“Then, I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” Revelation 21:2
One day, God will keep His promise and rapture the church. Satan, the False Prophet, the Antichrist, and all who are found unrighteous will be thrown into the lake of fire following their judgment at the Great White Throne. But just before the people’s judgment, God will destroy the universe because of its sin.
God will not be content to leave things like that, however. Just as He had created the earth for Adam and Eve, He will recreate it for His bride. He will also create a new heaven from which He will bring down a New Jerusalem.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then, I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:1-2
What will the New Jerusalem look like? What can we expect to see? An angel gave the apostle John a preview in Revelation 21.
New Jerusalem the Bride
In verse two, John sees the New Jerusalem “coming down from heaven.” He mentions it again in verse eleven.
“Then one of the angels who had the seven bowls…came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” Revelation 21:9-11
Because the city came out of heaven, the indication is it already existed, and it is holy. It will be the place where those whose names are written in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:12) will live.
Verse two would seem to indicate the city is the bride of Christ, but that is not entirely right. It is the righteous people who live there that the city is called the Lamb’s wife. In other words, it’s not the city itself, but the people inside it. This is why many people often refer to the church as the bride of Christ.
Meeting the Bridegroom
Here, in the New Jerusalem, we will meet Christ, our bridegroom, and receive our bridal blessing. This is when God will bring home a bride for His Son, and we will all live in the Father’s house fulfilling a promise found in John 14:2.
“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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
What will the Father’s house—the New Jerusalem, the Lamb’s wife—look like? The Bible says it will be more glorious than you could ever envision.
John describes the city in Revelation 21:11-21. It is a very lengthy description, and it perfectly details the beauty of the city. But unless you know your gemstones, you may not fully comprehend just how beautiful it will be.
Jerusalem’s City Light
“Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.”
Most jasper stones are green, red, yellow, brown, and (rarely) blue, which has caused many Bible scholars to believe the light of the new Jerusalem is green. However, common sense should tell us this color of light would not properly illuminate a holy city, which indicates their belief is wrong.
Verse eleven says the light of the New Jerusalem was as “clear as crystal.” If jasper is commonly green, why does the Bible say it is clear? The answer is that jasper is a transliteration (the swapping of a word from one alphabet to another) of a Greek word for “diamond.”
The light of the city is like a purely clear and perfect diamond. Such a diamond would allow the light of God’s glory to shine brightly through it, illuminating the new heaven and the new earth.
Also, in verse 23 and again in chapter 22, verse 5, John notices there will be no sun, and it is because Jesus Himself will be the light.
“The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” Revelation 21:23
“There shall be no night there. They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.” Revelation 22:5
Measuring the Walls
Verse 15 says an angel had a gold reed to measure the city including its gates and walls. According to Ezekiel 40:3, the gold reed was about ten feet long and was the standard for measuring.
John describes the city as being perfectly square in shape by its length, width, and height, all of which will be 12,000 furlongs. A furlong is about 660 feet. That makes the wall equal to 1,400 cubic miles long or 7,920,000 feet long.
The depth of the wall is described as 144 cubits. A cubit is about 18-21 inches in ancient terms. So, the depth of the wall will be about 216 feet thick. And as we know, the light of the city will shine like a diamond, which means the entire wall will be made of diamonds with precious gemstones embellishing them.
The Walls’ Beauty
The description of the city’s walls gives us an initial indication of how beautiful the New Jerusalem will be.
First, the walls will have twelve foundations. In other words, there will be twelve layers of material, and each foundation will have the name of one of Jesus’ twelve apostles on it.
Each foundation will be adorned with a precious stone. By no coincidence, eight of these stones were found on the Jewish High Priest’s breastplate when he entered the Holy of Holies. The other four may have also been a part of the breastplate somewhere.
Starting with the first foundation and going sequentially, the adorning stones will be:
- Jasper (diamond)
Some of these stones are pretty recognizable such as sapphire (blue), emerald (green), topaz (yellow or yellow-green), and amethyst (dark purple). But most of us are not gemologists and, so, not quite familiar with the rest.
Let’s examine these other lesser-known stones.
The first unfamiliar stone on New Jerusalem’s walls is on the third foundation. It’s called chalcedony. The stone’s name is based on the ancient city of Chalcedon in northern Turkey. Its color is sky-blue or misty grey-blue with translucent, copper-colored stripes.
Next, on the fifth foundation, is sardonyx. This stone is a variety of chalcedony. It has layers of brownish-red and white with an underlying layer of black onyx.
The sixth foundation will have sardius. This is a common quartz stone that ranges from orange-red to blood red. It is also sometimes called carnelian or ruby.
Chrysolite on the seventh foundation has a transparent gold or yellowish color that many people today call topaz.
Beryl on the eighth foundation is also known as aquamarine, ranging from light blue to bluish-green. Historians have said it is like “a thousand leagues of sunlit sea imprisoned in a cup.” Beryl can also resemble an emerald in color.
The tenth foundation will have chrysoprase. The modern form of this stone is apple green, but the original Greek indicates the stone as being bright or grassy green with a gold tint. Its green color is due to the amount of nickel it contains. It is the most valuable variety of chalcedony.
Finally, jacinth on the eleventh foundation will be blue or bright violet. The name is a derivation of the word hyacinth, a beautiful blue flower.
So, picture this in your mind. Going up from foundations one to twelve, the stones’ colors will be:
- Ice blue or deep blue
- Misty blue
- Dark green
- Brownish-red and white
- Transparent red
- Transparent Gold
- Yellow or yellow-green
- Golden green
- Dark Blue
- Deep purple
Notice the first foundation is pure, indicating its holiness. Then, the top foundation is purple, which is typically the color of royalty and indicates the kingship of God.
Collectively, the stones will be a brilliant array of indescribable colors reflecting the glory of the Lord.
The Gates of the New Jerusalem
Within the walls will be twelve gates. Like the twelve foundations having the names of the twelve apostles, the gates will have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them.
Three gates will be on each side of the New Jerusalem walls with an angel standing guard outside each gate. Each individual gate will be made of one 1,400-mile-high pearl. Some scholars equate the pearl to those found in the flesh of wounded oysters. The belief is the pearls are meant to remind the righteous throughout eternity of Christ’s suffering on their behalf and the benefit they received from it.
The gates will continually be open, and only the righteous will be allowed to enter it. Verse 24 tells us the kings of the earth will bring their own glory and honor through the gates and into God’s glory indicating they will give up every accolade they ever achieved in praise of the Lord.
Verse 18 says the city (meaning the streets) will be made of pure gold. This is not like earthly gold that is either yellow or white. This heavenly gold will be so polished it will be like transparent glass. Such transparency will allow the abundant radiance of God’s glory to refract in every direction.
Another amazing fact is how much land the city will cover. Based on the dimensions of the wall surrounding the new Jerusalem—1,400 miles—the amount of acreage the city will cover will be about two million square miles. That’s slightly larger than the state of Delaware!
It will be a very large city indeed.
The River of Life
The final part of the New Jerusalem that John describes is a river. Since there is no hydrological cycle in the New Jerusalem, this river is not like any you have ever seen.
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1
Here, the Greek word for clear is “lampron” indicating the water’s brightness and shine and not just its clarity. It will be far more beautiful and superior to the water found in the Garden of Eden.
It is important to note there will not be a temple in the New Jerusalem. Jesus Himself will be the temple, which means the river will be flowing directly from Him to us. Jesus is the fountain, the source, of all life, and the river is a symbol of eternal life, continuously flowing through us.
Through Jesus and the river, there will be full restoration between God the Father and the righteous. We will experience the fullness of God’s grace and joy and the perfection of His glory.
[VIDEO STUDY: If you would like to learn more about the river of life, click here for a fantastic explanation.]
The Tree of Life
Next to the river, on either side of it, will be the Tree of Life. You may remember this tree (as well as the river) was also in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:9-10.
“And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden….”
Because the river and the Tree of Life were both in the garden, their reappearance in the new heaven shows us the everlasting presence of God (Note: Any time you read anything about a tree in the Bible, it is always a symbol of Jesus).
Lastly, John describes the leaves of the tree that heals us all, and the curse of death from sin is finally abolished. All that is left to see is the righteous gathered in front of God’s throne, seeing Him face to face, and worshiping Him.
What a beautiful day that will be.
Are You Thirsty for Him?
In the final verses of the entire Bible, John finishes with a forewarning directly from Jesus.
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to give to everyone according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are those who do His commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:12-14
Though the rapture of the righteous does not appear to be immediately imminent, the signs are all around us that the Lord is preparing for the day. And He assures us He is coming quickly, so we need to be ready. Only those who keep His commandments will have a right to the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem.
Will that be you? Are you ready? If not, it’s not too late. You can be one of the blessed few who are raptured with Jesus to be with Him forever in the New Jerusalem. It just depends if you’re thirsty for Him enough. Because if you are, He has a promise for you to remember.
“And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17
Did you miss Parts 1-3 in this series? Catch up here!