One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
John is now given a graphic vision of the new Jerusalem and a description of the eternal dwelling place of the Bride. In his commentary on Revelation, J.V. McGee writes, “The appearance of this city is the quintessence of beauty, refined loveliness, and uncontrolled joy. The new Jerusalem is really a postmillennial city, for she does not come into view until the end of the Millennium and the beginning of eternity.” This city was truly in the mind of Christ when He said, “I go to prepare a place for you!” (see John 14:2).
The new Jerusalem will be to eternity what the earthly Jerusalem is to the Millennium. Righteousness will dwell in the new Jerusalem. Perfection and the absence of sin will identify this new heavenly city. The new Jerusalem is the eternal abode of the church. John now is shown details of this beautiful city.
This new Jerusalem is described as the glorious epicenter of the Lamb, radiant in every detail. This city is described as having a wall great and having gates that open in every direction. No temple of localized worship is found, but the presence of God is everywhere. Exact details are given of the dimensions of this great city and the precious stones and metals that are used in its construction.
John is then shown the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb in the center of this New Jerusalem. He notices there is no need for a sun because “the glory of the Lord gives it light.” God lights the new creation directly by His presence. The new Jerusalem will be independent of the sun and moon for light and life. What a contrast to our current earth, which is ultimately dependent upon the sun and the moon to sustain life. The One who is the Light will be there, and the illumination of His glory will be made visible in the new Jerusalem unhindered.
In the final verses of this chapter, we see that the inhabitants of the new earth will travel back and forth between the new Jerusalem and the new earth. It appears the nations of the world, which have entered eternity, will also come up to honor the Lord in the new Jerusalem. This will not be their permanent abode, but they will come up there to worship. The gates of the new Jerusalem will always be open since there is no longer any danger of evil. God has now accomplished His original purpose with man: fellowship. He now has a creation who chooses to worship and serve Him eternally.
Questions to Ponder
What do you think about the beautiful description of the new Jerusalem given to John? Are you excited for God to make all things new? What do you think it will be like to experience God’s presence in all its fullness? Are you looking forward to seeing this for yourself? Is your name written in “The Lamb’s Book of Life”?
- Worship the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb of God as He is glorious and wonderful.
- Thank Him for his fellowship now, but also for the future fellowship in the eternal dwelling place with Him.
- Thank Him that one day we will worship and serve Him eternally in all His fullness – Wow!
Lord God Almighty, thank You for the beautiful description of the new Jerusalem You gave to John. I ask that we, Your church, would long to experience You, oh God, in Your presence now, but also long for Your return. I also ask that we would long to abide in the eternal dwelling place with You in all its fullness. No longer living by faith but living by sight. Thank You that my name is written in Your book. I pray for those around me to come to know You as Lord and Savior. Amen.