Revelation 21 and 22

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.  Isaiah 65:17 (prophesied this) 

Peter tells us about this in 2 Peter 3:10

But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

The day of the Lord is the day of vengeance and the Lord is not coming as a thief to us but those who are in darkness. This seems like a serious cataclysmic event to melt the elements of the earth to nothingness

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

Don’t confuse the bride with where she lives….the verse says “like a bride” we are going to learn more about this city in a few moments

3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

The question is if there is no more sorrow or crying in heaven why are tears in people’s eyes?

I believe the answer is lost opportunities will be what we will weep over, the Lord will express His love for us and cause us to let go and enjoy life with Him forever.

5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

Once again, we see Jesus speak about one of his title of Alpha and Omega (first and last) Revelation 1:8 ,17; Isaiah 41:4; 48:12 a challenge for Jehovah’s witnesses.

We contrast the fate of the faithful versus the fate of those without relationship.

8 “But cowards (fearful), unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

The Lord is reminding us of the differences in fate between those who have followed Him versus those who have fought against Him

9 Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

Once again the city is not the bride but the people in the city.

As we get into the description of the city, the names of the precious and semi-precious stones have changed over the years so we are for the most part giving our best guesses what these stones are and what they look like

10 So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. 

Jasper as far as we understand are diamonds. Notice John is telling us the city descended but he does not say that it landed or came to rest so it could be hovering over the earth so that every aspect of the city may be seen

12 The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. 13 There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west.

The description of the tribes reflects the divisions given by the Lord in Numbers 2. Each of the tribes assigned a gate as they had been placed around the tabernacle. Ezekiel 48:30-34

14 The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The angel who talked to me held in his hand a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. 17 Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick (according to the human standard used by the angel).

We do not see the city actually land on earth here and the dimensionality of the city is enormous leading some scholars to believe it possesses more than our standard three dimensions as Paul alludes to in Ephesians 3:18,19a

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.

18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass.

Notice the materials are different but the same, the city was pure gold but clear as glass. 

19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.

Once again, the names of precious and semi-precious stones have changed over the years and most scholars are merely guessing however there is agreement that these stones reflect the twelve stones on the chest piece that the high priest wore

First is clear jasper like diamond tribe of Simeon

Second Sapphire blue tribe of Reuben

Third chalcedony – greenish – Naphtali

4th – emerald is green normally but not necessarily here Asher

5th – sardonyx – Red – Dan

6th – sardius – fiery Red – Levi

7th – chrysolite – gold and yellow -Zebulon 

8th – beryl – sea green – Judah

9th – topaz – greenish yellow or just yellow – Issachar

10th – chrysoprase – blue green Benjamin

11th – jacinth – lilac color – Joseph

12th –  amethyst – purple – Gad

Very speculative

21 The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.

Pearls are a Gentile stone considered unclean by Jews but a clear idiom representing the church. Notice Peter is not listed as guarding any of the gates

22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

 Reflecting Matthew 12:6

I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple!

23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.

It wouldn’t surprise me being that we have a new heaven and new earth that the light for the whole new earth is coming from this city

24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. 25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. 26 And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

The real issues for us, is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life, have you made a commitment to him where you know that your name is written in the lamb’s book.

Chapter 22

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. 4 And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

6 Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets, has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.”

No need of lamps or sun shows me that the city may be the light of the new earth…now we shift to kind of the epilogue of the book

7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.”

Here is the challenge to those who think that this book is anything but prophecy because Jesus himself calls it prophecy….

I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. 9 But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”

That was a no-no for John…no angels every wants worshipped other than one and he got into serious trouble…the implication here is that John actually traveled and was there to see these events as they unfolded and were revealed.

Then he instructed me, “Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.”

Unlike Daniel, John is told not to seal up this book but to make sure everyone knows it (is the implication) Daniel was told to seal up the book until the end now because of our growing understanding and having the book of Revelation we are nearing the end every day. There are discoveries in the book of Daniel that have escaped notice until recent days so our understanding of the book of Daniel is growing every day. Verse 11 is simple a solemn resignation of the sinner to their fate and the righteous to theirs, Eternal fate is not arbitrary decrees from God but instead the an inevitable result of fruit coming to bud. The punishment of sin for sin and the reward of holiness for holiness.

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

The phrases here were to encourage the church that was going through persecution, difficult times, not knowing what tomorrow may hold, he is bringing his reward and blessing is coming. Everything from the beginning to the end is about Him and in His hands

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15 Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

This is the seventh blessing of Revelation (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7) promises acceptance for those who wash their robes—those who have been purified by trusting in Christ and following him faithfully (3:5; 6:11; 7:9-10, 14; 19:13; Eph 5:26; Heb 10:22) Dogs was a common idiom among the Jews for sinners and Gentiles remember the Syrian-Phoencian woman Mark 7: 24-29

Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret. 25 Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, 26 and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter.

Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, 27 Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” 28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.”

These dogs are the unrepentant sinners outside of the city, in the lake of fire

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.”

We have come a long way from the letters to the seven churches but these words are for them and for us today

I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne (literally I am the root and offspring of David): Jesus validates the message of Revelation ( John 21:24) by swearing that he is simultaneously the source of David (see 5:5; Isa 11:10) and David’s heir (see Ezekiel 37:23-24; Rom 1:3). 

The morning star was a name for the Messiah (see Num 24:17; 2 Pet 1:19;  Luke 1:78-79).

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

Come is a repeated invitation and a confession. • the bride: The Lamb’s wife (21:9) is the church, the people of God. • The thirsty can drink freely from God’s provision (21:6; 22:1; Ps 42:1; Isa 55:1; John 4:10-14).

18 And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.

I solemnly declare: John issues an oath to protect the integrity of the book of Revelation. He declares a curse upon anyone who alters the contents of the book or its message (Deut 4:2; 12:32). The curse contrasts with the statement of blessing on all who read aloud, listen to, and obey the prophecy (1:3). At the time Revelation was written, scribes would sometimes alter books to suit their own views. Early Christians quickly developed means of authenticating both messages and messengers (John 21:24; 1 Cor 16:21; Gal 6:11; Col 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; 1 Jn 4:1-3). 

Since the time of the early church, the scope and content of the NT has been established as the measure of the Christian proclamation. Yet the church continues to be plagued by those who would attempt to reconstruct the borders of Scripture by adding other works that they believe are of equal status with the Bible or by arguing that certain segments of the Bible are unreliable creations of human effort and perception. The genuine church has rejected and will continue to reject efforts to redefine the boundaries of the canon as human and even demonic attempts to alter the basis of the Christian faith.

20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! 21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.

Revelation closes with a benediction similar to those in Paul’s letters (e.g., Rom 15:33; 1 Cor 16:23-24). • The fitting final sentence invokes the grace of the Lord Jesus, the foundation of our forgiveness and the basis of our eternal hope. • be with God’s holy people: Other manuscripts read be with all; still others read be with all of God’s holy people. Some manuscripts add Amen.