Revelation 21:1-22:5 provide the climax of the entire Apocalypse, a view of the consummated Kingdom of God. For me, this is a climactic section, because more than any other passage I can think of, it shows the full nature of the Kingdom, both now and in the future. Put another way, if we can master this section, we can see the “behind the scenes” aspects of Jesus’ earthly ministry and our life as His followers in the Body of Christ today. With this understanding comes the fullness of all 66 books of Scripture. For convenience, and to avoid undue repetition, I will go through the five main symbols of this section one at a time, citing all of the instances within 21 and 22 in which the symbols appear, at the same time.
- The consummated kingdom will truly be The Kingdom of God.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (22:3b)
God will fully exercise His authority, rule, sovereignty, dominion and will. This is pictured by the presence of His throne in the “new” city, along with that of the Lamb. Jesus is pictured as the “Lamb” again here because His reign comes by virtue of the fact that His actions on the cross have made all of this possible.
The entire universe will be under God’s dominion, His will is the only will that will be done (Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven). We see this in the fact that we, His servants, will be serving Him who sits on the throne. Jesus, at the Father’s right hand, will be the One calling the shots, for “right hand” symbolizes actions.
- The consummation of God’s Kingdom will bring about the destruction of all evil and the end of this “present evil age.
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea… ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away… But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death… Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life… No longer will there be any curse.
Rev. 21:1b, 4, 8, 27; 22:3b
The consummation of God’s Kingdom brings about the end of the curse that came about in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve entered into rebellion against God. It has been in effect ever since, and the only life we have ever known has been lived in an environment dominated by it. Notice that there will be “no sea” (21:1), throughout Revelation the sea has represented the churning chaos of this present world, and in 4:6 we saw a sea of glass, showing that the chaos of this world had been subdued or overcome. Our world will not be present in the consummated Kingdom.
In 21:8 and 27, we see that all evil, impurity, sin… and anything that robs life of its significance, meaning, joy and wonder will be gone and the entire Creation will be restored to its original state of perfection and innocence. In a sense, dear reader, Genesis is not only the beginning, but it is also the end, the goal, the destination, and for this reason, I have often said in these posts that the New Jerusalem will be a lot more like the Garden of Eden than most of us might expect.
When we get back together, we’ll continue with the third symbol; see you then!