Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 20:11
The Writer on a Space Flight
Earlier the writer said, I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 4:2. Now the writer says, I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. 20:11. Vine+++ tells us that the word, heaven, in this case means, the sky.
It is a gigantic thought to imagine that when the earth and the sky became aware that they were in God's presence they fled away in awe. Some Bible expositors use that line of reasoning.
That likely is not the right interpretation, because, according to their own teaching (the omnipresence of God), heaven and earth have been in the presence of God for many long ages before this incident happens so why would they suddenly attempt to flee from the presence of God.
A more likely interpretation is this. The words, fled away, could mean that because the viewer was moving it created the illusion that the earth and the heaven (sky) fled away. Could it be that the earth and the sky did not move at all but that the writer, in the presence of the great white throne, which was part of the spaceship that the writer was in, was being transported into outer space? In fact, the word, fled, does have an element of speed involved in it. Then he says, there was found no place for them; I could no longer see the place where the earth and the sky were visible before.
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
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.
And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.
Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).
And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. 21:22-27
I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. As long as we are mortal, we need some ritual, some formality. However, there in eternity, we can bypass those things that help us unto God, because there we can worship Him in His actual presence.
While Christ was on earth, he frequently condemned his peers for being ritualistic but spiritually dead. Once he said, You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. John 5:39-40. He meant, you are coming close to spiritual reality, but because of your rules and rituals you are completely missing it.
Here we clearly see that even Bible study can be an empty ritual if the living Christ does not bless it. While on earth, this is a constant hazard, but later, in that holy city, when we shall see Him as He is, our worship of Him will not need ritual, buildings, paintings, prayer chains or other things that lead us to worship.
the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light. This city, the New Jerusalem, has its own internal source of light and energy and does not need the light of the sun or moon to lighten the streets to walk on.
the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 21:24
And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 21:26
By repeating verse 24, verse 26, emphasizes the fact that, at that time, after the white throne judgement, when all Christians are safe in heaven, there are still people living on the earth, outside the Holy City, those who are not in the lake of fire; it is the rulers of those people who will bring glory and honour into the Holy City.
Dr. McGee* states, The kings of the earth bring their glory into it. This is my reason for saying that there will be a great deal of traffic commuting back and forth between the New Jerusalem and this earth down here. Not only will Israel come up there to worship, but the nations of the world, which have entered eternity will also come up. It will not be their permanent abode, but they will come up there to worship.
Throughout his Bible study he has been adamant that all people who are not born again must spend eternity in “hell”. His argument here makes one wonder where he gets the people of the nations who will come and visit heaven, if they are all in perpetual eternal torment.
The gates shall not be shut at all by day and since there is no night there, 22:5, one must assume that the gates are always open.
Dr. McGee* suggests that there will be a great deal of traffic commuting back and forth between the New Jerusalem and this earth down here.
I will take that thought a step further and suggest that people are already travelling in space capsules to a satellite out in space. Once the Holy City "comes down" and is within reach for earth launched spaceships this space travel may become common occurrence.
the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. I wonder if by "kings" is meant the rich people of society. We are already hearing of rich people who are buying tickets to take flights into space.
I find this array of thoughts completely fascinating!
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.