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Life in New Jerusalem, Part Two - Describing Her

Rejoicing Through Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:57
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Having described New Jerusalem’s descent, we now consider the Revelator’s description of this indescribable place which the Lord has prepared for them that love Him.

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Introduction:

START LOW
Revelation 21:22 KJV 1900
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
Quote - "The glorious fact is not that the past is sullied, dirty, or unclean, but that the future is unsullied." [Craig Brian Larson and Brian Lowery, 1001 Quotations That Connect: Timeless Wisdom for Preaching, Teaching, and Writing (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2009), 161.]
Illustration: Hanging Lake Hiking Trip
Jesus said that He had to leave to go and prepare a place for us. Now, John gives us a glimpse of the handiwork of our Master Carpenter. Welcome, New Jerusalem!
Main Thoughts: Focus on the hope that this description stirs in the heart of finding that city whose builder and Maker is God (Heb. 11:10). Draw the attention to the central focus of the city - The Lord, Lamb Temple, God's People becoming the Holy of Holies into Eternity
Sub-Intro: Whereas the devil had his seductive harlot city (Babylon the Great), the Lord has His beautiful virgin city (New Jerusalem).
Note - John's description is completely logical, he describes first the outside of the city (Rev. 21:9-21) and then the inside of the city (Rev. 22:1-5)
Body:

I. New Jerusalem’s  Descent  (Rev. 21:9-14)

A. John'  Invitation  to Behold (Rev. 21:9)

B. John's  Experience  (Rev. 21:10-14)

1. The Brilliance of the City (Rev. 21:11)
2. The Bars (or Walls) of the City (Rev. 21:12-14)
a. The Twelve Foundations: The Twelve Apostles of the Lamb (vv. 12, 14)
b. The Twelve Gates of the City: The Twelve Sons of Israel (vv. 12-13)
Note - When all added up, there were thirteen tribes of Israel as well as thirteen Apostles of Christ
Application: The 12 Apostles represent the NT Saints, and the 12 Tribes represent the OT Saints. Both groups will dwell in the New Jerusalem, and make up the Bride, in this we see the unity among distinction that also is seen in the triune God-head, as well as God's resurrection program in four phases (First Christ, then NT Saints in Rapture, next OT Saints in Revelation, and lastly the Millennial Saints at the end of the Millennium).

II. New Jerusalem’s  Description  (Rev. 21:15-21)

Go Slow...

A. The Broad  Measurements  of the City (Rev. 21:15-17)

1. The Structure Measured: The City, the Gates, and the Walls ( v. 15)

Revelation 21:15 KJV 1900
And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
Note - Where John was allowed to measure the Tribulation Temple (Rev. 11:1-2), he was not tasked with that here
Note - This is a Protected City

2. The Size Measured: Perfectly Symmetrical (vv. 16-17)

Revelation 21:16–17 KJV 1900
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.
Note - 1400 miles cubed, from Denver to Mexico City, Mex., Richmond, VA, Raleigh, NC, or almost to Washington DC; or from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean to Colorado.
Note - "measure of a man...of an angel" = not figurative, but real units of measure as we understand them, the same in the realms of angels as the realms of men
Note - As preposterous as the engineering feat may seem to finite men, we must remember that the power of God spoke the worlds into existence and that if He can hang stars on nothing, then this is not too hard for God! (e.g. Leon Morris rejecting the literalness of it in TNTC)

B. The Beautiful  Materials  of the City (Rev. 21:18-21)

1. Jasper Walls & Clear Crystal City (v. 18)

Revelation 21:18 KJV 1900
And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

2. Foundation Stones (vv. 19-20)

Revelation 21:19–20 KJV 1900
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, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
Note - See Is. 54:11-12
Isaiah 54:11–12 KJV 1900
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, And lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, And thy gates of carbuncles, And all thy borders of pleasant stones.
The Apostle John’s description of the variety of colors of the twelve foundations ranged from a clear crystalline brilliance to a blue, to a copper radiance, to a green, to a reddish-white, reddish-brown, to a yellow-green, to turquoise, to a yellow-gold, to an apple-green, to red-purple, and finally to a deep purple set of hues. No doubt, the brilliance and splendor of the New Jerusalem, with its multi-colored foundations and aura of pure crystallized gold, was nearly indescribable, as John used limited and rare words in his portrayal. The beauty of the home for the Lord’s Bride is incomparable. [Strouse, 946.]

3. Gates of Pearl & Streets of Gold (v. 21)

Revelation 21:21 KJV 1900
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.
Note - Pearls have always been seen as costly (see Job 28:18; Matt. 13:45)
Job 28:18 KJV 1900
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: For the price of wisdom is above rubies.
Matthew 13:45–46 KJV 1900
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Note - Compare the flooring of Solomon's Temple in 1 Kings 6:30 overlaid with gold

III. New Jerusalem’s  Delights  (Rev. 21:22-22:5)

Rise Higher!

A. The Worship of the City (Rev. 21:22)

Revelation 21:22 KJV 1900
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
Note - "Lord God Almighty" = Triune Godhead
Note - Throughout eternity there will be no more sin, no more separation from God, and therefore no more need for the golden censer (Rev. 6:3; 8:3), golden altar (Rev. 8:3), and the Temple (Rev. 16:17) will cease, as God's saints (believers through the ages) will have free access to their Savior and God.

B. The Illumination of the City (Rev. 21:23)

Revelation 21:23 KJV 1900
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.
Note - See also Is. 60:1; 1 Jn. 1:5
Isaiah 60:1 KJV 1900
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
1 John 1:5 KJV 1900
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Note - That the city will have no need of the sun or moon does not necessarily mean they will not exist
Note - Jesus is the Light of the World (Jn. 8:12; 9:5), as long as we are in His presence we will have His light (eternally)
Note - Consider also Isaiah's description in Is. 60:19-20 and remember that the sun stood still for Joshua for one day (Josh. 10:12-13)
Isaiah 60:19–20 KJV 1900
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; Neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: But the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, And thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; Neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: For the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, And the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
Joshua 10:12–13 KJV 1900
Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; And thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, Until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, And hasted not to go down about a whole day.

C. The Enlightenment of the City (Rev. 21:24)

Revelation 21:24 KJV 1900
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.
Note - This City Is a Peaceful City
Note - The new earth will continue to be governed (Rev. 1:6) by those who reigned with Christ through the Millennium
Note - These will serve the Lord with a proper heart attitude and service. See Heb. 13:15; Ps. 100:4
Hebrews 13:15 KJV 1900
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Psalm 100:4 KJV 1900
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

D. The Enterprise of the City (Rev. 21:25-26)

Revelation 21:25–26 KJV 1900
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.
Note - This City Is a Prosperous City
Note - Whereas gates were typically shut at night to protect the city (see Neh. 7:3; 13:19), here the gates will be eternally open as the wicked are tormented in the Lake of fire eternally
Note - See Jeremiah's prophecy regarding God's glory in Jer. 9:23-24
Jeremiah 9:23–24 KJV 1900
Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Neither let the mighty man glory in his might, Let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, That he understandeth and knoweth me, That I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: For in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

E. The Purity of the City (Rev. 21:27)

Revelation 21:27 KJV 1900
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.
Note - Notice What Is Missing (who is prohibited from entrance contrasted with who is permitted entrance)
Note - Those written in the Lamb's Book of Life - Rev. 3:5; 17:8, 20:11-15)
Illustration: Reverend C. M. Ward described the new Jerusalem. The great enclosed cube is nearly 1,378 English miles every way. That is approximately the distance from Tampa, Florida, to Des Moines, Iowa, or from Dallas, Texas, to Washington, D.C.… Were the city to be divided into blocks as in our American cities, there would be at least 625 blocks.… But this unique city has another dimension. It is as high as it is wide and long. Thus following the pattern already established, and contemplating street over street and yet accommodating the highest buildings yet erected in New York, there would be at least 7,599,000 streets and 937½ billion blocks. In such a city there would be ample room for ten million houses, each large enough for 12,500 occupants measured by today’s standards. At this rate the city would afford ample room for one and one-quarter quadrillion of people. That would be more than 1,000 times as many people as have been born in Adam’s race up until the 1960’s. —Pentecostal Evangel [Croft M. Pentz, Outlines on Revelation, Sermon Outline Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978), 62.]

F. The Real Paradise City (Rev. 22:1-5)

Take Fire!!!
Note - The River, Trees & Fruits of the City (Rev. 22:1-2)

1. The Waters of Life Flowing (v. 1)

Revelation 22:1 KJV 1900
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.
Note - Compare Ezekiel 47:1 and Zech. 14:8
Ezekiel 47:1 KJV 1900
Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
Zechariah 14:8 KJV 1900
And it shall be in that day, That living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; Half of them toward the former sea, And half of them toward the hinder sea: In summer and in winter shall it be.
The source of all life comes from God (cf. Jn. 5:26) as this flowing river of life from His throne depicted. John recorded the Lord Jesus’ prediction of the giving of the Spirit of God, saying, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” (Jn. 7:38-39). [Strouse, 961–962.]

2. The Tree of Life Healing (v. 2)

Revelation 22:2 KJV 1900
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 the healing of the nations.
Note - Paradise in Rev. 2:7 with the Tree of Life
Note - John also used "on either side" to describe the Lord crucified between two thieves (John 19:18)
Note - Regarding the Tree, see Ezek. 47:12
Ezekiel 47:12 KJV 1900
And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
Note - For the healing of the nations, two possibilities:
This prompts the question about “healing” in the perfect environment of the New Jerusalem in the New Heavens and Earth. This may mean that the scenario harked back to the Millennial saints who will need to eat of this tree for their physical well being (although cf. Ezk. 47:12). Or it may refer to the perpetual need for the resurrected saints to eat of the tree of life as a manifestation of faith and dependence upon Jehovah throughout eternity, just as Adam and Eve had the privilege of eating from the tree of life in the Garden to perpetuate their righteous position (cf. Rom. 1:17). [Strouse, 965–966.]

G. The Polity of the City (Rev. 22:3-4)

Revelation 22:3 KJV 1900
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:

1. The Curse Gone (v. 3a)

2. The Chief Presiding (v. 3b)

3. The City Servants (v. 4)

Revelation 22:4 KJV 1900
And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
Note - Not just floating around on clouds plucking harps! Serving our God and King with meaningful labor, getting it right throughout eternity

H. The Power of the City (Rev. 22:5)

Revelation 22:5 KJV 1900
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.
Note - Close Inclusio from Rev. 21:23 - light of the city

1. No More Night (v. 5a)

2. The Lamb-light (v. 5b)

Note - See John 1:9
John 1:9 KJV 1900
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

3. The Eternal Kingdom (v. 5c)

Of further significance is the profound statement, and they shall reign for ever and ever. The they clearly refers to “his servants” in verse 3. These again likely are the redeemed of the ages who with Christ will rule and reign in the eternal kingdom. See also Daniel 7:27, Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:4. Also, the parables of our Lord regarding positions of authority in the kingdom (Luke 19:12-26 and Matthew 25:14-28) very well may find their ultimate application here. The greater truth is that those in this life who have faithfully served Jesus Christ will in that day be rewarded with positions of rank and authority in His eternal kingdom. We, in that day, will rule and reign with him. The subjects of such rule evidently will be the reconstituted human race on the new earth. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 562.]
Application:
The New Jerusalem, which is the place that the Lord has prepared (cf. Jn. 14:2-3), and is in existence now (cf. Heb. 12:22-24), will be the heavenly home for His Bride throughout the Millennium and eternity (cf. Rev. 21:10 and 2, respectively). It will be a glorious place with the brilliance of His golden glory shining through the radiant splendor of multi-colored precious stones of “the holy city.” However, the beauty of the everlasting Holiest of Holies will be secondary to the intimate presence of the Triune God, and the privilege of serving Him forever. The New Jerusalem will be a perfect place for perfected saints to serve perfectly the perfect God forever! [Strouse, 972–973.]

Conclusion:

There's a light at the end of the road
Follow the Light through the night; the journey home may seem long, but it is navigable by the light of the Lord
Illustration - Hymn: "My Saviour First of All"
HEAVEN
Almost every Crosby text—including those she contributed to Sunday school hymnals—anticipated heaven. Her lyrics moved toward heaven as the pilgrim’s true home filled with joy and rest, heaven as the place where loved ones met again to part no more, and heaven as the place where the believer would see Christ face-to-face. No subject prompted Crosby to clearer language than this, expressed frequently in words that intimate Bunyan’s pilgrim:
Through the gates to the city in a robe of spotless white
He will lead me where no tears shall ever fall;
In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight,
But I long to see my Saviour first of all.
I shall know Him; I shall know Him
And redeemed by His side I shall stand.
I shall know Him; I shall know Him
By the print of the nails in His hand.
This anticipation of sight especially punctuated the blind Crosby’s lyrics about heaven: “And I shall see Him face to face”; “Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face, and the luster of His kindly beaming eye”; “We shall see Him by and by, hallelujah to His name!”; “I know I shall see in His beauty the King in whose law I delight.” Crosby’s many songs about seeing Christ made this expectation a central part of the evangelical hope. (Another blind hymn writer, Helen Lemuel, authored another favorite evangelical hymn about sight—“Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus.”) [Edith L. Blumhofer, Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby, ed. Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, and Allen C. Guelzo, Library of Religious Biography (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005), 276–277.]
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