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Revelation chapter 21

 

Heaven Comes to Earth

 

Revelation 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.”  It’s kind of interesting, but the book of Isaiah is filled with prophecies about the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom of God.  But near the end of the book of Isaiah there is an almost exact duplicate of Revelation 21:1.  In Isaiah Yahweh said, “Behold I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17).  In Genesis 1:1 it says “In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth.”  The Hebrew word create and created are the same word, bara, which is used in Genesis 1:1 to indicate creating something out of nothing (nothing that we can see or detect in the physical realm that is).  The best scientists can do is say the universe and all matter came into being at a definite time by way of the Big Bang, which is a pretty good explanation as far as science goes.  Now whether the new heavens and new earth are going to be created out of nothing, or just refashioned, I think has to be seen by other Scriptural passages, if any exist covering this subject.  And one does.  Peter says in 2nd Peter 3:7-11 that the present world will be destroyed by fire, “But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night [now this is talking about Revelation 20:14-15, gehenna fire, and Revelation 21:1 and Isaiah 65:17], in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…”  Revelation 20:14-15, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  The very next verse after that is
Revelation 21:1,
which says, “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.”  So Peter is saying the new heavens and new earth appear after intense heat melts the actual elements.

 

The New Jerusalem

 

Revelation 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.”  The New Jerusalem will be a real city supernaturally created in heaven and brought to earth, as we’ll read.  But here in Revelation 21:2 and also in verse 9 and Revelation 19:7-9 the New Jerusalem is also spoken as a metaphor for the Bride of Christ, the resurrected, immortal Church.  But it is to be an actual city.  Galatians 4:26, “but Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.”  Hebrews 12:22-23, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect…”  Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-16, “By faith he [Abraham] dwelt in the land of promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and make is God…These all died in faith [i.e. all the Old Testament believers, of which Abraham is but one, but context here is Old Testament ‘Hall of Faith’], not having received the promises as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promises; but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”   Allegorically the New Jerusalem is the personification of the Bride of Christ, but it will be an actual city.

 

Marriage

 

The relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church is talked about by Paul, as Paul tried to relate it to physical marriage.  Ephesians 5:25-32, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her, that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that he might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.  For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones.  ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”  The marriage relationship can be one of the most beautiful and wonderful of relationships.  But physical marriage, a happy, joy-filled one, does not even come close to the marriage relationship between Jesus and his bride the Church.  What the New Jerusalem is, it is the future heavenly headquarters city of God the Father, Jesus Christ and his bride the Church.  I am sure there will be Millennium saints, billions of them. But their residence is not promised to be the New Jerusalem.  That is for those believers from righteous Abel up to the 2nd coming of  Jesus Christ.  The very heavenly city where the throne of God will exist forever is coming down to earth.  It will be the future home of Jesus and his bride the Church, a royal bridal suite.  There will be no physical humans on earth at this time, they will all be resurrected immortal saints of God.  John said we would be like Jesus Christ after our resurrection to immortality.  1st John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”  Well, in a sense, through what John saw in Revelation 1:13-16, “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  And he had in his right hand seven stars:  and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword:  and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”  We will be like that.  This tends to mirror Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”  We will also glow like the stars.  Some say we will have “glorified flesh.”  Personally, as it says we will be like Jesus is, and the Bible calls God a spirit and a consuming fire, I believe spirit is more solid than physical matter, and has more power invested inside of it.  You got flaming swords of angels, flaming chariots (Elijah or Elisha saw) angels are flaming.  That’s just my personal opinion based on the latest discoveries in physics coupled to what I read in the Bible.  The very best we can do as far as knowing is to say what John said in 1st John 3:2, comparing that to what John says in Revelation 1:13-16.  I’ve heard some pretty weird stuff being taught as “doctrine” about what our bodies will be like.  It’s far better to just quote 1st John 3:2 and say “We’ll find out when we get there.” 

 

A New Era, Foretold and Foreshadowed by Ancient Israel and the Prophets

 

This is a theme found throughout the first five books of the Bible, the Books of Moses, and that is that God came to tabernacle with men.  Revelation 21:3-4, “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.  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.”  Now to the main theme, and it is a theme running from Genesis through Deuteronomy.  The Greek reads “the tabernacle of God (is) with men, and he shall tabernacle with them…”  in verse 3.  I spent two and a half years attending a wonderful small Messianic Jewish congregation, and we went through two Torah cycles in that period of time (they tend to teach expositorily through the Torah over the span of a year).  This theme of God coming to tabernacle with man, with Israel kept coming up, all the way through the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  It was a constant theme.  And here we find the ultimate fulfillment of it being spoken of here by Jesus to John in Revelation 21:3-4.  This is a Biblical theme the Jewish branch of the Body of Christ understood all the time, they’ve never not known this or not been aware of this theme, unlike most Gentile Christians who tend to think ‘we know it all.’

“And death shall be no more”  After Revelation 20:14-15 (cf. 2nd Peter 3:7-11) there are no more physical flesh and blood humans on earth.    There may be no cellular life as we know it, that relies on biochemical existence, we just don’t know.  (The earth’s major carbon dioxide scrubber system is within the oceans, and there’s no more sea in the new earth.)  There is the Tree of Life mentioned in Revelation 22, but we know nothing of its composition.  Everyone on earth will be immortal, just like or similar to Jesus, as John said in 1st John 3:2.  The earth today is a huge cemetery.  The headache highway engineers have is missing all the cemeteries.  And they don’t always succeed.  The store my son works in, the ground it sits on, and the highway interchange next to it, all sits on an ancient Native American burial ground.  Bodies in Hong Kong are buried standing up vertical just to make more room.  No death, no undertakers, no funeral homes, and no more cemeteries will exist on earth. 

“neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.”  I like that last promise, no more pain.  I have refrained from some of the daredevil stunts I thought would be fun, Evil-Keneval stuff, until that verse applies to me.  That is quite a promise, that somehow our immortal bodies won’t feel pain.

 

God makes all things new

 

Revelation 21:5, “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.”  All things new?  We can only imagine.  Take a good scientific look at both the universe and biosphere on earth, at the incredible complexity and beauty of it all.  The Bible says Jesus Christ created it all through the Holy Spirit.  God the Father designed it all.  How do we really know mankind are the children of God in a general sense?  Of all the creatures on this planet, we are the only ones that create:  cars, radios, TV’s, computers, thousands of electronic devices, ships, buildings, aircraft.  The main activity of man is the creation of new things.  This ‘old’ creation is about to be replaced with one I guarantee you will blow your socks off.  As the saying goes, ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet.’

 

Revelation has been written for the Bride of Christ

 

Revelation 21:6-7, “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.  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”  In saying “I am the Alpha and Omega” Jesus Christ is identifying himself as the speaker here, just as he did in Revelation 1:17-19. 

“I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the waters of life freely”  Believers now in their resurrected immortal bodies will have a fresh and vibrant thirst for God and the things of God.  I don’t care who you are or where you are (in the Lord), you have not experienced having your spiritual thirst satiated by the Holy Spirit the way it will be then. 

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things”  In verse 5 Jesus said “Behold, I make all things new” and in verse 1 John said, “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.”  Jesus Christ has just recreated the entire Universe, all things created new.  Jesus holds title to it.  But when a person is married, the wife owns jointly what the husband owns.  Revelation has been written for the Bride of Christ.  Let your imagination run wild a bit on that one.  Being into amateur astronomy I love to look at star photos online.  Recently I saw a star-cluster in the shape and appearance of a wedding ring, studded with bright stars, blue giants mostly, with some red giants in the mix, or maybe a giant that went supernova adding the ruby red element to it.


 

[Galaxy pair ARP 147, taken by the Hubble]

 

I have nicknamed it the wedding ring galaxy for obvious reasons.  The minute I saw this Hubble picture, I thought of Jesus putting this in the heavens for his Bride to look at when they got a powerful enough telescope.  Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs---heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.” 

“And I will be his God, and he shall be my son”  1st John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 

 

Fate of sinners

 

Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the 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.”  For annihilationists this is looking back to the lake of fire which melted down the entire earth and universe, and burned up all that where thrown into the lake of fire.  For those who believe the lake of fire burns eternally, and not just until it burns out, they believe it continues to exist somewhere on earth.  Believe what you will, we’ll find out for sure later.  To me it’s another doctrinal mole-hill believers like to build mountains out of.

 

Blueprint of the New Jerusalem

Future home of the Church, all those resurrected in the 1st resurrection to immortality

 

Revelation 21:9-11, “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.  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, having the glory of God:  and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;”  This city is constructed from a precious gem.  “Jasper” is a transliteration of the Greek word isapis which could be either the opal, diamond or topaz.  It is most likely the diamond.  The New Jerusalem is both the engagement/wedding ring of the bride of Christ, and their official residence.  If you are a part of the 1st resurrection to immortality, this is your future home address.  It doesn’t mean you won’t have some dacha or summer house out on some beautiful distant galaxy either, or go “sailing and exploring” across the universe in your own starship Enterprise. 

 

Gates of the city, tabernacle of Israel

 

Revelation 21:12-13, “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and the names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:  on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.”  J. Vernon McGee has an interesting comment about these two verses.  “This city will be a tabernacle to Israel.  The children of Israel will be among the multitudes who come into this city to worship in eternity…they will not dwell in the city anymore than they did in the tabernacle of old.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. V, col.2, par.2]  In other words, the ancient tabernacle in the wilderness, and then all the Temples of God the Israelites constructed in Jerusalem, are symbolic representations of the New Jerusalem!  Genesis through Deuteronomy gives us important types, and this is one of the most important of all.  All Israel in those books is a type for the structure of things to come after the Millennium, on into eternity.  The Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua have good reason to do their Torah cycles of expository preaching through the Torah on a yearly basis.  They are not only rehearsing what has been, but a pattern for what is yet to come.

 

Foundation of the city

 

Revelation 21:14, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”  Ephesians 2:20-23, “…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”  The book of Acts names the 12 apostles in Acts 1:13, 26, “And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James…And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias.  And he was numbered with the twelve.”  Some expositors don’t believe Matthias is the apostle that succeeded Judas Iscariot because Simon Peter held the meeting in Acts 1 before the Holy Spirit came onto the group.  By the shear weight of what the apostle Paul did in his life and ministry, many believe he was the 12th apostle and true replacement for Judas Iscariot [Juda Ish Kiriot]  The twelve apostles were used by God to do all the official writings of the Church which turned into the New Testament: the 4 Gospels, all the Epistles, and Jesus sealing up the New Testament with his Revelation to the apostle John.  The apostles, especially John and Paul, were used to plant the first churches across the Middle East, Asia Minor, Greece, and all the way to Rome.  Also the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the Church with Jesus as the chief cornerstone. 

 

Actual blueprint of the city itself

 

Revelation 21:15-18, “And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.  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.  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.  And the building of the wall of it was of jasper:  and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.”  Twelve thousand furlongs is given as the measurement of each side as well as the height of the city.  In the text it is 12,000 stadia, which is about 1,500 miles.  Some expositors see it as a pyramid.  Cubes and pyramids are appropriate for earth’s buildings.  If it is actually planted on earth, it will probably be one of these two.  If it is somewhere suspended in the atmosphere, it could be a sphere.  My guess (and that is all we can actually do here) is that it will be a pyramid.  The ancient Egyptians really started building massive pyramids as their afterlife abode after Mentuhotep, who is the Pharaoh thought to have had dealings with Abraham.  In Hebrews it tells us Abraham was waiting for this city whose maker is God, to dwell there.  Had the pre-Incarnate Christ (cf. John 8:58) told Abraham about this city, giving him the specifications, and what shape it would be?  We can only guess, but it isn’t outside of the possible.  It’s possible Abraham related some of what he was told to Mentuhotep.  Again, speculation, which is the best we can do about some of these descriptions.  1,500 miles high, wow!  It would have to be a stable structure.  Jesus is the master carpenter though, the creator of the heavens and the earth. 

 

The wall foundation stones and gates

 

Revelation 21:19-21, “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; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.  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.”  For one thing, this will be the most beautiful city ever created.  And it is created by Jesus Christ, the master carpenter and creator of the universe.  From J. Vernon McGee we get a good listing of the gem stones Jesus will use.  He gives us this:

“1.  Jasper (Gr.: Isapis)---it’s color is clear.  As mentioned before, this is probably the diamond.  It is crystal clear, a reflector of light and color.  Dr. Seiss, in speaking of the New Jerusalem, describes it “as clean, and pure, and bright as a transparent icicle in the sunshine." 

2.  Sapphire (Gr.: sappheiros)---its color is blue.  This stone occurs in Exodus 24:10 as the foundation of God, “…and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.”  Moffatt describes it as a blue stone. Pliny describes is as opaque with gold specks, to which Petrie agrees.

3.  Chalcedony (Gr.: chalkedon)---its color is greenish. It is an agate.  Pliny describes it as “a variety of emerald gathered on a mountain in

Chalcedon.”  Robertson says “Possibly a green silicate of copper.”

4.  Emerald (Gr.: smaragdos)---its color is green. Reobertson describes it as a green stone.

5.  Sardonyx (Gr.: sardonux)---its color is red.  Robertson describes it as white with layers of red. 

6.  Sardius (Gr.: sardius)---its color is fiery red. Pliny says that it is the red stone from Sardis.  Swete says that it is fiery red.

7.  Chrysolyte (Gr.: chrusolithos)---it’s color is golden yellow.  Moffatt assigns it a golden hue.  Robertson says it is a golden color like our topaz.

8.  Beryl (Gr.: berullos)---its color is green.  It is like the emerald, says Robertson.  Pliny says it is sea green.

9.  Topaz (Gr.: topazion)---its color is greenish yellow.  Roberston calls it a golden greenish stone.

10.  Chrysoprasus (Gr.: chrusoprasos)---its color is gold-green.  A golden leek, “a leek colored gem,” says Robertson.  The International Stand Bible Encyclopedia describes it as sea green.

11.  Jacinth (Gr.: huakinthi)---its color is violet.  It is the color of hyacinth.  Pliny gives the color as violet.

12.  Amethyst (Gr.: amethustos)---its color is purple.  Although the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia lists it as a ruby, Robertson gives the color as purple.

The foundations of the New Jerusalem are constructed of the flashing brilliance of rich and costly gems.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. V, p. 1071, col. 2, par. 6-9, p. 1072, col.1, par. 1-9]

 

God is the light source of the New Jerusalem

 

Revelation 21:22-23, “And I saw no temple therein:  for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple of it.  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.”  It doesn’t say there is no sun or moon, or stars even.  It says there will be no need of them.  Remember what Jesus looks like now?  Turn back to Revelation 1:13-16.  Jesus shines like (or brighter than) the sun.  So does God the Father, called here in this verse “the Lord God Almighty”.  We saw God the Father and Jesus Christ’s throne in heaven in Revelation 4.  It was so bright that all John could see was brilliant light being shone off of it.  If you haven’t noticed, God the Father, called “the Lord God Almighty” in verse 22, has come down to earth with the New Jerusalem. 

 

The rest of mankind

 

Revelation 22:24-26, “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.  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day:  for there shall be no night there.  And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.”  Man is now resurrected, changed and immortal, now walking in the light being given off in this city, glowing inside of it.  This would probably be all the Millennium saints, all who were saved and accepted Jesus’ call to salvation during the Millennium.  That number could be in the multiple billions.  Their residence will not be the New Jerusalem, but probably be earth and maybe elsewhere in the universe.  There will be a lot of traffic going in and out of the New Jerusalem from the rest of immortal mankind.  The Bride of Christ, those who were born-again from righteous Abel to the 2nd coming, who were part of the 1st resurrection to immortality, will probably be the priesthood around God the Father and Jesus Christ, just as the Levitical priesthood were around the tabernacle.  But not all Levites and Levitical priests dwelt in Jerusalem, but were scattered throughout the cities and towns of Israel.  In a sense, and I’m going out on a limb in personal speculation, thinking BIG, but the universe could become “the land of Israel” after the events of Revelation 20:14-15, 2nd Peter 3:7-11 and Revelation 21:1.

 

Those who won’t be there

 

Revelation 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.”  Those who are in “the lake of fire”, Satan and his demonic host will never be able to enter into the New Jerusalem.  “Any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie” will no longer have access to any area within New Jerusalem.

 

Revelation chapter 22

 

Last words of Jesus Christ, God the Son has given us in the Word of God

 

The chapter, according to Halley’s Bible Handbook, can be broken down into five basic themes:

          Verses 1-5, River and Tree of Life

          Verses 6-10, Importance of the Book of Revelation

          Verses 11-16, An end to Grace

          Verse 17, Final Invitation

          Verses 18-19, Final Warning 

          (verses 20-21, closing verses)

 

River and Tree of Life

 

Revelation 22:1-5, “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month:  and the leaves of the tree were for healing of the nations.  And there shall be no more curse:  but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light:  and they shall reign for ever and ever.”  Revelation 22:1-2 gives us another scenic view of the New Jerusalem, with a beautiful river of crystal clear water flowing out from under the throne of God and of the Lamb.  Genesis started with a pure clear river and the Tree of Life.  Genesis 2:9-10, “And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.  The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.”  Then in Ezekiel 47:1-12 and Zechariah 14:8 we’re given the description of the River of Life coming out from under the threshold of the Millennial Temple of God.  This river divided into two rivers, one going east into the Dead Sea and then south into the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, the other went west into the Mediterranean Sea, and they both had healing qualities which healed all the oceans in the world.  It apparently shows re-creation of all fish and species that dwell in the oceans taking place as well.  Jesus said in John 4:14, “…but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 6:35, 51, “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst…I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’”  The whole description about the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21  dealt with its mineral construction.  Now we’re shown some vegetation.  Is it ‘spirit’ vegetation or physical?  Again, we don’t know.  God is a creator in both realms.  We’ll have to wait and see.  What makes this  present world God created so wonderful is all the greenery, plant life, grasses and grains, flowers, and forests filled with a huge diversity of trees.  Man was barred from access to the Tree of Life in Genesis 3.  Here he is given access to it.  Verses 1-2 again give us a tiny glimpse into the New Jerusalem, not a total picture.  The Tree of Life gives an abundance and variety of fruit.  The River of Life gives plenty of crystal clear water.  Will there be other trees and fruit?  Who knows.  But these two verses show us we will still eat and drink.  We may not need to in order to live, as we do now in our biochemical existence, but we will be able to eat and drink.  There are various secondary doctrinal beliefs about this, and honestly folks, neither those who teach them nor any of us know for sure.  It’s time to back off and embrace what we do know and what we are told.  This is just a glimpse we’ve been given by Jesus Christ, that’s all.  Genesis 1 tells us something else about what they ate in the original Garden of Eden, Genesis 1:29-30, “And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.  Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food’; and it was so.”  Will we only eat fruit like in the original Garden of Eden?  Again, who knows.

 

No more curse of sin

 

Revelation 22:3-5, “And there shall be no more curse:  but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light:  and they shall reign for ever and ever.”  Will the curse of sin ever enter this realm of new heavens and new earth, and the New Jerusalem?  These and other verses in Revelation 22 say no, it won’t.  In a sense, and a very real one, sin came into the world through the evil and deadly influence of Satan, first right in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3.  Satan was allowed to rule, unseen but in a very real way, over the entire earth for the first six thousand years of man’s existence on planet earth.  Every single immortal son and daughter of God has had to overcome Satan’s evil influence and sin nature with the aid of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, even the Millennium saints who lived through Revelation 20:7-10 without rebelling against God.  They all have overcome while having to live under Satan’s influence and have all had to overcome the sin nature in their lives.  Now they’re filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and they want nothing to do with sin. 

“And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light:  and they shall reign for ever and ever.”  The light source, as seen in Revelation 21 as well, is God the Father, The Lamb (and I would say his Bride too).  Their light will radiate out of this city made of gold and crystal clear diamond.  Chandeliers and lighthouses with glass crystal lenses are only a type for what the New Jerusalem will be like. 

“and his servants shall serve him.”  Hebrews 9:1, 6, “Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary…Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services.”  Who knows what this service will be.  No night, no need for sleep.  As J. Vernon McGee speculates, “He may give us charge of whole universes…man will at last fulfill his destiny and satisfy the desires of his heart.”  I agree. 

“And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”  We will all have the name of Christ on our foreheads.  This is why I believe the Book of Revelation is written to the Church, and applies to every believer from righteous Abel to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  It applies to them.  They and the entire Church up to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, those in the 1st resurrection, are called the Bride of Christ.  They become his wife.  You girls, women, when you get married, you usually take on the last name of your husband.  It is my personal belief that the Book of Revelation is written for the Church, that specific group of believers from righteous Abel to the saints alive at the 2nd coming.  It is they being addressed here, to those who have his name named on them, they the Bride of Christ.  I don’t believe the whole Book applies to or was written for the Millennium saints as far as these New Jerusalem promises of having Jesus Christ’s name on them or their residence being within the New Jerusalem.  One thing that is written for the Millennial saints, and it can be taken as a severe warning to them and all that will live in the time period of the Millennium, and that is Revelation 20, especially verses 7-10.  It is a warning to accept the call of Jesus and receive salvation through him, and the indwelling Holy Spirit who will shield their hearts and minds from Satan and the demons when they are released from their prison.  So Revelation 20:1-15 for them can be taken as a severe warning. 

 

Importance of the Book of Revelation

 

Revelation 22:6-10, “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true:  and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.  Behold, I come quickly:  blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.  And I John saw these things, and heard them.  And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.  Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not:  for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book:  worship God.  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book:  for the time is at hand.”  Again when Jesus says “Behold, I come quickly” he didn’t mean he was coming back soon in John’s day or any day up to the time depicted in Revelation chapters 4 through 19.  But he meant that when those events do start to take place, it won’t be long folks, it’s all going to progress very rapidly.  Even the Beast Empire, some resurrected form of a Holy Roman Empire, will come suddenly upon the world scene.  We are closer to that event than we ever have been in the history of man.  So this verse, you could say, applies to us more than it did when John penned it.  Again Jesus pronounces a blessing on those “that keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”  That means taking what’s written here seriously, taking your Christian or Messianic Jewish walk with Jesus seriously.  The world will be judged, you don’t want to be a part of that. 

 

An end to Grace

 

Revelation 22:11-15, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still:  and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still:  and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still:  and he that is holy, let him be holy still.  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.  I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”  Character, whether of those in the world or in the Church is not a static thing right now. It can get better or worse.  As believers our spiritual character ought to be getting better and better all the time (although we can have set-backs).  But there will come a time, and it will come in the future, when a person’s character becomes fixed.  At the time of the 1st resurrection to immortality the spiritual character of those saints becomes “fixed” in that sense, fixed in righteousness, fixed in holiness.  Each of us becomes fixed in the character state he or she is in.  Of those that go into the “lake of fire” their character becomes “fixed” at that time.  Too late, no time for repentance or accepting Jesus Christ into your life. 

“Behold, I come quickly.”  Jesus just repeated himself here, adding emphasis to the last theme, that a time will come when it’s too late.  Basically I believe Revelation is a warning to the Church, the Bride of Christ to take God seriously. 

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”  You know, there are those groups out there, within the Body of Christ, that get so “grace oriented” that they forget about obedience to the commandments of God.  They have a warped perception of what grace is and how to define it, just as those who are legalistic tend to fall into the ditch on the other side of the road that leads to life.  For more on this subject log onto:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm.  Just read the first page on that link, you’ll get the idea.  That whole section deals with the subject of ‘law & grace.’  Remember what Jesus said the Philadelphia era would be like, that they’d be an evangelizing Church era that lives by the whole Word of God.  They wouldn’t be watering the Word of God down, or “liberalizing” it, they’d be living by it.

 

The Book of Revelation is for the churches

 

Revelation 22:16, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.  I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”  Again Jesus states directly that the Book of Revelation is for the churches, the Bride of Christ.  I personally do not believe this overwhelming urge that came upon me to put together this commentary on the Book of Revelation came out of my own pea-brain.  There is an urgent message for the Christian churches and Messianic Jewish congregations here.  Maybe the Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua haMeshiach for our Messianic Jewish brethren, is trying to tell us time is growing short, that the events depicted in the Book of Revelation may be coming upon us quicker than we expected.  Dare we take the chance they aren’t?  We may be playing with fire if we don’t take the Book of Revelation seriously. 

 

Final Invitation

 

Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.      And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  This is a two-fold invitation, one from the Holy Spirit and the Bride, the Church, inviting Jesus Christ to come, to return.  It is an invitation to sinners to come to Christ for salvation before he returns, and before all the nasty events depicted in the Book of Revelation start to occur.  The Holy Spirit is in the world today, nurturing and indwelling believers in Jesus Christ, and it is He who joins in their and our prayers for Jesus Christ’s return to earth.  Also the invitation is for anyone in this evil world to come to Christ, accepting him and receiving him and salvation into their lives.  Isaiah 55:1, “Ho!  Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat.  Yes, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.”  John 7:37-38, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

 

Final Warning

 

Revelation 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book.  If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”  No other book of the Bible has as serious a warning attached to it for anyone who would attempt to mutilate this book.  Personally I believe this applies in two ways, one is literal, addressed to translators and copyists (at first, to the very scribes that copied the first manuscripts for distribution to the various churches across Asia Minor, Greece, North Africa and Rome).  The second way these two verses apply, and we see this happening all the time in today’s age, is the liberalization and/or watering down of God’s Word in general. Those that do that with the Book of Revelation are given a serious warning by Jesus Christ in verse 19, ‘Do it at the peril of losing your eternal lives’ is what he’s saying.  Halley says in his Bible Handbook “Rationalistic critics do not like this passage [verse 19 especially], because it condemns them for assuming to themselves the liberty to eliminate whatever portions of Scripture they do not like (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32).  Better accept God’s Word, just as it is, and beware of treating any part of it too lightly.”  [Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 740]  One word about Bible prophecy.  There are a huge number of Old Testament prophecies which are already fulfilled and in the secular history books.  By comparing these fulfilled prophecies, their wording, to their actual historic fulfillments shows us how all Bible prophecies should be interpreted, and that would be quite literally, not figuratively or allegorically or metaphorically.  Parables are a different matter, and usually they are interpreted by Jesus, who gave them.  I would venture that this warning applies to all who would write books about the book of Revelation that interpret the symbols and events depicted in any other way but literally, except where it appears something is definitely allegorical or figurative (i.e. the sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth in Revelation 1). Throughout this commentary I have been very careful to avoid being dogmatic about any passage where I am unsure of its exact meaning.  I used the King James Version for all quoted verses in Revelation here, and proof read them very carefully.  If any of you reading this finds an error in the text of Revelation, be sure to contact me via the Guestbook and let me know where it is so I can correct it. 

Closing verses

 

Revelation 22:20-21, “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.”

 

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