Your Eternal Home

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Revelation 21-22

INTRODUCTION: We are approaching the end of our series on heaven. So far in the series we have looked at heaven as the dwelling place of God. We have looked at how God has put heaven in our hearts in that we all have a sense that there is something more than just this life. We have looked at the various foretastes of heaven that God has given us here on earth. We have looked at the intermediate heaven where we go when we die as believers, that to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. We have looked at what the Bible says about our resurrection bodies and how we will be reunited with our loved ones in Christ when Christ returns. We have looked at judgment and eternal rewards, and we have talked about what we will actually do in heaven. Now it is finally time to look at heaven itself. What does heaven look like? What will your eternal home actually be like? We will look at a number of passages from the Bible this morning, but let’s start in Revelation 21. (Read Revelation 21:1-3 and pray.)

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If you’ve ever gone house shopping, you’ve probably noticed that when you go to visit, the house doesn’t always match the written description. The description is sort of like a code. I found a list online of various real estate descriptions and what those descriptions really mean. Now we have a number of real estate agents here at our church, and I know you all would never do this with your real estate listings, so this is just for fun.

When the real estate description says “Much Potential,” what it really means is – steer clear unless you have a lot of money! When it says “Unique City Home,” what it really means is – used to be a warehouse. When it says “You’ll love it!”, what it really means is – No, you won’t! When it says “Must See to Believe,” that is an absolutely accurate statement. If it says “Spacious,” that means average size. “Charming” means small. “Cozy” means really small. “Walk to Stores” means nowhere to park your car. “Bright and Sunny” means drapes and blinds not included. “Natural Setting” means deer will eat your plants and bushes. And “Park Like Setting” means there’s a tree in the yard.

Fortunately, when it comes to heaven, it’s just the opposite. God gives us many wonderful descriptions of heaven in the Bible, and yet as wonderful as they are, the real thing will be even better. The Bible says: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) And so unlike a real estate description which may disappoint you when you see the actual home, the Bible’s descriptions only hint at the beauty and perfection of heaven. Heaven will be even better than you think!

As we talk about your eternal home this morning, I’m going to be assuming that you’re a Christian, that you are trusting in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you don’t know Christ, then your eternal home will be very different. But we are going to look at various aspects of your eternal home as a Christian this morning, and in the process we will be answering several questions. Where will your eternal home be? What will your eternal home be? And what will your eternal home be like?

I. Location, location, location

So let’s get started with the first question. Where will your eternal home be? As they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. And the Bible tells us that your eternal home will be located right here on earth.

Now we immediately see two problems with that. First of all, earth is not a perfect place. And secondly, doesn’t the Bible teach us that we go to heaven when we die? Both of those statements are true, and yet the Bible still tells us that your eternal home will be right here on earth. So how is that?

   A. The earth will be renewed (2 Peter 3:10-13)

Well first of all, the Bible tells us that the earth will be renewed. We read in 2 Peter 3: “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare…. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:10-13)

Yes, this world will be judged by fire, but it will not be completely destroyed, just as the world in Noah’s day was not completely destroyed when it was judged by water. God’s judgment will cleanse this world of all evil and sin, and we will live in a renewed earth, a home of perfect righteousness. Stephen Witmer writes: “[Just as] Jesus’ resurrection body was a renewal of his former body, not a replacement. Similarly, the new earth will be a renewed and purified version of this present earth.” (Stephen Witmer, Eternity Changes Everything, Kindle location 145)

Because it is a “new” earth, many things will be different for us. But because it is a new “earth,” many things will also be familiar. The new earth will have all the beauty of the present earth with none of its problems. I like what Michael Wittmer says about this in his book, Heaven is a Place on Earth: “Here is a rule of thumb for figuring what will and will not make it through to our next life: Whatever properly belongs to creation will be restored, while whatever is a product of the fall will be removed.” (Michael Wittmer, Heaven Is a Place on Earth, Kindle location 2923)

This world, as beautiful as it is, is only shadow of the world to come. To quote Stephen Witmer again: “In this life, we’re experiencing only a fraction of true life. We’re like the little kid who bangs away on three piano keys and thinks he’s playing the piano. The new creation is God’s invitation to enjoy the rest of the keyboard.” (Stephen Witmer, Eternity Changes Everything, Kindle location 163)

So that’s the answer to the first problem about earth as your eternal home. It won’t be this present earth as it is with all its sin and problems. It will be a renewed earth, a home of perfect righteousness.

   B. Heaven will come down to earth (Revelation 3:12, 21:2)

But what about the second problem with earth as your eternal home? Doesn’t the Bible say we go to heaven when we die? Yes, we do. But the Bible also says that when Christ returns, that heaven will come down to earth. We read in Revelation 3:12 about “the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven.” (Revelation 3:12) Or again in Revelation 21:2: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2) Right now heaven is in heaven. But when Christ returns, heaven will come down to earth. And if you are already in heaven when Christ returns, then you will come too.

So that’s the answer to our first question this morning. Where will your eternal home be? Right here on earth. The earth will be renewed, and heaven will come to earth. God is going to move into your neighborhood, and the property values are going to skyrocket!

II. A house, a city, a country, a world

Now let’s move on to the second question. What will your eternal home be? The Bible describes your eternal home as a house, a city, a country and a world. So which is it? It’s all of them! See, I told you that heaven is even better than you can imagine.

   A. The Father’s house (John 14:2)

First of all the Bible describes your eternal home as a house. Jesus said in John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) And so heaven is first of all a house. And not just any house. It is the Father’s house. It is the dwelling place of God.

That fact that there are many rooms in the Father’s house means that there is plenty of room for everyone. And because it is the Father’s house, no matter where you live, you will be with God. Heaven is his house. God will live with us, and we will live with him.

   B. The New Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2)

Secondly, the Bible also describes heaven as a city. We read in Hebrews 12:22: “You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.” (Hebrews 12:22) Or again in Revelation 21:2: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Revelation 21:2)

Jonathan Edwards writes: “Heaven is likened in Scripture to a splendid and glorious city. Many men are ever surprised and amazed by the sight of a splendid city. We need not to be told how often heaven is called the holy city of God. Other cities are built by men, but this city, we are told, was built immediately by God himself.” (Jonathan Edwards, from his sermon “Nothing Upon Earth Can Represent the Glories of Heaven,” taken from Revelation 21:18)

How many of you enjoy traveling and seeing new places or checking out a new city? We have built some amazing cities here on earth, but none of them compare to the city that God has built. It will truly be amazing.

   C. A better country (Isaiah 65:21,25; Hebrews 11:13-16)

Someone might say, “I don’t like living in the city. I prefer country living.” Well, heaven has that for you, too. The Bible describes heaven not only as a house and a city, but also as a country. We read about various Old Testament people of faith in Hebrews 11: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth…. They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

The Old Testament book of Isaiah describes this better country as a place with houses and fields and even animals living peacefully together. Isaiah 65 says of the new heaven and earth: “They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit…. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.” (Isaiah 65:21,25)

I’m telling you. Heaven’s got it all! If you like living in the city, you’ve got city living. If you like living in the country, you’ve got country living.

   D. New heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1)

The Bible describes heaven as a house, a city, a country and also as a whole world. God says in Isaiah 65:17: “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17-19) We read in Revelation 21:1: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1) We’ve already seen that this new heaven and new earth is a renewed heaven and earth. It’s God’s whole beautiful creation – heaven, earth, sky, stars, planets solar system – all of God’s beautiful creation renewed and cleansed from sin and filled with his presence. God will create new heavens and a new earth which means heaven will be a whole world.

So that’s the answer to our second question. What will your eternal home be? The Bible describes your eternal home as the Father’s house (John 14:2), the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2), a better country (Isaiah 65:21,25; Hebrews 11:13-16) and new heavens and a new earth. Your eternal home will be a house, a city, a country, and a world.

III. A place of absolute beauty, safety and perfection (Revelation 21:9 – 22:6)

Which brings us to our third question: What will your eternal home be like? Now we come to the real estate description – God’s written description of your eternal home. And what a description it is! The Bible describes your eternal home as a place of absolute beauty, safety and perfection. Revelation 21-22 tells us seven key things about your eternal home.

   A. Brilliant and shining (21:9-11)

First of all it is brilliant and shining. We read in Revelation 21:9-11: “One of the seven angels … said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:9-11)

Never mind a bright and well-lit home with a fresh coat of paint. Your eternal home will shine with the glory of God and with the brilliance of precious jewels.

   B. Great wall with twelve gates (21:12-14)

Secondly, it will have a great wall with twelve gates. Look at verses 12-14 now: “It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:12-14)

Now this is all in a vision, so it’s hard to tell if these are literal descriptions or symbolic, but either way, the great wall and the twelve gates guarded by angels tell us that your eternal home will be a place of absolute safety and protection. That’s right, your eternal home comes with its own built in security system. You will be at perfect peace and rest. No evil, danger, sickness or harm will ever touch you there.

   C. Laid out like a large cube (21:15-17)

Thirdly, the Bible tells us that the holy city is laid out like a large cube. Look at verses 15-17 now: “The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia [1400 miles] in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits [200 feet] thick, by man’s measurement, which the angel was using.” (Revelation 21:15-17)

This description of the Holy City shaped like a cube is highly significant. You may remember earlier in our series when we talked about “Foretastes of Heaven on Earth” that we looked at the tabernacle and the temple. The inmost room of both the tabernacle and the temple was called the Most Holy Place. And the dimensions of the Most Holy Place were that of a perfect cube. The reason why is that the Most Holy Pace was the dwelling place of God. It was where God dwelt with his people here on earth, and it was a picture of God’s dwelling place in heaven. It was a picture of the New Jerusalem.

The fact that the cube is so large also tells us something about the size of heaven. Once again we don’t know if the numbers are literal or symbolic, but either way there will be plenty of room in heaven. I like what David Jeremiah says. He runs the math and by man’s measurement there will be more than two million square miles on the first “floor” alone! (David Jeremiah, Answers to Your Questions about Heaven, Kindle location 844)

The Bible speaks about there being a great multitude in heaven that no one could number. (Revelation 7:9) And yet there will still be plenty of room. I like what Peter Kreeft says about the size of heaven. How big is heaven? Kreeft writes: “Heaven is big enough so that billions of races and billions of saved people are never crowded, yet small enough so that no one gets lost or feels lonely.” (Peter Kreeft, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven, p. 47)

   D. Made of precious jewels (21:18-21)

Fourthly, the Bible describes your eternal home as made of precious jewels. Look at verses 18-21: “The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.” (Revelation 21:18-21)

Once again whether these descriptions are literal or symbolic, they have the same meaning. Your eternal home will be an amazingly beautiful place. It will be beautiful beyond anything you have ever seen or experienced in this world.

   E. Filled with the glory and presence of God (21:22-27)

Fifthly, your eternal home will be filled with the glory and presence of God. Look at verses 22-27: “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:22-27)

It’s interesting, when we get to these descriptions of heaven in the Bible we’re told that there will be no temple, we’re told that all of heaven is a temple, and we are also told that God and the Lamb are its temple. And once again, they’re all true. There is no need for a temple in heaven because all of heaven is a temple because all of heaven is filled with the glory and presence of God.

   F. The river and tree of life (22:1-2)

Sixthly, the river and tree of life will both be part of your eternal home. Look at Revelation 22:1-2: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-6)

The Garden of Eden had a river and a tree, and so does your eternal home. You will have waterfront property with an orchard. But this river contains the very water of life, and the tree of life brings health and nourishment and healing for all. The river and tree of life speak of the perfect satisfaction, pleasure, fulfillment and joy you will experience with God in heaven.

   G. You will see the face of God (22:3-6)

And then finally, you will see the face of God. Look at verses 3-5: “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:3-5)

Everyone’s always looking for a home with a view. Your eternal home has the best view of all. You will see the face of God. You will see Jesus face to face.

What is God’s real estate description for your eternal home? It will be brilliant and shining (21:9-11). It will have a great wall with twelve gates (21:12-14). It will be laid out like a great cube (21:15-17). It will be made of precious jewels (21:18-21). It will be filled with the glory and presence of God (21:22-27). It will contain the river and tree of life (22:1-2). You will see the face of God (22:3-6).

And how do you know the home will match the description? Look at verse 6: “The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.’” (Revelation 22:6)

What will your eternal home be like? The Bible describes your eternal home as a place of absolute beauty, safety and perfection.

IV. Your eternal home

And then finally let’s just reflect for a moment on those two words “eternal home.”

   A. Never ending (Isaiah 66:22)

This beautiful home God describes for us in his word is eternal. It is never ending. God says in Isaiah 66:22: “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me, so will your name and descendants endure.” (Isaiah 66:22)

You know the saying, “All good things must come to an end.” You can throw that one out when it comes to heaven. The new heaven and earth will also be the last heaven and earth. As we love to sing in the song “Amazing Grace”: “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun.” Your eternal home by definition is never ending.

   B. Truly home at last (Psalm 23:6)

And you will truly be home at last. Psalm 23:6 says: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)

We never feel truly at home here on earth. We come close sometimes, but that’s just another foretaste of heaven. When you reach God’s house you will be truly home at last.

It’s like what one of the characters says at the end of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series when he enters the new heaven and earth. He says, “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, p. 171)

That’s what it will be like for us too. Your eternal home will be never ending, and you will truly be home at last.

CONCLUSION: As a Christian you do not belong to this world. Your true home awaits you in heaven with God and with your loved ones who have also trusted in Jesus.

I love C.S. Lewis’ description of heaven on earth in the very last paragraph of the last book in his Chronicles of Narnia series. The characters in his series have finally entered the new heaven and earth and he writes:

“The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, p. )

Your eternal home will be amazing. It will be heaven on earth. It will be a house, a city, a country, a world. It will be a place of absolute beauty, safety and perfection. And best of all, it will never end. It will be your true home forever. It is better than you think; it is more than you can imagine; it is beyond your wildest hopes and dreams. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

© Ray Fowler

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