The antichrist and the false prophet are defeated, Satan is defeated, and his followers have been judged. All have been tossed into the lake of fire to suffer eternal torment in the second death. And now, we begin our journey through the second to last chapter of Revelation and the breathtaking apocalyptic visions shown to the Apostle John.

References to Bible Verses:

Revelation 21:1-27; Isaiah 65:17-19; Psalms 102:25-27; 2 Peter 3:12-13; Genesis 1:1; Ephesians 1:10; Revelation 1:8; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 41:4; John 1:1-2; Deuteronomy 33:27; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Corinthians 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 17:1-3; Ephesians 2:19-21; Exodus 28:17-20; Hebrews 11:10; Matthew 13:46; Zechariah 14:7; Revelation 20:11-15

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Transcript

Jason: ​ Welcome back for another Unveiling Revelation episode. We are your host, Jason.

Laura: And Laura,

Jason: The Antichrist and the False Prophet are defeated, Satan is defeated, and his followers have been judged. All have been tossed into the Lake of Fire to suffer eternal torment in the second death. Now, as we begin our journey through the final two chapters of Revelation, and the breathtaking apocalyptic visions shown to Apostle John.

Laura: just imagine a new earth emerging, untainted by the pain and sorrow of the past. Join us on a tour of New Jerusalem with its foundations adorned with precious stones, its gates of pearl, and its streets of pure gold in this magnificent heavenly city.

Jason: Discover the river and tree of life offering eternal healing as we reflect on the parting words that urge us to remain faithful as we await Christ's glorious return. Prepare your hearts as we discover the ultimate revelation of hope, renewal, and eternal glory.

These final two chapters are visions of hope, and they describe the eternal and the kingdom of God made perfect on new earth.

We currently live in a place that was cursed for man's sake, but redeemed by the second Adam, by Jesus. Right now is the church, but in the millennium, we shall see the kingdom and then a new world where God shall be ever present. Our souls are redeemed through regeneration by the Holy Spirit, but one day our bodies will also be redeemed at the resurrection.

Our new home, his inheritance will be redeemed as well, perfectly at the creation of the new heaven and new earth. And we will exist as God originally intended.

Laura: Doesn't that sound incredible? Let's jump in and see what's in store for God's people now that all evil has been eliminated forever. Revelation 21 verses 1 and 2 reads, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared, and the sea was also gone. Then I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband."

Reading this, I got a picture in my head of a bride walking down the aisle toward her groom. Cause I can hear the bells, my father will smile. I can hear the bells as he walks me down the aisle. Okay, so bear with me on this scrabbit trail for a moment, and forgive me if I was a little bit off key. When Jesus came to earth, he came to reveal God as Father, as in the Lord's Prayer, our Father who art in heaven.

And what a lovely picture of our Father God walking the Bride of Christ to the Bridegroom. Okay, well, that might be a little bit of a stretch, and nobody will be walking the Bride of Christ down the aisle, but the analogy did seem to fit. But if Jerusalem is coming from God and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb has already happened, then this imagery does appear to be more metaphorical than literal.

Or dare I say it, mosaical?

Jason: Oh, you said it.

Laura: Yes, I did. And please forgive my hairspray reference. I did promise a friend of mine that I'd try to fit one in. Anyway back to Revelation. One commentary I read did suggest that the Bride of the Lamb is now pictured as Jerusalem, which didn't quite make sense, because Jerusalem is usually typified as the Jewish people, And while Gentiles are grafted into God's family through their faith in Christ, we don't replace the Jews.

Jason: And I found this reference by John was used because it's the most beautiful image he could think of. When a man and a woman get married and the groom sees his bride coming down the aisle, waiting to meet him and be wed, I mean, this is how beautiful New Jerusalem will be. And I also think it's important to point out that chapter 21 begins a whole new section of Revelation.

If we consider Christ's role throughout Revelation, we see that from Revelation chapter one through chapter three, Jesus is the Lord of the churches. Then from Revelation chapter four through chapter 20, Jesus is the lion over the nations. And now here in Revelation chapters 21 and 22, Jesus is a lamb among believers.

Laura: I was going to say something about the alliteration there, Lord, Lion, and Lamb, but okay.

Jason: That is kind of interesting. I didn't see that before.

Laura: I'm like, wait a minute, alliteration, that's cool. In Isaiah 65 verses 17 through 19, it was prophesied that God would create a new heaven and new earth, that the old would pass away, But what struck me as interesting is that the sea is also gone, and too bad for those of us who like the beach. In scripture, especially in Revelation, the sea is indicative of wickedness, turmoil, chaos, the abyss, and is where one of the beasts from earlier came from.

Having no more sea shows that there truly will be no more evil, chaos, or wickedness.

Jason: Yeah, but I imagine whatever's waiting for us in heaven will far exceed anything in this world, including beaches. But I mean, back to the topic, it's not just Isaiah who spoke of the new heaven and new earth. I mean, we see this referenced in Psalms 102 versus 25 through 27, as well as second Peter three versus 12 and 13.

Laura: Another commentary suggests that new heavens in this context does not refer to heaven where God lives, but to the atmosphere and or outer space. This commentary also suggested that this new heavens and new earth are replacing the heavens and earth of the millennial reign. And not the ones prior to that.

Jason: Well, that makes sense because I found, I found that the Bible uses the word heavens in three senses. The first heaven is the Earth's atmosphere, the blue sky, as you mentioned. The second heaven is basically outer space or the night sky, and the third heaven is the place where God lives in glory. Also, just for context, when the Bible references new here, it uses the word kynos, which means new in character or, or fresh, but it doesn't necessarily mean a recent or new in time.

And this means that the earth, blue sky, night sky aren't being remade. It's something completely new, but also eternal. So the history of time is finished and the history of eternity is beginning.

Laura: That is quite poetic, Jason.

Jason: Thank you.

Laura: So what else does John see? Verses 3 and 4 say, I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, Look, God's home is now among his people. He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, or sorrow, or crying, or pain.

Mm hmm. All these things are gone forever. Since the fall of mankind back in Genesis 3, humans have been separated from God. Throughout history, God has called us unto himself through the prophets, Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Jerusalem, God lived in the Holy of Holies in the temple, where the high priest could go but once a year.

Jason: And he wasn't allowed to stay very long.

Laura: Now, though, Eden has been fully restored. God and man are fully reunited once more.

Jason: And as we probably know, Moses's tabernacle was built as a dwelling place for God on earth, but that was a representation of the former dwelling place of God. This tabernacle of God is the reality of his presence. And the part that reads, he lived with them and they will be his people, very succinctly tells us of God's desire as well as man's purpose.

He wants to live in a close fellowship with us and our purpose is to be a people unto God. It's the greatest glory of heaven and ultimately represents what was lost in the fall and regained in total restoration.

Laura: Imagine a world without death, sorrow, crying, or pain. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Verse 4 shows us that this will be our reality one day. That suffering will cease to exist.

Jason: Indeed, and I think it's interesting that New Jerusalem is distinguished by what it does not have. No tears, no sorrow, no death, no pain. In my digging, I found this neat size quote about God wiping away the tears. It reads, Every tear, for they may be many, tears of bereaved affection, such as Mary and Martha, and the widow of Nain wept.

Tears of sympathy and mercy, such as Jeremiah and Jesus wept over the sins and the calamities of Jerusalem. Tears of persecuted innocence, tears of contrition and penitence for faults and crimes against goodness and majesty of heaven. Tears of disappointment and neglect. Tears of yearning for what cannot be ours.

These and whatever others ever course the cheeks of mortals shall be dried forever. And regarding the last part of verse four, all these things are gone forever. Sice wrote on this as well, saying that man comes into the world with a cry, goes out with a groan, and all in between is more or less intoned with helpless wailing.

But hallelujahs of the renewed world will drown out the voice of woe forever.

Laura: Shoot, Jason, those four verses seem wonderful enough, but what more is in store for us as believers?

Jason: More indeed.

Laura: Revelation 21 verses 5 through 7 reads, And the one sitting on the throne said, Look, I am making everything new. And then he said to me, Write this down for what I tell you is trustworthy and true. And he also said, It is finished.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To all who are thirsty, I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Well, first of all, isn't it interesting how the Bible begins and ends with creation?

I mean, in Genesis 1 1, God created the heavens and the earth. And here in Revelation 21 5, Jesus is creating everything new. And it's also interesting to note the use of the sentence, it is finished. These were the same words Jesus spoke right before he died on the cross, signifying the completion of God's judgment of sin in the body of Christ. Now, it shows how God's judgment on those who refuse to accept Christ has been fulfilled, and we are now living in the fulfillment of all of the prophecies in Scripture. The use of Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end, indicate how Jesus has been present since the very beginning of creation.

Jason: Yes, and that sentence, it is finished, or it is done, another translation, is a fulfillment of Ephesians 1 verse 10. As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Also, this idea of the Alpha and Omega is seen in Revelation 1, verse 8 as well. And we see this God as the first and the last in verses like Isaiah 44, 6 and Isaiah 41, 4.

Also, John 1, 1 speaks of Jesus being there in the beginning and so on. This idea of beginning to end is found throughout the Bible. And this got me thinking though. Beginning of what? So the curious man and me went digging, and if you look back at Genesis 1 verse 1 again, it literally starts with in the beginning, right?

And then John 1 verses 1 through 2 points back to Genesis 1, 1 saying in the beginning, there was the word and the word was with God and the word was God and he was in the beginning with God. Now, I also mentioned a moment ago that the history of time was over. The Bible mentions the eternal God, such as in Deuteronomy 33, 27 and 1 Timothy 1, 17.

Now based on this, I kind of cobbled together this idea that this may represent the beginning and end of our earth or possibly the universe as we understand it today. And commentaries pretty consistently agree that the Alpha and the Omega, or the beginning and the end, represent God's eternal nature. So, I don't know.

I don't know if that made it better or worse.

Laura: I don't know, but I would say that this represents the beginning and end of time, and of course the earth and universe. God is outside of time. Bear with me here on this analogy. If we think of time as a railroad track, there's a beginning and an end point, and God is like a drone or a helicopter hovering above that track.

He can see the beginning of the track and he can see the end of the track, and he can see everywhere in the middle of the track. Now, at this point in Revelation, we've come to the end of the track, so God is taking us off of the track of time and into eternity. This verse also mentions those who are victorious, that is, those who placed their faith in Christ prior to the rapture, those who came to Christ and held firm throughout the tribulation, those who resisted the deceptions of Satan after the millennial reign.

Those are the ones who inherit all of these blessings, the new heavens and new earth. No more pain and tears. Those are the ones called children of God.

Jason: And there's no doubt that this authoritative announcement is coming from the throne of God. And honestly, it's one of the few times in Revelations where we clearly see God speaking directly from his throne. But notice that this is written in the present tense. I am making everything new. The accumulation of God's work of renewal and redemption begins here.

Paul knew that this transformation was happening. In 2 he wrote, So we do not lose heart, though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. And in 2 Corinthians 5. 17 we see, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, Behold, the new has come.

And I also love that what the springs of water of life represent. I mean, if you think about it, drinking water is an action of receiving much like faith, it is doing a thing, not merit based. We don't create water by earning it and then drink it. I know we pay for water and water rides and there's purification plants and water pumps and so on, but these agencies don't create water.

They just provide a service to make it safe. I mean, just roll with my analogy here, because God's love and redemption also falls freely, but we have to take the action of receiving it through faith in Christ.

Laura: That is a very good analogy, Jason. Wrapping up this section, we have Revelation 21. 8, which reads, But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars, their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. Okay, way to put a damper on the lovely imagery of the preceding verses. believe it is meant as a stark reminder, not Tony Stark, of what awaits unbelievers at the end of all this. The second death is permanent separation from God and eternal torment. The vices listed here are described throughout the entire book of Revelation, from John's letters to the seven churches, to the followers of the Antichrist and false prophet, One commentary I have states that the inclusion of all liars at the end indicates that John views deception as the root of sin. In John's gospel, Jesus does state that the devil is the father of lies in chapter 8, verse 44.

Jason: And that being said, Revelation 21 now moves into the nature of New Jerusalem in verses 9 and 10. Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls of the seven last plagues and spoke to me saying, come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamp. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great high mountain and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.

So now we step back into ambiguity because some scholars think that new Jerusalem is a real city while others believe it is symbolic of the church or bride of Christ. Perhaps it's somewhere in the middle and our feeble mortal minds can't comprehend what John is saying. I'm not sure he could either.

Whatever it is, whatever it really is, it's referred to as the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb. And this is the place where all of God's people are gathered. And the church is glorious in her relationship with Christ.

Laura: One commentary I consulted suggests that this angel is the same one who showed John the woman who sat on the scarlet beast from Revelation 17, verse 1 through 3. that woman, symbolizing the beast city of Babylon, was thoroughly immoral, the woman here, God's city, New Jerusalem, is thoroughly pure.

Which she has to be because she's the lamb's bride and wife. The Bible once again contrasts unrighteousness and righteousness, impurity and purity, evil and good.

Jason: Revelation 21 verses 11 through 14 describes the outward appearance of the city.

Laura: Having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal, like a jasper. It had a great high wall with twelve gates, and at the, at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed, on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Jason: So the first thing I noticed when reading this is that there is this beautiful union of Old Testament and New Testament. The names of the 12 tribes written on the gates speak to the heritage of Israel or the people of God. There is a unity represented in the 12, these 12 gates. Then we see that the foundations are an eternal testimony to the 12 apostles, demonstrating their permanent place in God's plan.

And it seems only fitting that the city is built on the foundation of the apostles. I mean, it says as much in Ephesians 2 verses 19 through 21.

Laura: So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

In him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Jason: So in this verse, Paul is telling Christians of Gentile background that they are no longer second class citizens. In fact, they are equal members of God's house. We are all one body built on a common foundation that was laid by the original apostles and prophets with Jesus as a cornerstone. So now, in architectural circles, this cornerstone was used as a guide to build the rest of the building.

It was the most pivotal point, and oftentimes, royal names were inscribed upon it. The cornerstone was actually considered even more important than the foundation itself in the East.

Laura: Jason, you already mentioned the 12 apostles being written on the 12 foundations. And I read why from Ephesians. But I did want to add that these are the apostles that were established after the ascension of Jesus, where Matthias took the place of Judas Iscariot, because As we mentioned in a previous episode, Judas went where he belongs.

Jason: Yes, he did. But, back to Revelation. These verses, Revelation 21, 11 14, are telling us that the church is a building perfectly designed by the great architect. It is a dwelling place where God lives, and it is a temple that is holy and set apart to God. You and I serve as priests there, offering spiritual sacrifices of our lips and hearts to praise God.

Laura: The symbolism in these verses is just flat out amazing. Granted, it could be just symbolic, or it could be symbolic and literal. Remember, John is describing what he sees in the best way he can for the readers, present and future, to understand. Now that doesn't mean that what he described isn't what's actually there.

Here on Earth, Jasper is an opaque stone. The Jasper described here in Revelation could be a quartz with shades of green, blue, and red. I mean, whatever it is, this heavenly Jasper that is clear as crystal mirrors the purity and integrity of God.

Jason: In the High Walls and Gates, in Biblical times, the walls and gates were often used to fortify cities. Gates were closed at night to keep out enemy soldiers and plunderers. Guards were placed at the gates as an extra security measure. So why this imagery? Why are the walls and gates there when all evil, danger, harm, Et cetera, has been eradicated.

Perhaps the walls and gates and angel guards are there as a reminder that we are safe and secure for eternity.

Laura: Yeah. These gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them. Three on the north side, three on the south, three on the east, and three on the west. And it's logical that the tribes would be arranged according to the way Israel would have been encamped in the wilderness. On the east, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.

On the south, Reuben, Simeon, and Gad. On the west, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin. And on the north, Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. What's interesting about this is that when set up with the tabernacle and the tribe of Levi at the center, The tribes camped to the north, south, east, and west of the tabernacle. The camp shows up in the shape of a cross.

And there is some discrepancy as to whether the tribes had to be exactly in the specified direction or just on that particular side. I mean, for example, the tribe of Benjamin may have been on the west side, but more on the northwest end. It's hard to say. But we've got specific directions with everything else.

I'm kind of hard pressed to think that it's anything other than the exact direction. And though I hate to continue down this scrabbit trail,

Jason: I'm not entirely sure you do.

Laura: oh hearty har har. Anyway, the other day I was listening to a pastor online and he correlated the setup of the tabernacle, the four pillars of the church outlined in Acts chapter two verse 42 and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Get this, to the east we have the apostle's doctrine foreshadowed in the tabernacle with the altar and the laver.

The Apostle's Doctrine is just simply the good news about Jesus and what he did for us. The altar signifies the cleansing of our sins by Jesus death on the cross, while the laver signifies the washing of the water by the word. That is, daily Bible reading, prayer, and so on. Which Jesus showed when he washed the disciples feet. So this pillar counteracts the false doctrine brought forth by the white horse, the antichrist and the false prophet, the South side of the tabernacle, where the menorah is correlates to the fellowship of believers. Which makes sense because earlier in revelation, we did find out that the churches are represented by lampstands. And this fellowship of believers counteracts the black horse of famine and lack. And if we gather as believers, then we will be available to meet each other's needs. On the north side, there was a table for the bread of the presence, which correlates to the pillar of the breaking of bread, that is Holy Communion.

And this is to combat the pale horse of disease and death, which I'm not going to go down that scrabbit trail right now, but I, I could. And finally, the west side of the tabernacle, where the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant is, correlates to the prayers and refers to the red horse of war and strife. Okay, scrabbit trail over, and maybe one day I'll go back and dig into those correlations a little bit more.

Jason: No, that was totally worth it. So moving into Revelation 21 verses 15 through 17, the angel who talked to me held in his hand, a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates and its walls. When he measured it, he found it was square as wide as it was long. In fact, the length and the width and the height that were each 1, 400 miles.

Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick. According to the human standards used by the angel,

Laura: Okay. This city is huge, which is a good thing. I mean, it will be containing all believers from all times, but just how big are we talking here? Each side is 1400 miles long, which is the distance from New York City to Dallas, Texas, which gives us and Jason, feel free to go back and check my math. 1, 960, 000 square miles. Now to put that in perspective, that is just over 3, 781 and a half Phoenix, Arizonas, or just over 2, 622. 75 Jacksonville, Florida. And I'm only counting land area, water surfaces aren't being included, but go ahead and go down that scrabbit trail all on your own. Now one other thing to note is that the city is also 1, 400 miles tall.

So we've got this New Jerusalem board cube thing going on. Though in John's day, architecture would have been more like a pyramid. That would be rather awkward, I think. Perhaps heavenly skyscrapers are a thing. I don't know.

Jason: I think your math is correct. One of my commentaries read that the square footage would be approximately the size of the moon.

Laura: Huge. Now one thing we do know is that New Jerusalem is a literal city as opposed to a metaphoric one. You Because how can one measure a metaphoric city? Which leads me to believe that the temple John had to measure back in chapter 11, verse 1, was a literal temple as well. Now there's also a contrast between the measuring tool.

In chapter 11, John simply had a staff. But here in chapter 21, it's a rod of gold, indicating that everything in New Jerusalem is glorious. even something as simple as a measuring stick. And just for kicks, 216 feet, that is the thickness of the walls, is the cube of the number six. Six times six times six, which was weird. But in Greek, however, the measurement would have been 144 cubits, which is 12 times 12, which is a little better, in my opinion. And it represents the strength of God's redeemed people. I mean, depending on which translation you use, the measurements are different. The length, width, and height would have been 12, 000 stadia in different translations. So a lot of multiples of 12 going on, which if you recall from episode 45 represents government.

Jason: Yeah. And I've read commentaries that say the city was 1, 500 miles. So I think that the six by six by sixes. Based on, on subjective measurement calculation anyways. So the exterior city is stunning. What about the interior? Well, I'm so glad you asked revelation 21 versus 18 through 21. Sums it up quite nicely.

The wall was made of Jasper and the city was pure gold as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with 12 precious stones. The first was Jasper, the second was Sapphire, the third was Agate, the fourth Emerald, the fifth Onyx, the sixth Carnella, the seventh Crystallite, the eighth Pearl, the ninth Topaz, the tenth Chrysoprase, and the eleventh Jackson, the twelfth Amethyst.

The twelve gates were made of pearls, each gate from a single pearl, and the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. And I'm just going to tell you right now, those stones are not easy to say in rapid succession.

Laura: No, they're not.

Jason: I was, I had to look some of them up. What? Oh, carry on.

Laura: Yeah. Okay. So going back and starting with verse 18, we see Jasper again. And we know that this jasper is translucent, probably a crystalline red. Heavenly gold is also translucent. So picture this city glowing with brilliant color, dazzling red, and shiny gold. Hey, wait, does that mean God's a Gryffindor?

Anyway, earthly gold is beautiful, yes, but it's also solid. Growing up, I always pictured heaven with yellow gold, but with the earthly varieties of white gold, rose gold, and so on, It could be any or all of them, and my favorite may be white gold, but I'm still inclined to go with yellow for New Jerusalem.

Anyway, verses 20 and 21 list the 12 precious stones, one for each layer of the foundation. And back in Exodus 28, 17 through 20, we see that God gives Moses specific instructions for the breastplate that the high priest would wear. On that breastplate were 12 precious stones. These stones that represent God's people, one stone for each tribe.

And there's a theory that these stones are the birthstones of the sons of Jacob for whom the tribes are named.

Jason: It seems like there's a lot going on here, but what these descriptions are really trying to convey is quite simple. The glory of God will be on display in the form of light without hindrance. While we keep tossing this idea that things can be literal, symbolic, or a little of both, but it does seem to me that this is intended to be a mixture of literal, symbolic, and faith.

This city was beyond anything anyone in our world could even imagine, let alone build. But we know from Hebrews 11 10 that the architect is God.

Laura: Okay. Let's talk pearls. The 12 gates where the names of the tribes of Israel are written are each one giant pearl. Now to put this in perspective, in 2018, the world's largest pearl at the time, called the Sleeping Lion, sold for 374, 000. It weighed 5. 4 ounces and was 2. 75 inches long. Now, 374, 000 for something that's roughly the size of and weight of a pink pearl eraser, maybe a tad bit bigger.

Imagine if you can 12 pearls big enough to be used as gates to a heavenly city. And this is where the pearly gates cliche comes from. The pearls only seem to be used for New Jerusalem, not the current heaven. And pearls are also indicative of something with a very high value. In Matthew 13, 46, when the landowner found a pearl of great price, he sold everything he had and bought the field he found it in.

Likewise, Jesus gave up everything he had when he came to earth as a human to die for us. And we are those pearls of great price.

Jason: One thing to consider, this could possibly be 12 pearls large enough to be a gate, or it could be that all 12 gates are made from one singular massive pearl, which seems to align to Matthew 13 a bit if you consider Christ to be the pearl of great price.

Laura: I have heard interpretations using both. Now, your imagery gave me this thought that if all 12 gates are one massive pearl, then New Jerusalem isn't a cube. Sorry to our Star Trek fans. But more of a sphere, and that's the only way I could imagine that one pearl could be 12 gates on each of the four sides of the city. That doesn't mean I'm right.

Jason: So there is such thing as a Borg sphere. I'm just saying they were commonly used scout ships or long range tactical vessels. Carry on.

Laura: Well, you learn something new every day. One commentary I read made an interesting point, though. It said that things that are precious and luxurious on earth are common building materials in heaven. It kind of reminds me of this story I once heard. This very wealthy lawyer had done so much work for the Lord throughout his law practice.

That he bargained with God for an extra reward. So God agreed and said the lawyer could bring one suitcase filled with whatever he wanted to bring. So the lawyer got the biggest suitcase he could find on wheels and filled it with gold bars because gold is heavy and you have to have wheels on that suitcase, right? Eventually the lawyer dies and he shows up at the gates in heaven with the suitcase and the angel at the gate tried to stop him, but the lawyer explained about the deal he had made with God. So the angel goes and checks and sure enough, God confirms the guy's story. So the angel calls his buddy to help him inspect the contents, just to make sure there's no contraband.

And when they open the top of the suitcase, the second angel looks at the first and says, it's okay. It's only pavement.

Jason: That's awesome. So, oh, good jokes.

The last part of Revelation 21 tells us about the temple of the new Jerusalem starting at verse 22 and 23. 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 the Lamb. So there is no temple building in New Jerusalem, because there is no need for a building. God is there. And Christ is there and they are the temple. But understand that in the ancient world, this would be like saying, Hey, we're going to build this new city, but we're not going to add any shops or restaurants anywhere.

It was unfathomable. But consider this for just a moment before Jesus, the temple was prophecy in our Christian area, God's people are his temple, right? In the millennium age, the temple will be basically a memorial and now comes new Jerusalem and the temple is everywhere, literally everywhere. Heaven will be a place of pure worship.

And we won't need buildings, musical systems, liturgy, and so on. None of our joys, beauty, or, or knowledge will be based on created things. Just the creator himself. There is no need for a sun or moon because we will be bathed in the glory of God. Imagine a moment of worship for a moment when you, when you felt particularly close to God, and then, Rest in that moment in your mind, and then imagine that every single moment is infinitely better than that.

Laura: From the beginning of history, no human has ever experienced light without the sun, moon, or stars. And if I'm honest, I might just miss looking up into a clear sky at night and seeing all the beautiful stars. But since there is no night, and this is going to be better, well, I'll be fine. The sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day, whereas humans were created on the sixth day. This means that even Adam and Eve, before the fall, never truly experienced the fullness of God's glory, the Shekinah glory that shone when God revealed His glory. That made it impossible for the people of Israel to look at Moses, that blinded Saul slash Paul on the road to Damascus. This is the glory that we will experience without any hindrance, and it will be beyond anything we could possibly imagine.

Jason: And I know what you may be thinking. That sounds pretty great, you two, but who is allowed to be in the great city? Well, the answer to that comes as we finish this chapter in Revelation 21, verses 24 through 27. 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.

Laura: One commentary I read suggests that New Jerusalem will be hovering above Earth during the millennium, and that the light from the city will be so strong that all the nations on Earth will walk in it. But there will also be a sun and moon during that time, as mentioned in Zechariah 14. 7. The theory is that people who are saved, or those who live in their glorified bodies, will be able to travel from Millennial Earth to New Jerusalem via spacecraft, though those with glorified bodies should be able to make that trip without a shuttle. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that theory, but in the interest of fairness, I felt the need to include it. I mean, think about it. On Millennial Earth, there will be people who still have to choose Christ. And since their names aren't in the Book of Life, they would not be allowed to travel back and forth, or the gates would have to be closed, since there is still night on Earth. At this point, I lean more towards New Jerusalem being its own place after the Millennium.

Jason: I did read some differences of opinions about who these kings are, circling back to that, but I think the best way to consider it comes from Matthew Henry's commentaries. God will have some of all ranks and degrees of men to fill the heavenly mansions, high and low. And when the greatest of kings come to heaven, they will see their former honor and glory swallowed up of this heavenly glory that so much excels.

Laura: Basically, who cares? It doesn't matter who these kings are, if they want in, they will bend a knee to Christ, just like everyone else. To me, this is a reminder that there will be no social, economical disparities in heaven, no social classes. There will be no cliques or even tribes. We will be one body of Christ living in God's kingdom. And only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will be allowed in. Everyone else was tossed into the lake of fire back in Revelation 20 verses 11 through 15. Amen.

Jason: You know, it almost reminds me of the great link from Star Trek Deep Space Nine. And if you know, you know, we'll

Laura: I don't because I'll be honest, I've never seen an episode of Deep Space Nine.

Jason: have to fix that.

Laura: Yes, we will. Now, if we play along with the theory that those with their names in the Book of Life will be able to travel from Millennial Earth to New Jerusalem, including some of these kings of the earth, then it also stands to reason that the kings could bring the best of the best from Millennial Earth as an offering to New Jerusalem.

Jason: Ultimately, you can be a one of two paths. You are either headed for the second death, as in lake of fire, eternal torment, and complete separation from God. Or you are headed towards the second life. Which we've been describing here.

And with that, we'll conclude the second to last episode of unveiling revelation.

Join me and Laura next week as we dive into chapter 22 and wrap up the book of Revelation. If you're enjoying this podcast, please like subscribe or follow me on your favorite app. Also consider leaving me a review. You can find that option on iTunes or Podchaser. If your current app doesn't. Let you write reviews.

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Remember to read your Bibles. May the Lord bless you and keep you. God bless everyone.

Laura: Bye!