Back to my response of sadness
My inner sense was mostly sadness which initially grew from the response of these two people with whom I work. Both go to conservative Christian churches, and I believe them to take their faith seriously. I saw how they met the Jay-Z culture. Why is there no pain in them over unambiguously anti-Jesus themes? Is it a matter of vantage point or maturity? I don’t know, and that discussion is for another time. Having been personally steeped in the book of Revelation over the last 13 to 14 months, it is abundantly clear how Jay-Z’s approach aligns. It is with darkness, not the New Jerusalem. Not the “better place” that people will likely say he goes when he passes away.
Heaven won’t have this
Here are the next three verses.
3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5–ESV)
As a teacher of this passage, a difficult thing is in knowing how to paint a meaningful picture. The Jay-Z revelation gave me helpful contrast. That has been infesting our culture for some years, decades even. The song I mentioned above released in 2008. When the New Jerusalem comes, none with this approach will be on the New Earth or New Jerusalem. Why? The answer is in verse 3.
“No longer,” said John, “will there be anything accursed.” Right now many things are married to an anti-Jesus style. “Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ,” said Paul in his book to the Philippian churches. He went on to say, “their god is their stomach and their glory is in their shame.” Things nowadays may be different externally, but they are quite the same under the surface. The anti-Jesus style is embodied in the mainstream of millions if not billions (for Jay-Z has had concerts around the world). The product of Jay-Z is accursed, and that is all we need to say to establish the contrast with eternity. It is not accursed because I write it, but rather because of its misalignment with the creator and sustainer of all things.
God will be on the throne and the Lamb beside him. Jesus will walk the city if not the earth. All those who are alive on this new earth will worship not themselves or any ungodly way of living, but God. He will be available to us in a healthy, non-faith-based, manner which will go on forever.