Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#Revelation 21> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> New Heavens And Earth, New Jerusalem ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22)
     D. New Heavens and Earth (21)
     E. New Jerusalem (21-22)

Just after the events of the millennial kingdom and Great White Throne judgment, John saw the eternal state. Chapter 21 describes the new heavens, earth, and Jerusalem.

D. New Heavens and Earth (21)

First, John saw the new heavens and earth. Since "the first heaven and the first earth were passed away", this seems to refer to an entirely new creation. This is supported by other statements, such as chapter 20, where, at the presence of Christ's face, the heavens and earth "fled away", and there was "no more place found for them". The word "new", can mean both newly made and new in character.

Very little is said about the heavens and earth themselves. One new aspect will be that there is no sea. Very few other passages in the Bible describe the eternal state, and those which do, often mix descriptions of the millennial kingdom with the new heavens and earth. It is common, though, in prophecy, to foresee future events as though they occur at the same time, or out of their true order in time.

E. New Jerusalem (21-22)

In much more detail, John describes what he saw of New Jerusalem. In contrast to the most recent picture of "Sodom" (11:8), New Jerusalem will be "holy". This name is also given in Matthew 4:5, and 27:53. As a bride adorned for her husband, so New Jerusalem will reflect the beauty of costly gems and purest gold.

Interestingly, this new place will descend out of heaven. Nothing is said, here about it being created. This may imply that the city was already in existence, and that it was simply lowered to earth. In John 14:2, Christ said, "I go to prepare a place for you". Perhaps New Jerusalem is the city Christ has been building.

New Jerusalem will include the presence of God. In the past, God tabernacled with the nation Israel, then indwelt believers. Here again, God's tabernacle will be with men. He will "dwell with them". They shall be His people, and He Himself will be with them, and be their God.

Another new facet of this creation is the absence of "death, sorrow, crying, or pain. God "shall wipe away all tears", and men will be free from any kind of suffering, "for the former things are passed away". Christ says "I make all tings new".

This summary seems to mark the completion of God's new creation. Christ declares Himself the Alpha and Omega (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), which may describe His eternal nature as the "beginning and the end".

Interestingly, Revelation seems to show the completion of the divine program much in the same way Genesis introduced it. In Genesis 1:1, God created the earth. In Revelation 21:1, He makes a new heaven and earth. In Genesis, God created the sun. Here, there will be no need of the sun (v23). In Genesis, night is established. In Revelation, there will be no night (22:5). In Genesis, God created the seas. The new creation will have no sea (21:1). The curse appears in Genesis 3:14-17. 
 
There is no curse in the eternal state (22:3). Death began in Genesis, but here, there will be no more death (21:4). Man was driven from paradise (Genesis 3:24), but will now be restored (22:14). Sorrow and pain began in Genesis (3:17), but there will be no tears or pain in New Jerusalem(21:4). Christ is the "beginning and the end".

God promises that whoever overcomes shall inherit all things, including a close relationship with God, which is likened to that of a son. Although this applies to all saints, it may be especially motivating to those who will endure the Great Tribulation.

In contrast to the old, the new creation will not include the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, or liars. These will "have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death". This does not imply that one's works will merit the eternal state. Rather, it describes the nature of the people whom God has not saved, as opposed to those He has.

John next saw a more detailed view of the New Jerusalem. The angel which showed it, referred to it as "the bride, the Lamb's wife. In the Old Testament, Israel was likened to the wife of Jehovah. The New Testament declares the church the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:27; 2 Corinthians 11:2, etc.). Here, however, New Jerusalem is also called the bride of Christ.

What John saw, was a city which reflected "the glory of God". As His image was described by gems (chapter 4), so this city looks like "a stone most precious", "clear as crystal". Various descriptions are given as to the appearance and dimensions of New Jerusalem.

First, it had a "wall great and high". This is later measured at 144 cubits, which is about 216 feet tall. There were twelve gates (three on each wall), each one with an angel to guard it, and the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. In addition, there were twelve foundations, in which were the names of the "twelve apostles of the Lamb".

An angel measured the length, width and height of the city, using a golden rod, but the measurements were given in human measurements. It was about 1,500 miles long, wide and high. Various shapes have been suggested. Given these dimensions, it is apparently something like a giant cube, or pyramid.
To describe the beauty and brilliance of the city, the text likens them to various precious stones and pure gold. The wall was like jasper (clear), and the city itself was "pure gold, like unto clear glass".

The foundations of the wall were "garnished with all manner of precious stones". The first was jasper (clear); the second sapphire (perhaps blue, like a diamond); the third chalcedony (sky blue, with other colors running through it?); the fourth and emerald (bright green); the fifth, sardonyx (red and white); the sixth, sardius (reddish); the seventh, chrysolite (transparent gold); eighth, beryl (sea green); the ninth, a topaz (transparent yellow-green); the tenth, a chrysoprasus (some shade of green); the eleventh, a jacinth (violet); the twelfth, an amethyst (purple).

There were twelve gates, each one made of a single pearl. The street of the city was made of a pure, transparent gold, like glass. There was no temple, because "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it". Also, there will be no sun or moon, because the glory of God and the Lamb will light it.

All the nations of those who are saved, will walk in the light of New Jerusalem, and the kings of the earth will "bring their glory and honour into it. The gates will not be shut by day, and there will be no night. There will be no security problems, and nothing which defiles, works "abomination", or that makes a lie, will be permitted to enter. New Jerusalem will include only those whose names are written in the "Lamb's book of life".

2 comments:

Dennis Thurman said...

Thank God for the blessed hope taught from the blessed old Book! Maranatha!

Randy said...

Amen.

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