Revelation 21: 10-14
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 44th session of ‘Heaven’ lecture series. In the last session, I talked to you about how much God is waiting for each of you to come into New Jerusalem.
And to add to the hope, I also talked to you about the two kinds of crowns that are basically given in New Jerusalem.
From today, we will learn about the city of New Jerusalem in detail.
Unlike other dwelling places of heaven, the Bible writes relatively in detail about New Jerusalem.
It is found in Revelation chapter 21 and 22.
The Apostle John’s spiritual eyes were opened by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and he recorded what he saw.
When an airplane lowers its altitude for landing, how does the outside view change?
First, you can see the whole city, and then buildings look bigger and bigger. Likewise, when John saw New Jerusalem, he had the whole view from a distance.
But as the view is seen closer and closer, we can use the word ‘close up’ for what is seen.
First, he saw the walls surrounding the city of New Jerusalem. In the walls were gates leading to the inside of the city.
One can go into New Jerusalem only through these gates. When we want to walk forward, we have to take the steps forward.
Likewise, only when the spiritual meanings contained in the walls of the city of New Jerusalem are fully kept in our heart, can we pass through the gates of New Jerusalem.
From now, we will look into the individual meanings of the walls of city of New Jerusalem, in the order that John saw it.
I hope you will keep these words in mind and cultivate them as spirit.
Please do not miss this chance. I urge you to take this chance to make yourself eligible to enter into New Jerusalem.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will take this chance and participate in the glory of New Jerusalem.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when seen from the outer space, the earth looks like a blue ball flying in the space.
Likewise, the apostle John saw New Jerusalem from afar and what he saw was recorded in verse 11 of today’s passage. It says, “…having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.”
What does it mean by ‘having the glory of God’? This means the lights that come out from the city of New Jerusalem are so magnificent, grand, and splendid.
If you could just look at the city of New Jerusalem from the outside, you will not be able to hold back your exclamations of wonder.
Because of the beauty and grandeur that is much greater than you ever imagined, your jaw will drop to the ground. You will be so amazed and astonished by the glory of the city.
The apostle John also was very surprised by the glory of the city. Next, he compared the general feeling about the city of New Jerusalem with jewels.
He said in the latter half of verse 11, “Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.” The light of the city of New Jerusalem in general is like costly stone. Among many stones, he mentioned jasper and crystal. This is because the lights coming out from the city of New Jerusalem were clear and bluish like the lights coming out from crystal clear jasper.
In fact, the walls of the city of New Jerusalem are made of jasper.
But the jasper of heaven is completely different from jasper of this earth. The jasper in heaven is so beautiful and clear with bluish color.
It feels like looking into clear water. The beauty of that color cannot be explained with anything of this earth.
To make the best comparison possible, it’s like the sprinkling bluish lights that are reflected when the sunshine is reflected upon very clear waves.
What does the clear and bluish light mean that come out from the city of New Jerusalem as a whole?
This symbolizes the clearness and freshness of God the Father who has made the heavenly kingdom, which is the clear and honest ‘righteousness’ without any blemish or spot.
Next, what we see is crystal.
There are many kinds of crystal. Here, it refers to transparent and clear, and hard stone that is clear and pure like water.
Crystal has been used as decorations for a long period of time.
It’s because it is clear and transparent, but more importantly it has very good reflections of lights.
When light is reflected off of crystal, it gives out beautiful lights like a rainbow. And how much more beautiful are the lights given out by the crystal of heaven?
God covered the brilliance of glory on the jewels of heaven with His power of creation.
Thus, their clearness and purity cannot be compared with any jewel on this earth.
But on this earth, jewels are the things that give out the most beautiful lights, and that’s why we compare the lights of the city of New Jerusalem with those of jewels.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us now draw near to the city of New Jerusalem.
New Jerusalem is surrounded by high walls that give out brilliant, bright clear and resplendent lights. These walls will be like a borderline that separates New Jerusalem from other places in the third kingdom of heaven.
Revelation 21:16 gives detailed size of the walls of the city of New Jerusalem.
It says, “The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.”
The walls of New Jerusalem are same in length, width, and height. In original measure, it is 12,000 stadia. 12,000 stadia is fifteen hundred miles, or about 24,000 kilometers.
In Korean measure of distance, it is 6,000 ‘Ri’. It’s because 4 kilometers is 10 Ri.
The size of the city of New Jerusalem being six thousand Ri in width, length, and height has a very special spiritual meaning.
It tells us that the city of New Jerusalem is the vessel to contain the best fruits of the 6,000 years of human cultivation.
Revelation 21:17 says that the thickness of the city walls of New Jerusalem was 144 cubits. 1 cubit is about 45 centimeters or a foot and a half. So, the thickness of the wall is about 65 meters.
Of course, the measurement in heaven can be different from that of the earth.
But through these figures, we can have a basic idea of the size of the city of New Jerusalem.
Brothers and sisters, just imagine the 65-meter-thick walls (about ¨ú the length of a football field) that are laid in square shape, with the width and length of six thousand Ri.
And the height is also 6,000 Ri.
Should we compare this with the Great Wall of China?
The whole length of the Great Wall of China on the map is about 2,700 km.
If we connect all the branches and line them up, it would be 6,500 km. The height of the Great Wall of China is 8.5 meters. The wall gets thicker at the base, but the average thickness is 6 meters.
Now let’s think about New Jerusalem. Just one of the four sides of the wall is six thousand Ri, about 2,400 km, so the whole length would be 24,000 Ri or 9,600 km.
What do you think of the area of New Jerusalem as seen on an actual map?
Yet, the number of people who go into New Jerusalem is very few compared to the number of people who are saved.
For the 4,000 years of Old Testament, we have few people who go into New Jerusalem.
They include Elijah, Enoch, Moses, Abraham, David, Samuel, Daniel and his three friends, Esther, and Ruth. In the New Testament times, with the help of the Holy Spirit, a greater number of people will go into New Jerusalem than the times of the Old Testament.
But compared to the total number of people who are saved, this number is very few.
Therefore, the area of land given to each individual in New Jerusalem is so wide, wider than any big mansion on this earth.
For example, a piece of land as wide as Yoido in Seoul can be given to one person in New Jerusalem.
[Inner circle is 2.95 square km, and the whole are including the area of Han river is about 8.4 square km]
If this span of land is given to one person, how big will the houses be, and how many of the various facilities will they have?
New Jerusalem is a place for true children of God who are of whole spirit and who please God the most.
Now, can you feel how big the size of New Jerusalem is?
Until now, we have been thinking of New Jerusalem only in terms of surface area on a plane.
We didn’t consider the fact that New Jerusalem was 6,000 Ri high.
It means, we will have not only surface area space on the ground but also all the space up to the 6,000 Ri height of New Jerusalem.
Let me give an example. With scientific development today, people say they can build new spaces for living in outer space.
When seen from a distance, it is hanging in the space, but those who are living there will feel just like they are living on earth. Because the height of the city of New Jerusalem is 6,000 Ri, the vertical dimension of the space will also be used.
Because heaven is spiritual space, the ground or the buildings are not ‘hanging in the air” through application of some kind of machine or technology.
Everything is run by the power and wisdom of God.
Therefore, please remember that the size of New Jerusalem is much bigger than the size measured by the measurements used by man.
Brothers and sisters, Revelation 21:12-14 says that the walls of New Jerusalem have twelve gates and twelve foundations.
The twelve gates are located on the east, north, south, and west sides with three gates on each side.
It means there is one gate every 2,000 Ri or 800 km. And at each of these twelve gates stand a dignified, big angel.
On each of the gate is written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Here, the twelve tribes of Israel spiritually refer to all the children of God who are saved by faith.
Physically, only the twelve tribes of Israel are children of Abraham, but in spirit, anybody can become Abraham’s children by faith.
Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”
Thus, the twelve gates of the city of New Jerusalem are wide open to those who have become children of God by faith.
From any country or any race, those children of God who are saved by faith can go into New Jerusalem.
But we see the fact that each of the twelve tribes of Israel has different characteristics.
Likewise, according to the characters of those who are going into New Jerusalem, they will pass different gates.
This does not mean each gate will have different magnitude of glory, but the color of the light and aromas will be different.
Next, on the walls of the New Jerusalem are also twelve foundations.
Foundations can also be called cornerstones. They are the stones to support the pillars of a building. Therefore, we can see that there will be twelve pillars on the walls of the New Jerusalem.
On the foundations to support each pillar are written the names of the twelve disciples of the Lamb. Namely, the names of the twelve disciples of our Lord are written.
Here, twelve disciples symbolize those who have been completely faithful to the point of giving their lives for the kingdom of God.
It tells us that these are the kinds of people who can enter into New Jerusalem.
Then, will there be the name of Judas Iscariot, who sold out Jesus, on the twelve foundations? No, it won’t.
Acts 1:15-26 tells us how another person replaced Judas Iscariot to perform the duty of an apostle.
They cast lots to select this one person among those who were taught by Jesus, and Matthias was chosen.
Matthias having been the person who was newly chosen, first of all means that the door of salvation was opened to people other than those of Israel. Secondly, it means all the servants of God chosen and used by Him are all one of the disciples of the Lord since the resurrection and ascension of the Lord until the final day.
Now, let us conclude the meaning of having the names of the twelve tribes on the twelve gates, and the names of the twelve disciples on the twelve foundations.
This means in conclusion that anybody who is saved, sanctified, and works faithfully with all his life can go into New Jerusalem.
Brothers and sisters, up until this time now, we have heard the number 12 used many times.
The gates are twelve, the foundations are twelve, the Israel’s tribes are twelve, and the disciples of the Lord are twelve.
When important providences of God are explained, we can always see the number 12.
It’s because number 12 has a very important spiritual meaning. John 11:9 says, “Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.”
As said, ‘noon’ in the day spiritually means complete light without any darkness. Also, light symbolizes God who has no darkness at all but is eternal and perfect.
Thus, number 12 is the number of light which stands for perfection and completeness.
That is why God uses this number 12 as a sign of the most blessed promise.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, I talked to you about the lights of the city of New Jerusalem, New Jerusalem as a whole and also its size. We have gone up to the gates of the city.
The walls of New Jerusalem are square, with the width, length, and height of 6,000 Ri. It also has twelve gates and twelve foundations.
Starting with the walls, everything in New Jerusalem has a meaning.
God the Father put the most blessed and perfect meanings in each of these and made it beautiful.
And about 2,000 years ago, He showed it to John the apostle and made him write down in the Bible.
It’s because God the Father wanted all the believers to long for New Jerusalem and take hold of it by force.
Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will more vigorously march forward into spirit, and towards New Jerusalem.