One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
As the penultimate chapter of the Bible continues we are given a description of something which cannot be described!
We have looked over the past two days at the glory of what awaits God’s people with the ‘new heaven and the new earth’ with God in the midst and all that is in any way related to sin removed for ever. We have also been reminded of the horrific fate of those who continue their rejection of God to the very end.
But then John is shown something so incredible that only picture language can describe it. So we have to wonder and marvel at what John sees.
It is symbolic in many ways with the number 12. Twelve tribes of Israel, Twelve apostles of the Lamb. Twelve gates. Twelve precious stones. Its dimensions 12,000 stadia long and as wide as it is high – a Cube as was the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle.
But there is no temple, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (22)
There is no need for sun or moon for, ‘the glory of the God gives it light and the Lamb is its light. (23)
The nations, ceasing to be constantly opposed to each other. will find their ‘glory and honour’ in the city. (24)
Its gates will never be shut (25)
Nothing impure will ever enter it (27)
It is exclusively for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
There is more in Chapter 22 which we will consider tomorrow but today, don’t be put off by the somewhat strange descriptions her but grasp the truth that what awaits us is so wonderful and glorious that human language is inadequate to describe it except for the central truth that The Lord God Almighty is there, the Lamb is there and you will be there for all eternity in their immediate presence, if your name is in the Lamb’s book of life.
What a prospect to keep us faithful and steadfast as we live for a limited time in a fallen world waiting the glory that these words attempt to portray.
Father, in my brief (in terms of eternity) life on earth, please keep my eyes fixed on Jesus as I look forward to being in his, and your, presence for ever. Amen