And I John - The writer of this book; whether the evangelist and apostle, or John the Ephesian presbyter, has been long doubted in the Church.
New Jerusalem - See the notes on Galatians 4:24-27; (note). This doubtless means the Christian Church in a state of great prosperity and purity; but some think eternal blessedness is intended.
Coming down from God - It is a maxim of the ancient Jews that both the tabernacle, and the temple, and Jerusalem itself, came down from heaven. And in Midrash Hanaalem, Sohar Gen. fol. 69, col. 271, Rab. Jeremias said, "The holy blessed God shall renew the world, and build Jerusalem, and shall cause it to descend from heaven." Their opinion is, that there is a spiritual temple, a spiritual tabernacle, and a spiritual Jerusalem; and that none of these can be destroyed, because they subsist in their spiritual representatives. See Schoettgen.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven - See the Analysis of the chapter. On the phrase “new Jerusalem,” see the Galatians 4:26 note, and Hebrews 12:22 note. Here it refers to the residence of the redeemed, the heavenly world, of which Jerusalem was the type and symbol. It is here represented as “coming down from God out of heaven.” This, of course, does not mean that this great city was “literally” to descend upon the earth, and to occupy any one part of the renovated world; but it is a symbolical or figurative representation, designed to show that the abode of the righteous will be splendid and glorious. The idea of a city literally descending from heaven, and being set upon the earth with such proportions - three hundred and seventy miles high Revelation 21:16, made of gold, and with single pearls for gates, and single gems for the foundations - is absurd. No man can suppose that this is literally true, and hence this must be regarded as a figurative or emblematic description. It is a representation of the heavenly state under the image of a beautiful city, of which Jerusalem was, in many respects, a natural and striking emblem.
Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband - See the notes on Isaiah 49:18; Isaiah 61:10. The purpose here is, to represent it as exceedingly beautiful. The comparison of the church with a bride, or a wife, is common in the Scriptures. See the Revelation 19:7-8 notes, and Isaiah 1:21 note. It is also common in the Scriptures to compare a city with a beautiful woman, and these images here seem to be combined. It is a beautiful city that seems to descend, and this city is itself compared with a richly-attired bride prepared for her husband,
The Father's House. â In connection with the view which John has of the holy city coming down from God out of heaven, a voice is heard, saying, âThe tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them.â The conclusion naturally follows that the tabernacle here mentioned is the city. This same city is called in John 14 the Father's house in which are many mansions. If an objection should arise in any mind that this is too permanent a place to be called a tabernacle, we reply that the word âtabernacleâ sometimes has the signification of a permanent dwelling-place. The great God takes up his abode on this earth; but we do not suppose that God is confined to this, or any other one of the worlds of his creation. He here has a throne, and the earth enjoys so much of his presence that it may be said that he dwells among men. And why should this be thought a strange thing? God's only begotten Son is here as ruler of his special kingdom; the holy city, which is called the Father's house, and which it is natural to suppose will be the most beautiful and glorious object in the universe, will be here; and the heavenly hosts take an interest in this world probably above what they feel in any other; yea, reasoning from one of the Saviour's parables, there will be more joy in heaven over one world redeemed than over ninety and nine which have needed no redemption.DAR 704.3
No Cause for Tears. â And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. He does not literally wipe away tears from the eyes of his people; for there will be no tears in that kingdom to be thus wiped away; but he wipes away tears by removing all causes of tears.DAR 705.1
The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13; and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event; and this is also represented by the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage, described by Christ in the parable of the ten virgins, of Matthew 25. GC 426.1
In the summer and autumn of 1844 the proclamation, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh,” was given. The two classes represented by the wise and foolish virgins were then developed—one class who looked with joy to the Lord's appearing, and who had been diligently preparing to meet Him; another class that, influenced by fear and acting from impulse, had been satisfied with a theory of the truth, but were destitute of the grace of God. In the parable, when the bridegroom came, “they that were ready went in with him to the marriage.” The coming of the bridegroom, here brought to view, takes place before the marriage. The marriage represents the reception by Christ of His kingdom. The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is the capital and representative of the kingdom, is called “the bride, the Lamb's wife.” Said the angel to John: “Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.” “He carried me away in the spirit,” says the prophet, “and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” Revelation 21:9, 10. Clearly, then, the bride represents the Holy City, and the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom are a symbol of the church. In the Revelation the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. Revelation 19:9. If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride. Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven, “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom;” He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2. Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to “sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,” at His table in His kingdom (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30), to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb. GC 426.2
The proclamation, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh,” in the summer of 1844, led thousands to expect the immediate advent of the Lord. At the appointed time the Bridegroom came, not to the earth, as the people expected, but to the Ancient of Days in heaven, to the marriage, the reception of His kingdom. “They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” They were not to be present in person at the marriage; for it takes place in heaven, while they are upon the earth. The followers of Christ are to “wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding.” Luke 12:36. But they are to understand His work, and to follow Him by faith as He goes in before God. It is in this sense that they are said to go in to the marriage. GC 427.1Read in context »
Jesus sent His angels to direct the minds of the disappointed ones to the most holy place, where He had gone to cleanse the sanctuary and make a special atonement for Israel. Jesus told the angels that all who found Him would understand the work which He was to perform. I saw that while Jesus was in the most holy place He would be married to the New Jerusalem; and after His work should be accomplished in the holiest, He would descend to the earth in kingly power and take to Himself the precious ones who had patiently waited His return. EW 251.1
I was shown what did take place in heaven at the close of the prophetic periods in 1844. As Jesus ended His ministration in the holy place and closed the door of that apartment, a great darkness settled upon those who had heard and rejected the message of His coming, and they lost sight of Him. Jesus then clothed Himself with precious garments. Around the bottom of His robe was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate. A breastplate of curious work was suspended from His shoulders. As He moved, this glittered like diamonds, magnifying letters which looked like names written or engraved upon the breastplate. Upon His head was something which had the appearance of a crown. When fully attired, He was surrounded by angels, and in a flaming chariot He passed within the second veil. EW 251.2
I was then bidden to take notice of the two apartments of the heavenly sanctuary. The curtain, or door, was opened, and I was permitted to enter. In the first apartment I saw the candlestick with seven lamps, the table of shewbread, the altar of incense, and the censer. All the furniture of this apartment looked like purest gold and reflected the image of the one who entered the place. The curtain which separated the two apartments was of different colors and material, with a beautiful border, in which were figures wrought of gold to represent angels. The veil was lifted, and I looked into the second apartment. I saw there an ark which had the appearance of being of the finest gold. As a border around the top of the ark, was most beautiful work representing crowns. In the ark were tables of stone containing the ten commandments. EW 251.3Read in context »
Now Satan prepares for a last mighty struggle for the supremacy. While deprived of his power and cut off from his work of deception, the prince of evil was miserable and dejected; but as the wicked dead are raised and he sees the vast multitudes upon his side, his hopes revive, and he determines not to yield the great controversy. He will marshal all the armies of the lost under his banner and through them endeavor to execute his plans. The wicked are Satan's captives. In rejecting Christ they have accepted the rule of the rebel leader. They are ready to receive his suggestions and to do his bidding. Yet, true to his early cunning, he does not acknowledge himself to be Satan. He claims to be the prince who is the rightful owner of the world and whose inheritance has been unlawfully wrested from him. He represents himself to his deluded subjects as a redeemer, assuring them that his power has brought them forth from their graves and that he is about to rescue them from the most cruel tyranny. The presence of Christ having been removed, Satan works wonders to support his claims. He makes the weak strong and inspires all with his own spirit and energy. He proposes to lead them against the camp of the saints and to take possession of the City of God. With fiendish exultation he points to the unnumbered millions who have been raised from the dead and declares that as their leader he is well able to overthrow the city and regain his throne and his kingdom. GC 663.1
In that vast throng are multitudes of the long-lived race that existed before the Flood; men of lofty stature and giant intellect, who, yielding to the control of fallen angels, devoted all their skill and knowledge to the exaltation of themselves; men whose wonderful works of art led the world to idolize their genius, but whose cruelty and evil inventions, defiling the earth and defacing the image of God, caused Him to blot them from the face of His creation. There are kings and generals who conquered nations, valiant men who never lost a battle, proud, ambitious warriors whose approach made kingdoms tremble. In death these experienced no change. As they come up from the grave, they resume the current of their thoughts just where it ceased. They are actuated by the same desire to conquer that ruled them when they fell. GC 664.1
Satan consults with his angels, and then with these kings and conquerors and mighty men. They look upon the strength and numbers on their side, and declare that the army within the city is small in comparison with theirs, and that it can be overcome. They lay their plans to take possession of the riches and glory of the New Jerusalem. All immediately begin to prepare for battle. Skillful artisans construct implements of war. Military leaders, famed for their success, marshal the throngs of warlike men into companies and divisions. GC 664.2Read in context »