Romans 1:16 – 2:12
● Vs 16: Paul declares, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel…”
● The cross of Jesus Christ and the Gospel were considered by many outsiders to be foolishness. The Gospel was considered a crutch, superstitious, a fairy tale or just plain idiotic.
● People who followed the cross were thus considered fools as well.
● The word Gospel is derived from the Greek word Euaggeleion (Yoo-ang-ghel-ee-on) which means good tidings or good news. These are the glad tidings of the kingdom of God that is at hand and still to come and it is also the good news of Jesus the Messiah dying for our sins and resurrecting for our justification. The Central theme of the Gospel is salvation is available to all who believe because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. This work is…
● “To the Jew first and also to the Greek” – Salvation (through the Gospel) is for everyone (Jews and Greeks) however this verse means the Gospel was first given to the Jews originally and eventually was made available to Gentiles.
The Gospel and the Righteousness of God
Vs 17: Not only does the Gospel show the power of God unto salvation but also in this Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.
● Righteousness – This is an attribute which means all that is right. The Gospel brings light to or uncovers the faithfulness, goodness, kindness, grace, mercy justice and proper(ness) of God. There is no wrong, evil or injustice in Him.
● God’s righteousness is unveiled from faith for faith.
● We are made right with God by the Gospel thus we live by faith/allegiance.
● The word live means made alive or to enjoy life. We are made alive, and we enjoy life through faith & obedience.
God’s Righteous Wrath
● There are three specific things (in this passage) that make God angry. These three sins are a succession of attitudes that lead to eventual godlessness, full blown sin, and complete condemnation.
● The following three acts of sin can serve as warnings to believers and give us insight into why some never come to faith in Christ.
 Moo, Douglas: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996, p. 67
The Lord’s Prayer is one of many Bible passages that most, if not all, of us can recite by memory or at least have a general understanding. It is often recited weekly at various churches around the world. There is so much to glean from this prayer, and I want to look at it today and gain some insights about prayer and the nature of God.
Most of this message will be taken from the Gospel of Matthew 6:5 – 13. Prior to teaching the disciples this prayer, Jesus spoke about the heart and motivation of giving. He also warns about making a spectacle of themselves when they tend to the needs of individuals or groups. He cautions about giving and helping to make oneself appear righteous or to be noticed by people for their deeds and actions. Instead, people are to give secretly, humbly, and in ways that will bring glory to God.
Matthew 6:5 - 13
Vs 5: Jesus gives the same advice with prayer. He says, “When you pray, do not pray like the hypocrites.” Here are some thoughts.
Jesus introduces a model prayer. Notice He does not say, “Pray this prayer”. He says, “Pray like this…” He tells us when we pray, use this as a model or a “template” on how we should effectively pray. This prayer contains six components, one is an invocation, and the other are petitions. The Lord’s Prayer could be broken down like this.
“Our Father in Heaven.” These four words are an introduction, a proclamation, and a summon to the one we are addressing in our prayers. We are praying to OUR FATHER in HEAVEN. It does not say to pray to the saints, the Virgin Mary, an angel, Mother Earth, etc. Who are we addressing? Our Father… Not just any ole Father, though, we are praying to The Father in Heaven. Some people have difficulty addressing God as the Father, and they have various legitimate reasons. Some may have difficulty addressing him as Father because they have or had an earthly father who brings nothing but painful thoughts, memories, and anxieties to mind. Acknowledging God as Father brings pain and anguish, so they refuse to believe that God as a Father could imply something good. Others don’t like the fact that the Father implies that God is a male, and this can open a whole can of worms dealing with patriarchy. Some more denominations refer to God as the Father/Mother. Some do not equate God to a Father because it lowers Him to the level of a human.
Regardless, the original Greek word for Father in this passage is translated from Pater (Pay – Ayr) which means the originator and transmitter of anything. 2a1 the authors of a family or society of persons animated by the same spirit as himself. 2a2 one who has infused his own spirit into others, who actuates and governs their minds. 2b one who stands in a father’s place and looks after another in a paternal way.
Whatever views we have about our earthly fathers it is important for us to know that we have a God in heaven who stands in the place of our earthly fathers and looks after us as true earthly parents should look after their own children. What does this mean to the believer? We have been exalted to a special close and intimate relationship with God, and we no longer dread him as a stern judge of sinners, but we should revere him as (our) reconciled and loving Father.
God is unique in the sense that his dwelling place is not here on earth. We cannot forget the fact that God is always present here on earth (Omnipresent) but it is not his home. His place is in heaven. The word translated as Heaven in this verse is ouranas (oo-ran-os) which means the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings.
In conclusion, as we look at God the Father, I want to stress the importance of knowing and understanding that we have a God in Heaven who loves us with pure, holy, and parental love. He watches over his children, protects us, and loves us in a way that only a parent could love a child. When my children were born, the emotion and connection I felt with my children was unspeakable. I cannot explain the type of love I experienced as a new father. It was a love that I didn’t know I could possess, and it was a pure love, a protective love, and a determining love. Imagine this is the kind of love our God has for us. That’s the best way to humanly describe God’s love for us as a Father. However, we cannot completely fathom or define this love because we love with a human love, and He loves with a perfect, pure, and holy love that we cannot understand or comprehend. But I also need to say that as our God, he not only loves us, but He also has the responsibility to discipline, protect, and guide us as children as well. Because this is what we are… His children. John 1:12 says what I am saying best, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in His name, he gave the RIGHT to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God.” Since we have a God in Heaven who loves us and gave his son Jesus Christ for us and we have believed in Him, we now have the right to be called His children, and we have the right to also call Him our Father who is a holy, loving, merciful and all-encompassing God.
Several years ago, I was called by the court of the city of Erie, PA to testify of a robbery that I witnessed in a Church where I worked. I was called to the witness stand and asked to give a personal testimony of what, when, and where I witnessed a robbery. I was asked questions by both the prosecutor and the defense attorney about the events of that day.
A man and a woman had been working together and devised a scheme where one went to the church office to speak a pastor(s) and tell them a sob story about a fictional daughter who was sick in a hospital in Pittsburgh. He requested that the church or the pastors give him some money for gas and her medication. This was something they had done a few times.
One day the man came to my office one day and told me his story. I was immediately suspicious because a month earlier a woman called me and told me almost the exact same story. As he was talking (complete with tears) his accomplice was walking around the church stealing valuables that were left unattended. With teary eyes the man asked if he could go upstairs to our sanctuary and pray, I said it would be fine for him to do so. Several minutes later I went to check on him in the sanctuary and he was no where to be found. Eventually we noticed things missing from the church… some items from the maintenance room and a purse from a visiting missionary. Immediately realized we had been scammed. People in the building started telling us there was a woman walking around the church and we could not find either one. We called the police and figured there was no way we would get these items back.
There are TV shows that are based on stupid criminals and this couple would be a great fit one of these shows, because the next day this couple shows up at the same church and gave the same exact story to another pastor. The pastors knew what had happened so a couple of the staff followed them to Wal-Mart, then called the police and they caught them red handed with many of the items stolen in the trunk including the purse… surprisingly the cash was gone.
This was far from a high-profile case, but from this experience I know what it feels like to be a witness in a court of law. The jury and court didn’t depend on just my testimony; they called several individuals who had been affected by these thieves or witnessed the strange behavior of the couple. They did this to gather enough evidence and cross check it to convict the couple of the crime. They were on trial, and the prosecutor depended on our testimonies to prove that the guilty parties were convicted of their crime. Nevertheless, they were convicted of their crimes and the those affected got their items back or were compensated appropriately.
I tell you this story as an introduction to today’s text. Jesus, once again, is questioned about his authority and his claims. He is on trial with the Jewish leaders. They try and use his own words against him to prove he is not who he claims that he is a fraud but Jesus has witnesses to back up his claims.
John 8:12 - 29
Background: It is commonly agreed that the events of this passage would have taken place during the Feast of Tabernacles. The Mishnah Sukkah 5 (The laws that deal with the Festival of Tabernacles) states, ―At the close of the first festival day they went down to the Court of the Women, and made great preparations there. There were golden candlesticks there with four golden bowls on the top of them. The candlesticks were fifty cubits high. Four ladders led up to each candlestick, and four youths from the priestly stock went up holding in their hands jars of oil, of twenty-four logs' capacity, which they poured into the bowls. They made wicks out of worn-out garments of the priests, and with them they set the candlesticks alight, and there was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that did not reflect the light. ―Men of piety and good deeds used to dance before them with burning torches in their hands, singing songs and praises. And countless Levites played on harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets and other instruments of music, on the fifteen steps leading from the Court of the Israelites to the Court of the Women. Two Priests stood at the Upper Gate, which leads down from the Court of the Israelites to the Court of the Women, with two trumpets in their hands. This was believed to happen every night during the Feast.
Verse 12: The “I am” statement Jesus makes in 8:12 is the second of seven “I am” claims in the Gospel of John. If the Mishnah Sukkah is correct, then we can see why Jesus makes this bold claim in the temple. The claim of being the light of the world is significant because during the nights of celebration the light that was carried represented the “light of God”. So, when Jesus makes the claim, “I am the light of the world…” He is claiming to be the light of God. Light is significant in the Scriptures because it exposes or consumes darkness, reveals what is hidden, gives life, guidance, and is a path. In the OT God led the Israelites by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. In the Gospel of John light is synonymous to life, revelation of the truth and salvation.
Jesus says, “If you follow me you won’t have to walk in darkness because you have the light that leads to life.” Followers or Jesus Christ are called to walk in the light because we have the light of life who is Jesus (John 1:4). In him was the life and the life was the light of the world. This means in Jesus we have salvation, eternal life, guidance, and abundant life here on earth. We no longer walk according to the ways of darkness (the world) because darkness has been exposed for what it is… evil; and we now have our paths in life illuminated by Jesus with the Holy Spirit as our guide.
Verse 13: The Pharisee’s try to use Jesus’ words against him. According to Jewish law one needs to have two or more witnesses for a testimony to be valid. The Jews said Jesus’ claims were invalid because he is testifying of himself and no one else.
Verses 14 – 18: Jesus tells them his testimony is true because of his firsthand knowledge of heaven. He knows who his Father is, He knows his place of origin, which the Jews did not. They only knew of his human origins, and they were wrong about that as well. They thought he was from Galilee and in fact he was from Judah. They were judging him based on human standards. Jesus says, “You judge me according to human standards, but I do not judge anyone.” This translation could and probably should read, “You judge according to human standards, but I do not judge according to human standards.” The religious leaders judged unto condemnation, but Jesus judged unto salvation. Jesus’ judgment is true because when he judges he does it in accordance with the Father.
He then takes on the witness question. It is true two witnesses are needed, and Jesus says, “I bear witness and the Father bears witness” of who I am. The witness of God trumps any human witnesses.
Verse 19: The leaders are still thinking Jesus is speaking in human terms, so they ask who his father is. Jesus tells them if they can’t accept who he is then they certainly don’t know the Father.
Knowing the Father = having Spiritual insight of who Jesus is. If they truly believed, followed, and understood the scriptures then they would know Jesus is the Messiah. If they knew the Father in a loving way, then they would know Jesus is the Son.
Verse 20: This verse is a parenthetical from the author. John tells us his location and why he wasn’t arrested since this was the reason, they sought him. He was speaking in the treasury of the temple which is near the offering box. This is the place by the court of the women where boxes were set up and free will offerings received. There were 13 Shofar’s (ram’s horns), or receptacles set up and people would put their donations in to help the needy. The treasury was where all the collections went.
His time (hour) had not come. They did not nor could not arrest him. because it wasn’t his appointed time that God had set for Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion.
Verse 21: Jesus now speaks of his impending death. He will be crucified, buried, and will rise again. When he rises from the dead he will go to the father, and no one can go with him. Yet those who do not turn (repent) and follow (believe) will die in their sins.
Verse 22 - 24: The religious leaders do not understand what Jesus is talking about, so they say among themselves, “Is he planning on committing suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?”
Jesus explains that they cannot understand what he is talking about because they are persistent in thinking he is speaking in human terminology. He is not speaking in these terms; He is speaking in spiritual terms, and they cannot understand what He is saying because they do not have any spiritual inclinations.
Verses 25 - 27: They ask who Jesus is. They are blinded to the Spirit of God and are clueless to what Jesus is talking about. He tells them he is who he has been saying he is from the beginning. Nothing has changed, he is still the Son of God; but they can’t understand this because they do not know the Father.
Verses 28 – 30: One wonders, will these Jewish authorities ever understand that Jesus is the Son of God? The answer is yes. When He is lifted up on the cross of Calvary and glorified through the Father. They will realize then all the words he spoke and the actions he did were from God the Father. Jesus spoke with such authority that many heard what he said and believed in faith.
Concluding question, “How does Jesus fit into your life?” Or better yet, “how does your life fit into Jesus?” In the first eight chapters of John, Jesus has made substantial claims to being the Son of God, the bread or the source of life, and the light of the world. Jesus explains that he exposes darkness and reveals the light of the Father.
Has Jesus made a difference in your life? Does Jesus have full lordship over your life, or have you only carved out a spot or niche in your life and placed him there and you call on him when you need him? Can you genuinely say in faith and honesty, “your will be done in my life.”
Some of you may say, “Well of course I believe in Jesus, but I am not some religious nut who always talks about him. Nor do I even go around tell people I am a believer. My faith is a private. My faith is nobody’s business it’s between God and me.” Yes, your relationship with God is between Him and you, BUT it is not a private matter. We are called to live out our faith or more specifically let people see the light (Jesus) that is in us, who we worship, and love through our words, action, and allegiance to Him. I implore you today. Let Jesus be the light of your life, let him be your guide or leader in your life. May his light shine through you, so others may see the true source of life that is in you and that may you share it with others.
In the Gospel of John, we see the many faces (or attributes) of Jesus Christ. We see Jesus’ grace, compassion, love, ability to perform miracles, and his heart of service towards people. Rarely do we talk about his anger. Jesus got angry at times, but it was not the kind of anger that you and I may experience that often led to sin and unrighteousness. It was the kind of anger that was aimed at sin and unrighteousness. Jesus’ anger is, what many call, righteous anger. In our passage today, the Apostle John writes about his first-hand experience and eyewitness of Jesus’ righteous indignation and intolerance toward sin that was present in the Temple of God. In this passage, not only do we see his intolerance, but we also witness his violent response to the individuals who were the root cause of this sin. This is a side of Jesus that we rarely see, but it is a side that we must take notice if and look at why Jesus responds the way he does.
In today’s message, we will look at Jesus’ cleansing of the temple; and in this account, we will see the significance of his anger, what his response represented, and what we can learn from it all.
John 2:12 - 19
The Cleansing of the Temple
Vs 12: – Following the wedding ceremony at Cana (when Jesus changed the water to wine) Jesus, his mother, his half-brothers, and five disciples went Northeast about 16 miles to Capernum.
Verse 13 –Passover was a Jewish Festival celebration in late March or early April. Passover is a yearly holy day set apart for the Israelites to observe the exodus from Egypt, particularly the passing over of the Israelite firstborn males when the firstborn of Egypt were struck down in the last of ten plagues. Most likely, Jesus is traveling from Capernum to Jerusalem for Passover. This was about a 120-mile journey.
Verse 14 – When Jesus came to Jerusalem, He went to the temple… This incident took place in the outer courts of the temple (called the court of the Gentiles). During the week of Passover there was heavy traffic in and out of the temple. People would travel from great distances to offer burnt offerings sacrifices and to pay the temple taxes. Many people would buy animals to sacrifice in the Temple courts, instead of dragging along cattle, sheep, or doves on their journey to Jerusalem.
In the outer courts there were money changers who would convert various denominations of money (since people came from all over there was different currency) to the approved temple currency. They would then charge a percentage or service fee for converting the money. People were not allowed to use the denarii or attic drachmas in temple purchases because the imperial Roman portraits were imprinted on the coins. The Roman denarii and Attic drachmas were not permitted to be used in paying the half-shekel temple-tax because the Jews considered the portraits of the Caesars on the coin as idolatrous. The money changers would exchange the coins for legal Tyrian coinage for a small profit.
Verse 15 –The Temple was the center for worship of God, it was not “just a building” it was symbolic of the epicenter for all religious worship of the God of Israel. When Jesus saw what the money changers were doing it infuriates him because they were profiting from God. The Temple was intended for worship and the cleansing of sin and now it had become a place that harbored greed, profiteering, and sin. The Father’s House, the Temple, which was intended to be a holy place had now become a place of greed and thievery. It had become the antithesis of what it was intended.
Verse 16 – Jesus overturns the tables and used whips and ropes to drive the money changers our out and says, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” Theologian D.A. Carson writes, “Jesus’ complaint is not that they are guilty of sharp business practices and should therefore reform their ethical life, but that they shouldn’t be there at all.” Jesus could have easily incited a riot and it could have turned out bad for everyone. Jesus was interrupting business, and large profits were being made and Jesus was demanding that it all stop.
Verse 18 – The religious leaders respond in a way one would not expect; instead of having him arrested for this outbreak or brought before the High Priest for claiming God is his father, they i ask Jesus for a sign to justify his display of authority. Someone who did such a thing would have certainly been questioned by the temple authorities and most likely disciplined for his actions. Since they asked Jesus for a sign shows that that they may have been suspicious as to whether Jesus was indeed a prophet or the Messiah. They were looking for Jesus to do a supernatural sign to prove that He had authority to drive out the money changers and profiteers.
John 2:19 - 22
Verse 19 – 22: Jesus says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
This is ludicrous. Astonished, the leaders replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?”. Interestingly, they were asking Jesus for a supernatural sign and he offered them one and they responded in disbelief. In their view, it would have taken a supernatural act for this to happen. But Jesus was not talking about the physical temple, he was talking about the spiritual Temple. His body is the Temple, and soon it will be destroyed on the cross of Calvary, and after three days, he will be fully restored, alive, and rebuilt once again. Jesus was saying that the time of the temple was ending, and the time of the new temple had come. Jesus is now the true Temple. We see this in Revelation where there is no temple in the New Jerusalem because God will dwell with his people. Through his death and resurrection, there will be no need for a Temple, because Jesus will be the fulfillment of the law and the sacrificial system will no longer be necessary.
Significance, Symbolism and What it Means for Us
The cleansing of the temple has significance for us. The Cleansing was a sign from Jesus to teach us that God demands and desires pure worship from His children. Sin (i.e. profiteering from the name of God) will not be tolerated. Yet, it is not just the sin of profiting from the name of God that Jesus is against; He is against sin in the body as a whole. This place of worship (the Temple) had become a den of thieves, of sin and needed a cleansing and purification. This applies for us and for the Church as well. God will not tolerate his people openly committing or accepting sin on a personal level or a church level. Yes, there will always be sin in the church or in us individually (because sin is ever present in us) but when a church or individual allows or openly accepts sin to reign or not confront it (looking past it or not wanting to confront it head on) then there will be consequences and God will clean house.
In I Corinthians 6:19 the Apostle Paul declares, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So, you must honor God with your body. The Temple (physical building) is no longer necessary because the body in the new Temple. This building is not the church, you are the church and if we allow sin to run rampant in our lives then God will not/cannot bless the body. I do believe God does clean house and he has done so with this church. I am not sure he is finished with the cleansing yet but knowing that He will deal with sin is for us either comforting or terrifying. Now, I don’t tell you this to scare you or make you feel as though you may be the cause of judgment. I tell you (and myself) because God has called us to be His children, His representatives, and His dwelling place. He desires that we be a holy body and we cannot be holy on our own. It is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we may be holy. We as a body need to be vessels of the Holy Spirit. I suggest you and I begin praying that God would search our hearts and our lives and do a spiritual “house cleaning” if you will in our own lives so that He may bless this body and our lives in ways that we could never imagine. In doing this realize that God is not against you and is not waiting in the dark corners ready to strike and expose your sins to the world. He is for you, and He wants to have a relationship with you that is unhindered by sin and unrighteousness.
We may have this unhindered relationship with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through his death and resurrection, we now have forgiveness from sins, we have freedom from sin and we have faith to live our lives for the glory of God.
The final two chapters of Revelation are the fulfillment of Isaiah 65:17 “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” This vision comprises the last major component of the Apocalypse. This chapter stresses the renewed fellowship between God and his people, and the vision encourages the reader to see in this final vision a modification of or, in some ways, a return to the garden of Eden.
Revelation 21:1 - 7
Vs 1 – 2: The vision begins by offering an all-encompassing view of the new heavens and new earth and a foretaste of the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven. The new heaven and earth are marked, by the absence of powers or evil that resists God and causes death. Some hold that the New Jerusalem is a physical city, some suggest it is a symbol of the church in its perfected and eternal state. Regardless, the point is that Jerusalem is the location of the temple where the presence of God dwells. In this vision New Jerusalem is adorned as a bride for her husband. Recall in chapter 19 the people of God are presented as a bride; but here the same figure is used of the place of their dwelling place, the heavenly Jerusalem.
Vs 3 – 4: The voice from heaven declares that God’s dwelling place is with the people. When John writes that God’s home or the tabernacle of God is with us, he is saying that God in his glory has come to dwell with us. This does not suggest a temporary dwelling, but from here on God will dwell with his people for all eternity. It is the presence of God, and the fellowship of ALL believers, that contains the basic distinctive of the coming age. The result is death, sadness, and pain become part of the “old way” and has passed away. In Revelation death is an adversary that must be defeated and abolished thus death is now eliminated altogether.
Vs 5 – 7: God’s silence in Heaven is broken when he declares, “I am making everything new!” The throne upon which God sits represents his sovereignty and majesty. It is from this position of power that he announces his intention of creating the new order. God proclaims, “It is finished!” All is done now that God has made all things new.
God is the beginning which means he is the foundation of all of time, the source, and the origin of all things. He the end in the sense that He directs all of time and history toward the overthrow of all evil and the source of the new creation. He calls those who are thirsty to drink from the spring of the water of life. Scripture often depicts thirst as the desire of the soul for God and eternal life.
The overcomers and victors will receive these blessings. In the letters to the seven churches, we learned that the overcomers would eat from the tree of life, not be hurt by the second death, be given hidden manna and a white stone, receive authority over the nations, their names will not be blotted from the book of life, be a pillar in the temple of God, and sit with Christ on his throne. All this is the inheritance of those who remain faithful during the period of final testing.
God declares the victors will be his children and he will be their God. Those who deny Christ and who were seduced by the solicitations of the prostitute Babylon have no inheritance in the family of God.
Revelation 21: 8 - 14
Vs 8: Those who live contrary to the ways of God… the cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars will receive their destiny… the second death which is the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the same fate as the Beast, False Prophet, and the Dragon.
Vs 10 – 14: John is taken in the Spirit to a great mountain to see the Holy City descending from heaven. As the holy city descends, it shines with a brightness that shows the presence and glory of God. This is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel that in restoration the glory or presence of the Lord will rise upon them and He will be their everlasting light.
The city is surrounded by a great wall with twelve gates, which are guarded by twelve angels. The wall is not needed for security reasons it is simply part of the description of an ideal city as understood by ancient peoples who viewed the security of a city by its strong outer walls. There are twelve gates, and they are named after the twelve tribes of Israel. It is believed that the twelve gates symbolize plentiful entrance.
Vs 14: The mention of the “Twelve apostles” is a reference to the disciples. Historically, the church rests upon the apostles and prophets, this means it’s foundation is built upon the faith and efforts of those who first proclaimed the gospel message. The combination of the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles shows the unity of ancient Israel and the NT church.
Revelation 21:19 - 27
Vs 19 – 20: The twelve stones parallel the twelve gems that are in the breastplate of the high priest, this suggests that the privileges once reserved for the high priest alone under the old covenant are now available to all the people of God. These precious stones were/are desirable for their beauty and scarcity. The stones mentioned in the Bible are hard to identify with any precision because of the many different types and colors as well as the lack of a standard terminology. But the idea behind the description of this city is that the city is magnificent beyond description.
Vs 22: John notes that there is no temple in this new city. There is no temple because it is the symbol of God’s dwelling place and now God dwells among his people.
Vs 23: The New Jerusalem does not have a sun or moon to shine because everything is illuminated by the glory of God.
Vs 24 – 26: John does not envision salvation for a small handful of people and the destruction or annihilation of most of the humanity. This hope for the nations differs from Jewish sources that expected the Gentile nations to be annihilated at the end of the age or to be defeated and to bring tribute to Jerusalem.
The gates of the New Jerusalem are open because with the destruction of evil there is no need for security. Day continues forever without interruption because darkness never comes. Thus, there is no need of closing gates.
Vs 27: Everyone who enters the city are those whose names are written in the book of life. Only those who dwell in the new city have access to it.
Revelation 22:1 - 5
Vs 1 - 2: The central point of this verse is that in the eternal state the faithful will live at the source of the life-giving stream that proceeds from the very presence of God. In the New Jerusalem the river in the street is pure and gives life. It is a sign of blessing. On each side of the river is a tree of life and in the early chapters of Genesis we read that if Adam had eaten of the tree of life, he would have lived forever. Thus, the tree of life was a regular feature in Jewish portrayals of Paradise. To eat of its fruit would give eternal life. The tree bore twelve kinds of fruit and there was both an abundance and a variety of fruit that are emphasized. This is seen as God’s provision is new and plentiful.
The tree also has leaves that bring about healing. This is intended to show that in the restored Eden everything has been reversed: originally eating of one tree brought the curse—now eating of this tree brings eternal life. The healing leaves signify the complete and total absence of physical and spiritual want. The life to come will be a life of abundance and perfection.
Vs 3 - 4: There will be no more curse that humanity brought upon itself in the Garden of Eden. This curse will be removed for all eternity. In return the greatest of all eternity’s blessings is reflected in the one phrase, “They will see his face.” Recall, Moses, the great lawgiver, was not permitted to see the face of God because God had declared, “No one may see me and live”. To see God’s face means direct communion with him.
On the foreheads of God’s servants will be stamped the name of God. His name stands for his character. The followers of the beast bore the mark of the beast upon their foreheads, contrarily the faithful will bear the name of God upon theirs. This metaphor emphasizes ownership and likeness.
Vs 5: In the New Jerusalem God’s presence, and his glory makes all sources of light unnecessary, thus there is no darkness or night. Revelation ends with the promise of the restoration of all things. In Romans Paul teaches creation is currently in bondage to deterioration, it groans as it eagerly awaits the time when it will be freed from its captivity of death and decay. This takes place when the children of God are brought into the eternal glory that God has prepared for them. The Revelation of John is the final chapter in God’s eternal plan for his people. It brings us full circle to the original intent of God in his creation of all that is.
Revelation 22:6 - 10
Verses 6–21 of chapter 22 form the Epilogue of the book of Revelation.
Vs 6: The angel verifies that this revelation is authentic throughout the whole vision. These words are trustworthy and true. The angel confirms that he was sent by God to show John all the things that must come to pass.
Vs 7: The speaker is now Jesus, and he informs the reader that he is coming soon. He announces a blessing to those who stand fast in the great persecution about to break upon the church. They are the ones who keep the prophetic commands of the book.
Vs 8 – 9: John attests to all that he has heard, seen, and recorded in the book. John once again falls to worship the angel but is prevented from carrying out his intention by the angel, who explains that he is a fellow servant with John, the other prophets, and those who keep the words of the book. The angel’s urging, “Worship God!” puts in the most concise form of the theme of the book of Revelation.
Vs 10: The angel now tells him that it is important that the visions should not be sealed up and all that John has seen is prophetic and should be shared, heard, and understood. Since “the time is near,” the message of judgment and hope is to be proclaimed among the churches.
Vs 11 – 22: Jesus announces again that he is coming soon and when he comes, he will bring rewards to repay the deeds of the people.
The chapter closes out with another blessing to those who remained faithful to God during this time of persecution as they will have access to the eternal city. Those who deny him will be left and thrown outside the gates with the dogs.
The revelation concludes with a stark warning against adding to or taking away from this message. This warning is not addressed to scribes who might be tempted to corrupt the text (but to “everyone who hears,” (the members of the seven churches of Asia) where the book was to be read aloud. The caution is against malicious alteration of the message.
The Apocalypse closes with Christ speaking again and informing everyone that he is coming soon to which John says, Yes Lord come soon.
The book of Revelation is complete. It is intended to inform the readers of that day (and for us) that God is sovereign, and his eternal plan will come to fruition. However, until that time there will be aggression and resistance, but this all must come to pass. People will be faced with the choice of pledging their allegiance to the beast or to the Lamb. Those who choose the mark of the beast will eventually share the same fate. The great city Babylon will fall. Those who choose to follow the Lamb, will be brought into eternal fellowship with God in the city of New Jerusalem. The end has been explained to the recipients of Revelation. Believers are encouraged to remain faithful and wait eagerly for the return of Christ, who will forever destroy evil and bring in the eternal state of blessedness.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
Preview or purchase Jeff's Books