Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Glory of New Jerusalem

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 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. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 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 21:22-27 - New International Version)

The New Jerusalem has no temple. The temple in the Old Testament represented God's presence with His people. There will be no temple in the New Jerusalem because Jesus will be there.

The city will not require the light of the sun or moon. The glory of God will illuminate it. Notice that John does not say that there will be no sun or moon or stars, only that the New Jerusalem will not require their light.

All the saved will walk in the light of God's glory in this city. The gates of the city will never be shut. No sin or sinner will be allowed to enter the city. The redeemed whose names are in the Lamb's book of life will be there.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

New Jerusalem Described

"And the building of its wall was jasper, and the city is pure gold -- like to pure glass; and the foundations of the wall of the city with every precious stone have been adorned; the first foundation 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 are twelve pearls, each several one of the gates was of one pearl; and the broad-place of the city is pure gold -- as transparent glass." (Revelation 21:18-21 - Young's Literal Translation)

In an earlier post, I mentioned that the names used for gems and stones in ancient times do not correspond with the names we now use. We cannot be certain that what we call a type of stone now was what they called it in New Testament times. So we cannot be dogmatic about many aspects of John's description when he compares it to a type of gem.

The walls of the city are made of jasper, most likely, some type of quartz. The city is made of gold like clear glass. This expression has caused a great deal of speculation. Gold is not clear. Either the gold of this city is some new thing, or else John when he says that it is like clear glass, he is speaking of its quality not its appearance. He might be saying that the gold is free of imperfections like a window that is perfectly clear.

John tells us that each of the foundations was decorated with a different type of stone. As we have mentioned, jasper is likely some type of quartz. It might be blue, green or rosy. Sapphire was used of several types of blue stones but not what we call sapphire. Chalcedony may be some kind of quartz but we cannot be sure. Emerald refereed to our emerald and other green stones. Sardonyx is likely onyx which is layers of different colors. Sardius refers to a stone red in color. Chrysolyte refereed to yellow topaz. Beryl is a stone of sea-green color.

Topaz refereed to yellow-green stone. Chrysoprasus was greenish-yellow possibly a hornstone which is a type of quartz. Jacinth may be our modern blue sapphire although this is not certain. Amethyst is a purple quartz.

Each of the gates of the city is carved from single pearls. Some commentaries see a symbolic meaning here. A pearl is created when a grain of sand is taken by an oyster and made into a thing of beauty. Jesus takes people who are dirty with sin and clothes them in His righteousness making them pure before God.

The street of the city is paved in pure gold. Again, the phrase, "as it were transparent glass" may be taken in reference to either the appearance or the purity of the gold.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

MEGA-City: New Jerusalem

"And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 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. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel." (Revelation 21:15-17 - New King James Version)

The angel that brought John to see the city had a golden reed in this hand. A reed is an ancient unit of measure equal to about 11 feet or about 3.4 meters. The city is either a perfect cube or a perfect pyramid. It's width, length and height are equal. The angel measures the city and it is 12 000 furlongs wide, long and high.

A Greek furlong is about 607 feet or almost 187 meters. Twelve thousand furlongs would be about 1500 miles or 2400 kilometers. This is about the distance from Toronto to St. John's, Newfoundland or to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The earth's atmosphere is about 18,000 miles high. The New Jerusalem will extend upwards almost this entire distance.

One hundred km or sixty miles is usually considered the boundary between the earth's atmosphere and outer space. Ninety-nine percent of the gases that make up our atmosphere are concentrated in this distance. This city will extend far beyond that. Satellites orbit within the outer part of our atmosphere. The orbit of the International Space Station is at about 350 km (210 miles) above the earth.

The wall of the city is 144 cubits. It is not clear if John is referring to the height or width of the wall. A cubit is about 18 inches, a little less than half a meter. The wall is about 216 feet or 66 .5 meters high or wide. This is about the height of a 22 story building. If it is height, this huge wall will be dwarfed by the city itself. The walls purpose is not defense but decoration anyway.