August 29 2022
Today, Monday August 29
A Permanent City
“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.”
Here in Revelation 21, John is shown the “great city, the holy Jerusalem, come down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. John is not just see “a city” but he saw “the city”. This is city is also called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” This city is the permanent dwelling place for all of eternity for all of God’s people.
The city's description follows the pattern of cities with which John's readers were familiar: foundations, walls, and gates. The foundations speak of permanence, in contrast to the tents in which "pilgrims and strangers" lived (Heb. 11:8-10). The walls and gates speak of protection. God's people will never have to fear any enemies. Angels at the gates will act as sentries!
It was a very real city! I believe there is a powerful lesson for us as we look forward to one day being a citizen of this promised city. We should remember the story of Abraham, who is considered the “father of the faithful”, and how God called him to leave his pagan home in Ur of the Chaldees and go to a place that God would show him. We read about this in Genesis 12 and Hebrews 11. It is not recorded in the Scripture exactly how the Lord God told him about a city that one day he would dwell in, but it very clear that Abraham was promised that one day he would have a dwelling place in a city!
We read this in Hebrews 11:8-10: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”
We also find out more about this city in Hebrews 11:13-16: “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
God’s people have always been “tent dwellers” on this earth. We are called strangers and pilgrims and are just passing through. When you read the above verses about Abraham and his faith, it appears that it was the promise of a future city that motivated him to face the challenges and trials of the present, and not go back to his pagan homeland.
A tent doesn’t have a foundation. It is held in place by ropes and stakes. But Abraham was looking for a city that had foundations. Matter of fact, John tells us here in Revelation 21, that the city he sees has twelve foundations! How wonderful is that!!!!! This has to be the city that Abraham was looking for!
We read more about how this city is not only for the Old Testament saints but even for us in Hebrews 12:22-24: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”
Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:20-21: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”