30 Nov. Revelation 21:1-27

30 Nov. John's vision of the new combined heaven and earth

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and there was no sea anymore."

"And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband."

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 'Now God's presence is with people, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying or pain, because all the old ways are gone'."

"The One who was sitting on the throne said, 'Look! I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted'."

"The One on the throne said to me, 'It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give free water from the spring of the water of life to anyone who is thirsty. Those who win the victory will receive this, and I will be their God, and they will be my children..."

"Then one of the seven angels... came to me, saying, 'Come with me, and I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And the angel carried me away by the Spirit to a very large and high mountain. He showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God."

"It was shining with the glory of God and was bright like a very expensive jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. The city had a great high wall with twelve gates with twelve angels at the gates, and on each gate was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel... The walls of the city were built on twelve foundation stones, and on the stones were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb..."

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord Almighty and the Lamb are the city's temple. The city does not need the sun or the noon to shine on it, because the glory of God is its light, and the Lamb is the city's lamp... The city's gates will never be shut on any day, because there is no night there..."

"Nothing unclean and no one who does shameless things or tells lies will ever go into it. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will enter the city."

          (Revelation 21:1-27)


 

At the climax of John's dramatic vision, he 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.

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 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.

In the final scenes from John's vision, Jesus promises to come soon to usher in this new world order – this new ‘heaven on earth’.

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 Book of Revelation ends with a prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20) and with a benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all” (Revelation 22:21).

The photo shows the symbols of the Alpha & the Omega on the gateway of the Church of all Nations in Jerusalem.

You can read more from the Revelation of John @ The Bible Journey | The new heaven & the new earth


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