Revelation 20-21

Revelation 20 

Before we begin the chapter- let us lay out the three schools of thought regarding the ‘millennial kingdom’. ( Latin- 1000 years.)

Pre-Millennialism: this view holds that Christ will rule literally and bodily after His return to earth to begin a 1000 year reign. He will set up His kingdom and reign from the rebuilt city of Jerusalem. At the end of the 1000 years, He will turn the kingdom over to his Father at which point it will merge with God’s eternal kingdom. ( new heaven and new earth).

God will literally fulfill all His unconditional promises and covenants with Israel during this time. Church age believers who were raptured and Tribulation believers who survived will live, mortal and immortal, in the earthly kingdom ruled by Jesus the Messiah. Even nature will be at peace, and the wolf will lie down with the lamb and the lion will eat straw with the oxen.
Post-Millennialism:  this view teaches there will be a literal thousand year Kingdom on earth, but Christ will claim His kingdom after the thousand years have expired. This view holds the earth will get better through the  spread of the gospel. After the 1000 years, Christ will return to take believers to heaven and condemn those who reject Him. ( there will never be a 1000 years of peace on earth without the rule and reign of the Prince of Peace.)
A-Millennialism:  teaches there is no literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth and no earthly Kingdom of God. They view scripture such as Revelation 20 to be symbolic. They believe Christ will return and take Christians to heaven and condemn unbelievers. They interpret the chaining of Satan as an allegory and teach he was bound by Christ the first time He came and this is what gives believers victory over temptation.
My view is pre-millennial, meaning we can take this chapter literally. Why?  Because Jesus said in Acts 1: 6- when his disciples ask him if he would at this time set up his kingdom in Israel- he did not say there would be no kingdom- he said it was not for them to know the time. He also taught his disciples and us to pray.. ‘ thy kingdom come.’ But contrary to the other two views, the Bible tells us clearly things will get worse- not better as the end time approaches.
All three views teach the second coming of Christ, the defeat of Satan and the eternal reign of God.
20:1-3  And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he MUST be set free for a short time. ( Although the setting free of Satan is hard to understand- a mystery, the wording of this verse reminds me of what was said in John 4 regarding a trip to Samaria, the disciples did not understand.) The verse (KJV) stated:  he must needs go thru Samaria. The disciples did not understand why any Jew would go thru Samaria if they did not need to—but later they discovered why.  The same applies here- in fact if you think about it- why did God let Satan loose the first time when he rebelled in heaven?  Although this chain may only be spiritual that bound Satan- it is a picture of Satan on a leash only able to do what God allows him to do.
John tells us here about an angel and six specific things that are done:  he(the angel) seizes Satan; he binds him with a great chain; he casts him into the Abyss ( bottomless pit); the angel uses a key to lock him up; he sets a seal over the Abyss to keep Satan from deceiving the nations; and the angel lets him loose for a short time after the 1000 years has expired.
So let’s recap what has happened:  the anti-christ and the false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire in Revelation 19; the armies with them are destroyed; and  an angel has secured Satan in the abyss where he is locked up for 1000 years- thus the deceiver of the nations is on hold.
Why does God allow Satan to be released after 1000 years?  I don’t know for sure- but it could be part of God’s plan to expose the sinful nature of man. Going into the Millennium Kingdom will be both mortal humans ( those believers who survived the Great Tribulation) and immortals- those resurrected believers who had either died prior to Christ coming or were raptured. This group which will also inhabit the earth during the Millennium are immortal beings, having receive glorified, resurrected bodies.
The mortal, flesh and blood survivors will repopulate the earth. Longevity of life will be common. A purged earth, I believe will take on Garden of Eden environment. For even nature we are told has groaned for its Creator to return and set things right. Listen to these descriptions of life in the Millenium:  ‘ the wolf will lie down with the lamb; the leopard will lie down with the goat; the calf and the lion and yearling together and a child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, and their young will lie together, and the lion will eat straw like an ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra and the young child will put his hand into the nest of the viper. ( Isaiah 11)
We further read in Isaiah 65 :  Never again will there be  an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. ( Wages of sin = death; Lord will rule with a rod of iron.) Tells us mankind can still choose to sin, even when Satan is locked away and the Lord is on the throne.  Such is the nature of man. Isaiah goes on to tell us- ‘ for as the days of a tree so will be the days of my people.” ( Redwood Trees are hundreds of years old… so there will be long lives in the Millennium- just like in Genesis.
Verses 4-6:  “ I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ one thousand years. ( The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
Here in these verses we see three groups mentioned.  First we see those John describes as sitting on thrones who have been given authority to judge.  Who are they?  These are the apostles according to Matt. 19:28 where the Lord told his disciples:  “ I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, (be in the Millennium kingdom) when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne ( literal throne in rebuilt Jerusalem), you who have followed me will also sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.”   But also we know from Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth –“ Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? Do you not know you will judge angels?” ( I Cor. 6:2,3)
Second group we see are the tribulation martyrs- those beheaded during the Great Tribulation for their faith and refusal to take the mark of the beast. These first two groups came to life and ruled and reigned with the Lord Jesus during the 1000 years.
Third group which are mentioned here we will read more about later- the rest of the dead who did not come to life- who were not a part of the first resurrection. These were unbelievers.
We also read here of the first resurrection- the one for believers who are blessed and holy. The second death and the second resurrection to the Great White Throne judgment has no power over them. These believers are referred to as priest of God. This will be part of our function during the 1000 year reign of the Lord. For we are a chosen people- a royal priesthood, joint heirs of Jesus.
The First Resurrection.

I believe the Bible teaches the First Resurrection takes place over a period of time with specific phases. The first resurrection began with Jesus Christ’s resurrection 2000 years ago, it also included the resurrection of what is often referred to the as the first fruits or wave sheaf.  We read about this most unusual, miraculous event in Matthew 27:52,53 : “ the tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the Holy City and appeared to many people.

This event is only recorded in Matthew. But in Ephesians 4: 6-8: we read “ when He ascended on high, he led captives in his train.” When Jesus ascended back into heaven- he took with him the OT believers out of Paradise. Regarding these people mentioned here in Matthew 27 – I do not know what happened to them.

The second phase of the First Resurrection occurs at the rapture, when the dead in Christ shall rise first and we who are alive will be caught up with them and our bodies changed from corruptible to incorruptible.

The third phase of the First Resurrection occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation when the martyred saints killed during this period will come to life to reign with Jesus for a 1000 years.

The fourth and final and necessary resurrection will be the changing of the bodies of those who are alive at the end of the 1000 years- they must receive immortal bodies.

Just to be clear- any Christian who has died before the rapture- their soul goes immediately to be with the Lord- absent from the body – present with the Lord. The new immortal, incorruptible body will be united with the soul at the Rapture.
Satan’s Release and Satan’s Doom.

Verse 7-10 record what is an event we have trouble understanding as I mentioned earlier.  Why would the God allow the deceiver, the serpent, that old snake, the Devil to be released?

Remember entering the Millennium will be thousands of believers who survived the Great Tribulation. They will be blessed with longevity- living hundreds of years and bearing children as part of the greatest population explosion taking place during this 1000 years under perfect conditions.

Why is Satan released?  Again- why was he not bound the first time? Why was he able to enter another perfect environment like he did the first time in the Garden of Eden?  So once again- mankind proves what is said of him- that his heart is deceitful and wicked. You can place man in a perfect environment with all his needs met and many will still rebel against God. Given a choice to serve Satan- many will choose to do so even when living in a perfect environment provided by God.  Many born during this Millennium will not like the rules of our Lord’s kingdom. Like prodigals they want to live life on their own…not by His strict rules. So they are given a choice and they choose to rebel- once again deceived by the serpent from the garden.

Satan deceived Adam and Eve; he deceived us about the true values of life- why would we think it would be any different?
In verses 9&10- we see the end of Satan as he is thrown into the Lake of Fire where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. Those who rebelled were devoured by fire from heaven.  This is the end of Satan and sinful mankind. This is the end of earth as we know it and we will see a new heaven and a new earth appear in Revelation 21.   But before that we deal with the second resurrection and what is called the second death as the dead are judged.
Verse 11-15 describes one of the most sober moments in all of history- the Great White Throne Judgment.

“ Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and  books were opened. Another book was opened which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name is not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Non-Christians, unbelievers are referred to as the ‘dead’. When we were saved, we were born again and became new creatures who possess eternal life.
Three facts that every non-Christian needs to know:

  1. God will judge non-Christians, unbelievers.
  2. All non-Christians will be judged and their punishment measured based on their deeds recorded in the books.
  3. Final judgment for all non-Christians whose names are not written in the book of life is an eternity in hell separated from God and all his kindness, mercy and blessings.


This is not a trial- where the unbeliever will put on a vigorous defense. Remember what Jesus said in John 3: 18- “ He who believes in me is not condemned, but he who does believe in me is condemned already, because he has not believed in the only begotten Son of God.”
The purpose of this final confrontation with God is to clearly demonstrate to the unbeliever why he is already condemned. We know the book is the book of life- the Lamb’s Book of Life.  What are the books?  Certainly one of the books is the book recording the deeds of the unbeliever- but perhaps the other is the Bible, specifically the Book of the Law.  Paul mentions this in Galatians 3:10 “ Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things written in the Book of the Law.”  Could be one of the books is the none other than the Bible- The Book of the Law.
What about the persons standing before God who say we never heard the word of God or the law in their lifetime ?  To them God will affirm what He inspired Paul to write in letter to the early church (in Romans), that those who never heard the law have had it instinctively written in their consciences and their hearts knowing good from bad. They also knew from creation there was a creator. So their consciences convicted them when they did wrong. They will judged according to the light they received- but they received enough to respond – but when they knew the truth they suppressed it in wickedness. Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.   His eternal power and divine nature has been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  God is just.
These books of works are just what they say they are- the deeds of each person is recorded. I believe every time they had an opportunity to accept Christ or respond to the light God provided and turned it down is recorded. Every bad deed and every good deed is recorded. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes- “ For God will judge us for everything we do, including every hidden thing, good or bad.”
Now if you are saved and have received God’s forgiveness that is offered in His Son’s death for you- then God has already judged the wrong you have done or will do in Jesus who became sin for us. The Lord Jesus has paid for your sins. The only judgment we will face as believers will be the judgment of our works at the bema for rewards. Our works will be tested by fire- some will burn up because they were of the flesh- but what survives will become our reward.
The last book to witness against those awaiting their sentences at God’s throne is the Book of Life. The Book of Life is referred to at least eight times in the New Testament. In the OT, there is a reference to a book in which names are written. This book, I believe, contains the name of every person born into the world. If by the time that person dies, he/she has not accepted Christ as Savior to remove their sins- their name is blotted out of the Book of Life, also known as the Lamb’s Book of Life.
So here is a visual of this dramatic moment where every unbeliever- great and small will stand.

Here is a likely scenario: As you step in front of the Judgment Seat of God, the Great White Throne, God may first open from the books the Book of the Law. He will show man what is necessary and is required to enter the kingdom of God. He will show him/her how they could not meet the standards on their own but how He had made a way for them to be accepted in His Son’s Death on Calvary.
Then He will open the book of  his/her works- to show them how again and again they broke the law. How many times they failed to heed the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the still, small voice in his conscience which told him/her to get right with God.
Then last, God will open the Lamb’s Book of Life and he will go down the list but there is no mistake- their name is not written in the Book.
God, who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, will slowly close the book and tell them- Depart from Me, accursed one, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels..
But Lord, they protest, didn’t I prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and perform miracles.
I never knew you……  the last words they will ever hear God speak to them. Their mouths will be shut.  God’s judgment is finished.  And yet this is not what God wanted.  Jesus said this is life eternal to know the true and living God.  He said – ‘ the thief comes to kill and steal and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.
The second death means eternal and absolute separation from God. Jesus came that we might have life- when man does not accept that life from God- he must accept the only other alternative- life separated from God, eternal association with Satan and the fallen angels- for this awful place was created for the devil and the fallen angels. Those who enter here are without hope, without another chance and without appeal.
Next week we will get a glimpse of our eternal home- our final destination. John will hear a loud voice from the throne of heaven saying: “ Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
And I remind you once again what the Lord Jesus said… ‘ if it were not so-I would have told you.’


Revelation 21
This week- we will be reading about our new home.
Verse one John describes what he saw … “ I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”  Jesus, Himself told his disciples in Matthew 24: 35- ‘ heaven and earth shall pass away- but my words will never pass away.’   In Isaiah 65:17 we read, “ For behold I create a new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”  Peter in his second letter describes how the earth will also be destroyed by fire, a fervent heat. What we are about to read about is the place the Lord Jesus went to prepare for us. I believe this building project has been going on ever since the Lord Jesus returned to heaven. The Taj Mahal was built in 1632 by a Shah for his wife of fourteen years. It took over 20 years and required the skills of 20,000 workers. It is in fact a tomb for both the Shah and his bride. If a man can build something that exquisite for his bride that serves as a tomb- can you imagine what the Lord, Creator of Heaven and Earth can build for His bride to live in forever!!
We are not told great detail about the new earth. The greatest change is there is no longer any sea. We do not know nor is there any inference as to the size. Most of the attention in this chapter is focused on the New Jerusalem.
In the next verse, John describes this Holy City. It is Holy because God dwells in it. It is the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  It is created to be the center of the population in the new earth. Although the new earth and new heavens are created at this time, evidently the New Jerusalem was created earlier.
This is the city that Abraham was looking for in Hebrews 11, where we read, Abraham was looking forward to a city with foundations whose architect and builder is God.
In verse 3, John heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘ Behold the tabernacle, the tent, the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be their God.’ God will make His home with mankind in New Jerusalem. It will also be His temple. TheTabernacle ( which also refers to a tent) is now with men.  Remember in the gospel of John how we were told: the Word became flesh and dwelt( tabernacled-pitched his tent) among us. God has always desired to live among His people, His creation. When God the Son put on flesh and dwelt among us being born as a babe in Bethlehem, He was referred to as Immanuel, that is to say God With Us. In fact the tabernacle in the wilderness- (to which over 40 chapters are devoted to detail of its construction) was a picture of what God wanted to do- dwell among His people. But it also showed us in its rituals and ceremonies what was necessary for God to dwell among us. God had to have a Holy Place. It required innocent blood shed for sins in order to consecrate a place where He could dwell.  The shedding of lamb’s blood was a picture of the sacrifice the Lamb of God would become to take away our sin.
In verse 4- we read : “ He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  There will be nothing but rejoicing- there will be no graveyards in New Jerusalem- there will be no doctors or lawyers , no evil- no sin- no temptation. It will be a new order. In fact in the next verse, John is told to record this statement:  I am making everything new.
Ever been at a place in your life where you wished you had a ‘fresh start’?  Or wished that you could live your life over- knowing what you know now?  You usually are thinking I wouldn’t have made the same mistakes- I wouldn’t have done this or that..  Hindsight being 20/20- we think we could do better given another chance. Can you imagine the remorse Adam and Eve had given the opportunity they had?
But if you have been ‘ born again’, you have received a fresh start- the slate wiped clean.  You may not can change the past, but God has forgiven you and He has a plan and purpose for the rest of your life. In fact God’s specialty is to work all things together for good for those who love Him and were called according to His purpose.  It is never too late to do the right thing.

God wants to dwell in your life- His temple is your heart and from there He can begin a life long work of sanctifying you and it will be completed- for I am persuaded that He who has begun a good work will complete it. Faithful is He who calls you who will also do it. It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.
The next verses( 6-8) are a completion of that work He has begun. “ It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all of this, and I will be his God and he/she will be my son/daughter.”
The Lord Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. He provided the water of life. In John 4- Jesus told the woman at the well: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” The gift of God is salvation represented here by living water welling up to eternal life; the one who controls is the Lord Jesus, God with Us; and you get this water by asking Him.”
Again in John 7- On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “ If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture  has said, stream of living water will flow from within him.” By this He meant the Spirit…

And in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated : ‘ blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness- for they shall be filled.
Now in New Jerusalem, we will drink from this spring of living water, the river of life without cost. Don’t need any money in heaven- everything is provided. It is done-finished – complete.
“ He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”   Who overcomes and how do we overcome?  I John 5:4 tells us who and how we overcome?  “ For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”  {Hebrew 11;6}  Eph. 2:8,9;Colossians 2: 6.7: “ So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.’ We are to continue living the Christian life by the same means we received Christ- which was by grace thru faith.
The Lord tells us He will be our  God unto us and we will be His sons (children) to Him. How do we become His children? Again it is John who told us in John 1:12- “ But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power (authority) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.”
Now as children we are heirs, joint heirs with Jesus and we are about to read what all we have inherited.  Again the Scripture tells us in Romans 8; 16&17: “ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children the heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Shall be my son.. again listen to John in I John 3:2-“ Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”
Verse 8 tells us the lake of fire and brimstone will continue on through out eternity- it also reminds us this side of heaven what we were saved from- for we were all destined for this place. The people who ended up here disregarded God and His moral commandments. The Ten Commandments were an affront to them. The simplicity of the gospel was foolishness to them.  But also we know we will never experience sin or temptation in eternity for they are shut out forever. The Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world.
Now one of the seven angels mentioned earlier with the seven bowls of wrath, will act as tour guide for John as he shows John  the Holy City, New Jerusalem.
For the second time in this chapter we are reminded, the completed city of New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. It is like no other city that ever existed- it was built in heaven. The Lord Jesus, the Carpenter of Nazareth was the architect. This is the city Abraham was looking forward to. This is the place, the Lord Jesus told us in John 14 He was going to prepare a place for us.  Its beauty is so breath-taking, John uses what adjectives and comparisons he can to relate this most beautiful of sights.

We will also notice when we read this description, it is described as coming down out of heaven- but it is never stated that it comes to earth. Is it hanging in space?  Don’t know but it could – just as earth hangs in space. In fact – it could hang there as a visible planet from the new earth. Rather than a satellite planet that revolves around  the earth- perhaps the new earth will revolve around the New Jerusalem as it is the center of all things.
Verse 11 tells us the reason for this city’s brilliance- it shown with the Glory of God. It was sin that caused God to remove His glory from man’s presence, but now sin is banished and the Glory of God is revealed. This city and God are the source of light for the new heaven and the new earth. In fact we will read there will be no more darkness, no night. John describes it as like that of a very precious jewel like a jasper, clear as crystal.  Since the street is of gold, this would have appearance of the most spectacular diamond engagement stone set in gold ever seen or imagined…in fact eye has not seen what God has in store for us- nor can we even imagine it with John’s description.
But let us continue on the tour and let your imagination visualize what John is describing. Verses 12 & 13: “It had a great high wall with twelve gates, and with 12 angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.”  Here is the picture, a high great wall with 3 gates on each side- 12 in all. On each gate is the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel.  In verse 22 of this chapter we read:  “I did not see a temple in this city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”  I believe based on scripture that the OT Saints will dwell on the new earth and will come into New Jerusalem, entering in the gate that bears the name of their tribe. They will come in and out of the Holy City, just like they did in the past. The New  Jerusalem is the home and dwelling place of the Church, the bride of Christ. Hebrews 12: 22-24 describe the relationship of the OT Saints, the Jews to the New Jerusalem. “ But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the Living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of a better word than the blood of Able.”
Verse 14 describes the foundations upon which the city rests:  “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Notice the number 12 is very prominent in the description of the city. The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets and Jesus Christ Himself is the chief cornerstone.: ( Eph 2:20) When Christ returned to heaven, He committed the keys into the keeping of the apostles. We are grateful for their work, their inspired writing, their sermons and teachings and sacrifice- but never forget it was the Lord Himself who is the chief cornerstone. He alone is the Rock of All Ages. When Jesus told Peter ( Matt. 16) – upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  Jesus was referring to Peter’s confession that was revealed to Peter by God Himself, when Peter said- ‘ thou are the Christ the son of the Living God.’ Upon this truth is the Church built.
Now we get a preview of the size and shape of New Jerusalem.

An angel measures with a measuring rod of gold…the gold standard. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city to 12,000 stadia ( furloughs) in length, and as wide and high as it is long. ( cube)  The 12,000 stadia is approximately 1500 miles. This 1500 miles in each direction- wide, high& long. The largest city ever with huge capacity. It is about 1500 miles from here to Seattle.
Verse 18 describes a wall made of jasper ( probably similar to a diamond) described as crystal clear so they reflect light and the city is of pure gold.

Verse 19-21 describes the rest of the structure: jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrisolite, beryl, topaz, chrysopase, jacinth, and amethyst. These represent every color of the rainbow and its various shades.  Color is described as the refraction of light. Light is made up of three primary colors: red, blue and yellow.  All colors and shades are made up of these primary colors. Light is always required for color – in the absence of light everything is black…with little light it is shades of gray.  The Lord Jesus is the light of the world…the New Jerusalem will be a city of light and color and unbelievable beauty.
The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate a single pearl. ( So there are pearly gates in heaven.) There size tells us they are like no pearl we have ever known.  God has done all of this so that we might live in the most beautiful place imagined. He loves to give good gifts.
Besides the 12 gates of pearl, we see the street (singular) of New Jerusalem was of pure gold- like transparent glass. The transparency of New Jerusalem allows the Light of the World, the Lord Jesus to light the universe.
In verse 22, John takes note of what he did not see…he did not see a temple in the city, and he tells us why- because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple. Also missing are the sun and moon to shine on it, for the glory of the Lord gives it light, and the Lord is the lamp.  Just as the Word of God has been a light upon our path and a lamp unto our feet.
Think back on the history of the temple and the tabernacle in Israel. First there was the tabernacle, the tent in the wilderness, later replaced by temple built by Solomon and later Herod. The tabernacle and temple was the earthly enclosure of God’s glory.
They were both a testimony to the presence of God and the presence of sin. Where sin existed – God could only be approached by the ritual of the temple. However in New Jerusalem, sin no longer exists. Don’t need a temple and the ritual of blood sacrifice to approach God. He can dwell among His people and walk with us and talk with us. So in essence, New Jerusalem has become the temple- in fact, its dimensions given are the same shape of the Holy of Holies, a perfect cube where God dwelt. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of the Lord gives it light and the Lamb will be its lamp.
As we close this wonderful chapter we read:
“ The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no more night. The glory and honor of the nations will brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Some day we will all stand in amazement in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.
We will sing John Newton’s hymn – Amazing Grace with meaning and understanding like never before when we sing:  “ Thru many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far- and grace will lead me home.
Home Sweet Home!
Footnote:  Lesson within the lesson- application for life today and every day.  In verses 5-7:  The Lord Jesus proclaims from the throne- I am making everything new. It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will  inherit all of this and I will be his God and he will be my son.”
How can we apply this eternal truth to our daily lives?  For the All Sufficient God who states it is done- who makes everything new and is the Alpha and Omega is available in all His power to do those very things- make everything new- supply all our needs.. now in our present life- in our daily walk.
What we must do is understand who He is- for now we see thru a glass darkly but in heaven we will see Him face to face and know Him as He has known us. Complete revelation will not take place until we see Him face to face.  However, that does not mean we can not come to know Him better on earth. And the more we know Him, the more we will love Him and the more we love Him, the more we will obey Him.
This verse reminded me of one of the ways God wants us to see and know Him. He wants us to know that He makes everything new and that He is the Alpha and Omega – He wants us to know He can provide all our needs according to His Riches in Christ Jesus- He is our Provider ( Jehovah Jireh)- but more than that He is God Almighty- El Shaddai- which is translated “ God who is Sufficient.” He is all competent, all adequate- the God who knows what to do and how to do it.  Do you realize your faith and trust are in His competency? His Adequacy?  His Power His knowledge…
Interesting when this name was first revealed by God- it  was revealed to Abram in Genesis 17.  To understand the significance, let me give you a little background Abram is 99 years old and Sara is 89 years old. Barren for all her life- thirteen years earlier, she had persuaded Abram to have a child by her Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar. The son Ishmael is now 13years old and for 13 years- nothing is recorded in Abram’s life as far as God dealing with Abram or God doing anything in Abram’s life. We simply moved in the story from Ishmael’s birth at the end of chapter 16 in Genesis to 13 years later in chapter 17 where God appears to Abram and said, I am God Almighty.”
Let me remind you that Abram is already a believer. In chapter 15 of Genesis, God came to Abram and told Abram not to be afraid, that He, God, was Abram’s shield and very great reward. God then makes a covenant with Abram and will have a son coming from his own body as an heir and his offspring would be as plentiful as the stars. We are told for a fact that Abram believed the Lord and He credited it to him as righteousness.
But Abram was not yet a ‘circumcised’ believer. He would continue  as we see in his decisions to depend on the flesh- or self for decisions. The revealing of the Lord to Abram as God Almighty- was the beginning of an understanding on Abram’s part that El Shaddai was the All Sufficient God who can and will supply all our needs.
Here in heaven, we will realize as we see Him face to face- He has done it all. Everything has been provided. Faithful is He who calls you – who will also do it.
Can you imagine how we could live our lives in the present- if we could realize the God Almighty that revealed Himself to Abram is the God Almighty who wants us to realize He is our God, with no less power.  And furthermore- this God Almighty, El Shaddai- the all adequate One wants to supply our needs. In fact, this same God who told Paul- my grace is sufficient- is our God too- whose power is made perfect in our weakness.
Abram had to spend 13 years as a believer- in what had to be some pretty miserable years- years filled with problems of his own making when he tried to serve both flesh and God Almighty. You cannot serve two masters.  When we recognize our God , the God of Abraham and Paul- God Almighty as our all sufficient provider- we can live a life of obedience( walk blameless) that comes from faith that springs from the realization that the God who lives within us is El Shaddai.!!