Understanding the Scriptures
|Adorned (v. 2)||Made beautiful, dressed up|
|Tabernacle (v. 3)||Dwelling place|
|Foursquare (v. 16)||In the shape of a square|
|Defileth (v. 27)||To make unclean or unholy|
Revelation 21:2—New Jerusalem
The New Jerusalem spoken of in Revelation 21 is not the same city that is to be built on the American continent as part of the last days and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (see Articles of Faith 1:10). It refers to the celestial kingdom.
Revelation 21:11–25—The Description of the City of God
If you took the time to figure out the measurements John gave of the city of God, you would understand that he was describing a city whose size was larger than anything man had ever created. Furthermore, the description of precious metals and stones communicates a beauty beyond description. But the most glorious part is the very presence of God, which eliminates the need for a temple or even for light (see vv. 22–23).
|Curse (v. 3)||Refers to the effects of the Fall of Adam and Eve|
|Without (v. 15)||Outside|
|Root and the offspring of David (v. 16)||A descendant of David and rightful king of Israel; Jesus Christ|
|Plagues (v. 18)||Curses, calamities|
Revelation 22:2, 14—The Tree of Life
After the Fall of Adam and Eve, the way to the tree of life was closed so that they would have a time to repent, be tested, and in all ways prepare themselves to partake of this great blessing (see Alma 12:22–26; 42:2–5; Moses 4:31). John saw that the fruit of the tree of life was available to all in the celestial world. Having the tree of life available shows that all of the effects of the Fall have been overcome in this place.
As stated in the introduction to this book (see p. 164), the main purpose of the book of Revelation is to invite us to come unto Christ. The closing of the book—Revelation 22:17 in particular—again emphasizes that invitation.
Revelation 22:18–19—Do Not Add to or Take away from These Things
Some people have used Revelation 22:18–19 to defend the idea that there can be no more revelation or scripture after the Bible because that would be adding to the Bible. In this way they try to discredit the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
Moses, however, wrote the same about his books (see Deuteronomy 4:2). If those words of Moses were interpreted in the same way some have interpreted what John wrote, then there would be no Bible after the first five books. John, like Moses, was simply referring to what God had directed him to write—the book of Revelation.
Studying the Scriptures
Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you read Revelation 21–22.
Design a Poster
Choose a verse from Revelation 21–22 that you think would make a good poster to display and remind you to stay true to the Lord and His teachings. Explain why that verse would inspire you, and make a small sketch of how you would want the poster to look.
Who Are These People?
According to Revelation 21:8 and 22:15, who will not be in the Holy City? (Make sure you understand what all of the words in these verses mean.)
Speaking of the book of Revelation, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Nowhere in any scripture now had among men are there such pointed and persuasive explanations as to why we must overcome the world, and the attendant blessings that flow therefrom. … Truly the teachings of this inspired work are some of the greatest incentives [motivations] to personal righteousness now found in holy writ” (“Understanding the Book of Revelation,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, 89).
In support of what Elder McConkie said, write about two or more of the most impressive things you learned from the book of Revelation that inspire and motivate you to live righteously.
You May Enter if You have kept the covenants which you have entered into with the Lord and are made spotless and pure before the Lord.
“Come, Lord Jesus”
Read Revelation 22:20. Think of what you have learned during your study of the New Testament and write your testimony of Jesus. Include why you would join in John’s prayer for Jesus to come.