Revelation | 1-6 | 7-1415 | 16:1-7 | 16:8-21 | 17 | 18 | 19:1-10 | 19:11-21 | 20:1-10 | 20:11-15 | 21:1-8 | 21:9-27 | 22:1-7 | 22:8-21 | PDF |


Join us as we study through Revelation verse by verse. Our Bible study guides contain discussion questions, verse by verse commentary, and applications which can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.

Revelation 21:9-27 Online Bible Study – Commentary And Questions – The New Jerusalem 

Revelation 21:9-27 Bible Study Video

Revelation 21:9-27 Bible Study Podcast

Outline

I. Description of New Jerusalem (9-14)
II. Measurement of New Jerusalem (15-17)
III. The Walls of New Jerusalem (18-21)
IV. The Glory of New Jerusalem (22-27)

See our Bible study of Revelation 21:1-8.

I. Description of New Jerusalem (9-14)

Discussion Questions

  • Why is New Jerusalem described as the bride of Christ? Isn’t the church the bride of Christ?
  • How does the city have the glory of God?
  • What are your observations about the city?
  • What did it look like?
  • Why are there twelve gates and twelve foundations?
  • What do we learn from the fact that both Israel and the church are mentioned?

Cross-References

Ephesians 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 2:20-21 – Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

Luke 13:29 – And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Is the Bride the city or the church? –

Revelation 21:9-10 – “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.”

In this verse, it appears as though the city itself is the bride of the Lamb. However, Revelation 21:2 shows us that God prepared the city for us. And later in Revelation 21, we see that saved Israel and the church will be residents of the city.

The bride of Christ (the church) and the “wife” of Yahweh (Israel) will reside there. Together they are the bride of the Lamb. In this context, it appears that the city is used to personify the people of the city.

In Scripture, we can see other cases where a city is used to personify the people. Jerusalem is often used to personify Israel. Babylon is used to personify its wicked residents. Sodom is used to personify the ungodly.

When John was taken to see the bride of Christ the first thing he saw was the New Jerusalem. However, within this same vision he saw the people who dwelt in the city. The bride was therefore within the city God had prepared for them, enjoying its spectacular beauty. So John saw that God would take care of His bride, having prepared a wonderful place for her to live for all eternity (John 14:1-3).

Application: We see that Jesus takes care of His bride. He loves us and He wants what is best for us. Some husbands mistreat their wives. Some use them. Many do not value them or treat them well. Jesus will not be like this toward us. He is going to give us the very best for all of eternity. Knowing that should motivate us to faithfully love and serve Him even now.

Reflect: This city will be prepared for us by God. What can you do to prepare for meeting Him?

2. Coming down out of heaven from God – Again, it is emphasized that God is the one who designed this city. It is His gift to us. It will be a heavenly city on the earth, literally paradise on earth.

3. Having the glory of God – As the city is created by God it will point to and glorify Him. All of God’s creation points to His awesome design. The sun, moon, and stars show His power.

Psalms 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Similarly, people glorify God by pointing others to Him. We do that primarily when we properly reflect the image of God He put in us when He made us. Our good deeds point people to our Maker, giving glory to Him (Matthew 5:16). Our love for one another leads people to the one we are following (John 13:35).

The New Jerusalem is God’s masterpiece. Through it, we will be pointed to the majesty of its grand designer. The beauty of that city will remind us of His beauty. Its order and structure will remind us of His attention to detail. The sheer size of it will help us have just a taste of God’s might. Its absolute perfection and cleanliness will bring to mind God’s holiness.

Sometimes when we give gifts, we just pick up something random because we need to give a gift. A gift certificate to Walmart doesn’t exactly fill the recipient with warm fuzzies. But sometimes, great care is put into giving the perfect gift. The giver hopes that gift will symbolize the relationship they have. The giver hopes that whenever the receiver sees that gift she will be reminded of him, his love for her, and their times together.

That is the type of gift the New Jerusalem is. It is meant to remind us of the pure, beautiful relationship we have with our Savior. Every step we take in it will be a visible symbol of God’s deep love for us. I believe we will not be able to go through that city without praising God.

Application: We don’t have to wait to see God’s gifts to us. Every good and perfect gift is from above. Spend some time reflecting on God’s gifts to you. What are some of the ways He has blessed you? How should you respond to those blessings?

We should regularly reflect on God’s gifts to us. Recognizing and acknowledging them should lead us to respond with thanksgiving. Just as the New Jerusalem will cause us to glorify God, so too should the gifts we receive now.

4. The twelve gates and twelve foundations – The city will have three gates on each side, three on the north, three on the south, three on the east, and three on the west. On each gate is written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The wall of the city will have twelve foundations. On those will be written the names of the twelve apostles.

Looking at these facts together, we can conclude that the redeemed of Israel and the church will dwell in the city together. They will be united in one body.

Ephesians 2:14-15 – For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.

All the redeemed in Christ will dwell together in unity for all of eternity. We will be at perfect peace with God and with one another.

Application: Although many from the nation of Israel will one day turn to Christ, that day has not arrived yet. Pray for the salvation of God’s chosen people. When He fulfills His promises to them, it will be a wonderful reminder of His faithfulness through the ages.

II. Measurement of New Jerusalem (15-17)

Discussion Questions

  • What shape is the city?
  • What functionality do you envision in a cube city?
  • How large is the city? How tall are the walls?
  • Why do you think the city has walls?
  • Will the gates be shut or open?
  • What do we learn from the shape and size of the city?

Cross-References

Ezekiel 38:30-35 – This passage describes Jerusalem in the time of the Ezekiel featuring 12 gates, one for each tribe.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Its length, width, and height are equal – Many take this to mean that New Jerusalem will be a cube. The number twelve is used many times in the description: twelve gates, twelve foundations, 144 cubits, and 12000 stadia dimensions. A cube has twelve sides, while a pyramid has only eight.

That certainly could be the case. However, a pyramid or mountain shape also could fit this description. We will only know for sure when we see it.

The only other cube mentioned in Scripture is the Holy of Holies in the temple (1 Kings 6:20). It also had equal length sides.

“What is forbidden to all but the High Priest in Old Testament times is now open to all the redeemed. Relationship with Christ elevates all to the roles of kings and priests. All have face-to-face engagement with God (Rev. 22:4) in the heavenly Most Holy Place, the New Jerusalem.”

It is difficult to imagine what a three-dimensional city will be like, especially since the text also says that it has high walls. What is sure is that it will be very different from anything we have experienced before.

The 3D nature of the city reminds us of the unspeakable wonders God has in store for us in the future.

2. 12000 Stadia – Scholars believe that 12000 stadia is equal to 1400 miles (2253 KM). Thus, the city will be very large. It is larger in area than India, over half of the size of the United States. If indeed it is a 3D space and one could live inside of the city as well, it would be massive and would have more livable space than our entire earth.

III. The Walls of New Jerusalem (18-21)

Discussion Questions

  • What does jasper look like?
  • What are your impressions of the city and the wall?
  • What are the gates made out of?
  • What is the most beautiful architecture you have observed in the world? How do you think the New Jerusalem will compare to it?
  • What does the city teach you about its Creator?

Cross-References

Revelation 3:12 – The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

1 Corinthians 3:10-13 – According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. The materials of the city – The city is going to be beautiful and like nothing ever seen before. The walls will be made from jasper, which is a red gemstone. Pure gold will be used as the main material for the city. But it won’t be ordinary gold. It will look “like clear glass.” The foundations of the city will be “adorned with every kind of jewel.”

Each gate will be fashioned from a single pearl. Considering the size of the city, the gates are likely very large. Those are some massive pearls!

Even the streets, which generally use the cheapest materials, will be made of pure gold. That gold too will look like glass.

God uses only the best. Each aspect of the city will declare the glory of God.

IV. The Glory of New Jerusalem (22-27)

Discussion Questions

  • Why does New Jerusalem not have a temple?
  • In what way is God a temple? Then what was the purpose of the original temple in the Old Testament?
  • What does light represent in Scripture?
  • What does the bright presence of the Lamb teach us about Him?
  • How is light necessary for life?
  • What does verse 24 teach you about the residents of the city? Will there still be nations? Kings?
  • Why will the gates never be shut? Then why even have them?
  • What may be the glory and honor of the nations that people will bring into the New Jerusalem?
  • What does verse 27 teach you about the city?
  • How does knowing about this eternal city impact your life now?

Cross-References

John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

1 John 1:5 – This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Ephesians 5:8 – For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb – The purpose of the Old Testament temple was to provide a way for people could approach God. Only after going through the gate, past the altar, washing at the basin, and entering through the veil on the day of atonement with a blood sacrifice could the high priest enter into God’s presence in the Holy of Holies. This was only allowed for one person, once per year. The restrictions were set in place because of man’s sin. It was that sin that created a giant separation between man and God.

But in New Jerusalem, no physical temple will be required. There will be no veil. No more sacrifices will be necessary. No more blood will need to be offered. Jesus paid it all already. There will be no physical temple because there will be no more sin. Everyone will have access to God, not just a selected priest. We will dwell with Him face to face.

Application: Even now we have access to God’s throne through prayer. Let us not wait until that future day to have communion with God. We can draw close to Him now daily through prayer.

2. Its lamp is the Lamb – In Genesis 1, light was created before the sun. The sun has always been the light source for our planet. Light brings life. Without the heat that life brings, we could not survive in the cold. Through photo-synthesis light is transformed into energy for plants that causes them to grow. And from this process, oxygen is also created. Light brings energy, life, and oxygen. Without it, we could not live.

Now God uses the sun to bring that life. But in the New Jerusalem Jesus, Himself will be that light. The light of His glory will radiate throughout the city sustaining life itself.

Light also represents truth and safety. No deceit will take hold and mislead people. No danger will be stumbled into. No one will lose their way. You will not stub your toe on a tree root in the night. You will not step on a Lego and experience that excruciating pain. There will be perfect truth. Perfect warmth. Perfect wisdom. Perfect safety.

Application: We can follow Jesus’ light today as well. It is not as obvious as it will be then. But through studying God’s Word, we can know the truth. Let us hold all of the ideas and culture of this world up to the light of the Word (Psalm 119:105), exposing the lies, and pursuing the truth.

3. By its light will the nations walk – All the tribes, tongues, and peoples of the world will have representatives in this holy city. While we will be united under the banner of one King, it seems that there will still be some reflection of our individual nations.

We look at God’s creation and it is varied. We see all kinds of trees, flowers, and animals. The uniqueness and beauty of each one give glory to the creative power of God.

The uniqueness of every person is also a testament to our Lord’s attention to detail and creative genius. In heaven, this too will be reflected. People will not be identical clones. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, so we won’t be either. Every individual will be special.

Will it be various worship styles or music that will shine with ethnic variety? Will it be stories of how the gospel was brought to their people?

We don’t know, but I can’t wait to see it! All nations of the world celebrating our Savior together in unity will be a sight to behold!

4. They will bring their glory into it – This statement, along with the fact that there will be gates where people can go in and out, show us that the city will not be the only place where people will reside. It will be the center of life on the new earth, the focal point for the worship of our King. However, people will also be able to come and go. There will not just be a New Jerusalem, but a new earth as well. The new earth is not described in detail here, but we will have an eternity to explore it.

5. Its gates will never shut –

The gates will be open all day, and there won’t be night. Since there won’t be any night (or any sun), we could say that there will only be one day in eternity. It will just be a very long day! Since eternity is infinite, there seemingly would not be a need to keep track of time.

Reflect: What is the purpose of a gate that never shuts?

Generally, a gate or a door are used to keep unwanted people out. But there won’t be any unwanted people.

We can understand the idea from the phrase one would say to a friend, “my door is always open.” The open gates are an eternal reminder that God is welcoming His people into this city, into His presence. There will be no enemies and no war. Instead, we will have great freedom.

In John 10:7, Jesus said that He is the “door of the sheep.” And in John 14:6, He said that He is “the way.”

The idea seems to be simple. Those who walk through that door now in this life will be granted access to Him forever in eternity.

Application: Have you walked through that door of salvation? Are you following the narrow road it leads to?

6. Nothing unclean will ever enter it – All unbelievers will have already been judged and sent to the lake of fire. Only believers, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, will populate the new earth. Their sins will be cleansed and they will be holy.

The description of what the city doesn’t have (sin), is as welcome as the description we have already seen of what the city does have.

Reflect: How does hope in God’s promises, influence your life now?

Revelation Bible Study Guide – If this study is helpful, you can download the whole Revelation study PDF, get the paperback from Amazon, or also get the 7 Churches in Revelation study.

Revelation 22:1-7
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