Always Open

open-gates

TheologyGrams shared the above chart. The imagery at the end of Revelation is noteworthy, and I’ve sought to draw attention to it before. Revelation ends with the nations still existing outside the city, and with its gates always open. I’m not entirely sure how this vision relates to the depiction of a lake of fire, which seems like a quite final judgment in which evil is thoroughly destroyed. Perhaps this is evidence of redaction and different authors’ perspectives. But however one addresses it, it seems clear to me that Revelation ends not with a threat of inevitable permanent exclusion, but a warning and an invitation.

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  • Michael Wilson

    I think the dogs are said to be outside because they are not inside. Not that the exterior has dogs and sundry creeps roaming around, but the outside of the New Jerusalem is synonymous with the lake of fire, which is to say at the time the New Jerusalem is established everything out side it doesn’t exist (except perhaps in the direction of the past, to truely eliminate those pesky dogs from reality one would have to paradoxically rearrange time so they never came into being in the first place). The New Jerusalem doesn’t need its gates closed because there is no night, no dangerous time, no evil thing to guard against. It is a return to the time before the fall. The wicked, the Tempter, the rebellious elemental spirits, all of these are tossed into the lake of fire and are gone so all creation carries on eternally in accordance to God’s will. Now I have pondered if we could imagine people separated from the evil they do so as Paul says, all become one with God. In such a case the wicked that are destroyed in the fire are the wicked parts of ourselves but the good in us passes through. Probably not John’s intention but I think we could re-imagine the end this way.

    • Gary

      “Dog Friendly” doesn’t cut it in heaven.
      Since about half the old women in the churches I’ve attended have little dogs, and the other half have cats, I wonder what the theological significance is? No wonder Luther didn’t like Revelation.

  • John MacDonald

    This would agree with Luke 3:6 which says “ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.”

  • Phil Ledgerwood

    I’d vote that it’s a reconstitution of the creation motif – the heavenly Jerusalem is at the center of the new creation as the earthly Jerusalem was at the center of the old creation (from an OT standpoint, I mean, not a map’s) and restored to her rightful place as the location of the presence of God and ruler of the world.

    OT eschatology does not play out the destruction of the nations per se, although certainly their judgement. I think John is taking these concepts from the Zion tradition and using them to describe the Sabbath state of the new creation, just as he has drawn from OT apocalyptic for virtually everything else.

    I’m not sure that the Jerusalem vs. the nations dichotomy is a theological portrayal of “Christians” and “everyone else.” I just think it’s an NT recasting of the OT prophetic imagination. And so is the Lake of Fire. Those poor Edomites.