Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_top position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_bottom position below the menu.

Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_bottom position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_top position below the search.
Article Of The Week


What God's Word Says About...

Revelation Chapter 21: heaven or the church?

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants...and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John” (Rev. 1:1). To understand this book, we need to know that the Greek for “communicated it” is to “signify it by signs.” The Christian would understand these “signs” with knowledge of scripture written in the Old and New Testaments (John 12:33, 21:18-19). This was therefore the manner which Jesus communicated in this book and it should be understood in this way, NOT literally (Rev. 22:19). Revelation was written to be understood because the definition of revelation is to “reveal.” There is nothing hidden from our understanding as some would teach.  

With the improper understanding of the symbolic language in Revelation Chapter 21 one would think that John is explaining heaven, when in actuality he is explaining the church. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away...And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 1:1-2). The “new heaven and new earth” simply signifies a complete change, a new beginning - which happened when Jesus died on the cross to remove the Old Law (Isa. 65:17-18; Col. 2:14) in order to establish the New Testament (Heb. 9:15). The “holy city, new Jerusalem” is identified in Hebrews 12:22-23. This heavenly or spiritual Jerusalem is defined as “the general assembly and church of the first born who are enrolled in heaven.” Scripture defines the church as the “bride” of Christ (Eph. 5:23-27,32; Rev. 21:9). The husband is Christ (Rev. 19:7).

Revelation 21:3 states “the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them.” The Hebrew writer agrees with this verse (Heb. 8:1-2) The “new Jerusalem” deFined as the church, is coming down “out of heaven.” Now, that could hardly be heaven coming down out of heaven, but it does describe the church which the Lord built “according to the eternal purpose of God” (Eph. 3:11). In numerous places in the New Testament the church is pictured as the dwelling place of God (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19-20; 1 Peter 2:5). What a great privilege to realize that God would truly dwell within us, and that the Lord’s church is God’s house here on earth (Heb. 3:3-6). The statement in Revelation 21:14, “And the wall of the city had 12 foundation stones, and on them were the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb [Jesus]” is in reference to the 12 apostles (Eph. 2:20). The apostles are the foundation of the church, not of heaven.

In Revelation 21:11-21 the apostle John signifies how beautiful the church is to Jesus Christ, which He shed His blood for, His bride. In verse 12 notice that we are called to pay special attention to the gates of the city, the new Jerusalem. There are 12 in number, which signifies the number of the people of God. The 12 tribes are symbolic of God’s people [Israel] in the Old Testament. Also notice that in verse 13 there are 3 gates on the east, on the north, on the south, and on the west signifying that the gates of the church are open on all sides. Three gates times four sides equals twelve. The “city” (new Jerusalem, the church) in verses 16 and 17 are measured and signified to be 12 stadia with a wall that is 144 cubits, a multiple of 12! Again the number 12 signifies the people of God.

In Revelation 21:22 John saw “no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” The temple in the Old Testament was a place of separation. In the temple, there were a number of places where the people were separated from each other (Court of the Gentiles, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies). John did not see a temple as was in the Old Testament because God dwells in His people and they dwell in Him. “And the city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23). The Christians who are in the Lord’s church are to let our light shine to the world (Matt. 5:16). John describes in verses 25 and 26 that “there will be no night there its gates will never be closed.” God illuminates the church and those who are in it are to be the light of the world, spreading the gospel to the world. “Its gates” are prophesied in Psm. 118:19- 21; Isaiah 60:11) to be always open into the spiritual city. These verses refer to the church saving the lost with the gospel before the Lord returns. The gates will never be closed to those who are seeking salvation. The gates will only be shut when the Lord returns (Matt. 25:10).

 

Many are confused thinking that verse 27 refers to heaven and not the church, because it says “nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those who names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. While everyone comes to Christ as a sinner (Rom. 6:23), no one can enter the church unless their sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38-41, 47). Paul wrote that “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:25-27). Paul has described for us those who have been added to the church through the waters of baptism, Christ considers as clean and holy.

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Contact Information

San Juan church of Christ
  • 1414 Hawk Parkway Unit C
    Montrose, Colorado 81401
  • 970-249-8116
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