9 “One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 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. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 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.” ~ Revelation 21: 9-27
- 9-22- “As in the disclosure of the prostitute Babylon (Revelation 17: 1-3), an angel with one of the seven bowls helps John see the bride, the wife of the Lamb. She is the holy city Jerusalem. Some take this as a literal description of this new city; others understand it as a complex symbol for the life in heaven of the Lamb’s redeemed people.” (ESV Study Bible Commentary)
- 9-22- “The picture of the New Jerusalem now unfolds in detail. The final dwelling place of the saints is simultaneously the fulfillment of earlier revelations of God appearing in glory and reigning in His heavenly court (21:22, 23; 22:1, 3; cf. 4), the holy city Jerusalem (21:10), the Garden of Eden (22:1–3), the bride, the marriage partner of the Lord (21:9), and the temple as the dwelling place of God (21:22, 23). The central figure and the central blessing of the city is God Himself and the Lamb (21:22, 23; 22:1–5).” (R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible Commentary)
- 14- 21- “On the twelve gates are written the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, as on the twelve foundations are inscribed the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, (Revelation 21:14.) to signify, that the Jewish and the Christian church are now united, and built upon the foundation of the apostles, &c. Ephesians 2:20 . The angel has a measuring reed, (Revelation 21:15.) as the angel had likewise, Ezekiel 40:3 , and the measures of the city and walls are formed by the multiplication of twelve,—the number of the apostles, Revelation 21:17.—The city lieth four-square, the length as large as the breadth, Revelation 21:16. according to the pattern of Jerusalem in Ezekiel 48:16 , and the length, and breadth, and height of the walls and buildings, are every way of the same beauty, strength, and proportion. It is built and garnished with precious stones, Revelation 21:18-21.” (Thomas Coke Commentary)
- 24-26- “This is an illusion to the promise that the Gentiles should bring their riches, glory, and excellence, to the temple at Jerusalem, after it should be rebuilt. See Revelation 21:26. The Christian Church shall ever stand open to receive sinners of all sorts, degrees, and nations. No more idolatry, no intellectual darkness; the Scriptures shall be everywhere read, the pure word everywhere preached, and the Spirit of God shall shine and work in every heart.” (F.B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Commentary)
- 26-27- “Parsing out precisely how this works is not easy. Will there still be farming in the new heavens and new earth? Will a godly computer programmer’s 1.0 software be consigned to the flames while version 2.0 enters the heavenly city? The Bible does not answer these types of questions directly, but we may once more look at the big picture. God created humans to exercise dominion over the earth, which entails creativity. Would it be sensible for such a God to then turn and regard work done in faith as useless and cast it aside? On balance, it seems far more likely that he would raise it up and perfect all that is done for his glory. Likewise, the prophetic vision of the future envisions people engaged in meaningful activity in the creation. Since God does not go into detail as to how this transfer of products from the now-world to the new-world works, or what exact things we might be doing in the future state, we can only guess at what this means concretely. But it does mean that we can be “always excelling in the work of the Lord, because [we] know that in the Lord [our] labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).” (Theology at Work Bible Commentary)
How is this text applicable in the 21st Century?
In verse 22, we read, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” Undoubtedly, the world loves their religious architecture, cathedrals, and statues. Sometimes this actually becomes more important to people than their relationship with Christ. Yet, in the Celestial City there is no temple. Why so? This is because Jesus Himself is the temple. God lives among His redeemed people and His radiant glory shines over all.
To close off the passage, verse 27 ends with this: “…nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
Is your name written in the Book of Life? In other words, are you a Citizen of God’s Kingdom? (Philippians 3:20) If so, this is not your home. Yes, Scripture tells us this is an actual book. John is giving a fair warning to everyone who reads. YOUR NAME MUST BE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK IN ORDER TO SPEND AN ETERNITY WITH JESUS.
How do you ensure this occurs? By accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior, trusting solely in Him, and genuinely striving to live for Jesus each day. This does not mean you are perfect. But rather, a Christian should publicly acknowledge their depravity and sinful nature- furthermore, they should live their life with the understanding that they are in desperate need of a Savior.
Heaven is not for the sinless and unadulterated. No. Not in the least. Heaven is for the amiss, who have been saved, and wiped clean by the Blood of Jesus.
Additional Readings: Revelation 22
“What a magnificent hope God’s people have! When you compare it with the imaginative myths, idiosyncratic folklore, and false hopes of various religions, you realize why we Christians live our lives homesick for heaven. When I compare the Celestial City with the heavenly hopes of other religions, I can’t help but feel like the most blessed man on earth. Many Buddhists, Hindus, and followers of some New Age religions anticipate repeated reincarnations into other life forms. That’s spiritual equivalent of spinning your wheels! Taoists view death with indifference. To them it’s ultimate oblivion, a state of non-doing. Talk about boring! Some Muslims believe in a heavenly paradise that holds the promise of various carnal pleasures as a reward for faithfulness. Candidly, that sounds more like Las Vegas than the New Jerusalem! Mormons believe they will eventually become gods and goddesses of their own worlds, populating them with their own spirit-babies. That’s just a lot of work!” ~ Charles Swindoll
Prayer: Father God, I pray that I genuinely live for You today. Rid me of myself and shine Your light. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
How to Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior?