Revelation Chapters 21 & 22 - Paradise Restored, A City for All Nations

Updated: 27 Nov 2009

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Revelation Chapters 21 & 22 - Paradise Restored, A City for All Nations

When I started out on this series on The Revelation and was mapping out the territory, I named this last part "The Garden". Now that I have got closer I see that a better name is "The City". This symbol (for that is what it is) is used 14 times in these last two chapters - it is the dominant symbol there.

A Look in the rear-view mirror

What John Saw

V1, "then I saw..." - these words of John are usually a signal that we have come to a scene-change, and that we can expect the symbols to change too.

"A New Heaven & A New Earth" - is this also a symbol, say of God restoring all things? Or is it more? Is this one in some measure real, literal? We cannot be sure, but I think it might be, based on the apostle Peter's word's in 2 Peter 3:12-13 "..the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells." Nothing else in Peter's letter is of a symbolic nature, so it would be odd it he just stuck one in here.

Paul tells us those who have trusted in Christ will have very real bodies in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). It makes sense that there shall be a real, material, world for them to inhabit. Jesus has a body! God has put on real flesh and bone.

The Holy City

There are many ways to approach these last 2 chapters. A verse-by-verse commentary is beyond by time and energy, and probably beyond your patience, so I think it probably best to focus on the City symbol, following the line of "what does this symbol mean?" which has been my method all along. This City is the dominant symbol in this last passage of the Bible

We began way back with a tour over the tree-tops of the forest of Revelation, and we will end with a tour of the City.

Whose City is it?

verse 2 tells us. The city comes down from God, dressed as a bride adorned for her husband

"... the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" Hebrews 11:10

What is the City - what does this Symbol mean?

We Tour the City & See What is IN it.

Jesus said, "I am the Light of the World" John 8:12
Jesus said "Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28
Jesus said "I give them eternal life and they shall never perish" John 10:27
"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians. 3:11.
Jesus said "I am the door" John 10:9
"For God ... has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6.
Jesus said "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water'"
Jesus said "I am the Bread of Life"

All of which adds up to JOY

But we also see what is NOT in the City

Jesus said "I am the resurrection and the life" John 11:25
Jesus said "Destroy this temple and in 3 days I will build it up" John 2:19

The Lord of the City

An Aside - Have you noticed the tenses in these last chapters? If this all came after the last judgment, then it should be all past or present. Yet there are so many future words, eg, 29 "will"s. We see promises, invitations and warnings being given. This only makes sense if we accept that, once again, Revelation is not giving us a continuous story, a chronology. Chapter 21 doesn't have to be taken as immediately following chapter 20. Visions and symbols, and it is fitting that at the end of the book the focus is Christ and His Bride, upon the King and His Queen

The Lord of the City is King Jesus, mighty yet gentle, faithful always, filled with love and compassion, yet just and truthful.

Three facets

'"I am the Alpha and the Omega", says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is the come, the Almighty"'
Jesus is none less than God the Almighty, as Isaiah told us nearly 3000 years ago (Isaiah ch. 9:6 "his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace".
See how John , overwhelmed, falls to worship at the angel's feet. "Don't do it! I'm just a servant - worship God!" 22:8,9. Why then is John not corrected when, in chapter 1:17, he falls at Jesus' feet? Simply because Jesus is so much greater than even the mightiest angel - "Fear not" He says, "I am the first and the last..." - worship God!
"The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come!' And let him who hears say 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."
It does not matter what wrong actions, words and thoughts you are guilty of, if you cast yourself in faith on His dying, forgiving mercy, He will take you in. Nothing can keep you out.
What about you?
"Outside are the dogs, those who practice the magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."
If you refuse to let go, like the rich man who jumped from the sinking ship with his gold in his pockets (and alas, he did not know it was but painted lead), you cannot be rescued.
What about you?
"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death." 22:8
What about you?

Thank God we are still in the Age of Invitation! He calls you. There is yet strong hope for you. But do not delay - every day His Bride says "Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.", and He replies "Yes, I am coming SOON." 22:20

May there be trumpets sounding for you on the great day!

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