Remember those times back in the day when you heard someone speak about Heaven's pearly gates and its streets made of gold? What were those people talking about?
Well, today's study on New Jerusalem will show you exactly where those terms originated.
Heaven, God's dwelling place, as the Bible defines it, includes Christ's New Jerusalem.
God discusses New Jerusalem here and there throughout his Word, but, the final two chapters of the Bible systematically describe the City in spectacularly vivid detail. Please read (click the link) Revelation 21:1-22:6 before starting the lesson, because that'll be our main text.
Welcome back from your reading! Now, let's study heaven, specifically Christ's New Jerusalem, the City that God's amazing grace will soon bestow upon those people who strive to live for God's glory.
We'll begin the study in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Old Testament segment won't take long because there's limited information about New Jerusalem. These ancient Scriptures are an early revelation of God's overall plan of redemption, a very limited revelation mind you, so the fact that New Jerusalem isn't spoken of much isn't the least bit surprising.
Israel, God's chosen earthly nation, was the focus in the O.T. and the majority of the Hebrew prophet's future vision was of the Millennial Jerusalem. Let's quickly look at what biblical facts support such a claim.
First of all, the Abrahamic Covenant sought the Promised Land, which was fulfilled in Canaan 80 years after the Exodus. The earthly nation of Israel was God's chosen NATION, not necessarily his eternally chosen individuals. That's an extremely important biblical fact to fully grasp.
Secondly, the New Covenant was all about the future indwelling Spirit, Israel's national rebirth, and Christ's reign in the Millennial Jerusalem (see Ezekiel 36:22-38 and Jeremiah 31:33-34 and Hebrews 8:7-13). Israel will rise to global power, under Christ's direct Kingship, during the Millennium. You can easily watch the early stages taking shape on the evening news - Israel is fast forming into a powerful nation.
Rarely in the O.T. do we catch light about New Jerusalem, because there were no explicit covenants directly concerning the ultimate Holy City. As a matter of fact, there were few unveiled words concerning bodily resurrection, not to mention a Jewish believer's home for eternal life!
God chose to reveal New Jerusalem mostly in the New Testament era (John 16:13).
With all things God-related there's a definite purpose involved. In fact, the Bible tells us that the Old Testament period was recorded so that we had lessons and illustrations so that we'd be prepared for what was to come (Luke 16:29-31; Romans 4:23-24; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6,11). In other words, we today can learn about ourselves, our calling, and our own heavenly home by reading about Israel and the Promised Land, because they represent and illustrate God's chosen people and eternal life.
The following verses are short O.T. passages which cracked heaven's door open a bit, just enough so a person living in the pre-Christ days could catch a glimpse of eternity, like Abraham did (Hebrews 11:10-16).
Included is a short synopis for each passage in case you don't click on the verse. These listed attributes all tightly correlate with the Revelation 21 & 22 description of New Jerusalem, and also the New Heavens and New Earth.
As you can see, Isaiah seems to be the chosen O.T. prophet that was given bytes of the future about Christ's ultimate heaven and New Jerusalem. This isn't to say there aren't more passages that could be said of both New Jerusalem AND Millennial Jerusalem, but those double entendre passages settle more nicely into the Millennial Jerusalem discussion.
The Hebrews theoretically could catch a glimpse of New Jerusalem, but most fail to see the future city in the limited passages that describe it. God's mysteries are unraveled slowly over the course of millenia, so this isn't a surprise.
It's time to see what the New Testament reveals about New Jerusalem.
One of the most striking distinctions that sets New Jerusalem apart from its earthly predecessors (i.e. Jerusalem & Millennial Jerusalem) is the fact that New Jerusalem is NOT man-made - it's created and built by YHWH (aka, the Father) and his Son (Hebrews 8:1-2).
The City is holy, not part of the original creation, remaining untouched by sinful man's hands and the curse (Hebrews 9:11-12).
New Jerusalem is separate from Creation, unlike both Jerusalem and Millennial Jerusalem. The sin of mankind, nor the effects of sin, has any power or negative effect upon New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem is, and will forever remain, as holy as the One who sits upon its eternal throne.
Only redeemed man will be allowed to enter and live in its friendly and secure confines.
Let's pick-up the study of the magnificent New Jerusalem at the Final Judgment, when Christ has all living beings gathered together as nations. They're all standing before his Great White Throne which occurs at the very end of Christ's Millennium.
For the sake of context, the Great White Throne Judgment of unbelievers takes place after the final rebellion of Satan and after mystery Babylon is destroyed (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:7-15).
Immediately following the Great White Throne Judgment, the terrifying Day of the Lord occurs, as Jesus Christ strikes the universe with the judgment of fire (2 Peter 3:10-13). This incredible, cataclysmic event will be like no other in history.
Referring back to the Old Testament for a moment, we see that the Prophet Isaiah 24:18-23 NLT clearly foretold us about the mighty Day of the Lord.
God's holy fire (Hebrews 12:29) will incinerate the current cursed universe (2 Peter 3:7) and all those who chose to follow its ways. Those who remain will marvel at this roaring, fiery explosion that incinerates all sinners, sins, and the effects of sin (2 Peter 3:11-13).
The silence of awe strickens everyone.
A deafening stillness is broken by Jesus Christ's thundering proclamation, "Behold, I am making everything new!" (Revelation 21:5).
Everything? Let's find out what he means.
The new creation, or re-creation, depending upon which viewpoint proves true, of the new universe is finally complete! (Luke 21:33; Romans 8:20-23).
The New Heavens have been created. The New Earth has been created! We'll hardly be able to comprehend their beauty. The sight of the New World will nearly overwhelm us. We'll view God and his Son like never before, because of their ability to create at the sound of their voice. Wow! Read more about it here: New Earth.
After the calm realization of all living beings, New Jerusalem slowly descends into the purified universe, leaving everyone gasping in complete awe and wonder. Let your mind go there a second - it's OKAY to imagine the magnificance of New Jerusalem's appearance! [note: we'll study its biblical description in a few minutes].
Jesus Christ tells his newly resurrected and glorified people, the sheep on his right, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven - the eternal, safe-haven called New Jerusalem, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world!" (Matthew 25:34). Your spiritual life needs re-energized if that doesn't send chills of expectation down your spine.
New Jerusalem, after being in a state of construction for thousands of years, finally becomes inhabited by those who love the Lord! (John 14:1-3).
It's possible that another great Wedding Feast may occur, celebrating the arrival of all redeemed people (Revelation 21:2). Regardless, we'll surely be welcomed into the New Jerusalem with a marvelous parade and victory celebration.
The Father's ultimate gift to his Son and his followers is this New Jerusalem!
A mighty shout then thunders forth from God's Throne, "Behold, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them!" (Revelation 21:3).
Redemption is finished. The final victory complete - God and man now live together, forever, Amen.
Who are the men and women you imagine being fortunate enough to live in New Jerusalem?
For starters, ALL people of all time who were redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ will enjoy this marvelous Celestial City.
The glorified people were known in advance by the Father, chosen by him for eternity, called to him through his Son, and justified by him personally (Romans 8:29-30).
Jesus explicitly told us in John 14:2 that there's plenty of room for all of us in the Father's house. Christ himself prepared the City for all those who trust in Him and the Father for eternal life. Truly redeemed people of all human eras will be given a residence in Christ's New Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12).
The people who make it into the New Jerusalem will seemingly turn the tables on the way we've viewed people on earth. The greatest people here now on earth will be scarce in the Holy City. The least of people here and now will be plentiful in Christ's New Jerusalem (Mark 10:29-31).
Simply stated, we'll be shocked to see many in New Jerusalem who were formerly disfigured, unintelligent, despicable, homeless, handicapped, poor, basically, those who seemed to be the most unfortunate here on the earth.
Prepare yourselves now by helping and serving those same people on earth (Matthew 25:31-46), because these Christians who were physically and mentally broken on earth will be made whole at the bodily resurrection.
Simply inheriting a residence in New Jerusalem doesn't necessarily mean that you'll constantly inhabit the residence. The New Earth will be inhabited, as well, so it's possible that many people may have their main residences there, or quite possibly in both places! We may very well carry dual residency in New Jerusalem and New Earth.
According to Revelation 21:24, "The nations (i.e. Gentiles) will walk (i.e. conduct one's life) in New Jerusalem's light and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory." Biblical indications, then, seem to point to the Gentiles mainly inhabiting New Earth. If true, don't be discouraged, because Christ's New Earth will be incredible, and we'll often be travelling back and forth to New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:25-26).
The Promised Land, specifically Jerusalem, has always been the appointed home for God's chosen nation of Israel. Why would his plan change for New Jerusalem?
Jesus Christ states in Matthew 19:28, "Truly, I say to you, in the New World, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Jesus was talking to his intimate twelve here, those Jewish disciples who will help him judge all those who are genetically part of the chosen Hebrew nation [note: Jews have a separate judgment then do the Gentiles - Romans 2:12b].
God's hierarchy has already been established during mankind's history; and those people, including the kings, priests, prophets, and apostles, will sit in honor inside the Kingdom of Heaven.
God also chose a nation to honor him, that being Israel.
As we'll see in the next section, New Jerusalem's gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and its foundation walls have the names of Christ's apostles written upon them. We've not been told by the Lord that any Gentiles have their names inscribed anywhere on New Jerusalem.
The leaders of YHWH's Kingdom, the kings, prophets, apostles, including the inspired penmen of his Scriptures, have ALL been Jews. That will never change - not even in eternity. Israel's genetic, chosen and saved individuals will inhabit New Jerusalem, full-time, forever. Praise be to God, and his Son, Yeshua, the King of Israel!
The Apostle John was taken up into the Throne Room in order to see and record all of the events given to him (Revelation 4:1-2). Let's quickly recap before creating a list of New Jerusalem attributes.
John was shown the Great Tribulation in detail (chapters 6-19), the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9), a snapshot of the Millennial Reign (Revelation 20:1-10), the Final Judgment of unbelievers (Revelation 20:11-15), the re-creation of the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 21:1), and finally, John was shown New Jerusalem descending from heaven (Revelation 21:2).
Revelation 21:1-22:6 gives us the mother-load of information about Christ's New Jerusalem - we know that it's "Christ's" New Jerusalem because Revelation 3:14 tells us that he's the source of God's New Creation.
There was spotty, veiled information of this incredible mystery before this passage; and there's been none since, because this passage basically closes out the Holy Bible.
Here's a partial list of New Jerusalem facts from Revelation 21:3-22:6:
Breathtaking, huh?! That's the eternal city for you and all forgiven people.
Many people believe this description to be symbolic, representative of some mysterious, indescribeable heaven that God isn't telling us about. Ridiculous! God has revealed our future home to us!!
A believer should accept this description as reality for many reasons. First of all, why wouldn't God make something so incredible? Do you think He can't make something so massive and so beautiful? Don't you think He can make a huge gate out of a single pearl? Or, can't He pave a street out of gold so pure that it's as clear as glass?
The God we read about in the Scriptures, the God who made all of creation, the God who made us, the God who is very much alive and well and active, can easily make this beautiful New Jerusalem with nothing but the breath of his command (Psalm 33:6-9 NLT). The moment he speaks something into existence it's D-O-N-E.
Secondly, John SAW and HEARD these things from God's Throne Room. What he witnessed wasn't a dream. He was shown future reality. The angel told John, "Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true" (Revelation 22:6a). In other words, "I'm not showing you God's warmest wishes, John, but future, eternal reality."
Speaking of which, it sure doesn't sound like some fuzzy, eery existence in a far-off ethereal heaven full of impersonal, disembodied spirit-orbs, does it? No way! Get that faithless new-age junk outta here.
Heaven is real! Embrace it. Desire your part of Christ's New World and its capitol city, New Jerusalem.
New Jerusalem contains much of what we read about in the Scriptures.
The Throne Room is found there, inside the Tabernacle, aka God's dwelling place; and both the Father and Son rule from there now (see Hebrews 8:1-2). Did you think they were floating around out there in some misty, dreamy place? There are viewpoints that say Heaven is not currently in New Jerusalem, which may turn out to be true.
So, you can stop thinking of the current Heaven, i.e. Christ's and his saints' abode, as some mystical distant cloud that doesn't have firm foundations, walls, and homes (Hebrews 12:27). Nope, don't short-change God's plan and his Son's creating abilities. Heaven is the New Jerusalem!!
Of course, the Holy City won't come down from its current home in the third heaven until the Father is good and ready - and ONLY He knows when that time will be (Mark 13:32).
A possibility certainly exists that New Jerusalem will hover over Millennial Jerusalem, though hidden from people's view by ominous clouds (Isaiah 4:2-6; Psalm 18:7-15). Read Matthew 24:29-30 and Joel 2:2 & Joel 3:13-16 and picture it happening like described in these passages.
This Holy City is about as large as the western half of the United States. Can you imagine?! The 1343 miles wide, 1343 miles long, and 1343 miles high size is massive.
Some say it could possibly be shaped like a pyramid, but it'll probably be in the shape of a cube. A pyramid is generally the product of Mystery Babylon, the infamous pagan city.
The Throne Room, which we mentioned earlier, could be at one end of Christ's New Jerusalem, maybe higher, sitting on a mountain, possibly. Or, it could be high and in the center with rivers running down towards each wall.
It's said that there's a crystal clear sea around the Throne, too, possibly feeding the River of Life (Revelation 4:6).
There are beautiful mansions for everyone (John 14:2), with incredible treasures in each (Revelation 2:10; 2:17; 3:5. The decor will be created and crafted uniquely for each individual. There's ample room for an estimated one or two billion redeemed people on the New Earth and inside New Jerusalem's massive structure.
Is the New Jerusalem named "The Father's House" by Christ in John 14:2? Why couldn't New Jerusalem be where the Father's Throne is located, which also includes Christ's Throne at his right hand? Isn't heaven where God's Throne is located? You bet it is - New Jerusalem, The Father's and Son's dwelling place forever.
The trees inside New Jerusalem produce their fruits with little to no human gardening - all being self-sustaining eternal plants.
There will probably be work for the inhabitants, but mainly gathering, as opposed to hunting or farming, which requires toil and sweat. Those tough days will be in our rear-view mirror. Thank you, Jesus! Much of the food will be grown on the New Earth and delivered by the people when they visit Jerusalem.
The Millennial Jerusalem and its Temple, which replaced old Jerusalem, will henceforth be replaced itself by New Jerusalem.
The eternal city will have feasts and festivals celebrating God's work and his Son's work. Gentiles will come and join Israel in these Kingdom celebrations (Revelation 21:24-26).
New Jerusalem was architecturally engineered and hand-crafted by God in Heaven. There's no corruption in it whatsoever, nor will there ever be. New Jerusalem is God's Holy City where He will dwell with his Son, their angels, and redeemed humanity for the rest of eternity.
God's full week of human history on earth will soon come to an end. The first "six days" are quickly winding down, and the final day of Israel's 1,000 year earthly glory, will quickly pass by, as well.
His elect Hebrews and Gentiles are ready to be gathered into one eternal city, Christ's New Jerusalem, which arrives from the distant heavens (John 10:16).
The sight of this City descending into the New Heavens and upon the New Earth will be spectacular. We've never seen anything like it, because there's never been anything approaching its magnificense.
The New Jerusalem is God's goodness made into an incredible gift. You, me, and all of God's chosen are the fortunate ones. He has blessed us, we who are nothing but unworthy sinners, with a gift so beautiful, so perfect, that the moment we receive it, THEN and only THEN we will finally know for certain that YHWH is our God and Christ is our Lord.
God LOVES us with an unending love that is so great, so amazing, it's beyond our ability to grasp. All we can do in return is love Him, honor Him, worship Him, study His Word, serve Him, and love others as much as we love ourselves. God's BEST to you.
Dear Father, From my knees, today, I give my heart in full to You. I walk to Christ's Cross to repent, and die with your Son. I travel to Christ's Tomb to receive the Spirit, and resurrect with Him. Today, I'll help the poor, visit the sick, share my faith, visit the prisoners, and pray that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Open my eyes to all those who need to know about you, and those who need help. Give me the mind of Christ, so I also receive his heart. Lord, thank you for all your daily blessings. Thank you for the hope of eternal life, lived in the New World, with You and your Son and your holy angels. Blessed be thy name! Amen.
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