The New Jerusalem ~ Part 1

Revelation 21:9-14
The End Times

In my last post, we reviewed the Revelation 21:1-8 ~ Overview of the New Creation.  In this post, we continue to explore Revelation 21:9-21 ~ The New Jerusalem.

9 One of the seven angels having the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues approached me and said, “Come! I will show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.” 10 He carried me off in the Spirit to the top of a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It had the Sh’khinah of God, so that its brilliance was like that of a priceless jewel, like a crystal-clear diamond. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates; at the gates were twelve angels; and inscribed on the gates were the names of the twelve tribes of Isra’el. 13 There were three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south and three gates to the west. 14 The wall of the city was built on twelve foundation-stones, and on these were the twelve names of the twelve emissaries of the Lamb.” ~ Revelation 21:9-14 (CJB)

One of the seven angels having the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues approached me and said, “Come! I will show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.” 10 He carried me off in the Spirit to the top of a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God. M. R. DeHaan writes of confusion about the New Jerusalem: [1]

Let us now consider the description of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the Lamb’s wife. Theologians have been confused by this expression “the holy Jerusalem, the Lamb’s wife.” How can the New Jerusalem be a city and at the same time be the wife of the Lamb, the bride of Christ? If we study the passage carefully, there need be no difficulty. The city and its occupants are one. This chapter of Revelation concerns a literal city of inexpressible beauty. It is the New Jerusalem. The redeemed church of Christ, the bride of the Lamb, is to dwell in that New Jerusalem. The city and its inhabitants are one. Today we speak the same concerning cities. When I mention a certain city, for example, Grand Rapids, Michigan, I may mean either or both the material city and its buildings or the inhabitants of Grand Rapids. From one point of view, Grand Rapids is a city. However, Grand Rapids is also a company of people who, like myself, live here. For instance, if I say that Grand Rapids is a beautiful city, you know that I refer to its beautiful location and its fine buildings and streets. But if I say that Grand Rapids is a wicked city, you know immediately that I am referring to the people of Grand Rapids and not to its buildings, streets, and trees. The term “Grand Rapids” may refer either to the city itself or to the people who live there. In the same way, God speaks of the New Jerusalem. The term indicates both a literal city and also the occupants of that city; it is both the city and the bride, the building, and its occupant. That is why God calls it both “the holy city” and “the wife of the Lamb.”

It had the Sh’khinah of God, so that its brilliance was like that of a priceless jewel, like a crystal-clear diamond. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates; at the gates were twelve angels; and inscribed on the gates were the names of the twelve tribes of Isra’el. 13 There were three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south and three gates to the west. The glory of God illuminates the entire city. Later, in Revelation 21:25, it is disclosed that night will not exist there. The people of Yochanan’s day lived in fear of the Roman soldiers. Night time seemed only to intensify the horror. Therefore, the mention of walls and gates gave the additional comfort of safety to the people of Yochanan’s day. Also, the posting of an angel at each gate communicated the idea of further support that in this eternal state, all fear would be gone. The fact that the twelve tribe’s names will be inscribed on the twelve gates certainly implies that Israel will have access to the holy city along with the bride of Christ.

The wall of the city was built on twelve foundation-stones, and on these were the twelve names of the twelve emissaries of the Lamb. Thus, the foundation has been laid, the walls built, and the gates hung. The names of the twelve apostles and the twelve tribes of Israel are inscribed visually and prominently, so no one will ever forget that the heritage of the saints of all ages is rooted in them. This is precisely the teaching of the Rabbi Sha’ul when he tells the Kehilah: You have been built on the foundation of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah Himself. ~ Ephesians 2:20 (CJB).

The twelve tribes of Israel are mentioned in the Brit Hadashah at Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:30, where the emissaries are to judge them; at Acts 26:7 as a synonym for the entire Jewish people; at Ya’akov 1:1 in the greeting; and at Revelation 7:4-8 by name. The twenty-four elders of Revelation 4:4 may represent the tribes plus the emissaries. Conclusion: there is no Kehilah apart from the Jewish people and no Israel apart from the Brit Hadashah.

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 21:15-21 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

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