Revelation Series #30
the New Jerusalem -part 2
Think of stepping on shore and finding it heaven:
Think of grasping a hand and finding it God's;
Think of breathing new air and finding it celestial;
Think of feeling transformed, and finding it immortality;
Think of waking up and finding it home.
[Robert E. Selle]
Alright Saints, we are Marching to Zion, we are pressing toward the upward way, John was shown the City of God, the New Heaven, and New Earth, last week. He was shown the City of the People of God, the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven like a Bride making her grand entrance.
I closed last week making some observations about this City, this New Earth, New Heaven, that I'd like to repeat
It is …
Permanent - no longer in tents, no longer in bodies of clay, no longer wood hay, and stubble. This is the permanent dwelling of God and his people together.
There will be no death, no destruction, no eviction, no bills due
Precious - the building materials are the finest metals and stones. But being that life never ends and we can't put a price tag on being eternal this is a precious, priceless place.
Protected - walls, no fear, no need to close the gates because no invaders will be coming
Provided for - living water, nourishment (we will come to this in a minute
Powerful - no need for heat, light
Prepared - Jesus said, I go and prepare a place for you, when this city comes down out of Heaven, the preparation is complete. She comes as a Bride prepared for her groom
Presence - Eternally with God - dwells with us eternally, and we are in HIS presence eternally
Perfect and Pure - Cubed, unified in law and grace - it will be as God is, perfect and pure, Holy and Righteous
Peace - God is Lord, tears are wiped away, literally means to anoint or wash in every part wiped OUT of the eyes … or emptied of our tears … Death is no more, as mourning, crying, pain! YES …
This is a New Ordering of things, New Laws of nature, physics, etc will govern the world
John has viewed this beautiful City coming out of heaven.
It gleams like the sun with Walls Made of 12 foundations made of 12 precious stones, Walls made of Jasper or Diamond, that are clear and sparkling, in those walls are 4 sets of 3 gates on each side. Each Gate is made of one solid Pearl
We know that the pearl is a stone made from the suffering of the oyster, the irritation.
We have all known suffering but will not know it again as we pass through the gates
Because of the suffering of Christ, by one man, Adam, all sinned by one man Christ, all come to Grace. Because of HIS suffering we enter these gates reminded but Eternal.
As we begin to move in, we find that the City itself is made of pure gold, and the main street is pure gold, so pure that it is clear
Now we continue inside and John has a few more things he takes note of
Read with me Chapter 22:1-6
1. The River
- this isn't a dirty muddy river like our city knows
- this is a crystal clear river
- this river doesn't start in some spring in the mountains, it begins and flows from the Throne of God and of the Lamb
- It IS not a contaminated water, it's not even clean mountain spring water … it is literally the water of life. It is the water that has within it the properties that sustain life
Jesus said in John 7 - "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink"
In John 4 he told the woman from Samaria - "whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst"
There are many that would make these just symbolic waters; waters of grace or love, or peace, but there is no reason to believe that this is not a literal, heavenly river, made from God, by God, for his people for their pleasure in the city in which he will dwell eternally with his people.
This river, is a river of promise, a river of provision, and a river of pleasure
Psalm 46:4 - "there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells"
Psalm 36:7-9 "How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light"
Remember that James wrote that "Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of light, the Lord of love"
There is no want for refreshment in heaven it is all there.
Be sure that we have a taste of Heaven within us now. Do you know that we have a bit of the River of the City of God within us?
Can you taste it? If God's Spirit is within you, then the River Flows within you
John 7:37-39 - ?37? On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. ?38? Whoever believes in me, as?b? the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." ?39? By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
2. The Tree
- one each side of the River
- some would say that it is one large tree … I would tend to agree with the simplicity of the text. If it is on either side of the river, flowing down the center, that gives me a picture of multiple trees, but of a singular species. Like you would say that the Apple Tree grows there. That can mean AN apple tree or that the Apple tree as a type of tree grows there.
Even so this Tree grows and lines the river the splits the main street. Coming from the Throne of God. One writer imagines this MAIN street to mean all of the MAIN streets in heaven, which if in this perfect cube of existence, if there were 1 main street spaced a mile a part beside and above, in a 1500 mile cubed city could hold 8 million main streets, … could they all be lined with the river and the trees? Perhaps but the beauty of ONE main street split by the River of Life lined with the Tree of Life is almost too awesome for my simple mind.
-2 produces 12 types of fruit on a monthly rotation
-3 leaves provide health
This matches the vision of Ezekiel in 47:12 by the way. However, I believe that Ezekiel is talking about the Millennial earth and John in seeing the Holy City, in the Eternal time. Ezekiel's river comes from the Temple, and This one from the Throne as there is no more temple. It doesn't flow to the sea but throughout the city. Can you see the view outside your mansion, the Beautiful Blvd. with a Tree lined river flowing down the middle.
- "will we eat in heaven" - YES … for pleasure and for celebration but NOT to sustain life in the caloric sense - Angels ate with Abraham, Jesus ate after his resurrection in his body which ours will be like. Jesus told his disciples he would eat with them again. We will eat at the marriage supper of the lamb. The Temple had showbread always on the Table from which the priests ate, it was a picture that we too would one day eat freely of the Tree of Life.
- leaves are for healing for the nations --- what this means exactly we don't know because it doesn't tell us. - of this you can be sure it is for the sustenance of health not the restoration of health because there is no more sickness and death
3. The Curse is Dead
What curse? SIN and DEATH
We often say in frustration … "I am sick and tired" … Bill Cosby said his Mother always said that, he said "tired always follows sick" … he says the worse spanking he ever got was when his Mother said "I am sick" to which he replied "and tired"
Well sin and death are a doubled edged curse. Wherever sin goes, death follows, wherever death is, sin has been. Now, I am NOT saying that every person that dies does so because of an immediately preceding sin, BUT I AM saying that every death is the result of SIN. And Eternal Death will be the result of the worst of sin and that is the arrogance that rejects Christ.
Adam and Eve sinned, when they ate of the Tree of Knowledge, that sin caused them to lose access to the tree of life. Disobedience is sin and sin leads to death. Death of promise, death in relationship, death. Adam and Eve were "kicked out of the pool" shut out of Eden, the ground no longer produced fruit easily, they had to work hard at it. Childbearing became a burdensome thing for women. Death entered the world. Then with the Flood, sin brought a change again in the world, changing climates, and lifespan, death again the result and lingering result of sin. Before the sin in the garden Adam and Eve had perfect relationship with God, they walked and talked with him, in his presence, in the cool of the day. But after the sin, they had to go through sacrifices to be in right relationship with God and no longer could see God face to face because of sin. Adam and Eve were to serve God directly by tending his garden but they lost that job because of sin and death.
But verse 3 says "No longer will there be any curse". Sin is defeated and banished, death and the grave are cast with the unbelievers and Satan and his servants into Hell, the Lake of Fire. The CURSE is DEAD, because sin is dead. Those two partners in crime will never affect the people of God again.
Obedience is always followed by life and blessing. 21:5 said "I am making everything NEW … that means fresh, unworn, unheard of, unprecedented. We will get everything back that we lost at Adam's fall.
- The Throne of God will be in the City
- We will have the Blessing of Serving him again --- this will not be a difficult service, it will not be a disappointing service, no "eyes will be rolled" at God's requests. It will be a fruitful, satisfying, fulfilling, joyous service …
- they will see his face - why? Because of obedience --- Mt 5:7 - Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God … our holiness, righteousness, reflected in our obedience will enable us to see God
- his name will be on their foreheads - we will be on his team again and forever … I know this is really simple, but I think of a team ballcap. It will be stamped on our foreheads, we are his, we claim him, he claims us … What a glorious wonderful thing
- There will be no night - we will not need rest, we will not fear attack
- There will be nothing but the Light of God --- no shadows … no generated light … the Lord will be all that we need
The river is of life, the Tree is of life. Do you understand that everything God does, he does with the intention of life, and life abundant?
It is all about life with him, life through him, life in him
4. The Glorious Repetition
I've already referred to the curse being gone and being in God's presence and no night but let me draw attention to it again
Through these two chapters there are some images that are repeated …
No need for OTHER Light
Because of one Repetitious Refrain
God is on the THRONE
He was Eden's God, he was the God to whom Melchizedek gave honor and worship, he was Israel's King until she cried out for a King of Flesh. He was the God on the throne that Job came to know by Experience as Lord of the Universe. He was the God that Isaiah saw high and Lifted up. He was God that Daniel saw on the throne. He was the God who became flesh and dwelt among us and then set up residence in our hearts as King of our heart. He is the one on the Throne when we are caught up. He is the one on the throne when the Nations rage against him. He is the one on the throne when Satan is ultimately defeated.
Even now Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the time when the Father says GOGet Your Bride!
The Glorious Repetition of this Revelation is that Jesus Christ, the Father and Son REIGN!
Be not afraid, not because you are in heaven, but because The Lord God Almighty is on the Throne
Do not cry, not because you have all happy things, but because the Lord God Almighty is on the Throne.
Notice how our vision and dispensation of the Throne has changed.
The throne is not even noticed in the first 3 chapters, then in chapters 4-20 It is a Throne of Judgment and Restoration … Oh but things are different now …
David had a great and powerful reign but it was a reign of war and conflict and so he did not build the Temple. But Solomon was given the throne of his Father. But In 1 Kings 5:3-4 he says "you now that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. 4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster."
1 Cor 15:24-28 ?24? Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. ?25? For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. ?26? The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ?27? For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. ?28? When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
My Best understanding of the Godhead is that it is a purposeful Trinity. Even here in Revelation you see very little reference to the Spirit. He is equally God, but his job is to empower, convict, and draw attention to the Son. The Father has made all things subject to the son and then the son will put everything subject to the Father and then God will be ALL in ALL
Now in the New Jerusalem … God sits on his throne in the way that Solomon typified.
Victorious, At Peace, No Foes Remain, No Destruction Reigns
The Final Foe of Death destroyed and GOD in his unity Father, Son, and Spirit, rules, reigns, flows life evermore, served, loved by his people.
It is the FINAL and ultimate Throne of God.
The only ones who dwell, and administrate in this dominon are God and his Saints.
No more self-serving supposed sovereigns, no more phoney politicians, no more terrifying tyrants, no more atheistic anarchists,
He shall reign and we with him for ever and ever without end, without fail
We will Serve Him --- Zech. 14:20 ? "On that day HOLY TO THE Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord's house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. ?21? Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty …"
Every simple pot in the Kitchen will be like the most Sacred of Vessels of Service in the Tabernacle. What that tells me is that we will be used for the purpose we were intended, that is to Reflect his Righteous Perfection and to Serve his Purposes. We will be fully at his disposal. And we will have control over ourselves. The greatest administration we will have in that kingdom is that we will have administration over sin, we will no longer sin, we will no longer be subject but in control and authority over the sin that would overtake us
Rom 6:12-14 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. ?13? Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. ?14? For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
What are we going to do in Eternity? You are asking the wrong question.
The question is WHO and WHOSE will we be in Eternity.
We will be Holy, Consecrated, Authoritative, Servants belonging to the Most High God, at his disposal, available for his instruction, serving in joy and gratitude.
And like Adam over the Garden, so will be the Lord's servants with dominion over what he has given us to do, for ever and ever!!
We are his and HOLY is the LORD will be stamped all over us … it will come out of every pore of our being.
The High Priest had special clothes he wore, but on his Brow (his Forehead) was a Bronze plate on which was engrave the Name of the Almighty he served. So it will be for us as Priests to the Most High God.
Like a honored servant wearing a badge of approval
Like a Knight wearing the ribbon or necklace of Gold given by his Sovereign for Faithfully administering and representing him
So we will bear the greatest thing the Father could give us in approval and honor. We will have long since cast our crowns at his feet, but he will give us his NAME on our Brow …
"They are Mine, they are Loved They are Honored"
Glory to God we are HIS!
I will stop here … and Next week speaking just from verse 6 … I will try and sum up ALL that we have learned in the last 9 months and then the following week I will preach to you a message Titled "Behold I Am Coming SOON". And we will close this Exposition on Revelation for Now.
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