Morning Bible Study
We are at the
climax of history. After the seven year Tribulation where the antichrist rules
and God’s wrath is poured out …
The Second Coming (Rev. 19)
Jesus comes back on His white horse, with us behind Him.
All the unbelievers alive on the earth will be put to death by Jesus.
The Millennium (Rev. 20)
Satan is bound up in prison while Jesus sets up His kingdom in Israel and
will rule the world for a thousand years.
The Great White Throne (Rev. 20)
All the unbelievers that have ever lived through history will meet their
maker face to face and find themselves condemned to the Lake of Fire.
Eternity (Rev. 21-22)
The Forever of the Bible starts. We will be with God forever.
The centerpiece of eternity is a city called “New Jerusalem”
:9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the
seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show
you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
:9 one of the seven
One of the guys from way back
in Revelation 16, who
had been used to pour out one of the bowls of the wrath of God. This fellow comes up to John and offers to
show John the New Jerusalem, the Lamb’s bride.
:10 And he carried
me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great
city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
descending out of heaven
Some think it might be entering
into an earth orbit since it never says that it actually touches the earth.
This object that John is seeing is the “New Jerusalem”.
:11 having the glory
of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone,
clear as crystal.
:11 Her light was
Jasper stones can come in various colors.
We think the idea is that image that John is painting is that of a
translucent, shining, glowing, multicolor object. Most of the wall is described as being made
of “jasper” (vs. 18).
:12 Also she had
a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and
names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the
children of Israel:
:13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the
south, and three gates on the west.
:12 twelve angels
at the gates
As you’ll see when we get to verse 21, these are the “pearly gates”.
A woman finds
herself outside the Pearly Gates, where St. Peter greets her. Am I where I think I am?” she
exclaims. “It’s so beautiful! Did I really make it to Heaven?” St. Peter
replies, “Yes, my dear, these are the Gates to Heaven. But you must do one
thing before you can enter.” Very excited, the woman asks what she must do to
pass through the gates. “Spell a word,” St. Peter replies. “What word?” she
asks. “Any word,” answers St. Peter. “It’s your choice.” The woman promptly replies, “The word I will spell is
love. L-o-v-e.” St. Peter congratulates her on her good fortune in making it
into Heaven and asks her if she will take his place at the gates for a moment
while he runs an errand. “I’d be honored,” she says, “but what should I do if
someone comes while you are gone?” St. Peter instructs her to require any
newcomers to spell a word, just as she had done. So the woman takes St. Peter’s chair and watches
the beautiful angels soaring around her, when lo and behold, a man approaches the gates.
It is her husband! “What happened?” she cries. “Why are you here?” Her husband
explains, “I was so upset when I left your funeral that I got into an
automobile accident. Now I am here, ready to join you in Heaven.” “Not just
yet,” the woman replies. “First you must spell a word.” “What word?” he asks.
I think every
once in a while it’s a good idea to get our theology correct.
It is an angel
at each gate, not St. Peter.
And no, getting into heaven is not about spelling, its about believing.
Do you believe that Jesus Christ died for you?
:12 twelve gates …
Each gate has the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel on it.
It's interesting to point out here, at verse TWELVE, that the number 12 is
very prominent in the New Jerusalem.
(vs.12) 12 angels (vs.12) 12 tribes of Israel (vs.12) 12 foundation stones
(vs.14) 12 apostles (vs.14) 12 thousand furlongs is length (vs.16) 12 times 12
cubits is walls width (vs.17) 12 kinds of fruit (22:2). What does it all mean? I could give you 12 reasons … or not …
:14 Now the wall
of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve
apostles of the Lamb.
:14 the names of
the twelve apostles
Each of the foundation stones had a name of an apostle.
raised questions as to just which twelve they are.
Is Judas one of
them? Probably not.
He is called the “son of perdition (John 17:12), the son of hell.
Is the twelfth
Matthias or Paul (as some suggest)?
Matthias is the man the other apostles chose to replace Judas in Acts 1.
Even though I
greatly admire Paul, I tend to lean on the twelfth being Matthias, since Luke
records the twelve being complete after Matthias’ selection, and before Paul’s
conversion. (Acts 6:2)
We'll find out when we get there.
:12-14 gates …
The city has
twelve gates named for the twelve tribes.
The city has
twelve foundations named for the twelve apostles.
The gates are
tied to the tribes, to the Old Testament.
are tied to the apostles, the New Testament.
In Eternity, we will see no difference between the Old and New Testament in
that they both belong.
have always been in God’s plan.
The New Testament doesn’t replace the Old Testament, it simply completes
it and explains it.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that as “Christians”
we only study and believe in the New Testament.
We believe in the WHOLE Bible.
:15 And he who
talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.
:16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its
breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its
length, breadth, and height are equal.
:16 twelve thousand
furlongs – stadion – a
In ancient days,
they didn’t hold sporting events at Baseball stadiums or football
stadiums. In the Greek and Roman games,
the games were held in the Hippodrome.
Care to guess what kinds
of animals raced in a Hippodrome? (Horses). There were also footraces held here as well. You
saw a hippodrome in the chariot race in Ben Hur.
They have a
hippodrome in Caesarea, on the coast of Israel.
In a hippodrome,
the typical race course was around 600 feet in length.
12,000 of these “stadia” would equal about 1350 (1363.636363636364) miles.
That makes the
footprint of New Jerusalem the size of this (British Columbia to Fullerton to Texarkana)
:16 Its length,
breadth, and height are equal
The city is not only 1350 miles wide and long, but it’s also 1350 miles HIGH.
That gives the
New Jerusalem a volume of about 2.5 billion cubic miles.
Why does a city need to be just a high as it is wide and long?
Because we will be able to FLY! Tall things aren’t an
issue for us!
:17 Then he measured
its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the
measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
:17 according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel
The idea is that John is saying that the angels use our human measurements.
according to human measurements,
which are also angelic measurements.
:17 one hundred and
A cubit is about a foot and a half.
144 cubits is 216 feet, or about 72 yards.
Since we already
know the height of the wall, that would mean this measurement is the thickness
of the wall.
The wall of a city was the measure of the security of the inhabitants.
We don’t think in these kinds of terms because for the last hundred years
mankind has developed weapons that can shoot over walls.
But to the ancient mind of John’s day, a city was as secure as it’s walls.
One of the most
secure cities of the ancient world was the city of Babylon.
Its walls were fourteen miles square, surrounded by walls that were 87 feet
thick, and 350 feet high.
The walls were thick enough, that chariots four abreast were driven around
the tops of the walls.
nothing on the New Jerusalem.
We will be secure throughout eternity.
:18 The construction
of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear
:18 pure gold …
The Greek words for “pure” and “clear” are the same Greek word.
The word means
“clean”, not “clear”, though “clean” glass is clear.
I think you could make the point that this is talking about “shiny”, not “clear”.
:19 The foundations
of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones:
the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third
chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
:20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the
eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and
the twelfth amethyst.
– kosmeo (“cosmetics”) – to put in order, make ready, prepare;
We didn’t stop to talk about it last week, but this word popped up last
NKJV) Then I,
John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared
as a bride adorned
for her husband.
I’ve been to a few weddings,
and I’ve never seen an ugly bride.
Brides always take a lot of time to get “prepared” or “adorned” for
The Greek word translated “adorned” is where we get our word “cosmetics”.
Two parties involved in the makeup process – the groom and the bride.
Even though this is speaking about the city called “New Jerusalem”, there
is a sense in which we are in this picture because we too are called the “bride
of Christ”. And God likes to make the
(Eph 5:25–27 NKJV) —25 Husbands,
love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26 that He might
sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might
present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any
such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
When Jesus died
on the cross, He was paying the price for us to go to heaven – He paid for our
But He didn’t stop there.
He continues to work on us, “preparing” us for this grand presentation.
washes us in His Word – as we are learning to read and pay attention to
His Word, we may experience conviction over things we’re doing wrong (like
pruning us). We may experience a fresh
reminder of His love for us. Sometimes
His Word simply cleanses our minds from filthy stuff.
It’s important that we not only allow ourselves to be “washed” in His Word,
but that we actually respond to His Word and do what He is prompting us to do.
Often that involves changes in our heart.
Peter writes to women about their proper use of “cosmetics”:
3:3–5 NKJV) —3 Do not let
your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or
putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden
person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet
spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy
women who trusted in God also adorned themselves…
Guys – this principle is not just for the gals…
I think that it works like this – I spend time in God’s Word and I have the
opportunity to have God speak to me – directly to me.
And I am faced with a choice – do I pay attention to what God is saying to
me and work with Him to make changes in my heart, or do I just blow it off?
Some of us
would rather just work on the outward stuff – the things that other people
see. We sometimes just focus on the
outward actions that other people see us do.
Yet God wants to work deeper.
He wants to work on the things that are going on in our heart, the things
that actually lead to those outward actions.
For example: I can
stop saying mean things to other people because I’m told that Christians aren’t
supposed to say mean things. Or I can
work with God to start actually loving those people I get upset with so I am
not just stopping my mean words, but I actually care about these people.
Another example: I
can stop looking at pornography on the computer because I don’t want anyone to
catch me doing it – I know it’s wrong. Or
I can go deeper, and allow God to help me crucify my lustful thoughts, to fill
that emptiness inside me with His love, and learning purity from the inside,
learning to long to please Him.
:21 The twelve gates
were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the
street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
Each gate is
made up of a single pearl.
gates are really, really tiny,
or there are some HUGE oysters out there working on these pearls!
:21 streets of gold
This may speak of just how fantastic and splendiferous heaven is.
We place a great deal of emphasis on wealth.
But the things we value here on earth are just used to pave the streets.
Perhaps in heaven the things we value on earth aren’t worth that much.
– diaphanes (“through” + “shine”) – transparent,
I know that a lot of us teachers attempt to talk about how gold can
theoretically be refined until it’s transparent. I’m not a chemist, and I’m not sure about
I think the word
here could also just mean “really, really shiny
:19 The foundations
of the wall …
It appears that there are twelve different types of stone that make up the
It appears that there is some sort of translucence to these stones, and
with God being inside the city and functioning as the source of light for the
entire city, this thing will glow in the dark.
When you look
at this list of stones, they sound extremely similar to the twelve stones found
mounted on the breastplate
of the Jewish High Priest.
28:17–20 NKJV) —17 And you
shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall
be a sardius, a topaz,
and an emerald; this shall be the first row;
18 the second
row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a
diamond; 19 the third
row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
20 and the
fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold settings.
Turquoise, diamond, agate, onyx
When you take into account the fact that the stones listed in Revelation
are translations of Greek words, and the stones in the breastplate are
translations of Hebrew words, it’s very possible that all twelve stones are the
Everyone around us needs hope. The
best hope is our hope in heaven – it’s what keeps us going.
4:16–18 NKJV) —16
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is
perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not
look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For
the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not
seen are eternal.
Here is the Jewish High Priest wearing a bit of the
eternal over his heart, reminding people that there is a future.
One of the roles of a priest is to represent God to the people.
The Bible tells
us that as believers in Jesus, we are ALL priests.
I find it fascinating to think that the High Priest was wearing stones that
are in the foundation of Eternity.
It’s almost as if the High Priest was to remind the people what heaven is
When you visit
a country like Russia, you tend to stand out as Americans.
On our first trip to Russia, the difference between
Russians and Americans was pretty dramatic.
For example, Russian men tend to wear shoes with very pointy tips. Americans don’t. (Well, maybe not that pointy …)
The more westernized Russia gets, the more they are
starting to look and dress like Americans.
I remember one
lady telling one of our translators while we were on a bus that it was obvious
that we weren’t Russians because we smiled all the time.
I remember thinking at that time that our “smiles” weren’t
because we were Americans, our “smiles” were because we were Christians.
Jesus gave us a pretty good way to wear that multi-colored
breastplate that covers our hearts:
(Jn 13:34–35 NKJV) —34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I
have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My
disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Can people see what you have on your heart?
Can they see the right example of His love?