“Revelation shows the lengths to which the Lamb has gone and will go to make us the holy city in whom he will dwell forever. Christ loves his church and binds himself to her with bonds that no enemy from without and no failure of ours from within can sever.” “When we glimpse the bride through the eyes of her Groom, it lifts our head in hope and calms our frustrated hearts for persevering love for one another.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 342–3).
“All Old Testament concepts shed their external, nationalistic-Israelitish meanings and become manifest in their spiritual and eternal sense. . . . [T]he New Testament itself has given to the particularistic ideas of the Old Testament a universal and cosmic meaning. (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 661).
“But in the new heaven and new earth, the world as such is restored; in the believing community the human race is saved. In that community, which Christ has purchased and gathered from all nations, languages, and tongues (Rev. 5:6; etc.), all nations, Israel included, maintain their distinct place and calling (Matt. 8:11; Rom. 11:25; Rev. 21:24; 22:2). And all those nations—each in accordance with its own distinct national character—bring into the new Jerusalem all they have received from God in the way of glory and honor (Rev. 21:24, 26). (Herman Bavinck, p. 720).
In Revelation 21:9–27 John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, shows you the glory of the new Jerusalem. It’s magnificent, mind-boggling, something wonderful to anticipate. But perhaps you are asking: what practical use does it have for me today in my Christian life? Remember that John is writing to believers who are suffering. The Holy Spirit knows that what they need, and what you need, is to see what John is shown in the Spirit.
Jesus is assuring you who trust in him that he holds you in his hands. He has gone ahead of you. He is not just preparing a place for you, which he is, but he is preparing you for that place. He is the Lamb that was slain, and you share in his sufferings—but he wants you to lift your eyes to the reality of what he is giving you, something that in a real sense belongs to you now—though reaching the new Jerusalem is something still future for us. As you keep your eyes on him in his glory you have the strength to walk daily with him, no matter how difficult the path.
From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC