The battle is over, the victory is here, welcome to the celebration party! As we draw near the final scenes in John’s vision the images of battle are replaced by an epic display of the splendour and majesty of the new created order.
- How does the scene described in this chapter contrast with the preceding chapters? What encouragements are there here for someone who is suffering persecution for their faith?
- If this vision is a true, but symbolic, representation of a future created order, what is it teaching us about God, his people, the world, sin and eternity?
- What do the city’s dimensions and choices of building material signify (v10-23)? How do they compare with the dimensions and choice of building material for the tabernacle in Exodus 26 & 27 and the temple in Ezekiel 40.5 – 41.26?
- How does this chapter echo and amplify chapter 1.6, 22 & 23 in its description of Jesus? What have we learnt about him in the intervening chapters?
- How would ancient Jewish believers have responded to this vision of a glorious Jerusalem, particularly as the temple lay in ruins when they received this letter? What building would be your symbolic restoration vision e.g. a ruined castle, an old church building or something else?
- To whom does the city of God belong and what are the criteria for entrance and exclusion (v7-8, 27)? How does God provide for sinful believers to enter this pure city (2 Corinthians 5.21)?
- How would this glorious vision inspire the seven churches of chapters 2-3, to preserve in hard times? How would it challenge them to take the warnings in the letters seriously?
What John saw was the beginning of a new story, described thus by CS Lewis in The Last Battle:
“The term is over, the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning….for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world…had only been the cover and the title page, now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”