Read with Me

 Revelation 21:15-21 (HCSB)
The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out in a square; its length and width are the same. He measured the city with the rod at 12,000 stadia. Its length, width, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall, 144 cubits according to human measurement, which the angel used. The building material of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold like clear glass.
The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone:
the first foundation 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,
the twelfth amethyst.
The 12 gates are 12 pearls; each individual gate was made of a single pearl. The broad street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

 Listen with Me

The angel continues to take John on a guided tour of the New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, the Church as God designed it to be. And it is glorious!

Just as Ezekiel was involved in measuring the precise dimensions of the new temple (Ezekiel 40-42), John is involved in measuring the dimensions of this glorious city. And it is huge! The city is not only 1,400 miles wide and 1,400 miles long, an area equivalent to more than half the contiguous United States, it is also 1,400 miles tall. (The number given in Greek, 12,000 stades, includes the significant number 12 times 1000). This clearly shows that this is all symbolic. If this were a literal city, the top of it would be more than 1,300 miles above the top of the earth’s atmosphere.

The immense size of the city shows that there is plenty of room in God’s kingdom for all who want to come in. There will never be a “sold out” sign hung on the gates. No one who meets the requirements for admission need ever fear that they will be turned away.

The wall protecting the city is measured at 216 feet tall, 144 cubits. This number is 12 times 12, symbolic of the 12 apostles who are the foundation of the Church, and the 12 Israelite tribal patriarchs whose names are written over the 12 gates into the city. This is many times taller than the gates of the walls of any city in history, demonstrating the absolute security enjoyed by those who dwell in the city.

New Jerusalem, the Church, is depicted as being valuable beyond all measure, with walls made of clear, red-gold Jasper, and the buildings and the streets made of gold so pure that everything is reflected in them as in mirrors made of pure, transparent glass. The 12 foundations of the city are embedded with precious polished gemstones, reminiscent of the 12 gemstones that were in laid into the breastplate of the high priest (exodus 28:15-21).

The doors of the gate are not made of wood strengthened with iron or bronze bands like normal cities. Instead, each gate is made from a single massive pearl. This illustrates that even the gates of the city, the means of coming in to live and going out to minister, are priceless beyond all imagination.

The city being shown to John was clearly a place that could never exist on the earth itself. This has caused many to transfer the imagery used, pearly gates and streets of gold, to their idea of heaven. But again, it is not a literal city that is being shown to John. Instead, it is a picture of the Church as it is designed to be by God, and as He was even then, as He is even now fashioning it to be.

Pray with Me

Father, if we allow ourselves to fully enter into the vision of your Church as it was shown to John, it is truly staggering, beautiful beyond belief, and valuable beyond all imagination. And the idea of being part of something so awe-inspiring makes me feel something much more like humility and wonder than pride. Help me, Lord, to keep this vision clearly before me, so that I not only know what I am privileged to be a part of, but so that I can also see and cooperate with what You are in the process of building today. Amen.