Wednesday of Holy Week

The New Jerusalem

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel…”  —Revelation 21:10-11  

“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”  —Revelation 21:21

The creation of the New Jerusalem is happening right now.  We have already been exhorted to live in the moment, for it is in the present moment that time and eternity intersect. God is rebuilding His Church right now. He is creating a new heaven and a new earth. And in that new world He is placing His new Jerusalem. This great city will have “the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel…” and we are part of this new creation. We are the living stones being built up into His Holy Sanctuary. And His Holy City will be sound, strong, and secure, built on the firmest of foundations—“a most rare jewel”.

Precious stones and jewels are measured for hardness on what is called the Mohs scale. Jewels are rated on a scale of 1 – 10, with the hardest stones, like diamonds, measuring 10, and the softest, like talc, rating a 1. All of the stones which will form the foundation of the New Jerusalem are on the harder end of the Mohs spectrum (Rev. 21:19-20). They all rate between 7 and 10. John tells us that the New Jerusalem will have a foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being the cornerstone. And in this vision given to John in the Revelation, he sees the twelve stones of the apostles. The foundation stones of the Apostolic Church are hard, strong, unbreakable. This foundation is firm. Martin Luther was right when he wrote the lyrics to his familiar hymn: “How firm a foundation…is laid for your faith…Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed…When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.”

As has been pointed out earlier in Lent, the walls built on this foundation are not to be dividing walls, but will have open welcoming gates. There will be twelve gates, with three gates on each of the four sides of the city. The fact that there are gates on all sides of the city shows that God wants all people, everywhere, to come and dwell with Him in His New Jerusalem. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl” (Rev. 21:21). I have often joked that I would like to see the oyster that produced the pearls of that size. But in ancient times, pearls were a symbol of truth. They are the only precious jewel that cannot be shaped by a jeweler. They are unchangeable. In Matthew’s Gospel (13:45-46), Jesus refers to the pearl in a parable. He says, “the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” There is only ONE pearl for each gate. You can only come into the city through the One Truth—through Jesus. He is the unchangeable One, and it is worth selling all we have, leaving the old self behind, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

God is creating the New Jerusalem. It is a rare jewel. Those of us who are in Christ are being built up into the walls of this Holy City. Isaiah prophesied that God is creating “Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness” (65:18), and He will rejoice over us. What a joy it is to be part of God’s great plan for His Church. Rejoice and be glad.

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