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 Revelation chapter 21

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PostSubject: Revelation chapter 21   Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:17 pm



The Eternal Perfect State

Under this heading we shall consider the last two chapters of Revelation, and deal with such topics as the new heavens, new earth, new Jerusalem, new peoples, new conditions, new temple, new light, new Paradise. These teachings of Scripture concerning things in the ages of the ages to come.

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Rev. 21:1-22:5

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1).

As we have reviewed in the last section these new heaven and earth are a result of the renovation by fire. The complete destruction of all wickedness and the old order of things under the curse will make them new in freshness and character. This destruction will terminate the last time in all eternity that they will be marred by sin and rebellion of the creatures therein. From this point onward, John was shown only those things which belong to the new order of things after the curse was removed. We must understand this to go forward with this study all from now on is under the new order of things. We have three other statements or passages regarding the new heaven and new earth:

1. The "new heaven and the new earth," Isa. 65:17-19. (1) They are to be created or brought into existence in the new state. (2) The "new people" will be called upon to rejoice "for ever," or as the Chaldee Targum renders it, "in the world of worlds"; i.e., the most glorious world. (3) Jerusalem is to be created "a rejoicing, and her people a joy." (4) God is to rejoice in the eternal city of Jerusalem and in His people, and the voice of weeping and crying will no more be heard in the city, Rev. 21:1-5.

2. In Isa. 66:22-24 God again assures Israel that they shall be an eternal earthly people as long as "the new heavens and new earth" remain. The following will also remain: (1) "So shall your (Israel's) seed and your name remain." (2) There will be new moons and sabbaths in the worship of "all flesh" before God forever. (3) They (all flesh, peoples) will go forth and look upon the men that have transgressed against God, who will abide in the Lake of Fire where "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." This is a picture of the people in eternal torment and shows that part of the Lake of Fire will be visable to the naturnal people on the earth at that time as an everlasting monument of God's wrath on sin, Rev. 14:9-11.

3. The third passage mentioning the New Heaven and the New Earth are these chapters under consideration. The only thought we have not mentioned before is the sentence "There was no more sea." This is often taken to mean that there will be no water left on the earth, but this is not the thought, as is clear from many other passages in the Bible. The thought is that large oceans covering about three-fourths of the earth will be no more. There will be an aboundance of rivers, lakes, and small seas on earth forever.

The New Peoples and New Conditions

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:3-Cool

In connection with this passage, the following points show that the new peoples and conditions will be as natural and as earthly as they are today, with the difference that all things will be made imperishable and new in character, righteousness, and holiness forever, instead of being under the present curse and sinful state.

1. The above quotations are the statements of two persons; one speaks “out of heaven,” while the other speaks “from the throne.” One seems to be the voice of Christ; the other is the voice of God who sits on the throne. The statements of the two voices are: (1) The voice from out of the throne, Rev. 21:3,4.(A) “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.” This tabernacle will be a literal material one, as is proven in Rev. 15:1-16:1. It will come down from God out of heaven with the new Jerusalem. The preposition “with” is from the Greek meta and denotes “amid,” “among” (Mt. 26:58; Mk. 1:13), or “in company with” (Mt. 9:15; 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 14:13), thus further showing that natural men on the earth are the reference, for glorified men will have already been with God for 1,000 years. These men will be the ones who will have lived through the Millennium without rebellion against the kingdom at the revolt of natural men at Gog and Magog, led by Satan. These men stay in the natural state as God had intended. (B) “And he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” The word “dwell” indicates God is to tabernacle among men in their midst, as in Jhn. 1:14; Rev. 7:15; 12:12; 13:6. God will be at visible form amongst men. (C). God Himself, the Father, “shall wipe away all tears from out of their eyes.” (D) “There shall be no death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

2. The voice of God who sits upon the throne, Rev. 21:5-8. (A) “Behold, I make all things new.” (B) God tells John to “Write for these words are true (from the Greek alethinos, meaning “genuine, real, and substantial,” Jhn. 6:32; 15:1) and faithful (from the Greek pistos, meaning “something to be believed, faithful, something reliable and trustworthy,” 2 Cor. 1:18. (C) “It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be my son.

On the earth itself, after the restoration, it will be possible for vast multitudes of people to live. There are three passages speaking of a “thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9; 1 Chron. 16:15; Psm. 105:Cool, which is a Hebraism for “perpetual generations,” as is plainly stated in Gen. 9:12. In Psm. 90:10 we have the allotted life of man to be seventy to eighty years. If the “thousand generations,” were to figured on this basis we should have the continuance of the human race for 70,000 to 80,000 years. The English words “everlasting,” “forever,” “perpetual,” etc. are used for eternity of God, so if one is eternal the others must be. Any other usage of the words than in an eternal sense is always clear in the passages themselves.
God the Father recognized the possibility of the perpetuity of the race in sin when He drove Adam from the tree of life, lest he should eat of it and live forever in the natural sinful state. What is the purpose of tree of life in the New Earth if it not be for the preservation of natural life? Eternal bodily life of the heavenly saints will not depend upon such trees for they will have immortal bodies. Some may object to our taking the Scriptures so literally, but we find no authority for doing otherwise, as well as a responsibility for doing so. God has no limited power that He cannot do what He has foretold.

The Bride of Christ

We shall study the different phases of truth throughout Scripture concerning the New City, its names source, preparation, location, outward appearance, walls, measurements, materials, streets, buildings, lighting and water system, inhabitants, traffic, food, foundations, restrictions, and rulers. All of these show it to be a literal city and not a symbol of a company of people.

The Names of the City:

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband . . . And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 9,10).

New Jerusalem, Rev. 3:12; 21:2. The meaning of the word "new" being "freshness or new in character" applies to eternal things that need no renovation as well as those which need it. Everything in the eternal presence of God is kept new and fresh by His very presence. God can keep anything new as well as make it new. The City is new in freshness and has been that way ever since it has been made. Thje actual age of the city is unknown, but possibly it was created with the heavens and the earth in the beginning, because it is now the location of the throne of God, which has been established there ever since the heavens were created, Psm. 11:4; 93:2; 103:19; Isa. 6:1; 66:1; Rev. 4:2-10; 5:1-13; 7:9-17; 8:3; 22:1-3. It was in existance in Abraham's day, for God promised him and all Old Testament saints the city, Heb. 11:9-11; 14-16.
The word "Jerusalem" is used about 810 times in the Bible and always as the name of a literal city, as is clear in every passage it is used. Never used as a symbol.

The Holy City, Rev. 21:2; 22:19. Here it is called a “city” with the qualifying word “holy.”

The Bride, the Lamb's wife, Rev. 21:2, 9. This is the expression which has caused interpreters to symbolize the city as the Church. But why this expression should be misleading, in view of such a plain literal description of a real heavenly city, should be clear to us. That a literal heavenly city and redeemed peoples are both seen in this description is clearly implied, if not stated. John, having been previously shown the redeemed saints of all ages, was here shown the material city where those saints will dwell forever. Hence, the city is inseparable from its inhabitants and can be called “the bride, the Lambs wife,” as is seen in the case of earthly Jerusalem and Israel many times in the Old Testament, where God speaks of Jerusalem with the same terms as He does His chosen family, Israel.

It is clear from Heb. 11:8-16, 40 passages all Old Testament saints from Abel on were promised the same city as New Testament saints are, so all saints of all ages must be the bride of Christ, Rev. 21:9. Hence, it is not proper to call the Church the bride of Christ. The bride is a city and not a church, as is clear in Rev. 21:9. Therefore, the Old and New Testament saints and all who have a part in the first resurrection will dwell in the new Jerusalem, which city and its glorified inhabitants are called “the bride, the Lamb's wife,” as in Rev. 21:2, 9.
The Great City, the Holy Jerusalem, Rev. 21:10. The heavenly Jerusalem, Heb. 12:22. The Greek word epouranies simply means “heavenly, that which is above the sky, celestial, in heaven, or on high,” Mt. 18:25; Jhn. 3:12; Eph. 1:3, 20.

The Outward Appearance of the New Jerusalem

“Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (Rev. 21:11).

God, who sits upon the throne, as seen throughout the book, is pictured in Rev. 4:3 as looking like a Jasper stone. This helps us understand the light of the city and its outward appearance which radiates the glory of God. Cf. 1 Tim. 6:16; 1 Jhn. 1:5-7.


The Wall, Gates, and Foundations of the New Jerusalem

“And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass” (Rev. 21:12-18).

The wall of the city is great and high and has three gates on each of the four sides. This is the same construction which is to be used in the eternal earthly city Jerusalem, built at the beginning of the Millennium, Ezek. 48:30-35. Both John and Ezekiel wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and their descriptions refer to two different cities. Both of them will be material cities. That the earthly city is eternal has already been shown in Isa. 2:2-4; 11:11-12:6; Jer. 17:25; Ezek. 34:1-31; 43:7. That this heavenly city is eternal there is no question. The distance between the locations of the two is not revealed, but they may be in the same part of the earth. There will be no great oceans as there are now, so there will be sufficient room. The glorified saints will have been occupying the New Jerusalem from the time of their rapture before the Millennium. On the other hand, the earthly Jerusalem will have been the capitol of the kingdom of Christ and the city of earthly Israel throughout that period, and will continue as such throughout eternity.

The twelve gates in the walls will have the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. In Ezek. 48:30-35, we read whose names are in the gates of the earthly Jerusalem. At the gates there will stand twelve angels.

The wall has twelve foundations and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The twelfth apostle will be Matthias, who was chosen in the place of Judas and upon whom God set His seal, Acts 1:15-26.

The Measurement of the New Jerusalem

“And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel” (Rev. 21:15-17).

The angel had a “golden reed” with which to measure the city, the gates and the wall. A measuring reed is about twelve and one-half feet long, Ezek. 40:5; 41:8; 43:13. Of all the cities, this one is the most important and greatest in size. It lies foursquare. The length, breadth, and height of it are equal, being 12,000 furlongs or 1,500 miles. Best understood to mean that the base of the city lies on the earth, with all four sides equal, and from the base it towers as a mountain peak to the same height as the measure of the length of the base of the city. If we conceive of the mansions as having multiple stories , it is clearly evident the billions of persons could live in this one city.

The Materials in the New Jerusalem

“And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass” (Rev. 21:18-21).

The Streets of the New Jerusalem

The Greek word plateia means “a broadway or street.” The singular number here does not indicate that there is only one street in the city any more than it does in Rev. 11:8. There are streets and mansions in the city, and other buildings as well. There are at least twelve great broadways in the city, leading to the city and into it through the twelve gates, as is clear from Rev. 21:12,13, 21, 24-26. The streets of the city are paved with transparent gold, a material foreign to us. This is the same material of which the buildings of the city are made.

The Temple of the New Jerusalem

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Rev. 21:22).

See the meaning and usage of the word noas for “temple,” and other words under Rev. 15:5, 8; 16:1. Which show there is a literal temple in the New Jerusalem. The idea here is that God and the Lamb will be the sanctuary for all peoples in the eternal state instead of a sanctuary without the personal presence of God and the Lamb as the objects of worship, as has always been the case with worship on earth. In Rev. 3:12 the promise to the overcomer is that he shall have authority in the temple of God and shall no more go out, thus showing that there will still be a temple in the city when it comes to the earth. See also Rev. 7:15; 11:19; 14:15, 17; 15:5, 8; 16:1, 17, where the same literal temple of the city is seen as an eternal temple.

The Light of the New Jerusalem

“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof . . . And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there” (Rev. 21:23, 25).

“And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

The light of the city will surpass the light of the sun, moon, and stars. We have seen that the light of the sun will be increased sevenfold and that the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun during the Millennium (Isa. 30:26), so if the glory of God outshines this new light of the sun and moon, it will be wonderful beyond words. These passages do not teach that the sun and moon cease to shine, but in this particular city there will be no need for them, for there will be a greater light. Neither do these passages teach that there will be no more night in the rest of the earth, for all through eternity the sun and moon and day and night will not cease, Gen. 8:22; Psm. 89:2,3, 29, 35-37.
In other parts of the earth there will be need of the light of the sun and the moon as ever before. This light for the city will radiate from the throne of God and the Lamb which are upon the pennacle of this city, giving light to the city below. It is beyond man to picture how marvelious the dazzling light from the glory of God shining on this city of transparent gold decked with all manner of presious stones and pearls, will be. This is just one of the many things which God has perpared for them that love Him, 1Cor. 2:9-13.

The Traffic of the New Jerusalem

“And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life” (Rev. 21:24-27).

The nations of natural men on earth who will still be divided into nations and peoples and live throughout the New Earth to plant, harvest, build multiply and replenish it, will traffic in the light of the New Jerusalem and pass in and out of its gates, which will not be shut at all in the eternal day of the city. This shows that men will still be in a natural state and constitute the subjects in the eternal kingdom ruled by God and the saints forever. These are to be the sheep nations which enter the Millennium as well as the New Earth, having been purged from the sinful and rebellious nature (see Mt. 25:31-46). They will have natural kings over them, known as “the kings of the earth,” as well as glorified saints. These kings and peoples bring their glory and honor into the city regularly. This will perhaps consist of the fruit of the earth and the wonderful glory man came shot of when Adam fell. While these nations will traffic in the New City, there will never enter into it anything that is sinful. Only they whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life may enter.
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