The New Jerusalem

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BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEWThen I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

The New Jerusalem –The New Jerusalem, “coming down out of Heaven from God,” is viewed by some as being separate and distinct from the earthly Jerusalem in which Israel in the flesh shall dwell during the Millennium, since it follows the creation of the new heaven and earth. When writing about the old Jerusalem, John uses a Greek term that is used in a political sense. John uses a different Hebrew term, that is used in a holy sense, when he refers to the heavenly city. Paul makes a similar distinction (common versus holy) when refuting Judaism (Galatians 4:26; Galatians 1:17, 18; 2:1; see also Hebrews 12:22). This Jerusalem from above is also referenced in Revelation 3:12 and Hebrews 11:10; 12:22; 13:14.(1)

Like any city, the old Jerusalem meant both the place and the people who lived there. In the same way, the New Jerusalem is a bride because its residents (people) are a bride (Revelation 19:7). Greco-Roman references to cities often described them as people. Jewish people were familiar with Old Testament personifications of Jerusalem and the Old Testament depiction of God’s people as his bride,(2) just as New Testament Saints are familiar with the references to the Church as the bride of Christ. Abraham “looked for a city … whose builder was God” (Hebrews 11:10). The New Jerusalem is that city.(3)

The fact that the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven (it is not created) raises the question by some as to whether it will be in existence during the Millennium. The suggestion has been made that if the New Jerusalem is in existence during the Millennial reign of Christ, it may have been suspended in the heavens as a dwelling place for resurrected and translated saints, who nevertheless would have immediate access to the earth to carry on their functions of ruling with Christ. In the Millennium, it is unlikely that the New Jerusalem would rest on the earth, for there is an earthly Jerusalem and an earthly temple (Ezekiel 40–48). If such is the case, then the New Jerusalem would apparently be withdrawn from its proximity to the earth when the earth is destroyed at the end of the Millennium, and then return after the creation of the new earth. Though this possibility of a satellite city has been disregarded by most commentators, it would solve some questions surrounding the relationship between the resurrected and translated saints to those still in their natural bodies in the Millennium. Otherwise, these questions are left without an explanation.

Up Next – God dwells with man.(4)

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References

  1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 601). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  2. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 21:2). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 856). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 984). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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