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Bible Study: The Book of the Revelation – LESSON 19

Calvary Bible Church Bible Study

The Book of the Revelation

 

LESSON 19:  Chapter 21

Vrs     21:1              Verse 1 of this chapter is to be connected with 20:11 (see 2nd Peter 3:13).  Earth and heaven will be completely purified. During the Millennium the earth is renovated (Isaiah 35:1; Matthew 19:28 [“regeneration” in this text has nothing to do with spiritual matters, but with the renovation of the earth]).  This new universe will be populated with redeemed, cleansed souls. Righteousness suffers now (the godly suffer, 2nd Timothy 3:12); in the Millennium it will reign (Isaiah 11:9; 32:1); in the eternal state it will dwell (2nd Peter 3:13). John indicates that there was no more sea. This is a symbolic language statement regarding the end of human political and national separations.  Instead, there will be ONE people, living in an absolute theocracy.

Vrs     2                  The holy city, new Jerusalem. In most popular thinking, all mentions of Jerusalem in the Bible are thought to refer to the same city. This is not true. Multiplied references in Scripture do speak of the literal, earthly city, the one David made his capital. But there are other references that do not have that city in view at all. How is one to distinguish in these cases? The Spirit of God, Master of language that He is, gives definite clues.  For instance, in Galatians 4 Paul writes of “Jerusalem which now is” (vrs. 25) and “Jerusalem which is above” (vrs. 26). He is not speaking of cities at all; symbolically, he is contrasting the principles of law and grace. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews speaks of Abraham’s looking for a city whose architect is God (Hebrews 11:10, 16); then he mentions (Hebrews 12:22) “the heavenly Jerusalem,” which is doubtless the one of 21:2, as will be shown below. There is a millennial Jerusalem predicted in Isaiah 2:1–4, to which all the nations will flow, a true gathering of peoples. But there is yet another Jerusalem designated as the new Jerusalem, with the added description that it is the holy city.  Thus, it is clear that when other than the literal city is intended, the Spirit adds qualifying and descriptive words to make this known. Recall that Babylon will be both a harlot (ch. 17) and a city (ch. 18).  The church will be seen throughout all eternity as an adorned bride.

 

Vrs     3                  The tabernacle of God is with men. God dwelling among men was the purpose of the tabernacle of old (Exodus 25:8); indeed, it was the object of the incarnation (John 1:14), Immanuel (God with us) in the most universal and complete sense (7:15). A tabernacle suggests moving about; the saints will have access to all part of God’s creation.  God will dwell with men; there will be no change in the eternal state.

 

Vrs     4                  All sin’s effects will be obliterated (7:17). The eyes, called the living fountains of waters, will be dry forever.

 

Vrs     5                  The One on the throne is the Father; for the kingdom has been delivered over to Him by the Son, the Mediator (1st Corinthians 15:24–28).

 

Vrs     6                  “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”  God/Christ is indeed the source and end of all glory (Romans 11:36).  He is the Aleph and Tav of Genesis 1:1, which in Greek is the First (Alpha) and the Last (Omega). After their sin in Eden, Adam and Eve were prohibited from taking of the tree of life; here, all are invited to take of the water of life freely through the redemption of Christ. Since Christ thirsted on Calvary when dying for us no one will thirst in eternity. It is still a valid offer from God today.

 

Vrs     7                  The overcomer here, as in chapters 2–3, is the born-again child of God, the one who has drunk of the water of life. For him there is sonship with God forever.

 

Vrs     8                  For the unrepentant, who are designated under some eight categories, there will not be bliss, but burning in the lake of fire, the second death (20:6, 14). A believer may be called on to pass through one death, i.e., physical death; an unbeliever faces two deaths: physical death and the second death.  As was stated in our last lesson, a Christian is “born twice”, and “dies once”; while an unbeliever is only “born once”, but “dies twice”. Why are the cowardly and liars spoken of in two categories? The first are afraid to accept Christ and bear the ridicule of the world. The second are those who have denied their sin and need of Christ as Savior.

Vrs     9                  It is gracious of God to allow one of the angels who was commissioned to pour out the most horrendous plagues earth has ever known, the privilege of inviting John to a special view of the bride, the Lamb’s wife. For the remainder of the chapter a symbolic description of the bride in all her glory will be presented. Her relationship to Christ continues into the eternal ages.

Vrs     10                Mark that John is transported by the spirit to a vantage point where he can see the holy city, Jerusalem, in all her beauty and glory.

Vrs     11                Jasper stone. The description is given under the figure of precious stones, because (1) they are costly and beautiful, and (2) they are durable. The Spirit uses language best adapted to our limited comprehension. The city will be brilliant and glorious.

Vrs     12                The wall indicates that all will be secure within the city, and it will be separate from all that is unlike it in holiness.

 

Vrs     13                Gates were places of judgment. Here is the fulfillment of Matthew 19:28-30.

 

Vrs     14                The world may forget that it was the twelve apostles who laid the foundation for the church upon the foundation Stone, Christ Himself (Ephesians 2:20); but God never forgets.

 

Vrs     15–17           From the measurements given it is clear that the city is either a cube or a pyramid 1,500 miles in each direction.  For comparison of this distance, 1,500 miles will take you all the way across the state of Texas from east to west, across the widest part of the state, and halfway back again.

 

Vrs     18–21           The gold speaks of divine glory, as in the tabernacle of old where the cherubim of gold were called the cherubim of glory. All the stones named are known for their value, beauty and enduring quality, and seem to be essentially the same stones named in the Old Testament for use in the High Priest’s Breastplate (see Exodus 28:17-20).  The colors of the foundations of the city are arresting even by mere description. Although interpreters are uncertain about the exact identification and color of each stone mentioned, the following will give an approximation:

jasper = an opaque variety of quartz, it comes in various including green, red, yellow, and white;

sapphire = a translucent stone that usually appears in shades on blue, and is second to diamond in

hardness;

chalcedony = a kind of quartz, and similar to an agate, colored with green copper silicate;

emerald = a transparent variety of beryl or corundum, greenest of all stones;

sardonyx = a variety of onyx, made up of alternating layers of white chalcedony and sard (which is a                                       deep orange-red variety of chalcedony.  It is often used in making cameos;

sardius = a deep orange-blood red variety of sard;

chrysolite = a yellowish-green topaz;

beryl = a sea green hard and lustrous mineral that is the source of beryllium;

topaz = comes in white, yellow, pale green, or pale blue;

chrysoprase = a light green variety of chalcedony;

jacinth = a gem variety of the mineral zircon, its’ modern name is hyacinth, appears somewhat turqoise;

amethyst = purple or violet variety of quartz.

Regarding the gates, each of a single pearl, wouldn’t you like to see the OYSTER?

Vrs     22                Contrary to the long history of temples in Israel, there will be no temple in the New Jerusalem.  It means there will be free access to God; it will be for all because all of the people there will be “kings and priests”.

Vrs     23                God the Father and the Lamb will be the all-sufficient light for the city. Therefore, there will be no need of the sun, neither of the moon; the Lamb will meet every requirement. Remember that in the Temple, as in the tabernacle, there were three means of illumination. For the outer court, the illumination of the sun by day and the moon by night was ample. For the inner sanctuary, the candlesticks lighted all the furniture, because the light of sun and moon did not penetrate there. For the Holy of Holies, the Shekinah provided all; this typified the blessed light of the Lamb (John 1:4, 9; 9:5).  Now, the entire city will be illuminated by the Shekinah glory, as the Holy of Holies was.

 

Vrs     24                The New Jerusalem will be the center of the authority of the universe. There has never been a rule like it.

 

Vrs     25                The gates of it shall not be shut. There will be unhindered access. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, there has been a barrier to access. They could no longer enjoy the Garden of Eden. Even Adam feared communication with God and hid himself. When Israel accepted the yoke of the Law (Exodus 19), immediately they were not allowed access to Mount Sinai on pain of death. When the tabernacle, and later the Temple also, was constructed, God placed the symbol of His Presence (the Shekinah, lit., the Dwelling-Presence of God) in the innermost compartment, as far from sinful man as possible, and he could only come through his representative, the High Priest, with the blood of an offering. Now, in the New Jerusalem all blockages to access are removed forever.

 

Vrs     26                This verse builds on the truth of verse 24. But notice its glory. In the worship of Israel no Gentile could enter into the holy precincts without serious repercussions. Remember the persecution Paul suffered when some inferred that he had brought a Gentile into the Temple (Acts 21:22–29). But no barriers will be found in the New Jerusalem.

 

Vrs     27                Sin, in all its hideous forms, will be entirely excluded. The never-ending beauties of the New Jerusalem are indescribable, but they are such because of the Lord Jesus and His presence there.