this new earth, then those false men shall be cast into the lake of fire. There will be no false religions during those 1,000 years. Wouldn’t it be foolish to let those false religions go on during those years, - they have been a hindrance to the Gospel, and as we have said before, the world is full of those kind of people. There will be an end to it then, - not on the Judgement Day, but on that day when Christ comes again to reign on the earth. Christ will reign 1,000 years, not by Himself; there will be men and women who will reign with Him. Those are the people we read about in Chapter 20. John speaks of the ones who will reign with Christ. It says, "They suffered for the testimony of Christ: they were true to Christ and to His teachings. They suffered for the testimony of Jesus and God’s Word." That always goes together.
There are several places in Revelations that tells us that, and not only that, but these men had not worshipped the beast or his image, and have not received his mark on their foreheads. They had not worshipped it in these false religions, but were true to Christ and His teachings. Those are the ones who will live and reign with Him. It says “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection,“ that is when Christ returns to take up His reign for 1,000 years. Those who have been faithful in the past will then be resurrected to reign with Him. This is one of the things that Paul strove for when he said, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Paul probably felt was that this was the most important thing to attain to. We read in Hebrews 11 where men were willing to suffer, willing to be killed – not accepting offered relief if they were willing to deny their faith: they wouldn’t give up their faith, even if it meant death. They did this to obtain the first resurrection, so they could reign with Christ the 1,000 years.
You might say then: What about the people who are still alive when Christ returns? All those who have been faithful shall be taken up to meet the Lord in the air. You know Jesus spoke about His second coming, when He said, “I tell you in that night there shall be two men in one bed, and the one shall be taken, the other left; two women shall be grinding together, the one shall be taken and the other left; two men shall be in the field, the one shall be taken and the other left.” You remember the disciples said, "Where, Lord, and where will they go?" Jesus did not say any certain place, but gave them to understand that where He was, they would be also. And Paul mentioned “…and so shall we be with the Lord.”
When we receive that new body, we will never be separated from the Lord. Where He is, we shall be also.
I am glad that Jesus lived forty days on earth after His resurrection. When Jesus lived those 33 ½ years on this earth, He had a body like you and I have – a corruptible body, but He never gave in to that corruptible body. When Jesus was resurrected, He had a different body. Outwardly, it was the same body – He still had the prints of the nails in His hands and feet, and the marks in His side, but it was a glorified body wherewith He could go to Heaven, and it is the same body wherewith He will return.
He lived forty days on this earth in that glorified body. The ones who will reign with Christ will have that kind of body. The ones who will meet Christ in the air will be changed in a moment. The ones who were in the grave rose with new bodies, but those who were still living when Christ returned still had the old bodies, but were changed in a moment. It shows how necessary it is to be right with God every evening when we go to bed, and every morning when we go to work.
Those two men who were in a field thought this day was the same as other days, but the one was taken, only one came back. Christ came and the one who was faithful was taken home. The same with two women grinding in the mill: the one in the bed also was a faithful man and was taken. This shows us how necessary it is to be right with God every day, because we do not know when it will be our last. Some might ask, "Why the one in the bed, and the other in the field?" The reason is because it is night on the other side of the earth while it is day on the other side. The man who was in the field lived on the one side of the earth while it was day, and the one in the bed lived where it was night then. This shows us that if we are faithful we will not be forgotten whether we are asleep or awake.
The 20th chapter speaks of this. It says, "Those that shall reign with Christ are blessed." Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.“ That will be on this old earth. Do you know what Satan planned to do? He wanted to destroy the work that Christ had done in the hearts of men and women those 1,000 years. Have you ever noticed how many followers Satan had then? He was loosed for a short time – we do not know how long – it could have been a year or ten years, but it says a short time. But it was long enough that he got a great many followers. Doesn’t it show us how fast Satan works? He gives them all that they desire, that’s why he gets so many followers. He wanted to destroy the work that Christ had done, but there came down fire from Heaven that destroyed his followers and Satan himself was then cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophets are. Satan wasn’t the first to go into that lake of fire, the first were false prophets and false Christians, the leaders and the preachers of the false religions in the world. They were cast in at the beginning of the 1,000 years, and now before the Judgement Day, Satan was cast into the lake of fire where those others were already. These are the worst people in God’s eyes, and also in Jesus’ eyes, in His time, it wasn’t the Publicans and sinners. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Publicans and sinners shall enter into the Kingdom of God, before you.” Those Pharisees and leaders were the worst people. When Jesus stood before Pilate it wasn’t the Publicans and sinners that were there to accuse Him. It was the Pharisees that were always finding fault with Jesus – when He ate with Publicans and sinners.
When Jesus stood in the Judgement Hall before Pilate, these Pharisees would not enter the Judgement Hall because they were afraid they would be defiled, because they were going to eat the Passover, they were planning to eat of the Lamb, which was an emblem of Christ.
When Pilate went out to speak to them he said, "I have two prisoners, Jesus and Barabbas, which wilt ye that I should release?" They said, "Barabbas." Pilate then said, "What shall I do then with Jesus, the Christ?" And they said, "Let Him be crucified." Pilate said, "Why? What evil hath He done?" And it says that the voices of the High priests became more insistent that He be crucified. Those men were the worst sinners on the earth at that time. Their leaders Annas and Caiaphas; when Jesus was captured in the Garden of Gethsemane, they brought Him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. He was, one might say, the retired High priest. They did it as a kind of honour to bring Him to Annas, and he sent Him back to his son-in-law Caiaphas, and when Jesus spoke later to Pilate, He said, "The one who delivered Me unto you has the greater sin." The one who had the greater sin was Caiaphas, the High priest: he was the greatest sinner in God’s eyes.
There are four men who were the principal ones in Christ’s crucifixion: two were leaders of the false religion, and two were leaders of the worldly powers. Annas and Caiaphas were the religious leaders, and Herod and Pilate the leaders of the worldly powers. When Jesus returns, these two powers will still be here. They crucified Jesus, but when He returns, they will get their punishment. The leaders of the false religions will be cast into the lake of fire. Herod and Pilate also will get their just dues.
It says the Kings of the earth and their armies were killed with the sword of one who sat on the horse. This sword came out of his mouth, and the birds of the air were filled with their flesh.
I would like to say something about the 8th verse of Revelations 21, those who finish with the false prophets and false religions. The first mentioned are the fearful and unbelieving. These fearful were not unbelieving, if they were it would have included them in the unbelieving. Who were they then? They were the men who have heard the Gospel and also believed it, but they were afraid to acknowledge it, afraid to make known their choice to serve the Lord, afraid to make it known that they wanted to serve the Lord. They didn’t have the courage to confess Christ, they were overcome by fear. Maybe because of what friends would say? Some was afraid that it might cost them their jobs. There was a man in Scotland who said if he would serve the Lord, it would mean giving up his business. If he had a dishonest business, he would be better off without it.
Many people are overcome with fear. Jesus said to His disciples, "Don’t fear him who can kill the body, but can’t hurt the soul, but rather fear Him who can cast both soul and body into Hell."
These are the first on the list to be cast into the lake of fire. The fearful – not the murderers or liars. The worst are those who heard the Gospel but were afraid to obey it. You might ask, "What was their sin?" Exactly as the sin I’m going to tell you about now. You will remember that the Lord told Moses that he should lead the armies of Israel into battle. God said, "You must lead them where they can see the enemies in the trenches. Let it be known in the army that those who are fearful can turn back. Don’t take along the ones who are afraid, into the battle, because they will lose heart and also will cause the others to lose heart and give up." This was the sin that the fearful were guilty of. If they had not been fearful when they heard the Gospel to obey it, then probably others would have been saved too, but because they didn’t obey, the hearts of others became fearful too, and were lost, which otherwise might have been saved. We might think there are not many people like that, but the Bible tells us that there are.
You will remember what it tells about Gideon. When the Midianites entered the land, they were like grasshoppers in number, and the Lord said, “Blow the trumpet and let Israel be gathered together.” 32,000 men gathered together. That night the Lord said to Gideon, "All these men are not the right kind." God said, "Make it known in the army, that all who are fearful and afraid should return back." Do you know how many turned back? There were 22,000 that were fearful and only 10,000 that were not.
It is still the same today. Many listen to the Gospel and believe it, and then they are afraid to make their choice because of the consequences. That is the sin they were guilty of, and they make others afraid also. Like we heard yesterday, we must add courage to our faith, and not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for He has said, “He that is ashamed of Me, and My words, the Son of Man shall be ashamed of him, also.”
Now, I want to tell you of something else. John told us of different things that he saw, and they were told in order. There are people in the world who write religious books, and they confuse the order of God. I remember a conversation that I had with a religious woman in England, and I spoke about these things. She said, "You haven’t got it in good order." I said that this is the way God has given it to us in His Word. I don’t believe God made any mistake in His word. When I read these things, I am sure it is right.
The first time the three words “and I saw,” appear is in Revelations 19:11. That is the time when Christ returns to the earth - “And I saw the heavens opened..” - verses 11 to 15. In the first part of verse 15 it says, “And he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” That is the time when the wrath of God will be preached.
When Jesus was on the earth, and on a certain day stood up to read in the synagogue (after He had started to preach,) and He read from Isaiah “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” He read on until He came to the words “to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” He stopped there. If He would have read on further, it would say, “and the wrath of our God.” He did not read that part, because He didn’t come to preach the wrath when He came to the earth the first time, but when He returns, it will be the day of the wrath of God. That is why it says, “he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of the Almighty God.” It says “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” This is Jesus, King of Kings.
The next time the words “and I saw….” - verse17 “And I saw an angel standing in the sun…”
Verse 18: There will be a great slaughter. That will be in Armageddon where all the people of the earth will be gathered together.
In another part of Revelations, it tells of three woes. When the 2nd is spoken of, it says that a third part of the people shall be killed. When the third woe cometh – the Kingdoms of this world become the Kingdoms of our God. That will be a woe for the worldly, but a day of rejoicing for God’s people, but a day when the people of the world will say to the hills and the rocks “fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.”
In verse 19 it says again, "And I saw the beast, and the Kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together.” Why? To make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. They won’t welcome Jesus gladly – they are going to do all they possibly can to hinder Him. Satan hasn’t changed – He still wants to destroy the works of Christ.
Revelations 21:8 and 9, things that John saw. The one followed the other until the Judgement Day.
After the Judgement Day, we see the new Heaven and the new earth where God will dwell with His people.
In the last Chapter of Revelations, verse 3, we read, "Blessed is he that readeth.” That always encourages me to read the Book of Revelation. I can’t say that I have made any haste to speak anything about Revelations right away: I read it until I could almost memorise it, but I didn’t speak from it, very often. I can remember the first time I tried to speak from Revelation 21; it was at a Convention in Bloermfontein in South Africa in 1911. The only verse I could say anything about was that verse which says, ”He that overcometh, shall inherit all things.”
Once in a while I would mention Revelation but I always waited until these things were plain to me, before I dared speak with others about it. And it has become very clear to me, in my heart, and in my thoughts, all these different things that we have now spoken about, shall come to pass.
Christ returns with vengeance on the people of this world. The false prophets shall be humbled and Christ shall be King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Satan will be bound and the faithful and true people of God shall reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Then Satan will be loosed for a little while and shortly afterward will be the Judgement Day, and then the present heaven and earth will pass away, and then the Lord will create a new Heaven and a new earth, and on this earth He will dwell with His people.
There will be no more death there, and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death there, and we will not have a corruptible body any more, to strive against.
Do you know what is my hardest battle? It is the battle against myself. Maybe you think you are so old already that you don’t have much to fight against any more – you have served the Lord over 50 years already.
Why should you still have battles? We have often spoken about Abraham and others. The older they got, the harder the temptations and trials became. Isn’t it reasonable that it would be harder towards the end than the beginning? In the beginning we are like babies, and we didn’t expect newborn babies to strive against the same things as men and women.
You know what Paul said, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child: I understood as a child; I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put a way childish things.” So we begin to walk in God’s way as little children. And as we grow up as men and women then the Lord expects more of us. And this battle will not end until this body dies.
I am glad that God has made it possible when these bodies die and are returned to the dust from whence they came, that God will give us new bodies – as we have told you. Read these chapters yourselves and notice the places where the words “And I saw,” are mentioned.