The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE NEW JERUSALEM PART 2
- When people talk about heaven they often refer to the streets of gold and the gates of pearl, etc. This is actually the new Jerusalem (21:21).
- The new Jerusalem is compared to a bride for its beauty and like the bride of Christ it is intimately related to the Lord Jesus Christ (21:2, 9).
- The city is pictured as descending from heaven to the new earth, and the fact that it has foundations and comes from heaven to the earth seems to imply that it rests on the new earth itself (21:14, 19, 20).
- Furthermore, there are twelve gates to the city, and if there are gates it stands to reason that people will go in and out of the gates (21:12, 13).
- It is difficult to visualize people going in and out of gates unless the gates themselves rest upon the earth.
- The new Jerusalem is pictured in Revelation 21 & 22 as it will appear in the eternal state. Revelation 21:16 says, "the city lieth foursquare," but nothing is said regarding the shape of the city. Some have assumed it to be a cube, others a pyramid, but the Bible does not say.
- The dimensions are given in verses 16 and 17 -- the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal, twelve thousand furlongs. That is almost 1,500 miles. And the wall is about 200 feet high.
THE BEAUTY OF THE CITY (21:18-21)
- W.A. Criswell says the new Jerusalem is "beautiful, proportionate and symmetrical. We shall live in a metropolis that where there is harmony, not monotony; variety, not sameness; unity, not uniformity" (Expository Sermons on Revelation).
- The wall of the new Jerusalem is said to be of jasper (21:18; cf. verse 11).
- The city as a whole is portrayed as made of pure gold like unto clear glass (21:18, 21).
- The foundation of the city will be garnished with all kinds of precious stones (21:19). This is a sight of indescribable beauty with the light of the city playing upon the multicolored stones.
- These descriptions transcend our earthly experience. The new Jerusalem will be far more beautiful to the eye than anything that man has ever been able to create or even comprehend.
- The city’s first foundation is again the jasper stone (21:19), previously mentioned in verses 11 and 18.
- The various foundations are represented as layers built upon each other, each layer extending around all four sides of the city.
- On top of the jasper stone is a second foundation, the brilliant sapphire, a stone similar to a diamond in hardness and blue in color.
- The third foundation is chalcedony, thought to be sky-blue with stripes of other colors running through it.
- The fourth foundation, an emerald, a bright green color.
- The fifth, the sardonyx, is a red and white stone.
- The sixth foundation, the sardius stone, a jewel of reddish color.
- The seventh foundation is formed of chrysolyte, a transparent stone golden in color.
- The eighth foundation is the beryl, which is sea-green.
- The ninth foundation is the topaz, which is yellow-green and transparent.
- The tenth foundation is the chrysoprasus, another shade of green.
- The eleventh foundation, the jacinth, is a violet color.
- The twelfth and last stone, the amethyst, is commonly purple.
- John Walvoord says, "Though the precise colors of these stones in some cases are not certain, the general picture here described by John is one of unmistakable beauty, designed to reflect the glory of God in a spectrum of brilliant color. The light of the city...forms a scene of dazzling beauty in keeping with the glory of God and the beauty of His holiness" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- Built into the walls will be the twelve gates to the city, each being made of one huge pearl (21:21).
THE LIGHT OF THE CITY (21:22-24)
- Verse 22 begins with the familiar clause “And I saw,” indicating a new and important phase of the divine revelation -- "I saw no temple therein."
- The new Jerusalem will be distinguished by the things that are missing -- there will be no temple, no sacrifice, no sun, no moon, no darkness, no gates to shut, and no abomination (21:22-27).
- In the Old Testament Israel first had the tabernacle in the wilderness, and then later on King Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem.
- There is no temple in Jerusalem now. All that is left of Herod's temple is the wailing wall. But there will be a temple built during the tribulation period.
- During the millennial kingdom a temple will be built for the worship of God. Ezekiel chapters 40-48 describe the millennial temple.
- But in our eternal home, the Lord God Himself and the Lamb will be the temple of the new Jerusalem.
- A building will not be necessary, because we will be in the immediate presence of the Lord.
- The word for “temple” is the word used for the sanctuary, or God’s dwelling place, the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of Israel.
- We will have access to the most sacred, intimate fellowship with the Lord our God, and a temple will no longer be necessary.
- In contrast to the millennial earth and all preceding history of man, the new Jerusalem does not need the light of the sun nor the moon, for the Scriptures indicate that God Himself will be the source of light in the city.
- John Phillips says, "The light that blazed from the face of Jesus on the mount of transfiguration will be the sole illumination in the heavenly Jerusalem. We shall walk in the light of His countenance!" (Exploring Revelation -- Revised).
- John 1:9 says Jesus is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
- John 3:19 says, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
- In John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
- Jesus said in John 12:35, "Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth."
- Many of us have been without light. We had no electricity for ten days. But there will be no blackouts in the New Jerusalem, because "the Lamb is the light thereof" (21:23).
- In verse 24 the nations (saved Gentiles) and the kings of the earth are declared to walk in the light of it and bring their glory and honor into it (cf. verse 26).
- "That the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into the city means that those among the saved who have honored positions on earth will ascribe the glory and honor that once were theirs to their Lord and God" (John Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
ACCESS TO THE CITY (21:25-27)
- The gates of the new Jerusalem will never be shut, because in the city there is continuous day and no night (21:25).
- This is in contrast to the millennial kingdom in which day and night will continue as the norm for the entire earth. In the new Jerusalem the brilliant light of the city will dispel any possible darkness.
- In our glorified bodies we will not need rest, and our lives will be full of continuous activity, even like the holy angels.
- Verse 27 reminds us that wicked sinners will never enter the city. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life will be eligible for entrance (cf. 21:8; 22:15).
- John Walvoord says, "This will be a perfect environment in contrast to the centuries of human sin, and the saints will enjoy this perfect situation through all eternity to come. The inhabitants of the city will be characterized by eternal life and absolute moral purity" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
"Through the gates to the city in a robe of spotless white,
He will lead me where no tears will ever fall;
In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight;
But I long to meet my Savior first of all." -- Fanny Crosby