+ In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.
Revelation 21:9-27 (ESV) – to be read aloud
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed — on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
THE FOURTH VISION: THE NEW JERUSALEM (21:9-22:5)
The Holy City (21:9-27)
The presentation of the New Jerusalem, the eternal dwelling place of God and his people, is described in terms that would delight the first readers of Revelation for whom a beautiful and abundant city would symbolize everything that is necessary for complete satisfaction. (Mounce, p.388)
The holy city: The holy city coming down from God out of heaven should be understood as a “real event’ within the visionary experience…. The descent is an announcement in visionary terms of a future event that will usher in the eternal state. That the city comes down from God means that the eternal blessedness is not an achievement of people but a gift from God…. As the holy city descends from heaven, it glitters with a shimmering radiance that manifests the presence and glory of God…. The juxtaposition of the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles shows the unity of ancient Israel and the NT church…. The best interpretation of the measuring of the city is that the apocalyptist is “struggling to express by symbols the vastness, the perfect symmetry, and the splendor of the new Jerusalem. (Mounce, p. 389-92)
The overall picture is of a city of brilliant gold surrounded by a wall inlaid with jasper and resting upon twelve foundations adorned with precious gems of every color and hue. The city is magnificent beyond description. As the eternal dwelling place of God and his people, it is described in language that continually attempts to break free from its own limitations in order to do justice to the reality it so imperfectly describes. (Mounce, p. 389-95)
No temple: In the heavenly city there is no temple…. The temple is replaced by “the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb….” The final state toward which this points is eternity itself, where the presence of God the Father and the Lamb permeates and sanctifies all that the heavenly Jerusalem symbolizes…. The heavenly city has no need of sun or moon to shine because it is illuminated by the glory of God. (Mounce, p. 395)
Open gates: The gates of the New Jerusalem stand open because with the demise of evil security measures are no longer necessary…. Through these open gates the kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations. The reference is of the choicest of earthly treasures. Once again we are to think of the imagery, not in a literal sense, but in its symbolic significance…. Those who enter the city are not the wicked and deceitful but those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life. In the imagery of this paragraph the people with free access to the city are one with those who dwell within it. (Mounce, p. 397)
Christ, as a light – illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield – overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Peanut Gallery: In September, we will begin reading through the Book of Revelation (ESV). Our purpose will be devotional, i.e. to discover the word of blessing that God has for us in these troubled times… to find hope and help for our daily lives.
This will not be a Bible Study per se: we will not attempt to unravel the “mysteries” of Revelation… that is far beyond our abilities and is not our interest here. However, so as not to get too far afield, we will rely on three study resources: primary – A Commentary on the Revelation of John (George Elton Ladd); supplemental Revelation (Leon Morris) and The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce).
The general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) On Sundays, we’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world. Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.