August 30 2022
Today, Tuesday August 30
Beautiful Beyond Description
“The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
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 does 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 beautiful beyond description and is the dwelling place for all of eternity for all of God’s people.
In this city, saints of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant will be united. The twelve gates are identified with the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve foundations with the 12 Apostles. John is simply assuring us that all of God's believing people will be included in the city (Heb. 11:39-40). Paul gives us the spiritual aspect of this in Ephesians 2:19-22: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
John had measured the earthly Jerusalem (Rev. 11), but now he is invited to measure the heavenly city. Foursquare means "equal on all sides," so the city might be a cube or a pyramid. More importantly, the fact that it is equal on all sides indicates the perfection of God's eternal city: nothing is out of order or balance.
The measurements are staggering! If we take a cubit as eighteen inches, then the city walls are 216 feet high! If a furlong is taken as 600 feet (measures differed in ancient days), the city would be about 1,500 miles square! There will be plenty of room for everyone!
The city's construction cannot but fascinate us. The walls are jasper, which is a clear crystal; but the city itself will be made of pure gold, as clear as crystal. The light of God's glory will shine throughout the city, resembling a huge holy of holies.
Building foundations are usually underground, but these foundations will not only be visible but beautifully garnished with precious stones. Each separate foundation will have its own jewel, and the blending of the colors will be magnificent as God's light shines through.
No one can be dogmatic about the colors of these gems, and it really does not matter. Jasper, as we have seen, is a clear crystal. Sapphire is a blue stone, and chalcedony is probably greenish-blue. The emerald, of course, is green; and the sardonyx is like our onyx, a white stone streaked with brown, though some scholars describe it as red and white.
Sardius is a red stone (sometimes described as "blood red"), and chrysolite a yellow quartz like our modern topaz. Beryl is green and topaz a yellow-green. We are not sure about the chrysoprasus; some think it is a golden-tinted stone, others, an apple-green color. The jacinth is probably blue, though some claim it was yellow; and the amethyst is a rich purple, or blue-red. Think about the “light” of God shining through all these beautiful colors! Our God is a God of beauty, and He will lavish His beauty on the city He is preparing for His people.
There has never been and never will be a “city” like this holy city! "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)