SUMMARY OF THE CHAPTER:
In the remaining portion of Revelation, we will be looking at the contents of the sealed book. This book will reveal what the saints have awaiting them in eternity with Christ. The contents of the sealed book will be revealed to us in chapters 19-22. This will bring to completion our study of the Revelation.
A very basic outline of the remaining chapters of Revelation includes:
- Rev 19 – What immediately precedes eternity with the Lord? (background to eternity with the Lord)
- Rev 20 – The opening stage of eternity with the Lord (1000 year reign – a time of judgment)
- Rev 21 – The subsequent stage of eternity with the Lord pictured as a great city
- Rev 22 – The subsequent stage of eternity with the Lord pictured as Eden restored
SUMMARY OF EACH DIVISION OF CHAPTER:
I. New Jerusalem On The New Earth (Rev 21:1-11)
John now turns our attention to a description of the renovated heavens and earth. John tells us this heaven and earth is “new” which tells us that it is different, changed from the heaven and earth with which we are familiar. This new world no longer has “seas”. The sea in the Bible represents unrest and chaos of lost mankind. This new world will no longer feel the presence of the lost, nor will it experience the unrest and upheaval of sin upon it.
John sees a heavenly city descend to this New Earth. This city is the dwelling place of God come down to the earth. It symbolizes God’s presence being given to the saints to enjoy Him eternally. This city is said to be very beautiful, like a bride that is prepared for marriage.
John describes God’s relationship with His people in this wondrous city. God will be with them, they will learn of Him, worship Him, and serve Him. John also tells us that the results of sin will be done away. There will be no more crying, sorrow, or pain.
God promises to make an entirely new type of existence for His people. It will be like nothing we have experienced on earth. This is a promise that we can rely upon. We can know with certainty that this wonderful eternal existence awaits the people of God.
The Lord then extends an invitation for all of mankind to come to Him and enjoy these blessings that await His people. Those who come to Him will be victorious overcomers in this sinful world, they will inherit these eternal blessings and will enter into a family relationship with Him as the children of God. However, those who reject this invitation and choose to remain in their sinfulness will face a horrible eternity of separation from God and torment in the Lake of Fire.
John is invited to come and see the bride that has prepared to join her husband in marriage and live eternally with Him. This bride is the wondrous city that now awaits His presence and the presence of His people. John is taken to a high mountain that overlooks this glorious city. He sees God’s glory enlightening the city as a clear Jasper stone which is symbolic of the Lord holiness and sinlessness.
This entire vision emphasizes the changed eternal world and the many eternal joys that await the people of God as they dwell in this city.
II. The Walls And Gates Of New Jerusalem (Rev 21:12-21)
After John’s look at the basics appearance of New Jerusalem, he then turns our attention to the city’s gates and walls. John sees the believer’s security and deliverance from sin symbolized by high walls that surround the city. There walls are used to keep out sin, its effects, and those who commit them.
John sees 12 gates, the entryways to the city, which are equally divided on the four sides of the walls (N,S,E,W) showing us that the redeemed will come from all corners of the globe (every nation, language, family). They will included believers from both the OT and NT (12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles). The 12 angels standing at the gates, symbolize the messengers of God who proclaim the gospel message, the key to finding entrance into the gates. Each gate was made of a pearl which is representative of God’s wisdom, the truths of His Word, the good news of Christ.
John sees the 12 foundations of the walls having the names of the 12 apostles, whose proclamation of the truths about the Christ laid the foundation for this place of security and peace for God’s people. These foundations are decorated with many precious stones which give forth light similar to that of a rainbow. This speaks of the Lord’s faithfulness to his promises in making and giving access to this city for His people.
An angel sent from the Lord is seen measuring the city, which symbolizes the Lord’s ownership and control over this eternal city. The city is a 12,000 furlong cube showing us it is perfect, separated for the use of God and His people, and sinless.
The wall itself is made of jasper which is symbolic of preciousness and purity, while the city is of gold which speaks of God’s kingly rule. The gold was of transparent, pure gold symbolic of holiness.
III. New Jerusalem: The Presence Of God and The Glory of Eden Restored (Rev 21:22-22:5)
John’s vision of the city continues with John centering on the presence of God Himself within the city. He could not see a temple because none was needed. Christ’s presence will be the center of worship as well as a living display of His person and works. Christ’s glory, which exists due to His presence, lightens the entire city which eliminates the need for the sun and moon. The Lord will be present with His people.
The inhabitants of the city, those who are saved by God’s grace, will be given 24 / 7 access to the city. There is no need for the gates to be shut because the lost will not be found on the New Earth, they will be consigned to the Lake of Fire for an eternity. Sin, and the doers of it, will be totally excluded from the city.
John attention is then drawn to “the river of water of life” that he sees flowing from the throne of God. This speaks of the work of Christ which gives to men eternal life. This river finds it origin IN the counsels and workings of the Lord and brings men TO eternal life and an intimate relationship with the Lord.
John sees the tree of life in the midst of the city, reminding us of a restored, sinless, Garden of Eden. God’s people are given eternal access to this tree, symbolizing the eternal life that is possessed by the saints. It bears 12 types of fruit which symbolize the completeness of eternal life that God has brought to man. Nothing more is needed for the saints to dwell eternally with their Lord. The leaves of the tree supply that which is needed to “heal” the nations. This speaks of the total eradication of sin and its effects upon mankind. Once again this symbolizes a Garden of Eden type of existence that has been restored to mankind. Instead of a curse and separation from God (the condition of mankind in the old garden), the saints in this New Garden will be blessed with no curse, and enjoy the presence of God eternally.
The glory of God will enlighten this new Garden and the saints of God will exercise perfect dominion over it, just as in the old garden before the fall of mankind.
IV. Conclusion to The Book Of Revelation (Rev 22:6-21)
The conclusion to the book of Revelation is also the conclusion to the entire Bible. Please keep in mind, it is believed by most that the book of Revelation is the last book inspired by God and is also placed as the last book in the Biblical text. Because of this, the conclusion found in the book of Revelation concludes not only the book itself, but also the entire body of inspired writings that God gave to mankind.
A part of God’s conclusion is to remind John of the faithfulness and truthfulness of His inspired writings. He also reminds John of His soon coming and the need to keep the cling to and protect His Word, following its dictates. This is the basic way in which we are to prepare for His soon coming. Christ is the beginning and ending of all things. We should not be surprised He is the One that will bring an end to this sinful world and create a New World in which we will live.
John, being overwhelmed by this experience, begins to worship the angel that has delivered this message to him. The angel responds by reminding him that worship belongs to God alone. The angel is simply a servant of God doing His will, much like John and other saints who have come before him. The angel then emphasizes John’s need to share this message with others. It was not meant to be kept private, but was to be distributed to all who are willing to hear these words.
The Angel delivers sobering words to John. Those who choose to ignore these words, and continue to live a life of sin, let them be. John has done all he can for their welfare, they now are responsible to choose to follow Christ.
Likewise with those who are saved, if he chooses righteousness based upon the completed Word, let him continue on in righteousness with righteous living. Why? Nothing new will be revealed from God. He can fully commit to Christ’s righteousness and righteous living because he now knows that Revelation brings all of God’s Word to completion nothing more will be said that would change his mind or reveal he has made a mistake in choosing Christ.
John is told of the distinct difference between the end of the lost and the saved. The lost will be kept from the glories of the city and the presence of God. The saved will enjoy eternal bliss in the presence of God, Jesus, Himself, has said these things, He will bring them to pass.
Christ then offers and invitation for men to come to Him. It is an invitation that is to be delivered by the saints and applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit of God. It is an invitation that is issued to anyone who hears the invitation and is willing to follow it. they are to freely partake of the work of Christ which will bring to them salvation from sins and a wonderful, eternal inheritance from Him.
In closing, the Lord issues a warning to all who would change the inspired Word of God. If they add or take from it, they have proven they are lost and destined to face God’s plagues. By willfully changing God’s Word, they are clearly shown as being lost, in a state of rebellion against Christ, and under the bondage of sin. No one who is truly saved would ever willfully choose to change the Word of God that has wrought salvation in his soul.
The final two verses of the book of Revelation (and the Bible) are a fitting conclusion to our study of the book of Revelation….
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
Nothing more needs to be said.
WHAT’S COMING NEXT IN THIS SERIES?:
This concludes our study of the book of Revelation. May we all apply the message of this book to our minds, heart and lives.
Thank you for joining with me in this study.
May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.
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