Peeling the Onion: Revelation 21:9-27

If you suspended judgment yesterday,

Today an angel whisks you away with John,

To see the city, coming down

Elaborated in urban imagery of walls, homes,

The ultimate reality show of a promised ideal

Who is the celestial tour guide for John?

One of the 7 angels with the 7 bowls of 7 plagues!

Imagine a divine construction worker,

The one who cleaned up the worksite,

The janitor who just prepared the city for its opening

Proudly giving a preview to John

Whisked away to a better vantage,

John sees and describes the city in detail

The references to semi-precious stones

give a colour code

the gates are open for all nations to flow

One of my favourite features:

There is no temple.

You don’t need church – or religion

In the fulfillment of the celestial city

We’re a remedial, penultimate institution

Godself is present, and lights the city

Nobody gets to bring their crap into the city

We will all have do dump a load before entering

My reading is clear –

Only the ultimately unrepentant

can’t fit the picture

this is not antinomian, no rules,

it is a matter of ultimate justice -

keep working on this

NJB New Jerusalem

9 One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came to speak to me and said, 'Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married.'

10 In the spirit, he carried me to the top of a very high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God.

11 It had all the glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond.

12 Its wall was of a great height and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel;

13 on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

14 The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The angel that was speaking to me was carrying a gold measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and wall.

16 The plan of the city is perfectly square, its length the same as its breadth. He measured the city with his rod and it was twelve thousand furlongs, equal in length and in breadth, and equal in height.

17 He measured its wall, and this was a hundred and forty-four cubits high – by human measurements.

18 The wall was built of diamond, and the city of pure gold, like clear glass.

19 The foundations of the city wall were faced with all kinds of precious stone: the first with diamond, the second lapis lazuli, the third turquoise, the fourth crystal,

20 the fifth agate, the sixth ruby, the seventh gold quartz, the eighth malachite, the ninth topaz, the tenth emerald, the eleventh sapphire and the twelfth amethyst.

21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate being made of a single pearl, and the main street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

22 I could not see any temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple,

23 and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God, and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it.

24 The nations will come to its light and the kings of the earth will bring it their treasures.

25 Its gates will never be closed by day – and there will be no night there-

26 and the nations will come, bringing their treasure and their wealth.

27 Nothing unclean may come into it: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb's book of life.

NSRV New Jerusalem

9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’

10And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.

11It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal.

12It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites;

13on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

14And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls.

16The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.

17He also measured its wall, one hundred and forty-four cubits by human measurement, which the angel was using.

18The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass.

19The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,

20the fifth onyx, the sixth cornelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

21And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.

22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

25Its gates will never be shut by day— and there will be no night there.

26People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.