STUDY: PART 67
V. 1 – John reminds us yet that he is speaking of events to come. He is still in his vision and relating what he sees and hears. In this chapter John testifies to the beginning of the new era of eternity. In chapters 19 and 20 we saw the antichrist, the beast, the devil, death and hades, and all who followed after the beast and were not registered in the Lamb’s Book of Life tossed into the Lake of Fire.
Here is another antithetical comparison. In Heaven (New Jerusalem) rust and moth will not corrupt, nor will the thief break in and steal (Matthew 6:20). Hell is the place where the thief will reside for eternity and the worm will not die and the fire of torment not be quenched (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). Those in Christ will have rooms in heavenly mansions and will never suffer loss of any kind again. We will be rewarded for our good works. Those in satan will suffer nothing but pain and loss as they continually relive their sin nature throughout eternity. They will be rewarded for their evil works.
As we saw in chapter 20, at the glory of Jesus the heaven and the earth fled, or were destroyed. This was to make room for the new heaven and the new earth as well as the New Jerusalem. When God created the first heaven and earth, they were to be undefiled places of beauty and love. A rebellious angel and his followers ruined the perfection of heaven. satan then entered the garden by deceiving the snake that agreed to carry him in. satan is a spiritual entity and needs a body in order to carry out his assignments. Once he gained entrance in to the garden, he deceived Eve into eating of the forbidden fruit. Eve then became the weapon of mass destruction that ruined the Garden of Eden and all the earth as she bid Adam to eat, and he ate. Adam was not deceived. He was standing right beside Eve while the devil talked with her through the snake’s mouth. God told Adam not to eat of that fruit. It was Adam’s responsibility to whack the piece of deadly fruit from Eve’s hand and to cast that demon out of the garden he had been given charge over. He did not. Rather, he succumbed to Eve, ate the fruit and spoiled the purity of earth.
The Holy Spirit gave Peter great insight as to what will happen to the heaven and earth when Jesus comes in His glory. “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?(II Peter 3:7, 10-12)? Jesus prophesied that heaven and earth would pass away in Matthew 24:35.
The new heaven and earth were prophesied in by Daniel: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).
One of the most phenomenal truths about the new heaven and the new earth is that they will, in essence, be one. God will be in the New Jerusalem with His family. He is the Light of the world, so we will no longer require the illumination from the stars, moon and sun. There will be no separation between us and God, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28). We are the seed of Abraham, and Yahweh will dwell among us.
When you read this verse you see that the waters, as represented by the sea, will be dried up. That will mean no more fish. Since there will be no fish, and we know all the animals will be tamed into pets, it stands to reason that, in heaven, we will be vegetarians. If you don’t like them right now, you better get used to fruits and veggies, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).
V. 2, – John once again reminds us he’s still observing future events as he says, “And I, John, saw…” This time what he saw is the New Jerusalem decked out and radiant as a bride prepared for her Groom descending out of heaven. This is THE Holy City where the mansions mentioned in the Book of John will finally be inhabited. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:1-3).
That God will call this city the New Jerusalem does not have anything to do with the first Jerusalem that disappointed Him so many times. Jerusalem was God’s chosen city, and the New Jerusalem will replace it. This city will be filled with the holiness and righteousness of God. No corrupt thing will ever be found in her.
Remember in Revelation 19 that we saw the Marriage Supper of the Lamb had taken place in heaven before Jesus came to earth. This vision of the New Jerusalem as the Bride is the fulfillment of Paul’s admonition, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word…(Ephesians 5:25, 26). It’s also an example of leaving ones father and mother and making a new life with a new husband in a new home.
V. 3, 4 – John now changes from seeing to hearing when he declares, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying…” Whose voice did John hear? I believe it was God’s voice. God set the New Testament protocol for this when He said, at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17), and at the transfiguration on the Mount of Olives when, “While he (Peter) yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”
What did God say here in Revelation 21:3? “Behold, the tabernacle (tent) 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” This is a fulfillment of His promise, “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Ezekiel 37:27).
Where else in Scripture do we see a reference to God dwelling among men as a tent? “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Where is it written in the New Testament that man has seen God? “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father” (John 14:8, 9). Yahweh will dwell among us not as His Holy Spirit indwelling us, but as a personage that we will behold.
We are going to be God’s people, the bride of Jesus, His family, His in-laws. He will make all things wonderful for us as He has always meant them to be. There will be no tears, no illness, no pain, no death, and no sorrow. Everything that has to do with the old earth is eradicated from the heavenly kingdom come to earth. We won’t need doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs, undertakers, or psychiatrists in heaven. They better start working a new ministry now so they have an occupation in heaven. Yes, I believe we are still going to work in heaven except, none of it will be called work any longer. It will all be Christian ministry. We will once for all know our position in the body. Praise the Lord!
STUDY: PART 68
V. 5 – “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.” God is making everything new. He will make a new heaven, a new earth, a New Jerusalem, and new bodies for us who will dwell in them. To make things new He must destroy the old. It’s like when we are born-again; the old man dies, behold all things have become brand new (II Corinthians 5:17). There will no longer be a good kingdom of heaven and an evil kingdom of earth. All things will be fresh and new, all glorious and shining under the Lord’s glory. We will get a new start too.
“Behold, I make all things new.” Another way to say this is that God perfected all things. “Perfected” means to complete by perfection. He has completed all that took place throughout human history since the Garden. This culminated in “all things brand new.” We are so blessed to know God, have Jesus as Savior, and have the Spirit of God to work in and through us.
Our spirits and souls will be completely sanctified and we will learn new things of God every day. “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7). The growth of the kingdom and its residents will be continual. There will be no end to our learning.
John was ordered to write these things down for they must come to pass. How do we know it will? We know because the Lord is the Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). John wrote the faithful and true word by the Faithful and True Word. “God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent” (Numbers 23:19). God said it through His Holy Spirit dictating through John, so you can believe it.
V. 6 – “It is done.” Who was it done by? By the only One who could have done it, the “Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.” Is this Jesus? How do we know it is? We know because Jesus called Himself by that term here and three other times in Revelation. Let’s read those verses:
1. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
2. “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”
3. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
“I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” This one sentence could preach for a long time. There are other Scriptures that give us this promise too. “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. Whosoever drinketh of this (natural) water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:10, 14). “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). This is the fountain of water that shall never run dry! God, in His majesty and glory, will freely supply this water to us. How amazing!
Jesus is the Living Water of salvation! Once we have come to Him and drunk from the well we have an eternal out-flowing of this water of life. Our bellies, or spirits, are filled with the water of salvation and eternal life. Praise the Lord!
V. 7 – “He who overcomes shall inherit all things.” How do we overcome? Let’s allow Scripture to tell us. “For whatsoever is born of God (through Jesus) overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (I John 5:4). When we have faith in Jesus, we overcome the things of the world. When we “work out our salvation daily with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) we kill the flesh and grow into the spiritual being God desires us to be. By the power of our faith in the Living Water (Jesus) in us, we overcome the world. “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:5).
What will the overcomers inherit? They become joint heirs with Jesus and have part in all He possesses. We will have eternal life. We will have our own “kingdom” (place) within the Kingdom (John 14:2). We will have four crowns: The Incorruptible Crown (I Corinthians 9:25); the Crown of Righteousness (II Timothy 4:8); the Crown of Life (James 1:12), and the Crown of Glory (I Peter 5:4). We will have direct access to the throne of God to see Him face-to-face. We will eat from the Tree of Life and drink from the Living Water. It will be glorious!
“I will be his God and he shall be my son.” We will have sonship. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness" (Zecheriah 8:8). “But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12, 13). “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16, 17). This is our marvelous reward. Verse 8 will now tell us what those who are unsaved reap for their sewing.
V. 8 – “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.” These are the ones who were disobedient to the call of God unto salvation. They chose not to drink of the Living Water that provides eternal life with God. Notice something here. The Lake of Fire was prepared for the devil and his angels a long time before they would use it (Matthew 25:41). There is nothing brand new for them. The new creation doesn’t extend to their abode. No one had been in the Lake of Fire until the antichrist and the beast were tossed in, then satan, then their followers. All the evil corruption will go there with them never to be heard from again.
One commentator I read said that the sulfur of the brimstone is like the smoke from burning tires. It is dense, black, and cannot be breathed. This description of the Lake of Fire is in total opposition to what heaven will be like with its crystal clear water and air. In hell there will be no water, as we know from the story of the rich man begging Abraham to allow Lazarus to bring a simple drop of water to cool his tongue, (Luke 16:22-24). The analogy found here is the difference between the crystal clear thinking that allows man to seek after and accept Jesus as Savior versus the man whose mind is clouded by the world and does not accept the salvation God so freely provides.
STUDY: PART 69
V. 9 – In verse 1-7 of Revelation 21 we saw the spiritual attributes of the New Jerusalem. This portion of chapter 21 begins her physical description. First of all, let’s understand that this new, fabulous city will not descend from heaven till after the 1-thousand millennial years are complete. Strangely, one of the angels who poured out one of the seven last plagues now tells John he will show him the bride of Christ. He then describes a city rather than a beautiful bride. This is not in error. Remember when Jesus said, “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2)? The New Jerusalem is that house of mansions because it’s the dwelling place of God for the rest of eternity (Revelation 22:1).
That the New Jerusalem is not the bride is obvious. However, this city is the expression of the love of Jesus for His bride and its indescribable beauty is His visible expression of that love. J. Vernon McGee, in his commentary, explains the city this way. “The New Jerusalem is a diamond in a gold mounting. This city is the engagement ring of the bride; in fact, it is the wedding ring. It is the symbol of the betrothal and wedding of the church to Christ.” What a beautiful description.
V. 10 – The high mountain is probably not a mountain but a vantage point from which John could see the holy Jerusalem descending from heaven. One thing we must not read into this Scripture, which many commentators and theologians do, is that this new city might come and settle on earth. This verse clearly states the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven, but nowhere is it stated that it will come to earth. I will not play the speculation game. To me this Scripture is clear. This city will be built in heaven and God will lower it into the atmosphere at the right time. This might account for the division of the new heaven and new earth. Those of the church age, Jew and Greek alike, will live forever in this New Jerusalem with God. Those saved after the rapture and out of the Tribulation will dwell in the new earth.
V. 11 – The phrase “glory of God” appears throughout the Bible. It’s God’s illuminating presence, His power, His grace, His perfection. The glory incorporates all the attributes of God. This is the light that shone on the mountain when Moses received the Ten Commandments that caused Moses’ face to glow so brightly he had to cover it to talk with people (Exodus 34:29-35). It is also the light that shone on Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2).
The light (Greek: Phoster; source of light) of he New Jerusalem is a perfect light of God and will not be like that of the moon or stars, but it will emanate from God’s own being. Remember what Jesus said about Himself in John, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’ (John 8:12). The Light of life is the glory of God.
The source of light in the New Jerusalem is God. This light gives the city the appearance of a lighted gem stone. The gem here is described as a jasper stone, but jasper as we know it is opaque. The stone John is describing is more like what we know of as a diamond, which the first century Christians didn’t know existed. If we never read anything else about this glorious city, this Light would be enough to make us want to live there.
As an aside, let me say here that Jerusalem, in Hebrew, means “possession of peace.” This has not been true for the earthly Jerusalem, but the heavenly Jerusalem will be peace.
V. 12, 14 – All Old Testament cities had a wall around them that was very high and very wide to protect the citizens from attack. The new city will have a fabulous wall (about 216 feet thick) with twelve gates, or entrances, into the city, three on each side of the city. These gates will be named for the original twelve tribes of Israel. Let’s look at what Ezekiel said about them. “And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali” (Ezekiel 48:31-34). The positioning of the tribes reflects how they camped during the forty year trek in the desert. The four corners of the earth, north, south, east, west, each have their set of gates for the coming and going of the bride and of the people dwelling on the new earth. The earth dwellers will come only for times of worship. The bride will live in the city with God.
There will be a foundation in the wall for each gate. The foundations will be named for the apostles who served Jesus and the church while on earth. There seems to be some confusion about what these twelve names will be. One of the theses I read about the twelve apostles in the McGee commentary declares that Matthias was not the number twelve apostle who replaced Judas Iscariot. Mr. McGee states that Peter called for the election process to fill the vacant position, but that, in doing so, he stepped out ahead of Jesus. He suggests that Paul was the twelfth apostle and was hand-picked by Jesus. His conjectures include the facts that once Matthias was chosen, he was never heard from again, nor were any of the biblical writings ascribed to him. That Jesus chose Paul as the thirteenth apostle makes sense to me because He hand-picked the original twelve. The one thing I most certainly agree with is that Jesus chose Saul to become Paul the apostle of the Lamb. If Mr. McGee’s assumption it true, Paul will have a foundation named for him in the New Jerusalem.
V. 15, 16 – Another controversy arises when we try to discern the shape of the New Jerusalem. Some commentators say it will be in the form of a square, others say that it will be in the form a pyramid. I don’t see how it matters either way. This city will be the most magnificent, most enormous city that only God’s mind could conceive it. By the Word, Jesus the carpenter, this city will be built. At the proper time it will be given to the church and the nations of the church to live in it. Personally I would have to vote for a square because of the description of the angels measurements. It’s the same size in height, breath, length, and width. Verse 16 says, “The city is laid out as a square…” The last sentence in this same verse says, “Its length, breath, and height are equal." In my mind this eliminates the pyramid possibility.
STUDY: PART 70
V. 22, 27 – “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” In these verses John is describing the character of the New Jerusalem by what is missing from it. He names five specific things. 1. There will be no temple. (John 4:21, “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.”) The temple was built as a dwelling place for God on earth. Only the high priests could enter into the holy of holies where God’s glory resided, and only as they were perfectly ritually cleansed. If they were not clean, their fate was death the second they crossed the threshold of the curtain. As we know, that’s why there was a strong rope tied around the ministering priest’s ankle before he went in. If he was in sin, or as they called, unclean, and was slain, the other priests had to have a way to pull him out of inner room. In the New Jerusalem, God will be on His throne and we will have access to him directly. We will have been totally cleansed and will no longer need a mediator under whose righteousness we can now approach God.
We haven’t needed priests to carry sacrificial blood into the inner sanctuary, or Holy of Holies, to cover our sin since Jesus took our sin to the cross. He now stands in office as mediator between God and man. In the New Jerusalem, The Great High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, Jesus our redeemer, Himself, will be there as the spiritual and physical Light of the new creation.
That God almighty and the Christ will be considered the temple is another reason I believe in the perfect cube shape for the New Jerusalem. I believe that the original Holy of Holies was designed by God for a specific purpose and that He will replicate it in much larger dimensions. The Holy of Holies was an exact cube 20 x 20 x 20 (I Kings 6:20).
2. There is no light brought in by outside sources. (Isaiah 60:19, 20, “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.”)
God will light the New Jerusalem by His glory. The glory of God is Jesus who will be the Light. When Israel was walking round and round the mountain in the desert, God was their light. “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud (to protect them from the blazing sun), to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night…” (Exodus 13:21). When Jesus came to earth, He declared, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). We will have both these Light Sources in the New Jerusalem, and it will never be dark again. We’ll never again stub our toes or walk into walls finding our way out of a dark room. Everything will radiate with the glory light of God and Jesus. The light of the New Jerusalem will also illuminate the new earth and the new heaven.
3. Verse 24 says, “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.” No one will be stealing God’s glory. No one will be boasting about what they have accomplished. All glory, honor, and praise will be brought into the New Jerusalem to be given to God. Notice this is about the nations and doesn’t mention the church, or the bride of Christ. This verse refers to the nations, tongues, and tribes who will be earth dwellers. What will we be doing when they come to bring their praise? We will minister as priests. Read I Peter 2:5, “Ye also, as lively (living) stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” We are priests on earth and I believe we will be priests in the New Jerusalem. Right now our spiritual sacrifices are our time, talent, treasure, praise, glory, and honor to God. In the New Jerusalem, we will minister these things unto God as His royal priesthood.
4. There will be no sin, no unclean thing, in the New Jerusalem. All will be as originally created by God.
5. There will never be a sinner allowed inside the New Jerusalem. All of satan and his demons and their followers will be in the lake of fire. There will be nothing left to defile the Golden City, so the wall gates will never be closed as they won’t have to protect those inside. Who is it who will live in the New Jerusalem? It will be those whose name is recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life, the holy and elect angels, the 24 elders, The Church, saved Israel, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more” (Joel 3:17).
One of the greatest promises in Scripture and one of the greatest evangelizing tools is John 14:3 where Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."