Summary: The Lamb is ranked beside the Lord God Almighty as the Temple and the Light in the city of New Jerusalem.
THE LAMB IS THE LIGHT
This is part of John’s vision of the holy city (Revelation 21:2), “that great city, New Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:10). New Jerusalem is so vast, that John had to be placed on “a great and high mountain” in order to see it. Ezekiel had a similar experience (Ezekiel 40:2).
The old Rabbinical scholars had envisaged the walls of Jerusalem stretching as far as Damascus, and reaching up to heaven itself. John’s detailed vision (Revelation 21:16) echoes this tradition, but stands in its own right as a demonstration that all man-made efforts to reach up to heaven will ultimately fail (Genesis 11:4; Genesis 11:8). It is God the Father who has reached down to us in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ - and He alone is able, by His Spirit, to reveal to us ‘the breadth, and length, and depth and height’ of our salvation (Ephesians 3:18).
New Jerusalem descends out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:10). The dimensions of the city are magnificent, and its beauty almost beyond comprehension. Unlike old Jerusalem, here there is no need of a temple, because the ultimate sacrifice has been made in the Person of the resurrected Lamb (Revelation 21:22). The cubed shape city is itself the dwelling place of the Lord God Almighty, and here God Himself sets His tabernacle with men (Revelation 21:3).
The Lamb is ranked beside the Lord God Almighty as the Temple and the Light in the city of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22-23).
It is not just that God pitches His tent amongst our tents, but rather that His presence permeates all. There is no longer any need of sun or moon (Revelation 21:23) - those two ‘great lights’ which He created ‘to rule over the day and over the night’ (Genesis 1:16). Instead the glory of God - ‘who is light and in whom is no darkness at all’ (1 John 1:5) - enlightens the city, and “the Lamb is the light” thereof.
Here David, and the singers of Psalms, can meet with the LORD who is ‘our light and our salvation’ (Psalm 27:1). “The nations of those who are saved” (Revelation 21:24) shall walk in the light of the city, which is the light of the Lamb. Jesus stands with God: ‘I AM the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’ (John 8:12).
Now the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour (Revelation 21:24), which represents the glory and honour of the nations (Revelation 21:26), into New Jerusalem. The gates of the city remain open: the curfew bells never need to ring, because there is “no night there” (Revelation 21:25). The open gate does not suggest that just anyone can walk in - but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27).
In the next chapter, we again encounter “the water of life” (Revelation 22:1). In Revelation 21:6 it was a fountain: now it is a river (Ezekiel 47:5). Jesus uses similar language to speak of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (John 4:14; John 7:38-39).
This “pure river of the water of life” proceeds “out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1). The Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.
Either side of the river we encounter the tree of life (Revelation 22:2), forbidden to us since man’s fall (Genesis 3:24). The tree bears fruit all year round, and the leaves are for the healing of the nations. The presence of kings (Revelation 21:24) and nations (Revelation 21:26; Revelation 22:2) indicates that the gospel is not limited to just one group of people, but is open to all who will come (Revelation 22:17).
All tears have been wiped away, death is banished, sorrow flees away, crying is no more, pain is gone (Revelation 21:4). Defilement, abomination and lies are forbidden (Revelation 21:27). “There shall be no more curse” (Revelation 22:3).
In New Jerusalem, the throne (singular) is inhabited by God and the Lamb, and His (singular) servants shall serve Him (Revelation 22:3). Amazingly, we are told that “they shall see his face” (Revelation 22:4). Gone is the fear that ‘no-one can see the face of God and live’ (Exodus 33:20): now His name is upon their foreheads (Revelation 22:4).
Again we are reminded of the presence of the Lord God as the light of the city. There is no need of candle nor light of the sun, for there is “no night there” (Revelation 22:5). The Lord “enlightens” His people, “and they shall reign to the ages of the ages” (Revelation 22:5).