#DailyDevotion The Church Is The New Jerusalem
Rev 21:9-14 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” (10) And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, (11) having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. (12) It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— (13) on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. (14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
So just to remind you of a certain principle of interpreting a vision, everything thing is symbolic unless there is overriding evidence that says, “you should take this literally.” In fact verse nine here tells us to take this vision of the city symbolically. It is the Bride of Christ, the wife of the Lamb. We know from other non-visions in Scripture particularly Ephesians 5:22ff that the Church is the Bride of Christ.
As to the city coming down from heaven we are told, 1Th 4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” So we are raised with Christ from the dead or changed in a moment an caught up to him in the air. But we do come down to live upon the new earth, that is the earth resurrected.
It has been God’s intent to share his glory and the glory of Christ with us as even this text tells us, the Church, “has the glory of God.” Paul has written in 2 Corinthians four that our tribulations are preparing us to bear the glory of God. John wrote in his second epistles that through the promises we participate in the divine nature. The city’s description tries to convey that glory to us. It has a radiance like a jewel, like clear jasper. It has high walls and angels guarding the gates. It’s conveying to us that in this new world God’s people will be safe and protected. The twelve names of Israel on the gates and the twelve foundations of the apostles is telling us this is whole church, both Old Testament believers and New Testament believers.
Paul more clearly describes it here: Eph 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, (21) in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (22) In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
The city of God is the Church, his people, in whom he dwells. He dwells in us through his Holy Spirit. You are the living stones of this temple. You are the pillars of the temple. All who have put their faith in the promise of the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, for their salvation, both Jew and Gentile are its building material and its citizens. Repent of your sins, be baptized into Christ, and trust in Jesus for your salvation and your inclusion in this city is guaranteed by Jesus himself, the Holy Spirit given in baptism being your surety.
Heavenly Father, it is your great desire to clothe humanity with your glory and the glory of your Son Jesus. Grant to us your Holy Spirit that we may truly be repentant and have faith in Christ that we may inherit the kingdom you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.