• Steve McAtee

Week - 41 A Survey Study of Revelation A Requiem for the Final World EmpireRevelation 18:1-24

Updated: Dec 15, 2021


Authored by Jerry Marshall It seems hard to believe, but the death of Diana, Princess of Wales happened twelve three ago. As you may recall, she died in a terrible auto wreck in Paris, France. This is one of those riveting events in world history akin to others, such as the assassination of President Kennedy, the attack on Pearl Harbor, or the infamous events of “Nine Eleven.”


During the week that she lay in state, the people of Great Britain, and from all over the world, gave an outpouring of grief seldom seen. Mountains of flowers were stacked in front of her palace. People simply stood in the streets overcome with grief. And then there was the funeral. As her casket was slowly driven to Westminster Abbey, people along the way tossed flowers at the Hearst carrying her coffin, while muffled bells tolled in the background.


The funeral service was filled with touching eulogies, a moving musical tribute, which became the world’s best-selling recording. Cameras would frequently turn their focus on two motherless princes grieving over their enormous loss as their uncle; their mother’s brother gave a very emotional eulogy. Who could have even imagined that this beautiful young princess would be cut down in the prime of her life? At one moment, she had been full of hope and dreams, apparently on the verge of beginning a whole new life when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, disaster fell, and she was gone. Never would the world behold her again.


In Revelation 18, we have a record of the sudden and shocking death of the capitol city of the world’s final empire, which is described in this chapter as a queen. Like Diana, the death of this royal city was unexpected and catastrophic. And like the funeral of Princess Diana, this event will capture the attention of the entire world. We will see in this chapter, a record of the Lord’s judgment of the commercial and political aspects of the final world empire. It is communicated to us in the form of a funeral dirge using four different voices.


1. The Voice of Judgment (Revelation 18:1-3)

A. The vision of an angel (1)


After this I saw another angel. The phrase after this (NIV) after these things (NASB), introduces a new vision seen by the Apostle John from heaven. Having been shown the punishment and the destruction of the religious aspect of the empire of the Antichrist, John would now behold the complete destruction of the political and commercial aspect of the kingdom of the Antichrist.


John beholds another angel who is different from the one who showed him the punishment of the great harlot of chapter 17. The word another is a translation of the Greek word “allos,” which means another of the same kind. Some commentators believe that this angel is really Christ because of his place of origin, the authority he bears and the brilliance of his appearance.


However, the word allos would indicate that this angel is like the angels previously seen by John. Having come from the very presence of God, he comes on the scene with certainty and authority as he issues his pronouncement of judgment upon the final evil empire.


Following the fifth bowl judgment, the kingdom of the Antichrist was plunged into darkness (16:10). This darkness will serve as the backdrop for this dramatic appearance of the angel whose glory will illuminate the earth. Such brilliance will no doubt terrify those who inhabit the earth.

B. The voice of the angel (2-3)

1. A shout of Judgment (2a)

With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” This shining angel will be seen by all and heard by all, for he will give a mighty shout of judgment as he declares with certainty, the fall of the mighty capitol city of the final world empire. And with its destruction, all of the empire will crumble, opening the way for the establishment of the government of God on earth. What was prophetically predicted in Revelation 14:8 will now become a reality. Babylon the great will soon be history!

2. The source of judgment (2b-3)


Why is such judgment being pronounced against this Great city of the final world empire? She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit. These are the demons that had been released earlier from the abyss, along with those that had been cast down to the earth along with Satan in their battle with Michael and his angels, as well as those demonic beings who had already been on earth. All of these fallen creatures will now reside in the capital city of this Satanic Empire.


The word “home” in the original language suggests where they live, whereas the word “haunt” or “prison” is phulake { foo-lak-ay’} refers to a place where every evil spirit will be kept as in prison. They are kept against their wills. All of the demons will be centrally located in one city, corralled in one area. But in addition to the demons, the city of Babylon will also be a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. The KJV translates this section of the passage as a cage for every unclean and hateful bird. This is a reference to scavenger birds that are awaiting a feast of flesh as a result of the almost instant death and destruction of this city’s occupants.


This passage once again highlights the far-reaching influence of this evil empire. All the nations and every nation will have become intoxicated with the maddening wine of her adulteries (i.e., spiritual unfaithfulness to the true and living God as expressed by the willingness of the nations to worship the Antichrist).


The political leaders will join in this spiritual orgy and the merchants will enjoy the profits from the excessive appetites of the final world’s system. This city will be the hub of the economy and the excessive indulgences in the luxuries and pleasures of this fallen world. Therefore, we hear the voice of a mighty angel proclaiming God’s judgment upon this capitol city and the evil empire it represents.


II. The voice of exhortation (Revelation 18:4-8)

A. A call for separation (4-5)


The voice from heaven is that of another angel who is speaking in the name of God. It is an exhortation for the people of God (i.e., Tribulation Saints), to separate themselves from this evil city and its corrupting ways; to flee and disentangle themselves from this final expression of the fallen world system.


As I mentioned in previous studies of this book, during the time of the Tribulation, the world will experience the greatest harvest of souls in the history of the world. The Gospel will be proclaimed by 144000 Jewish evangelists; two very powerful prophets whom the world will see resurrected and ascended into heaven after being killed by the Antichrist. There will even be an angel, flying across the sky proclaiming the eternal gospel. Many of those who come to Christ during these dark and difficult days will be martyred because of their relationship with Christ and their willingness to compromise and renounce Him as the master of their lives. However, in the final days of the Great Tribulation, some will still be alive.


These faithful saints will be under great pressure to compromise their commitment to Christ and His word. I am sure that lost family members might pressure them to take the mark of the beast in order to spare them from martyrdom, as well as to be able to purchase the necessities of life. No doubt, there will be a certain attraction to the opulence and plenty that this final world will offer.


“Come out of her” has always been God’s call to His people. Salvation results in separation from sin and what the bible refers to as “The World” (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:4-18; Romans 12:2; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). The word “saint” means a set apart one. And the word “church” in the original language, refers to a community of called out ones. They are called out from this world of sin and set apart to God and His will.


“The World” is used frequently in the N.T. to describe that ordered system of thought that flows from fallen and unredeemed minds, creating various worldviews, theological premises and moral positions that enable them to satisfy the appetites of their fallen nature.


When professing believers love this world, they lose their value for the things of God (2 Timothy 4:9-10).


The biblical truth that believers are not to entangle themselves in the world system will take on a new urgency as this sinful and corrupting system is about to breathe its last breath. It’s judgment time, for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. The ancient city of Babel attempted to build a tower in order to reach up to heaven itself. The future city of Babylon will have piled up their sins to heaven like a new tower of Babel.

B. A cry for vengeance (6-8)


This cry for vengeance is similar to the one recorded in Revelation 6:9-10. It is based upon the law of retaliation. “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:38; Exodus 21:23-24). It’s important to note that believers are never to take their own revenge upon those who wrong them (Romans 12:19).


However, it is appropriate to cry out to God to take upon our cause and deal with those who have wronged us in accordance with His perfect justice (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-23). Take note of the cry of this angel (v.6-7).


There are three specific sins that call for such judgment. Note Revelation 18:7.


"To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, `I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW and will never see mourning.'


-Self glorification

-Self gratification

-Self sufficiency


This city is personified as thinking of itself as being invincible.


III. The voice of mourning (Revelation 18:9-19)

A. The first mourners: The kings of the earth (9-10)


The kings of the earth will lament at the destruction of this city because this will mean the end of their political influence, and all the benefits accorded to them. The fierceness of the instant destruction of this city will force them to stand at a distance in terror as they watch their political power, and its trappings go up in smoke.

B. The second mourners: The merchants of the earth (11-17a)


The merchants of the world will mourn over this city because with its destruction, their market will also be destroyed. The insatiable appetite for their merchandise and the immense financial benefits will evaporate in an instant. In the exercise of the judgment of God, He will bankrupt the entire system. This will make the crash of 1929 seem like a slow day on the stock exchange in comparison.

C. The third mourners: The merchants of the sea (17b-19)


Although there will be great mourning on the earth with a terrifying shock and amazement at the quick destruction of this central city of the final world empire, there will be a different response in heaven.

IV. The voice of rejoicing (Revelation 18:20-24)


A. The cause of joy (20)

The cause for such joy is that the long-awaited moment of vindication, retribution, and vengeance, which was requested by the Tribulation saints, will finally arrive. God has judged her for the way she treated the people of God.


B. The cause of judgment (21-24)


The swift and complete destruction of Babylon is illustrated by a mighty angel who picks up a boulder, the size of a large millstone and throws it into the sea. A great millstone is about four to five feet in diameter, a foot thick and very heavy. In one moment, as that stone disappeared into the sea, Babylon will disappear.


So thorough will be the destruction of this city, that none of the normal activities of a large metropolis will ever take place in it again (vv. 22-23a).


There are two reasons given as to the cause of such swift judgment. One is found in the last part of verse 23.


“By your sorcery all the nations were led astray.”


“Sorcery” is a translation of the Greek word, “pharmakei,” which is the word from which we get our modern word Pharmacy. It is descriptive of the use of mind-altering herbs or drugs used for the purpose of lowering the inhibitions of those involved in cultic worship. It was used to dull the sensibilities of those who would enter into the perverted rituals associated with such pagan and immoral worship.


Babylon’s hold on the world will not be entirely due to military and economic power, it will also have an occult influence as well.


The second reason is given in v.24.


“In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saint, and all who have been killed on the earth.” The capitol city was instantly judged and destroyed because of her murderous slaughter of God’s people.


Practical Implications


1. Our supreme affection belongs solely to God and must never be given to the world and its system of thought which is openly hostile to God and His word

(1 John 2:15-17, 2 Timothy 4:9-10).


2. When professing believers are in an unholy alliance with this fallen world system, they subject themselves to the backwash of such an association. For example, a believer today may buy into the worldly notion that money, power, and possessions are the source of true meaning in life and suffer the loss of important relationships in pursuit of them, as well as the cooling of their relationship with the Lord. For Demas, it was the priorities of God that became the causality of his new love relationship with the world. Eternal treasures were traded for temporal toys.


3. The world corrupts people in several different ways.


It causes people to assume that true security, as well as significance and meaning are rooted in financial prosperity, positions of power and influence, and the accumulation of worldly possessions.


It promotes the idea of self-indulgence as a worthy value, and self-gratification as primary priorities of life.


It allows the formulation of one’s “spirituality”, to be based upon subjective assumptions and speculations, rather than the word of God.


It gives permission to indulge in those things that God condemns.


It provides a worldview which gives liberty to gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature.


The Conquest of The Coming King Revelation 19:11-21


Belief in the Second Coming of our Lord is one of those important fundamentals of our faith. It’s one of those unique features of our belief system that sets us apart from all the other religions that exist.


It has been said that the early church thought more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, than about death or about heaven. “The early Christians were looking not for a cleft in the ground called a grave but for a cleavage in the sky called Glory. They were watching not for the undertaker but for the upper taker.” Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910)


The significance of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is in its relationship to several important foundational pillars of our belief system such as....


1. The integrity of Jesus Christ hangs on the reality of this event (Revelation 3:11.

Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:12; Matthew 25:31).

2. The integrity of the reliability of Scriptural prophecy depends on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the integrity of the whole Bible hangs on this event actually occurring.


3. The substance of the hope of all believers is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is what every true believer eagerly anticipates.


Philippians 3:20-21

20 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”


Hebrews 9:28

28 “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”


5. The Second Coming then is one of the non-negotiable fundamentals of our Faith. It is akin to our belief in the Bible as the Word of God, or salvation being secured by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. It is as significant as our faith in the virgin birth of Christ and our trust in the truth that in Christ all the fullness of deity dwelt in a bodily form.


6. The Second Coming must be distinguished from the rapture of the church, which takes place prior to the seven years of Tribulation. At the rapture of the church, Christ comes for his bride, which is the church. At the Second Coming, He comes for His throne.


7. Furthermore, at the rapture, Christ meets His saints in the air (1Thessalonians 4:17) to take them to heaven (John 14:2-3). At the Second Coming, He descends with them from heaven to the earth (Zechariah 14:4) and establishes His Millennial rule.

In this last section of the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, we come to the actual recording of this event, which is the culmination of redemptive history, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is the preeminent event of this book.


From our study today, we will be confronted with two very important questions that each of us must answer. I have broken this section down into two parts. The first being THE RETURN OF THE CONQUEROR and the second being THE VICTORY OF THE CONQUEROR.


I. The Return of the Conqueror Revelation 19:11-16

I saw heaven standing open...


The last time John beheld the sight of heaven opened before his wondering eyes were in order to receive him in (4:1). It would be from that perspective that John would receive the majority of what he recorded in this book about the last days of the last days. But now, the doors of heaven are thrown open in order to clear the way for Christ and His heavenly entourage to make their way to earth. This friend is the event that all of redemptive history has been pointing to, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.


The name Jesus or Christ is never used in this passage. Instead, our Lord is described by four different titles that reveal something of His person and His mission.


A. A sanctifying title (19:11-12a)


This name is a sanctifying name because it is a title of distinction. It sets our Lord apart from everyone else. No longer is our Lord portrayed humbly riding into the city of Jerusalem mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey. At His Second Coming, our Lord will be mounted on a white horse, the symbol of victorious conquest and the preferred mount of victorious Roman generals.


A victorious general would ride the white horse at the front of the procession of His troops as they made their way through the streets of Rome following a major victory on the battlefield. This would distinguish him as the one who is responsible for the victory.


The rider bears the distinctive title “Faithful and True.” Earlier in this book, the Lord described himself to the church in Laodicea as the faithful and true witness (3:14).

In this sense, he is faithful in all of his promises and truthful in all that he declares. The fact that Christ is coming again proves His faithfulness to His promises and the truthfulness of His Word. This would stand in stark contrast to the broken promises and lies spewing from the month of the Antichrist.


Jesus is the personification of truth (John 14:6). He told those who professed to be His disciples that they would prove the genuineness of their discipleship if they would abide by His teaching. Then they would know the truth and that truth would set them free from the mastery of sin (John 8:31ff).


In this passage, Jesus is described as being faithful, in the sense that He has already proven himself trustworthy in carrying out the mission of His first coming, which was to redeem those that God have given to Him from the wrath of God to come

(John 17:4).


“…in righteousness He judges and wages war.”


One of the first things that Jesus does when he comes the second time is to exercise His righteous judgment. His righteous character demands that He do so. As the ultimate righteous Judge, He pronounces the sentence. As a warrior, He will carry out the sentence.


When Jesus came the first time, He came as the Savior of the world. When He comes the second time it will be as its judge. When He came the first time, wicked people judged Him. People like the Pharisees, Pilate, Herod and Caiaphas. When He returns, He will judge all wicked people. And these will be subject to the penetrating and omniscient eyes of our Lord...

Note verse 12

In the exercise of His Judgment, nothing will escape the penetrating and piercing vision of our Lord. Jesus can see into the deepest and darkest recesses of the hearts of mankind. Every thought, every intention, every word, every motive and every act, are all fully exposed in the sight of this all seeing and all-knowing Judge.

The writer of Hebrews declared… “all things are open and lay bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).


On His head are many diadems (crowns).

The word “diadems” is a translation of the Greek word, diadema, which refers to the royal crown of a king. In the case of Christ, He wears many crowns because He the ultimate King. The King of Kings! No longer does He bear the mocking crown of thorns. For He now bears the crowns of the ultimate monarch.


And so, this one who bears the title of faithful and true, is the victor on the white horse, the Judge whose eyes penetrate deep into the recesses of everyone’s heart. And His judgments are a reflection of His omniscient understanding of all things.


He is also the warrior who will execute His sentence upon the wicked inhabitants of the earth.


B. A secret name (19:12b)


He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.


Jesus bears this secret name. It won’t do us any good to speculate what that name might be. The only thing we can say is that all of the titles of Jesus that have been revealed to us are descriptive of his character, His abilities and His mission. No doubt this secret title will in some way reveal these things.


C. A sacred name (19:13-15a)


This blood on His robe is not His blood. It is not the blood poured out for us by Him in His loving act of redemption. He bears the blood-spattered robe of a conquering king. And the blood is that of His enemies. (Keep in mind that John is using the example of our conquering Roman soldier or king).


The imagery of this passage is similar to that of Isaiah 63:1-6. The prophet having a vision of God inquired of God, “Why is your garments red like those of one treading the winepress?” God replied, “I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments.” And so, this robe dipped in blood, bears the blood of the enemies.


The sacred name He bears is the Word of God. Jesus is the Logos of God, the visible, tangible expression of God in a bodily form. He is the reason and the source of all that there is. He is called the Word of God because He is the ultimate revelation of God. He is the full expression of the mind; will and purpose of God (cf. John 1:1, 14).


Note verse 14, “The armies which are in heaven.” What is the composition of this army?


According to Revelation 17:14, those who are with the Lord when He defeats the Antichrist and his armies at the time of His Second Coming, are referred to as His called, chosen and faithful followers. This could be a reference to the tribulation saints (Revelation 7:13-17), who have come to rule with Christ during the millennium (Revelation 20:4), or it could refer to the raptured saints (Revelation 19:7-8). There are some who understand this army to refer to an angelic host (cf. Matthew 5:11; 25:31).


Whatever the composition of this army from heaven, “They return not to help Jesus in the battle (they are unarmed), but to reign with Him after He defeats His enemies” (20:4; 1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12). Cf. Ps. 149:5–9.


This army is made up of noncombatant supporters of the Messiah as He wages the final battle single-handedly. And they, like the Word of God, are mounted on white horses, the mount of those who have been victorious. And they are dressed in fine linen, white and clean.


D. A sovereign name (19:15b-16)


The sovereign rule of Christ is described for us using graphic imagery.


From His mouth comes a sharp sword so that with it He may strike down the nations.


From the mouth of God came those commands that unleashed His creative power that brought all things into existence. But now, from the mouth of the Lord, the nations of the world will come under the powerful words of judgment that are like unto a sharp sword that strikes them down with deadly force.


And just as the Lord did not need to use the devices of man to flood the world in the exercise of His judgment, He will not need the weaponry of man to bring down the nations. He will do that simply with His Word. This is the ultimate example of “Death from Above.”


And then, quoting of Psalm 2:9, John describes the nature of the anticipated rule of Christ during the time of the Millennium. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”

We know that this is describing the Lord’s manner of rule over the nations of the world during the millennium because the nations that are gathered at the Battle of Armageddon will be destroyed. There won’t be anything to rule!

 

1 John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.


“Iron Scepter - this is a symbol of tough justice, of unbending, unwavering righteousness. It is justice based upon God’s morality, which is rooted in His Holy Character.”


The word that is translated “Rule” comes from the Greek word poimaino which not only conveys the idea of governing or ruling but also nourishing and providing. It is frequently translated in the NT to shepherd.


Jesus will be the ultimate Shepherd during the time of the Millennium. But He will also be a benevolent dictator nonetheless who will swiftly exercise His righteous judgment against sin and those who commit it.


John then returns to the work of Christ at hand at the time of His Second Coming and that is judgment. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.


The imagery here is that of the ancient practice of stomping on grapes as a part of the winemaking process. Here it depicts the fierce judgment of the Lord exercised at the time of His Second Coming against these nations. And just as the grape juice would spatter during this process, so the blood of the enemies of the Lord will be spattered as the Lord treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.


This anger of the Lord has been building up for centuries as His holy character has been offended by the blatant sinfulness of mankind.


Note Revelation 19:16. The Lord is wearing what is probably a banner, which runs across His chest and down on His upper leg. And there we find this fourth name, KING OF KING AND LORD OF LORDS. Christ is the ultimate monarch. He is the King of time and space and the King of all creations. He is the LORD OF LORDS, the ultimate sovereign ruler who controls all things in the magnificence of the exercise of His divine providence. How dare anyone oppose such a King and such a Lord as this?


And so, at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, John affirms the extraordinary nature of the Son of God come to judge the nations and to rule the earth by these unique names, a sanctifying name, a secret name, a sacred name and a sovereign name.


II. The Victory of the Conqueror Revelation 19:17-21


A. The gathering of the birds of the earth (19:17-18)


So confident of the victory of the conquering KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORD’S, that an angel of the Lord calls for the birds of the earth to come and feast on the carnage of the battle before the battle begins. This invitation anticipates the victory of the Lord over these enemies.


These birds will feast upon the kings, generals, mighty men, horses and their riders, which is descriptive of all those gathered at the Battle of Armageddon. But also, this feast will include all people, free and slave, small and great. They are the inhabitants of the earth who received the mark of the beast and worshipped the Antichrist.


As they gather around the city of Jerusalem in order to destroy it, the sharp sword that comes out of the mouth of the Lord will strike down the armies of the earth. In addition, the beast worshippers from every social level will be destroyed as well.


B. The gathering of the armies of the earth (19:19)


The formidable and seemingly invincible armed might of the Beast, with all its firepower, awaits the arrival of the faithful and true one who is the Word of God, THE KING OF KING’S AND LORD OF LORD’S, who is accompanied by His army.


The beast is the Antichrist, the kings of the earth refers to those ten kings who rule the ten sectors into which Antichrist’s worldwide empire is divided. The armies of the ten kings are gathered to make war against the coming rider and his army.

They believe that they have come to this battle because of their own choice. However, they are simply conforming to the Lord’s sovereign design for the end times.


C. The triumph over the enemies of God (19:20-21)


I know that this is often referred to as the Battle of Armageddon, but it isn’t much of a battle. The fact that the Beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire is convincing refutation of the false doctrine of annihilation (Note 20:10).


John Phillips describes this scene in a way that cannot be improved upon.


“Then suddenly it will be all over. In fact, there will be no war at all in the sense that we think of war. There will be just a word spoken from Him who sits astride the great white horse. Once He spoke a word to a fig tree, and it withered away. Once He spoke a word to howling winds and heaving waves and the storm clouds vanished and the waves fell still. Once He spoke to a legion of demons bursting at the seams of a poor man’s soul, and instantly they fled.


Now He speaks a word, and the war is over. The blasphemous, loud-mouthed Beast is stricken where he stands. The false prophet, the miracle working windbag from the pit is punctured and still.

The pair of them are bundled up and hurled head-long into the everlasting flames. Another word and the panic-stricken armies reel and stagger and fall down dead. Field marshals and generals, admirals and air commanders, soldiers and sailors, rank and file, one and all- they fall. And the vultures descend and cover the scene.” (Exploring Revelation, 236)


Practical Implications


1. One of the new attitudes that Paul spoke of as an indicator of true conversion is one of anticipating the Second Coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10).


2. There are certain virtues and behavior patterns that should be evident in the lives of those who wait for the Lord to come.


3. The order of our behavior should be characterized by holiness and godliness.


2 Peter 3:10-11

10 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.”


4. All who hope in and for the Second “Coming of Christ indicate their confidence in that truth by a lifestyle of purity.


1 John 3:2-3

2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”


5. Those that wait for this essential event in redemptive history must be steadfast and patient.

James 5:7-9

7“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”

“His Kingdom Has Come” Revelation 20


The phrase “thousand years” occurs six times in Revelation 20:1–7. This period in history is known as “the Millennium,” from two Latin words, mille (“thousand”) and annum (“year”)—the 1,000-year kingdom of Christ on earth. At last, Christ and His saints will reign over the nations of the earth, and Israel will enjoy the blessings promised by the prophets (see Isaiah 2:1–5; 4:1–6; 11:1–9; 12:1–6; 30:18–26; 35:1–10).

 

2Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Re 20:4). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.


I. The Great Chain (20:1–3)


A. The prisoner (20:1–2)

B. The prison (20:3)


II. The Great Reign (20:4–6)


A. The resurrection of the just (20:4a)

B. The rule of the just (20:4b–6)


III. The Great Revolt (20:7–10)


A. The adversary (20:7)

B. The apostasy (20:8)

C. The attack (20:9a)

D. The annihilation (20:9b–10)


1. Satan’s henchmen are consumed by the fires of heaven (20:9b).

2. Satan is consumed by the fires of hell (20:10).


IV. The Great Throne (20:11–15)


A. The Judge (20:11)

B. The judged (20:12–13)


1. The books in this judgment (20:12a–12b)

a. Various books (20:12a)

b. The Book of Life (20:12b)

2. The basis of this judgment (20:12c–13)


C. The judgment (20:14–15)


Who will reign with Christ during the Millennium? (Revelation 20:4-5)


The best way to answer this question is to take note of the specific statements in the Bible, which describe those who will reign with Christ during the Millennium.


Revelation 20:4a; Matthew 19:27-28 ____________________________

Revelation 20:4b ___________________________


1 Corinthians 6:2, 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelations 2:26; 3:21; 5:9-10 ___________________________

 

3Willmington, H. L. (1999). The Outline Bible (Ro 20-Re 20:15). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.


MacArthur makes the following comments regarding 1 Corinthians 6:2:


When Jesus Christ returns to set up His millennial kingdom, believers from throughout all of history will be His coregents, sitting with Him on His throne (Rev. 3:21; 


If the saints will one day help rule the entire earth, they surely are able to rule themselves within the church now. That future rule will be based on perfect adherence to the Word of God and proper godly attitudes, which are available now. There will not then be any different principles of wisdom and justice than we have revealed to us in Scripture now.

Who are those who will be a part of the first resurrection?


The context of Revelation 20:4-6 makes it abundantly clear that the Tribulation Saints are a part of the first resurrection. In addition, all believers from the church age who died in Christ and are resurrected at the time of the rapture of the church are a part of the first resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The Apostles would also be a part of the first resurrection since Christ promised that they would reign with Him during the Millennium (Matthew 19:27-28). All OT believers will also be a part of the first resurrection (Daniel 12:1-2).


“Scripture teaches two kinds of resurrections: the “resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:29; cf. Dan. 12:2; Acts 24:15). The first kind of resurrection is described as “the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14), the resurrection of “those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:23), and the “better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35). It includes only the redeemed of the church age (1 Thess. 4:13–18), the OT (Dan. 12:2), and the Tribulation (v. 4). They will enter the kingdom in resurrection bodies, along with believers who survived the Tribulation. The second kind of resurrection, then, will be the resurrection of the unconverted who will receive their final bodies suited for torment in hell.”


Unbelievers from every age will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium in order to face judgment (Revelation 20:5, 11-15).


How can you identify Gog and Magog?


Dr’s Lahaye and Ice state the following regarding the identity of Gog and Magog.


“We believe that the participants in the battle of Gog and Magog can be identified by tracing the migration of those ancient peoples to their modern-day descendants. Ezekiel says this battle

 

cf. confer (Lat.), compare

4MacArthur, J. (1996, c1984). 1 Corinthians. Includes indexes. (138). Chicago: Moody Press.

5MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Re 20:5). Nashville: Word Pub.

will occur “in the latter years (38:8) and “in the last days (38:16). The invasion involves a coalition headed by “Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshach and Tubal” (38:2).


Magog has been identified as ancient terminology for the area including modern-day Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Ezekiel further identifies Magog as coming from “the remote parts of the north (38:6).


Gog will lead the invasion of Israel, and Ezekiel 38:5-6 adds that other nations will join with Gog – Persia (Iran), Ethiopia or Cush (Sudan), Put (Libya), and Gomer and Beth-togarmah (Turkey). Sheba and Dedan in Ezekiel 38:13 refer to Saudi Arabia.


All the allies of Magog are reasonably well identified, and they are all presently Muslim. Interestingly, such an alignment of nations is already configured on the world scene today, so such an invasion does not seem like a far-fetched possibility.” (LaHaye and Ice-2007), Charting the End Times, page 93. Harvest House)


Practical Implications


1. The sovereign intent of our Lord cannot be thwarted by even the most powerful of created beings.


2. God’s promises are always fulfilled in his perfect timing. He promised King David that He would rise up a descendent from him who would come after him, and God would establish His kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:12). What we have studied in this chapter is beginning of the fulfillment of this promise (Luke 1:32).


3. Although we are saved by grace, the judgment of God is always based upon deeds that are done in life for both the believer (2 Corinthians 5:10) and the unbeliever (Revelation 20:12-13).


4. The context of Revelation 20 does not provide permission to understand the thousand years of the Millennium other than in a literal sense.


5. God has already judicially determined who would be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10; 21:8).


VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM

Revelation 20

The 1,000 years are often referred to as the Millennium (Latin for 1,000). There are three major views about the millennium, commonly called premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism.

Premillennialism

Premillennialism says that the 1,000 years is a literal time period. Christ’s second coming will begin the millennium before the final removal of Satan. (The pre-, mid-, and post- Tribulation views are all “premillennial” in that they all agree that Christ will return at some point around the Tribulation, but before this thousand-year reign.)

Under this view are two types of understandings:

(1) Dispensational premillennialists say that at the end of the tribulation will come the battle of Armageddon, the imprisonment of Satan, and Jesus’ reign over Israel (19:19–20:6). During that thousand-year reign, the Old Testament promises for Israel will be fulfilled (such as Isaiah 2:4; 9:6-7; 11:6-9; 35:5-6; 42:1). Dispensationalists believe the Millennium will end with Satan leading a brief rebellion against Christ and then being thrown into the lake of fire. Then God will recreate the heavens and earth.

(2) Historic premillennialists believe that Christ’s Second Coming will occur after the Tribulation to bring believers into his millennial kingdom. He will defeat the Antichrist’s forces at Armageddon and kill the Antichrist, ending a first stage in Christ’s defeat of evil. The believers will accompany Christ as he establishes his millennial kingdom on earth. Satan will be chained during that time. Premillennialists believe that the establishment of Christ’s millennial reign on earth will cause the nation of Israel to turn to Jesus, thus fulfilling many of the Old Testament prophecies for Israel. Historic premillennialists contend that only believers will be raised from the dead to reign with Christ in the millennium. The remaining unbelieving dead will be raised to life when the millennium ends—they will be raised for judgment. At that point, God will bring into existence the new heaven and new earth.

Amillennialism

Amillennialism understands the 1,000-year period to be symbolic of the time between Christ’s ascension and his Second Coming; thus, the Millennium is the reign of Christ in the hearts of believers and in his church and is another way of referring to the church age. This period will end with the second coming of Christ. Amillennialists do not believe in a literal period of Tribulation because they view the Tribulation as including various events during the history of the church.

To them, the events of the millennium described in Revelation 20:1-6 are actually occurring now! Amillennialists believe that as the last days approach, the forces of evil will climax with the Antichrist and the great tribulation he will bring (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). They believe that the wicked will continue to gather strength, persecuting believers more and more. Only when Christ returns will wickedness be stopped once and for all. After judging both the living and dead, Christ will establish his everlasting reign of peace.

Postmillennialism

Postmillennialism looks for a period of peace on earth ushered in by the church. At the end of this time, Satan will be released, but Christ will return to defeat Satan and reign forever. Postmillennialists believe that Jesus will return to a world that has been “Christianized” by the work of the church. Thus, the millennium will be established by the church, and Christ will only return to the earth after the Millennium. They believe that the church is now gradually transforming society (Matthew 13:31-33). Postmillennialists believe that the tribulation symbolizes the constant conflict between good and evil which has existed throughout history.

 

6 Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts and Maps, Tyndale publishing 2001


Postmillennialists believe that the millennium will end when Satan is released from the bottomless pit. Then Christ will return to judge all people and establish a new heaven and new earth. Postmillennialists believe the church bears the responsibility for spreading the Good News to all the world.

THE BEGINNING AND THE END

Revelation 21

The Bible records for us the beginning of the world and the end of the world. The story of mankind, from beginning to end—from the fall into sin to redemption and God’s ultimate victory over evil—is found in the pages of the Bible.

Genesis

Revelation

The sun is created.

The sun is not needed.

Satan is victorious.

Satan is defeated.

Sin enters the human race.

Sin is banished.

People run and hide from God.

People are invited to live with God forever.

People are cursed.

The curse is removed.

Tears are shed, with sorrow for sin.

No more sin, no more tears or sorrow.

The garden and earth are cursed.

God's city is glorified; the earth is made new.

Paradise is lost.

Paradise is regained.

People are doomed to death.

Death is defeated; believers live forever with God.


The Eternal State

Revelation 21-22:5


The Bible refers to heaven more than five hundred times. The book of Revelation alone mentions heaven about fifty times. Sometimes the word is used to describe the earth’s atmosphere and sometimes the word is used to refer to the interplanetary and interstellar space. And frequently, the Bible uses the word to speak of paradise, the very dwelling place of

 

7 Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts and Maps, Tyndale publishing 2001

God. The apostle Paul referred to the throne room of God as the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).


Heaven is an actual place and not simply a state of spiritual consciousness. It is precious to all true believers in Jesus Christ because their heavenly Father is there, the Savior is there and it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Heaven is the place of citizenship for all true believers (Philippians 3:20-21). It is especially precious to those of us who love the Lord, because many who we love have gone on ahead of us into the presence of the Lord and one day we will be united with them.


What is heaven like? Who will be there, and who won’t? And perhaps more importantly, will you be there? We will begin to get some insight into these questions as we examine five unique features of John’s vision of the eternal state, which is the place of eternal bliss for those who are described as the thirsty, those who overcome and the true sons of God. Following this, we will examine John’s vision of the “Golden City” in which he describes ten features of this eternal city.


All Things Made New (Revelation 21:1-8)


I. A New Heaven and Earth (21:1)


John continues in the chronological progression of the vision that God had given him of things yet to come. He has had the unique privilege of beholding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19). This major event in God’s prophetic design was followed by his vision of the millennial rule of Christ and finally, the White Throne judgment of all unbelievers (Revelation 20).


At this point, all sinful unbelievers from every age of human history, as well as Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet have been sentenced to the Lake of Fire where they will be tormented day and night forever (Revelation 20:10).


According to Matthew 25:41, this place of eternal fire was prepared for the Devil and his demons or fallen angels.


A word about demons:


They are spirit beings (Matthew 8:16; Luke 10:17, 20). They are localized, not omnipresent. They are intelligent, but not omniscient (Mark 1:24; 1 Timothy 4:1;

James 2:19). There are essentially two different categories of demons, free and confined. Those that are free currently have their primary abode in heaven

(Revelation 12:7-9). They also roam the earth for the purpose of extending the authority of Satan by doing his bidding on the earth. Some on occasion have inhabited the bodies of people. Those that are currently confined in the abyss (cf. 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Luke 8:31), are thought by some to refer to those demonic beings who attempted to have sexual relations with human women and God severely judged them for this act (Genesis 6:1-6; Jude 6). Why some are confined, and some are not is explicitly explained in the scriptures. During the time of the Tribulation, some will be released as a part of God’s judgment on the inhabitants on the earth (Revelation 9:1-11).


John now beholds a new heaven and a new earth. The word new is a translation of the Greek word kainos which is not referring to that which is new in time, but new as to form or quality. It speaks of that which is different in nature from what is contrasted as old. It is not something that has been remolded, but now made altogether different. It is brand new, fresh and never before seen. This is in fulfillment of God’s prophetic word (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22).


God creates this new heaven and earth because the first heaven and earth had passed away (Revelation 20:11; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Psalm 102:25-27). It is interesting to note that this new heaven is not referring to the dwelling place of God primarily, but to the surrounding atmosphere of this new world and to planetary space.


One very unique feature of this new world is that there is no longer any sea. This is radically different from the present earth were approximately 70% of it is covered by the sea. The scriptures give no explanation of why there will be no sea. It is just stated factually.


Dr. Henry Morris provides this interesting perspective…


“The present sea is needed…as a basic reservoir for maintenance of the hydrologic cycle and the water-based ecology and physiology of the animal and human inhabitants of the earth. In the new earth, (all who live there) will have glorified bodies with no more need for water.


Their resurrected bodies will be composed, like that of the Lord Jesus, of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39; Philippians 3:21), but apparently with no need of blood to serve as a cleanser and restorer of the body’s flesh as at present.” The absence of the sea is an indication of the transformation of the saint’s bodies which no longer has a need for water in its glorified state (Philippians 3:20-21).


It’s not that there will not be any water on the new earth. Revelation 22:1-2 states that the water of life will flow from the very throne of God and of the Lamb. It is the water of everlasting life.


II. A New Central City (21:2)


When God creates a new heaven and a new earth, this new creation will also have a new central city called “The New Jerusalem.” This city will not be a remolding of the historic city that exists in Israel today. Nor will it be the remolding of the Millennial Jerusalem from which Christ reigned. Those cities have now passed away along with the first heaven and earth. For this city does not have its origin from this earth. It comes from heaven to this earth. The fact that it is described as coming down out of heaven from God implies that it had already existed.


John describes this city as a “Holy City.” The historic city of Jerusalem is often referred to as a holy city in the scriptures, although its occupants frequently conducted themselves in an unholy manner. The word holy means to be set apart or consecrated to God for His purposes. The fact that this city is referred to as “holy” indicates that it is eternally set apart or dedicated to the Lord and His designs.


In the New Jerusalem, its inhabitants will be completely set apart to the service of the Lord unlike the historic city.


Abraham in faith looked forward to the coming of this city while he and his descendants lived in tents in the Promised Land (Hebrews 11:8-10). It is the city prepared by God for those who lived by faith even to death (Hebrews 11:13-16).


It is the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, the dwelling place of God’s angels and the church (Hebrews 12:22-24). “In John’s enraptured gaze, the city seemed like a radiant bride, beautiful in glistening white garments, ready for her wedding.” Henry M. Morris


We will examine more details of this Golden City as we progress in our study.


III. A New Spiritual Environment (21:3-4)


The Bible gives an interesting record of the dwelling places of God. First God walked with man in the Garden of Eden. Then He dwelt with Israel in the tabernacle and later the temple. When Israel sinned, God had to depart from those dwellings.


Later, Jesus Christ came to the earth and “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14). Today, God does not live-in man-made temples (Acts 7:48-50), but in the bodies of His people

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20).


But in the future, God will dwell among His people in this new city in the new heaven and earth. It’s not that we go to the third heaven to dwell in His presence. Rather God will come down to this new earth and its new city in order to live among His redeemed people.


Since we have the presence of God, we must have the absence of sin (v.4). When someone comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, they are delivered from the past penalty of sin and the present power of sin. In the eternal state, those who are true Disciples of Christ will be delivered from sin altogether. In the eternal state, there will be the elimination of five tragic consequences of sin: tears, death, mourning, crying and pain.


Because sin will not be present in the new heaven and earth, tears shed because of sadness, sickness, disappointment, misfortune, regret or the loss of loved ones, or tears for any other reason related to sin will never flow again. There will be tears of joy, but not tears of sadness.


IV. New Creation (21:5)


The one who sits on the throne is the same one from “whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them” (Revelation 20:11).


The new heaven and the new earth, with its central city which is the New Jerusalem with its new spiritual environment, is a testimony to the Lord’s declaration that He has made all things new. This is not a remolding of the old. It is the construction of that which is altogether new. It is perfect and pristine. It will be forever untouched by sin or the consequence of sin in the world.


The Lord commanded John to write this down, for these words are faithful and true. They bear these characteristics because they are a reflection of the character of God. They are as He is, faithful and true. They are worthy of our unreserved confidence and trust (cf. Psalm 119:160; John 17:17; Proverbs 30:5).


V. A New Population (21:6-8)


Those who have been made new will populate all that has been made new. These citizens of God’s eternal kingdom are described as the thirsty and the overcomers who are the sons of God.


The one who sat upon the throne declared with certainty, “it is done!” This is reminiscent of the words of Jesus on the cross when he stated, “it is finished.” Jesus was speaking of the completion of the work of redemption accomplished by Him on the cross. The divine declaration is referring to the end of redemptive history and the start of something brand new.


“Thirst” is used in this passage, as well as in other places in the scriptures, to describe a deep and earnest sense of one’s spiritual need and hunger which can only be satisfied by the spiritual food and water that only God can supply (cf. Matthew 5:6). Those who thirsts for God (the elect), and the eternal life of God, will have their thirst quenched by God. The “water of life” is both symbolic of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as well as the eternal life He imparts to the souls of those who come to Christ in faith for the salvation of their souls (cf. John 7:37-39).


Thanks to a statement made by the Apostle John in his first letter, we can know for certain those who are described as “overcomers.”


1 John 5:4-5 (NASB)

4 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”


To be a “son” of God is a right granted by God to those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and who experience new birth in Christ (John 1:12-13).


Contrary to popular opinion, there will be some who are excluded from the eternal state. They are the unredeemed.


The “cowardly” deilos refers to those who are fearful and timid. In this passage, it refers to those who may have made a profession of faith in Christ, but quickly abandoned their profession because true regeneration was never experienced by them. When the cost of following Jesus became obvious to them, they quickly fell away (see Matthew 13:20-21). In the context of the book of Revelation, it is possible that the cowardly that are spoken of here may be a reference to those who abandoned their professed allegiance to Christ during the time of the Great Tribulation.


The unbelieving refers to those who refuse to trust in Jesus for the salvation of their soul. The abominable refers to those who are vile, detestable and lacking moral restraint. Their gross immorality produces disgust in God.


The murderers are those who violate the sanctity of human life by taking the life of another in a premeditative act of homicide. It can also refer to those who are haters of others and commit murder in their hearts (Matthew 5:21-23; 1 John 3:14-15).


Immoral persons refer to those who as a way of life, seek to satisfy their sexual appetite independent of God’s directives regarding the proper context for sexual intimacy, which is in a committed marriage relationship.


Sorcerers comes from a translation of the Greek word, pharmakos which refers to one who uses magic and sorcery which is the use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits.


Idolaters speak of those who worship anything or anyone other than the true and living God. Here the more direct reference could be to those who worshipped the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation.


Liars refer to all who distort the truth and use deceit to advance themselves and to take advantage of others.


It is essential that you keep in mind that John is speaking of those in this list who characteristically function in life captured by these sinful practices. They are unrepentant and dead spiritually. For a similar list, see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Ephesians 5:5-7.


It really doesn’t matter who we think should be in heaven or the eternal state. If habitual sin and rebellion characterize the life of a person, they will never enter into eternal glory. They will be occupants of the fiery lake of burning sulfur. It doesn’t matter how good or virtuous a person may be. Without faith in Jesus as your only hope of salvation, your destiny is eternal suffering in the lake of fire.


John’s Vision of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-22:5)


I. The Brilliance of the City (21:9-11)


Originally, “bride” and “the wife of the Lamb” was used to describe the church. But now, this title encompasses all the redeemed who will be the privileged occupants of this city. They are the bride of Christ, the wife of the Lamb and the city that they dwell in has taken on the identity of its occupants.


(v.10) The fact that this holy city is coming down out of heaven from God is a testimony of its divine origin. It is not built by human hands. It is no doubt the product of the creative word of God, who in the creation of the universe spoke all things into existence (Genesis 1). The builder and the architect is God

(See Hebrews 11:10).


(v.11) “The glory of God” has appeared in different places throughout history. God’s glory dwelt in the tabernacle and then in the temple. Today, His glory dwells in believers and in His church. For all eternity, the glory of God will be seen in His holy city. It is the only light the city will need, for it is the outshining of the sum total of the perfection of God’s character. John says that the brilliance of this city was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. MacArthur in his study bible states…


(Jasper is) a transliteration, not a translation, of the Greek word. Rather than the modern opaque jasper, the term actually refers to a completely clear diamond, a perfect gem with the brilliant light of God’s glory shining out of it and streaming over the new heaven and the new earth (cf. 4:3). Wow!


II. The Gates and the Foundation Stones (21:12-14)


(v.12) Unlike earthly cities, the wall is not for protection from enemies. Later, it is mentioned that the gates of the city are always open (21:25). Besides, all the enemies are gone. They are now permanent residents of the lake of fire. Most likely, the walls of this city are symbolic of its strength and the eternal security enjoyed by its occupants.


John also notes that this brilliant city has twelve gates with twelve angels stationed at each gate. On the gates are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, God’s covenant people. The gates are a recognition and celebration of God’s covenant relationship with the people of Israel.


(v. 13) The gates are arranged symmetrically. This is reminiscent of the way the twelve tribes camped around the tabernacle (cf. Numbers 2).


(v. 14) The wall of the city has twelve foundation stones bearing the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This commemorates God’s relationship with the church, of which the apostles served as the foundation (see Ephesians 2:19-20).


Although the distinction between Israel and the church is maintained by the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the church, they are now identified as being together.


III. The Measurements of the City (21:15-17)


(v. 15) This is sort of a curious act, but it is reminiscent of the measuring of the Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 40:3ff), and the tribulation Temple (Revelation 11:1). The angel used a golden measuring rod, which is a rod generally taken from a tree which would be straight and thin. Like so many other things in this city, it is made of gold.


The purpose of measuring the holy city is to impress upon the apostle John and all who would read this of the great majesty and immensity of this golden city. Such measuring also seems to signify that it belongs to God and meets His standard of perfection. Remember, the writer of Hebrews tells us that God is the builder and the architect of this majestic city (Hebrews 11:10).

 

8MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Re 21:11). Nashville: Word Pub.

(v. 16) “Were that city to be superimposed on a present map of the United States, it would extend from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and from Colorado, to the Atlantic Ocean.” Obviously, there will be more than enough room for all of the redeemed.


(v. 17) Surrounding this huge city is a wall 144 cubits or 216 feet thick. The reference to man’s measurement simply means that though an angel is using the rod, he is using human dimensions. That is to say, that a yard is a yard, a foot is a foot, and a mile is a mile, whether humans or angels are doing the measuring.


Did you notice the reoccurring number “twelve” in these verses? Twelve angels, twelve gates, twelve foundations, twelve thousand stadia and a wall that is twelve times twelve equaling 144 cubits or 216 ft.; the number twelve, like the number seven seems to represent the amount of completeness in the new heaven and the new earth.


(v.18) the size of the city is most impressive, but so is the material that this city is made of. The immense walls are made of jasper. As mentioned before, that precious stone was a fine translucent stone, capable of different colors, primarily radiant white, but also flashing fiery red and purple tints.


Even more impressive than the walls of this city, is the city itself. The city is constructed with pure gold. This is the source of the song we have been singing called “The Golden City.” So pure is the gold of this city that it is transparent like glass.


“In this present world, gold is the most precious of metals, the standard of all currencies and the greatest of all objects of human greed and conflict. In the New Jerusalem, the very streets are paved with gold and the buildings are plastered with gold. The most beautiful and vauable of metals is now the most abundant of metals.”

Dr Henry Morris


(vv.19-20) John continues to describe the amazing sight of this magnificent city by describing the decorations that adorned the foundations of the city walls.


Building foundations are usually underground, but these foundations will not only be visible but beautifully garnished with precious stones. Each separate foundation will have its own jewel, and the blending of the colors will be magnificent as God’s light shines through.


No one can be dogmatic about the colors of these gems, and it really does not matter. Jasper, as we have seen, is a clear crystal. Sapphire is a blue stone, and chalcedony is probably greenish blue. The emerald, of course, is green; and the sardonyx is like our onyx, a white stone streaked with brown, though some scholars describe it as red and white.


Sardius is a red stone (sometimes described as “blood red”), and chrysolite a yellow quartz like our modern topaz. Beryl is green and topaz a yellow green. We are not sure about the chrysoprase; some think it is a golden-tinted stone, others, an apple-green color. The jacinth is

 

9Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:986). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

probably blue, though some claim it was yellow; and the amethyst is a rich purple, or blue red.

(v.21) The pearls are the building materials of the twelve gates of the city, and they are like no pearl presently produced by an oyster because each one of the gates was a single pearl. That’s enormous! This is one gigantic pearl nearly 1400 miles high. This street material in the Golden City is pure transparent gold. Wow!!


IV. The Divine Temple in the City (21:22)


In the New Jerusalem there would be no centralized place of worship such as existed in the old Jerusalem. There will be no need to go to a cathedral, church, chapel or any other house of worship. For the presence of the Lord almighty and the Lamb is the temple. So everywhere you go in this fourteen hundred square mile city, you will be in the special presence of the Lord. Worship will be everywhere, just as the Lord is everywhere.


V. The Divine Light of the City (21:23-24)


(v.23) The present earth is dependent upon the sun and the moon for the provision of the cycles of light and darkness. The moon causes the ocean tides. However, in the new heaven and earth, there will be no sea. The present function of the moon will not be necessary.


The source of light in the Golden City will be the brilliant, emanating reflective glory of the outshining of God’s perfection. The Lamb is the lamp of this city in the same way. The radiant light of the resurrected, ascended, glorified Lord will be the light of this city (cf. Isaiah 60:19-20).


(v. 24) Redeemed people from every nation and ethnic group will dwell in heaven’s light. In the eternal city, there will be no more divisions, barriers, or exclusions because of race or politics. All kinds of peoples in eternity dissolve into the people of God, and they will move freely in and about the city. Please notice that there will still be nations and leaders of those nations in the eternal state.


VI. The Exclusive Access to Golden City (21:25-27)


(v.25) The gates of this beautiful city serve as entrances not barriers. Earthly cities of bible times had walls and gates to keep out their enemies and to regulate who enters the city. Such modes of protection were especially needed during the night when the city was most susceptible to attack. But that will not be the case for the Golden City. For all of the enemies of God and His children are destroyed and there will be no nighttime. The gates will never close access to the Golden city will be perpetual.


(v.26) Since the Lord is the source of all good things, all power, riches, wisdom and strength rightfully belong to Him.

 

10Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Re 21:9). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

11MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Re 21:24). Nashville: Word Pub.

During the eternal state, all the inhabitants of the new earth will acknowledge this by a continuous procession into the Golden City, in which the nations of the world will bring their glory and honor to lay at the feet of Him who alone deserves all praise.

(v. 27) With all this coming and going through the always open gates, John emphasizes once again, that there is no danger whatever entailed in this right of unlimited access. There is no possibility that the purity of this Golden City will ever be defiled by those who are impure. “All who traffic there have long since been conformed to the image of God’s Son and have purified themselves even as He is pure.”


Unlike the cities of earth which are populated by the saved and the lost, the redeemed and the unredeemed, the sons of God and the children of the devil, only those who have been made pure by the redemptive work of Christ will enter the city. Exclusive access is given to those whose names are found in God’s divine register of His elect.


VII. The Water of Life in the City (22:1)


Thus far, John has described for us the external beauties of the Golden City with the brief exception of its pure gold streets. But now we enter into the city itself and there the angel shows John the river of the water of life flowing from the very throne of God and of the Lamb.


The water of life is the ever-flowing river of eternal life. What was lost in the Garden when Adam and Eve fell into sin is fully and finally restored, never to be interrupted again. This shows that in God's plan of redemption, the Lord intended to restore all things to the Garden of Eden state and to have the redeemed, experience the Creator's original intent for humanity.


Those who have access forever to the tree of life are those who were sinners deserving of the wages of sins which is eternal death. But having believed the glorious gospel message, which is the word of life, and trusting in the one who is the bread of life for the salvation of their souls, they can now drink freely from the river of the water of life.


VIII. The Tree of Life in the City (22:2)


This is the celestial counterpart to the tree of life that was in the Garden of Eden. This tree of life is symbolic of the blessings of eternal life. The overcomers were given the promise in Revelation 2:7 that they would be given the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. The interesting thing about this tree is that its leaves are for the healing of the nations.


The word “healing” (thereapeian) can be understood as “health-giving. The English “therapeutic” is derived from this Greek word, even though there is no sickness in the eternal state, the tree’s fruit and leaves seem to contribute to the physical well-being of those in the Golden City.


The leaves of this tree can be likened then to something like supernatural vitamins that are not given to treat illness but rather to promote health and quality of life. This tree, with its therapeutic leaves is a symbol of abundant life and that which enriches life.

IX. The Inner Life of the City (22:3-5)


(v. 3) What is lifelike in the golden city?


No more curse! This takes us back to Genesis 3:14-19, where the curse of God comes upon mankind because of their sinful disobedience. However, with the removal of the curse, there will be the removal of the byproducts of the curse, which means no more sickness, sorrow, pain and death.


Revelation 21:4

4 “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."


What will we do in the eternal state? Well, we won't spend our time floating on clouds and strumming harps. We will provide service before the throne of God and the Lamb which will be in the city. The Scriptures do not give us any detail about the kind of service we will provide, but I am sure that it is the kind of service that although done for the benefit of the Lord, brings fulfillment to us. I would imagine this service provides the fulfillment of a job well done without the obstacles of work that we currently face in a fallen world.


(v. 4) Who will we see in the golden city?


No more curse! This takes us back to Genesis 3:14-19 where the curse of God comes upon mankind because of their sinful disobedience. However, with the removal of the curse, there will be the removal of the byproducts of the curse which means no more sickness, sorrow, pain and death.


Incredibly, we will see God face to face. Having been transformed into our glorified bodies, we will be able to endure the heavenly level of the blazing glorious light from God's presence without being consumed. Mortal man would die if he saw God in all His glory. In addition, we will bear the name of God on our foreheads.


This would be in opposition to those who bore the mark of the beast on their foreheads, indicating their love, loyalty and devotion to the antichrist. The name of God on the foreheads of the saints indicates that they belong to God and will serve God and reign with God. It is a wonderful moniker to bear!


(v. 5) As mentioned previously, there will be no need for the luminaries that we are accustomed to in our present existence on planet earth. For the emanating glory of the Lord will keep the eternal city well lit.


And not only will the saints of the Lord serve the Lord, but they will also reign with the Lord from this new central city in the eternal state.

Practical Implications


1. God has a date certain plan for the end of the problem of pain and human suffering (Revelation 21:4; 22:3).


2. Our Lord promised His disciples that He would go to heaven and prepare a place for them. The Golden City is that place (John 14:1-4).


3. The Lord is the builder, light, and the temple of the Golden City. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the Holy City; and it is there that the saints of God will serve Him and reign with Him forever (Revelation 21:9-22:5).

4. Access into the Golden City requires your name being written in the Lamb's book of life (Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19).


5. If you desire to be with the Lord in the Golden City, you must enter on His terms and that is through faith alone, in Christ alone, as the only hope of your salvation.

 



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Authored by Jerry Marshall The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ was given to Apostle John, who was commanded by the Lord to write down the things that he had seen, the things that are, and the t