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                          "THE HEAVENLY CITY"

                          Revelation 21:2-22:5

INTRODUCTION

1. It is written that Abraham looked for a city...
   a. A city whose builder and maker is God - He 11:8-10
   b. A city God had prepared for him - He 11:13-16

2. It is written that we too look for a city...
   a. A city which is to come - He 13:14
   b. A city promised by Jesus to those who overcome - Re 3:12

[John was shown a vision of a great city, along with words of comfort
and warning (Re 21:2-8).  He was then offered a detailed glimpse of this
heavenly city.  Let's take a closer look at what he saw...]

I. THE GREAT CITY (9-21)

   A. JOHN IS SHOWN THE HOLY CITY...
      1. By one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls of wrath
         - Re 21:9-10a
         a. Who offered to show John "the bride, the Lamb's wife"
         b. Who carried him away in the Spirit to a great and high
            mountain
      2. He sees the great city, the holy Jerusalem - Re 21:10b-11
         a. Descending out of heaven from God - cf. Re 21:2; also 3:12
         b. Having the glory of God, with light like a jasper stone,
            clear as crystal - cf. Re 4:2-3
      -- The imagery is uncertain, but the city may be depicted as
         hovering between heaven and the new earth

   B. JOHN DESCRIBES THE HOLY CITY...
      1. It had a great and high wall - Re 21:12-14
         a. With twelve gates, with three gates each on east, north,
            south
         b. With twelve angels at the gates
         c. With the twelve tribes of Israel's names inscribed on the
            gates
         d. With twelve foundations
         e. With the twelve apostles' names inscribed on the foundations
      2. The measurement of the city, the gates, and the wall - Re 21:
         15-17
         a. The angel had a golden reed to measure them
         b. The city is laid out as a cube, its length, breadth, and
            height are each 12,000 furlongs (1500 hundred miles cubed),
            the distance from Orlando to Denver!
         c. The wall is one hundred and forty-four cubits (216 feet),
            either high or thick
      3. The construction of the city, the wall, its foundations, and
         the gates - Re 21:18-21
         a. The wall was of jasper; the city was pure gold, like clear
            glass
         b. The twelve foundations of the wall were adorned with
            precious stones:
            1) Jasper         5) Sardonyx    9) Topaz
            2) Sapphire       6) Sardius    10) Chrysoprase
            3) Chalcedony     7) Chrysolite 11) Jacinth
            4) Emerald        8) Beryl      12) Amethyst
         c. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate one pearl
         d. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass
      -- Imagine the colors, with varying shades of green, red, blue,
         gold, and clear crystal!

[Truly a great city; beyond our comprehension, but worthy of
contemplation!  Let's read more about...]

II. THE GLORIOUS CITY (22-27)

   A. ILLUMINATED BY THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND THE LAMB...
      1. Its temple are the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb - Re 21:22
         a. There is no temple, unlike there was in heaven described
            earlier - Re 7:15
         b. For that depicted the blessing of the intermediate state,
            but this the eternal state
      2. It is illuminated by the glory of God and the Lamb - Re 21:23
         a. There was no need of the sun or moon to shine in it - cf.
            Isa 60:19-20
         b. Of course, the sun and moon as we know it had burned up, and
            replaced by a new heaven and a new earth - cf. 2Pe 3:10-13;
            Re 21:1
      -- A glorious city, illuminated by a glorious God and Savior!

   B. ENHANCED BY THOSE WHO ENTER IT...
      1. The nations of the saved shall walk in its light - Re 21:24a
         a. The saved come from different nations - cf. Mt 28:19
         b. The imagery is similar to that found in Isaiah - cf. Isa 60:
            3-9
      2. The kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it - Re
         21:24b
         a. Perhaps referring to such righteous kings like those of
            Judah (David, Hezekiah, Josiah)
         b. Or those redeemed by the Lamb, who will reign together with
            Him - cf. Re 22:6
      3. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day, and there is no
         night there - Re 21:25
         a. Those twelve gates of pearl shall remain open
         b. There is no night, for the glory of God and the Lamb are
            ever present
      4. The nations shall bring their glory and honor into it - Re
         21:26
         a. Glory and honor to be added to the glory of God and the Lamb
            - cf. Re 21:23
         b. Glory and honor they themselves received at the coming of
            the Lord - cf. 2Th 1:10-12
      5. Nothing that defiles shall enter it - Re 21:27
         a. None that cause an abomination or a lie, shall enter it
            - cf. Re 21:8
         b. Only those written in the Lamb's book of Life enter it - cf.
            Re 3:5; 20:15
      -- A glorious city, enhanced by the glorified redeemed of all
         nations!

   C. PROVISIONED FOR EVERLASTING SERVICE...
      1. The water of life - Re 22:1
         a. A pure river, clear as crystal
         b. Proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb
         c. Promised to those who thirst (for righteousness) - Re 21:6;
            22:17; cf. Mt 5:6
      2. The tree of life - Re 22:2
         a. In the middle of the street (was in the garden of Eden, now
            in the city of God!)
         b. Straddling the river of the water of life (from which it
            gets its nourishment?)
         c. Bearing twelve fruits, yielding fruit every month (perpetual
            provisions)
         d. With leaves for the healing of the nations (no more
            sickness)
      3. The reign of His servants - Re 22:3-5
         a. The curse which made work difficult is no more - cf. Gen 3:
            17-19
         b. The throne of God and of the Lamb is present (God's reign
            continues!)
         c. His servants serve Him (there will be work, but it will not
            be laborious)
         d. They shall see His face (like the angels, they will enjoy
            His presence) - cf. Mt 18:20
         e. His name will be on their foreheads (they shall be
            designated as His) - cf. Re 3:12
         f. There shall be no night, no need of lamp nor light of the
            sun (for God is the light)
         g. They shall reign forever and ever (the exalted nature of our
            service!) - cf. Mt 25:21
      -- A glorious city, with provisions to enable glorious service for
         eternity!

CONCLUSION

1. Granted, we are dealing with a highly figurative passage...
   a. John was shown that which is to come in symbols - cf. Re 1:1
   b. We must be careful not to strain the figures beyond their intended
      purpose

2. But how shall we envision the hope that we have in Christ...?
   a. With images of our own imagination, with those from other
      uninspired sources?
   b. Or with those provided by Jesus Himself, to comfort and encourage
      His servants?

3. As we look for the city to come (cf. He 13:14)...
   a. A city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God - cf.
      He 11:10
   b. A city prepared by God who is not ashamed to be called our God
      - cf. He 11:16

...may we who are disciples of Jesus Christ allow the vision seen by
John to excite and encourage us to remain faithful until we walk through
those pearly gates!  Listen, then, to these words:

   "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give
   to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega,
   the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."

   Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the
   right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the
   city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and
   murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

   "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the
   churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and
   Morning Star."

   And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say,
   "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take
   the water of life freely.
                                                        - Rev 22:12-17
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