“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.” (Revelation 21:9)
The passage is self-explanatory. This is one of the seven angels who had one of the seven vials of wrath who had shown to John the scarlet-clad harlot, the great and guilty Babylon (Revelation 17). One of these seven, and it is possible that it was the same one, now showed John the bride of The Lamb, the new and holy Jerusalem. What a contrast! The former writes, “finished," while the latter writes, “beginning."
The phrase, “saying, Come hither (here), I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife,” tells us several things:
There is but one Salvation, and that is by faith in Christ and what He did at The Cross. Peter said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). I remind the reader that Peter, at this particular time in Jerusalem, was speaking altogether to Jews. So, the idea that there is one type of salvation for Jews and another for Gentiles holds no Scriptural validity whatsoever. So, the Lamb’s wife consists of every single person who has ever trusted Christ in the history of humanity.
In The Spirit
“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” (Revelation 21:10). The phrase, “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain,” refers to the apostle seeing all of this in a vision. The Spirit referred to here is The Holy Spirit. In the original text, the definite article “the” is in front of the word Spirit, signifying that it is the The Holy Spirit, which means that it should have been capitalized by the translators. It is the same as when he said, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice,…” (Revelation 1:10). All believers have The Holy Spirit, but only some are baptized with The Spirit. All who are baptized with The Holy Spirit will speak with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utterance (Acts 2:4; 10:44-48; 19:1-7). In fact, none of this that John describes would be possible without the moving and operation of The Holy Spirit. Every single thing that the believer receives that is truly from God is all carried out by The Holy Spirit in one way or another.
The Modern Church
The problem with the modern church is that it is little led by The Spirit and is, thereby, very little in The Spirit. This means that whatever is done, although it may be religious, it will actually serve no purpose for God. In fact, that is the problem with most churches. They are a veritable beehive of activity, but all of it is man devised. In fact, and I say this sadly, most that go under the name “church” are not even recognized by God as such. Jesus told the church at Ephesus, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick (lampstand) out of his place, except thou repent.” (Revelation 2:5) The candlestick represents light, which symbolizes the church. To be sure, if it’s not functioning according to what The Holy Spirit desires, its candlestick will be removed. This means that, as far as The Lord is concerned, it’s no longer a church. He then said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;…” (Revelation 2:7). If The Word of God is not properly preached within the church, then The Word of God is not truly being preached. To properly preach means to preach without fear, favoritism, or compromise, which means to preach The Cross.
How Many Churches Presently are Preaching The Cross?
The churches that are actually preaching The Cross are so few as to be almost nonexistent. However, what few there are, they actually represent that which is being done for God in this world. This means that those not preaching The Cross are, in effect, doing nothing for The Lord. They may be involved in great religious activity, but it may even be probable that they are doing much harm. Let’s go back to a previous statement. If what we do is not born of The Spirit, activated by The Spirit, empowered by The Spirit, led by The Spirit, and anointed by The Spirit, then it is not of God. Irrespective of how religious it might be, it will serve no purpose whatsoever. In fact, it’s impossible to have the moving and operation of The Holy Spirit without one’s faith being anchored in The Cross. Total trust in the sacrifice of Christ shows that one is dependent totally upon Christ. The Holy Spirit will always honor this trust because it provides a fertile field in which he can work. Trust in other things builds self-righteousness, but The Holy Spirit cannot function in such an atmosphere.
The Holy Jerusalem
In Revelation 21:10, the phrase, “and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God," presents a vision of the New Jerusalem, which John will proceed to describe minutely. John saw it descending, meaning that it is coming down to earth. In fact, the day is coming, which will be after God has made the New Heaven and New Earth, when The Lord will change His Headquarters from Haven to Earth. The great city of Revelation Chapter 17 is man’s. This one is God’s. It is called “the bride, the Lamb's wife” because of those who inhabit it. The Lamb’s wife is to live in a golden city whose builder and maker is God. As well, this is a literal city and not something that is symbolic, and it definitely is not a metaphor. It is a great city, and it is called “the holy Jerusalem." In fact, it is so literal that we are given the dimensions in almost every capacity as it regards this city, the eternal abode of the redeemed.
As we go forward with our study, we should contemplate very carefully all that is said because this is the place where you will abide forever and forever, that is, if you are born again. This is your eternal home! To be sure, it is of such grandeur as to defy all description. Understanding that, how could we be worthy of such grace and glory? The facts are that, within ourselves, we are not worthy and, in fact, cannot be worthy. However, because we are The Lamb’s wife, that fact alone has made us worthy. To be in Christ is to be everything. Once again, let us emphasize that all of this, the beauty, the glory, the wonder, the rapture, and the grandeur, all and without exception and, above all, our part in this eternal abode, is made possible exclusively by what Jesus did at The Cross. No wonder Paul wrote, quoting Isaiah, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10; Isaiah 64:4).
The Glory of God
“Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;” (Revelation 21:11) The phrase, “Having the glory of God,” is that which makes the city what it is. Everything else is wonderful, but it is the Glory of God that gives it the light and luster that makes it different than any city that has ever existed. While the Jerusalem of the Millennial reign will be great and wonderful because Jesus will rule from this particular place, still, as grand and glorious as that city might be, God will not think enough of it for it to be preserved. It will be destroyed completely in the renovation of the heaven and the earth. Of the millennial Jerusalem, we are told that, “…the glory of the LORD filled the house,” referring to the temple, but it mentions nothing about the city itself (Ezekiel 43:2, 4-5). Of the New Jerusalem, the entirety of the city will be filled with the glory of God. Occasionally (some more often than others), we sense the Glory of God on our person. It is a feeling of unimagined presence, for, in reality, it is the presence of God. Many times, I have gone to prayer and have been tremendously troubled in my spirit. The problems, whatever they might have been, were pressing, and there seemed to be no solution. However, countless times, the Spirit of God, in the realm of the Glory of God, would come upon me. When this would happen, the spirit of oppression would instantly leave, and euphoria would fill my heart to such an extent as to defy all description. That is the glory of God, and how privileged we are to sense it at all. However, that which is to come will not be upon us merely upon occasion but will be perpetual. In other words, we will live in this glory time without end, which literally staggers the imagination. If you are truly saved, then you know what I’m talking about because you have momentarily sensed that glory yourself. Now, think of living in that forever and forever.
In Revelation 21:11, the phrase, “and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal," presents the radiance of God’s glory. Verse 23 says, “…for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Considering that this light is like a jasper stone, more than likely, that is what the angel told him. For it is doubtful that John would have had that much knowledge of precious stones. This would mean that it is a prism of light, which refers to colors constantly changing, which would be indescribably beautiful, and yet, each color of light diminishes not at all the crystal clarity of light. It is abundant in color, for jasper stone is of that manner, but, yet, it is clear as crystal, meaning that sight is not impeded at all. We struggle in our efforts to explain what John saw, and no matter how close we might think we can come to a proper explanation, the truth is, we are not close at all. In even attempting to explain these descriptions, one can sense the presence of God. So, what will it really be like when at long last, we actually stand in this city, even as all born again believers shall?
“And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:” (Revelation 21:12) The phrase, “And had a wall great and high,” presents that which is definitely decorative, as we shall see. It also carries a spiritual connotation, which we shall also see. This wall will be 216 feet high, counting 18 inches to the cubit (Revelation 21:17). As well, we will find that the city has twelve gates, three on each side, and at each gate, there stands an angel. Also, on the gates are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
The phrase, “and had twelve gates,” signifies three gates on the north, three gates on the south, three gates on the east, and three gates on the west. The gates on each side will be about 350 miles distance from each other. Twelve is the number of God’s government. Consequently, the government of God will rule this city, which means there will be perfect government in every respect. For there to be perfect government, there must be perfect obedience. However, considering that perfect obedience will come from perfection, obedience will not be a chore at all but will be the norm. We are speaking of every saint of God, who definitely will then be perfect. To be sure, there will be no desire for anything other than that which adds to the glory of God.
The Government of God
Down through the ages, because of man’s lost condition, his problem has ever been with the government of God. In fact, that is the greatest problem with the church as well. In the book of Acts and the Epistles, we are given, by The Holy Spirit, the government that The Lord intends and a description of how it is to be carried out. Unfortunately, religious men are seldom satisfied with God’s government and, thereby, set out to change it. Some time back, one of the large pentecostal denominations changed one of its rulings. To be frank, it is something that should have never been instituted to begin with. However, they had subscribed to this unscriptural ruling ever since 1914. As should be obvious, if it was Scriptural, how could they change it? Well, of course, they have changed it because it was not Scriptural. Unfortunately, the government of this particular denomination is not Scriptural in many aspects. It is because men make rules that have no Scriptural foundation. That is the bane of the church and, in fact, has always been the bane of the church.
The phrase, “and at the gates twelve angels," proclaims the fact of the glory of the city and, as well, the glory of God’s government. Whether the same angels will remain there forever, we are not told, but it is likely that there will be different angels but with the place and position at each gate always occupied. The Scriptures do provide some insight regarding angels:
The phrase, “and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel,” proclaims the fact that the Lamb’s wife is made up of every single believer, whether on the other side of The Cross or this side of The Cross. Every gate will have the name of one of the twelve tribes. As well, this tells us how precious to the heart of God is Israel, and it is precious because of Israel’s faith. Also, this proclaims the fact that Israel will experience a great restoration, to which we have already addressed ourselves. She will yet function as she should function and God always intended. The troubles and problems have been many, with her not even recognizing The Lamb when He came into her midst, and, then, agony upon agonies, she crucified The Lamb, which brought her untold suffering and sorrow. However, God is never defeated. Ultimately, He will bring Israel back. It will not be an easy task and, in fact, this trying hour, called “the time of Jacob's trouble," is just ahead of us. Nonetheless, it will succeed in what it is designed to do, bring Israel back to God (Jeremiah 30:7).
“On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates” (Revelation 21:13). As previously stated, there are twelve gates, three to a side. Three gates on each side proclaims the fact of the Trinity, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Having three gates on each side also proclaims the fact that salvation is the same for all.
The phrase, “On the east three gates,” probably means these gates will have the names Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan.
The phrase, “on the north three gates,” probably means these gates will have the names Ruben, Judah, and Levi.
The phrase, “on the south three gates,” probably means these gates will have the names Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun.
The phrase, “and on the west three gates,” probably means these gates will have the names Gad, Asher, and Naphtali.
The Scripture does not say here, but the names of the twelve tribes of Israel that are inscribed on the gates of the heavenly city and the order of their placement on each side are probably the same as given in the description by Ezekiel concerning the Millennial Temple of Jerusalem of that day (Ezekiel 48:31-34). We may wonder why the names of the twelve tribes of Israel are inscribed on the gates of this celestial city considering that this will be forever and forever. The reason goes back to Abraham. It was to the Patriarch that the great plan of salvation was given as it regarded justification by faith (Genesis 15:6). In order for this plan to be brought to fruition, a people would have to be raised up who would have faith in Jehovah. Incidentally, those people came from the loins of Abraham and the womb of Sarah. They were called Israelites, and to them was given the Word of God. As well, they would serve as the womb of the Messiah. All of this had to be if salvation was to come to the world. This is why Jesus said to the woman at Jacob’s well, “…salvation is of the Jews,” (John 4:22). Consequently, Christ Himself, was of Jewish ancestry. As well, not only are the names on the gates Jewish, but the twelve apostles, whose names are on the twelve foundations, are Jewish also.
Paul said that the Gentiles were grafted into the tree of Israel (Romans 11:17). As it regards salvation, the great plan of God includes the entirety of mankind. However, it was brought into the world by the Jews, and that must not be forgotten. In fact, the New Jerusalem guarantees that it will not be forgotten. However, with the names of the twelve tribes on the gates and the names of the apostles on the foundations, both the Old and New Testaments are held up in their entirety as the Word of God. Jesus Christ, Who is the light of this city, is the fulfillment of the entirety of The Word. The presence of angels at each gate proclaims that this is God’s city. While the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles emphasize the fact that the city is for the Lamb’s wife, which consists of all the redeemed who have ever lived.
“And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Revelation 21:14). The phrase, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations,” portrays the following facts:
The Twelve Apostles
The phrase, “and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb,” tells us two things:
The first use of the word Lamb, given to us in verse 9, has to do with redemption. The second use, found in the verse of our study, has to do with the foundation of redemption, which is The Cross. Make no mistake about it, the Holy Spirit had John to use the word Lamb for a specific reason. It was to proclaim to us that all the greatness and glory portrayed in Chapters 21 and 22, which, incidentally, will be eternal, are made possible by Jesus and what He did at The Cross. The word Lamb goes back to the proclamation of John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He was to be and, in fact, is the fulfillment of the great prophecy given by Isaiah in Chapter 53 of his book.
“And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof" (Revelation 21:15). The phrase, “And he that talked with me,” proclaims one different than the angel of verse 9. The idea seems to be that one of the seven angels that have the seven vials had shown John the New Jerusalem as it regarded some of its particulars, and now, someone else began to talk with John, who, incidentally, identified himself as a prophet in Revelation 22:9. But he looked so much like an angel, or perhaps even like Our Lord, that John proceeded to worship him. He was stopped and told to worship God. This seems to be the second time that John did this (Revelation 19:10). Why would the apostle do this, and in fact, make the same mistake twice? Some have attempted to ascribe this to the incurable idolatry of the human heart. Concerning this very thing, it has been said, “That the apostle John should have twice so acted is a proof of the incurable religious blindness of the natural mind and of its idolatrous bent.” Personally, I don’t think that was John’s problem. If it is to be noticed, both times the apostle did this, and I speak of the attempt to worship the one with whom he was speaking, it was a man and not an angel. It is my thought that the redeemed in Glory look so much like Christ that it will be difficult to tell the difference. In fact, John had written a short time earlier, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
The phrase, “had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof,” will be found to be in multiples of twelve. The measuring is done for a reason. It reveals perfection, fulfillment, and completion of all of God’s purposes for His redeemed people. As twelve is God’s number for government, and perfect government at that, we will find there that the government, in every capacity and in every way, is the epitome of perfection. It means that there is nothing lacking in this salvation. What Jesus did at The Cross, symbolized by the use of the word Lamb, was truly a finished work. When John closed out the book of Revelation, he said, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). In effect, The Holy Spirit, through the apostle, is saying that man is not to take from The Cross or add to The Cross. We know this was a finished work, as well, from the 28 times the word Lamb is used in the Book of Revelation regarding Christ. Of course, the title or word Lamb portrays what Christ did at The Cross. Also, Lamb is used seven times in the last two chapters, even though all things there are perfection, with sin and satan completely done away with. As we’ve already stated, this name is used with frequency in order that all know and understand that the greatness and glory described here was all brought about by what Jesus did at The Cross. As well, Lamb is mentioned seven times to show that the work of The Cross was perfect, and it, therefore, furnishes a perfect product.
“And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal” (Revelation 21:16). The furlongs mentioned in verse 16 translate into about 1,500 miles per side. As is obvious, we have here the multiples of 12.
Length, Width, and Height
The phrase, “The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal,” presents astounding dimensions. The size of this city is, of course, unlike anything the world has previously known. If we set it down in the United States, on the western side, it would reach approximately from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to Los Angeles, California. That is the distance from north to south. Going east, it would reach Dallas, Texas on the southeastern corner and Minneapolis, Minnesota on the northeastern corner. So, we have a space here that’s a little over half of the United States. This is not to mean that this is where the city will be, but we use these numbers to give you an idea of the size of the city. Its occupants will consist not only of those who have believed in God and in Jesus Christ (John 14:1) but also all of the infants and little children who have died before they reached the age of accountability. Of course, they will not remain infants or little children, as should be obvious, because all there will be perfect, which speaks of maturity, etc. Concerning the size of this city, no wonder Jesus said, “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
If the length and the width of this city are not enough, we’re also told the height is the same as the length and the width, which means that the city is also 1,500 miles high. Some have claimed that it’s built in the shape of a pyramid, and for others, that it is a perfect cube. From the way the description is given, more than likely, the pyramid type of structure is correct. This means that it’s top stone would be some 1,500 miles above its base. This vast mountain will be made of transparent gold. It will, in a sense, be the Garden of Eden restored but on a far grander scale. The Garden of Eden was possibly a pyramid. The tower of Babel was a pyramid and was man’s effort to restore the Garden of Eden and to construct a home that would be at once a city and a temple. The pyramids of Egypt, Mexico, and other lands evidence this thirst of fallen man for a happiness that has been lost. All of this proclaims the fact of a dimension beyond anything we now presently know. This speaks of travel, living conditions, and atmospheric conditions, which will totally change, with everything, then, being different than it is now. A little bit above 10,000 feet is about the limit that people presently can live as it regards mountains, etc. To be sure, man can maybe exist a little higher than that without added oxygen. However, to live comfortably, one might say not much above 10,000 feet would be the limit. In other words, it is not much above 2 miles high. However, this city reaches 1,500 miles high, which means that the atmosphere up to the height, and perhaps even beyond, will be comfortable and livable.
We would wonder, would we not, if there will be other cities on the new earth that is to be, especially considering the size of the city. To properly understand the size of this city, if we factor in the height, we are faced with a city larger than the entirety of the surface of this earth. What exactly there will be, we are not told. However, I do not think there will be a need or even a desire for other huge cities, especially considering the glory of the New Jerusalem, but yet, there will, no doubt, be thousands of small towns and villages all over the world.
The Height of the Wall
“And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel” (Revelation 21:17). The phrase, “And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits,” translates into about 216 feet, that is, if we are using 18 inches to the cubit. Once again, we come back to the multiples of twelve. Twelve times twelve is 144. As we shall see, the wall is built strictly for ornamentation. As well, its twelve times twelve height regarding cubits is, once again, a representation of perfect government, especially considering that it rests upon twelve foundations.
The phrase, “according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel,” refers to Revelation 22:9, presenting the fact that this is a man speaking to John, even a prophet, but who looks like an angel. Man’s measurement is now finally the same as that of God’s. We speak of righteousness. I think this is what The Holy Spirit is conveying here. Outside of Christ, it is impossible for man to measure up. Only with Christ can the measurement be that which God demands.
The Wall is of Jasper
“And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass” (Revelation 21:18). The phrase, “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper,” presents a precious stone of several colors. As the Glory of God shines upon these colors, they are constantly changing. God must love color, and to be sure, this wall, some 216 feet high and some 6,000 miles in length, is, as would be obvious, totally unlike any other wall the world has ever known. It will be so beautiful as to be beyond description. How is it possible to describe the structure with colors constantly changing? Where will The Lord get that much jasper? We must remember that this is a new earth.
The phrase, “and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass,” takes us beyond imagination and beyond comprehension. Many may ask, “Is all of this meant to be literal, or is it meant to be symbolic?” It should be obvious that it is literal. That which is merely symbolic is never described in such detail. No, this is a literal city, and its description is literal. It will be exactly as the Word of God says that it will be. Gold is the most beautiful metal there is. When we consider that it is pure gold, which means that it has no alloy, it will be beautiful beyond compare. As well, I’m told that such is slightly soft to the touch. We must also consider that it is transparent, but yet, with substance. Read this chapter and believe it literally as God expects you to. For, it is a description of your literal future home, that is, if you are saved. If we doubt the veracity of this that we are reading in Chapter 21, then we are, at the same time, doubting the ability of God. Why is it so hard for some to believe that God is able to do all things, in fact, as He is almighty? The problem of doubt and unbelief was generated by the fall. It is a part of sin nature, which is the proclivity of man to believe something that is untrue and disbelieve that which is true.
Garnished with Precious Stones
“And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst” (Revelation 21:19-20). The phrase, “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones,” describes beauty upon beauty. We are told that the walls are made of jasper, but we aren’t told exactly what constitutes the substance of the foundations. Whatever it is, no doubt, it is made to cause the beauty of the precious stones to stand out. Foundations are normally underground, therefore, not seen, consequently, with no efforts made toward beauty. However, it seems that these twelve foundations are above the ground, with, perhaps, the first foundation extending partly in the ground down to bedrock. But again, quite possibly, these foundations will have no similarity whatsoever to that of which we are normally accustomed. In other words, they could very well rest on the power of God and not at all on bedrock. In the first place, there are twelve of these foundations, which seem to have a far greater spiritual value than material. As well, even as is overly obvious, the beauty is far more emphasized than anything else.
A Variety of Precious Stones
The phrase, “The first foundation was jasper,” is the same as the wall. This jasper has a greenish hue but is clear as crystal. The second is sapphire, which is blue. The third is chalcedony, which is a greenish sort of emerald. The fourth is an emerald, which is bright green. The fifth is sardonyx, which is red and white. The sixth is sardius, which is a bright red. The seventh is chrysolite, which is a golden yellow. The eighth is beryl, which is bluish green. The ninth is a topaz, which is yellowish green. The tenth is a chrysoprasus, which is apple green. The eleventh is a jacinth, which is blue. The twelfth is an amethyst, which is violet and purple. Beginning from the last color mentioned, a marked similarity can be seen with seven prismatic colors, violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. As stated, the first, jasper, is identical with the color of the wall above, and there can be no doubt but that the colors blend harmoniously with the wall of jasper, the first mentioned. With this blended harmony of color, the foundation stones will encircle the heavenly city as with a rainbow belt. The light of the heavenly city will shine with hues that will betoken the advent of the morning; the varying tints will glow like pledges of a dayspring from on high.
Praise Upon Praises
O, dear saint, can you not sense the presence of God, even as we read the description of this eternal abode of the redeemed? Once again, hear the words of Christ, said so simply, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2) However, in a sense, let the reader understand that all of this, the beauty, the glory, the grandeur, even that which is indescribable, is all, and without exception, built upon the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The preparing of this glorious place, this Celestial City, this New Jerusalem, holds no difficulty for God Almighty. However, that which made it possible for the redeemed to live eternally in this great and glorious city is of such price to beggar description, the precious blood of Christ. This is made obvious by the repetitive use of the word Lamb as it refers to Christ. Beyond imagination is the flooding of color in that incomparable city; all of these stones named here are exquisite in color. What beauty! What color! What loveliness! What grandeur! However, there is more to come.
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass” (Revelation 21:21). The phrase, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls,” probably means that each gate, which is about 216 feet high, is made of untold thousands of pearls. Criswell says, “It is a sermon in the fact that the gates are pearl. Heaven is entered through suffering and travail, through redemption and blood, through the agony of The Cross. A pearl is a jewel made by a little animal that is wounded. Without the wound, the pearl is never formed. We enter heaven through gates of pearl.” As well, the pearl is the only precious stone that the art and the skill of man cannot improve. The tools of the craftsman and artificer may give fresh luster to the emerald and the sapphire, but he must lift no tool upon the pearl. So it is with the Truth which sets men free (John 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:10). Through truth, and Him Who is truth, we enter the city.
The phrase, “every several gate was of one pearl,” seems to imply that this particular gate, which is probably every third or fourth one, is made out of one gigantic pearl. Of course, in the natural, there is no such thing as a pearl that large. However, we limit God when we place Him in a category of inability. The Lord can do whatever He so desires. He is almighty. The fact is this, whatever it is that God has said He will do, to be certain, He shall do.
The phrase, “and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass,” refers to the fact that, not only are all buildings of “pure gold” (Revelation 21:18), but, as well, even the streets are made of pure gold. The gold that was applied to the tabernacle and the temple of gold, whether in the furnishings or whatever, always symbolized the deity of Christ. With that being the case, with the entire Jerusalem being pure gold, we are made to know more than ever exactly as Who this “Lion of the tribe of Judah” this “Root of David” actually is (Revelation 5:5). The scripture emphatically states that it is pure gold. The purity of the gold typifies the purity of the place and, therefore, the purity of Christ. As well, it typifies all who have trusted in Him. In fact, it is so pure, that it is like transparent glass. Such is our salvation! It is a perfect salvation because it was instituted by the perfection of God and carried out by the perfect sacrifice of Christ on The Cross. As well, as this city is all of gold, salvation is all of God and none of man. While we are privileged to have it, it did not originate with us, in fact, because it could not originate with us. Pollution cannot bring forth purity. Perfection alone can bring forth purity. But it must be perfection that is poured out on The Cross, which it was, in the form of the perfect, unstained blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As I journey through the land, singing as I go,
Pointing souls to Calvary, to the crimson flow,
Many arrows pierce my soul from without, within,
But My Lord leads me on; through Him, I must win.
When in service to My Lord, dark may be night,
But I’ll cling more close to Him; He will give me light;
Satan’s snares may vex my soul, turn my thoughts aside,
But My Lord goes ahead, leads whatever betide.
When in valleys low, I look toward the mountain height,
And behold my Savior there, leading the fight;
With a tender hand outstretched toward the valley low
Girding me, I can see, as I onward go.
When before me billows rise from the mighty deep,
Then my Lord directs my bark, He does safely keep;
He then leads me gently on through this world below;
He’s a real friend to me; O I love Him so.
O I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory, let me lift my voice
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.