Our Heavenly Home
The Inhabitants of Heaven
Jesus told his disciples in John 14:2 that “In My Father’s house are many mansions (dwelling places/rooms)”. He said He goes to prepare a place for us!
While studying the book of Revelation, much was said about our heavenly home. The Bible teaches of the current heaven and earth and also of a new heaven and new earth to come. Because of the awesome clues of Paradise, the New Jerusalem and the Tree of Life, it is revealed that the saints that have gone before us are in the Paradise of God, the New Jerusalem, even now! To read more about this, I invite you to read my hub, In My Father's House Are Many Mansions.
Observe who is with the Lamb at the time the Revelation is shown to John. In Rev 5:8-13 we are told there are golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. So, we can be confident the prayers of the saints are heard in heaven. Verses 9-11 state, “I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands.” Here we see there are myriads and myriads, and thousands and thousands of angels there (in addition to the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders).
We don’t know who the elders are, but we see in Mark 10:36-45 the account of James and John asking Jesus if they can sit at his right and left. In verse 38 Jesus says, “You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” In verse 40 Jesus says, “But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” In the heavenly kingdom, the rulers are not “rulers”, but rather SERVANTS. To be great is to be the servant; to be first is to be a slave (verse 44).
In Chapter 6:9 when the fifth seal is broken, John saw “underneath the altar the souls of those who had been SLAIN because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they (the souls) cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” These souls are definitely not crying out from their earthly graves because in verse 11, the Word states, “And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.” This appears to be referring to those who receive Jesus Christ during the "Great Tribulation" who will suffer a martyr's death (see hub REVELATION of TRIBULATION).
Out of Tribulation Into Millennial Reign
Regarding the elect, “those who were sealed”, in Chapter 7 verses 4- 9 John sees not only the 144,000 but also “looked, and beheld, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and [kai - even, also, namely] to the Lamb.’” One of the elders tells John that “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” The "great tribulation" mentioned here cannot be the last and greatest tribulation period, for the population of the earth can certainly be counted. This tells me that the saints in this vision are those who have died in faith throughout all time.
I looked up the word “tribulation” and all throughout the New Testament the same meaning is used, with the exception of 1 Thes 3:4, which in that case meant “crowding”. Tribulation is the Greek word thlipsis (thlip’-sis); pressure (lit. or fig.):-afflicted (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble. Believers have endured tribulation for generations; however, the "great tribulation" mentioned in Revelation 7:9 is the one mentioned in Mat 24:9-21, which is said to be "such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall."
In Rev 11, the temple of God is being measured. However, the “court” (open yard [sheep fold]), which is outside the temple, was not to be included in this measurement because it was yet given to the pagan nations who would “tread underfoot the holy city for 42 months” (3 ½ years) during the last days. This holy city, I believe, is the current Jerusalem, not the New Jerusalem, for there is no temple present in the New Jerusalem. In Chapter 15 we see that the temple is now open, but no one can enter it until the seven last plagues of the seven angels are finished. This is where Jesus will reign on earth for the millennia.
In Rev 20:4-10 we are told how the Lord Jesus will return with the armies of heaven to fight the last battle, binds Satan in the bottomless pit and casts the Antichrist and False Prophet into the Lake of Fire. The bodies of the unbelieving dead are left in their graves while the saints are physically resurrected to reign with Christ on earth for a thousand years. When the thousand years are completed, Satan is released, then he and his armies who attempt to surround the holy city are destroyed by fire from heaven, then cast into the Lake of Fire.
Rev 20 goes on to tell of the Great White Throne Judgment. Verses 11-18 state that “the books” and “The Book of Life” were opened. Those outside of Christ are resurrected (the second resurrection) and judged by the things written in the books, and because their names are not found written in the Lamb's Book of Life, they are thrown into the Lake of Fire, which is the second death.
The New Heaven and New Earth
Rev 21 and 22 tell us all about a NEW heaven and NEW earth. In verse 1, we are told the FIRST Heaven and the FIRST earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea! The NEW heaven is also the one the “New Jerusalem” comes down out of from God, made ready as a bride [the Church] adorned for her husband [Jesus Christ]. We are told that God will actually dwell among us and He shall wipe away every tear from our eyes; and there shall no longer be ANY death (eternal!); there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away!”
The New Jerusalem is described as having 12 gates (pearl) which have the names of the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel. There will be angels at each of the gates. Three each of the twelve gates face north, south, east and west. There is a wall of the City (72 yards long) that has 12 foundation stones, each with the names of the 12 apostles. The City is 1500 miles long, wide and tall.
There will be no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and [kai - even, also, namely] the Lamb are [consist] its temple. There is no need for a sun or moon in this City; it’s illuminated by the glory of God and the lamp is the Lamb (Ps 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp"). The streets are made of gold. There will be no darkness in this City and its gates will never be closed.
There will be a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and [even] of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river is the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and [even] of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
Has Jesus made your reservation? If you’re not sure, I invite you to read my hub Come to Jesus: Salvation.