Q. Yesterday, I was reading chapters 20, 21 and 22 of Revelation. I noticed a note I put on one of the pages, which was a quote where you describe the New Jerusalem (or celestial city) as a “low orbit satellite”. I feel somehow most comfortable with this concept and when I read the quote to my husband, he felt exactly the same. It just seems to make sense. But I have a question about this and I do hope that you will be able to give a suitable (scriptural) answer. We have never heard anything like this from other sound teachers of prophecy/eschatology. Would you say that most of them agree with you on the future location of the Great City? And if they do, why haven’t they mentioned it in their writings/teachings?
A. I think the majority of scholars still believe that Rev. 21-22 describes eternity, and not the Millennium. It’s easy to miss the fact that Rev. 20:7-15 is a parenthetical passage revealing the disposition of Satan and the unbelievers from all ages and is not meant to fit within the chronology of the narrative. Therefore they don’t see that Rev. 21 actually picks up where Rev. 20:6 left off, at the beginning of the Millennium.
But when you notice that Rev. 21:1 is a direct quote from Isaiah 65:17, where the kingdom age is in view, and that the first two verses of Rev. 22 are a summary of Ezekiel 47, another Millennial passage, seeing these chapters as part of eternity is confusing to me.
I’ve never liked how the traditional view seems to ignore the fact that there are living unbelievers around in what they call eternity (Rev. 21:27). Plus, the trees bearing 12 crops of fruit, one each month, means there’s still time (Rev. 22:2) By definition Eternity is the absence of time. I could go on but you get the idea.
And where the New Jerusalem is concerned, I don’t think anyone has ever done the math. Its cubic volume is 1/6th the size of planet Earth. Some place it in Israel never realizing that it’s far bigger than than all the land Israel has been given. In fact it would cover all of western Europe from Northern Finland to Southern Italy. And at 1600 miles tall it’s 3100 times as tall as the Dubai tower, the new tallest building in the world. (1600 miles is almost 8.5 million feet. The Dubai tower is a mere 2700 feet tall.) Can you imagine trying to stick something like that to a globe that’s spinning at the rate of 1,000 miles per hour? How long do you think it would take for it to fly apart? A low orbit satellite makes a lot more sense.