Understanding Rev. 20-22

Q. The question you recently answered on Revelation 22 reminded me I had one, too. The timing of things confuses me. It looks like we’ve had the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20. So why are there still liars & murders & idolaters outside the gates of the city? Is the city the New Jerusalem?

We are grateful to you for all your help, and grateful to the Lord for you.

A. A careful reading of Rev. 20 shows that Verses 7-15 are a parenthetical insert that John used to carry the dispositions of Satan and the unbelievers to their final conclusion while he was on the subject. Then in Rev. 21 he returned to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the New Jerusalem, home of the Church.

There are several clues in the text that support this view. First, Rev. 20:7 begins, “when the thousand years are over” indicating that John has skipped to the end of the Millennium. Second, Rev. 21:1 is a direct quote from Isaiah 65:17 where the context is clearly Israel’s Kingdom Age, aka the Millennium, and third the first 5 verses of Rev.22 are a summary of Ezekiel 47, which is also about the Kingdom Age in Israel. And then there’s the mention of the trees growing a different fruit each month in verse 2. This reference to time confirms that John was not talking about eternity, which by definition is the absence of time.

Also, the word translated new in John’s quote of Isaiah 65:17 can also mean refreshed or renewed. It refers to the time Jesus called the renewal of all things in Matt. 19:28 and Peter mentioned in Acts 3:21.This will take place at the time of the 2nd Coming.

In my opinion the traditional view that Rev. 21-22 are about our eternal state is incorrect. Rev. 21 describes the New Jerusalem during the Millennium and the first 5 verses of Rev. 22 are about Israel during the Millennium. The Bible does not address Eternity except to say there is one.

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