The Revelation - A Book With 7 Seals ?
/ Ewald Frank
22. Chapter 21 - Announcing of the new heaven and the new earth, The glory of the New Jerusalem, The terrible fate of the lost
- Chapter 1 - Introduction, The Day of the Lord, Origin and significance of the prophetic word
- Chapter 2 - The seven messages of the resurrected Lord, First message, Keep the first love
- Chapter 3 - The fifth message, The Reformation Age, Strengthening the weak in faith
- Chapter 4 - A glimpse into heaven
- Chapter 5 - The mysterious book with the seven seals
- Chapter 6 - The opening of the seals, The unveiling of the power of the antichrist, A general view
- Chapter 7 - The sealed from the Jews
- Chapter 8 - The seventh seal, The silence in heaven, Mercy seat becomes judgement seat, Introduction to the seven trumpet judgements, The first four trumpets
- Chapter 9 - The incomparable torment, The fifth trumpet the first woe
- Chapter 10 - An intermediate vision The open book, The Lord as the Angel of the covenant
- Chapter 11 - The second intermediate vision, The measuring of the temple and the ministry of the two witnesses
- Chapter 12 - The woman clothed with the sun, Christ and His Own, Satan the red dragon and his followers
- Chapter 13 - The visions of Daniel in review of and in connection with the Revelation
- Chapter 14 - The Lamb and the sealed 144,000
- Chapter 15 - The seven bowl judgements and the multitude at the crystal sea
- Chapter 16 - The seven bowls of wrath, The final judgements of Gods indignation
- Chapter 17 - The woman riding on the beast
- Chapter 18 - The destruction of the great Babylon
- Chapter 19 - The rejoicing in heaven over the destruction of Babylon, The marriage of the Lamb
- Chapter 20 - Binding of Satan, Completion of the first resurrection by the martyrs, The Millennial Kingdom
- Chapter 21 - Announcing of the new heaven and the new earth, The glory of the New Jerusalem, The terrible fate of the lost
- Chapter 22 - The river of life and the trees of life, The paradise-like condition during the Millennial Reign
- Appendix - The 70 weeks of Daniel and the current events with Israel in the light of Bible prophecy
The first verse of chapter 21 actually belongs to chapter 20. Right after the last judgement, time merges into eternity, and what the Word predicted will be fulfilled; a new heaven and a new earth shall come into existence. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea "
The Lord had already announced a new heaven and a new earth by the Prophet Isaiah: "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." (Isa. 65: 17).
The Apostle Peter also made reference in this regard, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness." (2 Pet. 3: 13).
John mentions the promise about the new heaven and
the new earth, but then thereafter, he speaks about the New Jerusalem descending from heaven and the condition which
will exist during the Kingdom. The Prophet Isaiah also refers
to the new heaven and the new earth, then continues to describe the condition during the Millennial Reign in verses
18-25. It is recorded that children will still be born and the youngest will die being hundred years; houses will be built, vineyards planted. The life continues with the inhabitants of the earth during the Kingdom with one difference, that Satan is bound. Therefore the wolf and the lamb can feed together (Isa. 11: 6; Isa. 65: 25 a. o.).
On the new earth, the eternal laws of God will be in force, and not timely as given in the description by Isaiah. He states that gatherings to worship the Lord will be weekly on the Sabbath and monthly on the new moon. The condition described in Isa. 66: 24 can also not exist on the new earth. "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence unto all flesh." The Lord referred to this text in Mark 9: 48. From the new earth there will certainly be no old smoke ascending into the new heaven.
The New Jerusalem which exists already must be distinguished from the new heaven and the new earth. The seer further speaks about it as follows: " And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away." (21: 2-4).
In this text, reference is made to the New Jerusalem, which is identical with the Bride. It is noteworthy to view on one side, the New Jerusalem as the dwelling place of the Bride, and on the other hand the earthly Jerusalem with Mount Zion, as the dwelling place of the elect Jews. Everything is precisely described, but we must differentiate and know which group, who and what is meant. Every time we read about the new Jerusalem, the concern is with the Bride; when reading about the earthly Jerusalem, the concern is with Israel.
"But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
To the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are written in heaven " (Heb. 12: 22-23a).
To the earthly Jerusalem applies the following description, "And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it." (Isa. 25: 7-8).
After the Marriage Supper, the Bride is called the Wife of the Lamb, before the Wedding she is the Bride. By such comprehensive symbolic language we can easily follow the Lord as His plan of salvation comes to completion. After the taking away of the first-born, they will occupy their mansions in the New Jerusalem. Therefore, the Bride is identical with the New Jerusalem as Israel is with the earthly.
The New Jerusalem, as recorded, will come down and be above the old Jerusalem. Therefore the two things apply, because God will be in both Jerusalems. He will dwell over them, applies exactly as, He will dwell with them. "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." (21: 3).
In Rev. 7: 15 we read, " and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." The Prophet Isaiah had seen this take place already in the Spirit: "And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory shall be a defence." (Isa. 4: 5).
Then it will be as God intended right from the beginning. All is true. For some it applies that He will be upon them; and for others, He will be with them. Regarding the Bride, who are the overcomers, and are in the New Jerusalem, the term applied is "with them". For those who are in the natural Jerusalem the term "upon them" is applied. Every description is true in the connection it is meant to be.
Now the Lord is with His Own in the Spirit. In the realisation during the Kingdom Age He will dwell in bodily form for the ones upon and for the others with them. His Glory will then fill all the earth, His reign will be throughout the universe.
"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful." (Rev. 21: 5). The assurance in God's Word is the absolute which is above every doubt and at the same time the guarantee that everything will be as God said. The believer is therefore also taken above every doubt and rests in God. The assurance is not in man, the assurance comes from God by the Word and is received by the individual who believes.
The One Who speaks and works all things is the Almighty. He proclaims: "It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." (v. 6). All that originate in Him will also be completed in Him, because by Him and for Him all things are made to His Glory. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (v. 7).
In this verse we find expressed what applies to the overcomers, to them the various promises were made in Rev. 2 and 3. Then they will be placed as heirs of God who inherit everything because of the last will in His Own Testament. They are the true co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8: 17).
In different Scriptures we are told about conditions and the state of the sons and daughters of God with whom this all sufficient utterance will be justly fulfilled. "And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6: 18) "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Rom. 8: 14).
In this chapter, verse 8 speaks of those who did not permit themselves to be placed into the plan of God. In comparison to the Redeemed these withstood, spurned and rejected salvation. It is said, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
In this verse not only the murderers, sorcerers, idolaters and liars are spoken of, but all the unbelievers. They are the ones who refused to believe that God personally appeared in Christ to bring salvation unto us. The Apostle John has fittingly given the description of those who do not believe the only true God, "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." (1 Jn. 5: 10). God remains true in spite of every man being a liar (Rom. 3: 4). Blessed are those who can believe God, otherwise they accuse the only true One to be a liar.
Of the true believers John writes in the same chapter, "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." (1 Jn. 5: 20).
"And there came unto me one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
Having the glory of God; and her light was like a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written on the gates, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Rev. 21: 9-14).
Here we deal with the New Jerusalem which comes down, "Having the glory of God; and her light was like a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal." There are twelve gates and twelve foundations in it. The names of the twelve apostles and the names of the twelve patriarchs, that is to say the representatives of the Old and New Covenant - the twenty four elders - are found there. God has only one elect Church, she embraces all the believers from the Old and New Testaments. The saints from the Old Testament who rose with Jesus (Mt. 27) are part of it as they are in the first resurrection. Paul spoke of this resurrection which he wished to attain (Phil. 3: 10-11).
The believers of the Old Testament set their hope in the coming Messiah for their redemption. In this faith in Him they fell asleep. The believers of the New Testament look up to Christ, their Redeemer, Who has accomplished all for them.
The holy city is being viewed from different perspectives. "And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates of it, and its wall.
And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth; and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
And he measured the wall of it, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
And the building of the wall of it was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;
The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was of one pearl; and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were, transparent glass." (21: 15-21).
The New Jerusalem reaches into heaven from where it comes down like a pyramid of light. We are told that all measurements are the same, the length, the width and the height. To express the size in our terms, it is approx. 2,200 km. Already Abraham searched for this holy city which had the solid foundation whose builder was God (Heb. 11: 10). Paul writes about the "Jerusalem above", which is the mother of us all (Gal. 4: 26).
In verses 22 and 23, the Lamb of God is shown as the central point. "And I saw no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did light it, and the Lamb is the lamp of it." (21: 22-23). Whether we comprehend this great mystery or not, it is so. God revealed Himself in Christ bringing salvation to humanity. Christ is the very expression of God in human form. Light and life is in Him alone in Whom dwelleth the Godhead bodily (Col. 2: 9). "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 4: 6).
"And the nations of them who are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day; for there shall be no night there." (Rev. 21: 24-25). A song writer said in reference to this verse, "No night will be there, no night will be there, because Jesus shines as the sun there " On earth will be day and night during the Kingdom Age, but not in the heavenly, the New Jerusalem. The Prophet Isaiah spoke in reference to the earthly Jerusalem, "Therefore, thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night, that men may bring unto thee the forces of the nations, and that their kings may be brought." (Isa. 60: 11).
"And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
And there shall in no way enter into it anything that defileth, neither he that worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they who are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Rev. 21: 26-27).
"And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him." (Rev. 22: 3).
Once again the difference between the "Book of Life" and the "Lamb's Book of Life" is mentioned. All who participate in the first resurrection, whether they will be in the heavenly or the earthly Jerusalem - their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. These names can never be taken out or erased. Because of foreknowledge God could foreordain. He foreknew those who would fully believe and obey Him. The names of all those who are saved and will take part in the second resurrection are in the Book of Life. Therefore at the White Throne judgement the Lamb's Book of Life is not mentioned.
The kings of those nations who survive, over whom Christ shall reign, will find their way to Him. Those who remain unclean, who practise abomination and liars remain outside. Such people at that time are still around, that confirms that we are dealing with the last aeon, the Millennium, and not with eternity.