The Eternal State (Part 3)
There Will Be A Beautiful City Called the New Jerusalem
After the new heavens and earth, John says that the beautiful holy city, the New Jerusalem, will descend from heaven to earth (Revelation 21:1). It is not only beautiful, like a bride adorned for her husband (21:2), but it is said to have gates of pearl, buildings of pure gold, and foundation stones of precious gems (21:17-21). In it dwell the Lord and His people.
This beautiful city will be the significant place for life and worship during the eternal kingdom. And though there is much we do not know about life in the eternal kingdom, we do know that based on His past creative acts, His future creative works will be as beautiful or better.
The Description of the New Jerusalem
The New Jerusalem is an actual, material city in which the Church of Jesus Christ will dwell and reign over the earth, the new earth, forever.
A Holy City
I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 21:2).
This new Jerusalem will be free from sin, filth, pollution, crime, poverty, disease, anger, and turmoil. All who live in the holy city will have been made—and will remain forever–holy by the redeeming grace of God. Since God and everyone in the city are holy, the city itself will be holy.
The City Wall and Its Foundation
The foundations of the wall will consist of twelve precious stones layered one on top of the other.
The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of jewel: the first foundation is 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 (Revelation 21:19-20).
The foundation stones of the city wall contain the names of the twelve apostles, indicating that the new Jerusalem will contain those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ through the faithful witnessing of the apostles, the first century servants of God.
The twelve gates are twelve pearls; each individual gate was made of a single pearl… (Revelation 21:21a).
Each pearl gate will have inscribed on it a name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel (21:12), indicating that they were the vehicles through which the oracles of God were revealed in the Old Testament days, and to whom the Messiah came. The gates will be set into the four walls around the city, which will be made of jasper. The walls will simply define the dimensions of the city; they are not intended to keep people out. There will be no more need for protection since all enemies will have been destroyed. The gates will always be open.
Both the Old Testament saints and the Church will have access to this city, but each time they enter they will be reminded of their debt to the nation of Israel and to the apostles.
Street of Gold
… The main street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass (Revelation 21:21b).
The gold will be a special kind of gold, transparent and clear as glass; translucent gold. The gold will be so pure that light will not be repelled by it, rather, it will absorb light.
The City’s Temple
I did not see a temple in it, because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (Revelation 21:22).
From the time God created Adam and Eve, He has chosen to fellowship with us. He maintained fellowship with Adam and Eve before they sinned. After the Fall, a place of sacrifice had to be established for fellowship to continue. From Adam and Eve post-fall to the patriarchs, a place of sacrifice was used to approach and maintain fellowship with God.
In the days of Moses, God established the Tabernacle. Under the reign of Solomon, this was transferred to the Temple, and finally the Lord Jesus Christ in His incarnation came to tabernacle with us and to become the complete sacrifice. After His ascension, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in the bodies of believers.
In the millennial Kingdom a memorial Temple will provide a place for people to worship God because they will still be in the deciding process, accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ. However, in the New Jerusalem there will be no need for a temple because God Himself will be there, making not only the Holy City, but the entire earth a glorious temple, or place of worship.
In Hebrews 11, Abraham specifically is described as looking for a city, meaning the heavenly Jerusalem.
By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:9-10).
This will be realized by Abraham and his children who have responded to Jesus Christ their Messiah.
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:22-24).
The Holy City will be inhabited not just by the Church, but by all who have been redeemed through His blood.
The City’s Illumination
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never close by day because it will never be night there (Revelation 21:23-25).
Lehman Strauss points out that,
“In that city which Christ has prepared for His own there will be no created light, simply because Christ Himself, who is the uncreated Light (John 8:12), will be there. Then shall be fulfilled the ancient prophecy which says, “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory” (Isaiah 60:19). The created lights of God and of men are as darkness when compared with our blessed Lord. The light He diffuses throughout eternity is the unclouded, undimmed glory of His own holy Presence. In consequence of the fulness of that Light, there shall be no night.”1
The city will be illuminated solely by the glory of God. It will be like the light that emanated from the burning bush Moses encountered.
Tree of Life
Crystal-clear water will flow from God’s thrown, and on each side will grow the tree of life, first planted in the Garden of Eden. After the fall, Adam and Eve were barred from eating from it so that they would not live eternally in their fallen state. The tree will be restored in the new Jerusalem and the redeemed will be invited to eat of it and live eternally in their newfound perfection.
Then he showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city’s main street. The tree of life was on each side of the river, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations (Revelation 22:1-2).
1 Lehman Strauss, The Book of the Revelation: Outlined Studies (1964, by Lehman Strauss. Database 2008 WORDSearch Corp.), p. 383.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.
Dr. Miguel J. Gonzalez is the Founder and President of Reasons for Faith International Ministries. He served as a pastor for ten years in Charlotte, NC and has taught in churches and conferences throughout the United States. He currently hosts the Time in the Word and Truth To Live By podcasts and writes at KnowingChristianity.blogspot.com.
Copyright © 2006–2022 by Miguel J. Gonzalez Th.D. and published by Reasons for Faith International Ministries, Inc. by permission. No part may be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright © 2006-2021 Miguel J. Gonzalez Th.D.) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.