Today, Sunday August 28
The Great City, the Holy Jerusalem
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues 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. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 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: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.”
For several days now we have been talking about the citizens of heaven in the first verses of Revelation 21. We first saw who they are. They are the “people of God”. God claims them as His own! According to John 1:12-13, this happens for you and me the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and are born into His family. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
We were also told who will not be there in heaven. There will not be anyone or anything in heaven that is associated with sin. No liars, no murders, no sexually immoral people, no abominable or detestable, no sorcerers or drug addicts, no unbelieving or fearful people. These are all excluded because they refused to repent and find forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ. We were reminded that not only is heaven final but that the lake of fire, hell, is final also.
It makes no difference whether we like it, or we don’t like it, the Bible is very clear about the final destiny of every human being. Jesus Himself said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14). One way leads to destruction and the other way leads to life. It is your choice. In John 10:9, Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Religion never saved anyone! Only Jesus can save you, and will save you, if you will repent and trust Him!
Now for the next several days we want to look at the character of heaven itself. John calls it “the great city, the holy Jerusalem”. The angel who took John to a “great and high mountain”, said that he would show him “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” How interesting is that!!!!! John thought that he was about to see a “bride” and he saw “a city coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God!” The eternal city is not only the home of the bride; it is the bride! A city is not buildings; it is people.
The city John saw was holy and heavenly; in fact, it descended to earth from heaven, where it was prepared. John's description staggers the imagination, even accepting the fact that a great deal of symbolism is involved. Heaven is a real place of glory and beauty, the perfect home for the Lamb's bride.
We have already noted that "the glory of God" has appeared in different places throughout history. God's glory dwelt in the tabernacle and then in the temple. Today, His glory dwells in believers and in His church. For all eternity, the glory of God will be seen in His holy city. It is the only light the city will need.
There is so much more to share about heaven in this chapter, but today I want to close with the thought that the main thing about heaven is Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus is the glory of God! The book of Hebrews begins with these words: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Hebrews 1:1-3). The main focus of heaven for all eternity will be Jesus!