The Habitation of God

Revelation 21:22-27
The End Times

In my last post, we reviewed the Revelation 21:15-21 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2.  In this post, we continue to explore Revelation 21:22-27 ~ The Habitation of God.

22 I saw no Temple in the city, for Adonai, God of Heaven’s Armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb.23 The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 Its gates will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there, 26 and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”  ~ Revelation 21:22-27 (CJB)

This section draws on the imagery of Isaiah 60: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of Adonai has risen upon you… Nations will walk at your light, and kings at the brightness of your rising… The wealth of the nations will come to you… Your gates will be open continually—day and night they will not be shut so that people can bring you the wealth of the nations, and their kings in procession… The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the moon give light to you for brightness, but Adonai will be for you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.” (Isaiah 60:1-5, 11, 16, 19-20)

I saw no Temple in the city, for Adonai, God of Heaven’s Armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb. Adonai and the Lamb are the Temple of the new city. No longer is the structure necessary, for the saints are in the immediate presence of the Lord with no need for an earthly mediator or shadows of things eternal. The Temple is the same word used for the sanctuary, or God’s dwelling place, the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of Israel. Believers now have access to the most sacred, intimate fellowship with the Lord their God in fulfillment of the many promises given to the saints.

The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  M. R. DeHaan explains further: [1]

Can you imagine what this glorious sight will be? Picture a new earth on which dwells the restored and redeemed nation of Israel, and around them are literal nations of redeemed people, consisting of the saved of the nations before the Cross and the nations which came through the Millennium. All dwell on the new earth. Hanging over that new earth, suspended in the sky, is this gigantic city, the New Jerusalem, the habitation of the bride of Christ. Christ is the light of it, and this light streams forth over all the earth, dispelling all darkness forever. Remember that the city is made of transparent gold, so that the light from the Person of Christ dwelling with His bride in the New Jerusalem streams forth from the lamp, fifteen hundred miles cube, lighting the entire earth.

The nations (or “Gentiles”) will walk by its light. There are not unregenerate nations living outside the city. Rather, as George E. Ladd says in his comment on this verse: [2]

“In the divine consummation, the redeemed will consist of peoples from every nation and tribe and people and tongue (7:9) who will not lose their national identity. John’s language means no more than the statements of the prophets: ‘and many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob'” (Isaiah 2:3)… This is the affirmation of the universality of the knowledge of God, as promised in Jeremiah’s presentation of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:30-33(31-34)).”

And the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 Its gates will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there, 26 and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

Oliver Greene states it right: [3]

Thank God for this verse! God will see to it that the episode recorded in Ezekiel 28 will never be repeated. God will see to it that the tragedy of Genesis 3 will never be repeated. God will see to it that in NO WISE—under no circumstances nor by any means—will anything enter into the Pearly White City to mar, scar, and defile. Nothing abominable shall enter there. Revelation 21:8 tells us that all evil ones are in the lake of fire, eternally imprisoned and sealed, never to be released, and the devil is there, too. Satan had access to God’s throne in the beginning when he was Lucifer, the shining one (Isaiah 14). But in the Pearly White City, there will be no devil—nor in the new earth or the heavenlies. Satan will be in the lake of fire the eternal prison of the damned. We need not worry about the sin—tragedy recurring. It will not because God Almighty will have put down evil once, for all, forever. Satan’s head will be crushed, his kingdom destroyed and his subjects in the lake of fire with him. Only those who have their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be in the Pearly White City.

I’m curious!  If the gates of the city are never shut, because in the city there is the eternal day, hence no night why are they built? Here again is a contrast to the Millennial situation in which day and night continue as the norm for the entire earth. The brilliant light of the city, however, dispels any possible darkness. Believers in their glorified bodies do not need rest, and their lives are full of continuous activity even like the holy angels.

Verse 27 indicates plainly that nothing will ever enter the city which is in any sense evil, as only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are eligible for entrance. There does not seem to be any attempt made to keep them out. This fact is another reminder that all who are there have entered the city as the objects of God’s grace. Otherwise, they too would be excluded. This will be a perfect environment in contrast to the centuries of human sin, and the saints will enjoy this perfect situation through all eternity to come. The inhabitants of the city will be characterized by eternal life and absolute moral purity.

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word.

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

[2] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern

[3] Ibid.

The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2

Revelation 21:15-21
The End Times

In my last post, we reviewed the Revelation 21:9-14 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 1.  In this post, we continue to explore Revelation 21:15-21 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2.

15 The angel speaking with me had a gold measuring-rod with which to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out in a square, its length equal to its width. With his rod, he measured the city at 1,500 [1]miles, with length, width, and height the same. 17 He measured its wall at 216 feet by human standards of measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall was made of diamond and the city of pure gold resembling pure glass. 19 The foundations of the city wall were decorated with all kinds of precious stones—the first foundation stone was diamond, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh turquoise and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, with each gate made of a single pearl. The city’s main street was pure gold, transparent as glass.” ~ Revelation 21:15-21 (CJB)

The angel…measured the city at 1,500 miles, with length, width, and height the same. The city was a perfect cube, as was its prototype, the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. Placed over the United States of America, it would extend from Maine to Florida and from the east coast westward to Colorado, plus extends 1,500 miles into the sky.  Talk about a megalopolis?  Admittedly, I have a tough time understanding the engineering of such a humongous structure, but with God, nothing is impossible.

The names of the Twelve Tribes inscribed on the gates, and the Twelve Emissaries on the foundations, may be meant to indicate that the founders of the City would never be forgotten but would be held in loving remembrance by the City’s inhabitants throughout the endless ages of eternity.

The precious stones emulate the breastplate of the High Priest, bearing 12 stones inscribed with the names of the 12 tribes (Exodus 28:15-30) must have been a sort of dim foreshadowing, given in the distant past, of what God was working toward. The stones are similar to those of the New Jerusalem. There is difficulty in identifying some of these stones. They may not have been the same as those which now bear their names.

The foundation’s sparkle with the colors of the rainbow. Each gate is a pearl, and the whole is composed of the most valuable and beautiful material things known to man, constructed together in a spectacle resplendent beyond imagination—a display of eternal beauty, glory, peace, security.

There are always the skeptics who question this as being a literal city. The real question to be answered is, why not? If a man can build the majestic and beautiful cities of today, why can’t the Creator of the universe create an even more magnificent and more uniquely beautiful city? This city, built by God, is the same city that Abraham was in search of For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God ~ Hebrews 11:10. Also, just before Yeshua ascended back up into heaven, he told the disciples: In my Father’s house are many places to live. If there weren’t, I would have told you; because I am going there to prepare a place for you. ~ Yochanan 14:2. Yeshua was talking about this Holy City, which is a real city and the future home of all children of God.

He measured its wall at 216 feet by human standards of measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall was made of diamond and the city of pure gold resembling pure glass. This measurement appears to be the thickness of the wall as Revelation 21:12 says it had a great, high wall.

The angel describes the walls as made of diamond and the city of pure gold resembling pure glass. He now turns to explain the foundations! And what a description it is.

The foundations of the city wall were decorated with all kinds of precious stones—the first foundation stone was diamond [other translations say “Jasper”], the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh turquoise and the twelfth amethyst. Warren Wiersbe has this to say: [2]

Building foundations are usually underground, but these foundations will not only be visible but beautifully garnished with precious stones. Each separate foundation will have its own jewel, and the blending of the colors will be magnificent as God’s light shines through. No one can be dogmatic about the color of these gems, and it really doesn’t matter. Jasper, as we have seen, is a clear crystal. Sapphire is a blue stone, and chalcedony is probably greenish-blue. The emerald, of course, is green; and the sardonyx is like our onyx, a white stone streaked with brown, though some scholars describe it as red and white. Sardius is a red stone (sometimes described as “blood red”) and chrysolite a yellow quartz like our modern topaz. Beryl is green and topaz a yellow-green. We are not sure about the chrysoprasus; some think it is a golden-tinted stone, others, an apple-green color. The jacinth is probably blue, though some claim it was yellow; and the amethyst is a rich purple, or blue-red.

Compare the foundation stones with the judgment breastplate of the Cohen HaGadol, which also had twelve different stones. They represented the twelve tribes of Israel, whose judgment Aaron was to “bear on his heart before Adonai continually” (Exodus 28:15-21, 29-30).

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, with each gate made of a single pearl. The city’s main street was pure gold, transparent as glass.” There are twelve gates, three to the north, three to the south, three to the east, and three to the west. On each gate, there is the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Each gate is a great pearl, indicating that entrance to the city is made possible only through the death of Yeshua, for pearls are a product of physical suffering. The gates are open continuously, allowing people to come and go at will.

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 21:22-27 ~ The Habitation of God.

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[1] Translators and commentators seem to have difficulty in converting stadia into miles.  Most range from 1400 to 1500 miles.  At that distance, I’m not sure 100 miles is all that significant.

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

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.