Revelation 21:22-27

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

November 26, 1997

Introduction

We are in the time known as "eternity". A new heavens and a new earth. A place known as the "New Jerusalem".

:22 And I saw no temple therein

Lit., "and a temple I did not see in it, for the Lord God Almighty is its temple, and the Lamb"

The word "temple" means "sanctuary", or, "God's dwelling place". But in actuality, God never actually lived in the temple, it was merely to be a picture of what was up ahead.

Solomon knew this, he said,

(2 Chr 6:18 KJV) But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!

In practicality, a temple was a way for man to worship God without actually being in Godís presence.

Both the temple and the tabernacle were models or types of heaven, pictures of Godís throne.

Coming to the temple to worship was a way of presenting here on earth, your worship before Godís throne.

Itís interesting that there will be a temple during the millennium. (Eze.40-48)

Even though Jesus will be present, and ruling and reigning from a throne in Jerusalem, it appears that God the Father will still be on His throne in heaven.

Perhaps the reason there is a temple in the millenium is for those unbelievers who are born during this time, to give them a place to worship the Father.

But when New Jerusalem comes, only believers will enter, and God the Father dwells with us, so there will be no need for a temple.

An idea:

The tabernacle in the wilderness was just a kind of temporary worship center, one that eventually was folded up and replaced by a more permanent structure, the temple.

Since the current heavens are the thing which the tabernacle was modeled after (Heb. 8:5; 9:11), could the temple be more like the new heavens, the New Jerusalem?

Jesus taught that in reality, the location of a personís worship wasnít the important issue.

John 4:20-24 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. {21} Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. {22} Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. {23} But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. {24} God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Lesson:

Be a worshipper Ö now.

God is looking for people to worship Him.

For now, itís worship in the spirit, our human spirits coming to worship through His Holy Spirit.

For us, we donít need a temple to worship, because we worship in the spirit, coming directly before Godís throne, yet only as looking through the glass darkly.

There will be a day when we will worship God face to face.

(1 Cor 13:12 KJV) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

God also wants to be worshipped in truth.

Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman, and the Samaritans had a goofy religion based on a bunch of twisted facts and lies. Jesus wants us to be based in truth. Our standard of truth is Godís Word.

:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it

This is a quote from Isaiah:

(Isa 60:19-20 KJV) The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. {20} Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

Read these passages carefully. They don't say that there will be no sun or moon, only that the city doesn't need their light, because it has its own light source.

The commentators disagree whether there will be an actual sun or moon. Some say there will be no sun or moon, others just say that there is no need for them.

I believe that there just might be a sun and moon, but since God Himself will radiate the city with His glory, their purpose won't be to light it up.

There are a couple of passages that compare God's promises to the sun and moon:

Promises to Israel

(Jer 31:35-36 KJV) Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: {36} If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

God intended His covenant with Israel to be eternal, that's why He compared it to the sun, implying it would be eternal. And in the New Jerusalem, the twelve pearl gates are each named for one of the tribes of Israel (Rev. 21:12).

There are also promises concerning the strength of His name (Ps. 72:17); promises concerning the throne of the Messiah (Psa. 89:36-37)

So, I think it's possible that there will still be a sun and moon, but we won't function on their light. We'll function off of God's light.

:23 for the glory of God did lighten it

The word "glory" (doxa) can carry two different meanings.

1. It can mean "opinion, good opinion, reputation, praise, honour, glory".

It is used in this way in verses 24,26, where the kings and the nations bring their honor and praise into the city.

2. It also can mean visible "brightness, splendor, glory"; especially that which radiates from God's presence.

In the wilderness, God led them by allowing His glory to shine in the cloud (Ex.16:10).

God filled the tabernacle in the wilderness with His glory (Ex.40:34,35). It glowed.

Solomon's temple was filled with God's brightness when it was first dedicated (2Ch.5:14; 7:1-3).

That's the meaning here. The city is going to be glowing with God's glory. This is the "Shekinah".

did lighten it Ė photidzo Ė "to illumine, enlighten", the city is lit up with God's glory.

:23 and the Lamb is the light thereof.

light Ė luchnos Ė a lamp, candle

A lamp is what gives off the light.

Jesus is that light.

(2 Cor 4:6 KJV) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 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 NLT) For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

:24 the nations of them which are saved

Some Bibles don't have "of them which are saved" because some Greek manuscripts contain the phrase, and some don't. The King James and New King James translate from one set of manuscripts, while the NAS and NIV use another.

It really doesnít make a difference anyway, because only those who are saved will make it this far anyway.

Note: There will still be some sort of national identity. Interesting...

:24 shall walk in the light of it

Lesson #1:

Walk in the light.

In a way, we can walk in that light right now.

We must follow Jesus to walk in the light.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

We can walk in the same light that will some day light up New Jerusalem. Today.

Even as the Israelites had a pillar of fire by night to follow in the dark, we can follow our Light, Jesus.

To follow Jesus requires self denial, hardship, and following His example.

Mat 16:24-25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. {25} For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Summary: To walk in the light, to have the light to guide you, you need to deny yourself and follow Jesus.

The results of walking in the light (following Jesus):

1 John 1:5-7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. {6} If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: {7} But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Lesson #2:

Shine the light.

Think of this pure white light, coming through all the colored stones used in the walls, colors of green, yellow, blue, red. Beautiful!

There is a sense in which this light is not just future, but is here nowÖ

(1 Pet 2:1-5 NLT) So get rid of all malicious behavior and deceit. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with hypocrisy and jealousy and backstabbing. {2} You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, {3} now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness. {4} Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by the people, but he is precious to God who chose him. {5} And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What's more, you are God's holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.

We are the "living stones" in Godís temple now, and just as the light shines through the stones in New Jerusalem, God wants to shine through your life.

Your life adds the color to the light.

Each of us shine a little different color of light, but itís all showing that thereís a light in our life.

Mat 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. {15} Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. {16} Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

When people see Jesus doing good works through you, itís like the brightly colored lights shining in the New Jerusalem. When you see Christmas lights this year, think of how God wants people to see you, as colorful shining examples of Him.

:24 and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

There's two ways of looking at this verse:

1. It's not referring to those who are kings then, but those kings who have been saved throughout time. They will bring their glory into the city.

2. There will be people living on the new earth, their kings bring their glory into the city.

David Hocking - "the wording suggests there will be multitudes of people on earth in the eternal state who have access to the heavenly city but are not its primary residents. Who are these nations and kings? Probably those who come out of the tribulation period, those described as "sheep" in Matt.25:31-46, and those born during the millennium who do not rebel against the Messiah, are all a part of the "nations" on earth in the eternal state."

:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day:

John uses a doubled negative here, emphasizing it so you could almost translate this, "the gates shall absolutely not be shut Ö"

This is a quote from Isaiah again:

(Isa 60:11 KJV) 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 Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.

The implication of an open gate is that people will be coming in and out all the time.

Though we expect to have our residence there, we won't be confined within the walls, but will be able to zoom all around the new heavens and earth.

:25 for there shall be no night there.

Night time was when city gates were shut, to keep out the thieves and marauding enemies.

But there wonít be a night, it will always be daytime.

With our new bodies, we probably wonít be needing rest either.

:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

We see a picture of this in the life of King Solomon, who as the supreme king of his day, had other royalty visiting him, bringing him gifts:

The Queen of Sheba Ė

(2 Chr 9:9 KJV) And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon.

Other kings Ė

(2 Chr 9:14 NNAS) besides that which the traders and merchants brought; and all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.

In heaven, all the glory and honor that people will have received in this life for their various accomplishments, will be ultimately turned over to God. He gets all the glory.

Weíve already seen the 24 elders in heaven doing this:

(Rev 4:10-11 KJV) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, {11} Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Lesson:

Give your glory to Him.

He doesnít really appreciate sharing the glory that He should be receiving with you Ė

(Isa 42:8 KJV) I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Illustration

Corrie Ten Boom used to tell the story about a proud woodpecker who was tapping away at a dead tree when the sky unexpectedly turned black and the thunder began to roll. Undaunted, he went right on working. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the old tree, splintering it into hundreds of pieces. Startled but unhurt, the haughty bird flew off, screeching to his feathered friends, "Hey, everyone, look what I did! Look what I did!"

This old woodpecker reminds me of people who think more highly of themselves than they should. Usually they are so busy bragging about their achievements and their greatness that they fail to recognize God as the source of all their abilities. They are suffering from spiritual delusions of grandeur. Without the Lord no one amounts to anything, and in our own strength we cannot please Him.

Illustration

Dick Jones lived as if everything in the whole community depended upon him. One morning he woke up early with a high fever. His wife called next door to a doctor friend. When he diagnosed that Jones had viral pneumonia, he suggested that Dick stay in bed for several days but Dick complained, "No! I've got a breakfast meeting at the school, I'm president of the PTA board, then I've got crucial business at the office, a luncheon date, and three very important dates this afternoon, and then the Building Committee at church this evening. There's no way I can be sick today doctor."

"I'm sorry," says his doctor friend, "but Dick, I don't know anyone who's indispensable, and I suggest you stay in bed." But at that very moment, as the story goes, Dick's high fever sent him into a trance. And there in that trance, he saw himself looking in on heaven. The angels were gathering around God and His holy throne. But everything seemed to be in disarray; some papers were being passed around, and finally after some discussion, the angels passed a significant-looking paper to God, He read it and God was obviously upset. God got up off His throne and said "Oh, no! Oh, no! What will I do today? What will I do?" The angels in chorus said, "What is it, God? What is it?" And God replied, "What will I do today? Dick Jones is sick!"

Are you the one God "depends on"? Or are you learning that you need to be the one depending on God?

You can express it by giving Him the glory for what is done in your life.

:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie:

John uses a doubled negative again, "there shall absolutely be no one entering who Ö"

any thing that defileth Ė koinoo Ė ("koine") to make common; to make (Levitically) unclean, render unhallowed, defile, profane

Isa 52:1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

abomination Ė bdelugma Ė a foul thing, a detestable thing

a lie Ė pseudos Ė a lie; conscious and intentional falsehood

They will have been cast into the Lake of Fire.

Some may ask, "Does this include me? I am defiled sometimes Ö"

(1 Cor 6:9-11 KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, {10} Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. {11} And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Itís not that people who have at one time committed these things canít enter in. But itís those people who have not been cleansed from these things that wonít enter in.

The question is, have you been washed? Is Jesus making you more and more like Him?

Some people say,

"Why does God allow evil in the world? Why doesnít He just remove it all?"

1. He is patient.

(2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

(Rom 2:4 KJV) Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

2. One day He won't allow evil.

(Rev 21:8 KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and mongers, 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.

(Rev 22:14-15 KJV) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. {15} For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and mongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

:27 but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Verses on "Book of Life" Ė PSA 69:28; PHI 4:3; REV 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27

Donít think that those who are unclean, abominable, and liars are just somewhere outside the gates, living a happy life, except they just canít come into the city.

Yes, they are outside (Rev. 22:15), but they are outside in the Lake of Fire. Forever.

(Rev 20:15 KJV) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

There are only two choices: New Jerusalem, or the Lake of Fire.

How do I get my name into this book?

(John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.