Revelation 21:1-5 The New Jerusalem
The descent of the New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:1-5 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. 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 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.
There are several new things that John saw and recorded.
New heaven, new earth, and the New Jerusalem.
A “great voice out of heaven” announces “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them” This is the last of 21 times the great voice has called from heaven. Each time it marked a great event taking place.
The new Jerusalem is described in two ways here. What are they?
As a bride, as a tabernacle.
What is God’s promise and his command to John?
That God will dwell with his people, and there will be no more sorrow.
God has to command John to write these things down. It may have been that John was so amazed and overcome by what he sees, he forgets to record the vision.
The citizens of the New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:6-8 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.
List those who will be living in the city?
God with those who are the overcomers.
Once more, how does the Bible define an overcomer?
1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Outer design and structures of the New Jerusalem
Rev 21:9-14 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, Having the glory of God:
What is the overall appearance?
Having the glory of God, glowing like a jasper (diamond or clear quartz crystal).
Describe the walls?
Great and high, with 12 gates, and 12 gate angels. The gates are named after the 12 tribes of Israel. There are 3 gates on each side of the city. The walls are built on twelve foundations (layers, courses) each is named for one of the apostles.
What is the significance of the foundations and gates?
It names those in the wife of the Lamb.
The size of the New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:15-17 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.
What is foursquare?
Four sides squared.
What are the dimensions of the city? (furlong = 202 yards)
1377 miles long, wide and high. Some commentators make it 1500 miles.
What is the overall shape of the city?
A cube or perhaps a pyramid or mountain shape.
How tall is the wall? (cubit = 1.5 feet)
216 feet high or over 20 stories.
The beauty of the New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:18-21 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.
Overall the city is transparent or translucent and appears like transparent gold. Each side of the city has 3 gates named for the 12 tribes and 12 foundations named for the 12 apostles. Every gate is constructed from one massive pearl.
Violet ( Jacinth)
Why would the city need gates?
It would seem to show that the citizens of New Jerusalem will have access to the new earth. We will go in an out to enjoy the rest of the new heavens and new earth.
Missing from the New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:22-27 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 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 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.
List those things which will not be in the city.
There is no temple, and no need of sun or moon. No night, neither is there anything that defiles, works of abominations nor lies.
Who are the nations that are mentioned in this passage?
The nations refers to the people outside the nation of Israel, in other words the Gentiles. This gives us three distinct groups in New Jerusalem; Israel, the Church and the Gentiles outside of both Israel and the Church.
The life of the New Jerusalem
Revelation 22:1-5 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 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.
The life of the city is a pure river of water flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. (The river could be a representation of the Holy Spirit). The tree of life grows there with 12 manner of fruit, which bears every month, 12 times a year with leaves which heal the nations.
Since the leaves of the Tree of Life are for healing, does this mean there will be illness in Heaven?
No the word healing is the same as our word therapy (Gk. therapeian) it conveys the idea of ongoing health. In the same way as God wiping away our tears implies eternal deliverance from sorrow, the trees of life implies eternal deliverance from sickness, decay and disease.
Revelaton 22:6-21 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
John was told not to seal the prophecies for the “time is at hand.” It has been over 2000 years, so how can the time be at hand?
The “imminent” return of Christ means that He could come back at any time. Once he comes back then these events will begin. There are no signs for this present church age. This is the last dispensation before the return of Christ and in the entire scope of God’s plan things are passing quickly.
How should we understand the command to the unjust and filthy to remain in that state.
It is given in light of the prophecies and promises of this book. Reject them or accept them, make your choice! In making that choice you will remain unjust and filthy or righteous and holy.
Notice how Jesus emphasizes this book as being true in verse 16.
I, Jesus (leaving to doubt as to who authorized the vision.)
I am the root and the offspring of David (showing both source and heritage of Israel’s rightful king.)
The bright and morning star (The star that heralds the coming of a new day.)
Who issues the invitation to come in vs. 17?
The Spirit and the Bride, church. (The two now working in this present age to bring people to Christ)
Who is the invitation given to?
Him that hears, him that is thirsty, and whosoever will. Notice that he who hears is to pass on the invitation to others.
In addition to the invitation a solemn warning is given in vs. 18. What are we warned against?
Adding to or taking away the words of the book of this prophecy.
Is this specific to Revelation or does it apply to all scripture?
It applies to all.
Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of Jehovah your God which I command you.
Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, Lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
There is great danger when one says he has received God’s word outside of His written word. There is no further revelation now that the Book of Revelation is finished. Anyone who says they are hearing God directly today must be judged as adding to or taking away from God’s written word and are under God’s judgment.
Jesus reaffirms the truth of John’s writing and of His own return in vs. 10.
He emphasizes the truth in two words of promise and guarantee. “Surely I come quickly. Amen.” He wants us to have no doubt He is coming back.
How does John respond to Jesus promise?
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Even with all pain and judgment that will precede Jesus’ return, with all the loss and suffering brought to the earth, still John’s most fervent desire is “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
The book of Revelation and the Bible closes with a benediction often used by New Testament writers.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen”
With the final Amen, God’s plan for the ages is complete. It is fitting that John’s benediction brings us back to the one element in all the universe that motivated God to do all He did. Grace is God’s unmerited, undeserved, unearned love toward us. In the end, as in the beginning it is all because of God’s grace and our accepting or rejecting that gift of Grace.
Even so, come Lord Jesus!