Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE:
THE HOLY CITY NEW JERUSALEM

[“All Things New”]
Key Word: Jerusalem
Theme Verse: 2

A NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH

#485. The last chapters of the Apocalypse center on one theme: the New Jerusalem and its descent to planet Earth. John sees the vision of this glorious habitation of God Almighty, the Lamb, his Saints, and all the holy angels. There are measurements and descriptions along with warnings to those who live on earth.

Revelation 21:1-4 – Blessings in New Jerusalem

RV21:1 And then I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth997 [Isaiah 65:17] for the first heaven and the first earth went off.998 And the sea is no more.999
997 A New Heaven and a New Earth: The phrase is straight out of Isaiah 65:17 and Isaiah 66:22. Peter also quotes Isaiah at 2 Peter 3:13. In Isaiah the context is a newly created Jerusalem, thus a New Jerusalem. The City is highly associated with God’s People, the Israel of God, as one would expect.
998 The first heaven and the first earth went off: As discussed in 2 Peter 3:10, 12 likely a reference to that demonic “heaven” which appeared after the Deluge along with the “earth” of humankind that developed. (Ephesians 6:12) Literally in Greek they “went off.” This is variously rendered: KJV: passed away; KNX: vanished. When did this happen? In the Day of Jehovah according to Peter, likely the same as the Day of the Master Jesus upon his Return prior to the 1,000 Years. Both the Satanic heavens that have ruled the earth are gone as well as that Devilish structure which obtained on earth. The earth, along with its atmospheric heavens is to endure forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 78:69; 104:5; 119:90) as are the stellar heavens. (Psalm 72:5, 7; 89:37; 136:8, 9)
999 The sea is no more: Not the oceans for they are called “Seas” at Genesis 1:10. It is likely that “sea” out of which the Beast ascends in chapter 13 and Daniel chapter 7. Isaiah 57:20 likens the wicked to the sea. Habakkuk 1:14 echoes this: ‘You have made humankind like the fish of the sea that have no ruler.’ (JPS) Like the wild Sea Beast, the “sea” is an abstraction for those political and revolutionary entities from which such a tyrannical government could arise. The “sea is no more” from that moment when it can no longer produce such beasts. That is, at the Return of Christ (Revelation 11:15), or at that moment described by Daniel 7:22, 27 this “sea” ceases to exist.
RV21:2 Then I saw the Holy City1000 New Jerusalem1001 [Isaiah 52:1] descending down out of the Celestialum from The God.1002 It was prepared like a bride adorned [Isaiah 61:10] for her husband.1003 [2 Corinthians 11:2]
1000 Holy City: The designation occurs 16 times: Revelation 3:12; 14:20; 20:9; 21:2, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 23; 22:3, 14, 19. The images echo Isaiah chapters 51, 65. The angelic realms as a corporate body are compared to a “heavenly Jerusalem.” [Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22-24]
1001 New Jerusalem: The term occurs 3 times: Revelation 3:12; 21:2, 10. The celestial Jerusalem becomes a “new” Jerusalem upon the arrival of the glorified Saints who become the ruling body. [1 Corinthians 6:2]
1002 Descending down out of the Celestialum from The God: There are four words to emphasize the direction of the movement from heaven to earth: descending, down, out of, from. Can there be any question the New Jerusalem is settling upon earth? Compare the Greek EPI at Revelation 5:10.
1003 A bride adorned for her husband: When does this “descent” occur? The “city” exists as early as Revelation 11:2 before the three and a half years of Great Oppression. This is probably the same “city” of Revelation 14:20 outside of which the winepress of Armageddon is trodden. This is likely that same city for which the ancients longed. (Hebrews 11:10, 16) It may be that “city” toward which the early Christian Saints had come or approached, Heavenly Jerusalem. (Hebrews 12:22) That is, the “city to come.”(Hebrews 13:14) In this vision the City is “prepared as a bride” and is so seen in more graphic detail (Revelation 21:9, 10) where the City is called the Lamb’s Wife. Therefore, they must be married. This spiritual heavenly marriage must begin when the husband “receives home to himself” his Church. (Revelation 14:3; Ephesians 5:32; 2 Corinthians 11:3; John 3:29; 14:2, 3; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) The New Jerusalem could begin its descent after this “marriage” union in order for the Winepress to be “trodden outside the City.” (Revelation 14:20) This phrase is found again at Revelation 22:15 so the City must descend while these are still in existence. The sequence of events would seem to be: Jesus returns in glory, all dead Christians are raised and judged, the “goats” are destroyed, the living Saints are raptured and enter their home, the marriage feast occurs, then the New Jerusalem descends and takes action against Babylon the Great, with the War of Armageddon to follow.
RV21:3 I heard a great voice out of the Throne,1004 saying: “The Tent of The God is with the humans.1005 [Leviticus 26:11] He will tent with them. They will be His Peoples and The God will be with them. [Leviticus 26:11; Ezekiel 37:27]
1004 A great voice out of the Throne: Would this be understood to be God Almighty? Later He is identified as “the One on the Throne” so it is possible this is the voice of the Son of God.
1005 The Tent of The God is with the humans: Or, God’s dwelling. This whole section is a compound or conflate from several sources which all deal with the Saints. Leviticus 26:12: ‘I will walk among you and be your God and you will be my People’ (quoted in 2 Corinthians 6:16). Ezekiel 37:26-28: ‘I will establish my sanctuary in the midst of them forever. And my tabernacle shall be among them and I will be to them a God and they will be my people.’ (quoted in 2 Corinthians 6:16) Jeremiah 31:33: ‘Then I will be their God and they shall be my People.’ (quoted in Hebrews 8:10) Compare Zechariah 13:9. All of these sources apply to Israel in a covenant relationship with God and not to humankind in general. Therefore, the context of Revelation 21:3 must have the Saints in mind.
RV21:4 He will wipe out every tear from their eyes.1006 [Isaiah 25:8] Death will be no more.1007 [Isaiah 25:8] Nor mourning, outcry, or pain will be any more.1008 [Isaiah 65:17] The former things passed away.1009 [Isaiah 65:17]
1006 He will wipe out every tear from their eyes: Whose “tears”? Judging from Isaiah 25:8 they are those of “my People Israel” and applied by Paul to the Saints. (1 Corinthians 15:54)
1007 Death will be no more: This and the related phrase regarding tears is a paraphrase from Isaiah 25:9 which has been alluded to in Revelation 7:17. In Isaiah the context is “Israel” and Paul quotes this in application to those who gain immortality in the heavenly kingdom at 1 Corinthians 15:54. It must have reference to “death” among those Saints within the City of God, New Jerusalem. Second Death still has authority over the “nations” alive on the New Earth during the 1,000 Years. (Revelation 20:6) If Isaiah 65:17-20 applies to this period, then: ‘Neither an old man who shall not complete his time and the sinner who dies at a hundred years shall also be accursed.’ “Death” is still effective among men and is not destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:24-26) until after the 1,000 Years. (Revelation 20:12-14) So, the “death” here is during the Thousand Years.
1008 Nor mourning, outcry, or pain will be any more: This phrase is from Isaiah 65:19 and the context within the City of God.
1009 The former things passed away: Or, first things. This is also from Isaiah 65:17

Revelation 21:5-8 – I Make All Things New

RV21:5 And then the One sitting upon the Throne, [Isaiah 6:1] said: “Look, I am making all things new!1010 [Isaiah 43:19] Write, because these words are faithful and true.”1011
1010 I am making all things new: This may be limited to the City of God as it is in Isaiah 65:17-24.
1011 These words are faithful and true: Who could doubt the voice from the Throne?
RV21:6 And he continued: “These [words] have been fulfilled!1012 I am the Alpha and the Omega,1013 the Beginning1014 and the End.1015 I shall give to the one thirsting [Isaiah 55:1] from the Fountain of the Water [Isaiah 49:10] of Life as a free gift.1016
1012 These [words] have been fulfilled: Or, it is done; it has been accomplished. The Greek is the same as Revelation 16:17 and thus “The end has come!” This also places the context of the descent of the City of God before Armageddon.
1013 The Alpha and the Omega: God Almighty of Revelation 1:8 and Revelation 4:8.
1014 The Beginning: It is the Greek ARCHE just as it is at Revelation 3:14, but here it is clearly God Almighty who is the Absolute Beginner, including that life of the Son as His first creature. (John 5:26) The Origin and the Fulfiller.
1015 The End: As in A to Z. The purposeful, linear view of the Hebrews not the circular, cyclic Egyptian view of the Universe.
1016 The Fountain of the Water of Life as a free gift: There is much in the phrases here identical to those in John’s Gospel. Compare the Greek here DOREAN, EGO DOS, PEGE HYDATOS, ZOEN AIONION with John 4:10, 14; 10:14. It may be asked what kind of “everlasting life” would the Nazarene put before the Samaritan woman? Heavenly or earthly? It would appear this woman would have full opportunity to become a follower of Christ with the hope of everlasting life in heaven. The Fountain is the same of Revelation 7:17, an allusion to Isaiah 49:10. The Fountain is not the same as the River of Revelation 22:1. All the images deal with the Saints and the City of God.
RV21:7 The one conquering1017 will inherit these things.1018 I shall be his God1019 and he will be My son. [2 Samuel 7:14]
1017 Conquering: A word highly associated with the Saints, the inhabitants of the City of God. The word occurs 12 times and usually applied to the Saints.
1018 Inherit these things: “Inherit” is a word associated with the Saints. (1 Corinthians 15:50; Matthew 25:34) “These things” with regard to the City.
1019 I shall be his God: This is a phrase that echoes the Davidic covenant. 2 Samuel 7:14, ‘I will be to him a Father and he shall be to me a son.’ The language is that between God and the Saints.
RV21:8 But the cowards, the unbelieving, the disgusting, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the spiritistic druggers, the idolaters, and all the liars, their part will be in the Lake burning with fire and sulfur,1020 which is the Second Death.”
1020 Their part will be in the Lake burning with fire and sulfur: A short list of those who reject God and continue in their practices. These are mention at Revelation 21:17 and Revelation 22:15 as being “outside the City.” These could include those “sinners” (Isaiah 65:20) during the 1,000 Years.

THE DESCENT OF THE NEW JERUSALEM

#486. In ancient times a city was an enclosed fortress with protective walls to keep the enemy out and gates to allow citizens and visitors to enter. From the Abrahamic promise regarding that old man’s Seed, the city has been a symbol for such a Kingdom to which the ancient patriarchs longed for final relief with the fulfillment of God’s promises. Paul writes to the Jews, who held these patriarchs as saints, in his letter to the Hebrews, using this metaphor for the Kingdom: “For [Abraham] was awaiting a city having foundations [built] by the Technician and Builder – The God. … However, now, they are reaching out for a better [place], that is a heavenly [place]. Because of this The God is not ashamed to be called upon as their God, for He prepared for them a city. … Rather, you have approached toward Mount Zion and the City of a Living God – to heavenly Jerusalem and myriads of angels, to a great praise-assembly and to an ecclesia of those firstborn persons who have been inscribed in [the] heavens, to a God who is Judge of everyone, and to the pneumas of those righteous who have been perfected, and to Jesus, to a mediator of a New Covenant – and to the blood of sprinkling which speaks in a better way than Abel. … For we do not have here [in Jerusalem] a city which will remain, but rather we are earnestly seeking that future City to come.” (Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12:22-24; 13:14 NCMM; compare notes in Nazarene Commentary©)

#487. As we have seen in the Apocalypse there are two cities: the Great City, Babylon the Great, Harlot Religion; and, the Holy City, New Jerusalem, the Lamb’s Wife. Jesus had promised the Saints in his Christine epistle from the spirit realm when he dictates to his Beloved John: I will write upon (the victorious Saint) the Name, “New Jerusalem,” which descends out of heaven from my God.’ He combines another metaphor in the same breath, promising the faithful they will ‘be made a pillar in the Divine Habitat of my God.’ (Revelation 3:12)

#488. At last, this City for which the ancients yearned, that one promised to the Saints, has at last arrived in John’s vision in chapter 21. If some were to write a science fiction novel, it could not capture this story better. God sent His own “extra-terrestrials,” true “aliens,” to this planet to give special instructions and promises to key individuals. This happened several times, each with a monumental reaction recorded in the memories of mankind. The first to a man called Noah, and the cultural memories of a great Deluge are now embedded among virtually every people on earth. A thousand years later, to Abraham, and now two of the earth’s most influential peoples trace their religions to this ancient patriarch. Five hundred years later, to Moses at the base of Mount Sinai in the Arabian wilderness. Now, three great religions hold this Egyptian shepherd in awe, representing well over half of earth’s current population, three billion people. Five hundred years later, to Jesus the Nazarene, a historical figure without equal, in whom two billion people declare some belief. All with one major promise: God and His Son are coming to inspect the earth and all who have ever lived; looking for two attributes: faith and love. And now, they show up in the form of a gigantic golden cube approaching the earth’s atmosphere and then descending until its foundation rests on dry ground.

Revelation 21:9-14 – New Jerusalem Described

RV21:9 Then one of the 7 angels having the 7 bowls full of the 7 last plagues1021 came out and spoke with me, saying: “Come here. I shall show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.”1022
1021 Full of the 7 last plagues: This may suggest the descent of the New Jerusalem before the plagues. This would be consistent with what has been discussed above.
1022 The Wife of the Lamb: Or, woman of the Lamb. As in many languages the word “woman” may mean “wife” when the possessive is present. The Lamb is now married otherwise he could not have a wife. So the events of Revelation 19:6-9 have already occurred where the marriage feast is, before the Lamb and his armies proceed to war.
RV21:10 And then he carried me off in spirit1023 to a great and high mountain.1024 [Ezekiel 40:1] He showed me the Holy City Jerusalem [Isaiah 52:1] descending down out of the Celestialum from The God.
1023 He carried me off in spirit: This is similar to Ezekiel 40:2. If these two visions are connected to the New Jerusalem then it would appear the City of God settles down in the “land of Israel.” John has traveled to heaven, to a wilderness, and now to a great mountain in his visions.
1024 A great and high mountain: Imagine the view from Mount Everest, looking to the West, as this bright cube enters the upper atmosphere and begins to land over in the Middle East.
RV21:11 It had the glory of The God.1025 Its illumination was like a most precious gem, like a diamond crystal clear.1026
1025 Glory of The God: Compare Isaiah 60:1, 2.
1026 Its illumination was like a most precious gem, like a diamond crystal clear: The main light source is compared to a jasper or diamond with crystal clarity.
RV21:12 She had a great and high wall1027 with 12 gates and upon the gates 12 angels. The names of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel1028 [Ezekiel 48:31-34] were inscribed on the gates
1027 A great and high wall: The protective walls of Babylon were renowned. Walls are unnecessary if someone could get into the City. Not everyone can get into this City.
1028 The 12 tribes of the sons of Israel: That list in Revelation 7:4-8.
RV21:13 from the sunrising 3 gates and from the north 3 gates, from the sunsetting 3 gates and from the south 3 gates.1029 [Ezekiel 48:31-34]
1029 Gates: This phrase is out of Ezekiel 48:31-35 showing more and more a link between the two visions. The details in Ezekiel are too thorough to be just an abstraction and not a real and literal future Temple.
RV21:14 The wall of the City had 12 foundation stones,1030 and upon each the 12 names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb. [Matthew 10:2; Isaiah 53:7]
1030 12 foundation stones: Why would a foundation be necessary for a heavenly City unless it settles down upon earth? Compare Ephesians 2:20.

Revelation 21:15-21 – Description and Measurements

RV21:15 The angel speaking with me had a golden measure-reed [Ezekiel 40:3, 5] so he might measure the City, the Gates, and the Wall. RV21:16 The City lies foursquare.1031 [Ezekiel 43:16] Its length is equal to the breadth. He measured the City with his reed:1032 12,000 stadia.1033 Its length, breadth and height are equal.1034
1031 Foursquare: The City is a Cube.
1032 He measured the City with his reed: Compare Revelation 11:1
1033 12,000 stadia: The number of the New Israel times 1,000.
1034 Length, breadth and height are equal: A cube-like diamond 300 miles by 300 miles by 300 miles. The foundation would fit easily in the land of Israel and the height of the City would reach into what would be considered “heaven” by the ancients.
RV21:17 He measured the Wall [Ezekiel 40:3, 5; Zechariah 2:1, 2] of the City: 144 cubits,1035 the measure of a man equaling an angel.
1035 144 cubits: This measurement is curious because there were 144 cherubs on the tabernacle tapestry walls and ceilings. These angelic cherubs were the measure of a man, six feet.
RV21:18 The structure of the City’s Wall is diamond. The City is like pure gold, like clear glass.1036
1036 The City is like pure gold, like clear glass: The overall appearance of this gigantic cube is compared to the most precious gem, jasper or diamond with those rainbow bursts of light something similar to the Throne. (Revelation 4:3) Imagine such a gem, a perfect cube, with such dimensions.
RV21:19 The foundation stones of the Wall1037 were adorned with every precious gem.1038 [Isaiah 54:11] The first foundation gem was diamond,1039 the second sapphire,1040 the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
1037 The foundation stones of the Wall: These may each represent a different Apostle. Possibly beginning with Peter as the jasper or diamond.
1038 Adorned with every precious gem: There is something of the High Priest’s breastplate here. (Exodus 25:7; 28:15-21)
1039 Diamond: Peter?
1040 Sapphire: John?
RV21:20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chryoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, the twelfth amethyst. RV21:21 And the 12 gates were pearls; each one of the gates was made of one pearl.1041 The broad way1042 of the City was clean gold, like glass shining through it.1043
1041 Pearl: Occurs only 4 times, twice outside of the Apocalypse.
1042 The broad way: Or, main street on the ground floor. This has appeared before at Revelation 11:8 regarding the Great City.
1043 Like glass shining through it: The whole description is one of Light in its purest form, just as the Throne of God in chapter 4. That “God is Light” is reflected in this Holy City.

Revelation 21:22-27 – The Center of Worship

RV21:22 I saw no temple in the City,1044 for YHWH, The God, The Almighty,1045 is the City’s Divine Habitat. And so is the Lamb.1046
1044 No temple in the City: Or, the NAON, Divine Habitat. There is no need as the whole cube is likened to a Temple with God has the Prime Resident.
1045 YHWH, The God, The Almighty: It would seem YHWH would be appropriate here. KYRIOS is without the article. It comes from the mouth of a celestial being.
1046 Lamb: Note the Holy Spirit is missing here.
RV21:23 The City has no need of the sun or moon,1047 for the glory of The God illuminated the City. The lamp of the City is the Lamb.
1047 No need of the sun or moon: It is not that these do not exist but are not needed within the City. The sun and moon will continue to divide night and day. (Psalm 72:5, 7; 89:37; 148:3)
RV21:24 And the nations will walk by the City’s illumination.1048 [Isaiah 63:3, 11] The kings of the earth will bring their glory into the City.1049
1048 The nations will walk by the City’s illumination: Compare Isaiah 60:3, 11. These are those non-Jewish “nations” no longer misled by Satan. (Revelation 20:3) These “nations” will walk by means of this new illumination, a spiritual one.
1049 The kings of the earth will bring their glory into the City: Not all “kings” for some perished at Armageddon. They exist here as survivors. Compare Zechariah 14:2, 14, 16.
RV21:25 The gates of the City will remain open day and night.1050 Night will not exist in the City.1051
1050 The gates of the City will remain open day and night: For access into the City by the “gates” on the earth proper. Revelation 22:14 lists those who may not enter. The City has 24-hour, around the clock, access. The KJV adds: “And the nations of them which are saved.” (Lamsa)
1051 Night will not exist in the City: This resembles many modern buildings with lights on around the clock.
RV21:26 The kings of the earth will bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City.1052 [Isaiah 60:1, 6, 10, 13, 19]
1052 The kings of the earth will bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City: They have access to the City.
RV21:27 No common thing will enter the City,1053 nor the disgusting or the liar.1054 Only those written in the Lamb’s Little Book of Life.1055 [Psalm 69:28]
1053 No common thing will enter the City: Or, nothing unclear, unholy, impure. There are those who may enter the City and those who may not. Both come from earth’s inhabitants during the 1,000 Years. This is also rendered: unhallowed; not sacred.
1054 Nor the disgusting or the liar: The liar and idol worshipper. These are the “unclean” outside the City. (Revelation 22:15)
1055 Only those written in the Lamb’s Little Book of Life: May it be that during the 1,000 Years some among those “nations” qualify to be recorded in the Book of Life as those are at the end? (Revelation 20:14) Those who qualify during the 1,000 Years may have access to the Holy City.

#489. When does this glorious City of the most holy light descend out of heaven from God? There are several opinions. Some hold the text in the Apocalypse is chronological, so the Holy City descends after the Thousand Years. This certainly could not be after the dead were judged for several verses indicate that “outside the City” there were habitual sinners. (Revelation 21:8; 22:15) We have seen how the Apocalypse covers a subject and then flashes back to provide more details.

#490. The Apocalypse has already mentioned the Holy City in earlier chapters. For example, Revelation 14:20 has the Winepress of God, likely Armageddon itself, “outside the City.” This is the same location of habitual sinners in Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 22:15. This may suggest the Holy City descends prior to the destruction of Harlot Religion and the wild Sea Beast with its False Prophet in the battle of Armageddon. The Holy City was mentioned in connection with the “trampling of (the Saints)” during the three and a half years of Great Oppression. (Revelation 11:2, 3) It seems fitting, in harmony with the chronological sequence of the Great Oppression and the Rapture, that upon attaining heavenly union with their Lord, the glorified Church is taken home within this glorious Holy City, New Jerusalem. The Saints thus becoming “pillars” within this temple-like City. After the wedding festivities, the Holy City descends for war in that Great Day of Wrath.

#491. Remember, that in Revelation 11:2, 3 the Holy City, New Jerusalem, was to be trampled on for 42 months. One cannot trample on a city that does not exist already. (Revelation 11:2 3) No doubt this trampling was by oppressing the remnant of the Woman’s (the City) Seed. (Revelation 12:17) This Woman, or City, is protected and strengthened by God in a wilderness area during this period of 1,260 days. However, her children, that is those future inhabitants, are persecuted during the Great Oppression. The Holy City descends then following the Marriage of the Lamb and before the final end of Harlot Religion, the major competitor of the Holy City since the plains of Shinar. Thus the City approaches the earth when the Lamb comes once again with all his Saints (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Zechariah 14:5) then it settles down just prior to that “one hour” upon Babylon the Great. This is the view we prefer, though we make no criticism of those would whole another opinion.

#492. What is the Holy City, this New Jerusalem, actually? Here again, some would view it solely as a metaphorical abstraction with only symbolic values. While agreeing there is much symbolic within the apocalyptic description, there is also a strong atmosphere of literality to the vision. It would seem wholly unnecessary to go into such precise descriptions and measurements of such a City if it is only a symbolic one. This may be compared to those nine chapters (40-48) of Ezekiel which describe in minute detail a futuristic Temple. The measurements and details are so intricate such a building could be constructed from these plans alone. Such waste of space seems out of character with the Creator whose only purpose is some abstraction. So, too, the details in the Apocalypse, seem a bit much if all one wants to do is mention a spiritual abstraction. If on the other hand, the dimensions are real because it is a literal building, those descriptions in chapter 21 fit the situation well. There is plenty there to conjure up for the imagination if one meditates in a prayerful state.

#493. The City clearly moves its position: from the celestial Realms through the earth’s atmosphere to the ground. The City has a foundation and therefore must rest upon something. If the City were, say, something only celestial and spiritual with all the sides of the giant cube facing the universe, it would need no foundation. As it is, in the vision, the Cubic City rests upon the earth. It is a real City which descends from space like one gigantic space ship with souls on board. It does come from outer space and from some other dimension, looking much like a true UFO. If we judge Ezekiel and Zechariah correctly, it lands, or settles down, upon its foundations right here on earth, likely to the east of Jerusalem in an area large enough to contain it. Right into that land long ago promised to that old man of the Middle East, Abraham, who had his own visitation of citizens of that City. (Genesis chapters 18, 19)

#494. In chapter 20 of the Apocalypse we see how the Devil and those misled nations at the end of the Thousand Years surround and attack the Holy City. This would seem impossible if the City is in heaven or merely a metaphorical abstraction. If it is indeed a real City with precise measurements and therefore some dimensional limitations, it can be surrounded by these demonically misled throngs.

#495. Additionally, there is that description of kings and nations bringing tribute into the City with gates that are accessible to these if they only be holy and not habitual sinners. Also, there is a river that runs from the City out to those nations for curing. All these things seem to indicate a real City resting here upon earth with access to those approved and qualified. Therefore, we will proceed with this idea and the vision of a real Cubic City descending from God’s own former location and coming to rest upon the earth in that area of modern Jerusalem.

#496. For a moment imagine what John envisioned from his Everest-high mountaintop: what amounts to a UFO, an extra-terrestrial spaceship, so huge it amounts to a gigantic City because of its millions of occupants. Surely, from earth, it can be seen approaching from a great distance because of its size. It is cubical and shines brilliantly from its materials. It is constructed of gold so thin it is like transparent glass. Thus, the interior can be seen as well as bright lights from the stellar universe beyond it. Though the sun, moon and stars could reflect or show through this object, the Cubic City has its own inner illumination which lights up the interior with its own kind of Light, around the clock as it were. This is Divine Light coming from God Almighty’s own immortal energy, as well as that of the Lamb. The dimensions are vast: 300 cubic miles, with multiples of 12 everywhere. The square cubits of each side would utilize the number 144 over and over. The wall of the foundation is given as 144 cubits as if this were a common denominator. There are twelve gates made of pearl and thus shine from within with a certain luminance. These are inscribed, likely with Hebrew characters, of the apocalyptic names of the 12 tribes of Israel. The foundations themselves are 12 in number and each named after the 12 Apostles, each a different precious gem with its own particular color and Biblical values. The colors reflecting off this transparent gold must be awe inspiring. If we just take those colors included in all these gems they would represent: milky white, gray, yellow, blue, brown, hues of green, red, deep blue, yellow-green, reddish-brown, pink, pinkish red, light brown, deep blue, purple, violet. Imagine this display of Light!

#497. Though the dimensions of the Cubic City would allow it to come to rest in the eastern wilderness of Jerusalem, the height would still reach into what would be considered “heaven.” Great human structures like the Great Wall of China are visible from manned satellites in space orbit. The New Jerusalem would become the most pronounced image on earth if men were still orbiting the earth. Imagine that view!

#498. This golden Cubic City is a dwelling. It is likened to a “tent” in Revelation 21.3. The “tent of God is with men” says the Apocalypse. The Greek word skene can be a metaphor for a dwelling place or residence, a habitat. This is another place where God Almighty comes to dwell. (Psalm 33:13, 14) The Divine Presence does not dwell alone for with Him are the Lamb and all the Chosen Angels (1 Timothy 5:21), and most important of all, the glorified Church. Surely, in some manner, these images of the citizens within the City may be visible.

#499. Though some would apply the anthropon to “mankind” on earth. It may well come to mean that at some point following the Thousand Years. However, here in Revelation 21:3, judging from those several phrases borrowed from the Hebrew Bible, it is more likely these “men” (NEB, RHM, TCNT) are those Saints which have joined Christ in heaven, within the Holy City, New Jerusalem. Both verses 3 and 4 are composed of paraphrases from various sources in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Christian Bible, all dealing with God’s covenant People, the Saints, and not mankind in general. Compare these sources and note they always apply to God’s Covenant people, or the Saints: Leviticus 26:12: ‘And I shall indeed walk in the midst of you and prove myself your God, and you, on your part, will prove yourselves my people. ... Ezekiel 37:26-28: ‘And I will conclude with them a covenant of peace; an indefinitely lasting covenant is what there will come to be with them. And I will place them and multiply them and place my sanctuary in the midst of them to time indefinite. And my tabernacle will actually prove to be over them, and I shall certainly become their God, and they themselves will become my people. And the nations will have to know that I, Jehovah, am sanctifying Israel when my sanctuary comes to be in the midst of them to time indefinite.’ ... Jeremiah 31:33: ‘For this is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those days," is the utterance of Jehovah. "I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people." Hebrews 8:10: ‘For this is the covenant that I shall covenant with the house of Israel after those days,' says Jehovah. 'I will put my laws in their mind, and in their hearts I shall write them. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people.’ (NWT) Is this not enough to demonstrate that “the men” in Revelation 21:3 are those Saints of the New Israel of God (Galatians 6:15) within the New Jerusalem?

#500. According to Revelation 21:7, any living Saints today, may entertain the hope of one day inheriting a place within this City in the fulfillment of the Nazarene’s promise at John 14:1-4: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be. And where I am going you know the way.’ (NWT) Certainly the Lord’s words through his angel in the Apocalypse magnify this “one hope” and thus “know the Way.” (Ephesians 4.4)

#501. On the other hand, there are those who will never gain entrance through the pearly-illuminant Gates of the Holy City, whether they claim Jesus as “Lord, Lord,” (Matthew 7:21) or those who are alive on earth after the City descends. Those absolutely prohibited from entrance to the Holy City are listed in Revelation 21:8 and 22:15. These are:

  • Cowards
  • Unbelievers
  • The Disgusting
  • Murderers
  • Fornicators
  • Druggers
  • Idolaters
  • Liars

#502. This list is similar to those of the Nazarene as well as his Apostle Paul. (Matthew 15:19, 20; Romans 1:25-32; Galatians 5:19-21) This indicates the divine standards have not changed. These will all finally end up in the Second Death at the end of the Thousand Years.

#503. Revelation 21:8, 27 and Revelation 22:15 would indicate that while this City rests upon earth during the Thousand Years there are still the unworthy outside. These are likely the “sinners” of Isaiah 65:20. Apparently, however, there are others considered worthy, or hallowed, who are allowed access into the earthy gates. (Revelation 21:25-27) We may speculate here that the lower floors, or bottom area, of this Holy City with its Broadway, or main street, is accessible to those worthy ones residing on earth who enter through the various gates. These do so in obedience to that prophecy in Zechariah 14:16, 17: ‘And it must occur that, as regards everyone who is left remaining out of all the nations that are coming against Jerusalem, they must also go up from year to year to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, and to celebrate the festival of the booths. And it must occur that, as regards anyone that does not come up out of the families of the earth to Jerusalem to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, even upon them no pouring rain will occur.’ (NWT)

#504. Now, down the center of this great thoroughfare there is a River of Life. Trees are planted along the Broadway on each side of the river which must contrast the view upward of those celestial realms within this Divine Habitat. Compare the continuing vision.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

2000 All Rights Reserved