But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Cor 2:9)
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.
Prior to this verse, one of the seven last angels carrying one of the last seven plagues tells John to come with him, and he (the angel) will show John the bride, the Lamb’s wife. Who is the Lamb’s wife? All those who have believed in the Messiah. Those who see and have surrendered their lives to Jesus as the redeemer, kinsman, and King. The bride includes us – the born again and covered by Calvary. Denominations will not be found in this city – there is no division in this bride. This city is prepared for the bride of Christ, and it is a wedding gift unlike any other.
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 gate twelve angels, and the names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
The glory of the Father is Jesus Christ, of all the jewels and all the splendors of Heaven, the best part is that the presence of Christ is there and that God’s children will have access to Him forever. There are twelve gates, which are symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel and twelve angels stand guard at those gates. God has made all nations one family through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the Tabernacle and the Temple that was built in the Old Testament, the Shekinah glory of God was so brilliant that man could not enter when it was present. On the mount of transfiguration, Jesus Christ shone with the glory of God, white and bright, brighter than anything seen on earth. This city has the glory of the bridegroom. Moses was physically altered after being in the presence of God, and the glory he experienced made his face shine in a way that frightened the Israelites. No one will be able to enter this glorious city of God who has not been changed and given a new body that can handle it.
Symbolism is everywhere in the book of Revelation, but that doesn’t mean we cannot believe literally what it says. God’s presence is there. We will learn later that there is no need for a Temple because God himself will dwell with His bride. God’s glory is the light of this city. It has a great high wall with twelve gates. The walls are not for protection; there is nothing here to harm or destroy. The walls are possessive, inclusive, and to enhance the grandeur of this new city.
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.
A good rule of thumb is to remember that when the Bible interprets itself, that is how we should interpret it also. This section tells us that the gates represent the twelve tribes of Israel. God does not forget His promises. Some reference this passage back to the setup of the tribes of Israel listed in Numbers Chapter 2. The gates represent the unity and connection we all have to the people of Israel and God’s promises to them through the prophets. The promise God made to Abraham is the promise of Christ. The promise of David’s continual throne is the promise of Christ. The promise of a greater prophet made to Moses is the promise of Christ. Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is the story of Christ.
The symbolism continues with the foundations of the city, the apostles. The apostles are the witnesses to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Notice there are twelve. Paul writes of himself frequently as being an apostle to the Gentiles. Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophecies and built upon the foundation of the apostles. Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone…. (Ephesians 2:20)
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.
To measure this city implies that it is a real place. The height, width, and length are all the same. Most interpret the city to be a cube, similar in ways to the pattern of the temple’s Holy place. The dimensions listed indicate that the city is 1500 miles in all directions. (12,000 furlongs divided by 8 miles in a furlong). So, the city alone, not the new Heaven and earth, just this city, will be about the square footage of the moon. David Guzik says that it would stretch from Maine to Florida. In this scenario, we are interpreting that the measure of a man is the same as that of an 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.
So, not only does the glory of God make the capital city shine, but it is immense and beyond our understanding in size, grander than anything we can imagine, and it is bedecked with the most beautiful colors and jewels. Everything in this city is to the glory of Christ, our high priest. Nothing about this city is cheap or tawdry. I am sure that although some of the names of the gemstones may be familiar to us today, they will far exceed the beauty we recognize in our sin-cursed world. We read of these same gems in the square ephod and the stones associated with the Priestly garments in Exodus 28:15-21. Also, in Ezekiel 28:13, these same stones are in the garden of Eden. This new city is a glorious picture of the security that the church, the bride of Christ, has because they are with the bridegroom. This is the city that Abraham sought and died without reaching, yet his search was not in vain. By faith, He was able to believe in the promise of God. This is the city whose builder and maker is God.
To be honest, some of the imagery of the new city is lost on me because I’ve been tempted to focus on the gold and the jewels and the treasures that it consists of. I’ve never cared much about jewelry and treasure; it holds little allure for me. I realize now that I missed the whole point by focusing on the things and not on what the things are proclaiming about Jesus and the glory of His presence. The jewels are about His priesthood, the tender care with which our high priest has made intercession for us to the Father. The Gates and the Foundations are beautiful, but even more astonishing when we realize they are representative of the finished work God did in the lives of flawed men who He chose to accomplish His purpose through. Those twelve boys of Israel were nothing but trouble, even according to their own father. Those twelve apostles were faithless at times, they ran at the crucifixion, and yet they have been strengthened through the Holy Spirit, and here they are pictured as the foundations of a city the likes of which we cannot imagine. The New Testament calls the church a building fitly framed together. Here it is in living color. Jesus our builder, Jesus our redeemer, Jesus our Creator, the Light of the World, and the glory of God.
Younger Christian and Older Christian
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