A City Built by God


Glorious Lord, expand my vision that I might begin to comprehend the wonder that awaits those who believe.


Read: REVELATION 21:9-27

[9] One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” [10] And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. [11] It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. [12] It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.[13] There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. [14] The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. [15] The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. [16] The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. [17] The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick.[18] The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. [19] The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, [20] the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. [21] The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. [22] I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. [23] The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. [24] The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. [25] On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. [26] The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. [27] Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.



 The centerpiece of God’s new creation is the New Jerusalem. The brief description in verse 2 is now expanded, presenting us with a majestic and dazzling vision. The city is glorious in every detail and faultless in its symmetry, forming a perfect cube as did the holy of holies in the ancient, earthly Temple. The measuring is suggestive of Ezekiel’s vision of a restored temple (Ezek. 40–46). But here there is no separate temple for the city because God himself is the temple (22). God dwells with us. Nor is there sun, moon or stars, because God is its light and the Lamb its lamp (23).Remarkably, what is being described is our destiny. Abraham, we are told, “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). Although this new city comes down from God (and is therefore a gift of grace), it is equated with the bride, the church of Christ (2,9). It is we who will shine with the glory of God.The foundations bear the names of the apostles (14), while the precious stones that decorate the foundations recall the jewels worn by the high priest (Exod. 28:15–21; 39:8–12), reminding us of our royal and priestly role (1 Pet. 2:9).


As you contemplate this great vision, how does it enhance your understanding of “heaven”?



Father, as I so easily become weighed down by temporal realities, remind me of the eternal that awaits me.


Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider