1. Revelation 21:26 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What are we to understand by “the glory and honor of the nations”?

Revelation 21:26 (ESV)

26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

Some would say that here is the evidence that the best of the world’s art and/or culture and/or technological discoveries will be present for us to enjoy on the new earth. Others would suggest that here is a reference to the material assets we possess in this life coming along with the saints (courtesy of the kings) into the New Jerusalem. Still others would say that this is simply liturgical praise from the kings for the King (see Philippians 2:10; Revelation 5:12–13).

The book of Revelation is loaded with symbolism. Our Lord Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven for the sake of his church; that is, from his heavenly throne he is bringing to faith all those who will inhabit the New Jerusalem. His church-gathering work is ongoing in the present dispensation (1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 4:11–13). The vision of the New Jerusalem that we are shown in the present paragraph presents to us, in symbolic language, what the church will look like once she is completed, and at the same time it shows us something of how her construction is happening. As trades enter and leave a house under construction (though they may not live in it when it is completed), so here nations and kings bring in their goods to contribute to the construction, and they do so utilizing the light the Lord has already placed in his church. This understanding permits us to rise above the inside versus outside dilemma mentioned earlier. The church doors are always open to receive the nations, from paupers to kings.