I love this chapter. It is exciting because it describes our hope so beautifully. It is God’s greatest desire come to pass. It is my greatest desire come to pass. It is not a fairy tale nor a promise which will not be kept. It is as certain as history because it is God’s promise and His will. It is already done and we can look forward to it with confidence.
Immediately after Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire for eternity, never able to do his work again, John sees the next part of his vision. Verses 1-4 read,
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”
New Jerusalem is adorned, dressed and prepared for her husband as a gift from God. Just take a moment and consider that. Jesus is our husband. We are His bride, we are New Jerusalem. We are the city of God. And our union will be perfect. God’s dwelling place will be with us. Isn’t that how it should be, a husband with His bride? Just as He dwells with us, as He inhabits the city, we will be His people and He will be our God. This has been God’s desire from the beginning. He said it this way in Leviticus 26:11-12,
“I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you.12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.”
The Law was not given to push people away from God nor to make reaching Him impossible, it was given in order to make a way for a relationship with Him. One of my favorite verses is Hosea 6:6, as anyone who reads these devotionals can attest. It reads,
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Jesus is cited twice in Matthew quoting this scripture (Matthew 9:13 and 12:7). God loves us, He wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t need us, He doesn’t require anything from us (Acts 17:24-27).
When we are finally there in perfect relationship with God it will be absolutely wonderful, wholly good, and utterly joyous. Verse 4 reads,
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
We will not need pain to appreciate comfort, grief to understand joy, nor death to value life. We will not be flawed as we are now. We will be completely and perfectly transformed (1 Corinthians 15:52). Verses 5-8 read,
“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Believer, you and I can go through this life with courage. We can face any tribulation that comes our way because of our great hope. We know our future and we know the destiny of the enemy. It is done! The Lord’s plan has never changed. He began it with creation and He will complete it with New Jerusalem. We can conquer sin and the enemy because we have Jesus and because of Jesus we have eternal life. We can conquer because Jesus already did.
John describes the city of New Jerusalem amazingly. Treasure such as gold, gems, and pearls will mean nothing to us for their worth, but New Jerusalem will be decked with and embellished with them for their meaning and beauty. God is not limited by finances or imagination. Verses 9-21 say,
“Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
12,000 stadia is equal to about 1,400 miles. The magnificent city is about 1,400 miles tall, long, and wide, a cube stretching halfway across the country and reaching the edge of the stratosphere. The twelve types of precious gems that gild the walls are jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst, represent the Apostles and their spiritual descendants, while the pearl gates represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The streets are made with gold so pure it like clear glass. It sounds so beautiful I can’t begin to picture it.
But the best part of the city is what it does not need. Verses 22-27 read,
“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.”
There is no need for the gates to close or lock because it is impenetrable to anything ungodly.
There is no temple because God is the temple and He is there dwelling with us. There is no need for intermediary rooms, sacrifices, or relics. God is there. There is no need for sources of light like the sun or moon because The Father’s glory lights it, Jesus is the lamp, and His Spirit is the never ending oil. What is the Father’s glory, or rather who is the Father’s glory? That is us! We carry His glory and we will be kings and queens carrying that glory, that radiance with us. There will be no need to keep a lampstand lit in the temple. Whatever was once symbolic of Heaven and heavenly things will be there for real.
Believer, remember we will go through some terrible times in this life, but we can do it with Christ, because we know that or perfect union with Him is real and it awaits us.