Revelation 21-22: Cursed People Waiting for Blessed Paradise
by Joseph Franks
The sufferings of Job are legendary. God, strangely but sovereignly, allows trouble to befall Job’s wife, children, servants, animals, health and financial portfolio. He watches and allows nature, wicked men, and Satan to have their way with his servant. However, despite immense pain and poor spiritual counsel, Job responds righteously:
Job 1:21 … The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job 19:25-26 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.
How does Job respond in such a manner? How does Job take all the pain that God allows, and Satan performs, and still worship? Job submits to God’s sovereignty, and he keeps his eyes on his eternal reward.
With this end in mind, Revelation 21 and 22 may be of some assistance to us. John, who is suffering like Job, gets a final glimpse of heavenly glory. This is the Promised Land. This is the new and improved Garden of Eden. This is paradise. This is the eternal abode of Job, John and all who are married to Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christian, what lies before you on the other side of the Jordan River?
There will be a newly renovated heaven and earth. Heaven will be for those angels who have not followed Lucifer’s lead. Earth will be for the redeemed who have been resurrected and have received their new physical bodies.
There will be neither sea, nor night, nor gates. That which has terrorized men will be no more. Danger will be a thing of the past. No longer will there be anything accursed. Death, sickness, depression, anxiety, pain and tears of sorrow will be eradicated from paradise.
In heaven there will be a marvelous city or community in which righteous men dwell. It will be filled with perfectly righteous citizens who love God and love neighbor without fail. For those who love the Ritz Carlton, heaven will satisfy, as it will be full of gold, silver and priceless jewels. For those who love the Rockies, Alaska or Hawaii, parks and rivers will be found everywhere. Fruit will be available in abundance.
There will be no sun to light the day, for the Shekinah glory of God will suffice. That which God created on the first day; that which Moses saw in the bush, on the mountain, and in the tent; that which entered Solomon’s Temple, that which Peter, James and John saw on the Mount of Transfiguration, that is the light all men will experience.
In heaven, there will be desire, but there will be no unmet desire. People thirsty for water will drink freely from the water of life. People thirsty for God will be filled to overflowing. Buddhist nirvana is not a heavenly reality. One will covet only righteous things, and then he will be perfectly satisfied again and again.
As God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, so the Lord will walk, eat and dwell with men in the celestial community. However, marriage will be much better than in Eden. Adam was married to Eve who brought him sinful fruit that damned. Christians will be married to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God and Bread of Life, who personally feeds us that which is of the utmost benefit.
In heaven, there will be no temple, but there is every reason to think believers will be congregating regularly for worship. The one, unified, multinational, church will relish circling around the throne of God and the Lamb. Surely there will be a very traditional style to the worship as men and women fall on their knees in reverential silence. Surely there will also be a charismatic flavor as these same reverential worshipers raise their hands, clap in unison, and sing and dance for joy.
But what of the others? What of those who take all the pain that God allows and Satan performs, and in response turn away from worshiping the Almighty? What of those who swim in sin seeking to find an immediate high to lessen earthly sorrow? What of those who do not love Jesus Christ?
Revelation 21:8, 27 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death … Nothing unclean will ever enter [the heavenly city], nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Friends, life is hard. God has cursed men, women, children, relationships, bodies, and the planet. Some individuals seem to suffer more than others, but all hurt and then they die. The sin of Adam and Eve has damned us all. It is only a matter of time until we suffer again. It is only a time until we hit our next physical, emotional, relational, financial or spiritual hell-hole. So, how ought we to handle ourselves?
We must submit to God’s sovereignty, wisdom and goodness in the present while keeping our eyes on the eternal prize. Health, wealth and prosperity are promised, and they will be provided. Some Christians get a taste of God’s blessings on earth; all will taste God’s riches in glory.
Therefor, remain steadfast. Do not be like Esau and sell out for a bowl of Satan’s stew. Do not put your hand to the plow and then turn back. Do not bear fruit for a time and then wither when the pleasures or tribulations of this world come calling. Those who conquer and persevere till the end are truly blessed.