Thursday, May 28, 2015

What Will The New Jerusalem Be Like?

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

The city of New Jerusalem is the Holy city of God.  It is a gorgeous city, more gorgeous than the most beautiful cities existing on Earth.  Like all of Heaven and the New Earth, the human mind in its current state can not even begin to comprehend its immense beauty. However, the Bible has a few things to say about this city and we can glean quite a bit from the Bible's words. New Jerusalem will be where God dwells with mankind, the capital of the New Earth and of the Universe.   "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." Revelation 21:3.

The city is radiant, of pure gold. John states that it is of "pure gold, like clear glass." And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. (Revelation 21:21). It shines under God's radiant glory. Imagine walking on the streets of this fine city, not fearing any of the crime that exists in today's cities. Instead of seeing class imbalances which is all too apparent in many of the world's great cities, where opulent penthouses rise above abject poverty on the streets, mankind will partake in perfect harmony that is only possible through God. Instead of witnessing beggars on the street suffering and wanting for crumbs, we will see every citizen healthy, happy, and radiant.  We will all be rich in God's glory.  Instead of being mugged by those who are wanting in life we will all be without want.  Buildings will not crumble, taggers will not cover the walls of alleys in profanity, and trash will not cover the streets.  Glass will not be broken and we will not have to fear traffic.  Children will be able to play in the center of the streets without any fear.  Jealousy and discord will not exist.  The piercing sounds of cars honking or arguing will not be heard.  The sounds of nature will exist in the city along with the singing of happy people, conversations, and gladness.  Men will still create and work, but it will not be in servitude towards others.  Instead, we will create for ourselves and share as we please without expectation of reward or threat of punishment.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Jesus is Preparing a Place for Us In Heaven Right Now

Walking along the transparent streets, of pure glass, we will look up and see towering mansions.  These mansions will have architecture more beautiful than Earth's finest structures.  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 14:2).  Jesus Himself states that He has gone to prepare a place for us.  Imagine, the creator of the universe, preparing a mansion for us.  Could you possibly imagine a greater architect?  The creator of the most beautiful mountains, coastlines, gardens, and the infinite splendor of space creating our personal dwelling place?  Many of us can not even imagine hiring one of Earth's most prominent architects to create a home for us on Earth, yet Jesus Himself states that He will create for us a dwelling place that will be eternal.  How can we even feel at want here on Earth for material gain when we have this to look forward to?

The City of New Jerusalem is Huge

New Jerusalem is a huge city.  Revelation 21:16 states that the height, length, and width are of equal dimensions.  The measurement stated is 12,000 furlongs (which is approximately 1500.3 miles).  This is a very large city that will please mankind for eternity.  Imagine strolling on boulevards which seem endless, exploring new areas of this great city as you please?  The city will have a home for every human being that accepted Jesus and followed his commandments. (Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23) (see also Luke 18:18-23)).  This should give you somewhat of an idea of its size, density and population.  The city takes up much space on the New Earth, but also rises quite high.  From reading the description in the Bible, I am not sure if the city is a cube or a pyramid in shape, with the center rising up where the throne of God sits high at the pinnacle of the tallest structure.  Perhaps it is something else entirely, some shape that we can not even comprehend at this time.  Explaining the New Earth and New Jerusalem in mankind's language and ways of thinking was perhaps a challenge for those who had knowledge of it.

The city is quite huge, and it is home to every human who walked with and accepted Jesus in life.
Imagine taking a long walk through the city:

"I step out into the city of New Jerusalem.  I can not help but not miss the old world, and sometimes I can not even imagine living there.  When I think back to it, it all seems surreal.  There was nothing even close to the beauty that exists here.  The peacefulness in this city makes the calmest morning on the old Earth seem chaotic and full of stress.  Walking though this city for even a second is infinite times greater than taking a walk on the old Earth's most splendid beach or the oldest forest that had survived mankind's thirst for destruction.

I still can not get over the smells here.  In this huge city there is no smog.  In fact, I have never even imagined what the world would have been like before smoke, fire, and the smell of pollution.  It was something that people in my time could have never even imagined.  I think back to the smell of car exhaust or the stench of alleyways where people had relieved themselves.  Here the alleyways are corridors of trees that rise ever skyward.  My eyes gaze upward, seeing the spires rise higher than anything I have seen built before.  There is no smog to block their golden gleam.  Instead, my eyes are stronger than they were in my former life, and I can see distances that were unimaginable on Earth.  I no longer need the prescription lenses that I once needed in the old world.  Such things do not exist here.

I have been walking for hours and my legs do not tire.  I do not long to go back to my home and turn on air conditioner due to the stifling heat.  I do not sweat.  I see animals playing with children at every turn.  There is no deification left behind.  There are no stray dogs or cats fighting for food.  There are no sounds of suffering or dying.  As I walk by the splendid mansions I take in the scent of food being prepared and eaten.  My senses are acute.  I never smelled a strawberry tree from across the street before.  Now I can smell everything.  In fact, everything dazzles the senses here, but I do not exhaust from it.  I can not even imagine the old world where so much was masked and still made us tire from overstimulation. 

I am in a new part of the city that I have never explored before.  Everything is new here and will probably always seem that way to me.  People are tending their gardens and they grow more beautiful every day.  I still find myself looking down sometimes at the golden streets which shine under my feet.  The transparent gold is more beautiful than any that existed in the old world.  I do not know why I bother compare it anymore.  The things of this world I could have never even imagined before.  
The flowering plants here are truly spectacular.  There are colors that never even were fathomable to my mind.  Some are something between a red and a purple, but, no, that is not even the way I would have described it.  It's something completely new.  There are no thorns on the plants here and I have no desire to rip them off of the bush and keep them for myself.  I am content in knowing that they are here for me to see again, perhaps in thirty or perhaps in 30,000 years.  I am content in knowing that it may be eons before I see a similar plant again, as there are infinite varieties in the universe, and even with eternity, I wonder, will I ever see them all?

I am told that there is so much to see outside of the city, and I have done a bit of exploring.  Yet, I am still in awe at the small part that I have seen.  If the universe only consisted of the things I have seen here, in this glorious city, I would be thrilled to have it.  Yet, I can see that it goes on forever.  There are infinite planets for me to explore.  I hear that some have mountains so grand that they make Everest seem like a bump in the sand.  And I have been told of canyons with thousand feet deep water that you can see to the bottom of.  I have been told of forests with twisting trees that climb upwards for miles.  Forests that have existed ever since God created the universe.  Forests that existed while I was alive on the old Earth that I could have never imagined were out there.  

I have been learning so much since being in new Jerusalem.  There are libraries full of information about the universe, libraries so huge that I can not even fathom reading all the books.  I could spend all of time just soaking up knowledge and would be, comparatively, no smarter than I am on this very day.  These books contain information on science that we thought we knew before and were actually so wrong about.  Even the most simple things, which we thought we had all the answers to, were so far deeper, so greater, than we even imagined.  Yet, there is so much left of us to discover here, for us to find.  I am told that we are free to inhabit where we chose, and one day I am going to go build myself a on a hill somewhere overlooking the forest of clouds and emerald mountains.  It was the first place I went to when I left New Jerusalem, and it was the first natural area of the New Earth that I saw.  It will always hold a special place for me, and I know that is where I want to create my natural home."

Of course, the above story is something that I created in my own mind.  Again, I should stress that Heaven, the New Earth, and the New Jerusalem is far more great than anything we can even imagine. While writing the above paragraph made me day dream and long for Heaven, the truth is we can not even begin to formulate in our mind how wonderful it will be.  I did not even mention inviting Jesus to my house to speak with him and personally thank him for everything He did for me. But, I do imagine that Jesus will come to our house and maybe tell us a bit about why he built our mansion for us the way He did. After all, He said "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matthew 10:30).  Jesus knows what we desire, what we long for, what we crave, what our interests are, and what pleases our senses.  He knows the things on Earth that appeal to us and he will make for us far better in Heaven.  We could not describe our true wants and dreams to an architect here on Earth, yet Jesus knows our wants without us even having to try to fumble around with creating blueprints and trying to explain our innermost dreams and wants.

The River of Life and the Tree of Life

New Jerusalem is a dazzling city.  It will have much in terms of precious metals, but also likely be as a garden.  The "River of Life" will flow from the throne of God, and will perhaps flow right through the city.  I imagine that beaches will line the banks of the river and this will be a place where people will come to worship, to play, and to take the city in.  I imagine the views from the river are spectacular, with the tower of God at the beginning of the river.  I picture grand waterfalls falling down the structure, a structure that is about 1,500 miles high, mind you.  Imagine seeing God's glory radiate from that pinnacle.  You can not really, but it is awesome to even consider in one's mind.
"Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.…" (Revelation 22:1)
The tree of life grows on each side of the river.  We are not told how huge the river is.  It mentions it in the middle of the street, but again, we are not told of the size of the street.  Like the city, it is probably of grand scale.  The tree of life is likely a massive tree, maybe the most massive tree in existence.  It is used for all mankind and all mankind eats from it.  It grows on each side of the river, but is one tree.  I tend to imagine it as a tree that joins somewhere in the middle, high above the river, with its trunk and limbs twisting together to form into the most spectacular tree one can fathom.  One can climb upon the tree and sit on its many branches and look out at the city while eating its monthly fruit.  And the fruit is like none other we ever consumed.  It is a fruit that is so great that it gives life to those who eat it.  It is a fruit so wonderful that every Earthly fruit pales in comparison.  It is a fruit that man longs to eat and returns to eat, every month.  A fruit that mankind looks forward to eating and tasting.

A City Free of Sin

The book of John states that the New Jerusalem will be free of sin. The servants of God will have theosis, or communion and unity with God, and "His name will be on their foreheads." Night will no longer fall upon the city, and the inhabitants of the city will "have need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light." John ends his account of the New Jerusalem by stressing its eternal nature: "And they shall reign forever and ever."

Even with its splendid beauty, The New Jerusalem would not be the same with sin existing.  With sin, man would grow greedy and want more and more.  People would argue and death would result.  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23).  Yet, there is no death on the New Earth.  Mankind shall reign forever and ever with Christ.  We will be with our creator and not have to worry about the affects of sin.  We will still have free will, as we do on Earth, but we will remember the chaos and calamity that sin has caused here.  We will see the New Earth in front of us, and a life so perfect that none of us would dare even consider sinning.  We will hear the account of Jesus and see how great his sacrifice was that we could never imagine hurting our best friend in such a way.

We will not fight against neighbor, but commune with them and give them unconditional love.  The days of neighbors feuding over noise, territory or silly things such as a tree in the other person's yard that they do not like are over.  No more will you have to worry about the person upstairs telling you that you are too loud.  You will not have to fret about the leaves from your tree blowing into your neighbor's yard.  Instead, neighbors will finally have learned to come to love each other as fellow human beings, all created by the same loving creator, instead of looking at each other as a source of competition.  Cultural differences will be set aside and celebrated at the same time.  We are all part of God's perfect culture, yet He has made us different and beautiful in various ways.  Racism and classism will be gone.  Dark skin, light skin, and skin variations in between will be seen as beautiful, all painted by God Himself.  Mankind will marvel at how they could have hated another man based on the color of his/her skin.

New Jerusalem Is A Splendid City

We are told that New Jerusalem will have twelve gates.  These gates will symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel and symbolize the city as one of inclusion.  "All humanity is welcome into the city."  We will all have a home prepared there.  We will all worship there.  We will all return there to eat of the Tree of Life.  It is a home we are all welcome to and we all long to return to.

Each gate is made of a single pearl and are often known as or referred to the the "pearly gates."  The names of the twelve tribes of Israel are written on the gates.
"18: And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19: 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; 20: 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 21:18-20)
As you can imagine, the city is splendid.  The gems that were hidden deep in the Earth are now a part of the city.  While on Earth we have historically employed the use of slave labor to have a glimpse of these marvelous stones, in Heaven, they will be for the enjoyment of all.  If such a city was built on Earth, mankind would undoubtedly plunder the gems for his/her own private use and gain.  Yet, in the city of God, without sin, mankind will know that it is far better to share in the beauty of the city - after all, it belongs to us all.

Infinite Resources - No More Competition With Each Other

A limited lifespan coupled with finite resources has created competition on Earth.  Yet, in Heaven, there are no limits to life or resources.  Competition will cease.  Many of us enjoy competing with each other or trying to be better than others.  Yet, on Earth we all grow old and our time and memory fades away.  "All is vanity," says Solomon.  "I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind." (Ecclesiastes 1:14).  Humanity craves the things of this Earth, a chance to increase possessions or to be stronger, faster, and ever better than our peers.  We crave the glory that those things bring us and attempt to take the glory from God.  Yet, all glory belongs to our creator.  He has blessed us with strength, vigor, skill, and the means in which to acquire skill and possessions.  In Heaven, we will finally realize that.  

In short, the New Jerusalem is a marvelous city, more grand than words can describe, and more grand than even the Bible portrays it.  I imagine that Jesus did not speak as much about it as we would have liked him to, as human words make it impossible to portray the city in its full glory.  Yet, I think that we should all sit back and imagine ourselves walking through the city, living in the city, and being free from sin.  We should all look forward to Heaven and desire strongly to be there.  This earth is not our home, and while it is full of beauty, all of that beauty has been marred by sin.  Everything that you see would one day be destroyed if mankind lived on this Earth long enough.  The great places of nature are slowly disappearing.  The amount of open spaces and natural spaces that existed in the world when I was young are were far more than exist now.  Mankind is quickly accumulating land and converting it to private use.  Forests are reserved for logging, rivers are polluted, and great parks are overrun with people and litter.  Population is quickly expanding while nature is quickly shrinking in size.  This Earth is not our home.  Our home is with our creator, in a place where we will not mar the landscape and where we will not hoard vast tracts of land for personal and private use.  Mankind on Earth does not know how to share, but in Heaven, we will know that everything is ours forever.  That there is truly enough to go around and that there is no reason to try to be better or greater than those around us.  I truly can not wait for that day.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this beautiful piece. Very special indeed.


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