Brit Hadashah Reflections 46
Hebraic understanding Hebrews and Revelation
Revelation 21 : 1 - 27
This is a part of Scripture which is avoided by many people because of its seeming complexity. It is the only book in our Bible attributed to Yeshua Ha’mashiach Himself. Written by the Apostle John late in his life during a visionary encounter with the Holy Spirit of God. At times John is prompted, even directed, by the Lord to write what he is witnessing. One can only guess at the amazing spectacle of being so directed. What he describes is sometimes very difficult to imagine. There are quite unusual events and situations, such as have never before been encountered by mankind, to be considered, evaluated, and reckoned with. But it all comes with a promise!
The Great White Throne judgement is completed. The lake of fire now contains the devil and his cohorts. Death and Hades are consigned to that lake too. Furthermore, anyone who does not have their name written in that Book of Life, has also joined Satan in that lake as well. The thousand year reign of Messiah Yeshua has passed. Satan’s deception is finished. In another place, the eternal home of the faithful is ready for occupation. What a picture!
John seems awestruck, not for the first time either. He who sat on the throne said “Behold I make all things new.” And followed that up with the urgent instruction to John. “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” It seems that John was so absorbed in what he was being shown, that he stopped writing, just staring in wonder at what was before him. “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. (Then, as an aside, in a kind of message for the day, as up to date as it can be, even today) I will give of the water of the fountain of life freely to him who thirsts.” That water of the fountain of life is freely available TODAY, now, as you read this ‘reflection’. But it was no longer available to those who had already been consigned to the lake of fire was it?
John was shown “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away.” And there was NO MORE SEA. The earth on which we now live is over 70% covered by the seas!! There is almost too much detail here to grasp on first reading. Some of it is in a kind of reflective recall of events which will have already passed, and some, so enlightening that one wonders how we could have got it so wrong! Ask the question of any of your Christian friends “Who is the ‘bride’ of Christ’?” A huge majority will quickly respond that ‘the church’ is the bride of Christ. Well, surprise, surprise! That is not what John saw in his vision. “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” And as this spectacle unfolds, one of the angels who had previously carried one of the seven ‘bowls of God’s wrath’ and poured it out on the earth, came and talked to John. “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife” he said. At that point, John was carried away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain. A place where he could clearly see. And what did he see? “The great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” That city is described in some detail.
It had an appearance of a very special and costly precious stone, but clear as crystal. It had high gates, twelve of them, each being named after one of the twelve tribes of Israel. It was obviously square in dimension, and each side had three gates. Then we are told that the walls had twelve foundations! Each of which was named after one of the twelve ‘apostles of the Lamb’. It seems to be a remembrance of the work of the Apostles, all of whom were eventually martyred for their faith. A permanent, eternal, tribute to their faith.
Are you ready for a shock? How BIG is this New Jerusalem? The Bride of the Lamb. Well today, a “furlong”, the length of which was standardised in England about 700 years ago, is 660 feet, about 200 meters. The angel who spoke to John had a measuring line to accurately define the city size. IF that measure were the same then as it is today, the New Jerusalem would be 1,500 miles long, 1,500 miles wide, and 1,500 miles high. Imagine a city extending from Adelaide to Perth, Perth to Broome, Broome to Alice Springs, and Alice Springs to Adelaide. And 1,500 miles high. Well, of course, for us it is unimaginable isn’t it? But it is BIG. And the walls! Well they are to be about 65 meters thick! Made out of gold and precious stones. Spectacular. Glorious. Unique.
But, considering the fact that the whole of the Scriptures are centred upon Jewish people, Jewish customs, Jewish heritage, Jewish future, Jewish everything! There is NO temple in the New Jerusalem. It is very important for us to distinguish the differences between the millennial kingdom of God, when Yeshua reigns on this earth, where there WILL be a temple. (The temple described in Ezekiel 40 to 48). And the New Jerusalem, where a temple is not required.. Why? “The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Worship, praise and honour will be theirs alone.
The sun and the moon will NOT be required either. Why? “For the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” There will be NO night. No darkness. So completely different to the functioning of the world we live in isn’t it? “The nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth (that is, the ones who will be in that New Jerusalem) bring their glory and honour into it.” All glory will be to God and the Lamb.
Finally, the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem. It is a BIG city, lots of room, but who will its inhabitants be? We learned earlier that “The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which IS the second death.” They are gone. Nowhere to be found anymore.
“But there shall by no means enter it (the New Jerusalem) anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Friends, the Scripture could not possibly be any clearer. The ONLY qualification for having ‘eternal life’ in the New Jerusalem, is having your name written in THAT Book. NOTHING else suffices. Make all the logical exceptions that come to your mind. Not one of them will “cut the mustard”! This is why this Book of the Revelation of Yeshua, given to John is such a blessing. It spells out unequivocally, so no doubt can remain, how each of us can become inheritors of the eternal life which is offered by the sacrificial death and resurrection of our Master and Saviour, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach.