A DISCUSSION REGARDING MATTHEW 24, THE
BOOK OF REVELATION, AND THE NEW JERUSALEM:
Many mock the notion of reading Jesus' words in Matthew
24 and noting that in some cases Jesus speaks literally and in others He
speaks figuratively. The issue of Matthew 24 switching from literal
to figurative is only evidenced by some of Christ's use of statements that
were formerly already used and proven to be figurative in the Old Testament,
for the most part. Really, the only part that is figurative is the coming
in clouds and the sun and moon changing form and appearance. Those are deemed
figurative, because they were in their instances in Old Testament writings.
Read 2 Samuel 22 for the use of coming in clouds. There,
David said God was seen riding on the wings of the wind, and thick clouds
as his pavilions. Did anybody literally see God? Of course not. Then why
did David say He was seen? In clouds?
See what I mean?
If we mock the idea of this being figurative in Matthew
24, then we have to mock it's use in 2 Samuel 22. And I know we do not want
to go there.
In regards to the sun and moon, that is also noted previously
in the Old Testament:
One my most common copy-and-paste notes from my studies
is the following:
Look at these pictures....
Isaiah 13:1, 10,13 - BABYLON'S fall.
Ezekiel 32:7-8 - EGYPT'S fall
Isaiah 34:4-5 - EDOM'S fall
All of them speak of the stars and sun blackening. But
none of that occurred literally.
One the hardest things I have found in discussing figurative
speech with people is to get them to realize we are not making up the figures!
We are carefully, very carefully, ensuring these pictures
were established as figures in the context of the Bible
itself, before we claim them as such in the words of Jesus.
Also, the line is drawn in where Revelation is fulfilled
and not fulfilled by simply comparing scripture with scripture, instead of
with the latest high-tech magazine and chemical warfare catalogue, and determining
what the various visionary imageries in Revelation mean, and interpret that
from the words of Jesus and the Apostles!
One important point is to realize that we do not interpret
the rest of the Bible from Revelation.
We interpret Revelation using the rest of the Bible. In other words, the
rest of the Bible must have already explicitly spoken of such pictures in
Revelation. If we are not seeing that, then our interpretation is based upon
a false system.
The city figurative? Well....
The issue of the "street" (singular - check it out) of gold in the city
has to be considered along with all the other elements of the city. One note
about the city that causes us to pause and think about the entire picture
is the gates. Each gate is of one solid pearl. Now that is
literally impossible. Therefore, that indication alone
is enough to let us understand that the city is figurative. Even futurists,
who use the rule of accepting something figurative when it is simply impossible
to be taken as literal, should look at that as an indicator that it is not
Regarding the street of gold, literal pure gold is not
transparent, as well, as is noted about the gold in the city.
So all these things indicate a figurative thought. I
have not delved into this particular aspect of the thought, i.e., the gold
street so much, but have proposed, generally, that the city is the church.
And that is not based upon flights of fancy in interpretation. It is based
CAREFULLY upon established notes made in the New Testament and Old. For
instance, Heb 12:22 says we've already come to Zion and to the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Gal 4 notes that our mother is Jerusalem above. Jesus said we are the
light of the world, and a city that is set on a hill
that cannot be hidden.
The city is foursquare. That is the shape of the most
holy place. The same description of the most holy place is used in principle
regarding the City.
|Rev 21:16 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.
1Ki 6:20 And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length,
and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and
he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.
And the term "temple" used to describe the church is literally,
in the greek, the most holy place... and not the outer court, holy place
and most holy place. So it is the church! The Church is His temple!
Revelation 3 describes the church at Philadelphia as having
overcomers who have the name of God and the name of the city on their lives.
This is saying the city is the church!
God likened Jerusalem of old to His bride (Ezek 16).
And of course the church is the bride of Christ.
Revelation notes that the New Jerusalem WAS the bride.
Some have noted it was like a bride. But if you keep reading chapter
21, John is told he is to be shown the Bride, and He saw the City!
So is the city, comprised of its walls and street and foundations, that
is adorned like a bride, and actually IS the bride, going to be literally
adorned with a bridal veil, as a literal city? Is Christ going to walk a
city down the aisle and marry it? Of course not. This is saying that the
Church is the New Jerusalem, just as Israel's goal was to possess
Canaan and establish the name of God in the city chosen by God, which turned
out to be Jerusalem, and there govern the people of God.
Where we make the demarcation in Revelation as to what
is past and what is future is carefully established by the teachings of Jesus
and the epistles, in comparison to the interpretation of the emblems used
in Revelation. And we are absolutely careful to ensure those interpretations
are not flights of fancy either! They have to -- simply have to -- be metaphors
that are clearly seen elsewhere in the Bible to be metaphors. If there
is no example elsewhere that all can agree upon as being a metaphor, then
we cannot say it is.
So here is how we ascertain a demarcation point in the
We know Christ was speaking about 70 AD in Matthew 24
(which is, I agree, another great argument to many people. But we research
the 24th chapter of Matthew, in the same way I am describing how we demarcate
Revelation, and settle upon it as being fulfilled.) And we find the same
layout of events symbolized in Revelation 6 (I have studies on my site proving
this). That causes us to realize Revelation 6 is fulfilled. Then we noted
that the City that Rev 18:24 said was full of the blood of all shed upon
the earth must be Jerusalem, because Jesus said Jerusalem was guilty of all
blood shed on the earth in Matthew 23:35. And Rev. 11:8 establishes for us
who the great city is. It also is Jerusalem, where our Lord was crucified.
Rev 11:8 calls it the great city, to which the later references
to that great city point. The term "that" makes a reference
to a previously noted "the". And Rev 11:8 supplies with who that
great city is.
And I can go on and on about similar words of Revelation
found in the rest of the Bible indicating their figurative nature.
But, we also see that the order of the events in Rev 17
through 19 of the great city burned with fire, followed by the marriage supper
indications, are precisely the same order of events noted
in Matthew 22:7-9. There, in Mat 22, Jesus said the city of the people
who were bidden to the marriage, and did not show up, would be first
burned, to be followed by the wedding with other guests, instead.
The burning of the city, followed by a wedding, occurs in both Matt 22:7-9
and Rev chapters 17-19. Same order of events. And Jesus said
that in context of being rejected by Jerusalem in Matthew 21. Now, many
never note that connection since they did not read through Matthew 21 and
22 contextually. But it's there.
At this point, one realizes that the parallels between
Jesus own words, themselves, and the events listed in Revelation are beyond
coincidental similarity. They are speaking of the same events!!!
Therefore... knowing the harlot city is Jerusalem,
and knowing she was destroyed, and knowing the church is the New Jerusalem,
when we read Revelation 19, we see a duration of a very long time ("thousand"
in Greek is simply a Greek plurality), followed by the devil hoarding nations
against the New Jerusalem, all of that causes us to ponder over when did this,
or when will this, occur. And the deduction is generally that the church
has not experienced an onslaught similar to that since old Jerusalem was
destroyed, which would cause the devil to be forever removed, and would be
followed with the great white throne judgment.
So, with the though that the whore is old Jerusalem, due
to the words of Christ to Jerusalem have been applied to the whore in Revelation,
and knowing Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, and knowing the great white
throne has not yet occurred, we see the demarcation in the midst of Chapter
Chapter 19 also notes a demarcation point since the chapter
begins with the destruction of the whore followed by a wedding and the going
forth of the Lord and the saints conquering with the Word, which I feel is
the New Testament era.
The reason I say chapters 19 and 20 both show demarcation
is because Revelation is well-known to back up and go forward every know
and then in the time-context of the text.
Revelation 21 through
22 shows us the New Jerusalem.
Regarding the lack of
weeping and sorrow noted in the New Jerusalem advent, in Rev 21, this is indeed
symbolic of the church. But at the present time the church is not finished
construction. The city is still being built. One day that construction
will be finished. But, as Peter put it, there are still lively stones being
added to the construction process.
Nevertheless, Jesus said
we are a city set on a hill that cannot be hid. Would we deny Jesus' words?
Would we also deny that the Mother of us all is this City, called
by Paul "Jerusalem which is above"? And would we think that is a spiritual
picture of the church? Or would we still think a literal city birthed us
into the Kingdom of God?
Having said that, I
will also say, though, that on a personal level, there is a wonderful experience
in salvation in which tears are wiped away after repentance, and the thought
of old things passing away is simply connected to the words of Paul in 2
Cor 5, where he describes all things passing away and becoming new when we
are saved! The context of the words you refer to regarding weeping
and sorrow involves the thought of all things being made new.
And that is a distinct reference to Paul's words in 2 Cor 5! More on that
NO MORE SEA?
We have to refer to
Genesis in order to understand many notes in Revelation. The thought of
no more literal sea is absurd. If there is no more sea, then there are no
more oceans, and that means the earth is one large mass of land, with lakes
But sea is "salt" water.
And salt represents two things in the word of God. Preservation as
well as stealing away or, and resistance against, life.
I once preached a message
entitled FROM NO LIGHT TO NO NIGHT. Genesis showed us that a time existed
when there was no light, and God spoke light into existence. At that same
point in time, there was no fresh water, for the earth was covered in the
saline water of one huge ocean. It was not until the third day
that the dry land "appeared", or resurrected up from beneath the water.
And then the fresh water came into being.
Why would God speak about
all of this physical state of things? Just to satisfy our curiosity? No.
It was to introduce a principle. And the goal of the Bible is not
to answer questions of a scientific nature. Adam's story is not to prove
we did not come from apes, although that can be derived from that story.
All of it is to lead us to salvation. So in some measure, this series of
physical events are giving us a pattern and principle regarding our salvation.
Proverbs says that the
glory of God conceals a thing and it is the honour of kings to search out
a matter. We are kings and priests. Let's search out what God has concealed
for Holy Ghost people like you and I to glean.
Notice the series of
events in Genesis 1.
Light, then division
of waters, then land "resurrecting". Can you see it? Repentance, water
baptism, and Spirit baptism. And it goes on, but you get the idea. And
we wind up with man in God's image on the sixth day, and finally the REST
in the 7th. We know we are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
And we also know there remains a rest for the people of God. So although
these things occurred literally, they lead us towards a spiritual message.
And that message is the goal of the Bible!
There is also a principle
in the Bible that tells us that it is that which is natural that is always
first. Afterwards, that which is spiritual. I think some may be inadvertently
reversing God's principle.
We all know that Jesus
spoke of the Holy Ghost as rivers of living water. Is the river in Revelation
22 literal? Of course not! It is speaking of the living waters of the Holy
Ghost. Read John 4's words regarding the woman at the well. Read Jesus'
words on the last day of the feast in John 7:38-39. And then tell me that
the rivers of living water is not the Holy Ghost.
To say that, yes, it
is the Holy Ghost in those passages, but to then say,
no, it is not the Holy Ghost in Revelation 22, which is yet future, is
to reverse the principle I noted earlier. You are saying we first
have spiritual rivers of living water, but our goal in Revelation
22, in our future, is to wind up with a physical and literal river of living
water. You're going in reverse!
Our goal is not
a literal and physical river and city! That was the picture before things
became spiritual! That which is spiritual is last and final. And would
not the last book in the Bible reflect that? Many are going backwards,
to make it all a goal of physical things!
I mean, if the Bible
did not already establish the fact that the river of living water is the
Holy Ghost in John 4 and John 7, then I would be at a loss to state anything
as I am doing here. That is what I try to tell everyone who accuses me of
haphazard allegorizing of scriptures, as though we never had a biblical foundation
to do allegorize. But how can we deny the relevance of John 4 and John
7, as we read Revelation 22? Especially in light of the principle noted
in 1 Cor 15 concerning that which is spiritual being our goal?
Have all things
been made new?
Yes, that is now!
Paul used the same terms,
and please note the same terms, as follows:
Have you not experienced
the above scripture?
No need of the Sun or
There shall be no
As I said, this regards
the church in a state of completion, which is not to be seen today, except
in part. However, at the same time, let me say you are missing something
if you are restricting this to the physical. In reference, once again, to
my sermon, light and darkness, I noted therein, speak of good and evil.
In that sermon I noted that at one time the earth was full of sinners. All
night. But then Light came, Jesus, as in the book of John, which uses Genesis
as a pattern to show the real Spoken word giving light! Jesus is the
light! And the darkness comprehended it not. What was John referring to
by "the darkness"? The Sinners. The evil ones.
But then it reads that
as many as received Him to them gave he power to become the sons of God.
He lights every man who comes into the world. But not every man receives
that light. However, some of the world did -- us! And all through
John's Gospel you see this theme of light and darkness continue.
If we’re stuck on literal
and outward too much, we’ll never notice this.
2Co 5:17 Therefore
if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
Jesus did miracles, stepped out of the scene and watched people fall into
two groups... always falling into two groups. Those who accepted the light
and gave God glory, and those who argued it away in outright insane denial!
The light was spoken, and men were separating into darkness and light.
And you get the idea.
Well, since the spiritual is what God will wind up with, and not the
natural, it is not speaking of natural light and darkness in Revelation.
It is spiritual. Just as there were no saints of God (light) in
the beginning, but only sinners, after Christ came a division occurred as
light brought forth more light in the sons of men. And one day all sinners
will be removed, and there will only be light! No night!
Genesis 1 is a pattern of Jesus' first coming!! And Revelation shows us
Same with the sea. After we see nothing but salt water at the start,
naturally, we will see nothing but fresh water, in the end, spiritually.
Salt is reminiscent of lack of life. Recall that nations salted
the lands of the ones they conquered, so as to prohibit agriculture in the
future for many years. The entire earth was "salted", so to speak, by sin.
But, praise God(!), it will be different after then next time He comes!
No sea, no night!
Rev 21: 27 tells us who cannot enter there but these are who makes up
First of all the kingdom of God is within us! It does not come with observation!
The city being seen by John, therefore, represents the Kingdom of
God in the church. Otherwise, it refutes Jesus' words, and does indeed
come with observation. I have certainly noted that in the past and was
blessed to think of its spiritual picture well!
Ever wonder why it said that those that are outside are dogs
(spiritual term for unsaved, as Jews called Gentiles dogs), and whoremongers,
etc? Imagine if this was literal and looking out through your window in
the city, as you imagine the city to be, and seeing a beautiful scene of
whoremongers and liars and unrighteous people outside. The Bible says that
without, or "outside" ( not saying where outside, but
just outside), there are dogs etc. (I was absolutely stunned in a
laughing fit as I heard about a very prominent minister say that this proved
canines do not go to heaven, since dogs were outside the city.) Dogs
refer to Gentiles, which speak spiritually of the unsaved.
And to beat all, the gates never close since there is no night. So
outside ("without" in old English), these whoremongers wander around, and
the gates are wide open. The only manner in which that can make any sense
is for the city to represent the church, and people who walk through its
pearly gates become saved and enter in as changed lives!
Is the river of living waters, clear as crystal, not literal?
No. Its the Holy Ghost. How do I know its today, as well?
If this is literal,
and the river is not yet available, why does John hear words for all to
come and DRINK RIGHT NOW? And if you confine that to a future time when
men can come and drink, as though John heard a future, unfulfilled, statement,
then you are missing the fact that these words parallel Jesus' words perfectly:
Rev 22:17 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.
Can you not see the
similarity, or its it mere coincidence? Come on! Let’s read it again!
The aspect of it being
free, to drink freely, comes from the fact that Isaiah foretold
we could have wine milk and honey without price, as opposed to Adam, who
had to WORK for bread that would leave him dying anyway. And that contrasted
the fact that Adam could have enjoyed food that gave eternal life, before
he sinned, without working for it by the sweat of his brow! Its a spiritual
picture of return to the Garden in salvation! Since the river comes
from Jesus' throne, it is telling us that until you make Jesus your Lord
and King, you ain't getting any Holy Ghost!
Is the throne not literal?
Its as literal as the
throne He now sits upon according to Eph 1:20!
Is the tree of life
No. Its Jesus and the
church. He is the vine and we are the branches. That is why Ezekiel 47
says there were many trees by the river banks, in absolute agreement
with revelation's note of the purpose of the leaves and the fruit. Ezek.
47:12. And Psalm 1:2 says we are like trees planted by the waters (by the
river of life) whose fruit comes in his season (yielding every month) and
leaf shall not fail (thank goodness, for the leaves are for nations' healing!!).
We are also called trees of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord
in Isaiah 61:3. Note there, that ZION is noted -- the synonym of the church,
as well as the new City in Hebrews 12:22. And note there that sorrow is exchanged
for joy, which is indicated in Rev 21.
Is 22:11 fulfilled?
Yes! If people refuse
Christ and His righteousness, then there are declared to be left unrighteous!
But it is being fulfilled, and will be fulfilled as well,
for others until the city is completed.
What do 12 Gates represent?
What names are on the
gates? It speaks of the entrance into the church, which causes one to become
the spiritual Israel of God in a spiritual Jerusalem in the Spiritual promised
land in Spiritual Zion! Read Heb 12:22 again.
Please answer this.
If this is not spiritual, how on earth are the gates each made of one
The meaning of the twelve
foundation stones each one?
Simple enough! What
are the names on them? The Apostles? Ever read the following:
Joh 7:37-39 In the
last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying,
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38)
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall
flow rivers of living water. (39) (But this spake he of the Spirit,
which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not
yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
I hope we’re all ALREADY
BUILT on that foundation!!
Why couldn't God make
one pearl a gate? He made this universe.
Of course he made the
universe! But a pearl comes from an oyster! God can make anything He wants.
But to use that sort of reasoning, which CONTRADICTS the very rule dispensationalists
abide by, that says something that cannot be physically possible is to be
regarded as obviously symbolic, let me ask WHY CANNOT GOD MAKE A LAMB WITH
SEVEN EYES AND SEVEN HORNS????
But people will not
say that is literal, since they believe it is Jesus. But God could just
as easily make something that does not occur in nature like a seven-horned
lamb, as well as 12 GIANT PEARLS cut out into Gates!
Using that argument
NOTHING is symbolic, because God can make anything! Even a lamb with seven
Is the bottomless pit
How could something
physical be bottomless? Its obviously speaking spiritually. But its
more real than anything physical, for sure!
I am still learning
and subject to error, but I think this is the explanation of these issues.
Eph 2:20 And are
built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself
being the chief corner stone;