Revelation of John 21The New Jerusalem SUMMARY OF REVELATION 21: The New Heaven and New Earth. The Bride, the Lamb's Wife. The City Coming Down Out of Heaven. Its Walls, Gates, Foundation. The City of Gold and Gates of Pearl. The Light of the City. Its Holiness.I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament point to the destruction of the old earth when the Lord comes to judgment. See 2Pe 3:10. It is to undergo a purification and a renewal to fit it for the home of the saints in glory. The "old heavens and earth", which I understand to comprehend the old world and its order, so sadly out of joint, pass away at the time of the great judgment, and the old state of things shall be succeeded by a new order, both physical and moral.And there was no more sea. "And the sea is no more" (Revised Version). Whether this is to be understood literally, or whether it means that there shall be no barriers between the peoples, such as the sea interposes, is not certain. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem. The glorified and heavenly Church, pure and beautiful as a bride prepared for the bridegroom. This chapter presents a vision of the final condition of the redeemed and triumphant church. The vision points out the contrast between the beginning and the final condition of our race. The career of man began in a garden, the fitting home of a race few in numbers. It ends, as revealed by the prophet, in a city, the home where multitudes gather. Of this city Jerusalem was a type. The redeemed and holy Church, washed by the Savior's blood, and obedient to his will as a faithful bride to her husband, is the new Jerusalem. Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men. Of old the Shekinah, the emblem of God's presence, dwelt in the tabernacle between the Cherubim. In this glorious city of the future, God shall make his tabernacle and dwell with men. They shall recognize his presence, his protection, his fatherly and omnipotent care over them. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. No sorrow or travail of any kind shall ever enter within the walls of the city. The cry of anguish shall never be uttered, hearts shall never be broken, no tear shall ever dim the eye, and, most glorious of all, death shall be unknown. Death began his sway when man was expelled from Paradise; he ends it when the final judgment condemns Satan, death and hades to enter the lake of fire. The new Jerusalem will be painless, tearless, deathless, because it will be a sinless city. "The former things have passed away". Behold, I make all things new.See PNT Re 21:1.Write. This is the third time in this book, in addition to the epistles to the churches (Re 2:1,8,12,18 3:1,7,14), where John receives the special command to "write". The other examples are in Re 14:13 19:9. See also Re 1:11,19. It is done. All things are come to pass.I am the Alpha and the Omega.See PNT Re 1:8. This shows that the speaker is Christ. He that overcometh. Here for the first time, after the close of the seven epistles to the churches, do we have the promise to him who overcomes. See Re 2:7,11,17,26 3:5,12,21. But the fearful and unbelieving. Those wedded to sin have no place in the glorious home prepared for the saints. "The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars", have undergone the second death, the death that has no resurrection, and they can never enter or disturb the holy peace of the glorious city. There came unto me one of the seven angels. This is one of the angels of the bowls of the wrath of God. See Re 16:2-4,8,10,12,17. They did their work as wrath angels before the judgment, and are now seen engaged in other work.I will shew thee the Bride, the Lamb's wife. The glorified church henceforth to be united with her Lord. He carried me away in the spirit. He seemed to be stationed on a high mountain and there to see a mighty city descending out of heaven. The angel said, "I will show thee the Bride" (Re 21:9), and he showed him a beautiful city.And shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem. The harlot of Re 17:3-5 was a great, wicked city, "Mystery, Babylon the Great", while the Bride is a great city also, the "holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven". Having the glory of God. Lighted by the divine presence and glory. We cannot follow all the details of its splendor, but they are designed to show that it exhibited a splendor such as mortal eye has never seen. The walls are of jasper, the gates of pearl, the foundations of precious stones and the streets paved with gold. The dimensions are immense, beyond even human conception, and its gates stand open night and day. The names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are written upon its foundations, and of the tribes of Israel upon its gates. Twelve gates. As many as there were tribes and apostles.Twelve angels. As gate-keepers to prevent the unclean from entrance.Names written thereon. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel. These were typical of the true Israel, the saints, and shows that all who belong to the true Israel will enter. The wall of the city had twelve foundations. The twelve apostles of the Lamb are foundations of the Church, Jesus Christ being the chief corner-stone (Eph 2:20). And he . . . had a golden reed to measure the city. The reed is a divine measure and the city is to correspond to the measure. The church is measured with a reed in Re 11:1. Both the earthly and the heavenly church must agree with the divine plan. And the city lieth foursquare. It is regular and symmetrical.And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. I suppose that these vast dimensions, a number twelve times one thousand, both favorite Hebrew numbers, are intended to indicate the vastness of the city, rather than its exact size. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred [and] forty [and] four cubits. Again we have twelve times twelve, the square of a favorite and sacred number. The city has twelve gates, twelve angels (Re 21:12), twelve foundations (Re 21:14), and a wall twelve times twelve cubits high. [According to] the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. The measure of a man and of an angel will be the same in the New Jerusalem. And the building of the wall of it was [of] jasper. A brightly radiant stone. See Re 21:11.And the city [was] pure gold, like unto clear glass. The symbols indicate that the city is beautiful and rich beyond conception. The costliest materials known to mortals are named in order to give us some idea. And the foundations of the wall of the city [were] garnished. They were adorned with precious stones. The twelve apostolic foundations present every spiritual grace and beauty. The various stones named are among the most precious known to the ancients. The twelve gates [were] twelve pearls. Each gate composed of a single pearl.The street of the city [was] pure gold. The streets were paved with pure gold.As it were transparent glass. Transparency is the symbol of purity. And I saw no temple therein. John saw no temple in the city, such as at Jerusalem. It was all temple.For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. God and the Lamb were present in it everywhere, and every spot was holy. Wherever the knee was bowed the Lord was present to see and hear. The whole of the New Jerusalem will be an abode of praise. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon. Night never settles down to shut out its splendor, and eternal light, springing from the brightness of God and the Lamb, precludes the need of a sun or moon. The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it. The redeemed of all nations enjoy the light of the city.And the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. The idea is that all who have earthly dignities and honors shall make them offerings to the New Jerusalem. And the gates of it shall not be shut by day. The gates were never shut. This implies, first, that the city has no fear of any foes. These have all been conquered and subdued. The struggles have been ended forever and no enemies remain to invade its happy precincts. It implies, in the second place, that "the nations of the saved" (Re 21:24) can always enter. There is always admittance freely to those "who have the right to . . . enter in through the gate into the city" (Re 22:14). They shall bring the glory and the honour of the nations into it. All nations are represented as contributing to increase its glory, as the nations pay tribute to an earthly capital. There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth. Nothing sinful or unclean shall ever enter, "neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life".
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