Revelation 21 and 22 describes the final form of heaven for the believer, the eternal kingdom form. It shows us several things about this phase of our eternal existence in fellowship with God:
1. We live on a new earth specially designed to accommodate the dwelling place of God and His saints (21:1,2). In addition to having no oceans, this new earth allows for a city with walls that are 1,400 miles long and 1,400 miles high. Such construction would be impossible now. Our present atmosphere reaches only 348 miles from the surface of the earth. This suggests radical new properties for earth.
2. All of our sorrow, pain and death has been removed (21:3,4) as we live with God in His holy city. Those who die in the Lord before the coming of Christ’s millennial kingdom (Revelation 20), go to heaven and experience this same blessing. But there is death in the millennial kingdom (Isaiah 65:20 says it will be unusual for someone to die before they reach 100 years old).
3. Our source of life and light is our God and His Christ who dwell in the middle of His city, our home (21:5-27). This incomparably huge city will house all the believers of all time. It’s gates stand open at all times and people (us) go in and out and bring “the glory and honor of the nations” into the city. This suggests that we are not idle but are actively accomplishing great things for the Lord and coming to Him to show our victories and accomplishments.
4. We reign as kings and queens over God’s improved Eden (22:1-5). The river that is dubbed the “water of life” flows through the city from God’s throne and the tree of life that was in Eden is now present in this Holy City, yielding fruit, the fruit that Adam and Eve were kept from eating after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they live forever (Genesis 3). Now we partake freely from the tree of life. It is for the “healing of the nations.” The absence of night signals that there is a new freedom from the limitations of sleep as a requirement for repair. The need for sunlight to live is gone because God is our light. He provides all we need for sustenance. And we are by no means inactive. We are reigning with Him “for ever and ever.”
From Philippians 3:20, 21 and other passages we know that we will be living in resurrected bodies, just as Jesus does now. These bodies, judging from Jesus’ characteristics, no longer have limitations like illness, death, or even inability to transport rapidly, instantly, to new locations. This new existence will allow us to explore all of God’s universe and accomplish for Him what we were meant to accomplish, being co-rulers over His creation with Him.