Is Revelation 22:15 referring to sinners just outside of the New Jerusalem?

IS REVELATION 22:15 REFERRING TO SINNERS JUST OUTSIDE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Revelation 22:15 is quite a problem for some people because they wonder how evil people can be just outside the gates of the city of New Jerusalem. “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” After all, 2 Peter 3:12-13 says that in the New Heaven, New Earth, there will be nothing but righteousness. And, Revelation 21:8 says all those sinners listed in Revelation 22:15 are in the lake of fire. How can they be just outside of New Jerusalem’s city gates? Simple! (They are not!)

Let us start reading in Revelation chapter 22 so we can pick up the thought-flow of verse 15: “[8] And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. [9] Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. [10] And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. [11] He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. [12] And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. [13] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. [14] Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. [15] For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”

Again, you can see how people would have problems with verse 15. The assumption is that the “dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie” are “without” (outside) the city of verse 14. The “city” is the New Jerusalem, first mentioned in the previous chapter.

We go back to Revelation chapter 21 to read: “[1] And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. [2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. [4] And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. [5] And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. [6] And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. [7] He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. [8] But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

According to 2 Peter 3:12-13, only righteousness dwells in the New Heavens, New Earth: “[12] Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? [13] Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Revelation 21:8 says the wicked are in the lake of fire at that time: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” The wicked are not in the New Heaven and New Earth at all, so they are certainly not just outside the gates of New Jerusalem. Then what does Revelation 21:15 refer to? They are “without” in reference to what? Not the city of New Jerusalem or the city gates!

Revelation 22:11-14 provides explanation: “[11] He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. [12] And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. [13] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. [14] Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. [15] For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”

Verses 11-14, as well as verse 15, all discuss what is true during John’s lifetime. These sinners will one day be in the lake of fire, but they are not there yet at the time John is receiving and writing the book of the Revelation. When verse 15 says “without,” it refers to people outside of Israel’s believing remnant in John’s day. Revelation 21:15 refers to the first century A.D., not the New Jerusalem! (The same could be said of verse 11.)

Revelation 22:11 is John’s exhortation to believers and unbelievers in his own day: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. [12] And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” This is all in context of before Christ’s coming, before the establishment of New Jerusalem. John urges the believing Israeli remnant to keep God’s commandments until Jesus Christ returns, for there are many outside of them who do not keep God’s commandments (Revelation 22:15). Revelation 22:13-15 again: “[13] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. [14] Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. [15] For without [outside of Israel’s Little Flock, believing remnant] are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”

Also see:
» When was the Book of the Revelation written?
» What does “Lord of Sabaoth” mean?
» What about the Jews who reject Jesus Christ?

One response to “Is Revelation 22:15 referring to sinners just outside of the New Jerusalem?

  1. Pingback: Crossroads | 333 Words of Grace

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