Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a study about the Book of Revelation.
[These notes are from a study taught more than 40 years ago. The notes are in outline form.]
Revelation 21:2, 9-27
In presenting this study on the Heavenly Vision, I would like to ask and answer ten basic questions about the Vision.
Q-1: What is the Heavenly Vision and who saw it?
A-1: The Vision was of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, and was seen by the Apostle John.
Q-2: Why a “new” Jerusalem?
A-2: God had promised time and time again that He would preserve Jerusalem as His City for His people “forever.” He burned up the old heavens and earth, including the old Jerusalem, and melted it down to the basic element of creation, and then built a new heaven and earth, including a new Jerusalem for His people.
Q-3: Where will the New Jerusalem be located?
A-3: There are two basic schools of thought among conservative Bible believers.
- It will hover between Heaven and earth.
- It will rest on the new earth.
Q-4: Is it an actual city or is it figurative of the Church?
A-4: I believe it is an actual city. The measurements and dimensions in the Revelation are definitely that of a city and not of a people.
The problem comes in Revelation 21:9 where the Scripture reads – “Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Verse ten introduces us to the city and not a people. Is there a contradiction in holy Writ? No!
During the time of this writing, there was an Orientalism that used the term bride or wife to speak of the relationship between a ruler and his city. This idiom of the day saw the city of a ruler as wed to him. The New Jerusalem was wedded to Christ figuratively, but within its walls lived the literal bride of Christ. [Note: Historical reference for this Orientalism missing from teaching notes]
The Bible speaks often about God and His people in terms of marriage. (e.g. Isaiah 54:1-8; Hosea 2:14-23; Jeremiah 3:14) Jesus spoke of His relationship with people in terms of a wedding (e.g. in parables – Matthew 22:1-14) and the Apostle Paul also referenced that relationship between Christ and His Church (e.g. Ephesians 5:22-33).
Another reason I believe this is is an actual city is because Jesus said that He was going to prepare a place for us and verse two says that the New Jerusalem was prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I believe that the New Jerusalem is what Christ has been preparing for us these many centuries.
Q-5: What does the city look like?
A-5: There are fourteen basic descriptions that I will share with you.
- “Having the glory of God”
- The city’s “light” is compared to the brightness of a jasper stone, clear as crystal. The jasper was a very costly jewel reflecting a green-white light.
- “a great and high wall” speaks of security and exclusivity
- “twelve gates” – three gates on each of the four sides “on which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel”
- “an angel at each gate” – probably a special honor guard
- “the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”
- “The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” (cube or square-based pyramid) There is a suggestion that the entire city will be a huge Holy of Holies, cubical in shape as was the sacred inner sanctuary of the Temple. (1 Kings 6:19-20)
- “twelve thousand furlongs” – this is somewhere between 1400 and 1500 miles. The city could be 1500 miles long on each side and 1500 miles in circumference or the total city could be 1500 miles in circumference and height. I agree with scholars who believe that the city will be 1500 miles on each side and 1500 miles in height. A city of this size could hold approximately 53 billion people on the bottom level. If the height was also used to house people, an astronomical number of people could be cared for with much comfort and ease.
- The wall around the city is 144 cubits or approximately 216 feet high and made out of crystal-clear previous jasper. The wall would give off a lovely greenish glow.
- “the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass”
- Each of the twelve foundations were made from different precious stones. Though scholars do not know what the stones may mean, they can give us an idea of how colorful the foundations of the city will be:
- Greenish white
- Sky-blue with other colors running thru
- Bright green
- Reddish white
- Red and yellow
13. “twelve gates were twelve pearls”
14. “street of the city was pure, transparent gold”
Q-6: Where will we worship?
A-6: At the feet of Christ! (verse 22)
Q-7: How will this immense city be lighted?
A-7: By Jesus Christ (verse 23)
Q-8: Who will live there?
A-8: I believe that five basic groups will have free access to the New Jerusalem:
- The Old Testament saints
- The New Testament saints
- “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.” (verse 24)
- Children who died before the age of accountability
- The holy angels of God
Q-9: How does one get to the Holy City?
A-9: Have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (verse 27)
Q-10: If you don’t live in the Holy City, where will you live?
A-10: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (verse 8)
Q-11: Where are you going to spend eternity?
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]