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CONSPICUOUS ABSENCES – Revelation 21:22-27

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on November 16, 2016 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; November 16, 2016 from Revelation 21:22-27

Theme: This passage enlivens our desire for the New Jerusalem by telling us the things that will not be found there.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

This passage continues the vision John was given of the New Jerusalem—our eternal home in Christ. Whereas the previous verses gave us a view of the city from the outside, this passage takes us into the city itself for an ‘inside’ view. And in order to help us grasp the greatness of its beauty, John is shown what will NOT be there.

Already in this vision of the New Jerusalem, John has told us that “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). And when we studied that verse, we considered that it may be that the only way we can come close to grasping the glory of that future city—limited as we are by our present ‘unglorified’ state—is by knowing what sort of grievous things there are of this present state that will not be found in it. In the same way, verses 22-27 tells us more of what will be absent.

Note that there will be …

I NO TEMPLE (v. 22).

A. John begins by observing, “But I saw no temple in it”. Perhaps, because of his upbringing and heritage as a Jew, the temple would be the first thing that he would have looked for. There had always been a temple in the old Jerusalem that he knew so well; and there had even been times when he was shown a temple in the heavens (see Revelation 11:19; 15:5). But it struck John immediately that there was no temple in the New Jerusalem that is to characterize the new heavens and the new earth.

B. John tells us the reason: “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple”. The significance of this can be understood by considering what the presence of a temple does for the people of God. It brings them as close to God as they can come; but nevertheless keeps them separated from that which is holy. The temple of the old order has walls and courts and a veil. It is divided into sections such as the holy place, and the Holy of Holies. It maintains an area of division between a holy God and sinful people; and requires that they bring a sacrifice through priestly intermediaries in order for sinful man to draw near to God most holy. And yet, in the New Jerusalem, there will be no more need for any such separations or distinctions. The Lord God Almighty will enjoy perfect, unhindered, completely intimate fellowship with His fully redeemed people. There will be no further need for separation or distinction; because “the tabernacle [the dwelling place] of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (v. 3).

C. Though there is no physical temple, it wouldn’t be accurate to say that there is no need for a temple. We’re told that the Lord God Almighty is Himself the temple. He is the direct meeting place for man to enter into fellowship with Himself. We can appreciate how He brought this about by the fact that the Lamb (our Redeemer) is also there; and He too is “the temple”. Jesus is the one who reconciles us to the Father; and He will forever maintain that reconciliation on the basis of His sacrifice for us.

II. NO NEED OF SUN OR MOON (vv. 23-24).

A. Another thing that struck John was the fact that the city “had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it”. We’re not necessarily told that there would be no sun or moon (although this is suggested by the fact that there is no night; see v. 25); but simply that— even if a sun and moon would be created after the first order of things had ceased to be —there would be no need for their light in this new city. The reason is because the glory of God, which so powerfully characterizes the city, “illuminated it”. It will shine brightly, “having the glory of God” (v. 11).

B. Note that we’re told that “the Lamb is its light”. It may be more accurate to say that the Lamb is it’s “lamp”; because the specific word that is used (luxnos) describes that which bears light. Jesus Himself is the One in whom the glory of God is revealed (2 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 2:9-10; Hebrews 1:3); and the glory of His Father that He bears will shine most gloriously and luminously in this new city.

C. The nations of this world (or as some texts have it, “the nations of those who are saved”) shall walk in the glorious light of this city. What’s more, the kings of the earth will actually bring their glory into that light. Other nations in the past sought to bring all things into the light of their own glory; but in the new city, the nations will bring their glory into the light of the New Jerusalem. This is a picture of their absolute submission to the Lamb who illuminates it.


A. Every city in ancient times had gates; and those gates were meant to provide security and protection. Here, we find that the city will have gates (see vv. 12, 13, 15, 21); but these gates are not needed for protection. They will stand open always; and will “not be shut at all by day”.

B. Such gates are ordinarily shut at night. But we’re told that there will be no night. What a picture this is of the constant security and safety that will characterize the city! They will constantly be opened, too, in order to allow the kings of the earth to bring their glory in. As it says in Isaiah 60:11; “Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession.” Not only so, but their continued openness pictures the continual welcome to all to come in.


A. We’re told that “they (that is the nations and kings that will exist then) will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it”. There will, therefore, be a constant need for the gates to be opened; because there will be a constant inflow of the glory of all nations into it. The New Jerusalem will be the center of all glory in the new heaven and the new earth!

B. But note also that “there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie”. How different that will be from cities in our own day! They experience the constant inflow and outflow of such things—and because of it, the gates have to be constantly shut and locked! But there will be no such inflow then—because no such things will exist any longer (see 22:3). It’s true that 22:15 mentions that “outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie”; but these are only said to be “outside” because they are in the lake of fire (see 20:15), and in no way a threat to the city.

C. The only thing that will enter will be that which is written in the Lamb’s book of life. And how grateful we can be! If nothing that defiles or causes and abomination or a lie would be permitted in, then we ourselves would never be able to enter! But we will—if we are written in the Lamb’s book! How important, then, to make sure our names are in the record by faith!

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