"Mark 16:15 preach the gospel to every creature. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded: Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega,... 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, ... have right to the tree of life, and... enter ... the city."
I am a retired pastor of
the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.
If you like to see the video clip simultaneously with this lesson, you may please click on this link: "New Heaven."
Jesus Christ has preached his gospel when he was living as a man, and gave his life on the cross to save us from our sins. He was resurrected and came back to his beloved disciple John, and through him he gave his message to his churches. The final point of his messages is in Revelation 22:12. He says, "behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." In this context, the word "according to" may mean "in proportion to." So, our rewards will be in proportion to what we have done. Heaven consists of two places, one is new earth and the other is new heavens, which could be many. We may be there with the creator of the universe, to enjoy his creation of the galaxies of heavens for ever. Let us study, who will inherit new heavens, and who will be the New Jerusalem.
"Isaiah 65:17 says, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Revelation 21:1 says, I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; .." The first heaven and the first earth is our solar system, that is, sun, moon, few stars, planets, etc. They all will be burned into one ball of fire, which will be the lake of fire. Then, the Sons of God and the bride of Christ will be in the new heavens. New earth also is considered heaven. The glory of new earth will be different from the glory of new heavens. In new heaven, we see God face to face. In new earth, we see his manifestations and his presence, through the temple. "1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and ..., when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Matthew 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." In new heaven, we will have the same glory that Jesus Christ has, and so we will look like Jesus Christ. "2 Peter 3:12 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? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." Our earth and heaven are going to be destroyed, and God will replace them with new earth and new heavens. New heavens is plural, so there will be many. God's righteousness will be there. Then it says that if we look for them, we must be "diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." So, this is the requirement to be in new heavens.
New Jerusalem is described as a city, but it is the bride of Christ, which comprised of a group of people, and it is not a city or heaven. "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. 9 And there came unto me ..., and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;" New Jerusalem is called the bride, the Lamb's wife, which is the Bride of Christ. Even though she is described as a city, she is coming out from heaven as a person. She is called holy Jerusalem and she has the glory of God. No city, or a town, or village, or a building, could have the glory of God, but the bride of Christ will have his glory. Only those who have purified themselves as Jesus Christ, are his bride and are called New Jerusalem. A few preachers say that New Jerusalem is only for new testament believers, because of grace or something. It is not true. The old testament people also have part in it. However, the requirement is same as the new testament people, as in Revelation 21:12,14,&24.
Jesus Christ told a parable and we call it as prodigal son story. Preachers interpret this story, saying that the prodigal son is the true son, the saved person, who got the ring of the father, which is authority over his house. They say that the elder son is lost, and he is out of the house. They seem genius and convince people. Let us take a look at the parable. The younger son got his share, wasted it, and came back broken. The father received him back, and made a big celebration with feast. The elder son came home from the field, after a long days work. The father met him and they had a conversation. "Luke 15:29 he (the elder son) answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf." That was his grievance. It is a parable, but not a life story. So, it could be about the heavenly Father and his son. The elder son served the Father many years, very sincerely, without worldly benefits or pleasures or parties. The elder son has not transgressed any commandment of the Father at anytime. Since it is a parable of Jesus Christ, this is the heavenly Father, who is righteous and holy, who decides everything by how they obey his commandments. Now, let us see the response of the Father. "31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found." That is, the prodigal son was dead and lost, it means, he was in hell and deserve the lake of fire, but he just escaped them. So, let us celebrate the occasion. So, the prodigal son gets just new earth, nothing more. But preachers make him the bride, just because the Father put a ring and gives him new dress! It is very funny. But, people like the elder brother, who are not selfish, and are dedicated to the service of the Lord, become Sons. Father tells him "all that I have is thine." He inherits all things, which means this person is the bride.
Sons of God, will strive to become as holy as Jesus Christ is holy. They may become the bride of Christ. 1 John 3:2&3 says: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." As Sons of God, they look like Jesus Christ. As they become as pure as Jesus Christ, they will be the bride of Christ. "Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" God has given them the ministry in the church so that they may become unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: It is to become just as pure as Jesus Christ is pure, in order to become the bride of Christ.
Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:12 "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." Apostle Paul already obeyed the commandments of Jesus Christ perfectly, so he was in the status of the Sons of God. But he wants to pursue his high calling, which is to become the bride of Christ. So, he decided to run in full force as he has not achieved anything yet. "13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." So, new Jerusalem is high calling. Not only that he runs for the high calling, he recommend all who are already perfect in obeying the commandments of God, that is, those who are already Sons of God, to run for the high calling, which is the calling for new Jerusalem. "15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you." This high calling is for those who has already graduated in perfection. However, we must all run this race in our level, to the higher level, one step at a time, until we reach the top, until we become as our Lord Jesus Christ.