Saturday, July 14, 2012

Understanding the Book of Revelation: The New Heaven, New Earth, and New Jerusalem

                Chapter 21 discusses the New Heaven, the New Earth, and the New Jerusalem. God has perfected and completed His final kingdom and people. There is no blemish or flaw. The sea no longer exists because it was a place for demons (Revelation 20:13) and is no longer needed. It played a major role in the judgment of the world. Therefore, no sea creature will exist nor will any serpent exist in the New Heaven and Earth. The New Heaven and Earth were first promised in Isaiah 65:17-25. 2 Peter 3:10-12 mentions the destruction of the heaven and the earth and the creation of new ones where righteousness dwells. This current earth is not our permanent dwelling place but it is just something we pass through. We must look forward to the reward we will receive once this life ends.

                Revelation is full of symbols. Here, in verse 2, the New Jerusalem signifies the totality of God’s works and the redeemed throughout the ages, who have been restored and transformed. The church is Christ’s bride. Jesus was once God’s tabernacle, a bridge to close the gap between mankind and God so that we may have a relationship with Him. Now, God will be able to reside with them always, as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There will be no presence of Satan so there won’t be a possibility of another fall. Full satisfaction and rest will be found here because Death, and all other demons, have been cast out by life (1 Corinthians 15:5) and sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). 

                God make all things new. In Revelation 19:11 Jesus is referred to as Faithful and True. Here in verse 5 Gods words are referred to as faithful and true. Isaiah 65:17 lets us know that there will be a new heaven and a new earth and no one will remember the old. Those who go to God will receive His free grace, everlasting life. All believers will be able to participate in the new earth and the new heaven. All those who don’t believe and never repent of their sins will be burned in the lake of fire, to suffer torment and a second death. They won’t be able to experience the same joy that all of the believers will. During the thousand years, the believers will be the bride, which is temporary, meant for the wedding day. They will be the wife once all things new are brought about, which will last eternity. 

                Verse 10 is in contrast to John being brought to the wilderness to see the great harlot. Here, is lifted up to see the wife of Jesus, the Lamb. Today, we are to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:14), but the New Jerusalem will be the light to all the nations. In Revelation 4:3 God’s appearance is compared to that of jasper. Here, the New Jerusalem is compared to jasper so therefore, she bears the appearance of God. The wall in verse 12 is for her protection. She will defend all that is good and of God. The number twelve is the number of God’s completion. The New Jerusalem is eternally complete and perfect. The angels help protect our possessions and all that we consider dear to us while we enjoy the everlasting life. The names of the tribes represent the Old Testament, the law. With the gate facing all four cardinal directions it signifies that the city is open to all believers. With three gates on each side, it indicates that the triune of God guides everyone here. There will be no more need for prophets in Heaven, so the apostles will represent that grace that God has and the grace that the city is built upon. 

                In Revelation 11:1, John was given a measuring rod to count the saints and believers. He was told only to measure the inner temple, not the outer. Here in verse 15 he is told to measure to show the perfection of the city and what God has made. Gold represents the divine nature of God. Therefore, the city is measured according to God’s divine plan and nature. In saying that the city is square, it is saying that it is perfect in every way. The repetition of 12,000 in the measurements emphasizes completeness. One hundred and forty-four is twelve times twelve, which signifies total completion. The Old Testament times the New Testament. Gold, in verse 17, represents the purity and holiness of the Church. It’s clear like glass so that God’s light can shine through the whole city. It lacks imperfection and flaws. 

                The New Jerusalem is a city of foundations (Hebrews 11:10). Each of the apostles is represented by a type of stone. The apostles were all once clay but have been transformed into stones, as Peter’s name suggests. He came to Christ as Simon but Christ called him Peter, meaning a stone (John 1:42). The colors of the twelve foundations are as follows: the first stone is green, the second and third are blue, the fourth is green, the fifth and sixth are red, the seventh is yellow, the eighth is bluish green, the ninth is yellow, the tenth is apple-green, and the eleventh and twelfth are purple. I’d like to note that the 12 birthstones and signs of the zodiac have the exact same precious stones, excepted listed in reverse order. Pearls are objects of great price but they are also made through the suffering of the mollusk. The idea is that the only way into the city is through the suffering of Christ on the cross. He was wounded by us and secreted his life around us to make us precious, just as an oyster does when a grain of sand wounds it. The New Jerusalem is built of three kinds of precious materials, signifying that she is built with the Triune God. 

                Verse 22 lets us know that there is no need for a temple or tabernacle now because God will dwell among His people and walk amongst them (2 Corinthians 6:16). This is the fulfillment of Ephesians 2:22 where it says that we are being built together as a dwelling place of God. The sun and moon will still exist in the new heaven and new earth but they will not be needed in the New Jerusalem. God will shine so much brighter there, with Jesus as the lamp. Nothing unclean will enter the city and only righteousness will surround her. At night, people usually close their gates. Here, however, there are angels who guard the gates so that no evil shall enter. Isaiah 60:11 and Zechariah 14:11 tells us that there will be perfect security.

1 comment:

  1. I had to see what it really looked like, thank you