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Sunday School Lesson – November 13, 2016 The New Jerusalem

To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator

Time: A.D. 96  – Place Island of Patmos

Golden Text: “I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it” (Revelation 21:22-23).

Revelation 21:9 – And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. John who is the author of the book of Revelation was exiled to Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Patmos primarily was a place of exile for Roman political prisoners. One of the angels who would be one of the seven angels who carried the vials for the seven last plagues came and begin to talk to John  and showed him the Lamb’s wife which is the New Jerusalem. Since the words “bride” and “wife” are sometimes used to describe the spiritual relationship between the Lord and His people ( For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee – Isaiah 62:5). 

Revelation 21:10 – And he carried me away in the spirit of a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. In the Spirit is the exalted state in which John received the apocalyptic visions of this book, the last of which carried him away to a high mountain overlooking Jerusalem. “In the Spirit” means that this a vision. The city is here called “that great city, the holy Jerusalem”. “Great” refers to its size; “holy” to a bride and portrayed as descending from God out of heaven as verse 2 also described (And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband – Revelation 21:2). The vision John saw is expressing God’s glory filling the city, making it sparkle like a brilliant, precious jewel. The city’s shape is a cube, reminiscent of the Old Testament tabernacle’s and temple’s of the Holy of Holies.

Revelation 21:11 – Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. This description of the eternal city, New Jerusalem, emphasizes God’s glory which is a source of the light for the city. God’s heavenly glory is like a jasper stone crystalline reflection of priceless jasper. Having the glory of God is the chief distinguishing feature of this city, God’s glory is the manifestation of the fullness of His attributes.

Revelation 21:12 – And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. The new Jerusalem is a picture of God’s future home for His people. The twelve tribes of Israel probably represents all the faithful in the Old Testament. Both believing Gentiles and Jews who have been faithful to God will live together in the new earth. Various Commentators interpret these twelve gates as representing all of God’s people, including both Israel and the church, or as representing strictly the Israelites.

Revelation 21:13 – On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. The city walls will have twelve gates, three on each side.  An angel will be stationed at each gate. The gates will never be shut that may signify that God will never turn away those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. It also may indicate the angels being stationed at each gate is to exclude the unqualified. Just as an angel barred sinners from the Garden of Eden (So he drove out the man, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way, to keep [guard] the way of the tree of life – Genesis 3:24). The angels may be stationed there to keep the city pure, clean from anything that would defile.

Revelation 21:14 – And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The twelve foundations are the huge stones upon which the wall of the new Jerusalem rests, contain the names of the twelve apostles of Christ. The apostles’ names on the foundation stones represent the Christian church and its part in God’s redemptive plan. Christian Gentiles are no longer alienated from God, but now enjoy the same intimate relationship with Him and the same spiritual blessings as do Christian Jews. Both Jews and Gentiles are children of the divine family, believing Jews and Gentiles are of the same divine structure, the church. The church’s foundation is composed of the apostles and prophets, its chief cornerstone is Jesus Christ, and its superstructure is composed of Christians. The two phases of His program, Israel, and the church will be memorialized forever in the holy city, and saints of all ages will dwell in it.

Revelation 21:22 – And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. The temple, center of God’s presence among His people, was the primary place of worship. No Temple is needed in the new city because God ‘s presence will be everywhere. He will be worshiped throughout the city, and nothing will hinder us from being with Him. The Father and the Son will be there, we will be able to approach them and worship before them, there will be no time frame in when and how much we can praise them. To be in the city is to be in God’s presence, God’s separateness in a special sanctuary was necessitated by sin. It signified a holiness that must not be sullied by uncleanness, and expiatory sacrifices were essential to any approach, but the absence of sin in the heavenly city will remove  the barrier between God and His people.

Revelation 21:23 – And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.  Because of the light provided by God’s glory and the Lamb, there is no need of the sun or of the moon in the eternal state. It is speculated that God’s  glory was the source of the light mentioned before the creation of the sun and moon in Genesis. The brightness that illuminates from the  Lamb which is Jesus Christ make the city have no need of light for He is the light and His Father is the light that brightens the city.

Revelation 21:24 – And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. From all the nations (Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost – Matthew 28:19). Jesus Christ redeemed His people, continually calling unbelievers to repent of their sins and believe in Him. Great multitudes who may be among this group in the eternal Jerusalem have come into the Lord’s presence (After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues [languages]  stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands – Revelation 7:9). Many also believe that this refers to believers from nations that existed during the millennium. The statement that the kings of the world will bring glory and honor does not mean they will have anything to add to the splendor of this perfect city. Rather, it signifies that human rulers will pay homage to Christ.

Revelation 21:25 – And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. Not everyone will be allowed in the new Jerusalem. Only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life (He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels – Revelations 3:5). Don’t think we will be able to get in because of our background , personality, or good behavior. We’re grafted in because of what Jesus has done for us, it’s through Him we can receive salvation, but after we receive salvation, we must also submit ourselves to God’s written instructions for the professing Christian. The gates to the eternal city  will not need to be shut because everything that could threaten the city has been defeated and consigned to the lake of fire (And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire – Revelation 20:15.

Revelation 21:26 – And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. Again this is mentioning kings that will bring glory and honor, but it will not be because of their presence, but because they will be honoring the King of Kings. Whereas the kings  of the earth raged against God and gave allegiance to spiritual Babylon, rulers will now worship the Lamb in the New Jerusalem. The saved nations will walk in God’s light, and live in His presence.

Revelations 21:27 – And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  Never again can Satan, the one behind every abomination and lie, emerge to instigate sin. His eternal destiny in the lake of fire is certain, only believers, whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life are allowed by God to enter into the  new Jerusalem. To have one’s name written in this book does not require sinless perfection in this present life, for all of us are sinners. Sinners who have entrusted their lives to Jesus, who have accepted salvation and is allowing Him to continue to cleanse them daily from the sins and desires of the world. As we submit to the written word of God, Jesus does a cleansing in our hearts and spirit. It’s our Christian to duty to renew our thinking to the Word of God by reading the Bible, our thinking is what causes our actions and behaviors (And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God – Romans 12:2). In order to know God’s word, we must read His word, then apply ourselves to the instructions. Our thoughts are not like His thoughts, this is why we must change our way of thinking and behavior to adhere to His instructions. There is no reason for anyone to be sent to hell when God has left us instructions for us to follow to keep from going to hell.

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