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Revelation Chapter 21 denniscopp Verse 1 New, by their form and qualities, but not by their substance. --- The first heaven and first earth was passed away: being changed, not as to their substance,…More
Revelation Chapter 21
denniscopp

Verse 1

New,
by their form and qualities, but not by their substance. --- The first heaven and first earth was passed away: being changed, not as to their substance, but in their qualities. (Challoner)

Verse 2

From the seventh verse of the foregoing chapter, begins as it were the third part of the Apocalypse containing the coming of antichrist, the great day of judgment, the punishment of the wicked, and the eternal happiness of God’s elect in heaven, or in the celestial Jerusalem, which St. John describes in this chapter as if it were like a large city, beautified and enriched with gold and all manner of precious stones, &c. (Witham)
Coming down from God out of heaven. By the city we must understand its citizens, the Angels and saints. (Witham) --- Justice, innocence, the good works of the saints, are the ornaments of the inhabitants of this new Jerusalem, the Church triumphant. If the world of the old Adam has appeared so beautiful, so magnificent, good God, what will be the riches of that which is made for Jesus Christ, the second Adam, and for his members! O Jesus! Father of the world to come, render us worthy of this new and everlasting world, and give us a disgust, a mortal hatred, for that which perishes, and which is the cause of our perdition.

Verse 3

Behold the tabernacle of God with men,
inasmuch as God’s elect shall there dwell with him for ever and ever. (Witham)

Verse 6

It is done.
The state of Christ’s Church on earth, and in this world, is now finished; and the time is come to reward the good, and to punish the wicked in the lake burning with fire and brimstone, in hell, with the devils for all eternity. (Witham) --- This living water is God himself, of which the saints shall be inebriated at the source; i.e. in God himself. Enviable moment, when all the designs of God upon Jesus Christ and upon his Church will be accomplished: but how little thought of now! And how can we hope to be inebriated at this source of God above, if we do not aspire after it whilst we are in this dreary desert here below? He who begins and finishes gratuitously here below the work of our faith, crowns it still more liberally in heaven.

Verse 9

I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb:
all the Church triumphant in heaven. (Witham)

Verse 16

The city is situate four-square;
[1] and by what follows, so as to be a perfect square, though everything that is quadrangular is not always a square, or perfect square. (Witham)
===============================
[BIBLIOGRAPHY]
In quadro, Greek: tetragonos, quadrangularis.

Verse 17

The measure of a man, which is of an Angel.
[2] This seems, without doubt, the sense of it. (Witham)
===============================
[BIBLIOGRAPHY]
Mensura hominis, quæ est Angeli; Greek: metron anthropou, o estin aggelou.
====================

Verse 22

No temple in it.
No need of a temple for divine worship, where God is in such a perfect manner present to all the blessed, where nothing can distract or divert their souls from endless adorations, praises, &c. (Witham)

Verse 23

Needeth not sun nor moon,
where there is no vicissitude or succession of day and night, the divine brightness always shining to them. (Witham)

Verse 24

The kings of the earth shall bring their glory;
the elect, of all states and conditions, shall now be exalted like kings, or rather infinitely above the glory that we can imagine of any kings in this world. (Witham)

Verse 27

There shall not enter it any thing defiled.
This is what we ought always to remember and have in our minds. (Witham)

In the Old Testament:

There eight people in Noah's family are saved from the Great Flood.
God commanded the circumcision of all Hebrew baby boys on the eighth day of life as a blood sacrifice to enter the covenant of God's holy people.
The celebration of the first three sacred annual feasts of the Old Covenant fell within eight days: Passover = day 1, Unleavened Bread = lasted seven days, beginning the day after Passover, and Firstfruits took place the day after the Sabbath of that holy week. See the chart on the Seven Sacred Feasts of the Old Covenant.
The last feast of the liturgical year was Tabernacles/Shelters/Booths and lasted eight days.

In the New Testament:

Jesus rose from death on the day after the 7th day (Sabbath = Saturday), which is, in a numerical sequence, the 8th day and our Sunday.
The gematria for Jesus' name in Greek (the language of the NT) is a trinity of 8s: Iesous = 888 (gematria is the numerical values of the letters).
The Second Great Pentecost (when God the Holy Spirit came to fill and indwell the New Covenant Church) fell on the 8th day after the 7th day Jewish Sabbath.

In this passage, John is drawing our attention to the number 8 to emphasize his vision of a cosmic resurrection and regeneration. The old world dissolved in the presence of Christ, the supreme Judge, and a new creation has taken its place. John also uses a different word for "new" instead of the more frequently used Greek word neos, which means "chronological newness." In this passage, he uses the word kainos, which indicates "newness in kind or of superior quality" (IBGE, vol. IV, page 697, and Strong's #2537). What John sees is a "new" creation entirely superior to the past because now humanity and nature are reconciled to God. Look for both eights and twelves in Chapter 21!

there was no longer any sea
There is a negative connotation of "the sea" in Scripture. See, for example, Revelation 13:1; Daniel 7:3; Genesis 1:2 and 8:6-9; Job 7:12; Psalms 78:53; Isaiah 5:26-30. The "sea" can represent both chaos and the pagan nations that are enemies of God's holy covenant people.

Question: In the New Creation, there is heaven and earth, but what is missing?
Answer: There is no "under the earth," there is no Abyss, the realm of demons, and there is no home for rebellious nations.

John witnesses the complete "reconciliation" of the universe to God. It is what St. Paul wrote about in Colossians 1:19-20: God wanted all fullness to be found in him and through him to reconcile all things to him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, by making peace through his death on the cross.

But is this vision, seen in the perspective of John's present, entirely from our future? Maybe not. As we have seen repeatedly throughout this study, what is to unfold in God's plan for eternity is definitively and progressively being fulfilled in our present and has been unfolding in the Church's present down throughout history. It is evidence of what is so timeless about God's revelation of truth and His plan for humanity. Whenever God reconciles a covenant people to Himself, after judgment unto redemption (as in the case of the return of Judah after the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC), He always speaks in de-creation and then re-creation terms.

The "new creation" passages quoted from the books of the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel in the introduction to this lesson were for the generation of Jews anticipating the return from the Babylonian exile, not for our future. This imagery also appears in the formation of a new covenant in the case of Noah and Christ. In Noah's time, God brought the destruction of humanity by water (de-creation) but recreated the earth through a new covenant with Noah's family as God's covenant people.

St Paul expressed the "new creation" theme in 2 Corinthians 5:17, writing, So for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old order is gone, and a new being is there to see. Paul informs the Corinthian church and us that God, who created all things through Christ, has restored His work of creation that had been deformed by sin, by re-creating His work in Christ. Therefore, we are a "new creation" in the image of Christ because the old creation has passed away. Paul also expressed this radical newness of the New Covenant in his letter to the Galatians when he wrote: It is not being circumcised or uncircumcised that matters, but what matters is a new creation (Gal 6:15). John was a part of the New Creation and the passing away of the old order in the 1st century New Israel of the Universal Church. Therefore, this passage can be referring, in symbolic terms, to the condition of the 1st century AD Church as a new creation, as well as a definitive and prophetic look at what will take place in the future with the decreation of the entire universe and then its recreation in reconciliation with Christ.

Question: Do you see any parallels between this concept of recreation and becoming reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? What did St. Paul write in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19? Also, see CCC 1468-70.
Answer: Paul wrote: It is all God's work; he reconciled us to himself through Christ, and he gave us the ministry of reconciliation. I mean, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not holding anyone's faults against them, but entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are cleansed of our sins and become "new" in much the same way we became "new" in our baptism.

The Church teaches: "Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true spiritual resurrection,' restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God" (CCC 1468). Also, the Sacrament of Reconciliation reconciles us with the Church by re-establishing or strengthening the communion of saints (CCC 1469) and anticipates the merciful judgment of God to which we will all be subject at the end of earthly life (CCC 1470). It is now, in this life, that God offers us the choice between life and death. In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and "does not come into judgment" (CCC# 1468).

We have read about John's vision of the destruction of the Great City in AD 70, identified as Jerusalem, the site of the Lord's crucifixion (Rev 11:8). We have read about the binding of Satan and the establishment of the New Covenant Israel that is the Kingdom-Church of Jesus Christ (Chapter 20). Then, after a millennial reign (probably a symbolic 1,000 years), Satan would be let loose again, which would initiate the final battle, culminating in the defeat and destruction of Satan and death and the Final/Last Judgment of humanity by Christ the King. Now in Chapter 21, we read about the creation of the New heaven and earth, but what seems to be missing?

Question: Is there a major event in Salvation History, which we know must take place that has not been revealed to John and us? Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 1 Corinthians 15:51-13; Matthew 24:30-31.
Answer: Where is the Second Advent of Christ?

Some preterist scholars assert that because John has no vision of the Second Advent of Christ that He fulfilled His Parousia in His coming in judgment on Jerusalem in AD 70. Flavius Josephus records the testimony of residents of Jerusalem who saw the vision of a mighty army in the clouds just before the destruction of the Temple (Jewish Wars, 6.5.3 [296-99]). In a way, those scholars are probably correct. The AD 70 event was a parousia of Christ but not The Parousia.

Perhaps we should look at the unique Greek word: parousia (par-oo-see-uh or par-oo-see'-uh) that means "presence" or "appearance" and its most common use concerned the "presence" or "appearance" or a king or his representative. When a king conquered a people, he established them under his authority. Then, he would leave them with the promise that he would return at some unannounced time to judge if they had remained loyal to his rule. At the time of his return, the king or his representative would "judge" his subjects.

Jesus began transforming the Old Covenant during His earthly mission. Then He conquered the earth in His Resurrection and Ascension to the Father, but before His departure, He established His earthly authority (the Church) to continue His mission. Jesus left His representatives in charge with the intention that they should establish His dominion over the whole world and serve as the nucleus of the New Covenant Kingdom. He gave the Old Covenant Jews forty years to come to accept His New Covenant Gospel of salvation like God gave the Exodus generation forty years to submit to the Sinai Covenant. Then, He returned in judgment to find His Old Covenant people in rebellion against His Gospel of salvation. He brought divine judgment upon them in the disinheritance of the Jews as "firstborn sons," and the end of the Old Covenant Bride and Old Covenant liturgy of worship with the destruction of the Temple. In this same way, Christ the King comes in judgment throughout human history to each individual and every nation. However, the day will come when, according to Jesus' testimony (Mt 25:31-46) and the Apostles in the Apostles' Creed: "He will come again to judge the living and the dead," in the Final Judgment and to collect His Bride, the Church.

There is another appropriate parallel use of the word parousia in the 1st century AD that applies to the Church. According to the marriage customs, when a man became betrothed to a woman, there was a marriage covenant. The betrothal could only be broken by a formal divorce decree (even though the union had not been physically consummated) or by death. After the signing of the marriage covenant, the bridegroom returned to his father's house to prepare a home for his bride. He could only go to collect her when his father judged all the preparations completed. Then a trumpet would be sounded, and the Bridegroom and the wedding party would go to fetch the Bride. In the same way, Christ will make His parousia and come for His Bride with the sound of the trumpet in the company of His attendants, the angels ( 1 Thess 4:16; 2 Thess 1:7 ).

Question: Does John write about the Second Advent of Christ? Hint: Remember the direction of John's view of the events in the Book of Revelation.
Answer: John's view is from Heaven, and he only sees the action taking place in Heaven with the coming of the Bride (the Church) and not from the earth as those alive will witness His arrival. He sees the result of the Second Advent.

In Revelation 20:9, John had a vision of the Bride that the Bridegroom carried home and the "house" He prepared for her as St. John recorded in his Gospel when Jesus said: "In my Father's house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going" (Jn 14:2-3).

Question: What other use of the word parousia pertains to the "coming" of our Lord and our relationship with Him at every Eucharistic celebration? Please read Matthew 23:37-39.
Answer: In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we, the sacred assembly, utter the words, "Blessed is He who is coming in the name of the Lord," and as the Priest speaks the words of Consecration, the Holy Spirit gives us the miracle of transubstantiation and Christ is present among us. We witness His on-going parousia to every generation of the faithful.

Jesus' Parousia to His people after His Ascension:

in His judgment against Jerusalem and the Old Covenant in AD 70
in the visible form of bread and wine in the Eucharist
to each of us after our death in our Individual/Particular Judgment
His final appearance at the end of the age of humanity and the Final/Last Judgment

2 I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride dressed for her husband.
John sees the central aspect of the New Creation: The Holy City of the New Jerusalem (as opposed to the Harlot/False Prophet City of the earlier chapters). It is the vision Paul longed to see when he wrote to the Church at Philippi, But our homeland is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transfigure the wretched body of ours into the mold of his glorious body, through the working of the power which he has, even to bring all things under his mastery (Phil 3:20-21).

This ultimate reality of the eschatological (End Times) New Creation is also the progressive reality of the new Jerusalem, the Church down through the last generations of Salvation History. The old Jerusalem was excommunicated/disinherited and executed for her violations of the covenant and rejection of Christ. Then, the heirs of Christ, the New Israel of the New Covenant Church, became citizens of the new Jerusalem. It is a city whose origin is in Heaven just as her citizens are themselves "reborn" from above in the image of Christ. The new Jerusalem is a Church established definitively by Christ to rule on earth. It is also a kingdom that is progressively fulfilling His will on earth down through time until the day when He will establish it finally in consummate, absolute perfection as the heavenly Jerusalem, the Bride taking her place beside her Spouse.

prepared as a bride dressed for her husband
Question: Are the bride and the city separate entities, or are they the same?
Answer: The bride isn't just in the City; the Bride is the City!

This vision is another demonstration that the City of God is a present as well as a future reality. The Kingdom of Christ, the "beloved City" of the Church in Revelation 20:9, is the "Bride" of the Eucharistic Wedding Feast in Revelation 19:7-9. We know we are already citizens of the new Jerusalem. Hebrews 12:22-23 tells us: But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church of first-born sons, enrolled as citizens of heaven."

3 Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, "Look, here God lives among human beings. He will make his home among them; they will be his people, and he will be their God, God-with-them. 4 He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. The world of the past has gone."
(underlining added for emphasis).

Verse 3 fulfills the prophecy God gave Ezekiel in the 6th century BC when He said: "I shall make my home above them; I shall be their God, and they will be my people. And the nations will know that I am Yahweh, the sanctifier of Israel when my sanctuary is with them forever" (Ez 37:26-28). It was also one of the promises of the Sinai Covenant when Yahweh told Moses: "I shall fix my home among you and never reject you. I shall live among you; I shall be your God, and you will be my people" (Lev 26:11-12).

Question: Is this a future or present reality, or is it both? Does God live (tabernacle/dwell) among us?
Answer: Both. Yes, we receive Jesus Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist. Our bodies have become the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and He truly dwells in us.

Question: What prophesy from the prophet Isaiah do you recall in this passage? Look at the "God-with-them" of verse 3. It is also a promise that Jesus made in Matthew 28:20 when He said: "And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time." Hint: What does "God with us" mean in Hebrew?
Answer: Isaiah 7:14 contains the messianic prophecy when Isaiah said: "The Lord will give you a sign in any case: It is this: the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel." Immanuel means "God with us!" God the Holy Spirit fulfilled this prophecy when He took possession and indwelled the Church at Pentecost. However, it achieves fulfillment in its entirety in John's vision when the Church unites with God in the heavenly sanctuary of the new Jerusalem.

Question: How many times has John heard a loud or great voice coming from God's throne or the heavenly Sanctuary as he did in 21:3?
Answer: John heard the same loud/great voice from the Sanctuary in Revelation 16:1, 17, and from the throne in the Sanctuary in 19:5.

Is there a connection to this vision in Chapter 21? As we will see in verse 9, this passage in Revelation 21 is the conclusion of the Chalice section of the prophecy that began in 16:1. At the beginning of the Chalice Judgments, John saw the Sanctuary of the Tabernacle filling with smoke so that "no one was able to enter it" (15:5-8). Then he heard "a loud voice" from the Sanctuary ordering the seven angels to pour out their Chalices of wrath on the Land (Rev 16:1). With the outpouring of the seventh Chalice, John again heard "a loud voice" from the Sanctuary (the location of the throne of God) announcing: "the end has come" (Rev 16:17). The announcement produced a great earthquake in which cities fell, and every mountain and island "fled away" as the vision focused on the destruction of "Babylon," the "False Bride" (16:17-21). Now, as we come to the end of the Chalice section, earth and heaven have "fled away" (20:11; 21:1) and again, John hears "a loud voice" from heaven" announcing that access to the Sanctuary is now in the fullness of perfection since the Tabernacle of God is among men. With the New Creation completed, John will hear the Voice of the One who sits on the Throne announce: "It has already happened" or "It is done"! (21:6) as John sees the establishment of the True Bride, the new Jerusalem. The earlier revelations of "the voice" of God point to this last vision.

Voice #1 Rev 16:1

Then I heard a loud voice from the sanctuary calling to the seven angels, "Go and empty the seven bowls [Chalices] of God's anger"

Voice #2 Rev 16:17

The seventh angel emptied his bowl into the air, and a loud voice boomed out from the sanctuary, "The end has come."

Voice #3 Rev 19:5

Then a voice came from the throne; it said, "Praise our God, you servants of his and those who fear him, small and great alike."

Voice #4 Rev 21:3

"Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, "Look, here God lives [tabernacles] among human beings."

The loud voice proclaims in verse 4B: "He will wipe away all tears from their eyes," a repeat of Revelation 7:17, "because the Lamb who is at the heart of the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes." The voice in verse 4 also restates Isaiah 25:8, prophesizing (in the 8th century BC) the conversion of the Gentile nations and a future divine banquet. Isaiah wrote: Lord Yahweh has wiped away the tears from every cheek; he has taken his people's shame away everywhere on earth, for Yahweh has spoken.

Question: Can the Church's journey on earth toward the Promise Land of Heaven be seen as an exodus?
Answer: Yes, because the Christian's true home is in Heaven with Jesus.

Many Fathers of the Church wrote of our faith journey on earth as a time of exile because this earth is not our home; we are citizens of heaven. St. Cyril of Jerusalem based his entire program for converts (like our RCIA) on this theme, using the exile in Egypt and the wilderness journey to the Promised Land as his program of instruction.

5 Then the One sitting on the throne spoke. "Look, I am making the whole of creation new. Write this, What I am saying is trustworthy and will come true.'"
The phrase "trustworthy and true" will be repeated in Revelation 22:6. Again, we must appreciate the fact that this is true now as well as on the "Last Day." St. Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:17, So for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old order is gone, and a new being is there to see.

Question: There is a difference between the subject of 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Revelation 21:5; what is that difference? Consider the differences between the Individual Judgment at the end of our earthly lives and the Final Judgment at the end of time.
Answer: The essential difference is that Paul is writing about the redeemed individual, while in Revelation 21:5, God is speaking to John about the redeemed community.

The individual Christian and the community of believers are recreated, renewed, and restored to Paradise through the work of Jesus Christ. This cosmic and universal restoration has already begun through the outpouring of the Gospel. Christianity is, in essence, the redemption and renovation of the whole earth. The Gospel "makes all things new" in Christ.

6 Then he said to me, "It has already happened. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water from the well of life free to anybody who is thirsty; 7 anyone who proves victorious will inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he will be my son."

"It has already happened" is also translated "it is done" or fulfilled or finished. It is the same word that is in 16:17 (ghegonen), and expresses the same statement that Jesus made in John 19:30 when He said in Aramaic teltelestai = "It is fulfilled!"(or finished). God's words are the antithesis of the announcement of "Babylon's" destruction in 16:17 when: The seventh angel emptied his bowl into the air, and a loud voice boomed out from the sanctuary, "The end has come."

Question: What has already happened?
Answer: Christ's everlasting defeat of His enemies and the eternal blessing of His people through His redeeming act on the Cross has already happened. Since the victory is already ours, the Church's time on earth is essentially the "mopping up" operation of a battle whose success "has already happened."

Notice in verse 6 that the One who sits on the Throne names Himself the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Alpha and Omega are the first and last (beginning and end) letters in the Greek alphabet.
Question: How many other times is Christ identified by this title in this book? See Rev 1:8; 21:6 and 22:13.
Answer: The titles appear five times in total: three times as the Alpha and Omega in Revelation 1:8; 21:6 and 22:13 and twice as "the beginning and the end" in Revelation 21:6 and 22:13.

The same title also appears in the letter to the Church at Smyrna. Jesus told John to write: Here is the message of the First and the Last (Rev 1:8). Since these passages identify Christ as the Alpha and the Omega, meaning "the beginning and the end," they help to confirm to us that this is indeed Christ who is sitting on the Great White Throne of judgment. We find the title for God in the Old Testament in Isaiah 44:6-8. The title "the Beginning and the End" for Christ and His announcement, "It has already happened" or "It is fulfilled" (His last words from the Cross according to John 19:30), confirms what is to follow: Christ's promise of the Most Holy Eucharist!

Question: We have already mentioned the connection between this announcement and Jesus' last words on the cross. What happened after Jesus cried, "It is fulfilled" and gave up His spirit? See John 19:34
Answer: The Roman soldier pierced His side, and immediately there came out blood and water.

Question: In the seven day Creation event, God created Eve, the bride of Adam, from his side. Blood and water came from Jesus' pierced side, symbolized by blood and water. What is the connection of this event to Adam and Eve?
Answer: The Church, the Bride of Christ born from Baptism and the Most Holy Eucharist.

In a homily from the late 4th century AD, St. John Chrysostom said: "Not without a purpose, or by chance, did these founts come forth, but because the Church was formed out of them both: The initiated are reborn by water and are nourished by the Blood and the Flesh. Here is the origin of the Sacraments; that when you approach that awful cup, you may so approach as if drinking from the very side [of Christ]" (Homilies on St John, 1xxxv).

In 21:6b, Christ says: "I will give water from the well of life free to anybody who is thirsty." This precious gift is without cost because the fountain of eternal life flows from His torn flesh. He paid the price of our redemption on the Cross. St Peter wrote: For you know that the price of your ransom from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors was paid, not in anything perishable like silver or gold, but in precious blood as of a blameless and spotless lamb, Christ. He was marked out before the world was made, and was revealed at the final point of time for your sake. Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for this very purpose "that your faith and hope should be in God (1 Pt 1:18-21).

Question: To whom did Jesus offer a "spring of water welling up for eternal life" in the Gospel of John Chapter 4?
Answer: He offered "living water" to the Samaritan woman.

This precious water of eternal life feeds us freely in the Most Holy Eucharist, springing up in us and then flowing out from us to give life to the whole world! See John 4:14 and 7:37-39.

7 anyone who proves victorious will inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he will be my son.
This promise was the theme of the seven letters to the seven churches in chapters 2-3, and now Jesus repeated it to us. John's prophecy has come full circle. God assures us of His faithfulness to His covenantal promise of salvation: I will be his God, and he shall be my son (see Genesis 17:7-8; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18). In other words, He promises us that the fullest and most perfect enjoyment of communion with Him will take place in the heavenly kingdom for all eternity. What a promise!

8 But the legacy for cowards, for those who break their word, or worship obscenities, for murderers and the sexually immoral, and for sorcerers, worshippers of false gods, or any other sort of liars, is the second death in the burning lake of sulfur.

Once again, we have the defeat of any possibility of a universalistic interpretation of the Final Judgment (we discussed the heresy of Universalism in the last chapter).
Question: What one word characterizes unbelievers in contrast to the faithful who are victorious?Once again, we have the defeat
Answer: They are cowards.

Question: In your faith journey, how has it taken courage for you to remain faithful to Christ and His plan for your life?

Question: How are those condemned to perdition in the Hell of the Damned listed?Once again, we have the defeat Answer:

Unbelieving sinners (those who have denied Christ and who reject being
reconciled to God through the blood of Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation).
Those who break their word (this could refer to those who are freely admitted into the New Covenant in Christ and then fall away).
Those who worship obscenities (demon worship or immorality).
Murders (the killing of the innocent without mercy).
The sexually immoral. God holds us to a standing of sexual purity in a gift shared in a covenantal union between a man and a woman. Sexual immorality includes all forms of sodomy (including heterosexual or homosexual males or females acts of oral or anal sex), fornication (sex outside of marriage), incest, sex with children, sex with animals, and other forbidden acts as listed in Leviticus 18 and 20.
Sorcerers (those who attempt to achieve influence in a sphere outside of God in the realm of demons).
Worshippers of false gods. This sin includes self-worship when one has no place for God in one's life or even the "worship" of an activity that is more important than worshiping God (i.e., choosing golf on Sunday over going to worship God in the assembly of believers). Idol worship is anything that comes before God in one's life.
Liars (God calls us to be sons and daughters of light and truth as we imitate Christ).
Sorcerers, in Greek pharmakoi (a word from which we get our word pharmacy), which means "poisonous magicians" (one who takes drugs) or "abortionists."

The punishment for these nine groups of people is the second death in the burning lake of sulfur. The first death, as we have already mentioned, is physical and temporary. The second death is spiritual and eternal. Covenant believers who prove victorious will never experience the Second Death. The early Fathers of the Church were fond of repeating: "Born twice, die once; born once, die twice!" Their point was that those born twice, once through natural birth and a second time through Christian baptism (dying to sin and self and resurrected to a new life in Christ and a spiritual rebirth into the family of God), would only face physical death. They will not experience a second spiritual death but only a second resurrection at the end of time in Christ's Second Advent. However, those who are only born once in their natural birth and do not accept God's gift of salvation and rebirth are domed to die both physically and spiritually, which is eternal separation from the Most Holy Trinity.

Revelation 21:9-27 ~ The New Jerusalem
9 One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came to speak to me and said, "Come here, and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married." 10 In the Spirit, he carried me to the top of a very high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It had all the glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond. 12 Its wall was of great height and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates, there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; 13 on the east, there were three gates. On the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 The angel that was speaking to me was carrying a gold measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and wall. 16 The plan of the city is perfectly square, its length the same as its breadth. He measured the city with his rod, and it was twelve thousand furlongs, equal in length and in breadth, and equal in height. 17 He measured its wall, and this was a hundred and forty-four cubits high, by human measurements [the measure of a man which is of an angel]. 18 The wall was built of diamond, and the city of pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the city wall were faced with all kinds of precious stone: the first with diamond, the second with lapis lazuli, the third turquoise, the fourth crystal, 20 the fifth agate, the sixth ruby, the seventh gold quartz, the eighth malachite, the ninth topaz, at he tenth emerald, the eleventh sapphire, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate being made of a single pearl, and the main street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. 22 I could not see any temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, 23 and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God, and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it. 24 The nations will come to its light, and the kings of the earth will bring it their treasures. 25 Its gates will never be closed by day, and there will be no night there, 26 and the nations will come, bringing their treasure and their wealth. 27 Nothing unclean may come into it: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb's book of life. [...] = IBGE, vol. IV, page 698.

Verse 9 ties together Chapters 15-22. The angel in verse 9 is one of the seven angels who had the seven chalices (bowls) who showed John the vision of Babylon (17:1). Now, one of the seven chalice angels not only reveals the heavenly Jerusalem (21:10) but Jerusalem as the Bride of the Lamb.

Question: The revelation of the New Jerusalem Bride is in contrast to what other revelation the chalice angel showed John in Revelation 17:1-5?
Answer: The Bride of the New Jerusalem is in contrast to "Babylon," the Prostitute city, unfaithful wife, and false prophet.

Verses 9-27 are a vision of the New Covenant Church as the new, heavenly Jerusalem in contrast to the Old Covenant Church of the old earthly Jerusalem. Identifying the Harlot city as Rome instead of Jerusalem cannot adequately complete this contrast because it does not fit unless it is the Old versus the New.

10 In the Spirit he carried me to the top of a very high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It had all the glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond.
One of the chalice angels carried John "in the Spirit," not in reality, away to a high mountain
Question: What is the contrast to Revelation 17:3?
Answer: In contrast to the wilderness where he saw the Prostitute city and false bride in 17:3, John sees the holy city of the new Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb coming down from Heaven.

Ezekiel had the same experience in Ezekiel 40:1-2 when he wrote: the hand of Yahweh was on me. He carried me away: in divine visions, he carried me away to the land of Israel and put me down on a very high mountain, on the south of which there seemed to be built a city.

In Chapter 14, we discussed how mountain imagery usually refers to works of God, including the Paradise of Eden, located on a high plateau from which the water of life flowed out to the whole world (see Gen 2:6, also see 22:1-2). The Temple in Jerusalem was on Mount Moriah, symbolizing God's Covenant people and God's grace flowing from the Temple to the world. In Ezekiel 10:18-19 and 11:22-23, the 6th century BC prophet sees the Glory-Cloud (Shekinah in Hebrew) leaving the Jerusalem Temple and traveling east to the Mount of Olives just before its destruction on 587 BC. Later, in another vision, Ezekiel saw the Shekinah/Glory-Cloud returning to dwell in the new idealized Temple in Ezekiel 43:1-5. Christ fulfilled Ezekiel's vision when the Incarnate Glory of God ascended to His Father in the Glory-Cloud from the Mount of Olives (Lk 24:50-51 and Acts 1:9), followed by God the Holy Spirit returning to indwell the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11).

The 1st century AD Jewish priest and historian, Flavius Josephus, reports the transfer of God's Glory from the Temple at the Feast of Pentecost in AD 66 as the priests were going about their duties. There was heard "a violent commotion and din" and then "a voice as of a host crying, We are departing hence!'" (The Jewish Wars, 6.5.3). The event, recorded by Josephus, took place exactly 36 years (to the very day) after God the Holy Spirit took possession of the New Covenant Church on the Feast of Pentecost in AD 30. The Jews also recorded in Midrash, Lamentations 2:11, that the Shekinah glory of God left the Temple at this time and remained over the Mount of Olives for 3 ½ years until the destruction by the Romans in AD 70. During this time, the people heard a voice coming from the Mount of Olives, asking the Jews to repent their sins.

John records in this passage that the Shekinah/Glory of God now resides in the true Holy Temple/City of God, the eternal Paradise of the spotless and pure Bride of Christ. John also describes the Holy City as possessing a light or luminescence. This description parallels the passage in Revelation 12:1, of "the Woman clothed with the sun." The Bride of Christ stands illuminated with the glory of God Himself, the One in Revelation 4:2-3, who was sitting on the throne and looked like a diamond and a ruby. The striking image is that the light from a diamond and a ruby would resemble the streams of white and red light like the Divine Mercy image of Christ described by Saint Faustina with the rays of white and red light (the water and the blood) streaming from the heart of the Savior!

12 Its wall was of great height and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates, there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; 13 on the east, there were three gates. On the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Notice that 21:12-20 are full of twelves, the number representing perfection in government and authority, repeated eight times in the Greek text. The number twelve is also the symbolic number for Israel. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection and fullness, but eight is the number of redemption, salvation, and regeneration!

#1. Rev 21:12

It had a great high wall with twelve gates

#2. Rev 21:12

and with twelve angels at the gates

#3. Rev 21:12

the names of the twelve tribes of Israel

#4. Rev 21:14

The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones

#5. Rev 21:14

on them were the names of the twelve Apostles

#6. Rev 21:16

He measured the city...it was twelve thousand furlongs

#7. Rev 21:21

The twelve gates

#8. Rev 21:21

were twelve pearls

The repetition in the use of the number twelve indicates that the description of the Heavenly Jerusalem is symbolic and represents the perfection of her place as God's authority.

For an interesting comparison, read Ezekiel's vision of the heavenly Temple in Ezekiel 48:31-35. The Temple visions of Ezekiel and John are similar but not the same. There is measuring involved in both, indicating the Temple/City's sanctity and protection. Ezekiel's vision implies that the City has high walls because there are gatehouses, porches, or gate towers that constitute a city wall. The twelve gates in John's vision, inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel, is another feature in common with Ezekiel's vision. However, there are also differences:

For 1st century AD Christians, the familiar emblem for a prosperous city was the figure of a woman crowned with the battlement of her city walls. This female personification of a city appears on many ancient coins.
Question: What connection do you see between that symbolism from John's time in connection with the Woman of 12:1 and the heavenly Jerusalem? What is the "crown" of the heavenly Jerusalem?
Answer: The Woman (Mary as the Church) wore a crown of twelve stars that probably symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel since Mary was a daughter of the Old Covenant but the Mother of the New. The crown of the New Jerusalem is its jeweled walls (verse 18).

We can also make a comparison to the twenty-four elders around the Throne of God (Rev 4:3), where John sees the throne ringed with two twelves. We have already mentioned that the twenty-four elders probably represent the righteous leadership of the Old and New Covenant Church. This passage may reveal the identity of the twenty-four elders. John sees the Bride-City crowned with a double twelve. The Patriarchs names are on the city's twelve gates (tribes of Israel in verse 12), and the foundation stones of the walls have the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb (in verse 14). The City of God, as the Church, has both Old and New Covenant believers within her walls. As the Church has always recognized, there is only one way of salvation and one Covenant of Grace. Please see CCC#s 839-40 for more on the relationship between the people of the Old and New Covenants. Twelve angels guard the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem and are reminiscent of the fierce cherubim who guarded Eden's entrance in Genesis 3:24.

15 The angel that was speaking to me was carrying a gold measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and wall. 16 The plan of the city is perfectly square, its length the same as its breadth. He measured the city with his rod, and it was twelve thousand furlongs, equal in length and in breadth, and equal in height. 17 He measured its wall, and this was a hundred and forty-four cubits high, by human measurements."
The prophet Ezekiel also had a vision of measuring the heavenly Jerusalem that occurred fourteen years after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 587 BC. Read Ezekiel 40-42. One interesting statement about the City in Revelation 21:16 is that the City is perfectly square, its length the same as its breadth.

Question: If the length and the breath are the same, it can be assumed that the height and the width are also the same, and verse 16 says that the plan of the City is perfectly square. What geometric shape is the city
Answer:The heavenly City is a cube!

Question: What feature of the Tabernacle in the desert and later the Jerusalem Temple was a perfect cube? See 1 Kng 6:20 and 2 Chron 3:8-13.
Answer: The Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of God among His people.

There is a beautiful passage in Ephesians related to this passage in Revelation. St. Paul's theme in Ephesians is the Church as the Body of Christ. Read Ephesians 3:1-6, where begins by writing about "The Mystery of Christ" that was unknown in previous generations. It is the same "mystery" or secret that the angel told the prophet Daniel to "seal up" and not reveal until the end of time (the end of the Old Covenant) in Daniel 12:9.
Question: What is the mystery? See verse 5.
Answer: The mystery was that the gentiles now have the same inheritance and form the same Body and enjoy the same promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Please read Ephesians 3:14-19
Question:
Paul prays in verse 18-19: with all God's holy people you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height, and the depth; so that knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge." In this verse, Paul appears to leave his sentence unfinish: the "breadth, length, heights, and depth of what? Hint: what is Paul's theme in this verse?
Answer: The Church. Paul reveals the Church, the Body of Christ, as the Holy of Holies.

On Resurrection Sunday, Christ's body became the Temple of God. When we receive Him in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, we become the Body of Christ in the fullest sense with Christ's presence living in the Church that becomes the Holy of Holies, the indwelling presence of God.

In John's vision, the Holy of Holies (the dwelling place of the presence of God) is the city of the New Jerusalem: the divine place where God and redeemed humanity will commune. The perfection of its construction is greater than the Old Covenant earthly Holy of Holies because there is no veil of separation between God and the New Covenant Temple of our bodies when we have Christ living in us (Ex 26:31-33; Mt 27:51).

Continuing with the measurements of the heavenly Temple in verse 17, the dimensions of each side of the city measure twelve thousand furlongs [stadia], and its wall is one hundred and forty-four cubits high. If your translation has equated these numbers into modern tables of measurements, please record the literal figures. These numbers are symbolic, and they lose their significance when transcribed into feet and inches. They are all multiples of twelve and indicate the majesty and perfection of the Church (144 = 12 x 12).

Literalists who insist on manipulating these numbers, ironically replace God's Word with meaningless symbols. The New Jerusalem translation has a serious inaccuracy in recording one hundred and forty-four cubits high by human measurements. The Interlinear Bible Greek-English reads: the measure of a man which is of an angel and the New American translation has one hundred and forty-four cubits in height by the unit of measurement the angel used. Therefore, the translation should be understood to mean as man measures and as the angels measure. This phrase is not as mysterious as it appears. John is stating that the angelic activity seen in Revelation is a pattern for our activity. As we see God's will carried out in Heaven, on earth, we are to use that activity as our pattern. Biblical scholar David Chilton expresses the imaging in this way: "Heaven is the pattern for earth, the Temple is the pattern for the City, the angel is the model for man"(Chilton, Days of Vengeance p. 557).

18 The wall was built of diamond, and the city of pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the city wall were faced with all kinds of precious stone: the first with diamond, the second with lapis lazuli, the third turquoise, the fourth crystal, 20 the fifth agate, the sixth ruby, the seventh gold quartz, the eighth malachite, the ninth topaz, at he tenth emerald, the eleventh sapphire and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate being made of a single pearl, and the main street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass."

Question: Verse 18 tells us that the city was made "of pure gold." How is this description another link to the earthly Holy of Holies? See Exodus 25:10-22; 30:1-6; Hebrews 9:3-5.
Answer: Everything associated with the Holy of Holies had to be pure gold.

The New American translation differs in the description of the wall: The wall was constructed of jasper; the city was of pure gold, crystal-clear. The foundation of the city wall was ornate with precious stones of every sort: the first course of stones was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. As you can see, only the 9th topaz and the 12th amethyst agree with the NJB. It is difficult to translate the stones named into modern equivalents that would be familiar to us. We simply don't know by our modern identification the names of the stones in Greek.

Now, John describes the city in terms of precious and semiprecious gems. The most obvious connection is to the precious gems in the breastplate of the High Priest, which was four rows of three stones each, representing the twelve tribes of Israel (Ex 28:15-21):

Breastplate of the High Priest

Row #1

Sard, topaz, emerald

Row #2

Garnet, sapphire, diamond

Row #3

Hyacinth, ruby, amethyst

Row #4

Beryl, cornelian, jasper

As mentioned, it is difficult to translate the names of these stones into the names of gems that would be familiar to us. Although the pattern is the same as the High Priest's breastplate, the stone names do not match. Perhaps they are different because these stones, instead of representing the twelve tribes of Israel, now represent the twelve Apostles as the new authority of the New Israel. The mention of "jasper" or as in our New Jerusalem translation, "diamond," is interesting (the Greek word is jaspis). Scripture associates this stone with divine glory; in this case, Jesus Christ, who is the cornerstone of the New Temple. The meaning is that by being founded on Christ, "the cornerstone," that the whole city/Church acquires divine glory.

In Revelation 21:21, the gates of pearl and the main street of the City is pure gold, reflect the blessings and glory of the heavenly City.
Question: What is the contrast between the adornment of this City-Bride and that of the Prostitute City in Revelation 17:4?
Answer: Jewels covered the Harlot/Babylon, and she perished with them; jewels adorn the City/Bride because of her covenantal union with Christ, the Bridegroom, and she lives!

22 I could not see any temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, 23 and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God, and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it."
Question: Where is the Temple?
Answer: Almighty God and the Lamb are the Sanctuary, and the entire City/Temple is the Holy of Holies.

Christ's blessing in Revelation 3:12 makes sense now when He said: "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, and he will not go out from it anymore." And His promise in 7:15: "For this reason, they are before the Throne of God; and He who sits on the Throne shall spread His Tabernacle over them." There is no separation between God and man, no building, and no distance in time or space.

Question: Why doesn't the city need any light? Hint: see Isaiah 60:1-3 and 19-21.
Answer: The Holy City shines with the original, uncreated Light of God the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

24 The nations will come to its light, and the kings of the earth will bring it their treasures. 25 Its gates will never be closed by day, and there will be no night there, 26 and the nations will come, bringing their treasure and their wealth. 27 Nothing unclean may come into it: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb's book of life."
There are also eschatological (end times) overtones that point to the heavenly Jerusalem at the end of time in the Book of Isaiah, which St. John describes in the Book of Revelation (see Rev 21:9-27 and 22:5). Some of the wording is virtually the same; for example, compare Isaiah 60:3 with Revelation 21:24.

Isaiah 60:3
Revelation 21:24


60:3 Nations shall walk by your light and kings by your shining radiance.

21:24 The nations will walk by its light, and to it, the kings of the earth will bring their treasure.


We can also compare other verses from Isaiah 60 with passages in the Book of Revelation like Isaiah 60:11 with Revelation 21:25-26, Isaiah 60:14 with Revelation 3:9; and Isaiah 60:19 with Revelation 21:23 and 22:5. John applies the prophecy of Isaiah 60:1-6, 9, and 11 to the New Jerusalem:

A question that comes to mind: is John prophesying our future from his present or from someplace in-between? Perhaps the key to understanding this verse is that "the nations," and the "kings of the earth" are coming to the "light" of Christ reflected by the Church on earth. This prophecy cannot be the heavenly Jerusalem after the Second Advent because, at that time, there are no longer any nations or kings. Instead, this is what Jesus commanded His Church to become in Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus said: "You are a light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lampstand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, your light must shine in people's sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven." In this part of John's vision, the nations still exist as nations, but they are all converted and flowing into the City/Church and bringing their treasures and talents into it. Notice that there are no restrictions: Gentile and Jew, Greek and slave, all welcomed in Christ's kingdom. As the light of the Gospel shines through the Church to the world, the world converts to follow Christ. His vision is of the Church as the sinless Bride, embracing saint and sinner alike. This passage defines our mission, our goal, and our future until Christ comes in His glory.

27 Nothing unclean may come into it: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Notice the contrast between verse 27 and Revelation 17:8 and 18:2. Revelation 17:8 mentions the people of the world whose names have not been written since the beginning of the world in the Book of Life, and Revelation 18:2 describes "Babylon" as being the dwelling of devils and the stronghold of everything foul and unclean. These descriptions are in contrast with the Holy New City, which holds only those whose names appear in the "Book of Life" and in which there is nothing unclean. All those within her walls have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb!