Tagged: commentary on Revelation

Multicolored Diamonds Background

Every kind of precious stone – Revelation 21:18-21

Multicolored Diamonds BackgroundPreviously: The number 12 – Revelation 21:12-14

The scripture

Rev. 21:18 – The building material of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone: the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 The 12 gates are 12 pearls; each individual gate was made of a single pearl. The broad street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (HCSB)

Every kind of precious stone

John notes in verse 18 that the wall is made of jasper, and the city is pure gold like clear glass. This amplifies the information already given to us in verse 11, where the city is radiant “like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.” The city itself – the bride, the people of God – is so thoroughly purified as to become transparent. This is an image used in other scriptures to describe the refined character of God’s sanctified people:

Job 23:10 – “Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.”

Zech. 13:9 – “I will put this third through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are My people, and they will say: Yahweh is our God.”

Mal. 3:3 – “He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.”

1 Peter 1:7 – “So that the genuineness of your faith – more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Rev. 3:18 – “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see.”

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Closeup of a license plate with the number twelve

The number 12 – Revelation 21:12-14

Closeup of a license plate with the number twelvePreviously: A massive high wall – Revelation 21:12-14

The scripture

Rev. 21:12 – The city had a massive high wall, with 12 gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; the names of the 12 tribes of Israel’s sons were inscribed on the gates. 13 There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 The city wall had 12 foundations, and the 12 names of the Lamb’s 12 apostles were on the foundations. (HCSB)

The number 12

The number 12 is repeated many times in this passage:

  • The city walls have 12 gates.
  • Twelve angels are at the gates.
  • The names of the 12 tribes of Israel’s sons are inscribed on the gates.
  • The city wall has 12 foundations.
  • The 12 names of the Lamb’s 12 apostles are on the foundations.
  • The city measures 12,000 stadia.
  • The wall’s thickness is 144 cubits (12 x 12).
  • The 12 gates are 12 pearls.

What is the significance of the number 12 in this passage, and throughout scripture?

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Way to new world.

A massive high wall – Revelation 21:12-14

Way to new world.Previously: Arrayed with God’s glory – Revelation 21:10-11

The scripture

Rev. 21:12 – The city had a massive high wall, with 12 gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; the names of the 12 tribes of Israel’s sons were inscribed on the gates. 13 There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 The city wall had 12 foundations, and the 12 names of the Lamb’s 12 apostles were on the foundations. (HCSB)

A massive high wall

In verses 12-21 John describes the exterior of the New Jerusalem, turning to the interior in verses 22-27. The New Jerusalem has a “massive high wall, with 12 gates.” The walls and gates speak of protection, which angels ensure as they stand guard.

God’s people have nothing to fear from their enemies any longer. Though hated and harassed on earth, these pilgrims are now safe from all harms. Where once they wore shackles behind prison walls, they now walk freely within the gates of the heavenly city. Where once they wandered about in sheepskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated, wandering in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground, they now receive a better inheritance as they bask in the never-ending daylight of their eternal home.

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Milky Way. Beautiful summer night sky with stars. Background

Arrayed with God’s glory – Revelation 21:10-11

Milky Way. Beautiful summer night sky with stars. BackgroundPreviously: I will show you the bride – Revelation 21:9

The scripture

Rev. 21:10 – He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal. (HCSB)

Arrayed with God’s glory

John sees the bride, the wife of the Lamb, coming down out of heaven from God, “arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal” (v. 11).

The most significant quality of the New Jerusalem is stated at the outset. It is the radiance of God, the sign of His visible presence. As in the burning bush, the pillar of fire by night, the Shekinah glory in the Holy of Holies, and the brilliance of Jesus’ presence on the mount of transfiguration, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.

The prophet Isaiah foretells the work of the divine warrior who penetrates the earth’s spiritual darkness (Isa. 59:17-21). As a result, Isaiah exults, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you” (Isa. 60:1).
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Gold Medals

The victor will inherit – Revelation 21:7-8

Gold MedalsPreviously: Making everything new – Revelation 21:5-6

The scripture

Rev. 21:7 – The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. 8 But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars – their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (HCSB)

The victor will inherit these things

The words of God complete this section as He speaks in verses 7-8: “The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars – their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

This expresses the intimate relationship that exists between the saints and God in the eternal state. We are joint-heirs with Jesus. We are God’s adopted sons and daughters. And the full expression of God’s work for us and in us will be realized when we are resurrected and glorified, and when we enjoy everlasting face-to-face intimacy with Him in the new heavens and earth.

The words “the victor” are translated “he who overcomes” or “the one who conquers” in other versions. This refers to the perseverance of the saints during a time of terrible persecution, and it links the promises of Jesus in the opening chapters of Revelation to their fulfillment in the return of the King.

Remember that in each of the seven letters to the churches of Asia Minor Jesus offers a word of encouragement to the overcomer:

To Ephesus: “I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise” (Rev. 2:7).

To Smyrna: “The victor will never be harmed by the second death” (Rev. 2:11)

To Pergamum: “I will give the victor some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name is inscribed that no one knows except the one who receives it” (Rev. 2:17).

To Thyatira: “The one who is victorious and keeps My words to the end: I will give him authority over the nations – and he will shepherd them with an iron scepter; he will shatter them like pottery – just as I have received this from My Father. I will also give him the morning star” (Rev. 2:24-26).

To Sardis: “In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels” (Rev. 3:5).

To Philadelphia: “The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God – the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God – and My new name” (Rev. 3:12).

And to Laodicea: “The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:21).

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