ESSAY-LIKE SUNDAY MORNING: Today’s lesson was entitled, “ETERNAL BEAUTY”. The Scripture was from, Revelation 21:9-14, 22-27. The KEY VERSES were verses 22-23, which read, “[John wrote,] I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun nor the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp (NIV).
These verses are beautiful! And so is the city that they describe.
So many things in the book of Revelation are scary; so much so, that some people hesitate to read it!
The book describes scenes that will be terrible to see when they come to fruition; ugly things, monsters, beasts, fire, and locusts that bite people. But, one thing described in Revelation, does not follow this mold. One of the things described there is beautiful beyond compare, and that thing is the NEW JERUSALEM. The capital city of God’s Kingdom on earth!
The INTRODUCTION, of today’s lesson in the textbook, reads, “Our concept of heaven, as a people, has been shaped by our cultural experiences in this country, as much as by our acquired knowledge about it. These concepts have been given life in our music, in movies, and in other forms of the fine arts.
Since we know that concepts of heaven like these are not Biblically accurate, what is heaven going to be like when Christ returns for His church? John’s vision in Revelation 21, provides clues to help answer this questions”.
As a matter of fact, I’d venture to say that, the Biblical description of heaven is far more awe-inspiring than any other description imaginable. Let me take you on a tour. Climb on board, RON’S HEAVENLY BUS TOURS INC.!
As your heavenly tour guide, let me give you a few interesting facts about NEW JERUSALEM. NEW JERUSALEM is the CROWN JEWEL of the NEW creation of God. The NEW JERUSALEM is not ALL of Heaven, but it IS the capital city of Heaven!
It is the LARGEST city in heaven! It’s larger than all of the big OLD cities that came before it!
John wrote this about the city, “And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. (16) The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. (17) Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel”.
The city at the center of the future Heaven is called NEW JERUSALEM. The continual coming and going of travelers through the city’s gates suggesting that the city is not the whole of Heaven but merely it’s center or capital.
The size of the New Jerusalem is mind boggling!
The city’s exact dimensions have been measured by an angel. If you’ll look in your Biblical brochure at Revelation 21:15-17, you’ll see the dimensions of the city set forth for your perusal. Any of you math wizzes, will readily recognize by the dimensions described in those verses, that the city is a CUBE.
That’s right! NEW JERUSALEM is shaped like a humongous RUBIK’S CUBE! With each side measuring twelve thousand stadia, which, in current mathematical terms, is nearly FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES.
The base of the city alone adds up to more than 200 MILLION SQUARE MILES.
A city this size, if placed in the United States, would reach from Canada to Mexico and from Georgia to the California border; basically, covering the WHOLE U.S.A!
Perhaps even more amazing; if we allowed 12 feet per story the city would be more 600,000 STORIES HIGH!
As you may know, Heaven is usually pictured with a single pair of pearly gates. But, if you’ll look out your windows, you can plainly see that there are 12 gates and each gate is made of one, SINGLE, GIANT PEARL!
That guy standing over there is Peter. HEY PETER! WHAT YOU DOING MAN! YOU SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING THE DOOR!
He’s always goofing off. Anyways, back to the tour.
The Bible says in verse twelve, “Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (13) three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west…. (21) ….. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl…”
“The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation is jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, (20) the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.”
NEXT! You will notice the foundations of the city. Normally, foundations lay underground where they cannot be seen. But this is not the case in the New Jerusalem, for the foundation supporting the walls is fully visible and is indescribably beautiful. This great city is built upon a twelve-layer foundation and each of the layers is a beautiful stone.
A buildings greatest strength lays in its foundation and the New Jerusalem is not built of one foundation but TWELVE!
As we enter the streets of New Jerusalem we discover that the streets are pure gold. Oh, I know that people think that it just comes from the tradition of folktales. We sing about the streets of gold in the gospel songs but really, is the street really gold in Heaven? Yes, as you can clearly see for yourselves, as well as read in your Biblical brochures. The second part of verse 21 says, “…And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass”.
But the greatest thing in Heaven is not the glory of the city itself. Beyond the glory of the city itself, we have the LAMB WHO IS THE LIGHT! No more Georgia Power, Flint Electric, OR Albany WPG.
In verse 23 John tells us, “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.”
The prophet Isaiah had predicted in Isaiah 60:19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory.”
The brilliance of the glory of Jesus the Son of God fills the city!
Revelation 22:1-2 says, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
Last but not least, any of you who had pain, tears, or were fearing of death, BEFORE we entered the city, may notice that, since you’ve entered these gates, your tears have been washed away; your pain is no more; and you no longer have the specter of death hovering over you.
That’s because, none of those things exist here. WELCOME TO NEW JERUSALEM, ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR TOUR!