Revelation Series #29
The New Jerusalem
Oh I don’t know when this day will come … but it IS coming!!
After 1000’s of years of history …
After 2000 + years of waiting for the fulfillment of Christ’s promised return …
After 7 years of Tribulation as God exacts the necessary judgment on those who have rejected him …
After God cleanses and calls Israel back to himself …
After the awful judgment, wars, famine, disease …
After the Bride of Christ is presented spotless and blameless ready for union with Christ …
After the glorious 1000 years of celebration with the Lord …
After the brief and pointless final defeat of Satan …
After the dead without Christ have stood at the Great White Throne …
After all without Christ have been cast with Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet, into the Fires of Hell …
… John’s eyes saw something wonderful
Now, Let’s Read Revelation 21 and see how much we cover today.
READ CHAPTER 21
Now we’ve had divisions we’ve grown accustomed to for most of this book, 4 of them. Then the last chapter we have had 3 divisions regarding the 1000 years of chapter 20.
Now for these final 2 chapters there are 3 different divisions that govern our interpretation of these chapters. These 3 are actually divided into 2 bigger groups
The Two Groups are LITERALists and NON-Literalists … hmmm where do you think I may fall?
The Literalists -à Take these two chapters well … pretty literally. It speaks to a new planet and universe in one sense or another that will be created or recreated at the Close of the Millennium for (pre-mils) or at the Second Coming for some “amills” and some “post-mills”. They believe that the New Jerusalem will be the eternal home of the redeemed
The Non-Literalist -à are sub-divided into two groups …
A) symbolic view– believing that the whole picture is symbolic of a nonmaterial state that we will have in heaven.
B) Spiritualists – see the New Heaven and Earth to represent the New Creation of being born again in Christ. Thus in the New Heaven and Earth, instead of being in the Old Heaven and Earth of the Old Covenant.
For them the New Jerusalem is the Church itself with the imagery of a New Holy of Holies … That is the Tabernacle of God is with men … in the present earthly existence
Now some would also leave room for a bit of a combination saying that while this is definitely pointing to a future time of Eternity with God, it also can be seen as a picture of the perfection that the Church is pressing toward and becoming in Christ Jesus, here and now.
Well … I would say that we definitely can learn things about the hear and now by studying this passage.
Hey, I have said that our job is to be a church like Heaven, so there is much to be learned and strived for in this passage.
However, when the natural sense makes GOOD sense, don’t make any other sense or you make nonsense.
Now I will be the first to admit that the images in these last two chapters are Marvelous, Wondrous, Awesome, But they Are REAL
They are Trustworthy and True … When you can’t see the Shore keep your eye on the God of the Storm
When you can’t understand or imagine, know what you know, like you’ve never known it before
Believe what you’ve believed more than you’ve ever believed it
What is faith if you have a complete hold on it
Paul didn’t say he had it all figured out
He said I KNOW the full details of the Future? NO
I Know how it’s all going to happened? NO
He said “I know in whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to keep that which I’ve committed to him against that day”
So if this passage makes perfect sense literarily to believe that it is meant to be TRUE, then I know that this is what God has in STORE for me and though I may not be able to Fathom, it WHO CARES … I cannot fathom God so why should I imagine to fathom his Eternity. I cannot fathom how he spoke this world into existence so how should I imagine to be able to Fathom how he restores it
I KNOW in whom I have Believed and I am CONVINCED, steadfast, standing on solid footing, know that he is ABLE to keep, and deliver to me what he has for me, what he has promised me, what I have committed to him for THAT ETERNAL DAY!
Hallelujah! --- You ought to praise him like a madman!
1. John … saw
A. a New Heaven and an New Earth – now there is question as to whether this New Heaven and New Earth mean completely recreated out of nothingness or whether it means restored, recreated from the same materials, renewed, cleansed. Now there are GREAT scholars on BOTH sides, the important thing is we know God is giving us something fresh, but let me tell you why I believe what I believe
1. Heaven and Earth – the word for earth literally means the ground, land … and … Heaven … we know there are 3 “Heavens”. There is the “Heavens” in which the birds fly, where the clouds are, that is our atmosphere. Then there is the Heavens in which the Stars and planets, the galaxies exist. And then there is Heaven that is where God dwells, where Christ is at the right hand of the Father even now. Now, two of those three are subjected to the decay and sinfulness of man. That would be 1st and 2nd Heaven.
2. New – the Greek word kainos /kahee-nos/ -- new, with respect to form, recently made, fresh, unused unworn … with respect to substance – of a new kind, unprecedented, -- So this earth, and the Heavens, are going to be fresh, new, unworn, unprecedented as nothing we’ve ever seen.
3. For the First Heaven and First Earth has passed away – First = protos – first in time or place/succession – had passed away – aperchomai /ap-erkh-om-ahee/ to go away, depart, to go after --- This word was used for a Ship that had gone over the horizon or for a man who had passed through a door. Now … if the question is whether the OLD earth and heaven have been Annihilated and started over, I don’t think so. Because when someone goes through a door, they haven’t been done away with, just gone away to a different place, as it is with a ship over the horizon. --- Can you back that up Pastor? I’m glad you asked
a. 2 Peter 3:5,6, 10-13 --- compares the time of the end to the Flood of Noah … look there with me. Now the Earth Perished or was destroyed … it even changed in configuration and atmosphere, but it didn’t go away … So, the Fire of God will cleanse, renew, restore, change, things.
b. When does this happen? Could I offer the suggestion as being at the end of chapter 20. The Great White Throne is where God judges all those whose name are NOT in the book of life and it says that Heaven and earth fled away? Could it be that at the Fire of Judgment there, the earth was renewed and cleansed as well? Could that be the day of fire, the day of purging, the day of universal renovation? The day when sin is destroyed, the curse is destroyed? It didn’t happen until then, because death and hades (the grave) are not destroyed until the millennium is over.
c. One more … Matthew 19:28 – says that “…at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his throne …” --- that word there renewal or regeneration … means, remaking, rebirth, it is the word paliggenesia or palingenesis … re-birth … the RE – Genesis
d. that is what creation is waiting, groaning, longing for … they are NOT longing for annihilation in Romans 9:19 … who would be waiting for that … The earth was cursed by us and it knows that its creator will recreate it one day. There will be a taste of it in Millennium but completion in the New Heaven and New Earth
There will be a time in that day of RE-GENESIS … of all things, Paul says in 2 Cor 5 … that THIS HOUSE I live in is going to be recreated and resurrected … but if it is going to be different, then where is the promise. If I’m just going to be a completely different look and person in my new body, what hope is there for my current body. NO … I will be recreated, restored, refreshed, renewed. Jesus after the Resurrection was still recognizable, yet not always at first. Why? I think every wrinkle, laugh line, sign of the struggle of this fallen world was gone. We were watching Kenny Rogers on TV the other day and I said to Lisa, “what is it, he looks different, his beard is different but that’s not it, his hair is a little different, but that’s not it” … then it hit us … “he’s had a face lift” … there were no lines. IN the resurrection, I am NOT remade, out of different material, I am restored … so will this earth be, the universe,
B. No More Sea --- what exactly does this mean … no water? No, I don’t think so. But it means that it will not be like it is now. What do the Seas do? They separate people. They divide people. You know scientists suggest that at one time the continents were all connected. And billions of years separated them. Well, IF they were connected, could it be that a FLOOD separated them? Hmmm … Could be. But Could it be that in this time of the end … the world will again be ONE PLACE … not divided by oceans but all one place inhabited in unity by those who love Christ.
C. The Holy City, The New Jerusalem
1. coming down out of Heaven … FROM GOD --- 3rd Heaven
2. Prepared as a Bride Beautifully dressed for her husband
3. More on this City in a bit, but notice that she is beautiful, she is prepared, and she is set apart, holy. We don’t see other cities, we see ONE set apart, special city.
4. I thought the CHURCH was the Bride … The OLD Order of things has passed … Now as we see Jerusalem, it is the Dwelling Place of God’s People. Is a City Buildings, Brick and Mortar? IS a Church, bricks and mortar? No ultimately a city is the people. So the people of God that inhabit the city are Reflected as the City, and the City is Adorned in her structural buildings as the Clothing of the people of God.
2. I Heard a Loud Voice from the Throne
1. Now the Dwelling place of God is with men
a. this is what God has ALWAYS wanted.
b. he walked with Adam in the cool of the day
c. he tabernacled with his people
d. he lived with believers in the Person of the Holy Spirit
e. he talked, walked, revealed himself to believers at different times and ways but always had to be shrouded because of our sin and his greatness
f. but we have come back to the garden state … we can stand in his presence and dwell where he dwells
2. he will LIVE with them
3. they will be his people
4. God himself, in person, full manifestation, will be with them as GOD
5. Tears are wiped away
Isaiah 65:17 Behold I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered nor will they come to mind
6. no more death (it’s been cast into hell) no mourning, no crying, no pain PRAISE THE LORD!
7. FOR THE OLD ORDER HAS PASSED AWAY --- it’s a new order, a restored order
1. I am making everything NEW … not different, but new … fresh …
2. write this down … because it’s SYMBOLIC … HUH? No … write this down because it is TRUSTWORTHY … TRUE … you can BET YOUR ETERNITY on it … you can BELIEVE it … it is WORTHY of your TRUST
3. It is DONE … what is?
a. The OLD ORDER of THINGS
b. the completion of everything promised
c. the fulfillment of every prophesy
d. I am ALPHA AND OMEGA … It didn’t start until GOD spoke, and it won’t end until he says IT IS DONE … ! Oh let that in your SPIRIT … you can finagle, you can plot, and scheme, and plan, and purpose, but all a man’s plan belong to him but the outcome belongs to the LORD. He starts and finishes. We may think we are starting but nothing of promise happens till God says … nothing of significance happens without his creation power, nothing has lasting impact without him saying IT IS DONE
1. thirsty ones … will be able to drink … be filled, be satisfied with SPRINGS --- never ending, refreshing water of LIFE … stop drinking from tepid, stagnant, cisterns of disease ridden water … those who recognized their thirst as a thirst for God … can find in him never-ending, life giving springs of water
2. “those who overcome” will inherit ALL THIS … Every promise in this book is for those who overcome … everything in this vision is for those who overcome … Rev 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21, and 12:11 talk about Overcomers. “OH but what if I don’t make it, what if I’m not an overcomer”? –
a. John 1:12 “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God”
b. Rom 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” 13 “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”
c. 1 John 5:4,5 “for everyone born of God overcomes the World. This is the Victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the World? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God”
Everyone who has TRULY believed in and received Christ, who has been BORN of God, IS an Overcomer and WILL Overcome … 1 John 5:12 – “… he who has the son ahs LIFE”
3. I will be their GOD … they my SONS or CHILDREN --- But can I say … Ladies … it’s OK to be called SONS here because … generally the GIRLS didn’t get an inheritance … SONS got the inheritance … so it’s for the same reason that God is NOT a MAN he is FATHER … because we NEED him to be Father, here we ALL are sons, because we need to be sons …
4. Promise to the Unbeliever
a. the coward --- afraid to stand for Christ
b. disbeliever – unwilling to believe
c. vile, murderer, immoral – selfishly loving themselves more than all others
d. seeker of evil influence, demonic powers, substitutionary gods
e. Hell, the Lake of Fire, if for you… the 2nd Death … Eternal Death
5. The Choice is Yours, the Promises are True – No Threats, just Promises
3. John was Shown The Bride, the Holy City
One of those Bowl Angels gets to shown John good news
Taken to a Great and High Mountain
A. The Bride / Wife of the Lamb
1. after the marriage ceremony, everyone waits at the Reception and soon, here she comes, sometimes it is even after dinner … The Bride comes down the grand staircase and into the room … “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you, the BRIDE,” Oh how the Groom beams, and the Father and Mother Beam. She is adorned in White, beauty, her clothes don’t MAKE her, they Describe her.
2. So it is here, as New Jerusalem descends the Angel says to John, “Let me introduce you to the Bride … The bride isn’t the CITY but the City is the PEOPLE and the walls, the structure, adorn her and describe her.
3. The Beauty of this Holy City will be an Eternal Picture of WHO the People of God now ARE through the will of God and the sacrifice of Christ and the working of Holy Spirit.
4. Brilliant like a DIAMOND … a Jasper … Clear shining, gleaming … Oh see it … Can you see it?
John did his best to describe it for us
One more time God measures off, what is his … his dwelling place, his PEOPLE
Do you think Heaven will really be like this? NO … I think this is the CLOSEST John could get in HUMAN Language, Greek or English, Spanish or French, this is as close as we could get. I want to just go down through it. I MAY come back to this next week, but let me go down through it quickly today.
1. High Wall – how high? Full height? Possibly … but it won’t hide her because they are clear
2. 12 Gate – 3 on each side East, North, South, West
a. Twelve Angels at the Gates –
b. On Each Gate is written the names of the 12 Tribes of Israel – there were really 13 because there were 2 ½ tribes, but it’s the completeness
3. Twelve Foundations – the names of the 12 Apostles – Judas’ name? don’t think so, Matthias? Or Paul? Does it matter? No, it’s the completeness
4. Measured the Dimensions
a. City is Square Square – Actually a CUBE … 12,000 Stadia (between 1400-1500 miles) Length, Width, Height – hmmm --- in the Tabernacle and Temple, the Inner Sanctuary, of God’s Presence was a PERFECT CUBE … HMMM … remember the Temple was just a shadow of Heaven
b. Wall – 144 Cubits Thick – roughly about 216 feet thick – Pure Jasper Diamond
5. But the “CITY” (buildings I assume) pure gold, pure like glass --- we don’t have ANY gold that pure here
6. Foundations – Not hidden by the ground … interesting … decorated with precious stones – not all of these stones can be accurately identified today but WHO CARES … just get the PICTURE in your head
a. #1 – Jasper – Diamond – clear
b. #2 – Sapphire – blue
c. #3 – Chalcedony – greenish blue
d. #4 – Emerald – green
e. #5 – Sardonyx – like an onyx white with flecks of brown and color
f. #6 – Carnelian (sardis) – Blood red
g. #7 – chrysolite – yellow quartz
h. #8 – beryl – green, golden yellow or lt blue
i. #9 – Topaz – ancient topaz would be clear yellow / green
j. #10 – chrysoprase – unsure, but possibly gold tinted or apple green
k. #11 – jacinth – blue or some say yellow
l. #12 – amethyst – rich purple or blue/red
I wonder if they are somehow related to the Character of the Apostles? But just this curious Pastor
Most Certainly it is the beautiful eye of the Creator Artist, showing off the majesty of Holiness in his Bride
7. Gates – 12 Single Pearls --- WOW … one writer visualizes the gates being as tall as the walls of 1500 feet, who cares, 10 feet is huge. Pearls are created by the struggle and irritation of the mollusk … So our Gate to Heaven is from the Stripes, the Suffering, the Pain of the Cross our Christ bore
8. Main Street (Great) Pure Gold – like transparent glass. Now it doesn’t actually say that ALL the streets are that way but to the contrary says that the GREAT street is that way … so perhaps the other streets are different … or perhaps there’s only ONE street, one WAY, hmm,
9. Missing Things in Eternity’s Heaven
a. No Temple --- we know from this book and others that there IS a Temple NOW in Heaven, but NOT then, Because GOD Almighty and the LAMB ARE the Temple. The Temple is the Dwelling of God … God Dwells among his PEOPLE … His People are the City … God Dwells forever now with his people. God’s Presence will be everywhere fully experienced and felt
b. No Sun or Moon to Shine – Heaven is LIT by God’s glory, and the Lamp is the Lamb --- Hmm imagine … no SHADOWS in Heaven. Oh the Hymn writer said “Great is thy Faithfulness … there is no shadow of turning in thee” --- Light will come from everywhere at once
10. Nations will be there
a. they will walk in his light
b. Kings will bring their glory … or perhaps their glory will be swallowed up in his greatness --- The picture is of kings coming before the CHIEF King to show his greatness and their surrender
c. Heaven will NOT be a homogeneous place where everyone looks alike. It will be a place where the beauty of God’s Creation shows in man as it does in everything else. Would he make a CITY FOUNDATION like that and make man boring and bland? Oh his Artistry
d. the glory and honor of nations will be brought in … that is to say that the beauty of diversity of God’s creation will be brought it.
e. the ONLY separating factor in Heaven is those in the Book and those NOT in the Book, those HOLY and PURE and those NOT
11. Gates are ALWAYS OPEN … for there is no night
a. there is nothing to fear
b. we will come and go from the city throughout the earth
c. the new heavens and new earth contain the city … that together is what we commonly think of as “HEAVEN” in eternity. We will enjoy his creation
Oh the Holy City
Oh the Lamb of God and His Bride
Oh the Love of the Father to fulfill what he has promised
Oh his patience with us is beyond measure as is his graciousness and goodness
4. Symbolism for Today
The BRIDE OF CHRIST – THE CHURCH
- Guarded by the Truth of Righteous Living
- Founded on the Grace of God Revealed and Released by the Disciples
- Full of the Glory of All People
- Guided by God and Truth of the Word of God Jesus Christ
- Following Nothing Else
- Shining / Calling as an Example a City on a Hill saying COME
5. Hope for Tomorrow
Permanent – no longer in tents, no longer in bodies of clay, no longer wood hay and stubble
Precious – stones and gold
Protected – walls, no fear, no tears
Provided for – living water
Powerful – no need for heat, light, (photosynthesis not necessary J)
Presence – Eternally with God
Perfect and Pure – Cubed, unified in law and grace
Hebrews 11:8-10; 39-40
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 
Come, we that love the Lord, and let our joys be known; join in a song with sweet accord, and thus surround the throne.
Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God; but children of the heav’nly King may speak their joys abroad.
The hill of Zion yields a thousand sacred sweets before we reach the heav’nly fields, or walk the golden streets.
Then let our songs abound and ev’ry tear be dry; we’re marching thru Immanuel’s ground to fairer worlds on high.
Chorus: We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion; we’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.
Wednesday Night Bible study Fall 2005-Spring 2006
The following resources were used among others in preparation
Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Steve Gregg
W.A. Criswell Expository Sermons on Revelation
Dr. J.A. Seiss Expositions on Revelations
MacArthur Bible Studies: Revelation – John MacArthur
Dr. David Jeremiah Expositions on Revelation
The Pulpit Commentary: Revelation
Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Heb 11:39-40). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Heb 11:8-10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions. Includes indexes. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.