The Next Generation

Atlanta Taiwanese Presbyterian Church English Ministry
Nov 12, 1995
Oliver Tseng


End times outline

Return of Jesus


Signs of the times

The next generation

Our preparation


Today, weíre going to look at the New Jerusalem in Revelation chapter 21.

The New Jerusalem

Read verses 1-17

Revelation 21:1 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.

What is this new heaven and new earth?

What does it mean the first heaven and earth passed away?

No more sea? What is the significance to that statement?

2 Peter 3:10-12 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, 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?

3 Theories:

1. Nuclear mass destruction

One theory is that there will be total destruction of the earth with WWW3 with nations using nuclear bombs.

But itíd be difficult to imagine that the entire earth will be burned up. Probably only certain cities will be burned up.

2. Exploding sun theory

Another theory is that sun will turn into a nova. This is an interesting theory and especially related to this theory is that sun is already shut off.

Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

In 1930, Wolfgang Pauli theorized a new particle, the neutrino. During nuclear disintegration measurements, there was energy being released that was unaccounted for and theorized an extremely small particle with no electrical charge. Itís so small that billions of it are passing through our body this second. But only once in 10 years will one neutrino hit an atom in our body. And it was in 1956 that the neutrino was first detected.

What does the neutrino have to do with the sun shutting off?

At the center of the sun, each second, 700 million tons of hydrogen is converted to helium and energy is released. This is equivalent to 90 billion one-megaton bombs exploding every second.

Two of the types of energy released is photons and neutrinos. Due to extreme gravitional field of the sun, itís been estimated it takes a million years for the photon to travel from the core to the exterior. But the neutrinos travels almost instantly out of the core.

There has been repeated experiments to measure the amount of neutrinos generated by the sun. In every single experiment, the amount of detected neutrinos is significantly less than is predicted the sun should emit.

So, itís theorized that the sun is now shut down since there is little neutrino emission. But photons are being released because of the long time delay for it to leave the core.

Measurements have been made on the size of the sun and itís been measured to be decreasing at the rate of 5 feet per hour. In 100,000 years, the diameter of the sun would be zero.

But whatíll happen is not that the sun will gradually disintegrate. But the gravitational force will be signifcantly greater than the outward force of the nuclear reaction and the sun will collapse. This collapse will generate a final nuclear explosion and consume Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

3. Magma

The first destruction of the earth was by water during the flood. A major source of the water was the subterranean water that caused massive destruction on the face of the planet.

However, the subterranean water is nothing compared to the magma at the center of the earth. It is theorized that this magma will explode and melt everything.

There are two Greek words that meant new: neos and kainos. The one used here was kainos which suggested not a different heaven and earth, but a reformation into something different.

The Wycliff Bible Commentary says about no more sea:

"As to the statement that there will be no more sea, no one has more sensibly interpreted this affirmation than Swete, "the sea belonged to the order which hass passed. It has disapperared because, in hte mind of the writer, it is associated with ideas which are at variance with the character of the New Creation. For this element of unrest, this fruitful cause of destruction and death, this divider of nations and churches, there could be no place in a world of deathless life and unbroken peace."

When John received the revelation, he was exiled on the island of Patmos, and it was the sea that separated him from the world.

With no more sea, there will be no divisions between people.

And possibly the sea would all become evaporated and the water vapor carried away by the explosion force of the sun.

Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

It was the city that Abraham was looking for:

Hebrews 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.

Sanctuary of God

Revelation 3:12 "`He who overcomes--I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he shall never go out from it again. And I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which is to come down out of Heaven from My God, and My own new name.

Prepared by God

Hebrews 11:16 but, as it is, we see them eager for a better land, that is to say, a heavenly one. For this reason God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has now prepared a city for them.

Jerusalem above

Galatians 4:26 But the Jerusalem which is above is free

Mount Zion

Hebrews 12:22 On the contrary you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the ever-living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to countless hosts of angels, to the great festal gathering and Church of the first-born,

The day of glory for the church is the wedding day with Jesus Christ, when the church and Jesus will be united. Every time there is a wedding in a church, it is a foreshadow of the great day to come.

Revelation 19:7-8 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Jesus spoke earlier about preparing many rooms for us:

John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

The heavenly Jerusalem would not actually be heaven, but only a city from heaven.

Revelation 21:3 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.

Hebrews 8:5 and serve a copy and type of the heavenly things, just as Moses was divinely instructed when about to build the tabernacle. For God said, <"See that you make everything in imitation of the pattern shown you on the mountain.">

The last time God dwelled with man was prior to the fall of man. The original desire of God will be fulfilled during the establishment of the new kingdom.


Revelation 21:4-6 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. 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.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Here we see who will be able to enter the heavenly kingdom.

Earlier in Revelation, it talks more about the overcomers

Revelation 2:7 To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.Revelation 2:11He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.Revelation 2:17 To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it].Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.Revelation 3:12 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.Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Revelation 21:8 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.

Those not in the heavenly kingdom will be cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:9-11 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light [was] like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

Revelation 21:12-15 And had a wall great and high, [and] had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are [the names] of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

Why would there be a need for a wall?

Usually the purpose of a wall around a city is to protect it from enemies. But there would be no enemies.

I believe itís simply to mark the boundary of the city. People can freely enter and exit the city through the gates.

Revelation 21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

This is a massive city that is described here.

A furlong is the length of a Greek stadium, which was 582 feet. This makes the city 1323 miles in all directions. It would also extend 1323 miles into space. The diameter of the earth is 7900 miles. The cityís height would be almost one fifth the diameter of the earth! The base area would equal half of the US.

The physical dimensions of the city could either be the shape of a cube or more likely a pyramid. Or the height could simply be the height of the tallest structure in the city.

Revelation 21:17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred [and] forty [and] four cubits, [according to] the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

A cubit is the length from the elbow to the fingertips. Estimated to be 18 inches.

This would make the wall 216 feet high. About as high as a 20 story building.

Itís interesting that here it says the cubit was the same for a man and the angel. Implying that angels are humans are of the same height. Angels arenít either small little baby or huge giants. Throughout the Bible, angels have always appeared to be the size of humans.




Final thoughts

Itís strange to think about what life would be like after the earth is totally destroyed by fire. It seems almost inconceivable that there can be life. Especially if the earth turns inside out or the sun turns into a nova. And some of the descriptions in the Bible seem almost inconceivable.

How can a structure extend above the ground over 1300 miles? The tallest building in the world, the Sears Tower is 1454 feet tall. The New Jerusalem would be as high as not 100 or 1000 Sears Towers, but 4720 Sears Towers standing on top of one another. How would you like to ride the elevator to the top of that building? If the the elevator went the speed limit of 55 mph, it would take almost one entire day to get to the top.

The Great wall of China is 1500 miles long. The wall around the New Jerusalem would only be 4 Great Wall of Chinas strung together. But inside of it would not simply be a nation, but one giant city.

All these things seem so far fetched. But Iím sure the people in Noahís day had similar questions. They must have laughed when Noah said that the entire world would be flooded. It had never even rained before. Where would all the water come from? Where would all the water go? How in the world can life rebuild if everything is destroyed by water? And if even it did start raining, I can make a little boat and live.

But the flood did happen. And life did continue, but only for aquatic animals and those in the ark.

Let us not scoff at what the Bible warns and says. Rather, let us move with fear and reverance of God and wait expectantly to enter the New Jerusalem.

Matthew 24:37-39 `For as it was in the time of Noah, so it will be at the Coming of the Son of Man. At that time, before the Deluge, men were busy eating and drinking, taking wives or giving them, up to the very day when Noah entered the Ark, nor did they realise any danger till the Deluge came and swept them all away; so will it be at the Coming of the Son of Man.


Return to Oliver Tseng's Bible Study - Messages