1. And I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth, for the former heaven and the former earth were passed away; and the sea was no more. 2. And I John saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband. 3. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and He Himself shall be with them their God. 4. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither mourning nor crying, neither shall there be labor [trouble] anymore, for the former things have passed away. 5. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful. 6. And He said unto me, It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give unto him that thirsteth of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7. He that overcometh shall possess as an inheritance all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. 8. But the fearful, and the unfaithful, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake burning with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. 9. And there came unto me one of the seven angels having the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and he spoke with me, saying, Come, I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.
10 And he carried me away in the spirit upon a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11. Having the glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, shining like crystal. 12. Having a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and over the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13. On the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14. And the wall of the city having twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15. And he that was speaking with me had a golden reed, to measure the city and the gates thereof and the wall thereof. 16. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length thereof is as large as the breadth; and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand stadia; the length and the breadth and the height of it were equal. 17. And he measured the wall thereof, a hundred forty-four cubits, the measure of a man which is of an angel. 18. And the structure of the wall thereof was jasper, and the city was pure gold like pure glass. 19. And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone. The first foundation was 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. 21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was of one pearl; and the street of the city was pure gold as it were transparent glass. 22. And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty is the temple of it and the Lamb. 23. And the city hath no need of the sun and of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb. 24. And the nations which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it. 25. And the gates of it shall not be shut by day; for there shall be no night there; and they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. 26. And there shall not enter into it any unclean thing and that doeth abomination and a lie, but they that are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
In this chapter it treats of the state of heaven and the church after the Last Judgment; that after this, through the New Heaven, the New Church will exist on the earth, which will worship the Lord alone (verses 1-8). Its conjunction with the Lord (verses 9, 10). The description of it as to intelligence from the Word (verse 11); as to doctrine thence (verses 12-21); and as to all its quality (verses 22-26). The contents of each verse
Verse 1. “And I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth”
A New Heaven was formed from Christians by the Lord, which at this day is called the Christian Heaven, where they are who had worshiped the Lord, and had lived according to His commandments in the Word, who thence have charity and faith; in which are also all the infants of Christians.
“For the former heaven and the former earth were passed away”
The heavens which were formed not by the Lord, but by those who came out of the Christian world into the spiritual world, who were all dispersed at the day of the Last Judgment.
“And the sea was no more”
The external of the heavens collected from Christians since the first establishment of the church was in like manner dispersed, after they who were written in the Lord’s book of life were taken thence and saved.
Verse 2. “And I John saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven”
The New Church to be established by the Lord at the end of the former church, which will be consociated with the New Heaven in Divine truths as to doctrine and as to life.
“Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”
Church conjoined with the Lord through the Word.
Verse 3. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men”
The Lord from love speaking and declaring the glad tidings, that He Himself will now be present with men in His Divine Human.
“And He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and He Himself shall be with them their God”
The conjunction of the Lord, which is of such a nature, that they are in Him, and He in them.
Verse 4. “And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither mourning nor crying, neither shall there be labor anymore, for the former things have passed away”
The Lord will take from them all grief of mind, fear of damnation, of evils and falsities from hell, and of temptations from them, and they shall not remember them because the dragon, which had caused them, is cast out.
Verse 5. “And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write, for these words are true and faithful”
The Lord confirming all concerning the New Heaven and the New Church after the Last Judgment has been executed.
Verse 6. “And He said unto me, It is done”
It is the Divine truth.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”
The Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and that all things in the heavens and on earth were made by Him, and are ruled by His Divine Providence, and are done according to it.
“I will give unto him that thirsteth of the fountain of the water of life freely”
To those who desire truths from any spiritual use, the Lord will give from Himself through the Word all things that conduce to that use.
Verse 7. “He that overcometh shall possess as an inheritance all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son”
They who overcome evils in themselves, that is, the devil, and do not succumb when they are tempted by the Babylonians and the dragonists, will come into heaven, and there live in the Lord and the Lord in them.
Verse 8. “But the fearful, and the unfaithful, and the abominable”
Those who are in no faith, and in no charity, and thence in all kinds of evils.
“And murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and liars”
All those who make no account of the commandments of the Decalogue, and do not shun any evils there named as sins, and therefore live in them.
“Shall have their part in the lake burning with fire and brimstone”
They have hell where are the loves of falsity and the lusts of evil.
“Which is the second death”
Verse 9. “And there came unto me one of the seven angels having the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and he spoke with me, saying, Come, I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife”
Influx and manifestation from the Lord out of the inmost of heaven, concerning the New Church, which will be conjoined to the Lord through the Word.
Verse 10. “And he carried me away in the spirit upon a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God”
John was taken up into the third heaven, and his sight there opened, before whom was made manifest the Lord’s New Church as to doctrine, in the form of a city.
Verse 11. “Having the glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, shining like crystal”
In that church the Word will be understood, because translucent from its spiritual sense.
Verse 12. “Having a wall great and high”
The Word in the sense of the letter from which is the doctrine of the New Church.
“Having twelve gates”
All the knowledges of truth and good therein by which man is introduced into the church.
“And over the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel”
The Divine truths and goods of heaven, which are also the Divine truths and goods of the church in those knowledges, and guards lest anyone enter unless he is in them from the Lord.
Verse 13. “On the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates”
The knowledges of truth and good, in which is spiritual life from heaven from the Lord, and by which introduction into the New Church is effected, are for those who are more or less in the love or the affection of good, and for those who are more or less in wisdom or the affection of truth.
Verse 14. “And the wall of the city having twelve foundations”
The Word in the sense of the letter contains all things of the doctrine of the New Church.
“And in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”
All things of doctrine from the Word concerning the Lord, and concerning life according to His commandments.
Verse 15. “And he that spoke with me had a golden reed, to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof”
There is given by the Lord, to those who are in the good of love, the faculty of understanding and knowing what the quality of the Lord’s New Church is as to doctrine and its introductory truths, and as to the Word from which they are.
Verse 16. “And the city lieth foursquare”
Justice in it.
“The length thereof is as large as the breadth”
Good and truth in that church make one, like essence and form.
“And he measured the city with the reed twelve thousand stadia, the length and the breadth and the height of it were equal”
The quality of that church from doctrine shown, that all things of it were from the good of love.
Verse 17. “And he measured the wall thereof a hundred forty-four cubits”
It was shown what the quality of the Word is in that church, that from it are all its truths and goods.
“The measure of a man, that is, of an angel”
The quality of that church that it makes one with heaven.
Verse 18. “And the structure of the wall thereof was jasper”
All the Divine truth in the sense of the letter of the Word, with the men of that church, is translucent from the Divine truth in the spiritual sense.
“And the city was pure gold, like unto pure glass”
Thence the all of that church is the good of love flowing in together with light out of heaven from the Lord.
Verse 19. “And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone”
All things of the doctrine of the New Jerusalem taken from the sense of the letter of the Word, with those who are in it, will appear in the light according to reception.
“The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald (verse 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”
All things of that doctrine in their order from the sense of the letter of the Word, with those who immediately approach the Lord, and live according to the commandments of the Decalogue by shunning evils as sins, for these and no others are in the doctrine of love to God and love toward the neighbor, which two are the fundamentals of religion.
Verse 21. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, everyone of the gates was of one pearl”
The acknowledgment and knowledge of the Lord conjoins into one all the knowledges of truth and good, which are from the Word, and introduces into the church.
“And the street of the city was pure gold as it were transparent glass”
Every truth of that church and of its doctrine is in form the good of love flowing in together with light out of heaven from the Lord.
Verse 22. “And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty is the temple of it and the Lamb”
In this church there will not be any external separated from the internal, because the Lord Himself in His Divine Human, from whom is the all of the church, is alone approached, worshiped, and adored.
Verse 23. “And the city hath no need of the sun and the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb”
The men of that church will not be in self-love and in their own intelligence, and thence in natural light alone, but in spiritual light from the Divine truth of the Word from the Lord alone.
Verse 24. “And the nations which are saved shall walk in the light of it”
All who are in the good of life, and believe in the Lord, will there live according to Divine truths, and will see them inwardly in themselves, as the eye sees objects.
“And the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it”
All who are in the truths of wisdom from spiritual good, will there confess the Lord, and ascribe to Him every truth and every good that is with them.
Verse 25. “And the gates of it shall not be shut by day; for there shall be no night there”
They will be continually received into the New Jerusalem, who are in truths from the good of love from the Lord, because there is not any falsity of faith there.
“And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it”
They who enter will bring with them the confession, acknowledgment, and faith, that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and that every truth of the church and every good of religion is from Him.
Verse 26. “And there shall not enter into it any unclean thing and that doeth abomination and a lie”
No one is received into the Lord’s New Church who adulterates the goods and falsifies the truths of the Word, and who does evils from confirmation and thus also falsities.
“But they that are written in the Lamb’s book of life”
No others will be received into the New Church, which is the New Jerusalem, but they who believe in the Lord, and live according to His commandments in the Word.
Author: Emanuel Swedenborg (Apocalypse Revealed)
THE NEW JERUSALEM.
And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. xxi. 2).
THE subject for our consideration this evening is the descent of the New Jerusalem. It is a subject, perhaps, that may appear rather trite and commonplace here to be speaking of things that may be considered as very well known. But it is not so. Although the doctrines and principles of the Church that we understand to form a part of the dispensation of the New Jerusalem of these times are exceedingly simple and straightforward, yet we find in this respect, as in many others, those who are completely ignorant of these principles oftentimes pretend to give a full and complete account of what they do not at all understand.
Let me, then, invite your best attention while we endeavor to explain what we conceive the New Jerusalem to be, and the ground upon which we think perhaps we may venture to claim to be part of the Jerusalem from heaven.
And first of all, perhaps, it would be well to remove out of the way an objection that will come from those who hate not very closely considered the language of Holy Writ, and the style in which the Bible speaks.
They suppose that the New Jerusalem means a state of things to come into existence when the present universe has passed away. This is supposed to be implied by the information in the verse going before: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there was no more sea; and I, John, saw the holy city–and so on, and those who have been familiarized with the idea that this universe is to be burnt up and pass away at some time or other, will readily confirm this by the language of the verse I have read. Thoughtful readers will know, however, that the terms heaven and earth in Scripture do not represent the grand universe of Gods heaven and Gods earth, but signify a Dispensation.
They are tolerably equivalent to the Church and the world. The natural universe, Gods heaven and earth, the immense starry systems, the suns and worlds innumerable of which Creation consists, are not to pass away, because Gods work is so completely and divinely perfect that it cannot need to be destroyed, and cannot be improved. The glorious system is destined, according to the whole Scriptures, to abide for ever. Again and again, where the grand universe is described, it is said not only of the entire, but of each single part–sun, moon, stars, earth–will exist for ever and ever. They will never pass away.
I need but remind you of a few instances of this kind, and you will know how direct is this teaching: One generation cometh and another generation goeth, but the earth abideth for ever; He (the Lord) hath built His throne like the high palaces, like the earth which abideth for ever. See the 72nd Psalm: They shall fear Thee as long as the sun and moon endure, THROUGHOUT ALL GENERATIONS (v. 5); His name shall endure for ever; His name shall be continued as long as the sun (v. 17). Take as another instance the 148th Psalm, verse 6, where the sun and moon and stars are called upon to witness to the infinite goodness of the Divine Majesty, and it is said, He hath commanded, and they were created. He hath established them forever and ever. He hath made a decree which shall not pass.
Not only; so; Holy Scripture contains a continued series of prophecies of the working of God’s providence until the whole earth shall be covered with the knowledge of the Lord, and none shall hurt nor destroy in all Gods holy mountain. There shall be one Lord over all the earth. There shall be one Lord, and His name one.
All thy children shall be taught of God, and great shall be the peace of thy children. The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.
We might add scores of other declarations to the same effect. It is a real denial of all these sublime declarations of the Word of God which is made by narrow minds who dwell upon one ill understood passage of St. Peter, and cry out every now and then the world is just going to be on fire, and be dissolved.
It is surely not now that we are to expect any such change of this system of Gods world, so as to stand in the may of the fulfillment of Divine teaching. Notice the words immediately following our text: And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
The new heaven and the new earth are a new dispensation; to come down from heaven amongst men, making them truly wise and truly happy, and removing all the causes of sorrow and misery, in which God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death.
The death that is especially meant which is not to be in the New Jerusalem is the death of sin. To be carnally minded is death. The death which is selfishness shall not exist in the Lords real Jerusalem, nor shall there be any of the sorrow or the crying which that death brings about, for the former things are passed away.
The former things mean the same as is previously meant by the former heaven and earth. A similar change was effected from the Jewish world to the Christian world. Hence the Apostle Paul said: If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new (2 Cor. v. 17). In this sense the Lords heaven is the Church; the earth means the world. The Church and the world of the former dispensation had for him passed away; he had entered a new heaven and earth; all things had become new.
It is the object and the duty of the Church to introduce and sustain Divine things among men–to make the Lords heaven upon earth.
Gods heaven upon earth is the Lords Church, and from the Church, the state of the world around it. This is called in Scripture forming the heavens and the earth. Take, for instance, Isaiah ii. 16 : And I have put My words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. Here you see how the heavens and earth are formed. The Church and the world, in any particular dispensation, are its heaven and earth.
In the education of the world, distinct dispensations have followed each other. There was the Adamic heaven and earth; then the Noetic heaven and earth; afterwards followed the Jewish heaven and earth. When the Jewish heaven and earth were corrupted by tradition, hypocrisy and guilt to the full, then Christianity was introduced, and the Jewish heaven and earth were virtually extinguished. The Lord said on the Cross, It is finished. Their little world came to its end.
A new heaven and a new earth–the Christian heaven and earth–a glorious dispensation, embracing all nations–not a little shadow of a Church in the Judean hills, but a grand and real Church, having the kingdom of God in the souls of men, and forming of varied nations a new state of nobler principles on the earth.
There was to be a thorough renovation, from new principles, of the whole of society, so that instead of one small nation forming the circumscribed little model or pattern of a Church, there should now be a really grand society, taking in nations and tribes, multitudes and continents, forming a glorious brotherhood, and the Lord Jesus Himself would be the Divine center and Father of the whole. This was the new heaven and the new earth of Christendom.
Christianity, as it was laid down by the simple, Divine lessons of our Savior-God, and constituted in the obedience of man, lasted only a few hundred years. Wealth and power gradually corrupted and changed the simple and noble virtues of the early Church. Myriads of barbarians brought their superstitions more or less into it, and degradation has really taken place in Christendom, until those who would look at religion as in many respects it has been made, and compare it with the simple teachings of our Divine Savior, will see it is at present quite another thing.
As we have endeavored to show, all that was foretold in this Book of the Revelation has taken place.
The dragon and the mother of mystery, and the abominations of the earth, have each had their time, and have now to pass away. Their heaven and earth are to pass away, and a new heaven and a new earth are gradually but certainly taking place. That is to say, a new dispensation has begun.
The Lord commences with restoring the grand old principles which are the center and soul of every Church–that is, Love to God above all things, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. These are the essential things, and the first of every new dispensation is to restore these, and restore them as the grand foundations. Afterwards the Lord gives as much additional wisdom as mankind can bear, just as He said in the Gospel: I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Well, then, at this time precisely this change is going on. The Lord is calling our attention to those two grand principles, which are the essence of all religion, so that by a beautiful explanation of our duties in life, and our hopes in the eternal world, a light may illuminate our path for time, and for our everlasting home. The Lord has said again: Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord has arisen upon thee. This is what is meant by the New Jerusalem. Wk shall see how clearly, how beautifully and simply it comes out when we just thoughtfully consider what the Word teaches.
Jerusalem, you are aware, was the capital of Judea, where all the religious ceremonies of the Jews centered, and where their sacrifices were carried on. The name was indicative of restoration. In very ancient times that place was called Salem. You remember that Melchisedech was the priest of Salem in Abrahams time. It was first Salem, then became Jebus, which means a mocker. It was a restoration of that name when it was again denominated Jerusalem.
The term Jerusalem means a sight of peace. Salem, and all words derived from it, as Solomon, are forms of the word for peace in Hebrew. Jeru-Salem means the sight of peace. When there could be no real city of peace, but only a representation in ceremonies and types, then the city of the imitation was called Jerusalem.
When our Lord Jesus came into the world, and put an end to the Jewish dispensation, and gave grand principles of thought, of life, love, and virtue, He then said, as you will remember, to the woman of Samaria:
Woman, believe Me the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.
He thus foretold a spiritual Jerusalem, a city of truth, a real sight of peace.
The Apostles understood it. The Apostle Paul said: He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. And when speaking further upon the subject he states of Christians everywhere: Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (Heb. xii. 22). This was the Holy Jerusalem in that Dispensation. The Church there could be a real city of peace. The Lord Jesus Christ was their Head. The Savior-God was the Prince of Peace. They saw the principles that He laid down, and by which the soul could be built up for heaven, and those are the laws of happiness. In Me ye shall have peace. They saw every thing calculated to make a heaven upon earth. The kingdom of God is not lo here, nor lo there, but the kingdom of God is within you. Consequently this new Church of His became the real Jerusalem, the Church of the living God–the city embracing all the good and true amongst men. This is the meaning of Jerusalem.
This was seen and proclaimed, but it was also declared that again the love of many would wax cold, and iniquity would abound. Again darkness would cover the earth, and gross darkness the people. In fact, the middle ages were described as we now know them. They were then to be followed by a New Jerusalem, which would come down from God out of heaven. You will see how simple the interpretation is. We say a New Jerusalem means a new Church. Ally child of six years can see that if Jerusalem means a Church, a New Jerusalem must mean a new Church. It is simple as A, B, C.
Humanity can now say, and we, as part of mankind, rejoice to say:
In every age the Lord was kind,
And to His Church revealed His mind;
But we enjoy a wondrous store
Of blessings never known before.
When speaking of these Divine mercies of love and wisdom now brought within the reach of men, as gifts from the Lord, we have to apologize lest it should appear we are boasting of higher things than others have; but they are not ours–they are the Lords blessings to all who will receive them. We rejoice to say the great truths meant by the New Jerusalem have come. They have descended from heaven. They are here. They can be accepted, loved, followed, and every blessing attributed to them will be found, to the great happiness of the receiver.
This is not any work of ours. Our part is simply having received such blessings as our good Lord has been pleased to give to us, and all men who will receive them can receive them. Whosoever will, let him come and take of the WATER OF LIFE freely. The New Jerusalem has come down from God out of heaven.
This Book of the Revelation teaches that some day or other there must be such a new state of things as is revealed to us in this description of the New Jerusalem. It must be some day. Never mind at present whether it is this day or not. We must believe that, unless we are convinced that the Apostle John had no authority for what he said, and that he was entirely mistaken. Some people have a great dread of anything new in religion. They believe that God was very good in old times, and that He gave people counsels and principles in those days; but since then He has left the world to itself, and He has nothing further to say. Therefore what is old is right; and if there be anything new, it must be wrong. There is a jingling decision we sometimes hear:
If a thing is true, it cannot be new;
And if it is true, it cannot be new.
This is supposed to be a very wise maxim. It has a certain amount of solidity in it. Truth in itself is eternal. What was once right in itself is always right. The great laws of Divine wisdom must be eternal as Divine wisdom itself. In that sense, a thing cannot be both true and new. Yet a precept may be new to us, and yet be true. Our Lord Jesus said: A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. This was a truth eternal in itself; yet it was new to the Jews of that day. It was always right that men should love one another; but to men of that generation it had ceased to be a command, and therefore the Lord revealed it afresh, and called it a new command. Just so it is in every new dispensation.
I have mentioned that His command is to restore the old essentials of religion to the place which they ought to occupy. The chief central place in religion is in the breast. It is a Divine fact that the truths are eternal truths. But then there is a large amount of intelligence and wisdom which has to be given to clear off the ignorance of mankind, to remove old mistakes and errors of every description.
But that axiom about nothing being good that is new is, perhaps, one of those most completely out of date at the present time; for who is there here that does not know that in almost every part of life there is a complete new state of things. Let anyone present think of his own business, and he will find it entirely changed and improved.
And this is part of this grand diffusion of wisdom which is lighting up the whole mental atmosphere–the Divine light–of which it is said in the Word: Let thine eye be single, and thy whole body shall be full of light. New truths are surely better than old errors. All good things are spoken of in Scripture as new things–the new heart, the new spirit. These are the preparations for heaven. A new covenant is needed–new wine is to be put into new bottles.
On the other hand, old things are in the Bible but little commended. The old serpent is about the least respectable feature that is mentioned in the whole Bible. The old man, with his lusts, is to be put away. The apathetic man, who has been drinking old wine, doth not straightway desire new. He saith the old is better. But the Lord says: I will drink it new with you in the kingdom of My Father the mountains shall run down with new wine.
The first mark of the New Jerusalem is, that it is a Church which shall acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as its only God, in Whom is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–the All in all.
It is called the Lambs wife. Of course the HUSBAND is all in all to his wife. One Church and one Lord. The Lords bride and wife can only love her husband. It would be spiritual adultery to share her affections with any one rival, any other Divine persons. Thy Maker is thy husband, the Word says. As for our Redeemer, the God of the whole earth shall He be called. The Lord Jesus Christ would be seen and understood by those who receive the Churchs blessings to be the Churchs husband, to be the Churchs only guide, guard, and protector.
He is Jehovah, who was the husband of the Church in former days, and He is now the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Very God who is to wipe away all tears from their eyes.
This idea comes before us in the description of the New Jerusalem in various ways, and in many striking and unexpected combinations. Take, for instance, And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the TEMPLES of it (Rev. xxi. 22). Mind, not the temples, as if there were two or three, but THE TEMPLE, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the inmost life, and the Divine manifestation, of the same ineffable Divine Person–the Everlasting Father, in Him and the Lamb, the Divine Humanity, the door of approach. The Holy of Holies of the temple in the Lord, and His Divine humanity, made one temple before the angels, in which, as the Apostle says, Dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
And then, in the next verse, it is said: And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. Or, as in the margin, the Lamb is the lamp thereof; so that the glory of God! and the Lamb are like the lamp and the light. The Lamb is the lamp. The glory of the good Lord shines out of it, to strengthen, guide, and bless the universe.
There is still the same language used: And He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Some, when speaking of God in heaven, have made three thrones; but nothing of the sort is intimated here. The throne of God and the Lamb. There is only one throne mentioned, because there is only one Divine person.
And then look at the 3rd verse: And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants (not their servants) shall serve Him; and they shall see His face (not their faces, as if there were three people), and His name shall be in their foreheads. Then you go on, and in the 13th verse you hear the Lord Himself proclaim: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last; and in the 16th verse: I Jesus, have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the Churches. I am the root and the offspring of David. The root, because He was the Eternal God, the everlasting Father; because He became God with us. The root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
I have mentioned that, in explaining these things, there seems to be. such clearness and such blessing, it almost seems as if you were beset with Divine goodness. All that is thus simply taught in Scripture, is just what we teach in doctrine. The doctrine is simplicity itself. It is that God is an infinitely Divine Man, having every excellence infinitely in Him, that man has infinitely in him.
Here, then, we have a clear idea of the Deity and Divine Trinity. Why it is just like the trinity in man. There are three grand things in each person–his soul, his body, his works; and then you have got the whole man.
In God the three grand things are, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Just as the soul is in the body, so the Father was in the Lord. The Father who is in Me, He said, He doeth the works. Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
The second mark of the new Jerusalem is that its principles are all love. The city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass (verse 21). By pure gold is meant pure love. Gold, because it is the best of the metals, the most ductile, beautiful, and enduring, is taken in Scripture to mean the most sacred of principles, love to God, engendering love to man. That is the golden love: I (the Lord) counsel thee to buy of Me fine gold tried in the fire. That is the greatest blessing that we can get from the Lord Jesus Christ, the gift of love to Him, and the love that will help us to love and bless all around us.
Well, this city was to be of pure gold. That is to say, all its principles are themselves love wrought out. They lead to what love requires man to do. The city was of pure gold.
The third noticeable mark is the clearness of its doctrines and principles (verses 18-21). That is, to a thoughtful mind, all its truths will be clear, transparent, heavenly light, shining through like clear glass.
Some have been so trained to obscurity in religion, that the very clearness of the New Jerusalem frightens them. Yet it was to be clear. You make it all so plain, they say, I can understand it as easily as possible. I dont think it can be right. I have been taught that we must believe things we cannot understand, or else there is no merit in believing. I perceive clearly that two and two make four. If I were ordered to believe that two and two made, seven, there would be something then to believe. That would be my idea of faith.
Yes, and it would be a false faith, and could lead to nothing but mischief, like a false multiplication-table. Scripture tells us we must understand first, and believe after. Just hear the words of our Lord: The good seed of the kingdom are they that hear the Word and understand it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
A person never understands what religion is until he brings it into practice; and when he does that, it brings him blessing, peace, and comfort.
The FOURTH mark of the New Jerusalem is that its inhabitants seek and find blessing in keeping the Lords commandments. Blessed are they, it was read in the lesson this evening that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and to enter through the gates into the city. And this is a simple thing–so simple indeed, that one is astonished that anybody can think religion to be otherwise, and that people should say that Gods commandments have nothing to do with it. It is not so in the New Jerusalem. Blessed are they that do His commandments; and we rejoice to say men can do the Lords commandments. This language of the depreciation of the Lords commands pleads a want of study of the Divine Word; for who can think that the Lord would give commands in every part of His Word which could not be carried out? Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say? If ye will enter into life, KEEP the commandments. And in the New Jerusalem there will be no ground for thinking what especially young people have been led sometimes to think, that religion is a very melancholy thing. A person ought not to go groaning and moaning through the world, and supposing that it is a pleasure to the Lord to see him miserable. Nothing of the kind. Blessed are they that do His commandments, says the Word–not blessed shall they be at some future time; but blessed ARE they.
True religion throws a smile over everything. It gives happiness now, as a warrant for happiness in the future. The love of God is to keep His commandments, and, as St. John said, His commandments are not grievous (1 John v. 3).
When you rise in the morning, think to bless Him who has given you a good nights rest, health, and comfort, Who has poured refreshment into soul and body. Do that, and you will find blessing will descend like a sacred dew from heaven.
Come dorm and mix with your family, and say to yourself, What can I do to make them happy? A kindly word here, a loving smile there, an endeavor to help out some little purpose with one, and give a cheerful hint to another, will make the whole family comfortable and happy.
In business act firmly, in a spirit of integrity. Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. This is what the Lords commandments require; and when we enter upon this, we shall find that it is reflected by those about us.
Love produces love. Kindliness brings out kindliness. Blessed are they that do His commandments. The misery of the world comes from not doing His commandments. There is not one commandment that is not absolutely necessary, or which can be done without. Heavenly character is formed by keeping these commandments. By them we enter into life–that is, love. If we follow His blessed commandments by power from Him, we shall find that darkness and sorrow will go, and light and peace will reign in their stead. By a loving obedience in faith to them, our lives will carry out the angelic anthem, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.
Author: JONATHAN BAYLEY—– THE MAGNIFICENT SCENES IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION (1878)