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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

January 21, 2015

Revelations 21:15-27, 22:1-5

  1. Verses 15-17. John now sees the angel with a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates, and its walls. When Ezekiel saw this vision he also saw an angel with a measuring rod in his hand (Ezekiel 40:3). Ezekiel 40:5 shows this angel going around the outside of the temple area and measuring the various aspects of the temple. The measuring of the city (and the temple in Ezekiel’s vision) is to show the security found in this city. To measure the walls is to inspect the walls for places where an enemy could enter. We saw this symbol in Revelation 11:1-2 where the measuring of the temple by John should the security of that temple while the courts outside the temple were not measured because they were to be trampled and destroyed. We noted that temple in Revelation 11 to refer to the holy people of God who were spiritually secure while the physical city was destroyed by the Gentiles. The same meaning exists here in Revelation 21:15-17. These vast measurements of the city are to show that the people of God are secure and safe. Eternity would be a [lace of no fear, not like this world where there are threats all the time. In eternity there are no threats to the people of God. The length, width, and height of the city measure to 12,000 stadia. Many translations convert this measurement for us to help us understand the size of the city. The NRSV and NASB read 1500 miles while the NET and NLT read 1400 miles. 12,000 stadia high, wide and tall. Perfect dimensions. A perfect cube. These measurements should immediately cause us to realize that we are not looking at a literal city that would 1400-1500 miles high. The perfection of the city is being emphasized with this power numbers. We have noticed in our study of Revelation that 12,000 is a powerful, perfect number. We saw that the number of the servants of God sealed from each tribe was 12,000, bringing the number to 144,000. The number 12,000 shows grand and perfect completeness. There was only one other thing that was in perfect dimension of God’s buildings. The Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple was perfectly square (1 Kings 6:20). The Holy of Holies was 20 cubits long, wide, and high and was overlaid with God. This room represented the presence of God. This city with its perfect dimensions in equal length, width, and height represents God’s presence with his people who have been made perfect (Hebrews 12:22-24).

  2. Verses 18-21.The description of the building materials for New Jerusalem are simply amazing. The walls are like diamonds, clear as glass, while the city was made of pure gold. Just as the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple was overlaid with gold and the whole temple was laid with gold (1 Kings 6:20-22) so also is New Jerusalem made of pure gold. The various precious stones continue to amplify the beauty and glory of God with this city. Many precious stones from the high priest’s breastplate are identified here, perhaps indicating the whole of Israel, God’s holy people, represented in this city. We may also be seeing another fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 54:11–13). This is the city that reflects the glory of God. This is the dwelling place of God. The twelve gates were twelve pearls and the street was the city was made of pure gold, transparent as glass. Everything is perfect. Nothing is marred in this city. The holy people of God are with the Lord in perfect fellowship where there is nothing evil.

  3. Verses 22-27. Now John sees something very unusual about this holy city. There is no temple in the city. The reason is that the temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. There is no need for an intercessor between us and God. God is the temple. We have direct access and fellowship with the Lord. This is the reality of what the prophets promised. (Jeremiah 3:16–17, Haggai 2:6–9, Ephesians 2:19–20 ) . Further, the city has no need for the sun or moon because the glory of God gives it light and the lamp is the Lamb. The glory of God is incomparable to any source of light. God’s glory is sufficient for us for living. Once again, the imagery of verse 23 shows the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. (Isaiah 60:19). The chapter concludes revealing that this great glory, security, and fellowship are available for all people. The nations walk by its light and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. They will bring the glory and the honor of the nations (21:26). Isaiah also prophesied of this moment. (Isaiah 60:3,5,11-12) Those who do not submit to God will not be allowed to enter through the gates. Only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter into this glorious fellowship with God and receive the eternal blessings and rewards. These images portray the glory and blessings we will enjoy in full fellowship with God in the age to come after Christ returns.

  4. Chapter 22. In the first five verses of chapter 22 belong with the description of the bride, New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, recorded in Revelation 21:9-27. New Jerusalem is a picture of the people of God in their perfected state, receiving the eternal rewards and final blessings promised for their faithfulness to God (cf. Revelation 19:7-8).

  5. Verses 1-2. The angel shows John the river of the water of life. This river of living water is pictured as being as bright as crystal. Near the campus of Florida College runs the Hillsborough River. It is not a beautiful river. It is dark, full of tree limbs and moss. There is nothing about that river that calls for a person to jump in. The river flowing through the New Jerusalem is desirable and beautiful. These are the flowing waters that bring life. These are pure waters. The river of the water of life flows from the throne of God and the Lamb. Remember that there is no temple in the city. God and the Lamb are on the throne and the river of life is flowing from the throne through the middle of the street of the city. All who belong to this city have access to the river of the water of life for it flows through the middle of the city right down its main street. Zechariah and Ezekiel use the same imagery for this glorious time. (Zechariah 14:8 and Ezekiel 47:12, 7, 8-9, 12). On either side of the river of the water of life is the tree of life. The tree of life yields fruit each month and the leaves bring healing to the nations. This imagery also comes from Ezekiel’s prophecy. What an inviting picture! Come to God for healing. Healing is made available for all seasons. Life is available for all seasons. God has offered healing to the world. The river of the water of life and the tree of life represent the life of eternal fellowship with God and Christ. The last time we read about the tree of life was in the garden of Eden in Genesis. The tree of life was put in the midst of the garden (Genesis 2:9). When Adam and Eve sinned, they had to be cast out of the garden. This symbolized their separation from God. They could not be in eternal fellowship with God nor be in the presence of God because of sin. Eternal separation from God is the second death, as we saw in Revelation 20:6,10,14-15 and Revelation 21:8. The tree of life is now in the midst of New Jerusalem, representing God’s people having full fellowship with God and full access to God forever. This access and this healing are available to all people, not a select group. Anyone can be part of God’s people and join in this eternal fellowship to come.

  6. Verses 3-5 explain the effects of the tree of life and the river of water of life. There is nothing accursed, unlike what happened to Adam and Eve because of their sin and they experienced curses. There is no sin and therefore there is nothing accursed. The throne of God and the Lamb are in the midst of this city and his servants worship God. Verse 4 is simply staggering if we let it the words sink into our hearts. The servants of God and the Lamb will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads. The hope of God’s people is finally realized: seeing God face to face. We even sing songs in our hymnals now longing for that time when we can see God’s face. The godly are pictured as priests, worshiping God in his presence, seeing his face. His name on the foreheads of the servants continues to picture the intimate fellowship between God and his people. God recognizes his people. These are the faithful who have not succumbed to worshiping things that are false gods and idols. This picture shows the fulfillment of God’s promise made to the Christians at Philadelphia. (Rev 3:12). Finally, we are reminded that there is no night there as we will live in the light and the glory of God. Everything is now perfect. There is no more evil, no more death, and no more pain. (Isaiah 60:19-20). The servants of God reign forever and ever with the Lord, just as Daniel prophesied and Jesus promised. (Daniel 7:27 and Revelations 3:21).

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