Question:
Hi Dave, I would be curious to hear where in Revelation the new Jerusalem is identified as all the believers. I have been doing a Precepts study of Revelation over the last two years, finished the 3rd of a 4 part series which will be completed next year.....and we have been interpreting the new Jerusalem as a literal city. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Answer:
Hi Sherie! Here is my response. it comes from Revelation 21:9-10. This reads as follows:

Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

If you look at 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Revelation 19:7 (to mention just two verses), the Church is equated with Christ's Bride and Christ is equated as the Bridegroom. Revelation 21 says the New Jerusalem which comes down out of Heaven is  Christ's Bride. In typical Revelation lnaguage, the Bride of Christ (the Church) is enormous, demonstrating that far more people make it into the Kingdom of Heaven that most conservative Christians believe! I hope this helps clarify why one enormous city has only one streest with a river flowing down the middle of it (and you thought YOUR city had traffic issues!). It is all symbolic, as was intended. Thus, the question 21st Century Bible students should still ask is "What did this passage mean to the original hearers". What it means to us today CAN NOT be determines if we do not understand correctly what Jesus intended the original hearers to understand.



 


Comments

Taylor Soderling
05/06/2011 09:09

Hey Pastor Ginter!

It's Taylor from Union Church, only I'm at Calvin College in the library (saw your Facebook link). This topic is indeed an interesting one to discuss, and as a Geography major at a Christian school, we definitely have gone over ideas of the New Earth. Something similar to what you are describing has also been mentioned and expounded upon by NT Wright; have you read his writing on the topic of heaven? He would very much agree with you that in the end we shall dwell on the New Earth, that which births from both Jesus' second coming and the ending of this frail, older "sinful" earth.
My curiosity was piqued when you mentioned that more believers get into heaven than most believers initially believe. Is there something else you wish to say by this? I was just wondering; I do not find any issue with this, in fact it feels so often that believers may have a tendency to condemn rather than hold someone up as an individual that will find the "favorable" afterlife.
Also, I just wonder about this: I understand we as humans are called to be stewards of the earth. We are to take care of it and live sustainably, or in a manner in which our children shall be able to reside with the same or even better living conditions (air quality, water access, etc.) However, with the coming of the New Earth, does that mean God will sort of transform the Earth into something different? Will he restore the hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest that have been wiped out across the world? Will new streams break open, or lakes like that of the Aral Sea be restored to its original size? Will he seize tectonic plates so as to stop earthquakes, or create an atmosphere in which thunderstorms cannot strike people or cause tornadoes? These are natural occurrences that are only harmful when near humans but otherwise are magnificent phenomena, some even benefiting the earth (like volcanic eruptions, in the long run).
Just some thoughts of mine. Hope that's okay to write on here!

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sherie
05/12/2011 23:02

Thanks Dave! This will allow us to discuss this topic more deeply tomorrow which happens to be our last Bible study for the year. I appreciate your time very much. I have loved studying Revelation. In the very beginning, Kay Arther told us to put aside all of our pre-concieved ideas about end time prophesy and to use scripture to interpret scripture. It has been amazing. And I must admit I have changed my mind on a few key parts of what I thought the Bible said about Jesus coming and the end times. Take care and I hope to talk again soon, sherie

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