The Book of Revelation (part 37)
July 14, 2021
The Book of Revelation (part 37)
The New Jerusalem – The Bride of Christ
Jesus has returned. The final battles have been won. God’s enemies have been subdued. Satan and all personalities that followed him are in their eternal home, the lake of fire. Every unredeemed human has been judged, and every eternal sentence carried out. Those without Christ are in the lake of fire. Believers are in their glorified bodies, and now, the earth is being transformed into an eternal home for those God created to fellowship with Him and be His friends for eternity.
The future of the earth is a hidden mystery that will unfold to us after the millennial reign of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
In Revelation 21:1-9, we have looked at the New Heavens and New Earth that have been cleansed and prepared to be an eternal home for God to dwell with His “family.”
His original plan for man to be His eternal companion, with which He has close communion, is fulfilled!
Revelation 21:1-8 (NKJV)
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The New Jerusalem – The Bride of Christ
Revelation 21:9 (NKJV)
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
One of the angels that bore the seven bowl judgments shows John New Jersalem, called “The Bride, The Lamb’s wife.” Notice that one of the bowl judgment angels also showed John the harlot who corrupted the nations of the world with mystery Babylon. The contrast is a stark reminder of the destroying nature of sin.
Revelation 17:1-2 (NKJV)
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
Revelation 17:18 (NKJV)
And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.
Judgment comes from disobedience. Blessing is in the future of those made right with the Blood of Jesus!
Note the deep contrast between the harlot and the bride of Christ. The harlot is totally destroyed. Babylon the great is NO MORE. The Bride of Christ, the eternal New Jerusalem, is now shown.
Bride is a metaphor for the closeness we will enjoy with Jesus and the Father in eternity. Just as a husband cares for, protects, and meets the needs of His wife in every way, so God goes out of His way to create an environment of honor for His people.
Revelation 21:10-11 (NKJV)
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
John is shown where God’s people will live in eternity.
The mountain is Mount Zion.
Ezekiel 40:2 (NKJV)
In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city.
Hebrews 12:22-29 (NLT)
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. 25 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. 28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.
Revelation 21:10-11 (NKJV)
having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
The most prominent feature of his city is that it has the manifested presence of God in it! That Shekinah Presence was in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle in the wilderness and in the Temple in the Holy of Holies.
The city has no need of the sun to light it, since the glory of God lights it with transparent hues of jasper (red, yellow, brown, and green).
Revelation 21:12-13 (NKJV)
Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
(12) Also she had a great and high wall…
The high walls show the city’s exalted status among the nations.
The walls define the city of God’s people and ensure that only those worthy may enter.
(Understanding the Bible Commentary Series – New Testament Set (18 Vols.))
There are good reasons why the seer should be attracted to the city’s wall. Much like the well-known skyscrapers that define and distinguish today’s great cities or the Great Wall of China, the wall surrounding an ancient city gave it a distinctive identity. John reports that the wall of the new Jerusalem was great and high, symbolic then of the city’s exalted status among the nations. But the wall had a more practical function: to protect those who lived within. Indeed, all such potential threats have since been banished and “nothing impure will ever enter the city” (21:27). Those who live within the city’s walls are kept secure for an eternity.
… (12) with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
The twelve gates surround the city on all sides, indicating salvation for all regardless of tribe or nationality.
Any person from any nation is welcomed in the city.
Revelation 5:9-10 (NKJV)
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
The number 12 signifies the perfection of God’s rule over all things. 12 is the result of 3 (the number of divinity) multiplied by 4 (which is the number of the earthly). God and His people are together – His loving rule over their eternal, earthly lives.
The names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them shows that the roots of God’s glorified people are in the family of Abraham. In Abraham and the covenant God made with Abraham’s family all the people of the earth will be blessed.
Revelation 21:14 (NKJV)
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The names of the 12 tribes of Israel are written on the gates, and the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb are written on the 12 foundations of the city. This is perhaps to express the unity of God’s families in Old and New Testaments.
Revelation 21:15-17 (NKJV)
And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
The city is 1500 miles wide as well as long and high. It’s a cube which contains the Shekinah Glory of God just as the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple was a cube containing the glory or the manifested Presence of God.
The walls are 144 cubits, or over 200 feet thick!
The idea here is that the city is overwhelming in size and in beauty.
Revelation 21:18-21 (NKJV)
The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire (blue), the third chalcedony (blue with stripes of other colors), the fourth emerald (green), 20 the fifth sardonyx (red and white), the sixth sardius (ruby red), the seventh chrysolite (golden), the eighth beryl (sea green), the ninth topaz (transparent yellow-green), the tenth chrysoprase (green), the eleventh jacinth (violet), and the twelfth amethyst (purple). 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
The walls are gleaming jasper, and the city was like pure, clear gold.
The foundation for the walls was made of precious gems, and these gems (9 out of the 12) are found on the breastplate of the high priest’s robe in the Old Covenant.
Exodus 28:17-21 (NKJV)
And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row; 18 the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold settings. 21 And the stones shall have the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the twelve tribes.
(The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volumes 1-35: Genesis – Revelation)
The list of jewels has posed a fascinating puzzle for interpreters of this vision. John has given a list in basically the reverse order of the instructions in Exodus 28:17–21 for the arrangement of jewels on the high priestly breastplate. His order of jewels is also the reverse order of the stones associated, according to Josephus (Ant 3:186) and Philo (Vit Mos 2:124–6), with the signs of the zodiac by which the ancient world traced the times and seasons of the year.
I believe this reversal is significant. It shows that all of the jewels are there, but they are placed in the new authoritative order of the Lamb. I take this to mean that nothing has been wasted in God’s design, whether stars or jewels or colors or mountains. Everything is accounted for, and in this vision everything is fulfilled by the sovereign decision of God. And furthermore, there are surprises even in the arrangement of that fulfillment.
Revelation 21:22-27 (NKJV)
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Listen to the prophet Isaiah talk about this amazing time over 2500 years ago:
Isaiah 60:18-22 (NLT)
Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.
19 No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night,
for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the LORD will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. 21 All your people will be righteous.They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory. 22 The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.
Haggai 2:6-9 (NLT)
For this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 9 The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!