Chapter 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.”
Thanks for all the responses about these articles and lessons. The communication is very much appreciated. Today we will look at a third installment of Our New Home. There are always things to learn and to grow in when handling the Word of God. I keep learning stuff, and I hope that you will too as we move ahead in the study of God’s Word.
The last two times, we talked about the size and the sheer awesomeness of the New Jerusalem. It is massive. It will house billions of people and extend from earth all the way into space. We will have the ability, in our new bodies, to travel from earth into what we now call space. I am not sure how that will work, but it will. Our new bodies will be awesome; the limitations that sin put on us will all be lifted; and once again we will have the bodies that God intended us to have.
Along with the New Jerusalem, we saw earlier that we get a New Earth as well, and that there will be no more sea. We also get a New Heaven. This would refer to the atmosphere around us; the Heaven where God lives is eternal, so that will not change. But we will get a New Heaven and a New Earth and a New Jerusalem. The three are hand in hand. God intended us to know about these new places, to have a life that is focused on them, and so live in such a way that we are not comfortable here. This world is not our home, not our final destination.
We are going to take a look at some of the activities in and around the New Jerusalem and get a little, a very little glimpse of what life will be like.
- God with us, verses 2-4 (prior text)
Jesus is called Immanuel, God with us. God met with Adam and his wife in the Garden of Eden. Over and over again in the books of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy God proclaims to the people, ‘I am with you.’ He was there as a cloud by day and fire by night. 1 Corinthians 10:4 tells us that Jesus was the Rock that followed the nation of Israel in the wilderness. Jesus appears in dreams to people. He met with Gideon; He met with Manoah in Judges; He spoke to Daniel in Babylon; He was there; He is there; and then He came as a baby in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago.
When He left, He sent His Holy Spirit to live in us and to empower His local churches. But, one day soon, we will see Him face to face, no fear, no terror, just the wonder of His glory and presence. God will live with us and comfort us. We will never be separated ever again. Sin will never separate us and God ever again.
- Neither the Sun nor the Moon are needed, verse 23
This will be weird. I am 53, and there has not been a day without the sun and the moon; but in the New Heavens that God makes, there will not be a need for the sun or the moon. God is the Light of the World; this is a good lesson to learn. God is so Holy that He provides more light than the sun. And, seeing as we will have new bodies, it does not appear that we will need much rest, as there is no night. Or rather, we will rest because we want to, not because we have to. This is just like what God did in the Creation; He rested on the seventh day because He wanted to, not because He had to.
God is glorious, His purity is tangible, and it is so amazing that it can override the sun and eliminate the need for the moon. His glory is all we need. We are not accustomed to this, and this is why we need new purified bodies with new minds and new eyes to be able to handle the glory of our God.
Remember back in Isaiah 6 that the prophet, upon seeing God, could only recognize his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of his people. Remember Moses in the wilderness, that after spending time with God in ‘face to face’ communications, his face glowed so much that the people of Israel made him wear a veil because they could not handle the shine on his face. Now imagine what it will be like when we can actually tolerate the glory of God. His glory will make the sun obsolete as the source of light in the galaxy.
- The Lamb of God and the Lord Almighty are its Temple, verse 22
There is no more need for a Temple. You will recall from Daniel 9:27 that one of the parts of the ‘peace treaty’ that the Anti-Christ will make with the nation of Israel will be the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem:
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
See there that the sacrifices will begin again; and about halfway through the Tribulation, the Anti-Christ will defile the Temple. If one were to read Ezekiel 40-44, you will see the construction dimension for another Temple, what I understand to be a fourth temple in Jerusalem during the Millennium. In chapter 44 there are instructions about how the Prince will live in Jerusalem. As far as I can tell, there are two more Temples coming. I know that some will disagree, but the dimensions of the structure are huge, far bigger that the current Temple mount in Jerusalem. I am sure that I will learn more as I continue. But, in this New Jerusalem, there is no need for a Temple; there is no sin within the city walls.
Later, in verses 24-27 of chapter 21, we are told that the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor, but that nothing that causes an abomination or is a lie will enter. The sacrificing is gone forever, never to return.
- There is commerce around the New Jerusalem, verse 24-25
This place never closes; it is busy all the time. From verse 24 we can surmise that there is life on earth beyond the gates of the New Jerusalem. There are kingdoms and kings who live outside the city. We are told that there are nations of those who are saved, but they were not a part of the Bride of The Lamb. Think about it; the opportunity to be a part of the Bride ends with the Rapture as far as we understand. Then, for the 7 years of the Tribulation, there are those Jews, for instance, that are redeemed; then there are Gentiles who, along with the Jews, refuse the ‘mark of the beast.’ They enter the Millennial Kingdom and thrive in an environment that has no natural death. There are no wars, no predators and no disease.
Those that are rebellious are killed at the last battle of the world at the very end of the Millennial Kingdom, and there are still billions left who worship and honor the Lord God Almighty; but these are not a part of the Bride.
According to the passage we are looking at today, there will be nations, and there will be kings. So, it seems there will be a whole world going on around this massive structure of the New Jerusalem. One last thing: the gates are open all the time. Twelve gates made of pearls are there, and they never close. These pearls are huge – we are told in verse 17 of our passage that the walls are 144 cubits. Now, I am not sure if that is tall or wide, but either way that works out to 216 feet, either tall or wide. If there is a pearl that is a gate, imagine the size of it. Folks, this place is going to blow our minds; well, maybe not our perfect minds, but it blows our finite minds.
The New Jerusalem, the New Heaven and the New Earth are going to be busy places – busy about the business of the Lord’s universe.
We have such a narrow view of the Universe and even of earth. We learn and discover new things on a regular basis.
In all my years, I have not heard much about the New Jerusalem or the Millennial Kingdom that precedes it. It is almost as if people are afraid to tackle these topics; maybe I just need to read more. But should we not want to know more about the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us? We should be excited, intrigued, inquisitive and expectant. Rather, we are complacent; I know that I can be. We get excited about this earth’s wealth and perceived riches, and we get our eyes off eternity. We get our eyes off the real prize and get lost in the wilderness of life. Our new home is the bomb; it is going to absolutely rock. And it is here on earth, in this life, that we get to determine what our responsibilities will be in the Millennium and beyond.
Stay focused, eyes on Jesus. Keep our eyes on the real prize, the one that is eternal and permanent.
We even have churches that keep talking about Kingdom building. God has a kingdom already, a big one, and He does not need our help to build it bigger.
We have two goals as church-age believers: to win the lost and to become more like Jesus. The Great Commission and the Beatitudes; keep these in front of us, and we will be ready for work in the coming Millennium and then the New Jerusalem.