Revelation 21:9-27 / The Holy City

Posted on September 1, 2016

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This is the Fifty-third in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on July 31, 2016. This message gives us a deeper look at the Holy City. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not necessarily a full transcript. This post contains no audio.
SERMON AUDIO:

NO AUDIO

SERMON NOTES:

VV.9-10:
Is the church the bride, or is the city the bride?

The city, being home to the saved, collectively becomes the Bride of the Lamb.

It takes on the character of its inhabitants.

Notice the parallels here. In Revelation 17:1, we are given a vision of the great harlot.

The city became a harlot, because that was the nature of all of its inhabitants.

Notice also that John was taken into the wilderness to view the harlot.

Yet to view the Holy City, he was taken to the lofty position of the top of a mountain.

V.11:
This paints a picture of the absolute brilliance and glory of the new Jerusalem.

People have often remarked of a bride on her wedding day that she is glowing.

If this city is home to the bride of the Lamb, how could it not radiate an immense glory?

VV.12-13:
The gates likely corresponded to the millennial Jerusalem described in Ezekiel 48:31-34

If that is so, then the names would correspond as well.

The gates are evenly spread, 3 on each wall, and are guarded by angels.

The Angels tell us that without any doubt, this is God’s city.

V.14:
While the gates are named for the twelve tribes, the 12 foundations of the wall are named after the twelve apostles.

The tribes would represent God’s election, while the apostles represent the church. Between the two, we have the compete fulfillment of the work of Christ.

VV.15-16:
Here we are given the measurements of the city, and it is huge, definitely God sized proportions.

It’s dimensions are symmetrical, just like its closest earthy counterpart, the inner court of the temple. The Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies.

1 Kings 6:20

It is 12000x12000x12000 stadia. There are 8.69 stadia to a mile. The math works out to 1380 miles long wide and high.

V.17:
Here we get a look at the size of the wall of the city.

This wall is being measured by an Angel, using human measurements.

The measurement works out to 216′.

Is that 216′ high or wide? The Bible doesn’t say, so I’ll offer some food for thought.

If it’s 216′ high, that seems pretty short for a city that is 1380 miles tall.

However, any wall that approaches that height would need a significantly wide base.

Then again, when measuring a wall of this type, one would reasonably assume that the height is being measured.

The bottom line is that the Bible doesn’t tell us.

V.18:
The splendor of the wall and the city in particular can not be overstated.

The wall is made of Jasper, and the city is transparent gold.

It’s interesting to note that only in the last century did we figure out that gold could be transparent if we get it thin enough.

It is now used as a protective coating on spacecraft and the helmets of astronauts, some airplane Windows, etc.

Though we just recently figured it out, God told us 2000 years ago about transparent gold.

This Gold, however is so pure, that even in its thickness, it is like glass!

VV.19-20:
The twelve foundations (named after the 12 apostles) are decorated with 12 different precious stones.

As a side note, the names of some of these gems has changed over the centuries, so it’s hard to specifically identify them.

V.21:
Here we see the pearly gates that are so often referenced when we speak of heaven.

It is interesting to note that earthly pearls are formed as a consequence of an oyster being wounded. The end result; however, is a thing of beauty.

These gates of Pearl will remind the saints throughout eternity of the suffering of Christ, and it’s eternal benefit. A thing of beauty indeed.

V.22:
There are many passages that speak of a temple in heaven, but here it says there is no temple.

It goes on to say that God and the Lamb are the temple, so there is no contradiction here.

We should also remember that the Holy City is patterned after the Most Holy Place (the innermost part of the temple) or vice verse.

In either case, in one sense, the entire city is a temple, the Holy of Holies.

V.23:
The other remarkable feature is the lack of the sun and the moon. No external light sources.

Here, in this perfect place, our Lord will be in His full glory.

Have you ever noticed that during the creation week, it says nowhere that God created the light. He is the light.

John 1:1-5

John 3:19-21

We already know that evil will not exist here, and it’s a good thing, because evil hates the light.

V.24:
Redeemed people from every nation and ethnic group will dwell in this light.

There will be no more divisions, barriers because of race or politics.

There will be all kinds of peoples in eternity, and they will all be the people of God.

VV.25-26:
The city has gates, but they will never be shut.

This is the ultimate security and freedom. You will live without fear, and can keep your doors unlocked-even open.

The saints will freely move in and out of the city, and there will be nothing standing between man and God.

V.27:
It will be impossible for any kind of evil to enter in, because all evil will have already been judged and banished to the lake of fire, from which there will be no escape.

So, once again we ask, is your name in the book?

Eternal darkness or eternal light, those are your options.

Eternal glory or eternal torment are the only two choices.

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Posted in: Eschatology, Sermons