Summary: What will this city be like? It is indescribable. It’s like trying to describe God.
Last time we led up to where we are tonight. We said that the new heavens and the new earth will have a capital city, a specific place where the presence of God will be centered and where the Lord Jesus Christ will live and rule the universe. That place is called the New Jerusalem.
Actually there are several names by which the capital city will be known.
- The New Jerusalem.
- The Heavenly Jerusalem.
- The Holy City.
- Holy Jerusalem.
- The City of My God.
- The Great City.
So what will this city be like? It is indescribable. It’s like trying to describe God. How can human language describe God? By the same token, how can the human language describe the city where God’s presence is centered and where Jesus Christ dwells? This is the problem that John had in trying to describe the New Jerusalem.
There are no earthly things beautiful enough to be part of God’s city. So John did all he could: he used the most beautiful and precious things on earth to describe the city. So this passage tonight tells us what God wants us to know about the New Jerusalem. God has given us the privilege of being a citizen of His great city. So let’s look at the description of this beautiful place. PRAYER.
READ 9-10. This is the last vision that God gives John. Note who it is that God sends to take John to the city, one of the seven angels who had cast one of the bowl judgments on the earth.
There is symbolism in this. God has a message of warning for the earth—judgment is coming. But God also has a message of hope and glory for the earth. That message of hope is the New Jerusalem that is also coming to the earth. And every person can live with God in the glory of that city. How do we get to be a citizen of that city? By believing in the Son of God. The angel carries John away to a high mountain and shows him the glorious city of God. John describes the city with 8 descriptions. READ 11.
We see the glory of the city in verse 11. The glory is the very glory of God himself. The glory of God gives light to the whole city. It shines so brightly that there is no need for the sun or for any other heavenly body to give light.
The glory of God shines throughout the city; the city actually shines and has a sparkling sheen to it. The city shines like the green of a jasper, but it is as clear as crystal. The glory of God glitters off the city as though the buildings are crystal clear. Everything glitters in the most beautiful green of the jasper.
Have you ever walked among the trees on an icy day when the trees are covered with ice? It’s like walking in the midst of a crystal forest. Everything sparkles and glitters—the green needles of the pines, the bare branches of the trees, the small branches and trunks of the saplings, the leaves lying on the ground.
As the sun shines on the ice, it sparkles like a crystal ice palace. It’s one of the most beautiful sights on earth in my opinion. This is a very faint idea of the sparkle and glitter of the glory of God throughout the crystal clear city of God.
READ 12. Here we see the city’s walls. They are great and very high. The idea of it all is protection, of perfect security. When believers reach the New Jerusalem, they will be behind the walls of perfection. They will be secure.
READ 13. Now we look at the twelve gates. Three things are said about the gates:
1. They have the names of the 12 tribes of Israel on them. This is symbolic that the only way to come to God is through the Messiah of the 12 tribes, that is the Lord Jesus Christ. God sent His salvation, his own Son, through the Jews. No person can enter the heavenly city unless he comes through the gates of salvation provided by God.
2. The second thing about the gates is that they are guarded by 12 angels. The entrance to the city is protected. No person is allowed to enter the city unless they are approved by God.
3. The third thing to be said is that there are three gates on each of the four walls of the city, 12 gates altogether. Since these gates face every direction on earth, it symbolizes that everyone on earth is invited to enter the city. I wonder which gate I will walk through.
READ 14. Here we see the city’s twelve foundations. They have the names of the twelve apostles inscribed on them. Note that the twelve apostles are clearly identified as apostles “of the Lamb.” That means that the foundation of the city is the testimony of the 12 apostles. That testimony is that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. It is the sacrificial death of Jesus as the Lamb of God that makes the city available to people.