Revelation 21 and 22
Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: September 27, 2022. Updated November 11, 2022.
Revelation 21 and 22 jumped out at me recently like it never has before. It isn’t what we have been taught at all. I’d like to share my interpretation, and it’s okay if you disagree. 🙂
Before reading further, it will be helpful to understand that there is no earthly-realm reign of Jesus Christ on this earth after His second coming (details here). His is a spiritual kingdom that comes not with human observation because it is within us now (Luke 17:20-21)… it is not something to come in the future (info here). In the future after Jesus’ second coming, we will lose the flesh and become spirit in the eternal realm, but we are in that spiritual kingdom right now (details here).
Revelation Chapter 21
Chapter 21 came with the shed blood of Jesus and His atonement for all sin, and defeat of death and hell at the cross.
Verses 1-8 are speaking of the spiritual kingdom ON THIS EARTH RIGHT NOW.
Verses 9-23 are speaking of the Lamb’s bride which is SPIRITUAL REALM and does not contain earthly bodies. Verse 22 says there is no temple (our physical bodies are currently the temple). Verse 23 says no need of the sun (high priest/king) or the moon (Sanhedrin/government) because the glory that lights it is the Lamb who is God’s glory.
Verses 24-27 is again talking about the EARTHLY REALM adding to the glory of new Jerusalem (this is the church growing in number throughout this church age).
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.Revelation 21:1 (KJV)
Heaven stands for leadership or a government in scripture. The earth is the dwellers/citizens.
The first heaven was the Levitical priest system.
The first earth was the people living under the law of the Old Covenant.
The new heaven is Jesus Christ who governs at the right hand of God. God’s kingdom is come on earth — He dwells within us and gives us guidance and direction.
The new earth are all those who are saved by grace under the New Covenant.
The sea stands for chaos, turbulence and peoples. There is no more sea, meaning no more worldly chaos in the soul of the redeemed where the Holy Spirit dwells.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.Revelation 21:2 (KJV)
New Jerusalem is the spiritually renewed hearts of the redeemed which are Christ’s bride. We are in God’s spiritual kingdom while on this earth (details here). The bride finally weds the groom in the spiritual realm when the earthly flesh is no more…. this is after Jesus’ second coming.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.Revelation 21:3 (KJV)
The word “tabernacle” here is “habitation.” God’s habitation is in our spiritual hearts through His Holy Spirit. We are told that God, Jesus and the Spirit are One. God is with us NOW and we are His people. He tells us that the kingdom of God comes not with observation because it is WITHIN US (Luke 17:20-21).
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.Revelation 21:4 (KJV)
After our physical death, God will wipe away all tears, and then no more death. This verse explains that the person had experienced a physical death which is what stopped the tears.
The former things passing away here is them going from the earthly realm where there was pain and sorrow, into a spiritual rest with God in Christ.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.Revelation 21:5 (KJV)
God says He is making all things new through His New Covenant. This happens within us in this earthly realm.
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.Revelation 21:6 (KJV)
God will freely give the water of life — Jesus Christ — to anyone who thirsts for it. This is happening while we are in this earthly realm.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.Revelation 21:7
He that overcomes the world will be God’s son and inherit all that is God’s.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.Revelation 21:8 (KJV)
This is warning that the wicked will HAVE THEIR PART in the lake of fire which is the second death. This is a warning for those living on the earth. And they have a PART in the fire; it’s not eternal for them. The fire is eternal, but not the time of one’s spirit in it (details here); so we need to forgive all who harm us just like Jesus asked God to forgive His murderers (Luke 23:34).
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.Revelation 21:9 (KJV)
This is moving into John being shown the spiritual realm. The Lamb’s wife is spiritual — we are not His bride while in earthly bodies. John 4:24 tells us “God is Spirit” and we will be too when in His heavenly realm.
10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.Revelation 21:10-14
These verses are metaphorically explaining the spiritual realm…. how the initial 12 tribes – God’s chosen people – are the foundation of God’s spiritual kingdom, and how Jesus’ 12 apostles established His church. We see the Old Covenant and New Covenant people in the founding of God’s kingdom.
15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.Revelation 21:15-16 (KJV)
SPIRITUAL new Jerusalem is 12x12x12 square — 144 (these are the initial sealed ones in Rev 7). The word “furlongs” is not in the original text, and “thousand” is not a number but an unknown spiritual meaning (it is a “word of uncertain affinity” that is not a number – there is a study here). This is the city which is a cube. The cube symbolizes the cornerstone of God’s kingdom which is Jesus Christ.
And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.Revelation 21:17 (KJV)
The original Greek says that “the wall is 144 fore-arms (“cubits”), measure of man who is a messenger.” I honestly believe this verse is not talking about an earthly cubit measurement, but is talking about the strong arms, measurement of strength of the men who God uses as His messengers/angels.
New Jerusalem is made up of men who are messengers of the gospel of Christ…. those who hold the testimony. The messenger/angel showing the spiritual realm to John was one of the 144 who were sealed in Revelation 7 (Revelation 22:9). Twelve from each tribe were sealed — 12 represents a governing body in scripture, and the government represents all of the church (we reign as priests/teachers and kings/Christ’s example on earth).
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.Revelation 21:18-21 (KJV)
This passage is describing the bride in spiritual terms which we do not understand. Each earthly element mentioned is metaphorical for a spiritual trait.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.Revelation 21:22 (KJV)
There is no temple here. Our PHYSICAL bodies are God’s temple/tabernacle on this earth, so this is spiritual realm.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.Revelation 21:23 (KJV)
There is no need of the sun (high priest/king) or the moon (Sanhedrin/government) because the glory that lights it is the Lamb who is God’s glory. There will be no king or government in the spiritual realm…. we will be guided by God’s glory which is the Lamb (similar to how He guides us through His Holy Spirit while we are on this earth).
And 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 into it.Revelation 21:24
Verse 24 is explaining that the different races of people on earth who are saved will walk in the light of the Lamb. Christ’s bride will be those who were saved while on earth; not those who experience the lake of fire. The kings of the earth are those who were humble, meek servants who were completely dedicated to Christ and serving His kingdom — they bring glory and honor into God’s kingdom.
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.Revelation 21:25 (KJV)
This is a spiritual kingdom of light/righteousness so no need to take measures for safety because there is no evil present.
This also applies to our spiritually-renewed hearts while we are here on earth. Our hearts are no longer closed off to others because they are full of life and righteousness and no longer overtaken by darkness/evil.
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.Revelation 21:26 (KJV)
The glory and honor of the redeemed — their spiritually-renewed hearts — will be brought into new Jerusalem… they will be Christ’s future spiritual bride. And they will come from all nations/races/peoples.
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.Revelation 21:27
Verse 27 is talking about the earthly works of mankind. Only those written in the book of life while they are alive on this earth will be new Jerusalem/Christ’s spiritual bride.
Revelation Chapter 22
Like with chapter 21, we see both earthly and spiritual realm activities happening here. All of this is not something that happens after the second coming when the earth has been demolished and ceases to exist (see this study). Much of this passage applies to us today.
Verses 1-6 is talking about what is happening to us spiritually while IN THIS EARTHLY REALM.
1And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.Revelation 22:1 (KJV)
The river of life is what cleansed us from sins when we repented and were converted in Christ. The water represents Jesus’ shed blood for the atonement of sin. Our spirit now has aionios life, meaning we will not go through the lake of fire in the spiritual realm.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.Revelation 22:2 (KJV)
The street is the narrow way on which we walk on this earth. The river is Jesus Christ.
The tree of life is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. It causes us to grow spirit-fruits (details here), and we are shaded/protected/held by Him. The leaves of the tree provide comfort to the nations of earth.
3 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:Revelation 22:3 (KJV)
The verse says “no more curse” meaning we were given atonement for sins while on earth…. our fallen nature has been sanctified and justified in Christ.
The throne of God and the Lamb are in it — the “it” is us/the 3rd temple. It says his servants shall serve him — we do that on this earth when indwelt with the Holy Spirit by growing and using spirit-fruits (explained here).
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.Revelation 22:4 (KJV)
Seeing God’s face is standing in the countenance, appearance or person of God through the Holy Spirit. We face Him, or move toward Him, in our daily walk.
His name (holy presence) is in our foreheads which is where He writes His laws and causes us to serve Him. We do not have literal foreheads in the spiritual realm…. our earthly-body forehead is the area of the brain where reasoning and decision-making takes place.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.Revelation 22:5 (KJV)
In our renewed spirit, there is no night, no need of guidance from any earthly thing or person because the Lord God is our Light — we will reign through Christ while on this earth and be in God in the coming spiritual realm (God becomes all in all – 1 Corinthians 15:28).
6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.Revelation 22:6 (KJV)
Here, in the following verses, the messenger is about to explain to John (and mankind) what is coming on this earth:
7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.Revelation 22:7-8
Jesus is promising to come soon – His second coming – when He will destroy all of earth’s kingdoms with the stone of God’s kingdom. Hallelujah!
Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.Revelation 22:9 (KJV)
The angel/messenger speaking to John was a human person who was alive when the prophets were on the earth…. he lived his earthly life under the Old Covenant. It’s so awesome that they are still working in the spiritual realm to build God’s kingdom – grow the church in number – here on the earth.
And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.Revelation 22:10 (KJV)
John is being told not to seal up the book because it’s truths are here on earth now.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.Revelation 22:11-13 (KJV)
This verse is telling us to let each man be as he is led while on earth. This is definitely not spiritual realm, but is a warning to earth dwellers. Jesus is promising that He is coming soon and will give every man according to his work while on earth (sin, or spirit-fruits).
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.Revelation 22:14-16 (KJV)
These verses explain that to have the right to the tree of life (the Holy Spirit through Christ Jesus), we must obey God’s commandments while on earth (details here). In doing so, our spiritually-renewed hearts become New Jerusalem and we will be allowed to enter through the gates into the spiritual city in the spiritual realm.
Outside the city are the wicked and unbelieving who will not enter through the narrow gates…. they will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.Revelation 22:17 (KJV)
Here, the Holy Spirit and the BRIDE is saying Come. The bride is spiritual — we wed Jesus in the spiritual realm when our carnal flesh is gone. And the bride is different from the ones that hear!
The “ones that hear” could be referring to either the spiritual realm, or the church in this earthly realm. If the ones that hear are in the earthly realm in this verse, then they are the ekklesia/the church of Christ.
If the ones that hear are in the spiritual realm with the bride, then they were not the bride at Jesus’ second coming, so were not saved while in the earthly realm….. yet we see them here in the spiritual realm, now having been given the ability to hear Truth by God.
This gift of hearing came after they took their part in the lake fire, and now they are encouraging others who are outside the city in the lake of fire, to come and take the water of life freely. This water is to cleanse their spirit of sin which was defeated by Jesus at the cross. Spirits never cease to exist (see this study), and God does not torture any human spirit for an eternity (details here).
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.Revelation 22:18-21 (KJV)
Those men who have taken away words, verses and entire passages from God’s original inspired word are going to receive the wrath of God. This is not referring to how we each individually interpret our bibles. It is referring to those who altered the original Hebrew and Greek and published their version as being God’s inspired word (and it’s definitely happened many times over). But even with all of the changes made by man to God’s word, the true gospel message of Jesus Christ stands firm and true!
Karl Tester has a beautiful interpretation of the new heaven and new earth — you can hear his explanation in this YouTube video (start at the 49 minute mark to understand why the new heaven and new earth are on this earth now. Start at 28 minute mark to also hear an excellent interpretation of Revelation chapters 18-20).
I have also heard similar teachings by Jim Brown with Grace and Truth Ministries on the new earth and new heaven being on this earth now, although it’s not clear what his verse-by-verse interpretation of Revelation 21-22 is, so it may differ from my own. You can find his teachings on this topic on YouTube here… they are great lessons.
God bless you all!
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