Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Great Heavenly City

Revelation 21:1-2  1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

If you have ever lived or driven near a large city, the one thing that catches the eye is the city skyline.  For a period of time my family and I had lived near Tulsa, and I can recall driving into that city for the person I was working for at the time.  Often I would be driving in the morning hours and witness the sun coming up, shining brightly upon the glass and steel of those skyscrapers.  When that took place, it was as if this glass and steel buildings transformed into vertical columns of light. 

I have seen quite a few cities in my relative short time - Huston, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Jacksonville Florida.  All of those cities are different.  However I guarantee you none of them compare to the city being described here by the Apostle John.  Today I want us to consider what the Bible has to say about this Heavenly city.

1. It is being Built by Jesus.  In John 14:1-3 Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them.  Now what is amazing to me is that it only took the Lord six literal days to make Heaven and earth (Genesis 1).  Yet He has been working, building this city for His saints for over 2,000 years.  What a place that must be.

2. It bids us to hope in God.  Throughout the Bible, we discover that God at various times gave His people glimpses of this city to come.  Abraham for instance had glimpses of this city.  Though He lived over 2,000 years before Jesus came, he nonetheless journeyed, looking for this city that God revealed to him.  Hebrews 11:10 tells us - "10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God."  The greatness of the city bids us to understand that the one who designs it, builds it and communicates it is greater than the city itself. 

3. Its a big city.  When you go down the verse here in Revelation 21, you discover some facts about the New Heavenly Jerusalem.  First, it's height is the same as it's width and length - 1400 miles or so in each direction.  The city would be large enough to cover nearly all of North America and its height would reach out into the vacuum of space.  Most Bible scholars picture the city having several levels.  Its streets are pure gold, and its gates are one solid pearl.  Its features points us back to the scriptures, and its glory comes from the one who is building it - Jesus Christ. 

4. Only Believers in Jesus Christ will occupy the city.  Revelation 21:27 notes -  "and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."  Notice the identity of the Heavenly city's occupants - "whose names are written in the lambs book of life". The book of life contains the names of those whom, convicted and called by the Grace of God, believe and are saved.  Jesus reminds us in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one can come to the Father accept by Him. 

Dear reader, may these scriptures move you and I to crave after the Builder of this city - Jesus Christ.  May we pine after Him who is building this city for those who, drawn by grace and faith believing treasure Him above all things. 

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