A Study of Revelation

We now enter into the last section of the book of Revelation which gives us a beautiful description of the holy city of God. This city is described by using items which man considers extremely valuable. There are twelve precious stones garnishing the foundation of the city, the street is pure gold, each of the twelve gates is one giant pearl, the wall is jasper, the entire city is built of gold so pure it is transparent, and even the light of the city is crystal clear jasper. The wealth and value of such a city could never be measured in terms of money.

The point of this description is to show man the great value of the city of God. No material place on this earth is even slightly comparable to the value of this city. God is telling us that living in his city is far more valuable than any wealth we could possibly acquire or imagine on this earth. If we desire to be rich beyond measure, we must do those things necessary to enter into this holy city.

This, the most valuable city ever imagined, represents something very important in the mind of God. God wants us to see the riches associated with obedience to Him. Many believe that this city represents the eternal abode where the faithful will live throughout eternity with God. Throughout the book of revelation the symbols, holy city, New Jerusalem, bride of Christ have had reference to the church. There is no reason to change that application in this context.

In Rev. 21:9 John is told: “ “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the
Lamb.” John is shown the bride of Christ. There is no doubt that the bride of Christ is the church of Christ.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

In Rev. 21:14 tells us: “And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” This indicates that the city is built upon the foundations laid by the twelve apostles. In Ephesians 2:20

Paul says that the church was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.”

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

In Rev. 21:24 we are told that “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” 1 John 1:5-7 says that if we “walk in the light,” the blood of Jesus will cleanse us of our sins. The saved today are in the church, walking in the light. We are also told that the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. It is hard to imagine how king of this earth could take their glory and honor into heaven. If kings of the earth are converted to Christianity, they bring their honor into the church (cf. Isaiah 60:11).

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Rev. 21:25 tells us that the gates are never closed. We know that a person may be added to the church by our Lord at any time. Man neither has the means nor the right to refuse any believer admittance to the church, the holy Jerusalem.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Rev. 21:27 tells us that “ nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it.” Before one enters the church he is cleansed of his sins (Acts 22:16). We are also told in verse 27 that only those whose names are written in the book of life enter the city. Philippians 4:3 indicates that as Christians today our names are written in the book of life, therefore, those whose names are written in the book of life are residents in the holy city of God, the church.

Rev. 22:1 tells us that the water of life is in the city, and in 22:17 we are bidden to partake of that water of life. This water represents the gospel in the book of Revelation. The gospel is located in the church. When we are obedient to that gospel, we partake of that water of life flowing in the city of God.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Rev. 22:2 describes the tree of life in the city, and it says that the leaves are for the healing of the nations. After judgment, when all people have received their final destiny, there will be no healing of the nations. Those who have received eternal punishment must remain eternally separated from God. The healing of the nations takes place today as people become obedient to God’s laws and are added to his church.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Rev. 22:14 explains the requirement for entrance into the city. We must do his commandments. We are in Christ if we keep his commandments (1 Jn. 5:3; Jn. 15:10). The next verse shows that all types of sinners are outside the city. This is not speaking of being outside the gates of heaven, but rather all around the church in the world today.

Rev. 22:19 warns “if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” This is speaking of this present time. If man takes away from the Word of God today, God will erase his name out of the book of life and remove him from the holy city. He would no longer be a part of the church or the saved. This must refer to the church because once we reach heaven, there will be no danger of losing our eternal inheritance.

For these reasons, and for many more revealed to us in the book of Revelation, we must conclude that this section is dealing with the church on earth, NOT our eternal abode in heaven. This city, the church, is the spiritual city built by God. It is the place where those people who have their sins forgiven by the blood of Christ dwell. Christ DID NOT come to earth to establish an earthly kingdom. He came to establish a spiritual kingdom. He accomplished that with the establishment of the church, and if we desire to spend an eternity in heaven with him, we must be a part of that spiritual kingdom because that is where the tree of life is located. As long as we are in that beautiful city and partake of that tree of life we shall live spiritually forever.

This all illustrates the great value of the church of Christ in the mind of God, and the great value it offers to all mankind. Many people fail to see the value of the church. “Church” is something people are involved with when it is convenient. We must learn to view the church as God has described it in these last two chapters of Revelation. It should be more valuable to us than anything on this earth. We should desire to be a part of it more than any earthly club or organization. We must hold it in the highest regard and esteem. We should seek to show others its great value and help them to enter through the gates into the city.

This city, the church, is the spiritual city built by God. It is the place where those people who have had their sins forgiven by the blood of Christ dwell. Jesus did not come to earth to set up an earthly kingdom, he came to establish a spiritual kingdom. He accomplished that with the establishment of the church, and if we desire to spend an eternity in heaven with him, we must be a part of that spiritual kingdom because that is where the tree of life is located. As long as we are in that beautiful city and partake of that tree of life, we will live spiritually forever.

9* ¶ Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

There is no question as to the identity of the “wife of the Lamb.” She is the bride of Christ, the church. This church was established by Christ when he came to earth

(Mt. 16:18), he is not returning to earth to establish His kingdom. When Christ comes the second time, he will take those home with him who are members of this church, his bride, and they will spend eternity with him.

10* And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

Often in the book of Revelation we have a vision which spans centuries. Such is the case with verse 10. This is a description of the church of Christ. The holy city descends out of heaven, which marks the beginning of the church here one earth. We know that the Lord’s church was established on the day of Pentecost when the apostles preached the first gospel sermon (Cf. Acts 2). Acts. 2:1-4 describes the coming of the Holy Spirit from heaven upon the Apostles. This is when the church descended out of heaven from God.

11* having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.

Verse 11 begins the detailed description of the holy Jerusalem, the spiritual city built by God. We must remind ourselves that this is a figurative description. Everything we see here, the stones, the numbers, everything, should be understood as figurative descriptions of spiritual things, not descriptions of literal things.

Most of the “Christian” world believes that this is a description of Heaven. Some have even gone so far as to take the dimensions of the city and figure out how many people heaven could hold. This type of thinking is totally foreign to the proper interpretation of the book of Revelation. This city is the spiritual city built by God and will hold all those who are obedient to his will.

The city has the glory of God. This indicates that God is present in this city. Paul writing to the church at Corinth says:

2 Cor. 6:16
16* Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

1 Cor. 3:16, 17
16* ¶ Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
17* If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

The church is the Temple of God today. It is a spiritual temple. God is present in His Temple today. We do not have to wait for Christ’s return to stand in God’s presence in His Temple.

The brilliance of this city comes from her light. This light is described as being like “a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.” Two things strike us here, how is “light” compared to a stone, and what is “jasper.” These description are given to show us the great value of the light that comes from the church. Most believe that “jasper” refers to a diamond. We do know that the light of the church today is Jesus.

Jn. 8:12
“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

To walk in the light of Jesus means to be a member of his church. If we are members of his church, we are cleansed of all sins, 1 Jn. 1:7 says:

1 Jn. 1:7
7* but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Ephesians 2:20, says that the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.

The jasper stone is clear as crystal indicating its purity. There are no flaws or blemishes in our Lord, He has no sin (Heb. 4:15).

12* It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

First century cities had walls for protection from enemies. The enemy which attacks this spiritual city is sin that exists in the world today. We are protected from sin by a great high wall, or the law that God has given us to follow. If we are obedient to the law of Christ, sin cannot harm us. we are under God’s protection as long as we remain obedient.

This wall has 12 gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them.
The church is the seed of Abraham:

Gal. 3:9
9* So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

Gal. 3:16
16* Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

Gal. 3:29
29* And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

The church is “spiritual Israel” today.

Gal. 6:16
16* And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

The number 12 is used in Revelation to identify organized religion. Therefore, the church is described as having twelve gates. Those who enter into the city through the gates are God’s chosen people or the Israel of God, the church of Christ today.

Isaiah prophesied about the church:

Isaiah 60:18
18 “Violence will not be heard again in your land, Nor devastation or destruction within your borders; But you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.

Isaiah 61:1-3
61:1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

All of these promises are true in the church today in a spiritual sense. When we pass through the wall of Salvation and receive forgiveness of our sins we receive the blessings mentioned above.

13* There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.

The city has three gates on each of the four sides of the wall. All four directions of the earth are mentioned. Anyone, in any part of the world may enter the church. There is no place on earth where it is impossible to enter into the city. It is accessible to all. The number “3” is the divine number. God makes it possible to enter His holy city. God adds to his church. Acts 2:47 says of the first century church: “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” That process continues today.

14* And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

The names of the twelve apostles were written on the twelve foundation stones.
Paul writing to the church at Ephesis said:

Eph. 2:19, 20
19* So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,

20* having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

The foundation of the church was laid by the Apostles as they preached the gospel which was given to they by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said of that process:
1 Cor. 2:6-10
6* ¶ Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;
7* but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
8* the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
9* but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
10* For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

The number “12” is used to signify organized religion. The only way a person may reach heaven is by entering through the gates into God’s holy city, His spiritual city, the church. The wall of this city represents the law given by God to man. In any age, the only way man can be acceptable to God and enter into this city is by b being obedient to the law God has set up.

Comments are closed.