The new heaven & the new earth
Rev. 21:1-27 John sees ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ (see Isaiah 65:17 & 2 Peter 3:13) and the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. God comes to dwell on earth with those who have lived a godly life, and there is no more death, crying or pain in the new order of things.
Everything in the city is new and it sparkles like precious jewels. There is no temple in the New Jerusalem because God lives there with the righteous Jewish and Gentile believers who have been given a new bodily life.
Rev. 22:1-22:6 This new heavenly kingdom on earth is well watered, and fruit trees, laden with fruit all the year round, line the main street. It is always daylight and there are no times of darkness (see Isaiah 60:19).
The New Jerusalem
At the end of Revelation, John has a vision of the New Jerusalem coming down to earth from heaven. In this new order, the boundaries between heaven and earth are broken down, and God lives on earth with his resurrected and renewed people.
John describes the ‘Holy City’ in striking, symbolic terms. It shines like crystal because it reflects the glory of God (see Exodus 40:34 & 1 Kings 8:11). It has high walls with twelve gates – high walls to protect the inhabitants from the forces of evil, and twelve gates representing the twelve tribes of Israel. The wall has twelve foundation stones – representing the twelve disciples of Jesus. The city is therefore symbolically built on the foundations of both Judaism and Christianity.
The city walls of Jerusalem (Revelation 21:12)
The city is laid out like a square – a perfectly formed shape. All its measurements are multiples of twelve – again reflecting its Judaeo-Christian foundations. The walls are made of precious stones and the city is built of gold – both symbols of perfection. The gates are fashioned out of a single pearl and the streets are made of pure gold. Indeed, everything in this renewed world is perfect.
There is no temple in the New Jerusalem because God and Jesus (the ‘Lamb of God’) dwell here among their people. The city has no need of the sun or the moon because the glory of God shines everywhere (see Ezekiel 1:26-28). Its gates are open permanently because it’s always light and night never falls. There’s nothing impure in the city because only believers who do God’s will and whose names are therefore recorded in the ‘Book of Life’ are allowed to live a renewed earthly life in God’s holy presence.
The new earthly order
Rev. 22:7-19 Jesus promises to come soon to usher in this new world order – the new ‘heaven on earth’. He’ll reward everyone for “what you have done.” (Revelation 22:12).
Jesus is the first and the last, the ‘Alpha’ and the ‘Omega’ (‘Α’ and ‘Ω’ – the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), the beginning and the end. He is the “bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16) (see 2 Peter 1:19) descended from King David (see Isaiah 11:1 & 10 and Matthew 1:1).
The Alpha & the Omega, Church of all Nations, Jerusalem (Revelation 22:13)
Rev. 22:20-21 The Book of Revelation ends with a prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20) and a benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all” (Revelation 22:21).
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