Yesterday I posted a video of a presentation I gave at Blue Point Bible Church last weekend as part of a conference on “the end times.” The theme of the conference was two-fold:
- What was the purpose of the end times?
- How do we walk worthy of the kingdom of God?
Yesterday’s post (Part 1) included my notes on the first half of the video where I addressed the first question, tracing John’s pattern of referencing the imagery of Mount Sinai (Exodus 19) throughout the book of Revelation (e.g. 4:5, 8:5, 11:19, and 16:18; 1:6 and 12:14). John did this to show that “the end times” and “the last days” were bringing about the final transition from the old covenant age to the new covenant age during the first century AD.
This post (Part 2) includes the notes I used in the second half of my presentation, where I looked at Revelation 21:1 – 22:5 as a blueprint for how to walk worthy of God’s kingdom in the New Jerusalem. This part of the presentation begins around the 29:30 mark of the video.
[Revelation 21:2] New Jerusalem is God’s holy city, pictured as a bride.
- This is not the first time that the people of God in Christ are pictured as a city.
- Jesus said His people are a city set on a hill, the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
- The author of Hebrews told his readers that they had already “come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” (Heb. 12:22).
- This was Isaiah’s prediction as well: “Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 60:14).
[Rev. 21:3] God dwells with His people, He’s with them, and He’s their God.
- This fulfills a prophecy made by Ezekiel: “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Ezekiel 37:26-27).
- Don’t let anyone tell you that this isn’t true for the followers of Christ right now just because this was addressed to “the house of Israel.” We are the house of Israel, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), because Jesus is true Israel and we are Israel with Him (Galatians 3:16, 29).
- These truths are also repeated in Ezekiel 43:7, 48:35; II Corinthians 6:16, and elsewhere.
[Rev. 21:9] John sees the New Jerusalem as a bride, the Lamb’s wife.
- He contrasts the bride with the harlot of Rev. 17, old covenant Jerusalem (Rev. 11:8).
- Paul also contrasted two women in Galatians 4:21-31, where he portrayed one woman in slavery representing the old covenant and a free woman representing the new covenant.
- Note the comparisons and contrasts in the following passages:
- Revelation 17:1: “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters.’”
- Revelation 21:9: “Then came one of the seven angels which had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.’
- Revelation 17:3: “And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names.”
- Revelation 21:10: “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.”
In Rev. 17:3, it’s likely that John was taken to a wilderness because it was in a wilderness that God established the old covenant with the Israelites. In Rev. 21:10, perhaps John was taken to a great, high mountain because of what God said He would do in the last days of the old covenant age:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it” (Isaiah 2:2, Micah 4:1).
[Rev. 21:12-13] The new Jerusalem has a high wall with 12 gates, bearing the names of the 12 tribes of Israel; three gates each on the east, north, south, and west sides.
- Isaiah 60:18, Ezekiel 48:30-35, Matthew 8:11, and Luke 13:29 depict the kingdom of God as a city with walls facing each direction, or with people entering in from all directions.
- Sam Storms once made these comparisons between the writings of Ezekiel and John on this subject:
Ezekiel is taken to a high mountain by angel and sees a city (40.1-3). John is taken to a high mountain by an angel and sees a city (21.10). The first thing Ezekiel sees is the wall (40.5) that surrounds the city. The first thing John sees is the wall surrounding the city (21.12). The first gate Ezekiel sees is the ‘east gate’ (40.6). The first gate for John is the ‘east gate’ (21.13)… The City has ‘living waters’ in Ezekiel 47.1-ff. So does John (22.1-ff)…
-Sam Storms, “A Reconstruction of the Millennium”
[Rev. 21:14] The city’s foundations bear the names of the 12 apostles.
- This is strikingly similar to what Paul wrote to believers in Ephesus: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
[Rev. 21:15-18] The new Jerusalem in John’s vision is cube-shaped, as was the holy of holies in Solomon’s temple (I Kings 6:20). The holy of holies was overlaid with pure gold, and the holy city in John’s vision is also entirely made of pure gold.
[Rev. 21:19-21] The foundations of the city walls are covered in precious gems.
- This fulfills Isaiah 54:11-12 (“O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones”).
- Paul clearly affirms that Isaiah 54 is about the church (Galatians 4:27).
- These precious stones may represent all the spiritual blessings we are equipped with and enjoy today in Christ.
[Rev. 21:22-23] Jesus is the temple and the light of this city.
- There is again evidence that John is drawing heavily from Isaiah 60, or at least receiving identical revelation to what Isaiah received, as they both describe the body of Christ: “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory” (Isaiah 60:19).
[Rev. 21:24] The nations of those who are saved walk in the light of this city.
- “The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:3).
- “The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you…” (Isaiah 60:10).
- The body of Christ is richer when we fellowship with believers from various nations, cultures, races, and backgrounds.
- It’s never been easier to do that than now, with instant, worldwide communication through Facebook, with the ability to travel halfway around the world in one day, with a melting pot of cultures here in our cities, etc.
- The walls of the city of God are built up and strengthened as the people of God from different nations mingle, share with, help, and bless one another.
[Rev. 21:25-26] The gates of the city are never shut; the glory and honor of the nations come in.
- “Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you… Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 60:5, 11).
[Rev. 21:27] Only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life enter this city.
- “Also your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified” (Isaiah 60:21).
[Rev. 22:1] A pure, clear river of water of life flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
- “And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur” (Zechariah 14:8).
- “Jesus answered and said to [the Samaritan woman at the well], ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life’” (John 4:13-14).
- “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38).
- “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
- We are channels for the river of life to flow through us so the thirsty can drink. The water is pumping. We are Jerusalem. Are our pipes open or clogged?
- We walk worthy of the kingdom by inviting thirsty people to drink of the living water of Christ.
- Preterism can show that Matthew 24:14 (“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all nations, and then the end will come”) is fulfilled, but that doesn’t mean the need for evangelism is dead.
[Rev. 22:2] On both sides of the river is the tree of life, which bears different fruit each month. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. See Ezekiel 47:1-12.
- Futurist eschatology says that Jesus will return in our future and there will be no more sin, suffering, etc., and that’s when Rev. 21-22 is fulfilled.
- This picture in Rev. 22:2 shows the nations in need of healing. That time is right now, and we are the channels for that healing.
Recent Article in the Gospel Herald
Here is an example of Christ’s followers using leaves from the tree of life to heal the nations:
“Syrian refugees who fled predominantly Muslim countries amid ongoing war and terrorism are embracing Christianity and teaching their children about Jesus after experiencing firsthand the love and compassion of believers in Greece…
The ministry leader shared one particularly compelling story of how one refugee, who will go by the name of Saddam for security reasons, embraced Christianity after witnessing the kindness of the Christian aid workers. Saddam appeared to have been a man of authority and wealth in Syria, and told the ministry that he found out about them because everyone at the hotel where he was staying was talking about it. When he first arrived, he asked a ministry worker if he was a Christian or a Muslim. Uncertain of why he was asked such a question, the worker asked him why he wanted to know.
With tears streaming from his eyes, Saddam said, ‘I need someone to talk with me about Jesus.’ The workers summoned the ministry co-directors, and the Muslim man told them, ‘All the Muslim countries have turned their back to us. The Muslim nations have ripped us from our treasures. They taught us not to trust the Christians, and that they are liars. I come to Greece and I find myself in the best place with the best food for me and my children. I find love that I have never seen. Please teach me.'”
Leah Marieann Klett, Syrian Refugees Embracing Christ, Teaching Children About Jesus after Witnessing Love of Christians, Gospel Herald, March 15, 2016, http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/62914/20160315/syrian-refugees-embracing-christ-teaching-children-jesus-witnessing-love-christians.htm
- Contrast this with what a seemingly popular preterist individual said on Facebook a few months ago: “There’s only one way to deal with the Muslim problem. Nuke them all! Nothing less than that will work.”
- God is doing awesome things in the Muslim world right now, with amazing movements to Christ happening in various places. It’s been said that more Muslims have come to Christ in the last 15 years than in the previous 1400 years. What if God has brought Muslims to our cities on purpose so that we can build relationships with them and invite them to drink of the living waters of Christ?
- Fulfilled eschatology might be the only school of thought that consistently believes that the healing of the nations is for right now. We should “own this message,” so to speak. How can we work together to see the nations of this world healed?
[Rev. 22:5] There’s no night in the city, and no need for a lamp. The people in the city will reign forever.
- “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you… Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended” (Isaiah 60:1, 20).
- “Then those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
- “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father…” (Matthew 13:43).
- “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’” (John 8:12).
- “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
- “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33).
- “…and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father…” (Rev. 1:6).
- We’re not waiting for a future millennium to start. We are called and equipped to rule and reign right now.
I referenced three other speakers during my presentation. Here are two of those videos:
 Daniel Colon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49c-hecPH6c
 Johnny Ova – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr8IZnj4yk0
(Jason’s presentation is not yet available.)
There was also a debate on the second night of the conference which you may be interested in viewing. It was between Michael Miano (a preterist) and Stephen Whitsett (a futurist): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPtYL76KbZs
On the last day of the conference, there was a roundtable discussion where members of the audience were able to ask questions for us to answer. I participated in that roundtable and here is that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsnEooTpP78
All of the videos from this conference will soon be made available at this link: http://www.powerofpreterism.com/preterism-.html