Summary: 4th of 5 messages leading up to Easter on Death, Life after Life and the meaning of the resurrection. This message focuses on the Holy City and Streets of Gold.
What will Heaven be Like?
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
If this fallen world in all of its brokenness can be so wonderful, what must heaven be like?
T. S. Elliot
9 But as it is written in the Scriptures: “No one has ever seen this, and no one has ever heard about it. No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Elderly Couple died in an accident
An elderly couple died in an accident and found themselves standing before the Pearly Gates of Heaven. St Peter was there to welcome them and took them inside.
First Peter showed them their new, heavenly mansion. The man, awed by the sheer luxury of it all asked, "How much does this place cost per night?" St Peter replied, "Sir, this is Heaven, it doesn’t cost anything."
Then Peter took them to the dining room where table upon table was piled high with the most superb, delicious foods you could imagine. Again overwhelmed by the lavishness of it all the man asked, "How much for the meals?" St Peter said, "You forget, this is Heaven; it’s free."
St Peter then took them out back where they saw the very finest professional golf course. As the man stood there open-mouthed St Peter said, "Now before you ask, there are no greens fees; this is Heaven; everything is free."
The man turned to his wife and said, "If it hadn’t been for your bran muffins, we could’ve gotten here ten years ago!”
On this Sunday – Palm Sunday – we remember the streets, covered with palms and dusty robes of excited people. We remember Jesus astride a small donkey being received with great joy by all of the people of the old Jerusalem.
Draw the picture of John walking just behind the donkey… and taking in the scene
Imagine John walking alongside Jesus on the donkey this morning. See the people and then let it all fade into the background.
Flash forward to an old John. His body is gnarled. His feet are flat. His hands are shaky. His mind is full of the images of a new heaven whose streets are paved with pure gold.
Streets of Gold
10 And the angel carried me away by the Spirit to a very large and high mountain. He showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
The Holy City - Twelve Angels
11 It was shining with the glory of God and was bright like a very expensive jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 The city had a great high wall with twelve gates with twelve angels at the gates, and on each gate was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Holy City - Twelve Gates
13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west.
21:9-23. 12-21. The City has twelve gates, on each of which is the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and each gate is guarded by an angel.
The word translated street, plateia, means literally a broad place; from this word derives our word plaza.
The Holy City - Twelve Foundations
14 The walls of the city were built on twelve foundation stones, and on the stones were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The wall rests upon twelve foundations, which apparently means twelve sections of the foundation, and on each of these is a name of one of the twelve apostles.
The Holy City - Twelve Gemstones
Jasper: (greenish yellow?)
Chalcedony: (greenish blue?)
Sardonyx: (red and white)
The wall is made of jasper, the city is of gold, the gates of pearl, and the foundations of twelve precious stones.
J. N. Darby rarely said that he did not know what a passage of Scripture might mean, but regarding these stones, he once wrote, “The difference of the stones contains details which are above my knowledge” (Collected Writings, Volume V, p. 154).
“If we compare the colors of the foundation stones with those of the rainbow,” says Govett (op. cit., in loco), “we shall find, I believe, a designed resemblance, though, from our ignorance in regard of the precious stones, we cannot come to any very close or satisfactory conclusion. The stones, then, with their colors, and the tints of the rainbow, are as follows:
Revelation 21–22 describe God’s eternal residence, the ultimate in glory, for this passage likens it to a magnificent, immense piece of jewelry, a cube 1,360 miles long, wide, and high. This city will be made of crystal clear gold, its streets paved with similar gold, its gates mammoth pearls, its foundation a laminate of twelve gargantuan gemstones.