One of the seven angels with vials carried Apostle John in the spirit. It is clear that it was a vision as well as it was loaded with spiritual significance. We are all familiar with computer generated guided tours through famous cities. Somewhat similar but what we need focus is here is that John had to experience it from a great and high mountain, The angel shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.’
The city is situated in mid-air and is intended as centre of new heaven and new earth. While we discuss this chapter it would be easier to follow what the Spirit is trying to inform us as of a vision, and not judge it from whatever concepts we may have had about geography of the earth.””And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: (v.23).” Let us leave natural science aside and try to envision our destiny. The crucial point is that it is the ‘new earth’ we are considering till the end of this book. It is spiritually compared with the Church founded on the risen Christ. Not even Jesus of Nazareth but Jesus Christ in glory. (What the disciples saw of it on the mount of transfiguration was a prelude to it- Matt:17:1-6) The Throne of God and the Lamb (Re.22:1)is a symbol of the glory of God the Father and of the Son Naturally when we speak of it we do not give it a Jewish or Gentile identity but as though the entire city would be splendiferous with it. What is the glory of Jesus Christ but he is the express image of God and ‘brightness of his glory (He.1:3)’ The city is set in mid-air and it was meant to be seen and as a direction for the nations.
“….For the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
Spiritual significance of number 12 cannot be lost on anyone.
In the verses where the city is measured what we need consider is the scale according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel(v.17). In the array of stones what we need understand is the purpose of the 12 stones set in the breastplate of the High Priest. It was only a shadow of things to come. Sovereignty of the new heaven and new earth is invested in the kings and priests of eternity. Also pertinent to it is the use of Urim and Thummim the perfect light thrown up by the throne of God and of the Lamb. Truth and grace are two witnesses giving each stone its glory. Light being like ‘unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal is as true as ‘the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass(vv.11,21). Nothing is of more value since glory of each stone is drawn from the whole.
“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 (v.27)”. Like the unprofitable servant in the Parable was cast into the outer darkness(Matt.25:30) those whose names are not found in the Lamb’s book of life.
“I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it (v.22).”