Revelation 21:22-27

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 22, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved?

We have crossed through the time-space continuum into the infinite.  We have gone through the future events into a time where there is a new heaven and earth.

The centerpiece of eternity is a city called the New Jerusalem.

21:22-27 New Jerusalem Glory

:22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

:22 templenaos – used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the sacred edifice (or sanctuary) itself, consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies

:22 Almightypantokrator (“all” + “power”) – he who holds sway over all things; the ruler of all; almighty: God

:22 its temple


Where God dwells

templenaos – used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the building that contained the Holy place and the Holy of Holies
In Jesus’ day, the entire Temple complex would look something like this … while the naos would just be this one building.
We can get kind of confused when it comes to religious buildings.
The Temple was not like a church building where people come, sing songs, and listen to somebody teach about the Bible.
The Temple was considered a place where God dwelt.  The people would come to the Temple to give God worship, but only the priests entered the actual naos.  The people stayed out in the courtyards.
There have been several Temples through the ages
Solomon built the first Temple.  It was destroyed in 586BC.
Zerubbabel built the second Temple, which was later enlarged by Herod the Great, and destroyed in 70AD.
There will be a third Temple, one which will be defiled by the antichrist in the Tribulation period.
There will be a fourth Temple (Ezekiel’s) in the Millennium.
For now, there is no “Temple” … or is there?
The Bible tells us that there are two places where God dwells on this earth.

He dwells in us, the church, when we are gathered together.

(2 Co 6:16 NKJV) And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

(1 Co 3:16–17 NKJV) —16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

The word “you” (vs. 16,17) is plural.  Southerners might say “y’all”.

Paul is saying to the church in Corinth that when they are together, they are a sort of “temple”.  And Paul’s warning is to those who would try to hurt or destroy the church.

He dwells in me, each of us individually.

(1 Co 6:19 NKJV) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

(1 Pe 2:1–5 NKJV) —1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Here, each “you” is singular, it’s about the individual.

When we open our hearts to God and learn to trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, God comes to dwell in us through the person of the Holy Spirit.

Your body is a temple.  God lives in you.

Pay attention to the things we’re going to look at today, because it’s all about the place where God dwells.

If these things are appropriate for the New Jerusalem, they will be appropriate to us as individuals, as well as the church.

:23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

:23 no need of the sun

:23 needchreia – necessity, need; duty, business

:23 sunhelios – the sun; the rays of the sun; the light of day

:23 moonselene – the moon

:23 to shinephaino – to bring forth into the light, cause to shine, shed light; shine

Subjunctive – “in order that it should shine in it”

:23 glorydoxa – glory, splendor, brightness

:23 illuminatedphotizo – to give light, to shine; to enlighten, light up, illumine

:23 lightluchnos – a lamp, candle, that is placed on a stand or candlestick

This will be the fulfillment of a prophecy by Isaiah:

(Is 60:19–20 NKJV) —19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory. 20 Your sun shall no longer go down, Nor shall your moon withdraw itself; For the Lord will be your everlasting light, And the days of your mourning shall be ended.

It might be that there will be no sun or moon, or it could just mean that the city doesn’t need the light of the sun or moon to function.

:24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

:24 nationsethnos – a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together; a multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus; a tribe, nation, people group; in the OT, foreign nations not worshipping the true God; Paul uses the term for Gentile Christians.

It’s the same word that’s used in the LXX in Isaiah:

(Is 60:3 NKJV) The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.

:24 savedsozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save in the technical biblical sense

Present passive participle

:24 lightphos – light

:24 walkperipateo – to walk

 Future active indicative

:24 bringphero – to carry; to bring, bring to, bring forward

Present active indicative

:24 glorydoxa – glory, splendor, brightness

:24 honortime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; honor which belongs or is shown to one

:24 the nations of those who are saved

nationsethnos – a multitude; a tribe, nation; Paul uses the term for Gentile Christians

It’s the same word that’s used in the LXX in Isaiah:

(Is 60:3 NKJV) The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.

In heaven, the song we will sing to the Lamb includes these words:

(Re 5:9 NKJV) …For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

The people that are going in and out of the city have been saved from every nation.


Temples and nations

The New Jerusalem will have inhabitants from every nation.  How could that be?
Before Jesus went back to heaven, He gave us this command:
(Mt 28:19–20 NKJV) —19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

This is not just a command for the twelve apostles.  They were commanded to teach their followers to follow everything that Jesus told them to do, including reaching ALL nations for Christ.

We call this command the “Great Commission”.

It’s an obligation that every one of us who claim to follow Jesus ought to take seriously.

It’s for both types of “temples” – “Us” and “Me”.

It involves a single command:  Make disciples.

That involves having a heart for lost people and a desire that they come to know about Jesus.

But it also involves helping them to grow as a follower of Jesus.

Jesus said to make “disciples”, not “decisions”.

This is part of what our church is about, why we do our Thursday night “Servant School”, to grow as followers of Jesus.

The command involves “going”.

It means that sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone.

Some people might travel to another country (like the Mexico outreach next weekend), while others might have to travel to the next cubicle at work.

The fact that this involves “nations” has another implication.

There is no place for racism in the church.

Heaven is going to be filled with lots of people who don’t look like you.  People who are very different from you.

PlayThe Race” video clip.

Learn to love ALL nations now.  You’ll be much more comfortable when you get to heaven!

:25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).

25 gatespulon – a large gate: of a palace; the front part of a house, into which one enters through the gate, porch

Those pearly gates

:25 shall notou me – never, certainly not, not at all, by no means

:25 shutkleio – to shut, shut up

(Is 60:11 NKJV) Therefore your gates shall be open continually; They shall not be shut day or night, That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, And their kings in procession.

:25 there shall be no night


No Darkness

This place will be open 24/7 because it’s always daytime.
The Bible tells us that God is that light source.
(1 Jn 1:5–7 NKJV) —5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to 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 practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we honestly allow God’s light into our lives, into our temples, then He will begin to change us and He will begin to take out all the darkness.

PlayTrash” video clip

A person who claims to know God, but whose life never has any trash taken out might not know Him like they claim.

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

:26 they shall bringphero – to carry; to bring, bring to, bring forward

:16 they shall bring the glory

This comes from Isaiah:

(Is 60:11 NKJV) Therefore your gates shall be open continually; They shall not be shut day or night, That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, And their kings in procession.

In ancient days, it was the practice of kings and nations to bring their wealth to the greatest king.

Solomon took over the kingdom of Israel at its height.  The world knew who was the top king, and they brought him presents (1Ki. 10)
(1 Ki 10:14–15 NKJV) —14 The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, 15 besides that from the traveling merchants, from the income of traders, from all the kings of Arabia, and from the governors of the country.
(1 Ki 10:24–25 NKJV) —24 Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.
King Hezekiah was surrounded by the Assyrian army, but when news got out about how God sent an angel and killed 185,000 Assyrians in a single night, the world responded:
(2 Ch 32:23 NKJV) And many brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.

In a way, it’s a little similar to the Roman Triumph, a parade where the conquering general comes into Rome and presents the spoils of his victory.

Play Ben Hur Triumph


Temple spotlights

glorydoxa – glory, splendor, brightness
Glory is not just about wealth, but about the “spotlight”.  Who is in the “spotlight”?  That’s the person getting “glory”.
The Pharisees sometimes had their eyes on the wrong things.  They felt that when they swore an oath, it was important to “swear” by something important, something important like gold…
(Mt 23:16–22 NLT) —16 “Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ 17 Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding. 19 How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it. 21 And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. 22 And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.

Even when they swore by the great Temple of God, it’s not the Temple that made their oath important, but the God who dwells in it.  As great as the Temple is, it is only great because of the God who lives there.

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!"
Sometimes I’m just a little too quick to tell you all about the great things I accomplished for God today.  Sometimes I wonder if we really know what it is to allow God to work through us – instead we are constantly trying to prove to God and other people that we are awesome.
It’s okay to let others know what kinds of things you’ve been doing for God, but make sure you keep it clear in your head just who is doing the real, effective work – it’s God.
When Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra, they saw a man who had been crippled in his feet since birth.  Paul reached out to the man and the man was healed.  When the people of the city saw what had happened, they went wild and began to call Paul and Barnabas “gods” (Zeus and Hermes).  They even brought animals and flowers to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. Listen to Paul’s response…
(Ac 14:14–15 NLT) But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.
Me?  I would have probably waited until after the barbeque was over, and then maybe mumbled something about not really being a “god”.

Paul knew where the spotlight belonged.  It belonged on God. 

:27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

:27 by no meansou me – never, certainly not, not at all, by no means

:27 that defileskoinoo – to make common; to make (Levitically) unclean, render unhallowed, defile, profane; to declare or count unclean

:27 abominationbdelugma – a foul thing, a detestable thing; of idols and things pertaining to idolatry

:27 liepseudos – a lie; conscious and intentional falsehood; in a broad sense, whatever is not what it seems to be

:27 Bookbiblion – a small book, a scroll, a written document; a sheet on which something has been written

:27 lifezoe – life

(Is 52:1 NKJV) —1 Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you.

(Eze 44:9 NKJV) —9 Thus says the Lord God: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.

:27 anything that defiles


Temple gates

Just because the gates to New Jerusalem are open 24/7 doesn’t mean that just any old thing can go in.
In eternity, there will be no unclean thing coming into the New Jerusalem, and I imagine because all unclean things will be in the Lake of Fire.
If we are going to learn to live like the “temples” we’re supposed to be, we need to realize that there are some things that don’t belong in the temple.
In Ezekiel’s day, the Temple of Solomon was about to be destroyed.  One of the reasons was because of the filthy things that they had allowed to take place inside the Temple.  Ezekiel was given a vision where he got to peek inside and see what the religious leaders were doing secretly inside the Temple.
(Eze 8:9–10 NKJV) —9 And He said to me, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.” 10 So I went in and saw, and there—every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls.
(Eze 8:12 NKJV) —12 Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ”

It’s bad enough to think that these fellows were doing bad things inside God’s Temple, but I’m a little creeped out to think that God allowed another man to see what secrets were going on behind closed doors.

Paul wrote,
(1 Co 6:18–20 NKJV) —18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Keep God’s house (you) clean.  Treat it right.

Learning to say “no” to the bad things that want to enter the gates of your life involves how much you want Him to be your “Lord”.
PlayThe Stool”.

:27 in the Lamb’s Book of Life


In the Book

It seems to me that the language isn’t saying that if you’ve ever been “abominable” or a “liar” that you will not enter into heaven, because we have all been those things.
(1 Co 6:9–11 NKJV) —9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

The real issue isn’t what you have done, but whether or not you have allowed God to help you from here out.

When you open up your heart to Jesus, He takes all of your bad things and washes them.

He helps you get a new start. He writes your name in His Book of Life.