Revelation chapter 21 is a travel brochure of sorts. This passage presents the features of the eternal city known as the New Jerusalem.
The goal of this “brochure” is to encourage you to come. God wants you to make the eternal city your life’s destination.
The coming of the New Jerusalem is the final event in a long line of future events laid out in Revelation. These future events include the Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, the Battle of Armageddon, the Millennium, the Great White Throne Judgment, the New Creation, and the descent of the New Jerusalem.
The apostle John writes about the angel-led tour he received as he saw the outside of the city: “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:10-11).
John sees the walls and gates of the city. The measurements and shape of the city are even given. Based on Revelation 21:16, the city is a gigantic cube shape.
It is about 1,400 or 1,500 miles in each direction. That’s going vertical as well. It’s about the distance from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.
The city materials are also amazing. All kinds of precious stones make up the walls and twelve foundations of the city. Revelation 21:21 describes the gate and street material: “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”
John also describes the inside of the New Jerusalem. The most impressive aspect of the inside of this city is the presence of God Himself.
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:22-23).
This city won’t be like modern cities with their smog, traffic jams, and crime. There will be a paradise garden in this city complete with the river of life and the tree of life (Revelation 22:1-2). Much activity will be going will be going on as well. No one will be bored (Revelation 22:3-5).
We learn about access to this city. Who will be allowed in? Who will not? The Bible clearly tells us:
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
Sin will keep people out of this city. “Any thing that deflieth” describes all kinds of sin. Our hearts are defiled, dirty, and stained because of sin. An “abomination” is sin that is extremely hated or abhorred by God. Idolatry is hated by God, but so is covetousness (Luke 16:15). Even all liars are kept out. Any sin can keep you out of the city.
Will sinners merely be stuck outside the walls of this eternal city? No, they will be suffering eternal torment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15; 21:8).
But you may avoid that destination. Repent of your sin and find forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. Then your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. Only then may you have access to this city.
Think about your life’s destination. Are you headed to The Lake of Fire or The New Jerusalem? Prepare now to spend eternity with God in His heavenly city.
Pastor Stephen Howard is from Morrow Bible Church.