THE NEW JERUSALEM
Whatever you might like to imagine about this holy city, the New Jerusalem is couched in purely symbolic terms in the Bible. Every description about it is symbolic. It is the city that Abraham was looking for (Hebrews 11:10). It is huge and it is cubic (Revelation 21:9-7; 22:1-5). Why is it cubic? Because of the very presence of the trinity as was also true in the most Holy Place in the Tabernacle of Moses and in the Temple of Solomon. In its construction God specified the Most Holy Place to be cubic. It is there that the Shekinah glory of God was manifested above the Ark of the Covenant which was but a shadow of heavenly things to come (Hebrews 8:5). I finish this article with the real reason why God chose a 'cube'.
The New Jerusalem is not the Old Jerusalem rebuilt nor is it an earthly city. It is the final abode of Christ and His bride in eternity (Revelation 21:2). It has no sun for its light shall be the Lamb and the glory of God (Revelation 21:23; 22:5). The commonality between the Old and New Jerusalem is that the Lord's name is there (Revelation 3:12). In this same verse over-comers are called pillars in His Temple. Are you going to be a column supporting the ceiling? No way, but we immediately know what the Lord means by referring to us as pillars in His house. He builds His foundations on men and women who overcame their tribulations and trials on earth to the glory of God.
Are its streets really lined with gold and are its walls studded with jewels? Shall we always see Him with nail holes in His wrists and a gaping wound in His side? We shall have to wait and see. However, in my experience the Lord seems to adjust what we see in visions and dreams to images that will have a familiar and immediate impact on the mind of the particular individual. He tailors everything according to our culture and background. In this article we shall examine some of the imagery of the city as presented in the Bible and what they might really mean in practical terms.
The New Jerusalem is the eternal location of the Lord Jesus and the Bride of Christ. What are the basic foundations on which this city is built and what are the high standards set by God for its residents? The residents are without spot, wrinkle or blemish or any such thing and availed themselves during their lives for God to change them from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:11-13; 5:27). These are the attributes of the bride of Christ according to the apostle Paul..
Like for any building, foundations have to be measured, prepared and laid out for the New Jerusalem. The blueprint for the foundation of the New Jerusalem is given in the Bible. For a Holy City that will preside throughout eternity and oversee the whole of Paradise its foundations must be rock solid and absolutely unshakeable. For the foundation to be rock solid there can be no other foundation laid than that of Jesus Christ. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Corinthians 3:10-11).
But wait! The Bible gives more details in Revelation 20:9; 21:9-27. Do you wish to be part of the bride city? The qualifications expected of its future residents are not based on how much theology they understood in this present life but on the condition of their hearts and whether they laid down their lives because of their love for Jesus Christ. Did they obey their Father's will or did they do their own thing in life (Matthew 7:21)?
Consider what the foundations involve and see where you may be able fit in relation to those expectations. By how much do we still have to mature further in Christ? If you truly believe then Christ will clothe you fittingly by the Holy Spirit. Its not something we can achieve in our fleshly ways. It is God who has to prepare us. However, we must be willing to surrender to His ways! Just as Esther who was about to become queen first had to be purified by 7 maidens for an entire year. The number 7 appears six times in the account of Esther becoming queen; 7 days, the 7th day, the 7th year, 7 maidens, 7 chamberlains and 7 princes in the 7th year of the King's reign (Esther chapters 1 and 2). Odd, don't you think? That's because God works in 7's. This number immediately links us to the time of the end (See my book 'End Times: According to Scripture').
I do not think it premature to think about such things, even if only in seed form, until the Lord reveals more. He will surely clarify things further before too long. Otherwise, why would He have included a description of the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation (the book of 7's) if we are not meant to seek it out and understand?
WHAT WE DO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW JERUSALEM
She is eternal and is adorned as a bride. There are parallels in quality between her and Jacob's second wife, Rachel (see my book on end times). There are several elements that can be pictured and assembled diagrammatically from the book of Revelation,
• The New Jerusalem is a holy city in the expanses of Paradise
• It is symbolically represented as a huge cube (like the Holy of Holies)
• The dimensions of the cube involve the number 12
• Its foundations involve the apostles of the lamb
• Separate from the apostles is Jesus Christ the chief apostle
• The city has twelve gates facing the four directions of the compass in groupings of threes
• The foundations involve 12 precious stones
• The foundations involve the 12 tribes of Israel
• Each of the precious stones can be identified with one of the 12 tribes
• The light of the city is the Lamb that was slain.
I woke up with a picture in my mind of two square slabs, one lying on top of the other (shown in blue below). The upper slab was slightly shorter all around thus providing a ledge. As I was thinking and praying about this for several days, it occurred to me that the first foundation represented the 12 apostles or their doctrines from the early church. The slab on top, resting on the former apostles, pictures the end-time 12 apostles of the Lamb, as developed elsewhere on my websites and in my books. These ones lay their lives down for the gospel.
The only way to enter the four-square city is via the 12 gates. Who or what are the 12 gates? The huge laver or "Molten Sea" standing outside the entrance to the Holy Place in the Temple of Solomon (1Kings 7:23-26; 2Chronicles 4:2-5) tells us who the 12 are. They are the burden bearers of the gospel of Jesus Christ - the twelve apostles symbolically pictured. Three tribes of Israel marched under the banner of the ox/calf. The apostle Paul, also an elder in the church himself, likened the apostles who laboured in the word to oxen; those who 'tread out the corn' (1Corinthians 9:9; 1Timothy 5:18).
The fact that it held 2000 baths of water but had capacity for 3000 baths is prophetically significant to end-times as pointed out elsewhere. Briefly, it was prophetic of 2000 years of redeeming work (cleansing from sin) followed by 1000 years in the Millenium where cleansing is no longer required.
The molten sea of brass fittingly demonstrates this by having the huge laver for the washing of the priests supported on the backs of 12 oxen. It is the apostolic word that corrects or adjust the priests in the kingdom of God. The other 10 small lavers of water on wheels were used for washing the animal sacrifices. It was given to me that the gauntlet for passage through the gates was apostolic doctrine. All those that pass through have surrendered to apostolic doctrine as proclaimed in the Bible. In the scheme the gates rest on a narrow ledge provided by the first foundation. The gates were stabilized by resting against the second slab, as shown in the diagram below. A gate is a person or persons who welcome God’s people in contrast to a shut gate illustrated by Diotrephes who would not allow the apostle John or his company to preach at his church (3 John 9-10).
This seems logical as no other foundation can be laid than that which was declared by Jesus through the first apostles (Ephesians 2:20). The 12 end-time apostles of the Lamb can only confirm and teach the doctrine of the first apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 5:8). They will do that with great authority but they cannot deviate from what has already been declared. As Jesus often said, “It is written”.
THINK ABOUT IT
God has jealously guarded over His Word in its various legitimate forms and translations; some more valuable than others. Some are actually heretical, as is indeed the case of the Thomas Jefferson New Testament. Others have tampered with the original converting all measures to the metric or imperial systems, which has some value, except that prophetic elements become obscured.
Paul was an apostle of great note bringing powerful doctrines to the table and was chosen by the Lord Himself. Matthias, chosen by ballot, became an interim apostle until the Lord had adequately prepared Paul. Note the wording in Acts 1:26 concerning the replacement found for Judas the traitor, “And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles”. Wonderful though he must have been he was only numbered with the 11 apostles. Be that as it may, I consider Paul, as part of the apostolic company of 12, who was chosen by the Lord Himself.
“Now the wall of the city had 12 foundations, and on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14).
GEMSTONES AND THE TWELVE TRIBES
The square foundations on which the wall rests (Revelation 21:18-19) brought to mind the square golden breastplate of the High Priest which bore 12 gemstones each inscribed with the name of one of the 12 tribes (Exodus 28:17-21).
Allow me to quote from page 54 “Studies in the Royal Priesthood: The Order of Melchizedek” by Kevin J Conner with Jeff Cameron (2011), distributed by Word Bookstore, Melbourne, Australia.
“There were 12 stones set in gold attached to the breastplate. All were precious stones each having their own particular glory and beauty, as represented in the 12 tribes of Israel which names are found eternally in the foursquare City of God (Revelation 21:12-13).
These point to the true, the spiritual and eternal Israel of God. The 12 stones were placed in a different order to that of the two onyx stones on the High Priest’s shoulders. There it was according to birth. Here it is according to the order of the tribes in camp (under Moses in the wilderness). It will be noted that Reuben, who forfeited his birthright, is replaced by Judah as being first. Also the tribe of Levi is not named but represented in the Priesthood and Joseph is seen represented in his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (born of an Egyptian woman). Read also Isaiah 54:11-12; Zechariah 9:6 and Malachi 3:17.
They were placed according to their positions in the camp (according to the four compass points as shown in the painting below). The tribes were positioned in four lots of three tribes around the Tabernacle of the Lord in the shape of the cross the tribes on the East of the Tabernacle being the most numerous. Aaron bore the names of each tribe upon his heart. Jesus bears our names upon His heart. The High Priest was decked as a bridegroom indeed (Isaiah 61:10)”.
As the apostle Paul said, gentile converts are included in the new Israel ('Spiritual Israel') since we have been grafted in or adopted so to speak (Romans 11:11-24). All those in Christ, ever since the first blood sacrifice when Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden and clothed with fresh skins, and those who built altars (e.g. Abel and Abraham), are therefore represented in some way, in the spiritual structure of the New Jerusalem which is embodied in people.
The number 12 is the number of Divine Government. This number is prominent in the Tabernacle of Moses as also in the New Jerusalem, the “City of God”. The 12 number also features in the article on the two massive brass columns guarding the Temple of Solomon. The two free-standing columns, Jachin and Boaz, symbolise the former and end-time apostles of the Lamb which guard the entrance and exit to the Holy PLace (symbolising the 2000-year 'Church Age' which is shortly coming to an end).
In considering the overall symbolism of the New Jerusalem each of the oxen is pointing to one of the 12 gates, again emphasizing apostolic doctrine as a condition of entering, hence those visiting or living in the City will display full unity in apostolic doctrine. As the New Jerusalem is the residence of the King and His bride, it is fitting that she possesses no wrinkles or blemish but is comparable to her husband Jesus Christ in every aspect of doctrine and attitude.
The cubic structure of the New Jerusalem and its symbolic resemblance to the Holy of Holies, in the Tabernacle of Moses, has been mentioned above and more fully discussed in my book on Amazon. God's very presence was manifested in the Most Holy Place and will also be so in the New Jerusalem. reside in both. Note that the green floor plan is not drawn to scale.
Why did God choose a cubic structure to symbolize His presence? I believe that the answer is that the simplest mathematical ‘net’ of a cube is the shape of a cross, as when the six surfaces of a cubic cardboard box are folded out flat. Six is the number of man signifying what Jesus did on the cross as the Son of Man. Jesus was fully human and fully man, a concept difficult for the human mind to grasp. He brought flesh into the throne room of the Father. The cross and His presence 'wraps up' all there is to the New Jerusalem, hence the cubic symbolism of the New Jerusalem and the Holy of Holies in the temples.