The Holy City: New Jerusalem
This earth is a beautiful creation. Men have built cities, parks, buildings, and campuses that are marvels of technology and splendor. The natural splendor of this earth is overwhelming. But, never has this earth seen beauty as we are destined to view. Ancient Babylon was known as one of the wonders of the world. Chariots raced on and around the tops of its walls, and the Great Euphrates River flowed beneath its towering strength. Yet, when New Jerusalem descends out of Heaven its glowing beauty will dazzle the world. Never has this world viewed anything so glorious and so massive. The streets of gold are the most common of all its riches. This city will actually be Heaven on earth.
God Himself, in the excellent glory of His person, and His exalted glorified Son will dwell in the midst of this city. It will become a temple or a sanctuary of His sovereign presence, and worship will fill every beautiful inch. I cannot explain the presence of the Heavenly Father, but I can assure you that there are not human words to fully describe Him. He is awesome in holiness, and that characteristic will be the overarching expression of Him. No sin can live or even approach Him. His holiness is not acquired but issues forth from Him. He is the one and only source of all holiness, and it absolutely fills His person to overflowing. All that come near to Him will take on His holiness in them and reflect it throughout this matchless city.
The Son of God in all His glorified manhood will, along with His Father, be the Light of the city and of the New Heaven and New Earth. The brilliance of that light will create a lighted world without shadows. Everywhere you look will be this brilliance of Light so remarkable that it will appear to reflect off and out of everything. It will be Light that forever and totally eliminates the presence of darkness so that the entire universe has a God-like splendor. The Son of God Himself is the source of this Light. When He said, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5), it was a divine statement. When we see Him there will be a satisfaction in us that forever fulfills the greatest hunger known to man. Every pain, sadness, or sorrow known to the human family is but a deep need to be filled with Him. In His literal presence is fullness of life, and we will never have emptiness again. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12).
The massive walls of this city are fifteen hundred miles high and are created with jewels of great value and beauty. The city will be foursquare, equal on each side to its height. There will be three identical gates on each side of the city of the same height as the twelve levels of city walls. They will add splendor because they will be solid pearls polished to their highest perfection. There is nowhere in God’s universe that this city will not be visible. The Bible does not tell us how it will be set in conjunction to the new earth, but it must be seen because within it is the source of all light and there is no darkness. The gates will bear the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve foundations will bear the names of the twelve apostles. These twenty-four representations reflect the same complete type as seen in chapter four when the Rapture occurred. They are His raptured saints from the Old and New Testament. The number twenty-four is but a type of a multitude.
The “New Heaven” assures us that the heavenly bodies, the weather patterns, and the very atmosphere will be purified unto perfection. The great planets, stars, and other celestial bodies will be the source of beauty and heavenly splendor that will make the sky above to glisten in perfect clarity. It will be picture perfect, and the weather will never be anything but the source of life. When it rains, it will be like drinking water bathing His created world. Snow and ice flakes will fill His world with a carpet that delights His entire creation. The birds, earth animals, and the sea creatures will spend their lives in playful delight, and God’s family will love every moment of it.
The earth will bring forth nothing but that which delights our appetites. Fruit trees will never bear imperfect fruit. The vineyards will provide its vintage flavors to man. The entire earth will be a garden and flowers will explode in their beauty. There will be nothing on the earth or produced by the earth but those things that man enjoys. The earth will be so pure that God Himself will find delight in a renewed fellowship with His family. He will walk among us as He visited Adam in the garden. Labor will be sweet and we will tend our gardens with delight. Every moment on God’s earth will be like Heaven.
The twentieth first chapter of Revelation is the single place in God’s World that the Book of Life is called by its full title. John wrote as the Spirit gave witness, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, nor maketh a lie: but they which are written in the “LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE” (Revelation 21:27). Nothing on His earth, in His Heaven, or in New Jerusalem will be unclean. Nothing that defiles can enter His eternity. The total culture and population will be His redeemed saints. Holiness will be the lifestyle and love will be the emotion that fills this universe and His holy city forever. Sinners that refused to repent and surrender only to Christ will already have been cast into the Lake of Fire.
“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. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. 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” (Revelation 21:1-4).
Dwelling in the midst of this city and of His own family will be the Father Himself. The Son of God loves His Father with a love that can only be called divine. Yet, this divine love has a component of manhood because He was begotten of the Father in His earthly pilgrimage. This city is the Son’s gift to His Bride. After He brings His Bride into the city, He proceeds to exalt His Father to be with Him and His Bride and to be their God. One of the greatest mysteries that we shall soon discover is voiced in words that show this future honor that the Son gives His Father. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:24-26).
Then, the Father shall precede to “wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Every memory of pain and loss must be forever eliminated. Memories of loved ones that refused to surrender to Christ, although we sacrificed much pain to win them must be forgotten. That will be possible only because the Father removes them from our minds. The human soul and spirit is eternal and all our experiences are stored in both our mind and in our emotions. This is why our world carries so much pain from the abuse, unfair and unkind experiences, and a world filled with sin and its consequences. Our God has a plan and the authority to execute. “… The former things are passed away.”
“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. 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. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 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.” (Revelation 21:5-8).
When the Father is speaking, the entire world must listen. He starts with, “Behold, I make all things new.” That settles the entire debate about a New Heaven and a New Earth. The Father created everything that exists except His own self and His Divine Godhead. He does not replace heaven and earth, but makes them new. That could not be more exact. He commanded John to write, because these are His words and they cannot be altered. After at least six thousand years of putting up with the devil and his destruction of everything beautiful, the Father lets us know that it is over. Everything is going to be beautiful beyond measure again. Hallelujah!
The Father does not end it with a new world made brand new. He affirms that indeed He is not just the Creator that He calls the “Beginning,” but He is also the “Finisher.” He will conclude the whole finality of His universe. His unalterable plan is to satisfy the needs and desires of His created world and He promises that we will drink from the “fountain of the water of life freely.” There is a powerful meaning in this promise. The very source of life is the fountain, and it will be the joy of all creation forever. There is no question but that He speaks of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The life that we are going to inherit is eternal, complete, full, and divine. It flows from our Redeemer; and it will satisfy the spirit, soul, and our new body with endless joys and delights.
He immediately gives us another great promise. He tells us that we “shall inherit all things.” The entire New Heaven, New Earth, New Jerusalem, and all that goes with this New World is going to be ours. Notice, that He adds that great phrase, “he that overcometh,” again. This word, overcometh, is in the Book of Revelation eight times. “To Him that overcometh” forever destroys the cheap theology of this generation. This cheap theology says, “Just believe,” and then offers no Biblical truth about responsibility and judgment accountability. It has done irrefutable damage to God’s church and payday will be heartbreaking to those that have carelessly believed such theology of cheap Christianity. Only the overcomers will inherit eternal life and Christ has made overcoming a work of His marvelous grace and sanctification.
Now, the Father Himself clearly shows the end results of careless living. All of these words are character words that He declares will condemn you in this awesome day of no excuses. “The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars” is a list that looks as much like most churches as it does the world. The Blood of Jesus Christ does not cover unconfessed and unforsaken sins regardless of how pious and religious the individual. This crowd of sinners will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:9-14).
John had received the last words before verse nine from the Father, Who was seated on His throne. Now, he receives it from one of the angels of the temple. This angel is one of the seven that had the seven last plagues. Those plagues will be history when we come to this moment in the fulfillment of this prophecy. This angel is now taking John on a tour of the future city of New Jerusalem. He calls the city, “the bride, and the Lamb’s wife.” This is beautiful language to describe a city that is part of our inhabitance because it is the nuptial chamber, the eternal dwelling place of Christ and His Queen. It was created to be personal, so perfect in its splendor that the city and Bride are named as one.
John had to be transported “in the spirit” to be capable of viewing this marvelous sight. Flesh and blood cannot endure the transcending glory as this created city represents. We are not just speaking of gold, pearls, precious stones, and other earthly materials; but of the glory and majesty of His consuming likeness. The city is called “holy” because He recreates Himself into every inch of this towering city. It is actually a temple that is filled with His presence. Because it is seen descending, could we suggest that it is carefully moving in this direction even as I write? As I just stated, the city is a great temple of His glory and His light. It glistens with a glory or splendor that can only be called His Shekinah. The brilliance of this great city will lighten the universe and no additional light will ever be needed.
The great walls of this city will probably be translucent, allowing the city’s beauty to shine without or allowing those dwelling outside to see within. The twelve gates carved from pearls will be the most beautiful gates of eternity. They never close, but stand as a welcome to the saved of the earth to enjoy and delight themselves with God’s glory within. A great angel will be God’s porter at each gate; and the gates will bear the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, with each gate having a different name. I would imagine that the children of Israel would use the gates to enter and visit the city that bears their tribal names. These gates are perfectly placed with three gates on each side. The foundations of the city are named after the twelve apostles.
“And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” (Revelation 21:15-21).
Without argument, this city is too priceless to value. It is fitting that an angel of the Heavenly temple is chosen to measure and give John this walking view of this city of His Bride. As one of those seven angels of the temple, this angel knows every detail of this new temple. This City of New Jerusalem is a temple itself and will be united with the eternal temple from Heaven. This is GodÂs gift to the New Heaven and New Earth and to His Son’s Bride. This description is just an earthly explanation of an indescribable city. The temple angel measures the city in John’s presence. The golden reed suggests that these measurements are an eternal matter.
The city is a foursquare city. The width is exactly the same on all four sides and the height is equal. Twelve thousand furlongs is fifteen hundred miles. To imagine a city that is fifteen hundred miles square and fifteen hundred miles high that is surrounded by jasper walls is breathtaking. The highest mountain in the world is less than six miles high (Mount Everest – 29,035 feet) and the highest in America is less than four miles high (Mount McKinley – 20,320 feet). We are speaking of a city so massive that our minds can only imagine its grandeur. The city of New Jerusalem is 7,920,000 feet high compared to Mount Everest at 29,035 feet. This comparison makes Mount Everest appear to be nothing but a molehill.
The total wealth of this entire earth does not hold a light to the wealth of this new city. The gold that has been mined and minted during human history is minute compared to the gold in this city. It would not be enough to pave the streets of one level of this city and this will be a city of twelve foundations or levels. Each level will be one hundred and twenty-five miles high or 657,700 feet, over twenty-two times higher than Mount Everest. The height of the walls on each level is 144 cubits or approximately 226 feet. These walls are not provided to keep the glorified saints in or out. Nothing is more beautiful than the present massive stone walls of present day Jerusalem. These stone walls have a golden hue appearance as they are beautifully lit at night or in the sunshine. But, the walls of New Jerusalem will be primarily wrought of jasper stone. Jasper is a dark green semi-translucent to opaque form of semi-precious chalcedony. Its beauty is rare. It is readily acceptable to a fine polish and has the physical properties of those of quartz. No one would think of building city walls out of jasper in our present world. The expense would be totally prohibitive to the richest person but certainly not to our Father. The entire walled structure of this city, all twelve levels, will be jasper and pure gold. It appears that the outside formation of these walls is jasper, with the interior of the walls being pure gold.
The foundations at each level are one hundred and forty-four cubits, which is approximately 226 feet high. These foundations are then garnished with twelve manners of precious stones. The first foundation is garnished with jasper on jasper. We can certainly expect that the garnishing jasper will be of a different shade as the jasper wall, which comprises the wall’s structure. There are different colors of jasper depending on the location where it is mined. The second level will be garnished with sapphire stones. The color of a pure sapphire is sky blue; using it to garnish the jasper will be extraordinary. The third level will be chalcedony, which can be any color of the rainbow from pale blue to yellow, brown, or gray. The fourth level will be garnished with emeralds. The finest emeralds are more valuable than diamonds; they are magnificent gems of the most beautiful green color.
The stone used to garnish the fifth foundation is sardonyx or onyx. This stone varies in color; it may be translucent or opaque and is often striped. The sixth stone used for garnishment is sardius, possibly the red variety that is highly polishable and extremely beautiful. The seventh level is garnished with chrysolite, which is a form of topaz of Tarshish. The garnishment of the eighth level is beryl, which is actually colorless, but reflects a great variety of colors depending on foreign substances it contains. It is indeed a precious stone. The ninth garnishing stone on the ninth level of this city is topaz, which is called by some, the “gem of the setting sun.” Sometimes, it is said to be the color of gold or peach. The tenth level is chrysoprasus, which is called the apple and is a light green variety of agate. It is a very rare stone.
The eleventh foundation of this magnificent city is jacinth. The jacinth is a red variety of zircon, which is found in square prisms of different shades. The last of the twelve levels is garnished with amethyst. This is a royal purple and a fitting crown for the city. Imagine the crown of this city of transparent purple quartz that is decorating the jasper translucent walls with the gold within reflecting throughout the foursquare city.
Beautify all of this with gates of pearl, each gate one pearl carved into form to be twelve matching gates into the city. Each gate will be fifteen hundred miles high. Glowing through each gate will be streets of pure gold. It is hard to imagine the beauty of a solid pearl gate set on the walls of this city. This city reflects the creative masterpiece of a Groom full of love for His eternal Bride.
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21:22-23).
Here is a beautiful city, New Jerusalem, set at the center of a New Heaven and a New Earth. The city itself is called a “Tabernacle.” It is also called a “holy city,” the “Lamb’s wife,” and “a bride adorned for her husband.” He now says, “And I saw no temple therein…” He is not saying there is no temple, but rather there is no need of a temple separate from this city. The picture is of the glory of the Father and of the Lamb of God. Their splendor transcends all the majesty of this great city and its wealth. They themselves will be the center of worship and of the Shekinah of God’s glory. The eternal divinity of our God and the worship that centers in them will make all else seem as unimportant. It is a city so contained by God that all becomes worship and praise. The glory of the Creator will fill all of it to a total fullness. Our God and our Christ will become the essence of the temple themselves.
The created sun, moon, and stars are no longer of service to God’s great universe. They have served their purpose. Now, the light of God is no longer shielded or manifested as a shadow. We have seen our Father and the Lord “through a glass darkly,” but now the darkness is gone and His light breaks forth in its splendor. A world, where the “glory of God did lighten it,” seems like a dream. It is soon to be a reality. He says, “The Lamb is the light thereof.” Calling Christ a Lamb at this time in our prophetic future is a reminder of Calvary’s great accomplishment. There is no future without the cross. The very title, Lamb, is our reminder that there is no path to eternal bliss except by passing by the bloodstained hill outside and near Jerusalem’s earthly walls.
“And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:24-27).
We must understand that this city is the eternal reward of the Bride, but there is a world outside of this city where the saved that did not receive the reward of Brideship will live. Apostle Paul tried to excite us to so follow Christ that we would inherit the highest honors. He stated, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Philippians 3:9-11). He also spoke of being “saved by fire” but losing your reward. “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (I Corinthians 3:14-15). These great Scriptures in the Word of God make it absolute that the New World will be filled with the saved that failed to inherit a full reward. There are no sinners that share the New World, only saints that missed the highest prize. This should awake the multitude that lives right and overcomes sin, but are too busy to be soul-winners and burden bearers in the kingdom of God.
This city of such wealth and splendor will become the delight of those that dwell on the earth. They will find joy in the light and reflection from this city, and they will walk in that light with joy. The great cities of the earth live and prosper with the view of bringing all their glory into this capitol of the universe. Those living in the Bride’s splendor will delight to welcome the earth’s saved to visit in their mansions. That will become a joy to their past acquaintances that come to share their honor of being a resident in this golden city. Part of the Bride of Christ’s honor will be to welcome and share this city with the earth’s inhabitants. The gates of the city never close and there is no night. It will be one eternal day.
No one can enter this city but the saved, those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The angels that stand in honor at every gate will recognize instantly the names of the Father’s extended family as they come to delight in this golden city of priceless beauty.