TO CHEW ON: “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” Revelation 21:23
One of a poet’s tools to enrich and thicken a piece of writing is to plant within it allusions to past works of great literature and art. In that department, John’s vision of the New Jerusalem here is a visual poem that has those of us who love the Bible and its images in a tizzy of making connections. Here are a few, made with just three images from this passage:
LIGHT - Revelation 21:23,24; 22:5
- Light is the first thing God created - Genesis 1:3.
- God led Israel through their wilderness wanderings with a cloud that lit up at night - Exodus 13:2122.
- Light shone from Moses’ face after he had been with God - Exodus 34:29-35.
- Lights accompanied the announcement of Jesus’ birth - Matthew 2:1,2; Luke 2:9.
- Jesus declared Himself the light of the world - John 8:12.
- Light shone brilliantly at His transfiguration - Matthew 17:2.
- The light was snuffed out at His death - Mark 15:33.
NO MORE EVIL - Revelation 21:27; 22:3.
- The “curse” (Revelation 22:3) was first pronounced in Genesis 3:14-19.
- The giving of the Ten Commandments that help us understand God’s standard of right and wrong - Exodus 20:1-17.
- The rules of washing and purification that accompanied the Jewish sacrificial system (found throughout its descriptions, e.g. Numbers 8:6,7,15,21).
- Christ’s higher-than-the-law standard of right and wrong - Matthew 5,6,7.
- Christ’s blood shed to wash away and cleanse the stain of our sin - 1 John 1:7.
WATER - Revelation 22:1,2
- The river of life-giving water in Ezekiel’s vision - Ezekiel 47:1-12 (this vision also has a temple and healing trees in it).
- Jesus promised the Samaritan woman living water - John 4:13,14.
- Jesus invited all to come to Him to drink and themselves become sources of living water - John 7:37,38.
I'm sure you could find more connections to the items I've chosen and we could choose more items and continue to make connections. The Bible has many references to the temple, gates, nations, healing, the Lamb’s Book of Life, the Tree of Life. (Maybe you'd like to work on those!)
These connections are what make the Bible such a rich and exciting book. They leave me in awe and wonder and praise—what depth, what a consistent message flowing through 66 books despite a variety of writers, what a Master Author!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for Your amazing Word, presented to us through so many writers. Help me to hear what You are saying—today about light, purity, living water—and apply these things to my life. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.