This is declaring the spiritual dominion of the church. God’s church is the vehicle that is used to bring glory to the Father. The nations are changed because of it. It also declares the forever and lasting establishment of the church. It is open to all who turn to Christ.
Revelation 21 and the Church
By Nathan DuBois
In Revelation 21, The New Jerusalem dwells as already being in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Some people take the characteristics of the New Jerusalem and apply them to the New Heavens and the New Earth. They then use their own misdirected descriptions to justify a New Heavens and New Earth that has no wickedness in it and no death. This is NOT the case. One thing often overlooked is there are wicked people who are present in the New Heavens and New Earth, but cannot enter this New Jerusalem. The nations are subject to this New Jerusalem but wickedness appears to still be in the New Heavens and New Earth.
There is an element of “Dominion” that the New Jerusalem has over the New Heavens and the New Earth. The New Jerusalem is the only place that the Bible declares righteousness to truly dwell.
Compare the following:
Hebrews 12:18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, The assembly of the saints. and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.
The heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews is clearly the body of believers. The church. Revelation 21 speaks symbolically of the truths concerning the church.
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
You will NOT be able to agree with me if you see the New Heavens and Earth as literally being a new planet and new atmosphere.
The “heavens and earth” used by Christ, Peter and in Revelation are Biblical references to the Old Covenant and Old Promised Land and the New Covenant and New Promised Land. I will not go into that defense, but rather wish to show that Revelation 21 is a symbolic picture of the church itself in the New Covenant. Describing the Edenic relationship restored between God and man.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband;
The only Bride betrothed to Christ is his church.
2Co 11:2 – I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.
Revelation 21:3 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;
Is this not a present, New Covenant reality? Revelation 21:1-3 is parallel to the Hebrews passage.
The New Jerusalem is the Heavenly Jerusalem. The Church!
Hebrews 8:10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Revelation 21:4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” This sounds familiar!!
2Co 5:17 – Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
Ga 6:15 -For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
Matt 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Again a current New Covenant reality!! Revelation followed it’s heavenly Edenic descriptions of no sorrow or pain declaring those a reality due to “all things” being “made new.” Linking it directly to Paul’s own words. If we are to take Christ’s words seriously that we should not worry for anything, or that He provides rest for our souls, why are we to assume that Revelation 21:4-5 is describing anything but our condition in Christ as saved individuals who dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem?
Revelation 21:…Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. 7 He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”
Wait a minute!!
Why is he still rewarding and punishing righteousness and wickedness after the “end of the days?” After the resurrection?
Aren’t all the wicked already in the lake of fire?
8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”
All this is still going on after the resurrection and the New Heavens and Earth are already there!!
Because it is the picture of NOW in the New Covenant. These truths apply now because Revelation is fulfilled!
9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
The angel declared to John that he was showing John the redeemed, the Church! These are symbols of the church. By the way, they resemble the symbols of the priesthood and temple!
10 And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed;
Because the nation of Israel was the gate through which God revealed the law, oracles and promises!!
13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Because the Apostles were the foundation of the church and Christ was the Chief Cornerstone. Read the description Paul gives to the Ephesians. Again confirming Revelation 21 as a description of the body of Christ, the Church.
Ephesians 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Revelation 21 continues it’s description.
15 And he who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its breadth; and he measured the city with his rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and breadth and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits by a man’s measure, that is, an angel’s. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.
22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates shall never be shut by day–and there shall be no night there; 26 they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.
This is declaring the spiritual dominion of the church. God’s church is the vehicle that is used to bring glory to the Father. The nations are changed because of it. They are under the power of the righteous (when we decide to wield that power)
It also declares the forever and lasting establishment of the church. It is open to all who turn to Christ any time, any day, forever and ever. And to it there will be no end!
Ephesians 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
Again Revelation concludes with it’s pronouncement that wickedness will not enter this city. Wickedness can not have it’s part in the New Jerusalem, in the TRUE church.
Also confirming the presence of wickedness in the New Heavens and New Earth, but NOT in the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21 CANNOT be viewed literal. It is full of symbols! It is declaring a return to the Edenic covenant of God with man. It is the state of affairs AFTER the resurrection and the rapture (better known as the “change”).
The mysteries of Revelation are not so mysterious in the light of the rest of the Bible as a whole!