The City Built by Jesus

The Book of Revelation concludes with an image of the immense and glorious city of “New Jerusalem” populated by the “innumerable multitude” of men and women redeemed from every nation. It represents the fulfillment of the covenant promises to Abraham of descendants, “land” and “blessings to all the nations.” All this has been accomplished by the shed “blood of the Lamb.” The City of God will be populated!

In Genesis, God promised Abraham that “in you, will all the clans of the Earth be blessed.” Kings would come from him, and he would become the “father of a multitude of nations.”

City illuminated - Photo by Jan Senderek on Unsplash
[Photo by Jan Senderek on Unsplash]

The vast extent of this promise was illustrated when the Creator of all things challenged the Patriarch to number the stars - for “s
o shall your seed be” - “North and south, east and west, for all the land that you see, will I give to you, and your seed, for an everlasting possession.”

The Abrahamic Covenant foresaw something larger than the territory of Palestine from the beginning. For example, “by faith” Abraham “became a sojourner in the land of promise… For he looked for the city which has the foundations, whose builder and maker is God” – (Hebrews 11:9-10).

In Chapter 21 of Revelation, the dimensions of the city make it coterminous with the “New Heavens and new Earth.” It is the “Paradise of God” where the “Tree of Life” provides life to the “nations.”

This “tree” is none other than the Cross of Calvary. As the Risen Christ promised to all who overcome, “To him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of GodAll that was lost because of the disobedience of Adam will be restored, but also infinitely enhanced and enlarged. The “Curse” will be no more, and the saints will reign with the “Lamb… forever and ever” – (Revelation 2:7).

The description of “New Jerusalem” includes verbal allusions to the Old Testament stories of Adam, Abraham, and Israel. What God intended in the first creation will not be abandoned – It will be fulfilled in the New Creation.

Likewise, the covenant promises of land, kings, and “blessings to the nations” will be consummated in the Holy City, including the promise to regather the tribes of Israel.

NATIONS AND KINGS


The “nations” are portrayed positively and negatively in Revelation, likewise, the “Kings of the Earth,” depending on how they respond to the “Lamb.” Those men who submit to him are found in “New Jerusalem.” This includes the “innumerable” multitude of men “purchased by the Lamb” from every “nation.” - (Revelation 7:9-17, 21:24-27).

In his present “reign,” Jesus is “shepherding the nations” with his “rod,” but he does not use it to pulverize them into dust. Instead, he “shepherds” them so that his glorious city will be fully populated - (Revelation 5:9, 7:9, 12:5, 15:4, 19:15).

Likewise, he is the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth.” This group was included among those who fled from his “wrath” when the “sixth seal was opened.” So, also, the “Kings of the Earth” were gathered to the “war” against the “Rider on a White Horse” - (Revelation 1:4-6, 6:15, 17:2, 17:18).

Nevertheless, in “New Jerusalem,” the “Kings of the Earth” will bring “their glory into the city, and the glory and the honor of the nations,” and only individuals whose names are “written in the Lamb’s book of life” will gain entrance. This means that some, at least, of these kings will find their names written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” The present reign of Jesus is not about manipulating political rulers and destroying nations.

The group excluded from the city is the “inhabitants of the Earth,” the men who gave their allegiance to the “Beast from the Sea.” Their names are not found in the “Book of Life.” This group is distinct from the “Kings” and the “nations” of the Earth - (Genesis 12:3, 17:6, 22:8).

The angel then showed John the “river of water of life.” This echoes the final vision of the prophet Ezekiel when he saw a river flowing from “under the threshold of the house” to provide healing and life, only now, it is for the “healing of the nations” - (Ezekiel 47:1-12, Revelation 22:1-5).

In the clause, the Greek noun translated as “tree” or xulon was commonly applied to “wood” used in construction; that is, dead wood as opposed to living trees. The same Greek clause is found in the Septuagint rendering of Genesis 2:9 for the original “tree of life.” Moreover, elsewhere in the New Testament, xulon is applied to the Cross on which Jesus was hanged. John wants us to make this connection – Christ crucified is the source of everlasting life for the nations - (Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, Galatians 3:13, 1 Peter 2:24).

Unlike the first “Paradise,” “there will be no curse any longer.” The term “curse” echoes the Genesis story when the Earth was “cursed” on account of Adam’s disobedience, the same “Curse” that is now reversed by the “slain Lamb” - (Genesis 3:17-19).

Castle - Photo by Johny Goerend on Unsplash
[Photo by Johny Goerend on Unsplash]

In the Holy City, “
there will be night no more need of the sun or the moon… for the Lord God will give them light.” This alludes to the promise of restoration to Israel in the Book of Isaiah, the regathering of the nation to the land. Darkness would cover the Earth, but Yahweh would display His glory over Israel so that the “nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” - (Isaiah 60:1-3, 60:19-22).

Thus, Revelation “squares” the “biblical circle.” The “Lamb” removes the “Curse” and redeems God’s “good” creation. All His promises are fulfilled in Jesus, the “slain Lamb” who “shepherds the nations.” In him, the call for Adam to “take dominion over the Earth” and the covenant promise of land to Abraham and “his seed” are gloriously fulfilled.

The plan was never to abandon the original creation but to redeem it and place humanity at its center under the sovereign rule of Jesus of Nazareth, where righteous men and women will dwell securely and reign with the “Lamb” forever in the “Holy City of New Jerusalem.”



RELATED POSTS:
  • Salvation for All! - (The Good News announced by Jesus of Nazareth offers salvation and life to men and women of every nation and people)
  • The Blessing of Abraham - (The Gift of the Spirit is one of God’s covenant promises and his ways of blessing all Nations in Abraham’s Seed)
  • The Mission - (The mission of the Assembly of Jesus is to proclaim the Good News of his Kingdom to all Nations until he returns – Matthew 24:14)

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