19 April 2016

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 21:9-22:5

This week, we continue to look at the new heaven and the new earth – this time we see more details about this special place God is preparing for us.

An angel carried John away in the Spirit to a high mountain where he saw the holy city Jerusalem coming down from heaven. The city was shining with the glory of God and adorned with beauty. The city was filled with God’s people. There God will dwell with His people for all eternity. He never will leave His people.

The city was adorned with jewels and precious metals. The city had a high wall with 12 gates guarded by 12 angels. On the 12 gates were the names of the tribes of Israel. On the 12 foundations of the wall were the names of the 12 apostles. Each of the gates was a single pearl. In Scripture, the number 12 symbolizes completeness and unity.

Using a golden measuring rod, the angel measured the city, which is a perfect cube. One side of the city measured 12,000 stadia or 1,500 miles. We do not know if this is a literal figure for the size of the city, but this number does represent the vastness and majesty of God. And there will be room for all believers in this city! The walls of the city were 144 cubits thick, or 216 feet.

The city did not need a temple because God and the Lamb were the temple. The street of the city was pure, transparent gold. The city did not need the sun or the moon because God was the light of the city. There was no more night – no more spiritual darkness.

The only people in the city are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Every nation, tribe, and tongue will be represented in cultural diversity. The gates were always opened. Nothing impure or dangerous could enter the city. God’s people were safe and secure in the city.

Everything in the city reflected the holiness and purity of God. We will be pure and clean. There will be no shame or sin.

But we don’t have to wait until heaven to live in the fullness of Christ. Following Jesus today prepares us to reign with Him in eternity. Which activities currently are not equipping me or positioning me to reign effectively with Christ?

In the first five verses of chapter 22, John saw Eden restored. Consider these comparisons between Genesis and Revelation:

Genesis Revelation
God created the heavens and the earth. God created or renewed the new heaven and the new earth.
God created the sun. There was no need for a sun.
Night was established. There was no night.
God created seas. There were no seas.
Satan deceived. Satan was defeated.
Sin entered the human race. Sin was banished.
A curse was announced. The curse was removed.
Death entered. There was no more death.
People hid from God. People run to God and live in His presence forever.
Paradise was lost. Paradise is regained.
Sorrow and pain began. There will be no more tears and no more pain.

John saw the river of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The tree of life was on either side of the river. Adam and Eve were banished from the garden and from this tree so they would not eat from the tree of life and live eternally in their sinful state.

In eternity, we will serve God night and day. We will be in His presence for all eternity. The eternal city is a vast kingdom of the fullness of God’s presence and the absence of sin. We will be fully satisfied.

Things to Think About
  • Do you look forward to seeing your Savior face-to-face?
  • Consider the price Jesus paid so you can see Him one day. Does this send you to worshipping Christ and celebrating your relationship with Him?
  • The eternal city radiates the fullness of God and the absence of sin.
  • The eternity God is preparing for me is what I was created for. I will have eternal pleasure and joy because I will fulfill my eternal purpose.
  • Are you living in light of eternity today? Are you trying to fulfill your desires in worldly pleasures or in God?
  • Do you have a deep longing for God’s promised Paradise? Do you have a commitment to live now to reflect His promised Paradise?

This Week’s Memory Verse
“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Revelation 21:22-23 NIV