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John Brown :: Revelation 21

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Revelation 21

I don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell--you see, I have friends in both places. --Mark Twain

I would rather go to heaven alone than go to hell in company --R.A. Torrey


A. There has been much talk over the last couple of years about a New World Order, well this morning we will take a look at the real "New World Order!"

1. "New" is the operative word here. There is going to be a new heaven and a new earth. A place where the Lord will once again dwell among His people.

2. A place where there will be peace and safety, and no more tears nor death!!

II. REVELATION 21:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.(NKJV)

A. The Greek word that is translated "new" here means "new in respect to freshness".

1. There is inference here that the new heaven and new earth will be like it use to be, before the fall and before the curse upon it!

2. As it was in the time of Adam and Eve.

a) If you will remember, the first heaven and earth had melted in the intense, fervent heat of the Glory of the Lord!

b) There is something noticeably different with this new earth - there is no sea!

(1) That seems a little odd when we currently live upon an earth that is almost 70% water.

(2) But, the new earth will consist of entirely inhabitable land mass.

(3) This will become clearer as we progress.

III. REVELATION 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (NKJV)

A. John hasn't mentioned his own name since the first chapter, but here he wants us to know that as unbelievable as this seems, he is an eyewitness!!!!

1. Please notice that this "holy city" called New Jerusalem was created by the Lord Himself somewhere in the heavens, and then sent to within John's eyesight!!

a) In the context of Revelation 21:2, "heaven" is simply the sky or atmosphere!

(1) John's perspective is at such as vantage point as to allow him to see this new planet "coming down out of heaven".

b) This city, the New Jerusalem, is however what is referred to when people talk about "going to heaven."

2. This city is the dwelling place for the saints which have been made spotless and dressed in the wedding garments, therefore John sees the entire city as such.

IV. REVELATION 21:3-8 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." 6 And He said to me, "it is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (NKJV)

A. Matthew 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." (NKJV)

1. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (NKJV)

2. The word "dwelt" here in John 1:14 is the same word used in Revelation 21:3 (King James Version) for "tabernacle"!

3. The ancient tabernacle was merely a foreshadowing of the fact that the Lord's desire has always been to live with the people He created!

4. In this glorious new city, He will do just that! He will "live" or "tabernacle" amongst us!!

a) The supernatural result of the presence of God will be:

(1) No more tears, or crying!

(2) No more death!

(3) No more sorrow!

(4) And no more pain!

(a) You see, all these are a result of sin and the curse. These are the "former things" that will be done away with.

5. We have His promise in verse 5 that "all things" will be new! or (fresh)

6. As he restates His sovereignty in verse 6, (Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End) He assures John that He is the source of water in this New city!

a) Jesus made a very important statement to the woman at the well 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." (NKJV)

b) You see, those who place a saving faith in the cross, their very sustenance will be the Lord Himself!

c) He will be their life, they will inherit all the blessing of their Father!

d) But, those who "chickened out" somewhere in life (that's the reference to the cowardly) and fail to give their life to the Lord, will never make it to this city!

(1) They are destined to the "lake of fire" to experience a second death!

(2) No man will go to heaven, who has not sent his heart on ahead.--Thomas Wilson

V. REVELATION 21:9-11 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. (NKJV)

A. John had seen this angel before as he (the angel) administered the plagues upon the earth.

1. He takes John in for a close look at what the Lord has prepared for the church, His bride.

2. Form John's perspective on this high mountain, the New Jerusalem is in full view, and it is spectacular!

a) I'm sure that it was like something John had never seen before, but he attempts to describe it.

(1) There is a brilliance that radiates from the city and he says, " her light was like a most precious stone, like jasper, and a clear as crystal."

(2) This jasper stone comes in many colors but all of them crystalline in nature and clarity!

(a) We must remember that the Lord Himself is in this city in all His glory.

(b) Just His backside bleached Moses white!

VI. REVELATION 21:12-15 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. (NKJV)

A. This wall is not for protection since there are no enemies, and the gates are always open!

1. To the Jew, walls and gates meant security!

2. The Lord wants us to know that we are completely safe in this new, and holy city!

3. Each time we enter or leave the city, we will be reminded that it was through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the 12 tribes of Israel, that we Gentiles have access to the Lord!

a) There will be angels at each of the 12 gates helping us in and out and even perhaps announcing the names written on the gates!

4. In the wilderness, camped alongside the tabernacle were Judah, Isaachar, and Zebulun on the East:

a) Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin on the West

b) Dan, Asher, and Naphtali on the North.

c) And Reuben, Simeon, and Gad on the South!

(1) Although the "order" mentioned in Ezek. 48 is different, perhaps this explains the 3 gates on each side of this new city!

(2) Representing all of God's children!

B. This wall has 12 foundations and on them are written the names of the 12 Apostles!

1. Ephesians 2:19-21 makes this a little clearer, 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, (NKJV)

2. This entire city is built upon our faithful forefathers who lived and died espousing the promises of God!

3. It is the basis for the entire Christian faith, without which there would be no heavenly city!

4. The measuring stick is no doubt to help John get a perspective on the size of the city but it speaks of even more:

a) It represents as standard of evaluation and judgment!

b) Everything in this new city "measures up" to the requirement of the Lord!

VII. REVELATION 21:16-17 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. (NKJV)

A. Based upon these measurements given to us by John the city is 1,380 miles on every side!

1. This area would cover all the way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic Ocean to Colorado!

2. Notice that it has length, width, and height!

a) This city is a cube!

b) It is interesting to note that it was a "cube" that was specified by the Lord Himself for the Holy place in Solomon's temple 1 Kings 6:20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high....(NKJV)

c) This was the place where the Lord was to dwell between the cherubim, and now in the New Jerusalem the pattern is repeated!

3. In this new city, our new bodies will not be limited to linear travel, we will be able to travel vertically (as well as horizontally like we do now)!

4. Some commentators suggest that there will be as many as 20 billion people in this new city.

a) If that is the case, every person could have his/her own "block" and each side of that block would contain 75 acres of land! That's a little over 1/3 mile in every direction!

5. This angel, which measures according to "human" measurements, measures the thickness of the wall and comes up with 144 cubits or 216 ft. thick!

a) (It is possible that this is the height of the wall, but that would mean that a great deal of the city would be "exposed" above the wall!

VIII. REVELATION 21:18-21 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (NKJV)

1. The construction of this city is very unique!

a) The wall is jasper!

b) And the city itself, and its streets are built with a Gold so pure it appears clear!

c) The foundation's "precious" stones are not completely explained.

(1) Perhaps John thought that would take away from explaining the beauty of this great city!

(2) No doubt, each particular stone has been hand selected to represent each of the 12 Apostles!

(3) And 12 gates that we will passing in and out of, are themselves made of one pearl each!

(a) Will that pearl door be propped open all the time or will we simply "pass" right through it no one knows for sure, but what a glorious sight!

(b) Without spending a lot of time on the different stones and such, I think it is important that in the city where our Father dwells, everything is "precious"...even the "asphalt is gold!

IX. REVELATION 21:22-27 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26. And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 but there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. (NKJV)

A. All the purposes for an earthy temple have been fulfilled so there will be no temple as John was use to.

1. The main purpose of the temple was to spill the blood of the sacrifices in order to "pay for sin" so man could be at peace with the Lord!

2. In the New Jerusalem, Jesus and His Father are the temple!

a) It is in Him that we have placed our faith and the reason we are in the city in the first place.

(1) So, we are "in the temple", so to speak all the time!!

b) There is no more need for sacrifice!

B. 1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (NKJV)

1. God will be our "illumination"! In fact, He may still be so magnificent that for us to stand in His presence, His glory must first be reflected off the "Son" verse 23

C. Who are these "kings of the earth" in verse 24?

1. We know that they must be saved because all others have been sent to the lake of fire!

2. The logical assumption is that these are saints who have the freedom to come in and out of the city!

a) It seems that thought they have homes in the city they are given national boundaries on the new earth.

(1) Notice also, that the issue of "stewardship" is once and for all settled in this new city ...And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.

(a) GLORY = 1391 doxa dox'-ah DOXOLOGY

(i) glory, honour, praise, worship

(ii) opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone.

(iii) It also means splendour, brightness magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace

(iv) a most glorious condition, most exalted state.

(b) HONOR = 5092 time tee-may'

(i) price, sum, precious

(ii) of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold.


Could it be that as we come and go though these "pearly gates" that the ministering angel stationed at each one announces, "Here comes the glory of God, the price was paid for this one! Emmanuel! God dwells among us!!!!"

Revelation 20 ← Prior Section
Revelation 22 Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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