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.”
Thanks for the responses on the last article. We are going to look at this, our new home, one more time, maybe even a third time if the Lord leads. A lot of us know about Hell, but so few of us ever spend any time researching the New Jerusalem, our permanent home for eternity. So, we will explore this some more; and when you think of your new home, you will have some good mental pictures to enjoy.
I grew up in Barbados; it is one of the most beautiful islands in the world, at least to me. Beautiful sandy beaches, colorful flowers, fruits of every kind, good food, colorful people and bright sunshine mark my country. I remember running on the beaches with my dad, swimming, body-surfing, enjoying the sunsets and on and on. I pretty much gauge my life by that beauty. What if we had a good view of our new home, then maybe the cheap trinkets of this world would not be so enticing, and we can be more loyal to our true citizenship.
Last week we talked about the sheer size of the place. The earth, we are told in the earlier verses of the chapter, will be just land, no more sea; thus, there will be plenty of land to house this, our new home. If the place is this big, it must hold a lot of people. This is one of the things that keeps ringing in my head. Plus, there must be a lot of stuff. I mean, we see streets of gold, gates made of pearls, foundations made of what we deem, in our time, to be precious stones. I think that is the thing that can bring this life into perspective. The very things that we work so hard for and strive for are the lesser things in Heaven. Jesus spoke this very concept to the apostles and the disciples that followed Him.
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Notice the very last words, verse 21, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This is the stuff that plagues the modern New Testament church. The people to whom Jesus was speaking in the first century were mostly the poor; some of the ruling class did come to see Jesus, and some were saved. But the vast majority of people were poor. They longed to have some financial freedoms, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if your heart is consumed by being rich with the world’s riches, then you will not be ‘heaven focused’ as a lifestyle. So, what does God do? He tells us that the very things that make men rich here on earth are the baser things of heaven. If we can keep this perspective, it will help us to live as citizens of Heaven and not as citizens of earth.
Lots of Room for Lots of People, verse 16
This may sound repetitive from last week, but I think it needs repeating. The sheer size of this city is breathtaking. The ISS (International Space Station) is approximately 220 miles or 350 kilometers above the earth. The New Jerusalem reaches 1,500 miles into space, so more than 6 times higher than the space station, into space, or what we know today as space. Let us put the amount of space into perspective for our finite minds; I did a little math. Using 2,500 square feet as an average home, you can get over 2,000,000,000 (2 billion) homes on the ground floor of the New Jerusalem and still have 1,500 miles of height to play with. At 3 persons per home, you can put just about the entire word population on the first level. This should give us an idea of just how many people are going to be in Heaven.
From Adam until now, we have 6,000 years of believers, then the believers that come through the Tribulation, and then those that come out of the Millennium. But, in particular, this city is called the “Bride, the Lamb’s wife.” This city is going to house billions of people – billions of people addressed as the Bride of the Lamb. One of the most encouraging things to learn and see, especially in the time that we live, where Christianity is under attack and it seems that we are losing ground, we can see that the New Jerusalem is massive, a place built for a gazillion people, and this does not include those that will live outside the city – those that are redeemed but not a part of the Bride of the Lamb.
In addition to people, there will be the heavenly host of angels. I cannot imagine how many of them there are. But there are at lease millions. Think about this: in 2 Kings 6:15-17, the Lord allows Elisha’s servant to see the armies of the Lord surrounding the armies of the enemies of Israel, and he is blown away:
“Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
This would be hundreds of thousands of angels, and they are just a small set of what the Lord has. We will see people in the gazillions and angels in the gazillion as well, this New Jerusalem is going to be busy and maybe loud.
No Limitations, verse 16
We will be able to travel between earth and space. There is a New Heaven and a New Earth as we learned in the earlier verses. Since we can show that the New Jerusalem is about 1,500 miles out into space, then we can see that we will be able to travel and see things that we have never seen before. We will understand things and appreciate things that we have never seen or gotten before. We will be able to explore things and exceed our normal human limitations that keep us bound right now.
Imagine the progress that man has made with our sinful and finite minds. Imagine what we can do with perfect bodies, perfect minds and little, if any, in the way of limitations. Things that used to confound us will now be simple and make sense. We will begin to even understand the Word of God, an eternal document, in ways that our finite minds could not. As such, I cannot even begin to tell you what life will be without limitations. Remember, Jesus was able to walk through walls after He resurrected.
John 19:19 “Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”
He could whisk away at a moment’s notice. In Luke 23:30-34, Jesus disappeared in a moment when the disciple’s eyes on the Emmaus Road were opened (see verse 31). “He vanished.”
“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?’ So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’”
We are told that we do not know what we will be like, but that when the Lord appears, we will be like Him. We will have limited limitation, if any at all, and we will do things that we can only imagine in the movies right now.
This place is bright, verses 17-21
This place is going to be bright. Look at the materials used to build the place. Gold clear as glass, jasper, chrysolite and the other materials all reflect light and make things brighter. God is already the light of this place and there is no need for the sun. But His light is going to be magnified by the building materials that are used, and this place will be brighter than anything that you have ever seen, ever. Imagine that if there is no sun, then this city is bright enough to light the whole earth and parts of space. It will not be a city that one can miss.
I don’t think we can comprehend the amount of brightness that will be here. It will be blinding, and only those with perfect bodies and perfect eyes and perfect brains can handle this kind of light. It will almost be tangible, it will be so bright. This kind of light means that there is no fear anywhere in this city.
Most of us have some fear of the dark. For kids, it may be the ‘boogieman’ in the closet when it gets dark; for someone out camping (not me), it may be the sound of an animal in the dark; for some, it is the dark basement that brings fear; for some, the dark recesses of our minds can cause fear. But in the New Jerusalem, there will be no fear, no darkness, light to the nth degree and no need to be afraid. What freedom that will be to so many; some of us have our minds as our greatest enemies. No matter; this light can penetrate the deepest corners of our minds and scare away our fears. Oh, what joy that will be!
Come with me and see a place. See our New home, our permanent abode, our place prepared for us by our Loving and Beautiful Savior, Jesus. Jesus is the Way, the only Way, and in Him and Him alone there is eternal life.