The Apocalypse – Chapter 21 – Part 2
Yesterday we covered Part 1 of Chapter 21 which addressed an introduction to the vision of the new Jerusalem, Rev. 21:1-9. We now see the vision itself Rev. 21:10-27. Let the faithful saints and servants of God wait awhile, and they shall not only see but enjoy, the perfect holiness and happiness of that world. The New Jerusalem.
Now men must weep! Sorrow shall cease And tears shall be wiped away. This is the world of weeping But there will be a new day. God Himself will dwell among men And surely at His right hand There are pleasures for evermore Beyond what the mind can understand. What shall our state then be? When He comes again, When there is no sorrow, nor crying Or any more pain. More glorious than we can as yet imagine It will surely be For our eyes that only perceive a little Will very clearly see. O eyes that are red with weeping Cease your scalding flow For in a little while No more tears shall you know. Weeping may endure for a night But morning joy arrests the troubled sleep. Do not prolong Your coming Lord. For now both men and women must weep! By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Keys – The New Jerusalem
- Free admission is given into the holiest of all for all who are sanctified. They shall not find themselves shut out.
- God in Christ will be an everlasting fountain of knowledge and joy to the saints in heaven.
- All those multitudes who were sealed on earth are saved in heaven
- Christ is the pearl of great price, and He is our way to God.
- Perfect and immediate communion with God in heaven will more than replace gospel institutions here on earth.
- The new Jerusalem is wholly reserved for those that are called, chosen, and faithful. All who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
- Then one of the seven angels
The New Jerusalem
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.” 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, having the glory of God.
Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 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: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
The City of pure gold
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 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. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 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, 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. 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.
The Glory of the New Jerusalem
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 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. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honour of the nations into it. 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.
Henry says – We have considered the introduction to the vision of the new Jerusalem in a more general way of the heavenly state. Now we come to the vision itself. It was—one of the seven angels, that had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, Rev. 21:9, who opened the vision to John.
Angels sometimes are to sound the trumpet of divine Providence, and give fair warning to a careless world. Sometimes they are to pour out the bowls of God’s anger upon impenitent sinners. And sometimes to uncover things of a heavenly nature to those who are the heirs of salvation. They readily execute every commission they receive from God. When this world shall be at an end, angels shall be employed for pleasant work for all eternity.
The Church in her triumphant state
The apostle was taken, in ecstasy, into a high mountain. From such positions men usually have the most distinct views of neighbouring cities. Those who would have clear views of heaven must get as near heaven as they can, onto the mount of vision. From where as from the top of Pisgah, they may behold the goodly land of the heavenly Canaan.
The subject-matter of the vision is—the bride, the Lamb’s wife (Rev. 21:10). The church of God in her glorious, perfect, triumphant state, having the glory of God shining in full lustre. Glorious in her relation to Christ, in His image now perfected in her, and in His favour shining upon her. Now we have a large description of the church triumphant under the emblem of a city. A city far exceeding in riches and splendour than all the cities of this world. This new Jerusalem is here represented to us both in the exterior and the interior parts.
Heaven is safe estate
The exterior part of the city—the wall and the gates, the wall for security and the gates for entrance. Heaven is a safe state. Those that are there are enclosed with a wall, that separates them and secures them from all evils and enemies. The height of this wall is very high, seventy yards (Rev. 21:17), sufficient both for ornament and security. It was as jasper; a wall built of the most precious stones, for firmness and lustre, Rev. 21:11. This city has a wall that is impregnable as well as precious.
The city was very regular and uniform: It was four-square, the length as large as the breadth. In the new Jerusalem all shall be equal in purity and perfection. There shall be an absolute uniformity in the church triumphant, a thing wanted and wished for on earth. The walls were twelve thousand furlongs each way, each side, which is fifteen hundred miles. Here is room sufficient for all the people of God—many mansions in their Father’s house.
Christ the Cornerstone
Heaven is a city that has her foundations (Rev. 21:19). The foundations are described by their number—twelve, alluding to the twelve apostles (Rev. 21:14), whose gospel doctrines are the foundations upon which the church is built. Christ Himself is the chief corner-stone. The materials of these foundations were varied and precious, set forth by twelve sorts of precious stones. These denote the variety and excellency of the doctrines of the gospel, the graces of the Holy Spirit and the personal excellencies of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Heaven is not inaccessible to all. Free admission is given into the holiest of all for all who are sanctified. They shall not find themselves shut out. There were—twelve gates, answering to the twelve tribes of Israel. All the true Israel of God shall have entrance into the new Jerusalem, as every tribe had into the earthly Jerusalem. Their guards were placed upon them—twelve angels, to admit and receive the several tribes of the spiritual Israel and keep out others. The inscription on the gates read—the names of the twelve tribes, to show that they have a right to the tree of life, and to enter through the gates into the city.
Christ the pearl of great price
The city had four equal sides, answering to the four quarters of the world, east, west, north, and south. On each side there were three gates, signifying that from all quarters of the earth there shall be some who shall get safely to heaven. There will be free entrance from one part of the world to the other; for in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free. Men of all nations, and languages, who believe on Christ, have by Him access to God in grace here and in glory hereafter.
The gates of this city—were all of pearls, and yet with great variety. Christ is the pearl of great price, and He is our way to God. There is nothing magnificent enough in this world fully to set forth the glory of heaven. Could we, with strong imagination, contemplate such a city as is here described? Even as to the exterior part of it, such a wall, and such gates, how amazing, how glorious, would the prospect be! And yet this is but a faint and dim representation of what heaven is in itself.
The saints tread upon gold
The interior part of the new Jerusalem, Rev. 21:22-27. We have seen its strong wall, stately gates and glorious guards. Now we are to be led through the gates into the city itself. The first thing we observe is the street of the city, which is of pure gold, like transparent glass, Rev. 21:21. The saints in heaven tread upon gold. The new Jerusalem has its several streets.
There is the most exact order in heaven: every saint has his proper mansion. There is conversation in heaven: the saints are then at rest. But it is not a mere passive rest or a state of sleep and inactivity, but a state of delightful motion. The nations that are saved walk in the light of it. They walk with Christ in white. They have communion not only with God, but with one another; and all their steps are firm and clean. They are pure and clear as gold and transparent glass.
Heaven is the inheritance of the saints
A temple is there spiritual and divine; for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple thereof. There the saints are above the need of ordinances, which were the means of their preparation for heaven. When the end is attained the means are no longer useful. Perfect and immediate communion with God will more than replace gospel institutions.
Heaven is the inheritance of the saints in light. Where there is no light, there can be no lustre nor pleasure. But what is that light? There is no sun nor moon shining there, Rev. 21:23. Light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to behold the sun. What a dismal world would this be if it were not for the light of the sun! What is there in heaven that meets the desire for it? The glory of God lightens that city, and the Lamb is the light thereof. God in Christ will be an everlasting fountain of knowledge and joy to the saints in heaven. So there is no need of sun or moon.
Sealed on earth, saved in heaven
The inhabitants of this city are—whole nations of saved souls. Some out of all nations, and many out of some nations. All those multitudes who were sealed on earth are saved in heaven. Even some of the kings and princes of the earth. God will have some of all ranks and degrees of men to fill the heavenly mansions, high and low. When the greatest kings come to heaven they will see all their former honour and glory swallowed up in this heavenly glory that excels so much.
The gates shall never be shut. There is no night, and therefore no need of shutting up the gates. Someone is coming in every hour and moment, and those that are sanctified always find the gates open. They have an abundant entrance into the kingdom. All the glory and honour of the nations shall be brought into it. Whatever is excellent and valuable in this world shall be enjoyed there in a more refined kind, and to a far greater degree. Brighter crowns, more sweet and satisfying feasts, a truer sense of honour. Couple with a more glorious temperament of mind, and a form and a countenance more glorious than ever were known in this world.
Washed in the blood
There is an unmixed purity of all who belong to the new Jerusalem, Rev. 21:27. There the saints shall have no impure thing remaining in them. Now on earth they feel a sad mixture of corruption with their graces, which hinders them in the service of God and interrupts their communion with Him. But, at their entrance into the holy of holies, they are washed in the blood of Christ and presented to the Father without spot. There the saints shall have no impure persons admitted among them. In the earthly Jerusalem there is a mixed communion. Some roots of bitterness spring up to trouble and defile Christian societies, but in the new Jerusalem all is perfectly pure.
There are none admitted into heaven who work abominations. In the churches on earth sometimes abominable things are done. But no such abominations can have place in heaven. But they shall be free also from hypocrites, such as make lies. These creep into the churches of Christ on earth, and may lie concealed there for a long time. But they cannot intrude into the new Jerusalem, which is wholly reserved for those that are called, chosen, and faithful. All who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Father, we come to You. Thank You for this vision of heaven to set our hearts and minds upon. According to Your Word we are sanctified through Christ and so we have free admission into the holiest of all. We shall not find ourselves shut out. You are an everlasting fountain of knowledge and joy to us here and will be in heaven. Thank You for the assurance that those who are sealed on earth are saved in heaven.
Christ is the pearl of great price, and He our way to the Father. We long for that perfect and immediate communion with You in heaven which will more than replace gospel institutions here on earth. We look forward to the new Jerusalem reserved for those that are called, chosen, and faithful. May our names be written in the Lamb’s book of life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
The New Jerusalem
See “The Old City of Jerusalem” here