Brothers and sisters, today’s topic of Treasures for the Soul is “New Jerusalem is a real city (4)”.
Revelation 21:17 records the measurements of the new city. The wall was measured by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. Verses 24 to 26 mentions about the nations bringing their glory into New Jerusalem. It also talks about the sun, the moon, day and night in the new heaven and new earth. In the city, there is the throne of God and of the Lamb, as well as the tree of life and the river of the water of life. All these let us know that New Jerusalem is not a symbol, nor is it the church. It is a real physical city.
Revelation 21:17 clearly states, “He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement.” Why was it so written if the city was just a symbol? Why would it say “by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement”? Its purpose is to tell us that the precise measurement is definitely true. Don’t get confused by the angel’s measurement, it’s actually the same as human measurement. If the city was just a symbol, and not a real city, why would it be recorded in the Bible in such a manner? It would be sufficient to just mention that the measurement carries symbolic meanings. In fact, this verse clearly tells us that the city is real. At the end, the angel also said, “These words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 22:6)
At the end of this chapter, it is written, “By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.” (Revelation 21:24-26) If the city was not a real city, this passage could not be explained. These Bible verses are substantial evidence to prove that the city is real.
Let’s read Isaiah 66:22: “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.” We need to understand that the people of Israel will remain forever. Revelation 21:4 reads, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Many believers today may not understand that this verse refers to people living on the new earth, not the church. As for us, once we go to the Lord, we will have no more tears. We don’t have to wait until after the millennium for God to wipe away our tears.
Many things will be renewed during the millennium. However, some people might, and can sin and die. There will still be tears. However, after the judgement before the great white throne, God will create the new heavens and the new earth. Those who have not sinned or rebelled in the millennium will be moved from “the old heaven and the old earth” to the new earth. They have physical bodies, yet they will not sin and will not die. They will continue to multiply. When God first created man, He wanted man to multiply to fill the earth. God’s plan will be fulfilled! Not many will rebel in the millennium. Satan will rebel for the last time but many will not follow him. The Bible says from the Lord’s presence, earth and sky will flee away. Where will these people go then? They will be moved to the new earth.
People of the millennium are of flesh whereas we will have a resurrected body. The Lord clearly told us that in God’s kingdom, we will drink the new fruit of the vine. So, you see, our resurrected body can eat and drink. We can dine and have fellowship with those who are of flesh.
People of the millennium will have the same physical bodies as we do right now on earth, but they will be healthier. Yet, some will sin and die. Therefore, it is written, “death shall be no more,” referring to the age of eternity, after the millennium. People will be transported to the new earth and become the nations in eternity. During the millennium, Israel will lead other nations and she will be more honourable than others. The Church will reign with the Lord on earth. God’s kingdom comes when the Lord returns and descends to the earth. The Church will reign with the Lord on earth. We will drink the new fruit of the vine and celebrate!
In addition to Israel, many nations will also be transported to the new earth. It’s very blessed to dwell on the new earth. The new earth is much better and more beautiful than the garden of Eden. And more glorious still is the city we dwell in! The nations will walk in the light of God. They will be very close to the city. Kings of the nations will bring their glory into the city. The suitable ones will help us administer to the people. We will be kings forever. Those who dwell in the city will have a resurrected body and will be kings forever. Those who live outside of the city, on the new earth, will be of flesh. They will multiply and there will be diverse nations and nationalities. The kingdom of Israel will remain forever. The Lord’s government and peace will increase with no end. People will continue to multiply. They will not sin, hence death is no more. We will be their kings, their best kings, and they will be greatly blessed.
They will bring their glory to the city. Revelation 21:26 reads, “They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.” They will be paying their tributes to the city. They may come and ask us questions. Under our governance, we will guide them in their contributions and improvements. Those who are suitable may assist us. Those who are more mature will be like kings. And, of course, they will not abuse their authority like the rulers of our world today. They will bring into the city their glory. They will come and learn from us and we will edify them.
If we said the city was the church, it would be hard to explain. Revelation says the nations will walk by the city’s light and give glory to the city. So it would not make sense to say that the nations will bring into the church the glory. Furthermore, this passage also mentions kings of the earth. If the city was the church or a symbol, who would be the kings?
Therefore, this city must be a real physical city where we dwell. The wall and gates are not for protection from robbery. Revelation 21:25 reads, “and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.” This implies that the gates will be shut sometimes. Otherwise, it does not have to say “its gates will never be shut by day.” There will be day and night. However, there will be no night in the city because the Lamb is the lamp of the city. God’s glory shines throughout the city. We will have resurrected bodies and have no need for sleep. Of course, you will be able to do as you please—eat or not eat, sleep or not sleep. Our bodies will be strong and glorious, hence no night is needed.
People will come and learn from us. We may also need to leave the city to administer to them. I trust we will also need time for ourselves, such as time to worship God. Therefore, the gates will be shut at times. It is clearly written here, “its gates will never be shut by day.” Day and night are for the new earth. On the earth, there will be day and night, and there will be a sun. We dwell in the city and we will not need light from the sun nor the moon. But it does not mean that people on the new earth do not need them. There will be a moon. The Bible clearly states, “yielding its fruit each month.” (Revelation 22:2) So, there will be months. If there is no moon, there won’t be such a thing as “yielding its fruit each month”. Trees are real, so are the months. The tree of life will yield its fruit each month, twelve kinds of fruit. Therefore, this city is real, so is the new earth. Many things will be similar to the old earth, but much more beautiful, even more beautiful than the garden of Eden!
If the new earth were completely different from the current earth, it would be misleading to call it the new earth. Actually, the new earth and our current earth share some similarities. For instance, it will have trees of life similar to the one mentioned in Genesis. The new earth will still have need of the sun and moon. The people who dwell on this new earth will have physical bodies and require sleep. That’s why the new earth will have both daytime and nighttime. But interestingly, New Jerusalem will have no nighttime. It’s because we, as members of the church, will have resurrected bodies and we won’t need to sleep.
We will not be able to understand it if the tree of life in the city is different from that in the garden of Eden. In fact, the tree of life has already been mentioned in Genesis. The new earth will still need the sun and the moon. The people in eternity are of flesh and they need to rest. They need night so they can sleep. We don’t need to sleep, hence there is no night in the city.
Revelation 21: 26 reads, “They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.” It is not right to say that the city is the church because glory should only be to the Lord. They will bring their gifts and their best produce into the city to show their love and gratitude, and respect for the city. If the city was the church, how would you explain “and its gates will never be shut by day”? We will be kings with the Lord in the city forever, but we cannot say the city is the church. How can the church be within the church, and be kings with the Lord? It wouldn’t make any sense if we think this way.
It is also wrong to think that everything in the city is also in the church. Some of the things such as the tree of life have spiritual meanings. But when we talk about the throne of God, is it a real throne? Therefore, we cannot regard everything as symbolic expressions. The throne of God and the throne of the Lamb are real, and they cannot be inside the church. There must be a place where these things are present. The city is a real place and has all the things mentioned in the scripture. It will be very difficult to understand this scripture if the city is interpreted as the church.
The city is not intended for the church only, though the church is the most unique, the most glorious group, who also best represents the city. For example, Hong Kong is a city for mostly Hong Kong people. Though some people from other countries also live there, the city is still called Hong Kong. New Jerusalem is a real city and the Bride dwells in it. This city is full of meanings and preciousness. It shows what the church is like, and the glory of the Lord, etc.
Revelation 21:3 reads, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, …” Where is the throne? In the city. Therefore, it is very difficult to explain if the city was the church. It would be strange to say that the loud voice is from the throne in the church. This loud voice is from the throne. The heavenly Jerusalem cannot be in the church.