The New Jerusalem
By Britt Gillette
One of God’s most wonderful promises to those who love Him is the creation of the new Jerusalem, a place of unimaginable beauty and perfection. In fact, Jesus promised to go ahead of His followers and prepare a place for them in the new Jerusalem, and the Old Testament heroes who exhibited unwavering faith in the Word of God had their eyes trained on this future city, a place where justice would reign and righteousness would endure for all of eternity.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16 (KJV)
The same New Testament chapter points out that Abraham himself confidently looked forward to the new Jerusalem:
“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:10 (KJV)
So when will this city arrive?
It will arrive in the aftermath of the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)
As history proves, this child has already been born to us, and He freely offers the gift of eternal salvation to all who will accept it. Unfortunately, the entire world can see that His government and its peace have not yet arrived. But just as surely as the first part of this prophecy was fulfilled, it is a certainty that the rest of this prophecy will be fulfilled. And someday soon, those who love Him will witnesses the following:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:1-2 (KJV)
The Promise of Jesus
In a conversation with His disciples, the Lord Jesus said the following:
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” John 14:1-4 (KJV)
Where is this place that Jesus is preparing? What does His Father’s home look like?
The bible provides us with a number of details. The place, of course, is heaven – His Father’s home, the place where God dwells.
Just as whatever plane the President of the United States occupies is known as Air Force One, wherever God chooses to dwell is known as heaven. And the bible clearly states that God will one day dwell with human beings in the new Jerusalem. Biblical descriptions of the new Jerusalem are descriptions of the place Jesus has prepared for us. The new Jerusalem is heaven.
So let’s examine what the bible says about this place:
The Pearly Gates
The physical description of the new Jerusalem paints the picture of a city beyond compare in its magnificence and enormity. The apostle John provides us with some details:
“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, 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 gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 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.” Revelation 21:10-14 (KJV)
The new city will shine with the glory of God, perfect in its beauty. And, as revealed in the following passage, its enormity will be unprecedented.
“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.” Revelation 21:15-17 (KJV)
The length, width, and height of the new Jerusalem will all be 1,400 miles in length. To put this into perspective, this is a distance equivalent to almost half of the continental United States! Opinions differ as to whether the new Jerusalem is shaped like a cube or a pyramid. Whether a cube or a pyramid, it would still be the largest city any human being has ever entered. And its beauty is accentuated by the following construction materials:
“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, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.” Revelation 21:18-20 (KJV)
The human mind cannot begin to imagine the true beauty of the new Jerusalem. Pure gold as clear as glass? An entire wall made of jasper? Its foundation stones will be inlaid with some of the most colorful and exotic stones ever created, and to top it off, the twelve gates will each be constructed from a giant pearl:
“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.” Revelation 21:21 (KJV)
Almost everyone has heard of the pearly gates of heaven. But unlike most of the artist renderings we’ve seen, the actual pearly gates will each be composed of a single pearl.
God Will Dwell Among Us
But the most glorious aspect of the new Jerusalem has nothing to do with its material splendor. The best part of the new Jerusalem will be that God Himself will dwell among men:
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3 (KJV)
In the new Jerusalem, physical and spiritual life will be illuminated by the presence of the Lord Himself. There will be no need for the sun, the moon, or the building of a temple:
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Revelation 21:22-23 (KJV)
In the new Jerusalem, we will see the very face of God:
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 22:3-5 (KJV)
The new Jerusalem will be heaven, the place of final destination for those who believe in Jesus Christ. For He Himself will live among us:
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 (KJV)
The River of Life
In addition to the presence of God, a river filled with the water of life will flow from the throne of the Father and the Son and down the main street:
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:1-2 (KJV)
The river will be flanked by a tree of life, bearing a new fruit each month, and its leaves will be used to heal the nations. The prophet Ezekiel witnessed this same vision:
“And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” Ezekiel 47:12 (KJV)
The scriptures describe a new Jerusalem bursting with life, sustained by the living water of Christ:
“Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.” Isaiah 35:6-7 (KJV)
To all who wish to drink from this water, the Lord Jesus Christ issues a free invitation to come:
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 (KJV)
More Characteristics of the New Jerusalem
The aforementioned aspects of the new Jerusalem don’t even begin to offer a comprehensive view of what God’s city will look like. Below are a few verses which provide further illustration of the new Jerusalem’s characteristics:
No More Disabilities
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 35:5-6 (KJV)
No More Death or Crying or Pain
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (KJV)
“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” Isaiah 65:19 (KJV)
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10 (KJV)
No More Darkness
“And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.” Revelation 21:24 (KJV)
“And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” Revelation 21:25 (KJV)
The descriptions of the new Jerusalem provide a laundry list of the very things which mankind longs for – fellowship with God, the presence of justice, the achievement of everlasting life, the admiration of exquisite beauty, and the absence of fear, crying, and pain. By every account, the new Jerusalem is the paradise of which mankind has dreamed since the fall of man. How then, does a person become a citizen of this new Jerusalem?
The bible tells us that citizenship is freely granted by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ:
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Revelation 21:5-7 (KJV)
To all who are thirsty, Christ will give freely from the springs of the water of life. However, certain people will not be allowed to enter the city:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 (KJV)
“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Revelation 22:15 (KJV)
The reason these people will never be allowed to enter the new Jerusalem is because nothing evil can ever be allowed in the presence of the Holy God, and God will reside in the new Jerusalem:
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” Revelation 21:27 (KJV)
Unfortunately, the list of those who are not allowed to enter provides an accurate description of mankind:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (KJV)
In spite of our shortcomings, not all hope is lost! A person can be made new again by belief in the living Son of God, Jesus Christ. Known as the Lamb of God, He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sin so that God can call us righteous and allow us entry into the new Jerusalem:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)
If a person believes in Jesus Christ, that person will not perish, but will have instead, eternal life. And this eternal life will be lived out in the confines and vicinity of the new Jerusalem, where God dwells among men:
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Revelation 3:12 (KJV)
This is a promise from the Lord Jesus Christ. May His coming be soon!
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20-21 (KJV)
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