Chapter 50 The Lamb In The Eternal City

The Lamb is the light thereof (Revelation 21:23).

The last two chapters of the Holy Bible are the consummation of divine revelation. The Apostle John is carried by the Spirit to a great high mountain—symbolic of spiritual elevation—that he may behold this grand and glorious vision.

The Holy City

“The holy city, new Jerusalem” seems to be both the eternal residence of the saints and also figurative of the redeemed people themselves. As a place of residence it is a holy city. Nothing can enter which defiles. There can be no tempting circumstance, no slippery path, no place, or book, or trade, or being which can draw the redeemed away from God. It is a heavenly city, “coming down from God out of heaven” (Revelation 21:2)—the epitome of supreme happiness, having “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither…any more pain” (Revelation 21:4), and “no night there.” The name Jerusalem means “the foundation of peace”—a most comforting title for the Lord’s people after the sorrows of earth.

All that the holy city is in itself is also symbolical of what the redeemed of the Lord are in themselves—a holy people with a holy citizenship, and now in the realm of supreme happiness under the benign and gracious rule of God.

The wall was “great and high” (Revelation 21:12)— speaking of security—not as Eden which had no wall, and so was open for the tempter to lay his snare. The twelve gates were guarded by twelve angels, and written on the gates were “the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” (verse 12)—indicating that God’s message came through that nation which, under the severity of the law, preserved the revelation of God given to them. The twelve foundations had on them “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (verse 14)—showing us that these men laid the foundation by Spirit-inspired, apostolic teaching.

Within the city was “the river of water of life” (22:1), indicating life without pollution or corruption—a flow of divine life making for fertility, growth, and every form of beauty. “The street of it” was single, having no bypaths where one might lose his way or go astray—one way taking us ever onward into fuller revelations of the great God our Saviour. “The tree of life” in the midst—having no rival tree as in Eden, since the rebellion that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented had been finally dealt with, and all rebellious angels and men had been cast into the lake of fire. Each part of the city reflected some aspective portrayal of Christ, for Christ is all in all.

The Centrality of the Lamb

The Lamb is mentioned seven times in these final two chapters of Revelation. The magnificent beauty of the city, and the sublimest vision of it, is that of the Lamb within it. These seven mentions of our Lord as the Lamb in the midst of the fair city are:

(1) 21:9-10 uses the figure of the city to describe the bride of the Lamb in all her resurrection glory—the Lamb’s wife.

(2) 21:14 speaks of the apostles of the Lamb, who taught the world the gospel of His grace by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

(3) 21:22 tells us that “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it”—the city having no need of a local temple to escape a hostile world or unsuitable weather. God and His beloved are everywhere present and occupy the whole of it.

(4) 21:23 records that “the Lamb is the light thereof-being, as it were, the Lampholder through which the whole glory of God shines to lighten the city.

(5) 21:27 mentions “the Lamb’s book of life”—without one’s name written therein, one cannot enter.

(6) and (7) 22:1, 3 reveal “the throne of God and of the Lamb” in it—meaning all rule and authority.

This is the consummation of the Lord’s redeeming work. He is central—not only to all the prophecy and history of the past, but central to our gathering unto Him in Heaven—central to all which belongs to us in the eternal future. We shall see His face and serve Him forever.

The Closing Appeal of the Lamb

Here our little book of meditations comes to an end. It is fitting that it ends with the final message of the Lamb. They are words of solemn weight. They are the Lamb’s farewell message to mankind on the pages of Holy Scripture. This is an appeal which His own remembrance feast constantly proclaims.

“Behold, I come quickly” (22:7). “Surely I come quickly” (22:20); that is, I who once came, come again. We, therefore, as believers, are to look not for some great catastrophe, terrible or glorious, for revolutions and wars, for famines and earthquakes, but for Him who said, “I come.”

Before that final word, there is yet another word of appeal to all outside the Saviour. The glory of the Book of God is the revelation of God’s great love. The Son reveals the Father’s heart. The Gift proclaims the Giver. God’s loving mercy is laid out in redemption’s plan. He called His beloved Son to bear the sinner’s sins. He laid all help upon a mighty Helper. It is all a signal proof of God’s desire to save and bless. In a final appeal to break down ignorance, to dispel mists, to open out the way of saving grace, it is written: “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” (22:17).

Throughout the whole of Scripture, God the Holy Spirit has but one grand design—to set forth Christ the Lord before men. Sometimes this is in figures and types, which are profusely given, sometimes in skillfully constructed words, parables, miracles, and doctrines. It is all written to display the glories of Christ our Lord.

Oh, may our eyes see, our hands grasp, our feet follow, our hearts love, and our souls trust the Saviour sent by God!

“Worthy the Lamb enthroned on high,
To be exalted thus!”
“Worthy the Lamb that died!” we cry
“For He was slain for us!”

Soon shall the saints exalted high,
A glorious anthem raise;
And all that dwell below the sky
Speak forth Thine endless praise.

Redeemed creation join in one,
To praise the sacred name
Of Him that sits upon the throne,
And to exalt the Lamb.

Isaac Watts