Appendix: The Church in the Administration of the Millennium
Revelation 21:9 – 22:5
Revelation 21:9 – 22:5
Perfection & Presentation. The church is seen in perfection in this passage. Christ is said to present the Church in three ways, and each time she is presented there is perfect conformance to the mind and character of God:
- Presented as children to the father – Heb. 2:13
- presented as the bride to Himself – Eph. 5:27
- Presented as the city to the World – II Thess. 1:10
It is in this third aspect that We, the church, will be used to transmit the glory of Christ to the earth (Rev. 21:9 – 22:5).
The Church in politics. Is it wrong for the church to be involved in government? No… but it is a question of when. Not in the present dispensation of the kingdom in mystery. Christian’s who are involved in politics today are a “Day” too early. They mistake “this day” for “that day”. “this day” is the time when the heirs are being gathered out of the world. “that day” is when christ takes and shares the inheiritance with her. The church gets its administrative authority in Rev. 20:4 at the start of the millennium, not before. While all the heavenly sainsts “reign with Christ” (Rev. 20:4), the Church will have a special role! The things thyatira grasped after will be given to the millennial church.
The millennium is called:
- The thousand years (latin: millennium) – Rev. 20:7
- the dispensation of the fullness of times (Eph. 1:10)
- The kingdom (in manifestation) – Matt. 16:28
- The Day of Christ – II Thess. 1:10
- the world to come – Heb. 2:5
- The regeneration – Matt. 19:28
- The times of refreshing – Acts 3:19
- the times of restitution of all things – Acts. 3:21
Four Jerusalems: each time Jerusalem is used to reference something it contains that thought of tranquility, as Jerusalem means ‘the possession of peace’.
- earthly Jerusalem (Rev. 11:2) the city of earthly righteousness, the center of the millennial kingdom.
- systematic Jerusalem (Gal. 4:26) – a reference to the system of grace (vs. the system of law).
- heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22) – the father’s house, the third heaven, the eternal dwelling place of God and all the heavenly saints (not just the church).
- mystical Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 10) – the glorified church, the bride of Christ. “new” added in the eternal state.
city dimensions – not physical. 12,000 stadia is 1,500 miles. For reference, the earth is 7,900 miles in diameter. that would be like balancing a rubix cube on top of a basketball.
Rev. 21:9 – 22:5 is not a description of heaven, although it is often explained that way. rather it is ia description of the Church in the millennium from heaven’s perspective. We had the description of the final professing church in man’s responsibility (the great whore), but it wouldn’t be complete without seeing the final church in god’s soverignty. The Lord said “I will build my church”… this is what he built!
- A Description of the city: the order of millennial administration (21:9-14)
- The dimensions of the city: Perfection in Administration (21:15-17)
- The construction of the city: Reflected glory (21:18-21)
- The Operation of the City: Fellowship with God and the Lamb (21:22-27)
- The River: The blessing of God on the earth through the church (22:1-5)
A Description of the city: the order of millennial administration (21:9-14)
¶ 9 And there came one of the seven angels which had had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying, Come here, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife v.9 This verse begins a parenthesis in which the Spirit of God goes back and describes the true church in her millennial glory. Note: in Rev. 17:1 on of the angels of the seven bowls showed John the great whore sitting on many waters, now another angel of the seven bowls shows John the bride, the Lamb’s wife. The false church is both a corrupt woman (harlot) and a corrupt city (religious babylon). The true church is both a holy woman (bride & wife) and a holy city (Jerusalem). The book wouldn’t be complete without these added details. See note Ψ on Rev. 19 for use of “wife” and “bride”.
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit, and set me on a great and high mountain, and shewed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God, v.10 As Moses surveyed the promised land from Pisgah; so John is permitted to behold the Church in her millennial glory from a heavenly vantage point. Two things needed to see this sight:
- “in the spirit” – the Spirit of God in control of our faculties (filled with the spirit, Eph. 5:18)
- “a great and high mountain” – to have god’s viewpoint of his people, seen from a past eternity, in light of calvary’s work (Eph. 5:27, Num. 23:9).
She comes from “the Heaven,” her home, and “from God”. Always seen descending from god, her character is always heavenly. It never says she touches the ground… it is always “over the earth” (Rev. 5:10).
11 having the glory of God. Her shining was like a most precious stone, as a crystal-like jasper stone; v.11 the CHurch has “shining” but not “light“. It is a reflective shining, not an intrinsic shining. “Like a jasper (or, diamond)” – the revealed glory of God will be reflected in the church in perfect purity… no flesh, no defilement. Jasper is used three ways: (v.11) Glory, (v.18) security, and (v.19) stability.
12 having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. vv.12-13 Why does the church need a wall in the millennium? A wall always speaks of separation in the scriptures. The wall will keep out anything that is not of christ and the gates will let in what is of Christ. A wall is needed because on the millennium evil is still present on the earth. Twelve signifies the perfection of government on or towards the earth. The angels at the gates are servants in waiting. the glorified saints are the administrators now, and the angels are subject to them (Heb. 2:5).
13 On the east three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. v.13 gATES IN SCRIPTURE ALWAYS SPEAK OF A PLACE OF JUDGMENT. e.G. LOT SAT IN THE GATE OF SODOM. hERE WE CAN SEE THAT ISRAEL IS NOT IN THE CITY (HEAVENLY SAINTS) BUT DIRECTLY INVOLVED WITH THE ADMINSTRATION THAT ISSUES FORTH FROM THE CITY. Like Nehemiah’s wall this one has gates. But no need for locks and bars, the glory of God is enough to prevent defilement.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. v.14 In Matt. 19:28 the lord fortold that the twelve apostles would have the special privledge of ruling over the twelve tribes of israel. but In Luke 19:11-27 the lord goes away into a “distant country to receive for himself a kingdom” and rewarded his servants with administrative responsibility over cities in that kingdom. This shows the rest of the Church will rule over the other cities of the world in the millennium!
vv.12-14 The seat of authority WILL BE in the heavens, the throne of the son of man, the mode in which christ will take his possession is the Church. the church will be over all nations, but Over Israel specifically are the twelve apostles. Israel on the earth will be governed by “the prince” (Ezek. 44:3), then other leaders of israel called 7 shepherds and 8 principle men (micah 5:5), and then out to the gentile nations.
THe numeral twelve. If anything tells us this portion refers to the millennium it is the abundant use of the numeral twelve. There are Eight sets of twelve: (1) twelve gates, (2) twelve angels, (3) names of twelve tribes of Israel, (4) twelve foundations, (5) names of the twelve apostles, (6) 12 x 1000 = 12,000 stadia: the length and the breadth and height of the city, (7) 12 x 12 = 144 cubits: wall thickness, and (8) twelve fruits on the tree of life.
The dimensions of the city: Perfection in Administration (21:15-17)
¶ 15 And he that spoke with me had a golden reed as a measure, that he might measure the city, and its gates, and its wall. v.15 when god measures something he is demonstrating his ownership of it, and his purpose to take it up for blessing (see rev. 11:1, 2). The millennial Jerusalem on earth is measured with a line of flax (Ezek. 40:3). The city of gold is measured with a golden reed… because while there is imperfection on earth, the church measures up to the mind of God.
16 And the city lies four-square, and its length is as much as the breadth. And he measured the city with the reed–twelve thousand stadia: the length and the breadth and height of it are equal. v.16 see note on city dimensions. These dimensions could not be physical. They do have meaning. Four-square – universal administration in the millennium. Square – FINITE perfection from every viewpoint. 12000 = 12 X 1000 stadia is god’s millennial administration perfection in the millennium.
17 And he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, a man’s measure, that is, the angel’s. V.17 THE WALL WAS 144 CUBITS (TALL? THICK?) = 12 x 12 CUBITS, PERFECTION IN ADMINISTRATION. tHE gLORY OF gOD SURROUNDS THE CITY AS A WALL. The wall is measured separately, but its size is quite disproportionate to that of the citY… THIS GIVES US A KEY THAT THESE ARE SYMBOLs. tHE POINT IS, NO ONE IS GETTING OVER THAT WALL. “A MAN’S MEASURE” – SYMBOLS THAT humans can understand… also because the heavenly city is composed of men and women.
The construction of the city: Reflected glory (21:18-21)
¶ 18 And the building of its wall was jasper; and the city pure gold, like pure glass: vv.18-21 “Of one pearl”… the unity of the church will never be dissolved. various stones… our individuality will always be preserved. v.18 The wall itself is Jasper – the wall is what you see looking at the city, the reflected/refracted glory of God (see v.11) now for security. The interior, the city is pure gold – divine righteousness, the results of justification.
19 the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation, jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. vv.19-20 Men use the cheapest stones they can to build foundations… but not God. The foundations of the wall speak of the various glories of Christ that God has worked into the saints… often by pressure (Isa. 54:11-12, Psa. 4:1). These stones are a display… It is not so much the way the church knows him, but how the world will see him. see I Cor. 3:11.
|1||jasper||clear||Christ’s glory as seen by man|
|2||sapphire||deep blue||Christ’s character as a HEAVENLY man|
|3||chalcedony||light blue||Christ’s companion, A HEAVENLY bride|
|4||emerald||green||Christ’s Purpose to bless the EARTH|
|5||sardonyx||red & white||Christ’s glory as incorruptible JUDGE|
|6||sardius||red||Christ’S glory in JUDGMENT (blood)|
|7||chrysolite||green-gold||Christ’s judgment in the EARTH|
|8||beryl||blue-green||Christ’s sovereignty over LAND & SEA|
|9||topaz||orange||Christ’s glory as the FAITHFUL one|
|10||chrysoprasus||green||Christ’s glory as the Lord of LIFE|
|11||jacinth||red-orange||Christ’s character of HOLINESS (fire)|
|12||amethyst||violet||Christ’s glory as KING of kings, etc.|
List of precious stones. often when you get a list of precious stones in the word of God (three times) but at the same time a display of God’s glory: (1) in creation (Ezek. 28:12), (2) in redemption (Exo. 28:15-21), and (3) in the fulfillment of His purpose (Rev. 21:19-20). But it is precious that God’s glory will be displayed by the Church, and through us as individuals. The list also speaks of the individuality of believers to the heart of God and the heart of Christ, For example, the list of stones that were found in the breastplate of the high priest spoke of the individual tribes of Israel (Exo. 28:15-21), one for each tribe… speaking of each one precious to the heart of God. In Malachi 3:17, he speaks of individual believers “And they shall be mine… in the day when i make up my jewels”.
The foundation of the church is the apostles’ doctrine; i.e. “built upon the foundation of the apostles” (Eph. 2:20). Israel is named in the gates – outflow of administration. But in the foundations (structure of the city) the apostles are named, and Israel has no part. Even in the millennium the church is distinct from earthly Israel.
21 And the twelve gates, twelve pearls; each one of the gates, respectively, was of one pearl; and the street of the city pure gold, as transparent glass. v.21 The pearl sets forth the preciousness of the church in Christ’s sight (Matt. 13:46). they don’t come out of the earth, they come out of the sea. In the millennium there will ne a display to every quarter of the world, the unity of the church, and her value in the eyes of Christ. The street is the practical walk of the believer. In that day the practical walk (street) will match the standing (city, v.18) of the church… divine righteousness. Also, there is only one street, there will be only one fellowship of the saints.
The Operation of the City: Fellowship with God and the Lamb (21:22-27)
22 And I saw no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty is its temple, and the Lamb. v.22 No temple – shows the contrast between the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly city. There will be a temple in the earthly city (Ezek. 41-44). full and free access to God is equally granted to all, no priest or mediator is required. What takes the place of a temple is: (1) God in all his old testament names, and (2) the lamb, who is the image and word of God towards man.
23 And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon, that they should shine for it; for the glory of God has enlightened it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb. v.23 independent created lights (sun and moon) are for the earth (gen. 1) not needed in the heavenly city. The glory of god has lit up the city, but the Lamb is the avenue by which the light is displayed. Always, the person of the father is the source, but the son is the tangible person of the godhead. Stephen saw “the glory of God” and “Jesus standing… etc.”
24 And the nations shall walk by its light; and the kings of the earth bring their glory to it. vv.24-26 a clue that this is not the eternal state… there are no nations mentioned in the eternal state (vv.1-8) but they are present in the millennium. The heavenly city will provide divine wisdom and guidence to the nations, and they will do homage to the One who is the light of the city. As will any dispensation, there is supply (light) and demand (worship). The church will finally fulfill the purpose that it was placed here for, and in which she has failed so badly in the present dispensation (Phil. 2:15, Eph. 2:7).
25 And its gates shall not be shut at all by day, for night shall not be there. v.25 “Gates” This two way stream – light and blessing going out, glory and worship coming in – will never cease throughout the 1000 years. “night” or Moral darkness may still exist on the earth, but not in the heavenly city.
26 And they shall bring the glory and the honour of the nations to it. v.26 The Church will be the means of not only the display of God’s glory, but the collector of the glory brought back to God from men on the earth. This will continue into the eternal state when there are no longer nations (Eph. 3:21). Note that it doesn’t say “into it”… there will still need to be separation from evil in the Millennium.
27 And nothing common, nor that maketh an abomination and a lie, shall at all enter into it; but those only who are written in the book of life of the Lamb. v.27 All the blessing that god will bring to the earth in the millennium will be without defilement. Today, the financial systems of men are based on greed and corruption in the name of desiring the greater good. this verse isn’t saying that sin will be expunged from the earth in the millennium… but only that sin will have no fellowship with the church. On the other hand, the elect will have free fellowship with the heavenly saints in that day.
Earthly and Heavenly cities. Jerusalem below is in many respects the counterpart of Jerusalem above. Both cities are seats of government. Both have living waters, and both have trees of fruit and healing. However, In the earthly millennial Jerusalem the living waters issue from under the temple (Ezek. 47:1); whereas in the holy city the river flows from the throne. The river on earth parts into two heads, in heaven the river doesn’t part. Twelve gates in both.
The River: The blessing of God on the earth through the church (22:1-5)
¶ And he shewed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, going out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. v.1 the river – This is a clear reference to the river which “went out of Eden to water the garden” (Gen. 2:10). However, there is no parting of the river in the celestial city “into four heads”. The water of life – the communion with the father (god) and the son (lamb) that has always been the source and stay of eternal life (John 17:3). The throne – previously connected with judgment (Rev. 4), it now becomes the source of blessing… fulfillment of the rainbow.
2 In the midst of its street, and of the river, on this side and on that side, the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, in each month yielding its fruit; and the leaves of the tree for healing of the nations. v.2 The street – is the street of gold, which tells us that the throne of God and the Lamb is in the City, and from it the river flows out to the world. the tree of life (Christ himself) provides everything that is needed for our happiness (fruit) and for the blessing of the earth (leaves):
- the river brings refreshment (heavenly saints)
- The fruit brings sustainance (heavenly saints)
- The leaves bring healing (earthly nations, Not required by the church).
twelve fruits – provision from god that will be used in government and administration. every month – a crop every month versus one per year… perpetual fruitfulness. nations are mentioned, so we are still in the millennium.
3a And no curse shall be any more; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; v.3 In the millennium, the curse pronouned in Gen. 3:14 will be removed… not sin removed, but the curse (Rom. 8:21). Very clearly we have the throne, the source of authority, in the city.
3b and his servants shall (1) serve him, 4 and they shall (2) see his face; and (3) his name is on their foreheads. vv.3B-4 WHo does the “His” refer to? God and the Lamb are so united that the personal pronoun is used. It is god being revealed through the lamb. His servants are the heavenly saints in the Holy city:
- shall Serve him – counted as priviledge, motivated by pure love.
- shall see his face – the face once marred (Isa. 52:11)… will produce joy
- name in their foreheads – we will be publicly owned as belonging to him.
5a And night shall not be any more, and no need of a lamp, and light of the sun; for the Lord God shall shine upon them, v.5a Physical and moral darkness will be banished from the heavenly city. Whether is be artificial light (a candle) or created light (the sun), all becomes obsolete when the Lord God shines upon the inhabitants of the city.
5b and they shall reign to the ages of ages. v.5b The heavenly saints reign to the ages of ages, or the eternal state. This would be “reigning in life”, the fulfillment of Rom. 5:17. while the eternal state isn’t characterized by “reigning”, it is looked at as continuing forever, similar to how the millennial kingdom is looked at as lasting forever (Dan. 7:27). The millennium is the “front porch” (Foyer) to the eternal state.
Genesis ↔ Revelation: THE END OF REVELATION CONNECTS WITH THE BEINNING OF GENESIS IN THIS SECTION. access to the tree of life was blocked by the cherubim and flaming sword in the garden (Gen. 3:24), but here access is unlimmited to the redeemed. The river in eden parted into four heads… this river never parts. Man’s sin brought the curse in eden, God’s grace lifts the curse in the millennium. However, all sin is not removed until the eternal state.
|In Gen. 2-3||In Rev. 22|
|a river that parted||a river that doesn’t part|
|the tree of life guarded||the tree of life unguarded|
|leaves used to cover up||leaves used to heal|
|the curse instituted||the curse removed|
|They hid themselves||they see his face|
|night and day||no more night|