Revelation 21:1-27 Part 9

Revelation 21:1-27 Part 9


1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.


Here a little; there a little… hearing the language, learning to hear what God has revealed from the beginning, learning to see through His eyes, being so thoroughly familiar with His will and purpose,  knowing the work of Jesus Christ – the Savior of the world, our minds being sanctified by Word and Spirit….

God had identified Himself as “I AM”.  And at the beginning of the Revelation our Lord appeared to John as the One Who had been described in Ezekiel chapter one.  And He said to John that He IS “WAS”; and He IS “IS”; and He IS “WILL BE”.

And here in our text He is said to be Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.  He WAS at the creation; for He brought it to be by the Word of His Power.  And it all belongs to Him.  He made it; and He knows His Own will and purpose for it all; for it’s all HIS!

The way He describes its history is HIS way; for it’s His history!  The way He describes the salvation and reconciliation of all things is His way.  It’s His to reveal in the way He chooses!

So, why should any creature be so bold as to describe it some other way, or re-interpret it for himself?  Should the one “created” say to its Creator: “I don’t want to be what you made”?  Or: “I don’t want to be described in the way you describe me”?  Or: “I don’t much care for the way you reveal your purpose for all of this”!  Or: “why is Your Revelation in YOUR language… why don’t you reveal yourself the way I talk”! 

Shouldn’t that be described as the epitome of arrogance?

What we’re attempting to do here is to so immerse ourselves in the Revelation of Jesus Christ that we think His thought after Him… that we learn to view all these things the way HE views them and the way He causes them to be; that we see this world and its salvation the way He sees it… in other words, to refuse to perceive with an alien perception!

Before we continue our place in the text this morning, what I want to do is to give you an example of one of those “alien perceptions” of our Lord’s revealed will and purpose in the salvation of this world.

This isn’t meant to be haughty, or to make us seem somehow superior.  It is, simply, a demonstration of a current and ongoing deviation from Biblical, covenantal Theology, the likes of which re-interpret the will and purpose of God’s salvation of His creation; and it is presented for the purpose of our learning to have the mind of Christ as He proceeds to reconcile all things to Himself.

The one thing that I would declare to you, before I give you the scenario that I have in mind, is that no creature has a right to his own opinion!  To many freedom-loving people, that statement would sound very strange… maybe even startling!  But just keep that in mind as I present this ongoing scenario to you.

Here’s what’s going on right now as we speak; and it’s a deviation from Biblical Theology:

Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a west coast branch in Escondido California.  Westminster, as originally founded, has always been considered (especially by Presbyterians) as a “bulwark” of the faith, holding the doctrines of the Westminster Confession and catechisms, and producing good theologians and pastors for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

However, the west coast branch has, almost from its inception, set its own course.  Although there have been some good men in the Churches of California, the direction that the seminary has set for itself has left others in a maze of deviant Theology.

For the last number of years, what has emerged from the seminary (or, at least, from some members of the seminary staff) is a “two-kingdom” theology.  It’s well-developed at this point in time; but in its simplest form it is the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdoms of this world.

God’s principles (their word) for governance in this world are to be determined – not by Scripture alone, but by natural law.  That’s the way the “other” Kingdom operates!  And natural law is to be ascertained by human reason and conscience.  And the Kingdom of Christ is wholly future, so we can do nothing to advance it; we just have to accept everything as it is, and deal with it until judgment day.

The Kingdom of Christ and the kingdoms of the world will proceed together until Christ returns; and He’ll sort it all out in the end.  Christian devotion to Christ is to be practiced at one level; but functioning in the earthly kingdom is to be at a wholly “other” level.

As you may be able to hear, this is a terrible perversion of the Law and the Gospel.  We have heard nothing like this in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

And the perversion has produced a tide of relativism with regard to civil government and how Christians are to relate to (what are called) the “realities” of the present society and culture.

Now… during the last number of years – maybe ten – there has been a very public example of the two-kingdom theology that is taught there in Escondido.  And it has reverberated, in very public discussions in print and in the social media, among many Churches and in seven different denominations (much to the shame of our Lord’s Church)!

The wife of a California Orthodox Presbyterian pastor has taken upon herself to display, for all the world to see, a Christian “acceptance” of the (so-called) “gay” community and its activism in the promotion of “gay marriage”.  We can’t be “against” them, she says (reflecting the two-kingdom theology).  They are a part of this world-order that’s ruled by conscience and by natural law; so we, as Christians, must love them and accept them for who they are.

Christ’s Kingdom is in heaven; His Kingdom has not yet come on earth, they say.  The earth is another kingdom; and Christians have to live by its rules – and by conscience.

So this lady is on the board of directors of some alliance of christian practicing homosexuals, speaking at its conferences, advocating for it in the media, and advancing its agenda nationally!  She is very public with it; and the social media, including the forums, swirls with conversation about it.  After ten years it’s still ongoing.  I’ve received no less than twenty lengthy contributions to the forum discussions in the last two weeks!   And it shames the Lord’s Church!

It’s her “opinion” that we must accept their presence as a “reality” in culture and society, and accept their “practices” and their “marriages” as equal treatment under the law by the civil government in this earthly kingdom; and our Christian consciences demand that we love them as they are.

That’s just one – very public – example of the theology being taught in one of the world’s esteemed theological institutions.

Now… on another level, the seminary’s highly developed two-kingdom theology teaches that kings and rulers and elected officials rule by their own light, and by their own opinions and consciences as they perceive “natural law”!  The Law of God, which was given to the kingdom of Israel, isn’t “binding” on present-day civil authorities (that theology declares), because the present world order isn’t the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

So, therefore (according to the two kingdom theology), at any given point in time; and in any given set of circumstances, the civil magistrate’s “reason” and “conscience” (by way of the light of nature) guides his ruling.  And the ensuing opinion becomes the law for all those within his jurisdiction!

Like I said, this has become well-developed over a period of years.  And the students are immersed in the “system” rather than being taught a good covenantal hermeneutic!  And the pastor’s wife who is so engaged with the civil liberties of sodomites is only one example of the results.  Without being thoroughly grounded in Biblical Theology, systematics can easily go awry.

It wasn’t so with our Reformed forebears.  Although the revised Westminster Confession and catechisms aren’t as specific as they should be with regard to the civil magistrate and the rule of law, the confession produced in Switzerland (mid 1500s) after Calvin passed away, was very careful to establish the source of the law from which the authority of the magistrate was derived.

The Second Helvetic Confession brought Zurich and Geneva into confessional harmony; and the reformed Churches of a number of other countries received the confession as their own.

So, listen as I read this short statement about the civil magistrate in the present Kingdom of our Lord.  And take note that there is no indication whatever of another kingdom or of a two-kingdom theology!


"Let him (that’s the civil authority), therefore, hold the Word of God in his hands, and take care lest anything contrary to it is taught. Likewise let him govern the people entrusted to him by God with good laws made according to the Word of God, and let him keep them (i.e. the laws) in discipline, duty and obedience.  Let him exercise judgment by judging uprightly.  Let him not respect any man's person or accept bribes. Let him protect widows, orphans and the afflicted. Let him punish and even banish criminals, impostors and barbarians; for he does not bear the sword in vain.”


No deviant and un-Biblical theology there!

Now, that’s all a very short and simplistic explanation of the two-kingdom theology and our forebears’ understanding of the present authority and Kingdom of our Lord.  And it goes right to the heart of what we’re hearing in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, doesn’t it?

Okay… the entire Word of God prophesies exactly what John is shown in The Revelation.  The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ!

At His appearance in the cloud of glory at the end of the age, the serpent of old would be bound from deceiving the nations; the first heaven and the first earth would disappear; the first Jerusalem would cease to exist; all things would be made new!

The mountain of our Lord’s kingdom would be over all the mountains of the earth, and there would be a new Jerusalem – God With Us – from which the Light would shine upon the gross darkness of all the nations; and the water of life would flow into every dry place on earth; and through all the years of His reign and rule the entire earth would prosper and flourish, and multitudes of the peoples, tongues and tribes would acknowledge the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (as promised to Abraham).  And, as promised, the Savior of the world will have saved the world!  And the entire creation would reflect the glory of God!

How does that square with a two-kingdom theology that says this world is to be ruled by the consciences of man by the light of nature!!  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is sure and faithful and true; and no man has a right to his own opinion.

The Scot, William Symington, a mid-1800s puritan product of the Reformation once wrote:


"Our object should not be to have scripture on our side but to be on the side of scripture; and however dear any sentiment may have become by being long entertained, so soon as it is seen to be contrary to the Bible, we must be prepared to abandon it without hesitation."


Hopefully the seminary in California will see that its two-kingdom theology is contrary to Scripture and militates against the Revelation of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom; and that they abandon it without hesitation in confession and repentance.


Let’s review some of what we’ve read recently in the prophets regarding the glory of God in the perfections and beauty and adornment of the New Jerusalem.  And then we’ll look at another very important connection regarding the gleaming stones of her foundations and walls and gates.


Here’s Isaiah chapter forty:


3)      The voice of one that cries out, “Prepare the way of YAHVEH in the wilderness; make level a highway for our God in the dry places.

4)      Every valley shall be raised up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and all the uneven places shall be made straight, and the rough places a plain;

5)      and the glory of YAHVEH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of YAHVEH has spoken it.


The radiant glory of our God is the brightness of His Person – His holy Presence.  His glory shall be revealed to all flesh… every people, tongue and tribe. And all flesh shall see it.


And from Isaiah chapter sixty:

1)      Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of YAHVEH shall rise upon you.

2)      For, behold, darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but YAHVEH will arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you.

3)      And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

4)      Lift up your eyes round about, and see: they will all gather themselves together, they will come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in arms.

5)      Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto you, the wealth of the nations shall come unto you.

11)  Your gates also shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto you the wealth of the nations, and their kings led captive.

14)  And the sons of them that afflicted you shall come bending down unto you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of YAHVEH, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15)  Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man passed through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

18)  Violence shall no more be heard in your land, desolation nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls “Salvation”, and your gates “Praise”.

19)  The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto you: but YAHVEH will be unto you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.

20)  Your sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdraw itself; for YAHVEH will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.

21)  Your people also shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.


There’s the prophecy of the new Jerusalem – the “holy” one – the tabernacle of God with man!  It’s exactly what John sees, as written in our text (and was shortly to be).  It’s in the same language!  And John sent it to the Churches before the appearance of Jesus Christ in the cloud of glory! 

Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight:


13)  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone  covered you, the sardius, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the pearl; the workmanship of your  mountings and of your settings was crafted in gold; in the day that you were created they were prepared.

14)  You were the anointed guardian cherub that covers; and I set you, so that you were upon the holy mountain of God; you had walked up and down in the midst of the gleaming stones.

15)  You were perfect in the day that you were created, but unrighteousness was found in you.

16)  By the abundance of your traffic, violence filled the midst of you, and you did sin; therefore I did cast you as profane out of the mountain of God; and I did destroy you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the gleaming stones.

17)  Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom with all of your brightness.  I will cast you to the ground; I will lay you before kings, that they may look at you.

18)  By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your traffic, you profaned your sanctuaries; therefore will I bring forth a fire into the midst of you; it will devour you, and I will turn you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.

19)  All they that know you among the peoples shall be astonished at you: you will become a terror, and you will nevermore have any being.


We’ll be reading a lot more from Ezekiel as we go.  It’s also important to remember the description of the first paradise – the garden into which man was created.  Moses’ language there in Genesis is abbreviated; but the land was filled with gold and wonderful fragrances and gleaming stones of a variety of colors equal to the colors of the bow around the Presence of Almighty God.  They reflected His radiant glory!

But there is another connection that we have to make.  Listen to God’s instructions to Moses at chapter twenty eight of the Exodus:


15)  And you shall make a breastplate of judgment, the work of the skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, shall you make it.

16)  Foursquare it shall be and double; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof.

17)  And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, four rows of stones: a row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row;

18)  and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond;

19)  and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;

20)  and the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be enclosed in gold in their settings.

21)  And the stones shall be according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names; like the engravings of a signet, every one according to his name, they shall be for the twelve tribes.


As you can hear, Moses was required by God to have skilled artisans make (what is called) a breastplate, like an ephod… just one.  And once a year, one man would enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle to make intercession for the people while wearing this item.

Also, during the history of Israel when one wished to make inquiry of YAHVEH about some course of action, he was required to wear the ephod/breastplate.

As you heard in the text, the item was to be four-square; that is, perfectly square.  And it was to have twelve different precious stones set in gold, in three rows of four.  And each stone represented one tribe of the house of Jacob/Israel.

The breastplate was to be hung over the chest of the priest.  And after the sacrifice was made, he would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice throughout the tabernacle and then enter the holy place as an intermediary in order to make intercession for all the people.

This was a perfect prophetic image of what the Christ of God would do when He poured out His Own blood and entered, one time, into the tabernacle of God to make intercession for His people.

They would be a perfect number… (John saw them, you remember, they would be twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.)  Each perfect number from each tribe represented by a precious gemstone reflecting the glory of God; for each one was precious in His sight.  And not one was lost; and the total was one hundred and forty-four thousand.

We’ll have more to say about the new Jerusalem and its measurements in multiples of twelve as we go.  But the stones set in gold in the ephod of the high priest of Israel are the same as those that were found in the original paradise of God.

The garden of Eden was filled with shining gold and littered with precious, glistening stones of beautiful colors in great variety… all of which were reflective of God’s glory and His faithful covenant for the salvation of every single one written in the Lamb’s book of life.

And here in the Exodus we see that the priests of Israel themselves were adorned with these gleaming stones… all foreshadowing a complete salvation of perfect proportions!

A thing is surely confirmed by multiple witnesses, isn’t it?

And the very same language is used by God in describing the first Jerusalem!  She was to be an edenic paradise of shining gold and gleaming stones to reflect His glorious light to the world.  But she didn’t want those; she adorned herself in the gold and gems that were gained from prostitution with the nations.

And now, here in The Revelation, the new Jerusalem (about to be, as John writes) is described in even greater detail with the exact same language as was the garden of Eden; and, later, the priesthood of Israel; and then the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel!

What John is shown is the new Jerusalem coming down from God… holy; and adorned round about with the crown of gleaming stones; for He is With us.

The twelve stones are the stones among the gold found in the garden of Eden.  The twelve stones are the stones set in gold in the priest’s breastplate.  The twelve stones are the adornment rejected by the first Jerusalem; for she had her own crown of ill-gotten gold and beautiful stones.

And the twelve stones are the perfect foundation of the wall (or crown) of the four-square city – the new Jerusalem.  They are the elect of the tribes of Jacob who Jesus came to seek and to save.

And written on twelve individual foundation stones were the names of Jesus’ twelve apostles.

It is the perfect tabernacle of “God-With-Us” – crowned with the perfections of the covenantal promise of so great salvation; for every last one written in the book of life from the tribes of Jacob were saved to the uttermost.  And they are the crown of glory around the new Jerusalem!  They gleam with the glory of God; for not one was lost.

They thirsted for the water of life.  And from them would flow the River of Life into every dry place; and through all the years the entire creation would flourish and prosper in the Peace of God.

It is the New Jerusalem; and it is truly “God-With-Us”.  The kingdoms of the earth have become the Kingdom of our Lord.  And it all belongs to Him; and so it all belongs to us.

The Savior of the World promised that He would save the world; and it will all be a crown of glory for the Father when He’s done.

And within the Church of Jesus Christ there’s no greater alien deviation from the Faith than the two-kingdom theology now being publically propagated.  It calls for Christians to be hyphenated and schizophrenic as they live in a secret, personal devotion to Christ; and operate (somewhat secretly) in another kingdom that doesn’t belong to Him.

That’s being “fearful” and “unfaithful” to the King of Kings.  And John writes that the fearful and unfaithful will be cast into the lake of fire in the day of judgment.