The most frequently requested Christ in Prophecy television show episodes on Revelation have been pulled out of the vault and re-released!
Over the six episodes, Dr. David Reagan and guests Don McGee of Crown and Sickle Ministries and Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries go chapter by chapter through the book of Revelation, explaining that the book of Revelation isn't difficult to understand, rather it is difficult to believe. But, if you will believe it for its plain sense meaning, you will understand it. For anyone who's been born again and has the Holy Spirit residing within them, Revelation can become very clear.
We'll continue on in our journey through the great book of Revelation by getting our teachers back together to discuss Chapters 21-22, particularly concerning the New Earth. Feel free to watch, listen, or read along by clicking one of the icons below.
Revelation: Discussion of Chapters 21-22
[Read Chapters 21-22 in the NASB version via Biblegateway.]
The New Earth
Dr. Reagan: Let's get into our discussion of Chapters 21 and 22 by taking a look at the New Earth that's described in Chapter 21. What would you have to say to those who spiritualize this particular concept by saying that the New Earth is just a code word for Heaven?
Dennis Pollock: I think I'd start with a two word question, "Says who?" How do people come up with that?
This comes from the attitude that says we cannot possibly take these things to be literal. A lot of people have a problem with the physical aspects of eternity. A lot of people have a problem with, for example, the golden streets in the New Jerusalem or the gates made out of pearl. They say, "That can't be! Really, pearly gates and transparent gold?" My response is: "Why not? Why can it not be?"
God is a God of beauty. He has created a beautiful eternity for us and it is a physical eternity. One of the proofs of that is Jesus in His resurrected body. He went out of His way to show His disciples that he is a physical person, not just a spirit. He said touch me, grab me. He said a spirit doesn't have flesh and bone. So, if Jesus is physical, there's no reason to think eternity won't be physical. The Bible calls Him "the first fruits." He's the prototype of the resurrection. We're going to be just as physical. Now, if we're physical beings — spirit, soul and body — we're going to need a physical place to inhabit and the New Jerusalem will be that. The New Earth as well will be physical places as well as spiritual.
Don McGee: If you think back to when you were a kid, remember the caricatures and cartoons and things that you saw of Heaven? What were they? Well, they were based upon some guy's opinion of what Heaven might be like. You see this cloud out there and you see somebody sitting on this cloud playing a harp with wings sticking out of their shoulders. That's based upon a wrong concept of what Heaven is. And, it was taken into areas where education was offered and people would view this and look at it and read Bible stories and this is the mindset that people developed. When you say "Heaven," a picture forms in people's minds and it's based upon those caricatures.
Dr. Reagan: Very much like the concept that most people have of Hell, that people are in big boiling caldrons and Satan and all of his demons are poking them with pitchforks. In reality, Satan and his demons are the ones who are going to be tormented there because that place was created for them, though they're going to take a lot of people with them. But, they're not going to be in charge of it, that's for sure.
It's amazing how these ideas get into our mind. You know, Dennis, concerning Heaven, I think that probably the invasion of eastern religions into the United States and the Western Hemisphere in recent years has served to reinforce this idea that there's not going to be anything tangible about eternity, that it's just going to be spirits floating around becoming one with the great spirit of the universe and all. That's so much more ethereal and spiritual than the idea of a city with gold streets and bodies and all that sort. Don't you think that eastern religions had an impact?
Dennis Pollock: Yes, I do. It's a shame, because you know what I find? I find that when I go out and hold prophecy conferences and I teach what it's really going to be like and the physical dimensions and what the New Jerusalem is and the New Earth, I find Christians get very excited because suddenly it becomes real to them. If they think it's just a lot of ethereal stuff and playing harps and running around clouds, it's so unreal, it's so mystical. It's hard to get excited about that. So, it's exciting to realize we have a very tangible future. It's going to be very physical, very real, as well as spiritual. Just as Jesus was physical, yet He could go through walls and He could appear and disappear. So, it's going to be both.
Don McGee: I think we need to emphasize this one more time. If you look at the people who are doing the teaching in churches today, you will see why people believe what they believe, because the people who are actually doing the teaching really don't have an understanding of what this means. And, if they don't understand, how can we expect people who view us who read books and publications, how can we expect them to understand?
Dr. Reagan: That goes back to the problem of seminaries, not only in America but around the world, where there as been a major rejection of Bible prophecy. I've had many people tell me that they'd go all the way through a seminary course on Isaiah, for example, and never once consider its prophetic implications. It was just reading Isaiah and talking about who Isaiah was and that sort of thing, but not having anything to do with the prophetic implications. It's just not taught.
Dennis Pollock: What a disservice to the people of God.
Dr. Reagan: That's right! One thing that's always been intriguing to me is the fact that the Bible tells us a lot about the Millennial Reign of Jesus. For example, the whole book of Isaiah's about it from beginning to end, and there's a lot in the Bible about what nature will be like, society will be like, the spiritual atmosphere, and so forth. But, it tells us almost nothing about the eternal state. It tells us that we'll be in glorified bodies, in a New Jerusalem, on a New Earth, and it tells us two things beyond that in that we will see God's face and we will serve. Maybe that's so exciting and so great we don't need to be told anything else.
What do you see is the significance of those two promises in particular, that we'll see God's face and we'll serve Him?
Don McGee: To see His face means that we're going to be in His presence.
Dr. Reagan: Intimate fellowship.
Don McGee: That's right. That's the greatest thing that I've drawn out of this. We're going to actually be in the presence of God. Now, my Dad's been with the Lord for a number of years now, and I long to see him and to be in his presence. I have memories of him and I have pictures and I see things that he had written years ago, but those cannot take the place of actually being in his presence again. It's the same thing with God, we're going to be where He is.
The Ultimate Goal of Heaven
Dennis Pollock: You know, Don, speaking of that reminded me of something that I sometimes hear that I think is really sad. Sometimes you hear about an older person who has lost their spouse and the surviving spouse will say, "I just want to go be in Heaven so I can be with my loved one again." Well, that's understandable, but believe me, that's not the ultimate goal of Heaven to just rejoin a loved one, although that's going to be great.
The ultimate goal is to be with God and be with Christ and to see Him again. He's the star of the show in Heaven. When you think about the beauty that's in this world like the mountains, the trees, streams, and all the things that are so beautiful and lovely, those are all simply pale reflections of the beauty and the glory that is found in God and in Christ, and we are going to see Him face to face. It shows we're going to be changed, because there's no way you could do that in our present state. But, we are going to be so admiring His beauty and His glory that it's going to take a long time just to kind of catch our breath at that point.
Don McGee: If we think back, God hasn't been in the presence of man since the Garden of Eden. It's been a long time since humanity has had the experience of being in the very presence of God.
What We'll Do in Heaven
Don McGee: We're going to be able to serve Him there. The idea of serving God in His presence is not the idea of toil, it's the idea of work, and work is not bad work. It's good. What was in the Garden was work, but the problem after the Garden with the curse was that work became toil.
We're going to be in His presence and we're going to serve Him. We're going to have obligations and responsibilities and things that we're going to do. They're going to just help us to grow spiritually with us learning more and more about God every day while we're in His presence. We're going to actually sit at His feet and learn.
Dr. Reagan: That gets me excited! When I was growing up in the church, I was basically told I was going to spend eternity floating around on a cloud playing a harp, and I couldn't get excited about that. I mean, there was nothing about that, and that made me cling to this world. But, when you begin to read the tremendous promises that God has about the future, you understand why Paul said that, "The sufferings of this present time are not even worthy to be compared to the glory that is yet to be revealed to us." Or, when he said, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." But, the next verse says, "He has revealed those things to us through His spirit."
In the next part on this series on Revelation, our teachers will try to solve a great biblical mystery from Revelation 21.
Revelation Revealed DVD