Revelation Study Guide: Week 26, Chapter 21
By Coty Pinckney
We have come to one of the most glorious passages in all of Scripture. Pray earnestly for insight and understanding and excitement prior to reading.
Read Revelation 21 and 22 through twice without looking at commentaries or notes, prior to answering these questions:
(1) Look at 21:1-8. What images and themes are brought up in these eight verses? Now compare 21:1-8 with what you find in 21:9 to 22:19. What images and themes are common to the two sections?
(2) Read Isaiah 60 and Isaiah 65:17-19, and glance over Ezekiel 40 to 48. In Ezekiel, I suggest you read 40:1-5 and 48:35, then briefly scan the remainder. What parallels do you find between these passages and Revelation 21? What differences do you find?
(3) The word "new" appears four times in the first 5 verses of chapter 21. What is new about the new heavens, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem? How are these related to the "old" versions?
(4) Look back at Revelation 17:1-2, the beginning of the section on Babylon. Compare those verses to 21:9-11. Who speaks to John in those verses? In what ways is the picture of Babylon similar to that of Jerusalem? In what ways is it different? What do you think is the purpose behind this clear comparison of the two cities? See also Isaiah 1:21, Ephesians 5:25-27, and Hebrews 13:14. What does the new Jerusalem picture?
(5) Whose names are written on the gates? On the foundations? Given your answer to the last part of question 4, why are these names on the gates and foundations? See also Ephesians 2:19-22 and Matthew 16:18; consider what that last verse means in light of Revelation 21:14. You also may want to look back at Revelation 7:2-17 and think about how your understanding of that passage changes (if at all) after studying chapter 21.
(6) In verses 15-17 the city is measured. What is unusual about these measurements? Some translations change the measurements into our units ("1500 miles"); they are easier to interpret in the original terms ("12,000 stadia"). Similarly in verse 17, the original reads that the measure of the wall is "144 cubits." See also 1 Kings 6:19-20. What do the New Jerusalem and the Holy of Holies in Solomon's temple have in common? Consider your answer in light of Rev 21:22. Why does the angel measure the city? Recall our discussion of measurement in Revelation 11:1-2.
(7) Consider verses 23-27. What happens to all earthly glory? What does the text mean by the "glory of God"? Why is verse 27 included? Who enters the city?
(8) Now read the first part of Stedman's sermon on chapters 21 and 22, and Wilcock pages 197-209; this section of Wilcock is really excellent, please do read it. Reflect in particular on the following quote from C.S. Lewis' final Narnian Chronicle, The Last Battle (which Wilcock quotes on the bottom of page 203); does this shed light on Revelation 21 for you?
The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was on the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
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