Q. I had a discussion recently with my pastor about the new Jerusalem. I said I thought the new Jerusalem came at the beginning of the millennium, he thinks it comes at the end of the millennium. Any thoughts on this?
A. People who think the New Jerusalem doesn’t appear until the end of the Millennium don’t realize that Rev. 20:7-15 is a parenthetical insert John used to carry his discussion on the destinies of Satan and the unsaved to its ultimate conclusion. Then in Rev. 21 he returned to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the New Jerusalem. The clue we get to confirm this is he opened with the same language Isaiah used to discuss Israel’s Kingdom Age on Earth (Isaiah 65:17-25).
At the rapture of the Church the Lord will take us to His Father’s house to be with Him where He is (John 14:2-3). 1 Thes 4:17 says once we go there,we’ll always be with Him. Rev. 21:2 shows the New Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven and goes on to describe an entity far too big to be located on Earth. It must only come to Earth’s proximity.
In Matt. 24:29 Jesus said the Sun and Moon would no longer shine after the end of the Great Tribulation. Rev. 21:22-27 describes the nations walking by the light of the New Jerusalem. After the 2nd Coming the New Jerusalem will replace the Sun as Earth’s source of light.
Rev. 21:22-27 also shows the Kings of Earth bringing their splendor to the New Jerusalem, but says nothing impure can ever enter it, only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, which is a description of the Church.
All this shows two groups of humans, the nations of Earth still in their impure natural state, and the perfected Church, living nearby but protected from impurity, during the Millennium.