“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, “Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb’s bride.” He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal; having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.”
The angel with the damming bowls of the last plagues now shows John something most delightful. His eyes are now spared the sight of the misery of human disobedience and are filled with the delights of the kingdom of God coming as the New Jerusalem. It is the sight of the Bride of the Lamb, the entire body of the people of God, all redeemed finally and fully from the cloying effects of their sin and their robes made white with the righteousness of Christ. They are adorned in these robes as their covering of holiness that they might worship the Lord and serve Him forever in that holy place.
The angel carried John away to a high mountain, his mind full of the Holy Spirit and His eyes lifted to the vision. He is permitted to see the sight of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem in great glory, the glory given to her by God. She is made righteous and beautiful and dressed in the gold of Ophir, as the bride is dressed for her husband.
John describes the city of gold. It has a light that was like Jasper, a most precious stone that gives clear light and speaks of the glory of God, shining a clear as crystal.
It has a high wall, and no one will enter this city except through the gates. It is the city of God, pure and secure and no one will enter falsely, or without the righteous robes of Christ. These walls are the power of God which preserves His people, both now on earth and then in heaven. No hurtful thing will trouble them ever again. There will be no thieves and robbers in this city as there were in the parable of the sheepfold, where the sheep were in danger of false shepherds and ravening wolves, but there is safety and security here, as all evil is now gone.
The city has twelve gates, with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them, as a testament to the faithfulness of the servants of the Lord in preserving His Word and His ways. The way into the city is through these gates, through the Word of God preserved for us in the Bible and written by the servants of the Lord. There is no other way in. We believe because of the message of the prophets of old who foretold the days of the Messiah and the coming Saviour for all who believe. We see the clear truths about Christ and the gospel age in the New Testament and the message of the gospel is proclaimed with power and persuasion. We hear the message and believe, through the inner work of the Holy Spirit who brings us to repentance and gives us the faith to believe. The work of God in the lives of these redeemed people is now complete. The Spirit fills their lives, minds, heart in every way and they are holy to the Lord.
Only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the message of forgiveness can we enter into the city of God. It is only through repentance and faith in the death of Christ that we can be saved and have a new life, a life worthy of this eternal place.
The city is orderly and is designed in a pattern of the four walls to make the square and the walls with three gates in each of them. There is equal access into the city for the elect people of God and they can come in and go out and find pasture.
“I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.”
The gates were made of pearl, for the way into the city is through Christ, the Pearl of great price.
The city has twelve foundations which hold up and support the walls. They have the names of the twelve Apostles on them as the church is built on the teaching and doctrine of the Apostles, as we find it in the New Testament.
“So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.”
The Apostles are described as the twelve Apostles of the Lamb, for they recorded and taught accurately the whole council of God and laid down the doctrines of the Word so that the church would grow and become this beautiful city of the Living God. These names are for their everlasting remembrance for their faithfulness and holiness.
So, all those who are living in this heavenly city are the people of God who are now protected by the power of the Lord and the Holy Spirit in great security and love. No one or nothing will trouble them again and they will be full of the Holy Spirit and full of the ways of the LORD. We look for this holy city with great joy and anticipation. It is our Christians heritage and our home culture. We arrange our lives and live in the light of the reality for his place and obey the Lord, that we might be fit to enter in.
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, without knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the promised land as a stranger in a foreign country. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
All the saints of old had this same heavenly hope that we now possess and placed their faith in the God who could bring them there.
“Now those who say such things show that they are seeking a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
Beloved this is our hope and eternal security. Let us let our eyes to the skies and wait in great expectation for the Lord to return. He will for sure, and it could be any day now. The signs and signals are all in place… let us be ready with out lights burning brightly for His coming.