Revelation 21:2 ‘And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.’
December 17, 2017 by David Farmer 0 comments
One twentieth-century writer, I believe, is quite helpful in his attempts at setting before us this awe-striking portrait which John through God the Holy Spirit has set before us in lovely, simple words; And I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
“The first heaven and the first earth have passed away. In our imagination let us try to see this new universe. The very foundations of the earth have been subjected to the purifying fire. Every stain of sin, every scar of wrong, every trace of death, has been removed. Out of the great conflagration a new universe has been born. The word used in the original implies that it was a ‘new’ but not an ‘other’ world. It is the same heaven and earth, but gloriously rejuvenated, with no weeds, thorns or thistles, and so on. Nature comes into its own; all of its potentialities, dormant so long, are now fully realized. The ‘old’ order has vanished.”—Wm. Hendriksen.
This is followed up with the Prisoner of Patmos advising his readers that he then saw the ‘holy city,’ which under inspiration he refers to as ‘new Jerusalem’ coming down out of heaven. On one other occasion only, is the ascription ‘new Jerusalem’ to be found in our bibles, and it is also in the Revelation given by Jesus Christ to His ‘servant John’ on the Isle that is called Patmos. Among the seven letters to the seven churches in chapters two and three, 3:7 begins the letter to the church in Philadelphia. This particular church, along with that at Smyrna, were the two that alone received no remonstrance from the Lord. Indeed, Philadelphia receives, rather, this promise:
He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name.
There is, then, it appears, a relationship between the new Jerusalem with those that overcome. The letters sent to each of these seven churches each contain a distinct promise to those who overcome. Ephesus; to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God. Smyrna; he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Pergamum; to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it. Thyatira; to him will I give authority over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron. Sardis; he that overcometh shall be thus arrayed in white garments; and they shall walk with me in white. Philadelphia; he that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Laodicea; he that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne. And, interestingly, it is said in the 7th verse of our chapter 21, He that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
In this marvelous consummation of events, we are given to understand that the covenant promise related again and again by God speaking through the prophets, that promise, I will be your God, and ye shall be my people, finds its resting-place here at the close of the Book. God spoke through Moses in Leviticus 26:11-12; And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. Through Jeremiah He spoke, in Jeremiah 7:23, Hearken unto my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people. And in 30:21-22, a beautiful reference to Messiah the Prince,
And their prince shall be of themselves, and their ruler shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me; for who is he that hath boldness to approach unto me? saith Jehovah. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
The Prince will draw near unto God with His Bride. And lastly, God has spoken through Ezekiel, in 36:28, which follows immediately upon the grand promise of the New Covenant in 26-27; God has graciously spoken,
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I shall be your God.
Are these things not, each of them, parts and pieces of God’s making ready the Bride for His Son, the Bridegroom? Is this not all preparatory for the glorious Marriage Supper of the Lamb spoken of already in the 19th chapter of this revelation? Can there be anything whatever more inspiring, invigorating, and blessed, than the consideration of this occasion of grand nuptials? It is able to put one in mind of the expressions—and how can we ever say they are too extravagant—contained in the well-known song which brings these blessings to the fore. The lyrics are, of course, uninspired, but repeating ourselves, are they not nonetheless, inspiring to our senses? Listen to them once again, or perhaps for the first time:
And once again the scene was changed
New earth there seemed to be
I saw the Holy City beside the tideless sea
The light of God was on the streets
The gates are opened wide
And all who would might enter
And no one was denied
No need of moon or stars by night
Or sun to shine by day
It was the New Jerusalem
That would not pass away.
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
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