Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Revelation Studies|
Chs. 21 & 22
Chapter: Rev 21
Passage: Rev 21:1-5
A. Find Out:
1. What did John next see? v.1
2. What did he then see coming and from where? v.2
3. What apparently was happening? v.3
4. What will no longer be? v.4
5. What did God declare? v.5a
6. What was John told to do and why? v.5b
Yet again we are presented with mind blowing pictures: a new earth AND new heaven! (Does heaven here mean the sky as it sometimes does elsewhere?) On this new earth there are no longer divisions between the land masses, there is easy movement. But then there comes a new and glorious city coming from above, from God.
The city is a new Jerusalem. Jerusalem of old was the city where the Lord put His name and now He comes to dwell in this new city, in the midst of His people. Although we may have problems in our minds as to how and when this all happens, one thing is clear - it WILL happen, God will bring about a coming together of Himself with His people so that they can be continually together, and because He is there with them there will complete peace, order and harmony and there will be no room for worry or tears or death. This is a place of eternal life and eternal peace and joy. That is our promise for eternity!
Even as we live on the earth today there is, surely, to be a glimmer of this as God dwells among us now by His Spirit. Surely His intention for Him to be able to bring down from heaven, something of the peace, order and harmony that exists there, into our lives as individuals and as churches. Is that not possible?
Chapter: Rev 21
Passage: Rev 21:6-8
A. Find Out:
1. How did the voice describe himself? v.6a
2. What did he say he would do and to whom? v.6b
3. Who will inherit what and become what? v.7
4. But who will go to the second death? v.8
All things that were created come from God and so at the end all things will return to Him. He is the beginning and the end and the world does not exist apart from Him.
Various things are promised us and they are each conditional. God will first give us a source of life and refreshment, and it will be at no cost to us, but if you want it you must thirst for it, or really want it. This life is only for those who have given up on all other so-called sources of life. Next we will inherit this wonderful life with Him in this new world, this new city, but to receive that you must overcome the lies, temptations and deceptions of the enemy. It is only that person who can enter into this glorious inheritance. Finally there is the promise of son-ship, of close and intimate relationship with God who is Father, again only for the one who overcomes the wiles of the enemy and perseveres on through in purity and holiness.
The list of those who will go to the lake of fire means those whose lives are based on these things, e.g. those who are perpetual liars or constantly unbelieving, not those who occasionally fall; it is those who do not have the new life from God who will go to destruction.
Chapter: Rev 21
Passage: Rev 21:9-14
A. Find Out:
1. What did the angel say he would show John? v.9
2. What did he then show John? v.10
3. What was its general appearance? v.11
4. What was the entry to it? v.12,13
5. On what was it based? v.14
Some suggest this narrative now reverts to the millennium again; it is either that or God's eternal wish for His people. The New Testament church was referred to as a temple, the dwelling place of God by the Spirit. Now the bride, or church of God, is described as a city. Let's consider it.
First, it comes down from heaven; its origins, its design originates with God, it is no accident.
Second, it is glorious, shining with the glory of God. That which comes from God is seen to have the glory of God shining from it.
Third, it has high walls; there is no unauthorised entry, only through the prescribed means.
Fourth, it has guarded gates so entry can only be by God's consent, yet an equal number of gates on each side, to welcome all who will come from whatever direction.
Fifth, the gates are named after the tribes of Israel, to remind us that entry is by the grace of God (that same grace that brought a twister, Israel, into relationship with God) and with the blessing of God (12 sons to a family that had previously had difficulty in being fruitful - see Abraham and Isaac).
Sixth, the city has twelve foundations, it is on a totally secure base.
Seventh, the foundations are named after the apostles, a reminder that is based on “Follow me... so send I you”, i.e. obedience to the Lamb.
Chapter: Rev 21
Passage: Rev 21:15-21
A. Find Out:
1. How was the city measured? v.15
2. What was the shape of the city? v.16
3. How thick was the wall? v.17
4. What were the walls and the city made of? v18
5. With what were the foundations decorated? v.19,20
6. What were the gates of the city made of? v.21
It would be easy to say, “Well, these details are of no significance so let's not bother with this passage” but when an angel is given a measuring stick and sizes and materials are given to us in detail it means that God wants us to take note of it!
First of all the city is massive, some fourteen hundred miles square (and high?) with a two hundred feet thick wall with twelve, obviously massive, foundations. Everything about the size of this city says that it is immovable, lasting, enduring, built to last for eternity. With walls of precious stone surrounding an interior of purest gold, based on the most brightly decorated (and presumably clearly visible and exposed) foundations, the beauty of this city is enough to take your breath away! It is truly incredible!
Now remember, this city symbolises the bride of Christ, the church, all the people of God; this is how God sees His church! Yes, that is incredible. We look at the church with all its failings, divisions and upsets, but the picture here is of how it will be, freed from all its earthly problems and failures, an incredible and glorious achievement of God, shining it all its beauty, splendour and purity. This is its end!
Chapter: Rev 21
Passage: Rev 21:22-27
A. Find Out:
1. Why was there not a temple in the city? v.22
2. Why doesn't the city need a sun or moon? v.23
3. What will the light do? v.24
4. What will not happen there? v.25
5. Who will not enter the city? v.27a
6. Who will live in it? v.27b
Yet again we have mysteries, things that are spoken about that confuse our limited minds! Here is this city which is the bride of Christ, the people of God, or might it be better to say the church of God? In this community is the very presence of God, and so there is no sense in the midst of it of a temple or place to come and meet with God for He is there with them constantly throughout the city.
The difficulty of this picture is the reference to kings and nations bringing their splendour to it. Does this mean the ungodly nations are still around when it exists, for this would mean it exists on earth before the new heaven and earth, but that is expressly stated as not being so. When it refers to kings and nations it must mean those kings who were redeemed and those multitudes of Christians from the various nations. The “glory and honour of the nations” must refer to the many trophies of grace, i.e. Christians, who are brought in from the world, who have been added to the kingdom and who now come and are part of this city.
Everything about this city speaks of the wonder of it: it is the dwelling of God with redeemed men and women, this is the fruit of the work of Christ, men and women able to live in total harmony with Almighty and the Most Holy God!
Chapter: Rev 22
Passage: Rev 22:1-6
A. Find Out:
1. From where does the river flow? v.1
2. Where does it flow? v.2a
3. What is growing either side of it? v.2b
4. Where does God now dwell? v.3
5. What is there no longer and why? v.5
6. How are the servants of God described & what are they doing? v.3-5
Here in the midst of the city is the throne of God. It is as if to say this is where God is established, His throne is in the midst of His people. From the throne flows life and the life flows right down the centre of the city and that flow of life brings life to two trees which also bring life. The picture is of abundant fruitfulness so that there is constantly good provision for everyone, the provision of life giving fruit for whoever will take it. In the garden of Eden there had been a tree of life but that had been denied to mankind after the Fall. Now there is double provision of that same tree of life for redeemed mankind. Not only that the leaves of the trees bring healing to peoples from all nations; there is a coming together in reconciliation brought here.
There is strong emphasis on the presence of God in the midst of the city, for His glory shines throughout the city so there is no need of artificial light. The Lord is with His people and He is all that is needed; His very presence reveals everything, and nothing is hidden before Him.
These words in Revelation were recorded nineteen hundred years ago and yet they are for our blessing today. They bring a wonderful sense of God's bountiful provision for His people.
Chapter: Rev 22
Passage: Rev 22:7-13
A. Find Out:
1. What was John's response when he saw and heard these things? v.8
2. But what was he told? v.9
3. What was he told not to do and why? v.10
4. What overall instruction was stated? v.11
5. What did Jesus say about His coming? v.12
6. How did he describe himself? v.13
First of all in this passage comes a SENSE OF IMMEDIACY as Jesus declares that he will be coming soon. Now that was recorded nineteen hundred years ago and the church has expected Him to come back at any moment throughout that time, yet we still wait! What is the meaning of this? Perhaps it is that Jesus simply wants us to be constantly living as if He is about to come back at any moment. Are we prepared to be found by Him doing what we should be doing? For God a thousand years is but a day and so in heavenly terms only two days have passed; His coming is still “soon”!
But then there is a SENSE OF ONGOING LIFE seen in verse 11, as if to say, let the world just carry on, I'll come when I'll come.
There is always a tension to be held between these two. It may be that the Lord will not return for many years but we should always be living as if he will return any minute. If we do that we will keep alert to what is happening, what Jesus is doing in the earth, what He requires of us in all of it. We as Christians should never settle down in who we are and what we are doing, we should be constantly looking forward to the return of the Lord and ensuring we are ready for it, so that we not found in any state that could earn the Lord's rebuke.
Chapter: Rev 22
Passage: Rev 22:14-21
A. Find Out:
1. Who go into the city? v.14
2. Who remain outside? v.15
3. Who receives the water of life? v.17
4. What will happen if you add to this book? v.18
5. What happens if you take away from it? v.19
6. What was Jesus' last words? v.20
First, observe the qualifications for being a part of God's eternal city: that we are washed in the blood of the Lamb, who is Jesus, that we receive His atoning work on the Cross to our lives, and that we thirst for the life that only He can bring.
Second, observe those who are excluded from it: anyone who is evil, whose life is given over to unrighteousness and godlessness. Such people clearly will have no part in it.
Third, consider the warnings about rightly handling this book. We can add to this book by bringing additional (and false) revelations that would change the content. We can take away from it by writing it off, or bits of it off. As with so much long-term prophecy some of it may have been fulfilled in one sense yet still has to be fulfilled in another sense. This IS God's word and from the other side of eternity (if we are allowed to look back) it will suddenly be clear and we will see how it all was worked out. We'll see what was literal and what was symbolic and how it was all fulfilled. In the meantime our response is to simply say, “Yes Lord, come as you have said you will come, do what you have said you will do, and help us to flow in your plans and purposes to do your will”.
RECAP "The Eternal State" Revelation 21 & 22
In this final group of 8 studies we have seen :
After having seen God dealing with all of humanity before the judgement throne we have moved on to see the wonder of a new city coming down from heaven (having its origin in, and coming as a result of the activity in heaven) . Some commentators suggest that the city exists during the thousand year period but we have assumed that it is a symbolic picture of a relationship that exists in eternity. If it does turn out to be a literal city then it will add further glory to that which we have seen as simply a picture of what is ours in eternity.
The picture of the city reveals it as a strong, enduring and absolutely wonderful city with God in the midst of it, where there is total peace and harmony and life flowing from the very presence of God.
1. God's plan for eternity is community with us
2. Our future is assured
3. There is no place in this future for those who are unrighteous.
4. Peace & harmony is the inheritance of the saints.
5. An ongoing life source is ours from God.
Thank the Lord for the wonder of your future as a child of God destined to live with Him for eternity. Thank Him for the specific aspects of it that have stood out to you as you have read these two last chapters of Revelation.
In these ten chapters of Revelation we have seen the following:
1. Satan's Activity (Ch.13)
The coming of a beast from the sea and a beast from the land (the false prophet), whose activities are to deceive the nations of the world into turning away from God and following them.
2. Overview (Ch.14)
A view of heaven with a host of the redeemed, a sight of three angels coming to declare and bring the will of God, and a harvesting of the righteous and then unrighteous from the earth.
3. The Seven Plagues or Final Judgements (Ch.15 & 16)
First we saw the seven angels being prepared in heaven while the heavenly host affirm the justice of God's actions. Then came the pouring out, by these angels, of the purposes of God. These first of all bring pressure on all mankind to make them turn back to God, and yet we saw their stubborn refusal to do so.
4. The Fall of Babylon (Ch.17 & 18)
Here we saw a woman called Babylon seated on a scarlet seven-headed beast, indicating that Babylon was spread over seven different geographical locations. Babylon seems to sum up all the godless and humanistic activity of the world that is against God and against His people. Babylon was condemned and brought down by God, to the anguish of the occupants of the world.
5. The Coming King (Ch.19 & 20)
Here we saw Jesus coming as a conquering king, overcoming and destroying his enemies. Satan was bound while there was a thousand years of peace. After he was released and nations followed him again, there was a further destruction. At the end of that phase was a great judgement before the throne of God.
6. The Eternal State (Ch.21 & 22)
As the new city from heaven is revealed, being the new community of God, its glory shows the wonder of what God is working towards, a community of His people where He can dwell in the midst with His life flowing forth to bless His people.
The book finishes with the expectation of Jesus coming back at any time, with the challenge to be living with that expectancy, yet in the meantime receiving grace to cope with all that may come before.
A Difficult Book?
Perhaps more than any other book in the Bible, this one presents us with difficulties of interpretation. Have we a long sequence of events or have we a few events that are seen again and again from different perspectives? Are the details literal or symbolic or a mixture of both? Whatever the answer certain things should stand out to us.
The Lord of the Church and of History
From the outset the picture is of Jesus who is Lord over the Church. He instructs the church of Asia Minor, He calls and challenges the Church to be faithful in the face of tribulation, He takes the Church to be with Himself in eternity.
Also inherent in this book is the clear view that Jesus is presiding over all the events of the end times. Nothing is out of His control, even the rebellion of the world.
The Sin of the World
If we ever doubt the stupidity of Sin, the book of Revelation should remove that doubt, as the foolishness of mankind is revealed as again and again they allow themselves to be led astray by Satan and his agents. Godlessness and unrighteousness prevail, even in the face of the most horrendous catastrophes where you would think that any sane person would cry out to God for help. In all of this comes the most serious of warnings to each of us: is there this same tendency within us to be godless, not turning to Him in the face of trials. Think on this!
The God of Judgement and of Mercy & Grace
The Lord will come to His enemies and destroy them, yet this is only after prolonged periods when He has sought to turn them back to Himself. In the midst of the sin, in the midst of the tribulation, there is still a redeemed remnant, saved by grace. Again and again the Lord is seen as a judge who comes to call the people of the world to account and bring upon them the retribution they deserve when they fail to respond. Yes the book of Revelation is indeed a record of the most terrible judgements of God on sin, yet it is also a most wonderful record of the grace & mercy of God that gives opportunity after opportunity to repent. Worship the God of grace and mercy as well as of judgement.