I pray that you are well with the Lord. I pray that today’s message will motivate you to remain strong in the Lord. The world is out of control and our only hope is Jesus Christ. No matter what happens in your life, do not abandon the hope of Jesus Christ and the hope of his return. Do not abandon this hope.
Today we will take our final look at the book of Revelation. Last week we looked at what the Bible says about the new heavens and the new earth. This morning we will finish with the New Jerusalem. Again, as I have for the last few months, I will refer now and again to M.R. DeHaan’s book, Revelation: 35 Simple Studies In the Major Themes In Revelation.
But first, an important reminder about the Bible in general, and the book of Revelation specifically. Some of you will ask yourselves today, in your mind, as you are reading, “Surely you do not interpret this scripture literally? Revelation cannot be referring to an actual city.”
Why not? Man builds cities, I believe that God can build cities too. In fact, I’ll go a step further, I have no problem believing that God can build cities better than any of those found on earth.
What I will read today from Revelation, I do interpret literally. I have no qualms about doing this. Any child can read what I am reading today from scripture and understand it. Problems arise when we attempt to over-spiritualize these passages and change their meaning, that’s when we confuse things. This is why there is a legion of interpretations and explanations which serve only to confuse Bible students and frighten them away from the study of this book of Revelation. Remember, this book is meant to be a blessing to mankind. A blessing that God means for all of us to read, and to believe literally. This is about our future home–if you believe in Jesus Christ. Let’s jump into scripture, Revelation 21:9-21,
“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, 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 (that's 1400-1500He miles), and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits (200 feet or 65 meters) thick, by man’s measurement, which the angel was using. 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 chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, 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 pure gold, like transparent glass.”
This passage is describing a literal city. New Jerusalem, where the Church of Jesus Christ will dwell and reign over the new earth, forever and ever.
The scripture describes the city as surrounded by a great and magnificent wall with twelve great gates which are never shut, and on these gates are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The wall itself rested upon twelve foundations and on these foundations were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The entire city, therefore, is connected with and rests upon the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This will fulfill the teaching of Paul, in Ephesians 2:19-21, where he says,
“You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”
Now New Jerusalem will be huge. A city, imagine this, stretching from Boston to Miami, and from New York to Denver. Then towering fifteen hundred miles into the air. A city built for eternity by God. There will be no need for electricity or electrical illumination. Revelation 21:22-23,
“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.”
Picture this if you will: A new earth on which dwells the restored and redeemed nation of Israel, and around them are the literal nations of redeemed people, consisting of those saved in their respective nations. All dwelling on the new earth in peace and harmony, worshiping God and the Lamb.
Hanging over the new earth, suspended in the sky, is this incredible city, the New Jerusalem, the habitation of the bride of Christ. Christ is the light of all of it. This light pours forth over all the earth, dispelling all darkness forever. Remember that the New Jerusalem is made of transparent gold, so that the light from the Person of Christ will light up New Jerusalem, a brilliant and bright 1500-mile cube, lighting the entire new earth below it.
There will be no night, there will be no need for a candle. The Lord has made the new earth for us, his children, to inhabit it. We will live in a perfect and sinless world. Israel will be in the land of Palestine under their own King David of old. The saved nations will inhabit the earth, while the church dwells with Christ and reigns over this new earth from her glorious place in New Jerusalem.
This will last for eternity, forever and ever, amen.
One more interesting fact is mentioned concerning the city of New Jerusalem. Revelation 22:1-2,
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
In the middle of the city will be the throne of God and of the Lamb. Out of the throne flows a river of life and beside the river, on either side, is the tree of life. We’ve forgotten about this tree since Adam’s fall, haven’t we?
Thinking back, I recall that there were many trees in the garden, but only two were mentioned in particular: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. After Adam sinned by eating the first, God drove him out before he could eat the tree of life and live forever in his fallen and lost state.
Actual literal fruit grows on these actual and literal trees. This will be the manna of eternity. Twelve crops yearly, so that there will be plenty for all.
In one of the previous passages, I flew right over a very serious and sad warning, it is contained in Revelation 21:27,
“Nothing impure will ever enter it (New Jerusalem), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
If you are not a saved, born-again, believer in Jesus Christ you will never see this glorious city. Your place will be in outer darkness, separated from God in the place of eternal torment and remorse.
Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, Lord and King? Have you sought forgiveness for your sins and been washed in the blood of the Lamb? Revelation 22:14,
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”
The only way to wash the sin from our robes (flesh) is to wash them in the blood of the Lamb. If we seek forgiveness, and give our hearts to Jesus, he is good and just and will forgive us our sins. There is no other way. There is no other way into New Jerusalem.
I will finish with a beautiful quote from the end of M.R. DeHaan’s book.
“The night is dark, and the world seems to be in the throes of death. Humanity is engulfed by turmoil and confusion. The dark clouds of coming judgment and distress are upon the horizon, and the rumblings of coming judgment may be heard. Men and women everywhere are wondering about the future, and some are despairing. One of these days or nights, however, while the world is occupied with its frivolities and empty pleasures and scoffing at the Word of God, a form will rise above the lashing waves, as on Galilee, to vindicate forever the devotion and the patient watching of that remnant in all ages who have not abandoned the hope of His coming again, to take them home to the realms of bliss, where sorrow and sighing, loneliness and heartache will never be known and where, with loved ones gone before, we shall rest forever in the perfect service of our perfect Lord."
Do not abandon the hope of Jesus and his return. No matter what happens do not abandon this hope.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC