RAMONA LOWE
THE BOOK OF REVELATION ARTIST
   The Book of Revelation with commentary by Dr. Henry M. Morris and paintings by Ramona Lowe
The paintings are a work in progress and the finished pieces are highlighted in red on Page 2


Page 169

No Night There

     With all the great structures and marvelous sights of the city, there does seem to be one surprising omission, surprising at first, that is.  In the old Jerusalem, and even in the millennial Jerusalem, one great building had dominated both the landscape and the life of the city.  Set high on the hill of Zion was the beautiful Temple of God.  There served the priests and there were brought the sacrifices and offerings of the people.  Most important of all, it was there where God met with his people.

     But now, in the new Jerusalem, God dwells with His people!  The Lamb of God, who is the one sacrifice for sins forever, reigns there on His throne, and every redeemed saint is a king and priest unto God.  There is no longer need for a temple structure, and one would search the huge city in vain for such a building.  Nevertheless, there is a temple there.

Revelation 21:22.     And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

     Since all the purposes of the earthly temple will have been fully accomplished, no temple will be erected as a physical structure in the new Jerusalem.  Before Christ, the temple was a prophecy; in the Christian era, the temple was in the Holy Spirit; in the Millennial Age, it will be a memorial.  In the ages of eternity, however, all prophecies will have been fulfilled, the immediate presence of the Lamb will obviate any need for memorial ceremony, and the indwelling testimony of the Holy Spirit will be forever united with the all-pervasive reality of the personal glory of the triune God.

     Even the heavenly city, before its descent to earth, had possessed a temple (Revelation 11:19) and an altar (Revelation 8:3), but these will be removed forever once their purpose is served.  The Lord God Almighty Himself constitutes the temple of the city.  This exalted threefold title probably speaks of His tri-unity.  It was the title used by the cherubim in their thrice-repeated ascription to Him of absolute holiness (Revelation 4:8), as they also identified His holy omnipotence with the eternal past, continuing present, and endless future, as the one which was, and is, and is to come (see also Revelation 11:17).  The title is also used in Revelation 15:3 and 19:6, and surely testifies of the Godhead in all its fullness.

     But then also the Lamb “is the temple of it.”  Both God in His infinite majesty and God in His suffering humanity are one, both together as God-man, comprising the holy temple in which He dwells eternally with His own people, His both by virtue of creation and by right of redemption.

     His people – what an identification!  Furthermore, precisely because we are “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3), and Christ is in us as our “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), we ourselves are spiritually components of the true temple.  “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).  We “of the household of God . . . fitly framed together . . . an holy temple in the Lord . . . builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).  Thus, the very city itself becomes the temple, personifying and arraying both itself and its residents as “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (v. 10), beautifully “adorned for her husband” (v. 2).

Revelation 21:23.     And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 

     Since “God is light” and “in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5) and since Christ Himself is “the light of the world” (John 9:5), it would be unfitting for the city ever to be darkened or for night to fall there.  In His essential nature, He dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16), at least not any man in his natural human body.  In like manner as “the glory of God” filled the ancient temple with devastating radiance (1 Kings 8:10, 11), and then also the millennial temple (Haggai 2:7-9; Ezekiel 44:4), so the glory of God will pervasively illumine the new Jerusalem.

     Neither the sun nor the moon will ever really be destroyed, of course, since God has promised that they, as well as all the starry heavens, will endure forever (Psalm 148:3, 6; Daniel 12:3).  It is just that their light is no longer needed to illumine the holy city, for the city itself radiates light to all the surrounding regions (v. 24).  However, the sun and moon will continue to serve their present functions with respect to the nether regions of the earth, serving there as lights by day and night, respectively.

     There is nothing intrinsically evil in darkness, of course, since God created it (Isaiah 45:7).  The primeval creation included both evening and morning, light and darkness, day and night, and God called it all “very good” (Genesis 1:31).  Light did not have to be created, since it was intrinsic in the very self-existence of God; it merely had to be “formed” (Isaiah 45:7), whereas the darkness was an actual creation.  God simply said: “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), and the created earth and its primeval darkness were then enlightened and energized.  Superficial modern philosophers imagine a difficulty when the Scriptures thus speak of “light” before the formation of the “lights” to rule the day and night (Genesis 1:14-18), but it is obvious that God’s provision of light for the earth is not dependent upon sun and moon.  These are not needed at all for New Jerusalem.

     It may well be that the ineffable glory of the omnipotent Creator would be too much for even the glorified bodies of the saints to endure, so that the light for the city is mediated, as it were, through the Lamb, the glorified Son of man.  Even His countenance is as bright as the sun (Revelation 1:16; 10:1), but at least those whom He has redeemed can survive its presence.

     There is a beautiful passage describing this wonderful situation back in Isaiah’s prophecy.  Isaiah first speaks of the beautiful walls and gates of the city: “Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise” (Isaiah 60:18).

     And then he sees into the glorious city itself.  “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.  Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.  Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified . . . I the Lord will hasten it in his time” (Isaiah 60:19-22).

Revelation 21:24.     And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

     This unexpected revelation at this point in the description has, not surprisingly, been the object of speculation and varied interpretation.  If all the redeemed, both Jew and Gentile, make up the Lamb’s bride and the new Jerusalem is their home (which we have already inferred from previous passages), then who are these other kings and nations?  We do, at least, learn that there are still “nations,” even in the eternal ages to come, and that they have their kings.  Further, they do seem to be associated with “kingdoms of the earth,” that is to say, those parts of the earth outside the holy city.

     Nevertheless, all these kings and their nations are said to be people who are “saved,” and indeed, all others have been banished to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15; 21:8).  Furthermore, all of the saved seemingly possess mansions in the city, consisting as they do of the redeemed saints of all past ages (see the discussion on Revelation 19:7-9; 20:4-6).

     Is there any way, however, that these could be nations of people still in a natural state (say, like Adam and Eve before the fall) continuing over from the millennium?  The earth itself had been burned up at the end of the millennium, and it seems probable, as discussed previously, that any who had possessed saving faith at that time would have been immediately raptured and glorified, like the saints living at the time of Christ’s return before the tribulation.

     Admittedly, however, the Scriptures do not deal with this particular subject directly, so some degree of speculation may be warranted.  It is possible, though one must certainly be tentative on this point, that this particular group of saints, some from each millennial nation, may have been (like Enoch and Elijah long before) translated to the heavenly Jerusalem still in the flesh.  In such a hypothetical situation, they would then still be in that state in the city when it descended to the earth.

     In that event, they could then go forth to colonize and multiply in the new earth, reestablishing their nations as before.  This time, however, the sad history of the millennial apostasy could never be repeated, for Satan and all his hosts are bound forever in the lake of fire.  As children were then born to the citizens of these nations of the saved, they would all be so “taught of the Lord” (Isaiah 54:13) that none would ever again rebel even in his heart against the gracious, omnipotent God in the beautiful city.

     This interpretation of this text, doubtful and fraught with difficulties though it may be, would help in answering certain other questions.  For example, the divine promise that God’s primeval covenant with the descendants of Noah would be “for perpetual generations” as an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 9:12, 16) could be taken quite literally, as could His promise that Abraham’s seed would be multiplied “as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore” (Genesis 22:17).  There is also the amazing messianic promise that “of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end . . . to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever” (Isaiah 9:7).  The doxology of Ephesians 3:21 could properly and better be translated: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all generations, to the age of the ages.”

     If, indeed, these nations of the saved were to continue to multiply, as would have Adam and Eve, had they not sinned, God’s primeval command to “fill the earth” and to “subdue it” unto His glory would finally, for the first time, really be accomplished.  The millennial multiplication, which had seemed about to do this, had ended in apostasy.  Then, perhaps, they would be sent out to colonize and develop other terrestrial planets throughout God’s infinite universe, worlds without end.

     This is all admittedly highly speculative, but it does appear somewhat reasonable, both as a possible interpretation of Scripture and as a program consistent with the nature and program of an omniscient and loving and purposeful God.  It does have problems as well and, though it is a fascinating speculation, it must be left for future determination.

     The best, and perhaps more likely, alternative exposition of this passage seems to be that the “nations of the saved” are identical with the redeemed residents of the city, but that, in addition to their homes in the city, they will also be given national boundaries in the new earth, within which they can still function as distinct nations.  Certainly the new earth, with its increased land areas and far more equable and fruitful environments, could well accommodate such terrestrial “homes away from home” for its 20 billion or so human inhabitants.  The nation of Israel would, as during the millennium, be the chief of all such earthly nations if this is the case.

     All such activity on the external earth must, of course, be carried out under the aegis of the great capital city and its divine regime.  They will not “walk in darkness” (John 8:12) but in the glorious light of the Lamb and His city.  None of the peoples, even their kings, will seek their own glory through such accomplishments, but will give all honor to the Lord. 

Revelation 21:25.     And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 

     The beautiful gates framed in pearl are entrances, not barriers.  Unlike earthly cities, whose walls and gates have been needed from ancient times as barricades against their enemies, new Jerusalem has no enemies, and all people are welcome.  Like the Lord Jesus Himself, who said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9), the gates are gracious invitations, not forbidding deterrents.

     Nor will they only be opened in the daytime, as were the gates of ancient cities, but they will always be open.  The city itself will radiate light as bright as daylight, so night will never come, even when the earth’s rotation carries the city away from the sun.

     The absence of night also symbolizes the absence of all sin and sorrow.  Even though, as noted previously, there is nothing intrinsically evil about the night time, it does entail the absence of light and thus appropriately is often used in the Bible as a figure of speech for the absence of God’s presence and His blessing (John 9:4; 12:35; Romans 14:12; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-8; 1 John 5:5-7).

     In New Jerusalem, there will be no more night, and this also correlates with the assurance that there will be “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (v. 4).  Nothing will be “old” any more (v. 5) and there is “no more sea” (v. 1).  In fact, there is “no more curse” (Revelation 22:3), so that nothing at all hinders any more at all the full and continual outpouring of the blessings of a loving God on the men and women who love Him.

Revelation 21:26.     And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 

     In verse 24 John observed that the kings of the earth were bringing all their glory and honor into the city; now he notes also that “they” (evidently all the citizens of the nations as well, following the example of their kings) are bringing their glory and honor into it.

     All “glory and honor,” as well as all “power and riches and wisdom and strength and blessing” (note Revelation 4:11; 5:12), rightfully belong to God, for we are His by right of both creation and redemption.  Every ability we possess, and every blessing we enjoy, have come from Him.  Yet there are few who acknowledge this fact.  The rich man boasts of his riches, the educated man is proud of his intellectualism, the strong man revels in his might, the nobleman disdains the commoner, and God hates all such human pride.  “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24).

     The nations and their kings will finally have learned this great truth.  The earth will yield her riches, both in human understanding and material resources, to human research and development in incomparably greater degree than ever before.  Much glory and honor could well accrue to the men and nations accomplishing these things.  But this “subduing of the earth” is a ministry of stewardship, to the glory of God, and there will be a continuing procession into the city, where the people, small and great, will all lay their trophies of learning and wealth, glory and honor, at the feet of Him who alone deserves the praise.

Revelation 21:27.     And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. 

     With all this coming and going through the always-open gates of the city, John emphasizes once again that there is no danger whatever entailed in this right of unlimited access.  There is no possibility that the wholesomeness of the city will ever be defiled by the entry of some unclean thought or impure motive.  All who traffic there have long since been conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29), and have purified themselves even as He is pure (1 John 3:3).

     All those who work abomination, meaning especially those who practice or nurture idolatry in their hearts, and this includes both unbelief and covetousness, and all liars, whose deceitful hearts are controlled by the father of liars, the Devil, have been dispatched to the far-off lake of fire (v. 8), whence there is no escape forever, so there is no way such as these can enter the city.

     In fact, all whose names have not been written and retained in the Lamb’s book of life have been cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), so none such can ever even approach the pearly gates.  Both the city and the new earth on which it rests, and indeed all of God’s marvelous universe, save the infinitely-removed hidden corner which hides the terrible lake of fire, are for the exclusive and eternal utilization and enjoyment of those who have been redeemed by the Lamb and whose names are recorded in His book of life.

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