God’s has poured out His wrath and Christ has conquered Satan. At the final judgment, the first earth have passed away. Revelation closes with the view of the new heaven and new earth. Believers get a glimpse of their eternal home prepared by God. In the splendid holy city, God dwells with His people, and there is no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain. The saved will enjoy the heavenly bliss forever. This vision of the beautiful city inspires our hope and urges us to prepare for Christ’s imminent return.
Did You Know...?
1. Cubits (21:17): “an important and constant measure among the Hebrews (Ex. 25:10, 17, 23; etc.; 1 Kings 7:24, 27, 31; etc.; Ezek. 40:5; etc.), and other ancient nations. It was commonly reckoned as the length of the arm from the point of the elbow to the end of the middle finger, about eighteen inches.”
2. 12,000 furlongs (21:16) “equal 1,500 miles; 144 cubits equal 216 feet; and the shape given in v. 16b could be either a cube or a pyramid.” [ref]
3. Dogs (22:15): “A term applied to all types of ceremonially impure persons. In Dt 23:18 it designates a male prostitute.” [ref] “…the dog was a scavenger and did in larger towns what hyenas helped do in the villages and outside the walls; though classified as a carnivore it lived on refuse of all kinds and thus was a potential carrier of many diseases, either mechanically or as a vector… dead bodies were sometimes thrown to the dogs.” [ref]
- New Jerusalem Coming Down out of Heaven (21:1-8)
- The City’s Structures (21:9-14)
- The City’s Measurements (21:15-17)
- The City’s Construction (21:18-21)
- God’s Presence and Glory (21:22-27)
- The River of Life from God’s Throne (22:1-5)
- Promise and Warning (22:6-20)
- Benediction (22:21)
Record briefly your observations on the following about the New Jerusalem. a. Its Appearance. b. Its Inhabitants. c. The role of God and the Lamb in the city. d. Scenes and features in the city. e. Who or what are excluded from it.Hide Answer
a. It has the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal (21:11). She had a great and high wall with 12 gates, and 12 angels at the gates (12). 3 gates on each side (13). The city was laid out as a square; its length, breadth, and height are equal; extremely large, 12,000 furlongs, which is equal to 1,500 miles on each side (16). The wall is also very high, about 216 feet tall (17); The wall was made of jasper and the city was pure gold, like clear glass (18). The foundations are adorned with 12 kinds of precious stones (19-20). The 12 gates are 12 pearls, and the street was pure gold, like transparent glass (21).
b. Those who thirst (21:6; 22:17); those who overcome (21:7); those who are saved (21:24); those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (21:27); God’s servants (22:3); those who do God’s commandments (22:14).
c. God dwells with the inhabitants (21:3); The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (21:22); The glory of God illuminated it and the Lamb is its light (21:23; 22:5); God and the Lamb sit on the throne, giving life to everyone (22:1-4).
d. No more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain (21:4); 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. (21:23; 22:5); The nations of the saved will walk in the light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it (21:24,26); Pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb (22:1); In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (22:2); there is no more curse (22:3); God’s servants shall serve Him (22:3); there is no night (22:5).
e. The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie; anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie; dogs; anyone who adds to or takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy (21:8,27; 22:15,18,19).
Compare the descriptions of the new heaven and new earth with those recorded in Isa 60; 65:17-25; Ezek 40-48; 2Pet 3:13.Hide Answer
Similarities in Isa ch. 60; 65:17-25: God will be the light of Zion, and the nations and kings will come to the light (60:1-9,19); the gates will never be shut (60:11); the former things will not be remembered or come to mind (65:17); the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard no more (65:19); there is no oppression or evil (65:20-25); the new heavens and new earth are God’s holy mountain (65:25). Similarities in Ezek 40-48: the city is on a high mountain (Ezek 40:2); the city was measured (ch. 40-42); God’s glory filled the temple (43:4,5); God’s servants shall serve Him (44:16); water from the temple makes the land fruitful and provides healing (47:1-12); 3 gates on each side with the names of the 12 tribes (48:30-34); the name of the city will be “The LORD is there” (48:35). 2Peter 3:13 states that the new heaven and new earth is the home of righteousness. This is similar to the description of the holy city, where there is complete absence of evil.
Record the descriptions or identities of Christ in these two chapters.Hide Answer
The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (21:6; 22:13); the Lamb (21:9,14,22,23,27; 22:1,3); the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star (22:16).
Why is the holy city also a bride? What does the city symbolize?Hide Answer
The new Jerusalem is both a city and a bride. Verse 9 tells us that the bride is the Lamb’s wife. Since both the city and the bride represent the church (Gal 4:25,26; Eph 5:23-27,31-32; Heb 12:22,23), we know that the new Jerusalem in Revelation symbolizes the church in glory. The holy city is not a physical entity because a city cannot also be a bride. Rather, it is the community of God’s people in heaven.
Although the New Jerusalem is a picture of our eternal dwelling in heaven, it also has direct relevance to the church today. The Bible tells us that after we have believed in Christ, we are seated in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6; cf. Col 3:3-4), and we have come to the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22). Therefore, in the spirit, we are in the New Jerusalem. While we are still striving to reach perfection in the present, the holy city is being prepared in heaven (2; cf. 19:7,8). In time, the perfect church will become a reality, coming down out of heaven from God. So the descriptions of the holy city are things we can relate to even now in God’s church while we continue to prepare ourselves until we are ready to meet our Lord in glory.
What is the origin of the holy city? What does this mean?Hide Answer
It is coming down out of heaven from God (2,10; cf. 3:12). This means that God is the builder and maker of this city (Heb 11:10,16). God is the founder of the church through the redemption of His own blood (Acts 20:28). The true church is not founded by man, but is built completely according to God’s will.
Why is having God’s dwelling among men a great blessing? What is the meaning of “they shall be His people” and “God will be their God”? (Jer 24:7; Ezek 37:27-28; 2Cor 6:16)Hide Answer
God’s dwelling among men refers to the intimate relationship between God and His people, and with this restored relationship, we can enjoy God’s favor, love, and protection (Lev 26:9-13; Rom 5:1,9-11). Whereas in the first creation man was cut off from God’s presence because of sin, in the new heaven and new earth we once again become God’s children (7).
How do the words of verse 4 touch you?
Observe the frequent mention of the word “new.” What are the the new things? What are the “former things” (4)?Hide Answer
All things are made new (5), including a new relationship with God and a new spiritual life. The former things are death, sorrow, crying, and pain. They are cowardice, unbelief, abomination, murder, sexual immorality, sorcery, idolatry, and lies. In the new heaven and new earth, and in the new Jerusalem, God will wipe away our tears and remove the former things, along with all their curse (21:4; 22:3).
How do the words, “Behold, I make all things new” also characterize a Christian’s conversion?Hide Answer
After a believer is baptized into Christ, he puts on a new life in the likeness of God. He has no more part in the past life of sin (Rom 6:4-7; Eph 4:20-32). We are now reconciled with God and have put on God’s righteousness; we no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and was raised again (2Cor 5:14-21); “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Cor 5:17).
What does it mean that there is no more sea? (1)Hide Answer
The sea is a symbol of unrest and wickedness (Isa 57:20). In Revelation, it is the source of the beast (13:1) and the place of the dead (20:13). Thus, the absence of the sea symbolizes the complete removal of all sin and death.
Explain the following sins deserving the second death: a. The cowardly b. The abominable c. LiarsHide Answer
a. Fear is a sign of lack of faith (Mt 8:26). Being cowardly means not having the faith and courage to acknowledge Christ (cf. Mt 10:32-39).
b. The first three things in the list, which are inter-related, have to do with the attitude and inclination of the heart, whereas the remaining sins in the list have to do with specific offenses. The abominable refers to everything that God detests. So “the abominable,” like “the cowardly” and the “unbelieving,” would include the sins that follow: “murder, sexual immorality, sorcery, idolatry and lies.”
c. These are those who bear false testimonies (cf. Ex 20:16). They include the dishonest, the hypocritical, those who would not accept or practice the truth, as well as preachers of false teachings (cf. Mt 23:33; Jn 8:44,45; 1Jn 1:10; 2:4,22; Rev 2:2,9,20; 3:9).
From the descriptions of the holy city, what is your impression of the New Jerusalem?
What possible spiritual truths can be found from these? a. Great and high wall b. Twelve gates, three gates on each side, with the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel c. Gates of pearl d. Twelve foundations with the names of the twelve apostles e. Measuring the gates and wall (12,000 furlongs) f. Adornment with twelve kinds of precious stonesHide Answer
a. Protection and separation from evil. No sinner may enter the city. This teaches us that believers must live a life of separation from sin (Rom 12:1-2; 2Cor 6:14-18; 1Pet 1:13-17).
b. The gates on all four sides may represent the universal nature of salvation (Gal 3:26-28). The saved ones will come from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev 5:9). The names of the twelve tribes may represent that the city is for all of God’s elect, since the twelve tribes of Israel represents God’s chosen people (cf Jn 4:22; Acts 13:23).
c. As in Mt 7:6; 13:45-46, the pearl here may likewise represent the truth. In this case, the pearly gates would symbolize that the gate of salvation is the truth as taught by Christ and the apostles (Mt 7:13-23; Jn 14:6). Today, if we wish to enter the holy city we need to come into the only true church that preaches the complete gospel.
d. Like the twelve pearly gates, the twelve foundations with the names of the twelve apostles may represent that the true church is built on the gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the apostles (cf. Eph 2:20).
e. Measuring the city is an act of defining the boundary of the city, which means separation and protection (cf. Rev 11:1-2). This boundary represents the commandments of God. Only those who abide by God’s commands may come into the city (22:14). The equal height, breath, and length of the city (i.e. 12,000 furlongs, a complete number), may also represent perfect and complete accordance with God’s word
f. The 12 kinds of precious stones, which are objects of great beauty and splendor, may represent the perfect spiritual qualities of believers. Like the precious stones on the breastpiece of the high priest (Ex 28:15-20), these precious stones may also refer to the glorious state of God’s elect.
What does it mean that the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of the city?Hide Answer
In the old Jerusalem, the temple was a symbol of God’s presence. But the temple also separated the holy from the common so that only the priests may enter it. But in the NT, because of the atonement of Christ, believers have access into the most holy place (Heb 10:19-20). Since there is no more separation in the holy city, there is no need for a physical temple. God’s presence now fills the whole church. He and the Lamb become the temple.
What is the source of illumination in the city?Hide Answer
God’s glory and the Lamb.
What does walking in the light of the city mean?Hide Answer
The light may be a symbol of God’s glory and righteousness. In this sense, the people of God will walk in complete righteousness, and there will be not the slightest trace of evil and sin (cf. Jn 1:7-9; 3:19; 8:12; 12:35-36; 1Jn 1:1-7).
What will the nations of the saved and the kings of the earth bring into the city? What could this mean?Hide Answer
They will bring glory and honor into it (24,26). In the church, believers constantly offer thanksgiving and praise to God for His salvation (cf 19:5-6). In their holy conduct, they also bring glory and honor to God (cf. Mt 5:14-16; Phil 2:14-15).
What is the central element or figure in this paragraph?Hide Answer
God and the Lamb sitting on the throne.
What does the river of water of life symbolize?Hide Answer
The Holy Spirit of God (Isa 44:3; Jn 4:13-14; 7:37-39); the Holy Spirit comes from the throne of God because He is from the Father (Jn 15:26; Acts 2:32,33).
Explain the effect of the river of water of life in the life of a believer.Hide Answer
It brings life to the holy city so that the tree of life may yield fruit every month and its leaves may provide healing. In the same way, the Holy Spirit brings life to the believers so that they may bear fruit and manifest the nature of God. The healing of the leaves may represent the comfort and restoration that the Holy Spirit brings to us (cf. Ezek 47:7-12). Today, the true church is characterized by constant renewal of the Holy Spirit, which brings out the new life of God in the believers (cf. Rom 8:9- 11; Tit 3:5-6).
What sentence stands out most in this section? How many times does it appear?Hide Answer
I am coming quickly (7,12,20; cf. 10).
Why does the Lord emphasize it so frequently?Hide Answer
The entire message of Revelation centers on the imminent coming of Christ. To read Revelation without preparing for Christ’s return would be missing the point. Since Christ will soon bring judgment and reward with Him, everyone must be ready for His coming by obeying the words of the prophecy.
How does this epilogue echo the opening chapters of Revelation?Hide Answer
At the very beginning of the book, Christ tells us that the time is near. Now at the end of the book, He tells us again and again He is coming quickly. Because of such imminence, we will be blessed if we read and keep the words of the prophecy of this book (1:3; 22:7). Both the beginning and ending chapters offer promises to those who overcome and warn wicked doers. In both places we also read of the identity of Christ as the Alpha and the Omega. He is the sovereign Lord of history who is faithful to promise and who will carry out justice. We need to submit to His will and be faithful unto death so that we may receive His reward and be with Him in glory forever (cf. 2Tim 2:11-13).
How does the invitation of 17 illustrate the nature of salvation? In other words, who are qualified to enter the holy city?Hide Answer
Anyone who thirsts and desires may take the water of life freely. Salvation is a free gift for everyone who believes (Jn 7:37-39; Rom 3:24)
How does this fact relate to the qualification for entry in 14?Hide Answer
While the NKJV reads, “blessed are those who do His commandments,” some other translations render verse 14 as “blessed are those who wash their robes.” While doing God’s commandment refers to the righteous deeds of the saints, we are made righteous through Christ in the first place (Eph 2:8-10; Tit 3:5). The obedience of the saints is a response in faith to God’s mercy and Christ’s saving work; it is not our own righteousness. But after we have put on Christ, we need to keep our robe clean by doing deeds of righteousness (1Jn 3:7). Such life of faith will enable us to gain access into the holy city.
Record the repeated emphasis on the importance of the words of the prophecy.Hide Answer
“These words are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place” (6). “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (7). “For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book” (9). “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is at hand” (10). “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (16). “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (18,19).
According to this chapter, why must we take the words of the prophecy of Revelation seriously?Hide Answer
1) The time is near and Christ is coming quickly to reward everyone according to His work (7,10,12,20).
2) Whether we obey the words of the prophecy will determine whether we will enter into the holy city (14,15).
How do the words of the prophecy reflect God’s mercy and love?Hide Answer
They warn us against sin and invite us into God’s gracious gift of life. Out of His love, He urgently calls us to prepare for His coming so that we will not suffer the second death but may receive everlasting life.
What is the message of verse 11?Hide Answer
Because the time is at hand (10), we need to make an immediate decision about our conducts. Believers must persist during this final hour so that they may receive the Lord’s reward. This verse should not be taken to mean that evil doers ought to remain evil. Rather, it is a call to immediate response; there is no time for procrastination and wavering.
How do the words “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” reflect the longing of the collective body of believer through all ages?Hide Answer
The coming of the Lord will be the ultimate fulfillment of our hope. Since the ascension of Jesus, believers have been expecting the Lord’s return. Now believers wait with patience and great eagerness, longing for that glorious day to come (Rom 8:18-25; Gal 5:5; Phil 3:20; Jas 5:7-9). Even the saints of the past are waiting for this day so that together we may receive this promise together (2Tim 4:8; Heb 11:39-40). The people of God, including the souls of the martyrs, also cry out day and night for vindication (Lk 18:7; Rev 6:9-11). The body of believers throughout the ages is waiting eagerly. Here, at the end of the Bible, John speaks on behalf of all believers and heartily responds to Christ’s promise, saying, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Do these words reflect your attitude towards the Lord’s coming?Hide Answer
1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6, 22:7,14.
List the seven beatitudes of Revelation (i.e. “Blessed are…”). How do these apply to your life?
How will your study of Revelation affect your daily Christian living?
Compare these last two chapters of the Bible with the first two chapters (Gen 1-2). How does the vision of the new heaven and new earth bring a beautiful ending to the entire Bible?