As great as the cities of the world are, they pale in comparison with the city God is building for believers in Christ.
This city, the New Jerusalem, is mentioned almost a dozen times in Revelation 21-22. This incomparable city is not a metaphor; it is an actual city where God and His children will live forever.
In Revelation 21:2 John writes, "I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband."
Here John is comparing the beauty of the Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem, with a beautiful bride.
God is preparing the New Jerusalem to be the capitol of the recreated earth. The New Jerusalem will descend and be located right here on the "recreated planet earth."
After the earth is destroyed, God will recreate it. This is where born-again believers will live for eternity with God. This gives an entirely new meaning to heaven on earth. The permanent home of born-again believers is on earth, not in the sky.
During the millennium, the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth, the New Jerusalem will hover over the earth. Then, after the millennium, it will rest on the renovated earth and serve as a focal point for the entire planet.
How will all the believers from history, past to present day, fit into the New Jerusalem? The dimensions of the city are given in Revelation 21:15-16. It is a cube, 1,400 miles in length, height and breadth. It covers almost 2,000,000 square miles of land area. It is 20 times larger than New Zealand, 10 times larger than Germany and France, and 40 times larger than England.
Because the city is a cube, it will have floors inside that extend upward. According to calculations, there will be enough height available for approximately 600 floors.
Because each of these floors covers the same 2,000,000 square miles as the bottom floor, there will be 1.2 billion square miles of "living area" within the cube.
Transportation will not be an issue, because in our glorified bodies, we will be instantly translated to our desired destination.
The cubic design of the New Jerusalem should not be surprising. The Holy of Holies inside the temple in ancient Jerusalem was a cube measuring 20 by 20 by 20 cubits. A cubit equals 18 inches.
Revelation 21:3 refers to the New Jerusalem as the "tabernacle of God." Just as God's dwelling place on earth, the Holy of Holies was a cube, God's eternal dwelling place, the New Jerusalem, will be a cube as well.
How does the Bible describe the heavenly city?
First, there will be no temples or churches because the Lord is the temple. New Jerusalem will be a "holy city." It will be a city where no lie will be uttered for millions of years and beyond the reaches of time to eternity. No evil words will ever be spoken. No unclean pictures will ever be seen. No corruption of any kind will be a part of heaven. It will be holy because everyone in heaven will be holy.
The "pearly gates" of heaven are not folklore; they are real. Revelation 21:21a says, "The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl."
The 12-layer foundation of the city will be built from precious stones such as emeralds, sapphires and topaz. This foundation will have the appearance of a shimmering rainbow, with light reflecting off of and through it into the city.
Revelation 21:21b says, "and the main street of the city was pure gold, as if it were transparent glass."
Gold as we know it is not transparent; perhaps the purity of this heavenly gold accounts for this description.
Revelation 21:23 reveals that the city will not need the sun or moon, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb, Christ, is its' lamp. The entire city will be enveloped by the luminous glory of God. Light represents what is good, true, pure, holy and reliable.
Revelation 22:1-2 paints a dynamic word picture. Let's explore these verses and make a startling discovery.
"Then the angel showed me the river of water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city.
"On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."
The water of life symbolizes "eternal life." This tree of life is like the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve sinned, they were forbidden to eat from the tree of life and live forever, because they were under sin's control. But we will be able to eat freely from the tree of life because sin's control over us has been permanently destroyed. What a discovery!
We will enjoy eating food in heaven, without gaining a single pound. Diets will not exist in heaven.
Make your reservations today to stay in the New Jerusalem for eternity. When Christ returns to earth, don't be left behind! Questions? Contact me or drop by our informal Sunday service.
David Goode is senior pastor at Heart of Worship Ministries, which meets on Sundays at 3 p.m. in the arts and crafts room at the Port St. Lucie Community Center, 2195 Airoso Blvd., across from city hall.
Column reviewed by Nance Cox.
Pastor Goode can be heard on WPSL Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. For more information, or prayer, call (772) 408-8218 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.