Revelation 21:15-27

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH

INTRODUCTION:

In chapters 2-3 we have studied things which take place in the church age. In chapters 4-19, we have studied things which will happen in the tribulation; and in chapter 20, we have studied things which will occur in the millennium.

We have moved on to chapters 21-22 which deal with eternity future, things which occur after the millennium.

In chapter 21 John's attention is directed to the new heaven and the new earth which replace the old heaven and the old earth which fled away (Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:11 ).

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:11 - And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

We have already seen -

I. THE VISION OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH - 21:1

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

We have also already seen -

II. THE VISION OF THE NEW JERUSALEM - 21:2

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Next, we have already seen that -

III. GOD WILL DWELL WITH MEN - 21:3-4

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:3-4 - (3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Furthermore, we have already seen that -

V. ALL THINGS WILL BE MADE NEW - 21:5-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:5-6 - (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

In addition, we have already seen -

VI. THE BLESSINGS OF THE OVERCOMER - 21:7-8

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:7-8 - (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Moreover, we have already seen -

VI. THE NEW JERUSALEM AS THE BRIDE - 21:9-11

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:9-11 - (9) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (10) And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (11) Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

Finally, we have already seen -

VII. THE WALL AND THE GATES OF THE CITY - 21:12-14

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:12-14 - (12) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (13) On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. (14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

We move on to -

VIII. THE DIMENSIONS OF THE CITY - 21:15-17

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:15-17 - (15) And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. (16) And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. (17) And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

In verse 15 John is given a golden reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.

He that talked with me is the one speaking with me. He refers to one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues who spoke with John in verse 9; whereas, me refers to John.

The tense of had implies he was having or he was holding.

What he had was a golden reed or a golden measuring rod. A reed is a unit of measure common among the Jews equivalent to about 10 feet.

To measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof indicates the purpose for which this angel had this golden reed. It turns out that he will measure the length, breadth, and width of the city (in verse 16) and the height or thickness of the wall (in verse 17). Nothing is revealed regarding the measuring of the gates.

The city refers to the new Jerusalem.

The gates thereof is the gates of it or its gates, meaning the gates of the new Jerusalem, and the wall thereof is its city wall, meaning the city wall of the new Jerusalem.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

In verse 16 the dimensions of the holy Jerusalem are reported as being 12,000 furlongs each for the length, the breadth, and the height.

The city is the new Jerusalem or the holy Jerusalem.

Lieth is lies or reclines.

Foursquare means as a square. Taken together lieth foursquare means is laid out as a square.

The length is as large as the breadth is another way of saying the same thing, that the city is laid out as a square. Its length and its width or breadth have the very same measurement.

He measured means that this angel measured. According to the next statement, the angel measured the length, the breadth, and the height of the city.

The city indicates what the angel measured, and with the reed indicates how he measured the city. It is with the golden reed which he had in his possession.

The measurement was twelve thousand furlongs. These are not equal to furlongs in horse racing where a furlong is an eighth of a mile (660 feet); rather, this furlong is a stade, about 607 English feet. Multiplying 12,000 times 607 feet equals 7,284,000 feet. If this number of feet were converted to miles, it would be approximately 1,380 miles.

In addition, the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. The height of the city is equal in measurement to the length and to the width. One cannot be certain whether the city is shaped like a cube or a pyramid. The concept of height for a city is difficult to understand. Cities are ordinarily measured in two dimensions (length and width) rather than in three dimensions (length, width, and height). One can be certain, however, that this is a large and spacious city.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

He [i.e. the angel] measured the wall thereof, i.e. the wall of the new Jerusalem.

The wall measured an hundred and forty and four cubits.

A cubit is the measure of a typical man's forearm from his elbow to his finger tips and approximates eighteen inches. Based on this approximation, this wall measures two hundred sixteen feet; but is this two hundred sixteen feet high or two hundred sixteen feet thick? The text does not say. Some have assumed that it must refer to the wall's thickness rather than its height because it is quite short in comparison to the city's height. However, this is speculation. The wall is symbolic of protection, but there is nothing to protect it from because there are no enemies. All of its enemies are confined to the lake of fire.

According to the measure of a man means that it is a human measurement.

That is, of the angel is added because it was an angel who did the measuring rather than a man, but it is reported in terms human beings would understand.

Next, we see -

IX. THE BEAUTY OF THE CITY - 21:18-21

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:18-21 - (18) And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. (19) And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; (20) The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. (21) And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

The building of the wall of it is the structure of the wall of it (i.e. the structure of the wall of the new Jerusalem), the construction of the wall of it, or the material of the wall of it.

Was of jasper is simply was jasper, a precious stone found in various colors, mostly reddish, but sometimes green, brown, blue, yellow, and white.

The city was pure gold, like unto clear glass means that the new Jerusalem (was) similar to clear glass or like pure crystal. It indicates that the color was gold but that it was transparent. It was gold in appearance, but like clear glass in substance, i.e. like glass with a gold cast to it.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald.

In verse 19 the first four foundations are described. It is difficult to comprehend the beauty of the city and its wall; but believers know that when God does something, nothing will match it. John does his best to describe what he saw in terms familiar to him, but words cannot express the beauty of the new Jerusalem and its wall.

Although the precise colors of these stones in some cases are not certain, the general picture here described by John is one of unmistakable beauty, designed to reflect the glory of God in a spectrum of brilliant color.

The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones.

The foundations of the wall of the city are the bases upon which the city walls of the new Jerusalem are built.

According to verse 14 there were twelve foundations for the walls of the city, and each one was named after one of the twelve apostles. Inasmuch as the walls were approximately two hundred sixteen feet high or thick, they would require substantial foundations.

Were garnished is (were) adorned or (were) decorated.

With all manner of precious stones or with every precious stone. The precious stones beautified the foundations of the city wall.

The first foundation was jasper, which is a precious stone found in various colors, mostly reddish, but sometimes green, brown, blue, yellow, and white. The first foundation was garnished, adorned, or decorated with jasper.

The second foundation was garnished with sapphire. A sapphire is a blue transparent precious stone.

The third foundation was adorned with a chalcedony, a precious stone from Chalcedon in Turkey, thought to be a blue agate with other colors running through it.

The fourth foundation was decorated with an emerald. An emerald is a bright green transparent stone.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

Verse 20 continues the description of the twelve foundations of the city wall of the new Jerusalem with descriptions of the fifth through twelfth foundations. The exact colors of some of these precious stones are not certain.

The fifth foundation was garnished, adorned, or decorated with sardonyx. It is a precious stone, a variety of agate.

The sixth foundation was garnished with sardius. It is a carnelian. It was commonly found in a reddish color as well as in a honey color. The reddish color is thought to be more expensive.

The seventh foundation was adorned with chrysolite. It was a yellow topaz.

The eighth foundation was decorated with beryl. It was a sea-green color.

The ninth foundation was garnished, adorned, or decorated with a topaz. A topaz is a bright yellow, more or less transparent stone.

The tenth foundation was garnished with a chrysoprasus. It was an apple-green, fine-grained hornstone (i.e. a variety of quartz), colored by nickel oxide and highly translucent. Translucent means that light will shine through it, but you cannot see through it. It is semi-transparent.

The eleventh foundation was adorned with a jacinth. It was also known as a hyacinth, a precious stone, perhaps blue in color, something like the sapphire.

The twelfth foundation was decorated with an amethyst. It is thought to be a purple color.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

In verse 21 the twelve gates and the city's street are described.

The twelve gates refers to the city's twelve gates mentioned in verses 12-13,

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:12-13 - (12) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (13) On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

Were twelve pearls suggests that the gates were made out of very large pearls.

Every several gate was of one pearl means that each of the gates was of one pearl.

Furthermore, the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. The street of the new Jerusalem was gold in color, but it could be seen through as is indicated by as it were transparent glass or crystal.

Moreover, we see -

X. THE TEMPLE OF THE CITY - 21:22

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:22 (22) And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

I saw no temple therein, i.e. I saw no temple in it, i.e. I saw no temple in the new Jerusalem.

For introduces the reason John saw no temple in the new Jerusalem: the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. This suggests that the presence of God the Father and of the Lamb are always there. It is their dwelling place as the tabernacle had been in the Old Testament. The Greek text reads, The Lord God Almighty is the temple of it, and the Lamb.

The Lord God Almighty is God the Father.

And the Lamb are the temple of it means that just as God the Father is the new Jerusalem's temple, so the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, is also the new Jerusalem's temple.

Furthermore, we see -

XI. THE LIGHT OF THE CITY - 21:23-24

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:23-24 - (23) And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (24) And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

The city is the new Jerusalem.

Had no need is has no need (or has no necessity), and the tense of has speaks of an existing and ongoing condition. It is always this way.

Of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it indicates a need or necessity that the new Jerusalem does not have.

The city will be illuminated by other means.

For introduces the reason the sun and moon will not need to shine in this city: it is because the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

The glory of God is God's brightness, God's splendor, or God's radiance.

Did lighten it is lightened it (i.e. lightened the new Jerusalem), gave light to it, lit it up, or illuminated it.

The Lamb is God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is the light thereof suggests that Christ, as well as the Father, provides illumination for it, i.e. for the new Jerusalem.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

The nations of them which are saved refers to people in eternity future and means the nations of the people who are saved.

The word for nations is the same word translated Gentiles. Many Gentiles have been saved, and they will all be there. They are saved Gentiles. The new Jerusalem is not limited to Jews.

Shall walk is predictive of a future event which is definitely going to happen and means will walk around, will conduct their lives, or will live.

In the light of it is in the light of the new Jerusalem.

Furthermore, the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

The kings of the earth refers to political leaders.

Shall bring is translated as a future, but it is literally are bringing.

What they are bringing is their glory and honor into it, i.e. into the new Jerusalem. It suggests that these rulers from this lifetime who are saved will bring all the glory and honor that was theirs and give it all to the Lord to Whom all honor and glory belong. This is not done in a sinful way because nothing sinful will be there.

Finally, we see -

XII. ACCESS TO THE CITY - 21:25-27

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

The gates of it refer to the new Jerusalem' twelve gates mentioned in verses 12, 13, and 21.

Shall not be shut at all is a very strong negative statement meaning shall absolutely never be shut.

By day means in daytime. It means that they will never be shut because there is no other time but daytime there.

For introduces an explanation: there shall be no night there, which is literally night will not be there.

Shall be is predictive of a future event; but when combined with a negative, it is predicting that something will never occur. Inasmuch as these gates will never be shut during the daytime, and inasmuch as there will never be any nighttime there, these gates will never be shut.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

They shall bring, where they refers to the kings of the earth mentioned in verse 24, is predictive of a future event which is definitely going to happen.

What they will bring is the glory and honour of the nations. The appears before both glory and honor and implies the sum total of all the glory and the sum total of all the honor. It is all the glory and all the honor there is.

Of the nations suggests of the Gentiles. Whatever glory and honor was theirs will be given to the Lord.

Into it means into the new Jerusalem.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie means that there will be no wickedness or evil of any kind in this city. Nothing will defile, nothing will work or do any sort of abomination or detestable thing, and there will be no lie or falsehood. Sin will not be there.

Shall in no wise enter is a very strong negative and means that this will absolutely never happen.

But is except and introduces those who will enter into the city: they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

They which are written is the ones who have been written, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. It is an existing situation. Their names have been written into the Lamb's [i.e. into Christ's] book of life in the past; and their names remain in the Lamb's book of life forever.

The Lamb's book of life is a record of those who are saved. The Lamb's book of life was referred to in Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:12 and 15 as the book of life.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:12 - And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:15 - And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. This is the only time in Revelation that Lamb's is mentioned in connection with the book of life.