Graceful Perseverance: The Bible, New Testament; Part 2 – 9/01
Welcome to this week’s blog. For the past several weeks, I have focused on my favorite book, the Bible.
This week I am focusing on the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, Chapter 21. I identify the purpose of each book, the author of each book, the date written, key verses and key people involved to help give you a better understanding of the Bible before you dive into it on your own.
When you open your Bible, you will find the New Testament has 27 books, starting with Matthew (28 chapters) and ending with Revelation (22 chapters). To date, I’ve completed the overview of the Old Testament, 39 books. Regarding the New Testament, I will continue to focus on the final book (Revelation).
If you wish to revisit any of the Old Testament or New Testament blogs, you can find them on my website: https://www.thewitnesstoday.com/blog-archives.
The author and compiler of the final book of the New Testament is John, from the Island of Patmos. For hundreds of centuries there have been many approaches to interpreting the book of Revelation. Many of these approaches have supporters, but none of which have proved to be the only way to interpret or read this last book of the Bible.
The book of Revelation is written in “apocalyptic” form – a type of Jewish literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope (in the ultimate triumph of God) for all of us who will be in the midst of persecution. The events in Revelation are ordered according to literary, rather than a traditional, chronological timeline. Revelation provides a powerful message of warning and instruction for end times or otherwise known as judgment day.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. – Revelation 1:3 (NIV).
The purpose of the book of Revelation is to reveal the full identity of Christ, and to give warning and hope to believers. The author, Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation approximately 95 A.D. (From the Latin word annō Dominī – stands for “In the year of the Lord”), from the Island of Patmos.
Below is the chapter I have covered in this week’s blog. This format will help readers move through the book of Revelation at their own pace. I encourage you to study and jot down your questions as you go through each chapter and the supporting scripture.
Revelation - Chapter 21: A New Heaven and a New Earth, Making all things New, The New Jerusalem, The Bride of the Lamb
All things will be made new. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. The heavens will disappear, and the elements will be destroyed by fire. The earth as we know it, will lay bare. But after God’s great judgment of both the godly, and the ungodly, the “Day of the Lord,” He promises to create a new heaven, and a new earth for the godly, where the righteous will live forever.
His promises are true. Our present suffering will bring future glory. We will be free from the bondage of sin and evil, and brought into the glory of God for ever and ever. Our eternal salvation has been sealed.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. – Romans 8:18-21 (NIV).
But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. – 2 Peter 3:7-13 (NKJV).
God also promised Isaiah that he would create a new and eternal earth. See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. – Isaiah 65:17 (NIV).
We don’t know how the new heaven, and the new earth will look or where they will be. But we do know God, and his body of believers, those whose names are written in the book of life, will be joined with Him to live forever.
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. – Revelation 21:1 (NIV).
The New Jerusalem is where God lives among His people. Instead of our going up to meet Him, He will come down to be with us, just as Jesus Christ came, as God in the flesh, to live among us. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14 (NIV).
Where ever God reigns, there is a peace, security and love. There will be no more death, pain, sorrow or crying. The old order of things will pass away. He will make all things new. God’s promises are unwavering, and steadfast. He promises to wipe every tear from our eyes.
When the angel of God came to John, John was instructed to write these things down. John was instructed to write down what he saw, and what is to come, for God’s words are trustworthy and true. From the beginning He is the ‘I am.’ He is the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
God has prepared a dwelling place for the body of believers who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is here where the Lord, himself, will be with us, and be our God.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. – Revelation 21:2 (NIV).
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. – Revelation 21:3 (NIV).
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ – Revelation 21:4-5 (NIV).
Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done.’ I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. – Revelation 21:5-6 (NIV).
We will no longer thirst, for we will drink from the spring of the water of life. Those of us who are victorious will inherit all of this. He will be our God, and we will be His children. The new heaven, and the new earth will be renewed, and be as God originally intended it to be. The ‘Beginning’ of time is when He created the heavens and the earth; before sin fell upon the earth in the Garden of Eden. Sin will be no more in our new dwelling.
To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. – Revelation 21:6-7 (NIV).
The cowardly are the fearful ones who will abandon God by the threats, and deceptions of the Beast (Antichrist). The flesh will fear persecution so badly that they will choose temporary, personal safety over eternal life with God. They will be in the same place with the other unbelievers, the vile, the murders, the liars, the idolaters, the sexual immoral, and those who practiced magic arts, those who worshiped false gods, idols, false prophets and false doctrines. They will be with the ones who have fallen away from God, but refuse to repent, and turn back to God’s truth. They will be with the ones who refuse to obey God’s Laws, His commandments, such as the Holy Sabbath Day on Saturday, and not on Sunday. Sunday is a Pagan holy day of worship, which cannot be validated anywhere in the Bible; therefore, is not a Biblical teaching.
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’ – Revelation 21:8 (NIV).
In contrast to the unbelievers, there is the body of believers who will overcome, and stand firm to the end. Because of this, we will receive all blessings God has promised His children. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. – Mark 13:13 (NIV).
We will eat from the tree of life. We will escape the Lake of Fire, of burning sulfur (the second death). We will receive a special name, a new name. We will have authority over the nations. We will be included in the “Book of Life.” We will be a pillar in God’s spiritual temple, and we will sit next to the throne of Christ. And all because we will be bold, and brave to stand for Christ when oppression, torment, and persecution is trying to eradicate us for our faith. We will continue to pray, and spread the gospel regardless of the pressures we face. We will keep a clear mind for the heavenly reward of Christ, so that we will never be tempted or pulled away from our Savior. We will endure the test of evil because we will remain faithful to God throughout the greatest tribulation man has ever witnessed.
In Revelation 21:1-27, one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls of the last plagues came to John in a vision. This vision, with great detail, describes the bride, the wife of the Lamb. The angel shows John the holy city. The holy city, the New Jerusalem, came down from heaven. The new city shows the brilliance of the glory of God. It will be like that of a precious jewel, a jasper, crystal clear. The walls of the city will have great height. There will be twelve gates, and twelve angels at each gate.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. – Revelation 21:9-12 (NIV).
On the gates will be written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The twelve tribes of Israel consist of the descendants of the sons of Jacob, also symbolizing Israel. The twelve tribes are found in Genesis, Chapter 49 and Revelation, Chapter 7 (NIV) – Total 144,000 sealed:
1. Reuben (12,000)
2. Simeon (12,000)
3. Levi (the Levites did not receive a land inheritance, see Joshua 13:14) (12,000)
4. Judah (12,000)
5. Zebulun (12,000)
6. Issachar (12,000)
7. Dan (12,000)
8. Gad (12,000)
9. Asher (12,000)
10. Naphtali (12,000)
11. Joseph (whose sons Ephraim and Manasseh received Joseph's inheritance) (12,000)
12. Benjamin (12,000)
An alternate list of the tribes (omitting Levi and with Ephraim, and Manasseh in place of their father Joseph) is provided in the Numbers 1:1-16 (NIV). This was considered the census of the Israelite community, by clans, families, and every man, one by one.
Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above--all who are able to go to war in Israel.
You and Aaron shall number them by their armies. And with you there shall be a man from every tribe, each one the head of his father's house.
These are the names of the men who shall stand with you: from Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; from Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; from Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; from Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; from Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; from the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; from Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; from Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; from Asher, Pagiel the son of Ocran; from Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; from Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan. These were chosen from the congregation, leaders of their fathers' tribes, heads of the divisions in Israel. – Numbers 1:1-16 (NKJV).
1. Reuben (12,000)
2. Simeon (12,000)
3. Judah (12,000)
4. Issachar (12,000)
5. Zebulun (12,000)
6. Ephraim (son of Joseph) (12,000)
7. Manasseh (son of Joseph) (12,000)
8. Benjamin (12,000)
9. Dan (12,000)
10. Asher (12,000)
11. Gad (12,000)
12. Naphtali (12,000)
The holy city will have three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west.
There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. – Revelation 21:13 (NIV).
There will be twelve foundations, and on them will be the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Jesus). Luke 6:12-16, the twelve apostles walked and followed Jesus during His time on earth.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. – Luke 6:12-16 (NIV).
The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. – Revelation 21:14-15 (NIV).
Our God is a very mathematical God. He is very creative with numbers throughout biblical prophecy. His numbers have deep relevance, and meaning, not just random numbers, but well thought out numbers. Did you know that the number seven is a holy number? The number twelve is also a very significant number, as is the number 144. We see throughout scripture the significance, and the relevance of God’s mathematical strategy. God has applied these holy numbers not only to people, but also to the structures and cities, such as the holy temple in the New Jerusalem. God also applied His mathematical strategy to His biblical timeline, dates, and His calendar from the beginning (Genesis) to the end of time (Revelation).
It is also not by coincidence that God wrote His ten commandments, and then passed them down to Moses so that we would follow God’s Law. I mention the ten commandments because it is the fourth commandment that qualifies the seventh day Holy Sabbath Day on Saturday, and not by chance. The number seven is also seen throughout biblical prophecy. Jesus appointed, named and anointed His twelve apostles/disciples. Twelve times twelve equals 144, which God also prophesized as the 144,000 sealed saints or the 12 tribes of Israel that will be saved, and protected through the 7-Year Tribulation.
God also proclaimed the seven churches, the seven lampstands, the seven plagues, the seven bowls of His wrath, the seven angels, the seven trumpets, the 7-Year Tribulation, and the seven seals. What an amazing God He is. It becomes more and more fascinating, and inspiring the deeper I get into the word. The more I study, the more knowledge I gain, the more I learn how God thinks, and the more I grasp He is real.
Take the number 144, it is also the dimension of the holy temple in the New Jerusalem. Can you see the numeric pattern in biblical prophecy? This mathematical pattern is with all certainty, and not by coincidence? God intentionally, and with all-purpose planned this from the beginning of creation.
The measurements of the New Jerusalem are symbolic of a place that will embrace all God’s people. God’s measurements just so happen to all be multiples of twelve, the number for God’s people.
There were twelve tribes in Israel, the twelve apostles who started the church of people. The walls around the New Jerusalem will be 144 (12 x 12) cubits thick. There will be twelve layers in the walls made of jasper, the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. There will be twelve gates leading into the city. The length, the width, and the height of the city will all be the same - 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long (1,400 miles). The New Jerusalem, the new city, will be a perfect cube.
The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty wide and twenty high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold, and he also overlaid the altar of cedar. - 1 Kings 6:20 (NIV).
The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
The twelve foundations of the city will be decorated in every type of precious stone.
The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
The twelve gates leading into the city will be made of pearl, with each gate a single pearl. The streets of the city will be of gold or a translucent glass.
The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.
Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. – Revelation 21:16-27 (NKJV).
What a spectacular vision of the new city of God. The angel gave John a very symbolic vision that illustrates to us our new home with God. We will not be in the least disillusioned. In fact, we often find ourselves saying “I can only imagine what it will be like.” Both the Jews, and the Christian Gentiles, who have been faithful to God, and their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, will live together in this New Heaven and New Earth.
The New Jerusalem walls will be made of jewels, and will be a holy place of purity and strength that will last forever and a day.
Contrary to the old temple, which was the center of God’s presence, and the primary place of worship among His people, no temple will be needed in the New Jerusalem. This is because God’s presence will be far and wide throughout the city. God will be the light in the New Jerusalem. The city will be illuminated with God’s glory.
We will walk by its light, and the monarchs will bring their splendor into it. There will be no darkness, as darkness signifies sin and evil. Darkness cannot, and does not exist in the presence of light; therefore, darkness cannot impure the city. Those who live in the city will never be deterred from worshiping God throughout the city.
Sadly, not everyone will be permissible in the New Jerusalem, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Remember, our eternal life is only available to us because of what Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, did on the cross for us.
Our sins have been washed away. And, because of the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus, there will be no sin or evil in the New Heaven, and the New Earth. When we are filled with God, our sins are forgiven, and our future is secured.
Let’s recap. This week we covered Revelation, Chapter 21 (A New Heaven and a New Earth, Making all things New, The New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb). I hope that you have found the last several weeks of blogs, the study of the Old Testament and the New Testament and the book of Revelation, helpful, enlightening and educational.
Next week I will cover Revelation, Chapter 22, (Eden Restored, John and the Angel, Epilogue: Invitation and Warning).
Blessings until next week,
Debra Pauli Unstoppable Believer
Scripture Quoted From: New International Version Bible (NIV) Archived Blogs: https://www.thewitnesstoday.com/blog-archives