NEW JERUSALEM: D. PENTECOST  


 

AN EVALUATION OF REVELATION 21:9 THROUGH 22:7

After considering all the viable theories that have been suggested among Christian scholars, Pentecost makes
 some conclusions that I see as correct.
From page 579,

"It would thus be concluded that during the millennium the heavenly city will be brought into a relation to the earth, although not settled on the earth. The resurrected saints of an ages in that city will be in their eternal state and possessed of their eternal blessings, even though such is not true of things down on the earth itself."

And from page 580,

"A mediating view, that the eternal state of the resurrected during the millennium is seen in the passage, is
 suggested as a better view. When the occupants of the city are described it must be seen that they are in
 their eternal state, possessing their eternal inheritance, in eternal relationship with God who has tabernacled
 among them. There will be no change in their position or relation whatsoever. When the occupants of the
 earth are described they are seen in the millennial age. They have an established relationship to the heavenly
|city which is above them, in whose light they walk. Yet their position is not eternal nor unchangeable, but
 rather millennial."

THINGS TO COME by Dwight Pentecost

CHAPTER XXXIII

Page 563

THE HEAVENLY CITY NEW JERUSALEM

There are few passages of Scripture on which there is such a wide divergence of opinion among dispensational premillennialists as Revelation 21:9 to 22:7. Some see this as descriptive of the eternal state while others see it as descriptive of the millennial age. Some interpret the city as referring to the church in
 relation to Christ and others as referring to Israel in her relation to Christ. Some take this as a literal city
and others as a symbolical representation. Many and varied are the interpretations given to this passage of
 Scripture.

I. WHERE DOES REVELATION 21:9 TO 22:7 FIT INTO THE PROPHETIC PICTURE?

The main features of the major interpretations of this passage must be examined in an effort to establish a position which harmony with the whole revelation of the Word of God.

A. Revelation 21:9 to 22:7 describes the millennium.
The view held by Darby, Gaebelein, Grant, Ironside, Jennings, Kelly, Pettingill, Seiss, Scott, and others
is the view that after describing the eternal state in Revelation 21:1-8 John gives a recapitulation of the
 millennial age, in order to describe more fully that period of time. There are a number of arguments
presented by the advocates of this interpretation to support their view.

  1. The principle of retrospection in the book of Revelation.

Kelly one of the foremost exponents of the view that this passage relates to the millennia! age, writes:

     . . . it is the manner of God in this book to take a retrospect. I say this to shew that I am not at
     all arguing for something without precedent. . . . Take for instance, chapter xiv. There we had
     seen a regular sevenfold series of events, in the course of which the fall of Babylon occupies
     the third place . . . Babylon there has got its place assigned very clearly. . .

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     . . . But long after this in the prophecy, when the Spirit of God has given us the seven vials of
     God's wrath, we have Babylon again. . . . In this case the Holy Ghost has carried us down in
     chapter xiv. to events subsequent to Babylon's fall, and even to the Lord's coming in
     judgment; and then He returns to shew us details about Babylon and her connection with the
     beast, and the kings of the earth, in chapters xvii-xviii.                                                       

     Now it appears to me that this exactly answers to the order of the events in Chapter xxi.(l)

In reply to, such a position, Ottman writes:

     This expanded vision of the new Jerusalem does not, for its interpretation, demand a return in
     thought to the conditions existing during the Millennium. The Millennium is the theme,
     indeed, of the prophecies in the Old Testament, and beyond the Millennium these prophecies
     rarely go. There are only two passages-and both of them in Isaiah-that give but a brief glance
     at what lies beyond the Millennia! reign of Christ. . . .

     This is the general character of Old Testament prophecy, which does not contemplate
     anything beyond the earthly reign of the Messiah. Such a limitation, however, is found
     nowhere in the New Testament, and a return to the Millennial earth in this vision of John
     would be incongruous and perplexing.(2)

It could be further argued that the two passages referred to by Kelly are not parallel, for in the first
 retrospection we have a return from time to an event in time, but in the second it is a retrospection from
 eternity back into time. Thus the parallelism is destroyed.

2. The ministry of the vial angel.
Many writers agree, with Darby in identifying this passage as millennial because of the speaker who introduces the scenes in Revelation 17:1 and 21:9. Darby says:

     In comparing verse 9 with chapter xvii.1, you will find this likeness, that it is one of the seven
     angels who have the seven vials that gives the description of Babylon, and that it is one of
     them also who describes the bride of the Lamb, the holy city, with the whole of the prophecy
     from verse 9. . . .

     . . . What is found in chapters xxi.9-27 and xxii.1-5 does not form a continuation, either
     historical or prophetic, of what precedes. It is a description of the New Jerusalem, and there
     are many circumstances which precede what is in the beginning of the chapter. The angel, in
     the same manner, describes Babylon after having given her victory. (3)

(1) William Kelly, Lectures on The Revelation pp. 460-61.
(2) I Ford C. Ottman, The Unfolding of the Ages, p. 458.
(3) J. N. Darby, Notes on the Apocalypse, pp. 149-50.

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To this it could be replied that there is no real parallelism between the revelation of the angel in these two
 passages. Babylon is introduced in Revelation 16: 19 and the retrospection follows immediately in
chapters 17 and 18. But in revealing the events at the close of chapter 20, with which 21:~22:5 would
be associated if it refers to the millennium, eternity intervenes between the statement and the retrospection
 and explanation. Thus the parallelism is destroyed.

3. The use of dispensational names.

Kelly seeks to further substantiate his interpretation by observing:
     It will be observed also that in the portion relative to the millennium (that is, from verse 9 of chap. xxi.)
     we have dispensational names, such as the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb; not so in chapter xxi.1-8,
     which discloses eternity, where God shall be all in all. (4)

      In reply to this it could be stated that these names are not necessarily dispensational in their connotation.
 The title Lamb, as applied to Christ antedates time, for it is so used in 1 Peter 1:19. It is used by John in
the age of law in John 1:29. It is employed in the age of grace in Acts 8:32. It is used in the tribulation
period in Revelation 7:14. The name Lamb is an eternal name given to Christ in view of His completed
 sacrifice and eternal redemption and can not be confined to one age or people. The name Almighty is
used more than thirty times in the pre-patriarchal book of Job and thus can not be confined to one people
or age. This name will take on new significance in that it has been demonstrated through the destruction
of the last enemy that God is the Almighty.

4. The healing of the nations.
It is argued that the necessity of healing, as taught in Revelation 22:2, requires that this passage

(4) William Kelly, The Revelation, p. 460.

Page 566

be viewed as millennial. Jennings says, "Healing is applicable to the inevitable consequences of that evil
 principle, sin, still in 'us, as then in the nations; compassion and grace can meet those consequences with
 healing. (5) And Kelly adds, “. . . in eternity nations will not exist as such; neither will any need
healing then.(6) Scott notes the parallelism between this passage and Ezekiel 47:12, and says:

     The millennial nations are dependent on the city above, for light, for government, and for
     healing. All this has its counterpart in that remarkable chapter in Ezek. 47. "The fruit thereof
     shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine" (v. 12).
     Both the scene above (Rev. 22), and the scene below (Ezek. 47) are millennial, and both exist
     at the same time, but the blessing of the former infinitely transcends that of the latter. The tree of life
     sustains; the river of life gladdens. (7)

In reply to this reasoning Ottman says:

     But the two visions are not the same. The range of Ezekiel's prophecy does not extend beyond the
     Millennium, whereas John's is of Eternity. Ezekiel's, nevertheless, is typical of the one in Revelation. . . .
     We must remember that the Millennium represents Heaven only typically, and even though their
     descriptive terms seem to harmonize here, we are not to confuse the two. The healing of the nations
     here spoken of does not necessarily involve a return to Millennial conditions. The nations that are in
     existence at the close of the thousand years of Christ's reign need healing for the full and final blessing
     which is afterwards to be ushered in. (8)

It could further be observed that often times in the prophets healing, is used in a spiritual sense rather than a literal sense. Thus a reference to some specific sin or infirmity which necessitates amillennial interpretation need not be inferred.

It could be noted further that a tree of life was in the garden to sustain life for Adam in his unfallen state.
It did not there have reference to sin or disease and need not here.

(5) F.C. Jennings, Studies in Revelation, p. 588.
(6) Kelly, op. cit., p. 488.
(7) Walter Scott, Exposition of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, pp. 440-41
(8) Ottman, op. cit., p. 472.

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5. The existence of nations.
Kelly argues at length that the mention of nations in this passage necessitates its reference to the millennial age.

     In the eternal state God has to do with men. AU time distinctions are at an end. There is no such thing
     then as kings and nations. . . . if we look at the latter part of the chapter, we have again to do with nations
     and earthly kings. . . . When eternity begins, God has done dealing with things according to the order of
     the world-kings and nations, and the like provisions of a temporal nature. All this implies government, as
     government supposes that there is evil which requires suppression. Consequently, in the latter part of our
     chapter it is not the eternal condition which we have, but a previous state. . . . (9)

In answer to this objection Ottman writes:
     Although the earth be dissolved by fire, Israel does not cease to be the object of God's love, but as a
     nation survives this judgment. This is perfectly evident from the passage in Isaiah that goes beyond the
     Millennial reign, and declares the continuance of Israel in connection with the new heavens and  the new
     earth. (Is. 66:22). That none of the other Millennial nations should in like manner survive the dissolution
    of the earth is almost inconceivable. . . . Thus they also shall have their connection with the new earth, but
     distinct from the Church and Israel. (l0)

Much of the argument seems to turn on the interpretation of the preposition eis in Revelation 21:26.
Kelly, a careful Greek student, states, "Not into, but unto, for which in Greek there is but one word, eis.”
 (11)  He thus, by this translation, substantiates his view that this scene in Revelation 21:26 is millennial
and the nations will approach unto the city. Ottman insists on the translation into and  says:        

     At the close of the Millennium, as during it, there shall be nations. In this conception there is no difficulty,
     nor is there any in the fact of their having access to the holy city, unto which they shall bring their glory and
     honor.

     Dean Alford says: . . . "If the kings of the earth, and the nations bring their glory and their treasures into
     her, and if none shall ever enter into her that is not written in the book of life, it follows, that these kings,
     and these nations, are written in the book of life. . . . There may be . . . those who have been saved by
     Christ without ever forming a part of His visible organized Church." (12)

(9) Kelly, op. cit., pp. 459-60
(10) Ottman, op. cit., p 470.
(11) Kelly, op. cit., p. 481, footnote
(12) Ottman, op. cit., p 469.

Page 568

6. The ministry of angels.
Scott argues that this must be millennial because "We have had no angelic ministrations in the scene of
 eternity, here they are prominent." (13) Such a ministry, he feels, necessitates a millennial interpretation.

Against this it may be stated that the description given to us of the eternal state in Revelation 21:1-8 is
very brief. It is an argument from silence to infer that there will be no angelic ministry in eternity.
In Hebrews 12:22 angels are said to inhabit the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
It is not necessary to exclude them from eternity because of the silence in Revelation 21:1-8.

Such are the main arguments of the protagonists of this position and the refutations given by its antagonists.
It is interesting to note the observation of Kelly, who, although holding strongly to the millennial position,
 states, "But there are certain features in it which are true everlastingly." (14)

B. Revelation 21:9 to 22:7 describes the eternal state.

The view held by Govett, Larkin, Newell, Ottman and others is the view that Revelation 21:1 through 22:7
 refers to the eternal state. They offer a number of arguments to support their position.

1. The adjective ''new'' as used in Revelation 21:1-2.
There are three new things mentioned in these verses: a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem.
It is argued that the new Jeruselem of verse 2 and the holy Jerusalem of verse 10 must be the same and
since it is related to the new heaven and new earth, which represents eternity in the first instance, it must
 represent eternal positions in the second also.

To this argument it may be replied that the city of verse 10 is seen in the process of descent, not to the
earth, but to be suspended over the earth. It is not until eternity (verse 2) that the final descent to the earth
is described, at which time the new heaven, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem will be in relationship
to each other.

Page 569

2. The position of the city in Revelation 21:10.
It is generally agreed by interpreters of both views that the city seen in Revelation 21:10 is suspended over
 the earth. On this basis it is argued that this could not be the millennial scene, for in the millennium the Lord
 returns to the earth and His feet stand on the mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4). The Lord, it is argued, will reign
 from earthly Jerusalem, not heavenly Jerusalem. Since this city is not on the earth it can not be millennial,
for it obviously is the center of the habitation of the Lamb.

In reply it may be argued that Christ will return to the earth at the second advent and He will reign on
David's throne. The center of that authority is recognized to be earthly Jerusalem. That does not necessitate
 the presence of Christ on that throne constantly. Christ may still reign on David's throne over David's
 Kingdom, but make the heavenly Jerusalem His place of residence with His Bride.

3. The characteristics of the city are eternal, not millennial.
Advocates of the position that this passage refers to the eternal state point out a number of descriptions
 within it that are eternal in character. It has the "glory of God" within it. Unsaved could not stand that glory, but would be struck down as Paul was (Acts 9:3). It has no temple (v. 22), and it is clearly predicted in
 Ezekiel 40-48 that there will be a temple in the millennia! earth. There is no night there (v. 25), and there
will be day and night in the millennium (Isa. 30:26; 60:19-20). The throne of God is there (22:3).
There is no more curse there (22:3), so the effects of the fall are removed. All who are there are saved
 (21:27) so this must be eternity, since unsaved will be born during the millennium. There is no more death
 (21:4) and since individuals will die during the millennium (Isa. 65:20) it must refer to the eternal state.

Page 570

To these observations it could be replied that Matthew 25:31 indicates that Christ will assume the "throne of His glory" at the second advent and will certainly occupy that throne throughout the millennium. The absence of the temple is not a deciding argument for Ezekiel's temple is in the earthly Jerusalem and there would be no need of a temple in the heavenly Jerusalem for the Lamb Himself is there. In like manner, the absence of night
 is not decisive, for there will be night on the the millennial earth, but need not be in the heavenly city, since
 the Lamb is there to give light. The curse could refer to the lifting of the curse on the earth because of sin,
so that productivity may return to original capacity and the venom of animal creation and the enmity between man and the animals may be removed (Isa.11) and it need not refer to the final removal of the curse through the conflagration described in 2 Peter 3:10. Only saved could enter this city to dwell there, but unsaved
might dwell on the earth during the millennium in its light. Such a line of argument could be used to show
that these references are not necessarily confined to eternity.

4. The length of the reign.
It is stated in Revelation 22:5 that the saints are to reign "forever and ever." When the reign of the saints
who are in the millennium is referred to in Revelation 20:4 they are said to reign "with Christ for a thousand
 years." A thousand years is not forever. Since these reign forever it must refer to eternity and not the
 millennium.

In reply to this argument it could be pointed out that Christ's, kingdom is not limited to a thousand years.
He will reign forever. The millennia! kingdom issues into the eternal kingdom so the saints may be said
to reign for a thousand years although they will continue to reign on into eternity.

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5. The existence of nations in eternity.
Newell, in defending the position that this whole section describes eternity, writes at length on the interpretation of "the nations" in Revelation 21:24-26. He states:

In chapter 21:3, where we read that the tabernacle of God is at last with men, we also read that "they shall be his peoples" (Greek laoi). It is amazing to find discerning men apparently almost willfully translating the
 plural as if it were laos. . . . The Revised Version. . . translates truly and plainly, ''They shall be his peoples."
 and thus prepares us to avoid the impossible assumption that 21:9 to 22:5 is a passage that reverts to millennial scenes.

We know positively that at least one nation and one seed, ISRAEL, will belong upon the new earth. . .
Isaiah 66: 22 . . . God says Israel's "seed and name" shall remain in the heavens and earth, that is,
in that new order, beginning in Revelation 21:1. . . .

Now, Israel is God's elect nation-elect not for the past, or even through the millennial age, but forever.
Yet, if Israel be the elect nation, the existence of other nations is presupposed!

But that national existence will not cease, is shown clearly by verse 20 [of Zeph. 3]:
"At that time will I bring you (Israel) in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will make you a name
and a praise among all the peoples (plural!) of the earth."

     Finally, the language of the first 5 verses of chapter 22 of the Revelation, and especially of verses 4 and 5
     is just as eternal in its character as anything at the beginning of chapter 21. "The throne of God and of the
     Lamb shall be therein: and his servants shall serve him; and they shall see his face; and his name shall be
     on their foreheads. . . and they shall reign unto the ages of the ages." Why should such statements be
     connected with a passage that is meant merely to go back and describe millennial conditions?
     That would be incongruous. Furthermore, it is not in keeping, we feel, for the Scripture to go back after
     the last judgment has been held, and the new creation has come in, to times before that last judgment and
     new creation.(15)

To this argument from the eternal existence of Israel as a nation and the consequent continuance of other nations, Kelly writes:

     . . . In Isaiah lxv. a new heaven and a new earth were announced: but how differently! There the language
     must be taken in a very qualified sense indeed. . . . it is said of the Lord, "He shall reign over the house of
     Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end." This is an Old Testament hope, though said in
     the New, and it means of course that He shall reign over the house of Jacob as long as it exists as such
     upon the earth. When the earth disappears and Israel is no longer seen as a nation, they will be blessed,
     no doubt, in another and better way; but there will be no reign of Christ over them as an earthly people
     here below; so that this kingdom, while it has no end as long as the earth subsists, must necessarily be
     limited by the earth's continuance. . . . The New Testament uses the phrase fully and absolutely, as an
     unending state; but in the Old Testament it is tied down to the earthly' relations of which the Holy Ghost
     was then speaking.(16)

(15) William B. Newell, The Book of the Revelation, pp. 343-45.
(16) Kelly, op. cit., pp. 463-64

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Further support for Newell's position would be seen in Matthew 25:34 where the saved Gentiles are to inherit a kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. Since they are said to inherit life
 (Matt.. 25:46), it must be eternal life. This would indicate that individuals will be saved and have
eternal life and yet will be distinct from Israel.

Such are the main arguments used by those who seek to support the view that this passage represents eternal
 ages rather than the millennial age. It has been observed that strong men have presented strong arguments
 which, in turn have been refuted by equally Strong men who hold a different view. In the light of this
 presentation of argument and rebuttal is there any solution to the  problem? An examination of some of the
 statements made concerning the new Jerusalem may help us arrive at a solution.

C. Revelation 21:9 to 22:7 describes the eternal habitation of the resurrected saints during the millennium.

1. The city is a literal city.
An important consideration at this point is whether the city described in Revelation 21 and 22 is a literal
or a mystical city. Scott is representative of those who hold the city to be a mystical one when he writes:

     We beg the reader's careful attention to the distinction between the 'new Jerusalem of the Apocalypse,
     which is the glorified Church, and the heavenly Jerusalem spoken of by Paul (Heb. 12:22). This latter,
     unlike the former, does not refer to people, but is the city of the living God, an actual city, the location of
     all the heavenly saints. It is the same that is referred to in the previous chapter, for which saints and
     patriarchs looked (Heb. 11:10-16), a material city, built and prepared by God Himself, grand and vast
     beyond all telling. The city of Paul is a material one; the city of John
is a mystical one.(17)

Page 573

It is to be observed that Scott offers no proof of his distinction, but merely makes the affirmation. There is much evidence to show that this city of Revelation 21 and 22 is a literal city, as well as that of Hebrews 12.
 Peters gives a summary of the arguments to prove that, this city is a literal city.

     1. In the usage of the east when a king entered his capitol to rule therefrom, or a prince ascended the
     throne, it was represented under the figure of a marriage, ie. he was wedded, intimately and permanently
     united to the city, or throne, or people. The use of the figure in the Scriptures shows that we are not to
     limit it unless specified to the church. . . . It designates the permanent union of a people with the land, as in
     Isa. 62 where  the Millennia! description the land is called "Beulah," that is ''married'' . . . when the last
     time does come. . . there is no impropriety but rather eminent fitness that the union of the King of Kings
     with His metropolitan city should be designated under the same figure, implying the most intimate and
     permanent relationship. Thus the figure of marriage, which to many is the main objection to the idea of a
     literal city, serves rather to indicate it. 2. For, the figure itself is explained in the description of the city in so
     significant a manner, and in such contrast to the use made of it formerly in reference to the earthly
     Jerusalem, that it cannot possibly be applied to any other than a literal city. It is expressly declared that
     ''the throne of God and the Lamb" is in this city. This affirms its Theocratic position, as the capitol of the
     Kingdom. . . . 3. The dwelling-place of God, the place where He tabernacled among men always, in
     former days (as in the tabernacle and temple) assumed a material form. . . looking forward to the period
     when a glorified humanity, unity to the divine. . . should dwell with men. . . . That dwelling-place which
     was once a tent, then a temple, now is exhibited as a city, but still designated ''the tabernacle of God." . . .
     4. In the portraiture of the city, the saints or inhabitants of it and the righteous are represented as separate
     and distinct from it. . . . 5. The declaration (Rev. 21:22) that the city had no temple (such as the earthly
     Jerusalem
) . . . can only be predicated of a material city. 6. The distinction between the saints and the city
     . . . is evidenced by a large class of passages which speak of the ancient saints "looking for a city," of all
     believers "seeking a continuing city," and of God ''having prepared for them a city." 7. This corresponds
     with another class of passages which describe Jerusalem as putting on her beautiful garments. . . making
     herself a glorious city by reason of the number, holiness and happiness of her citizens, etc. . . . Isa. 54:11,
     12 and Isa. 60:14-20 . . . 8. But that the saints are not denoted and that the reference is to a :material
     city, is found in the fact that the saints are represented. . . when the marriage takes place as guests, the
     called or invited. . . . They cannot be, in this case, the guests and the Bride at the same time. . . . 9. Allow
     this Theocratic ordering. . . in view of the glorification, greatness, and majesty of this King,... a city
     commensurate with the august Personage should be provided.(18)

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Speaking of the literalness of this city, Grant writes:

     In Heb. xii. we have a still more definite testimony. For there the "Church of the first-born ones which are
     written in heaven," as well as "the spirits of just men made perfect"-in other words, both Christians and
     the saints of the Old Testament-:-are mentioned as distinct from "the city of the living God, the heavenly
     Jerusalem"; and this will not allow them to be the same thing, although, in another way, the identification of
     a city with. its inhabitants is easy. (19)

Newell adds the thought that it is literal
     Because of the literalness of its description. If gold does not mean 'gold, nor pearls-pearls, nor precious
     stones-stones, nor exact measurements-real dimensions, then the Bible gives nothing accurate or
     reliable.(20)

Thus, there seems ample evidence to support the view that this city is a literal city.

2. The inhabitants of the city.
Newell presents the thesis that the new Jerusalem is "the eternal dwelling place, 'habitation,' of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit." (21) He writes:

     Several considerations lead us toward the conclusion that the New Jerusalem is God's one eternal
     resting place.

     1. Immediately we see the new heaven and new earth and the New Jerusalem descending to the new
     earth (21:1, 2), we are told, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men" . . . The object of the new
     heaven and earth is to bring about this-that God shall eternally have His home in this capital city of the
     new creation!

     2. No other eternal habitation of God is seen than this of the New Creation's capital. . . .

(18) G. N. H. Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, m, 42-46.
(19) F. W. Grant, The Revelation of Christ, p. 227.
(20) Newell, op. cit., p. 848.

 Page 575

     3. This heavenly city has the glory of God (21:11, 23; 22:5).

     4. It also has the throne of God, Slid that "service" of 22: 3, properly called priestly service,
     or spiritual worship. . . .

     5. They shall see his face. . . . This, therefore, must be the place of God's rest forever.

     6. We need only to remember that the dwellers in the New Jerusalem "shall reign unto the ages of the
     ages" (22:5). This could not be written of others than the inhabitants of the capital of the new creation.
     (22)

This city is not only the dwelling place of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but is the dwelling place of the
 bride, the Lamb's wife (Rev. 21:9) as well. When the angel would reveal the glory aild blessedness of the
 bride, that angel reveals the dwelling place of the bride, with which the bride is identified. This heavenly city
 is promised as the destiny of the church.

     But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an
     innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in
     heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect [Heb. 12:22-23].

     Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will
     write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which
     cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name [Rev. 3:12].

Without doubt this is the same place the Lord had in mind when he said:

     In my Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.
     I go to prepare a place for you.

     And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am,
     there ye may be also [John 14:2-3].

     For we have now no continuing city, but we seek one to come [Heb. 13: 14].

The relation of the church to this city is further signified in that John observes the name of the twelve Apostles
 of the Lamb therein (Rev. 21: 14).

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As the inhabitants of the city are contemplated it is observed that Scripture includes more than the church
 among the inhabitants. A city is seen to be the expectation of the Old Testament saints. Of Abraham it was
 said: "He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11: 10).
In contrasting the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem in Galatians 4 Paul states that whereas the Jew in bondage
 longed for earthly Jerusalem, there is held out through the promise a greater city or dwelling place 'in the
 words, "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all" (Gal. 4: 26). Old Testament
 saints are pictured in the words, "Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. . . to the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb. 12: 22-23) . It would appear then that
 the author includes Dot only the church, but the redeemed of the Old Testament as well as angels in the
 company of the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem. Jennings observes:

     But since thus all saints of the olden time, be they prior to any distinction, as Enoch; or Gentile, as Job;
     or Jewish. as Abraham, may have their place in this city, she must by no means be accounted as
     characteristically Jewish. (23)                                                                                                   

And although the term new Jerusalem is not strictly Jewish in concept, we find that Israel has her part
in that city, for John (Rev. 21:12) sees the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, indicating that the
redeemed of Israel have their part there.

From this consideration, then, it may be stated that the city is to be inhabited by God, by the church, by the redeemed of Israel, and by the redeemed of all ages, together with the unfallen angels. However, this city
 seems to take her chief characterization from the bride who dwells there.

(23) Jennings, op. cit., p. 566

Page 577

3. Means of entrance into the city.
This whole question will be easier to solve if it be noted that the church can enter into that place He has gone
 to prepare for us only by rapture and resurrection. After the judgment seat of Christ and the marriage of the
 Lamb the bride will be settled into her permanent abode. Rapture and resurrection make entrance possible.
 Israel can enter this place prepared for her only by resurrection. Since the resurrection of Israel takes place
 at the second advent, the saved of Israel could not enter the city until after the rapture and resurrection of
the church and their own resurrection. Living Israel and living Gentiles on the earth at the second advent do
 not enter this city, but they enter the millennia! reign of Christ. The saved Old Testament saints, who were
 looking for this city with foundations, enter this city by resurrection. Thus all the redeemed of the ages who
 enter this city do so by resurrection. The city thus becomes the abode of all the resurrected saints, who
enter it at the time of their resurrection.

4. The relation of this city to the millennial age.
When the church has been joined in marriage to the Bridegroom and is installed in her prepared place
she will never be moved out of it again.
The church enters into her eternal state at the rapture. When the Lord returns with His bride to reign,
her dwelling place is not to be left unoccupied for a thousand years. Rather, the place of occupancy is transferred from heaven to a position over the earth. Thus John sees the "great city, the holy Jerusalem,
 descending out of heaven from God." This dwelling place remains in the air, to cast its light, which is the shining of the effulgence of the Son, onto the earth so that "the nations of them which are saved shall
walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour unto it" (Rev. 21:24).
At the second advent, the time of the descent of the city into the air over the earth, the church saints are
 joined by the Old Testament saints, who are resurrected and take up residence at that time.

Many writers see the city as the dwelling place of the church during the millennial reign. Jennings says:

     . . . we go back a thousand years, even from the borders of eternity to consider more carefully than we
     have yet done the Bride, the Lamb's wife, and her relation to the earth during the Millennium. (24)

Scott, in like vein, writes:

     After a passing allusion to the millennial reign of Christ and His heavenly saints (chap. 20:.-8), we are
     brought back from the consideration of the eternal state to a lengthened description of the bride, the
     Lamb's wife in her millennia! relation to Israel and to the world at large. (25)

(24) Ibid., p. 565
(25) Scott, op. cit., p. 429

Page 578

Kelly writes:

     Thus, if we had the bride in relation to the Lamb in chapter xix. and as the holy city, New Jerusalem, in
     relation to the eternal state, verse 9 and the following verses of this chapter shew us that, during, the
     interval between the marriage of the Lamb, and the new heaven and earth in the eternal state, she has a
     very blessed place in the eyes of God and man.. It is the church's millennial display. (26)

Or, again:

     All the account, from the 9th verse of ", chap. xxi. to verse 5, inclusively, of chap. xxii., presents the
     relation of the heavenly city to the earth during the millennium. (27)

It may thus be seen that even though the earth is not in its eternal state, and though it is necessary for
the King to rule the earth with a rod of iron, and though there will be a rebellion against the authority of the
 King (and against what light they will sin!), yet, as far as the church is concerned, she, is in her eternal state,
 enjoying her eternal fellowship, and the fruits of her salvation. From that heavenly city she will reign with
 Him, the one who bears the title of King of kings and Lord of 1ords. It is not eternity, but the church
and the redeemed of the ages are in their eternal state. We believe Kelly summarizes well:

     Carefully bear this in mind, however, that if we look at the heavenly city itself, it is eternal. It will make
     little difference to the city whether seen in the millennium, or in the eternal state that succeeds. There are
     two descents of the city in chap. xxi, one at the beginning of the millennium, and the other at the
     commencement of the eternal state. The second verse of that chapter gives us its descent when the eternal
     state is come, and the tenth verse its descent for the millennium. The reason, I think, is that at the end of
     the millennium the old heaven and earth pass away; and naturally the city would disappear from the scene
     of the convulsion. Then, when the new earth dawns on our view, the heavenly city again comes down,
     and takes its place permanently in the new heavens and earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. This is
     necessary to remark; because, while at the end of the thousand years all will be changed, still the
     heavenly city will abide forever
. [Italics mine.] (28)

(26) Kelly, op.cit., p. 462
(27) Ibid., p. 489
(28) Ibid., p. 488. Scott says, [the church is seen] "before the reign (chap. 19:7),
after the reign (chap. 21:2), during the reign (chap 21:9)." op. cit., p. 420.

Page 579

If it be objected by some that resurrected Israel has no part with the church, but is destined to be on the
 earth and not in such an intimate relation to Christ and the church, let us make several observations.
(1) The first resurrection will include not only those in Christ (1 Thess. 4: 16), but "those that are Christ's
(1 Cor. 15: 23). (2) The destiny of the saved patriarchs, and the "just men made perfect" (Heb. 12: 23) is
 said to be the New Jerusalem, which can only be entered by resurrection. (3) Old Testament saints are not
 to be subjected to the discipline of the King. (4) Old Testament saints are to reign in the millennium
(Rev. 20: 3) even as the church (Rev. 3: 21) and they may reign from the heavenly city, inasmuch as it is
seen to be in relation to the earth and in the sphere of the earth, even though not on the earth. There would
 be no restriction on them to keep them from coming and going at will

It would thus be concluded that during the millennium the heavenly city will be brought into a relation to the
 earth, although not settled on the earth. The resurrected saints of an ages in that city will be in their eternal
 state and possessed of their eternal blessings, even though such is not true of things down on the earth itself.

5. The relation of this city to eternity.
Note again the quotation from Kelly above to the effect that as far as the city itself is concerned, or the status
 of its occupants, there will be no change whatsoever when the Son surrenders the kingdom to His Father
 and eternity begins. The locale of the city may be changed but the inhabitants will undergo no change whatsoever. The city may be removed during the purgation of the earth (1 Pet. 3: 10) and will return and
 take up its abode on the new earth (Rev. 21: 2) but there will be no change within it whatsoever.

Page 580

The survey of the arguments on the question as to whether Revelation 21:9 to 22:5 belongs in the millennium
 or in the eternal state has revealed a wide divergence of opinion, supported by sound arguments both for
 and against both positions. The study has led to the conclusion that the mistake lies in trying to establish an,
 either-or proposition. A mediating view, that the eternal state of the resurrected during the millennium is seen
 in the passage, is suggested as a better view. When the occupants of the city are described it must be seen
 that they are in their eternal state, possessing their eternal inheritance, in eternal relationship with God who
 has tabernacled among them. There will be no change in their position or relation whatsoever. When the
 occupants of the earth are described they are seen in the millennial age. They have an established
 relationship to the heavenly city which is above them, in whose light they walk. Yet their position is not
 eternal nor unchangeable, but rather millennial.

The Lord promised to prepare a place for His own. At the rapture arid resurrection of the church the saints
 of this age are, after judgment and marriage, installed in that prepared place. They are joined by the saints of
 the Qld Testament at the time of their resurrection at the second advent. This dwelling place prepared for the
 bride, in which the Old Testament saints find, their place as servant (Rev. 22: 3), is moved down into the air
 to remain over the land of Palestine during the millennium, during which time the saints exercise their right to
 reign. These saints are in their eternal state and the city enjoys its eternal glory. At the expiration of the
 millennial age, during the renovation of the earth, the dwelling place is removed during the conflagration;
to find its place after the recreation as the connecting link between the new heavens and the new earth.

Page 581

II. LIFE IN THE ETERNAL CITY

Nowhere does Scripture give details of the life in the eternal kingdom of God. Occasionally the curtain is
 drawn back to give a slight glimpse of that life, of which our present experience, with Him is only "a foretaste
 of glory divine."

A. A life of fellowship with Him.
     For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face [1 Cor. 13:12].

     Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that,
     when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is [1 John 3:2].

     I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also [John 14:3].

     And they shall see his face [Rev. 22:4].

B. A life of rest.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from
 henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them
[Rev. 14: 13].

C. A life of full knowledge.

. . . now I know in part: but then shall I know even as also I am known [1 Cor. 13: 12].

D. A life of holiness.

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination,
or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life [Rev. 21: 27].

E. A life of joy.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away [Rev. 21:4].

F. A life of service.

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants
shall serve him [Rev.22:3].            

G. A life of abundance.

I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely [Rev. 21:6].

H. A life of glory.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight
of glory [2 Cor. 4:17].

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory [Col. 3:4].

Page 582

I. A life of worship.

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying Alleluia; Salvation, and glory,
 and honour, and power unto the Lord our God [Rev. 19:1].

After this I beheld, and, 10, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds,
and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and
palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the
throne, and unto the Lamb. . . " Blessing and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power,
 and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen [Rev. 7:9-12].

No redeemed individual could ever fully understand the glory of the prospect set before him.
John summarized the anticipated glory by saying, "we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him"
 (1 John 3: 2). The glory of our expectation is that we shall be transformed into His likeness, being sinless,
 deathless, and experiencing the perfection of development.

Oh, Christ!
He is the fountain -
The deep sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I've tasted,
More deep I'll drink above!
There, to an ocean fullness,
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel's land.

There is the danger that the redeemed one will become so occupied with the anticipation of his own
 experience of glory that the supreme glorification of the Godhead is lost. Our occupation in the eternal state
 will not be with our position or glory but with God, Himself. John writes: "We shall see Him as he is"

(1 John 3:2). We shall be fully occupied with the One "that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own,
 blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father" (Rev. 1: 5-6), ascribing "Blessing,
and honour, and glory, and power, . . . and unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever
 and 'ever" (Rev. 5:13), saying, "Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power,
 and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen" (Rev. 7: 12), for "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
 to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory and blessing" (Rev. 5: 12).

The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear bridegroom's face;
I will not gaze at glory,
But on my King of Grace
Not at the crown He giveth,
But on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel's land.

 
 
 

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