Having carried his thoughts concerning Satan's destiny and
the resurrection of unbelievers to their conclusions in chapter 20, John now
returns to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the new home of the
Church in chapter 21 and the new Earth in chapter 22. We know this because the
phrase "new heaven and new earth" also appears in Isaiah 65:17
at the beginning of a passage describing Israel during the Millennium.
The New Jerusalem
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the
first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any
sea. (Rev. 21:1) In Matt. 19:28, Jesus called this "the
renewal of all things." According to Romans 8:19-22 the creation
itself has been writhing and groaning, waiting for the Sons of God to be
revealed so it could finally be liberated from its bondage to decay. The
judgments of the Great Tribulation served in part to prepare the Earth for its
restoration. In all probability, its
orbit and axis will have been returned to their original configurations,
bringing again the world wide sub-tropical environment likely enjoyed by our
first parents. The vast oceans, silent
witnesses to the enormity of Noah's flood will be hoisted back into the outer
atmosphere, restoring the water vapor canopy that protected early man and
allowing the return of long life spans they experienced. (Isaiah 65:20)
The sea floors will be elevated and the mountains lowered, and Earth will once
again resemble the Garden Planet it was when Adam came on the scene. Its
atmosphere will no longer be the haunt of demons, and the heavens will have
been purified of Satan's rebellious minions forever.
I saw the Holy City,
the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride
beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne
saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He
will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning
or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything
new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy
and true." (Rev. 21:2-5) Notice that while John watched the New
Jerusalem descending from Heaven, he didn't report it as landing anywhere. Though it's close enough to Earth for him to
describe it accurately, it's not on the Earth.
And don't be fooled into believing that the phrase "prepared as a
bride" means that the New Jerusalem is the Bride. No, the word "as"
tells us that John's comparing the New Jerusalem to a bride on her wedding day. Just as no expense is spared in making a bride
look as beautiful as possible for her wedding, so none of God's creativity has
been spared in making the home of the redeemed His ultimate expression of
Finally, because of that one death on a hill outside of Jerusalem, God and man have been reconciled (Col.
1:19-20) and His heart's longing to dwell with His creation has been
fulfilled. For in the Church, He's done
nothing less than create a new race of human, as righteous as He is, fit to
dwell in His Presence.
And so the Creator of the Universe has made everything new, a New Heaven, a
New Earth, and a New Race of Human. The
damage caused in the Garden by the Serpent has been repaired.
He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the
Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost
from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this,
and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving,
the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts,
the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning
sulfur. This is the second death." (Rev. 21:6-8) Earlier John had asked the rhetorical
question, "Who is it that overcomes the world?" And his answer, "Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son
of God." (1 John 5:5) Once again God makes the
alternatives clear. Jesus said, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to
me and drink." (John 7:37) Come to the One who gives the Living
Water and drink from Him without cost, or remain in your sins and die forever.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven
last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the
wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain
great and high, and showed me the Holy
City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from
God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very
precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It
had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with
twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve
tribes of Israel.
There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and
three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were
the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Rev. 21:9-14) When
Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord and killed himself, the 12 were disciples, or
students. Later the remaining 11, now
Apostles (sent ones), voted and chose Matthias to replace Judas. Nothing more
was written about him, and we don't know why.
Obviously, God's choice was Paul, by far the most prolific of New
Testament authors. I think it'll be his
name we see on the foundation.
The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure
the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long
as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He
measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the
angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as
pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind
of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the
third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx,
the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the
eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase,
the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve
pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of
pure gold, like transparent glass. (Rev. 21:15-21) 12,000 stadia are equal to about 1400 miles, meaning that if this
city came to rest in Europe, it would cover everything from Scandinavia to
Gibraltar and from the Coast of Spain
heel. Alternatively, it would hide the
entire Middle East, or all the Eastern US from Maine
to Florida and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. And at 1400
miles tall it would be over 4000 times as tall as the next tallest building on
Earth. More likely, it's a small planet
or low orbit satellite, its width about 1/5th the diameter of
Earth. Some see it as a cube and others
as a pyramid, and we may live on it or in it or both. What we know is that it's laid out as a huge
city with streets paved in the purest gold, so pure it's nearly transparent,
and according to John 14:2 filled with many mansions.
While the names of these precious stones don't move easily between
languages, it's likely that they're the same as the stones on the High Priest's
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty
and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need
the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and
the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the
earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut,
for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be
brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does
what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the
Lamb's book of life. (Rev. 21:22-27) Not only does the home of the
Redeemed not need the sun, but in fact it's a source of light for the nations
of Earth. Their kings bring the best of
Earth's production into it for our use, although as
natural humans they themselves cannot enter.
Having been the Lord's Temple
for all the Age of the Church, we now discover that He's
become ours for Eternity.
The River of Life
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life,
as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the
middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the
tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.
And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will
there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his
servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their
foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp
or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will
reign for ever and ever. The angel said to me, "These words are
trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent
his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place." (Rev.
22:1-6) This same river with its trees bearing a different fruit every
month and leaves with healing power is described in Ezekiel 47:1&12 as
flowing from under the south side of the Temple
in the Holy City,
now called Jehovah Shammah, in Israel. This
tells us that we're back on Earth, admiring the crystal clear river flowing
through the Holy City.
According to Zechariah 14:4-8 this
river suddenly begins flowing on the day of the Lord's return. It flows
south toward the valley just formed by the giant earthquake that split the Mount of Olives from east to west. Once there it fills the valley, flowing to
the Mediterranean in the west and the Dead Sea
in the east. Its healing waters freshen the Dead Sea and fish from the Mediterranean
will now swim there in abundance. (Ezekiel 47:9-10)
Where the river splits to flow east and west, what remains of the city of Jerusalem
lines its banks. But the old Temple Mount
along with the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa
Mosque lie in ruins beneath the deep waters, never to be seen again. They were
right in the path of the earthquake, and the River swallows them up, ending
centuries of contention over the place God once called the apple of His eye. (Zech
2:8) (We covered this in greater detail in our study of Revelation
Jesus Is Coming
"Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps
the words of the prophecy in this book."
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had
heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had
been showing them to me. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow
servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the
words of this book. Worship God!"
Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this
book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong;
let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do
right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy." (Rev. 22:7-11)
Being an eyewitness to the culmination of human history is overwhelming to John
and he falls at the feet of the angel guiding him in an act of worship. But unlike that other angel, the one who
started all the trouble because of his craving for worship, this one rebukes
John, admonishing him to worship the One Who is worthy.
John was called the disciple who Jesus loved and received the clearest
description of the End of the Age. Earlier Daniel, called the beloved prophet (Daniel
10:11) had also received detailed descriptions of the same period. When Daniel asked for clarification he was
told the words were closed up and sealed until the time of the end. (Daniel
12:9) Here John is told not to seal
up what he'd been told because the time is near. All through the Church Age God's prophecies
of Earth's final days would be available for everyone to read. Those who were so inclined could ignore it
and continue to be disobedient and those who read and applied it could do right
and be Holy, but the End would come just as John had seen it regardless of
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will
give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Rev. 22:12-13)
This passage makes three sets of claims about The Lord. He is Alpha and Omega,
the Beginning and the End, and the First and the Last. These aren't just
Variations on the phrase Alpha and Omega have autographed God's greatest
work from the beginning. The first
letter of the Greek alphabet is Alpha and the last is Omega. It's like saying,
"From A to Z" in English. The
Hebrew equivalents are Aleph and Tau. These two letters appear un-translated in a
couple of interesting places in the Hebrew Scripture. One is in Genesis 1:1
right after the phrase "In the beginning God …" making the Hebrew
version read, "In the beginning God, the Aleph and the Tau,
created the Heavens and the Earth."
You have to get a Hebrew interlinear Bible to find it but it's there.
The other place is in Zechariah 12:10 where the Hebrew reads,
"They will look upon me, the Aleph and the Tau,
the one they have pierced … " a prophecy of Israel finally
recognizing the true identity of the Messiah at the End of the Age.
The Greek word translated beginning is "arche"
and denotes an order of time, place or rank. End comes from "telos", which means the ultimate result or purpose;
the upper limit. And so Jesus is the first in order of time, place and rank (Col
1:18), and represents the ultimate result or purpose of man; to be one
with God (John 17:20-23).
The word translated first is "protos"
and means the foremost or best. We get prototype from this one. And last comes
from "eschatos" a superlative meaning
farthest or uttermost. The term eschatology (the study of the end times)
originates here. He is the prototype,
against whom all will be compared (Rom 8:29), the uttermost or
perfect example of the race, (Hebr
1:3) the only one ever born.
And so He was there before the beginning and will be there after the
end. He represents man's ultimate
purpose and is our perfect example.
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the
right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside
are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers,
the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for
the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning
Star." (Rev. 22:14-16) The last of seven blessings
in The Revelation. The other six
are found in 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, and 22:7. There are also seven glories in the
book. The curse is finally gone, God is
on His Throne, His servants serve Him, we have the eternal vision of His face,
His name is written on our foreheads, there'll be eternal day with no more
night, and we'll reign forever.
One last time we're
reminded that while we may not be Jewish, the God we worship is. The
phrase root and offspring of David recalls a Messianic prophecy from Isaiah
11:1-3. Some modern versions
incorrectly translate the Hebrew in Isaiah 14:12 giving Satan the title
Morning Star. When first translated into
Latin, the Hebrew word "heylel" became
Lucifer, or light bearer, and that's how the name originated. Heylel literally
means shining one, but its intent is boastful or proud, calling attention to
ones self. The entire Hebrew phrase in Isaiah
14:12 is Heylel ben Shachar and means Shining One, Son of the Dawn. Our Lord Jesus is the one and only Bright Morning
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears
say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes,
let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Rev. 22:17) A final reminder that the price for our salvation has already been
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If
anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this
book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take
away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are
described in this book. (Rev. 22:18-19) In spite of this clear
warning, there've been many attempts to allegorize or spiritualize this book
into something it was never intended to be. It's neither history, nor allegory, nor
fantasy, but prophecy. And it will be
fulfilled just as God has promised, all of our efforts at denial
He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's
people. Amen. (Rev. 22:20-21)