Chapter 21: 9-21
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
14 “Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
19 “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
We began our look into the New Heaven and the New Earth last week, and it is refreshing to come to the end of the damage and the destruction. From our present time until the end of the Millennium will be a down spiral around the world.
Right now, the religious freedoms of the Lord’s people are being restricted in the name of tolerance. I read a quote recently that basically said that, in a world of lies, the truth tellers are the enemy. Well, God’s people are the truth tellers, or at least we should be.
I had a great conversation with a dear sister in the Lord this week, and she recounted going to play golf with a lady who claims to be a minister for the Lord. Yet she says that there are some parts of the Bible that she willfully ignores or does not consider because it does not fit her beliefs. This kind of confusion is rampant in religion. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we see these words,
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Notice the first words “ALL SCRIPTURE,” not just the ones we like, but ALL is given by the inspiration of God; another term is “God-breathed” and is profitable. For one to forgo some of the scripture is to question if it is God-breathed and its profitability This is the very height of arrogance. For a mere human to determine that something that God has said is not profitable is to declare that you, a mere human, knows more than God.
Since the scripture is profitable, since it is God-breathed, we are to hold it in high regard; we are to cherish it and study it, and find out what God is saying to us with the goal of being “perfect and thoroughly furnished (equipped) unto all good works.” Sadly, this kind of arrogance is eating into the very foundation of Christianity. One very prominent ‘church’ leader recently alluded to the idea that we no longer need the Old Testament, yet God says ALL scripture is profitable. Once again, a mere man trying to usurp God’s clearly stated directive. Run from these people; run I say! Run far! Find a Bible- believing, Bible-teaching and Bible-cherishing church, one where the Pastor carefully and deliberately handles God’s Holy word.
The Lamb’s Wife, verse 9-11
In john 14:1-3 we see these beautiful words of promise. Words that tells us the Jewish story of the betrothed man. In our case, Jesus is the betrothed husband and we the bride.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
John was there when Jesus said this. Now he is seeing it with his own eyes. This is the place where the Bride of Christ will live. Notice that John had to be carried to a great mountain to see this place in all its glory. This is like no other city you have ever seen. You mouth will be slack-jawed for a long time once your eyes set on this sight. This reminds me of the verses in 1 Peter 2:11; we are sojourners here and should long for our new home.
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
Too many of us Christians are settled on earth, and we are content here. There is no real longing for our new home. No real desire to go there unless we are on our death bed; and all too often, we live as though we are not true resident aliens. I do believe in aliens; I am one. This world is not my home. I long, like Abraham, for a city whose builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). This beautiful place is our home; in it are our dwelling places, and they will be all we ever need. There will be no want there, no lack, no loss and no desire for more.
Our New Home, verses 12-21
This place is huge. Sometimes we do not get the size of it. Let me help you. The place is 2,250,000 square miles, but it is also 1,500 miles high, so it is actually 3,375,000,000-cubit miles in its size. The largest state in the US according to square miles is Alaska at 571,951. That is more than twice the state of Texas. The Holy city is almost 4 times the square miles of Alaska. In Canada, our province of Quebec relates the best to Alaska at 595,391 square miles. So, this Holy city is about 4 times the size of Quebec as well. This is huge. Think of how many cities we have in a province, yet this one city, the new Jerusalem, is 4 times the size of one of our provinces.
The population of this is going to be huge. Between the Bride of Christ and angels and whatever else or whomever else is here, this population is going to be like the sands of the seashore. Certainly, more than any could count. It is bright and beautiful.
There are 12 gates, each bearing the name of a Jewish tribe; we are not told which ones they will be. Tribes like Dan, for instance, that helped Israel go into idolatry may not get a gate, or maybe the tribe of Joseph is united as one tribe. Does the tribe of Levi get a gate or does God have some special place for them in accordance with their call as His special tribe? It may be that the names are written in the order that they lived in the wilderness. In Numbers 2 we find the order in which the tribes were placed around the Tabernacle. From the website www.steintothestory.ca we see the image.
There are twelve foundations upon which the city is built, and they are named after the 12 apostles. Once again, we cannot be sure which apostles; there were 11 left in Acts 1:15-26, and the people in the Upper room elected Mathias to take the place of Judas who had killed himself. But, not long after this, Jesus confronts Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus; and upon arriving in Damascus, he is met by Ananias and addressed as brother, in Acts 9:17. Then he is baptized. In 1 Corinthians 15:8, Paul addresses himself as an apostle born out of season,
“And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” `
So, whose names will appear on these foundations? I do not know. You need to be there to see it for yourself. Jesus is the only way.
We find that those who love God, those who love Jesus, have always longed for a new place, a better place, a new home. See Hebrews 12:22-24,
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
Further in Hebrews 13:12-14, we see that Jesus died outside the city as an identity with us, those who seek a new home, a new place. Those of us that are not settled here, we are out of place and longing for a new home.
“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”
We identify with Jesus as a people without a city. He came to the earthly Jerusalem, but the Heavenly Jerusalem is His true home. The earthly one rejected Him, but the Heavenly one welcomes Him. This earth rejects us because we are in Jesus. Thus, we look for a new home, a permanent home, a peaceful home; and here, in Revelation, John got to see it and talk a bit about it.
So, here is the question to you: is there a dwelling in this new Jerusalem for you? Has Jesus gone to prepare a place for you? John 14:5-6 completes the thought about how to have a place in this new Jerusalem; it is clear and simply, Jesus is the Way.
“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”