Revelation 21:2 – “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
John sees the eternal abode of the Lord and His people presented symbolically as a city that he describes as “holy” and gives to it the title “New Jerusalem”. These descriptions by John teach us several truths about our dwelling place throughout eternity.
When John describes the city as “holy”, he is saying that this city is separated from sin and dedicated to the use of Christ and His people. When he calls the city “New Jerusalem” he is telling us that this city, although different from the earthly city of Jerusalem, shares many similarities with it.
Some of those similarities include:
- the worship of the Lord takes place within it.
- the presence and dwelling place of the Lord is found in it.
- the gathering of God’s people are centered in it.
- the glory of God will be found in it.
Please keep in mind, the Jerusalem of the OT times was the home of the tabernacle where God could be found, worshipped and served. This makes a perfect picture of our abode in the future. Although we are clearly told by John that no literal temple will be found in this eternal Jerusalem, God’s fullness could be found there….
Revelation 21:22 – “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.”
This helps us to see why there is such a close connection between the two cities. In this eternal abode, God’s people will have the privilege of experiencing the closest possible relationship with their Lord. We will live with Him, commune with Him, serve Him, and worship Him in absolute truth…
1 John 3:1-3 – “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
Hebrews 13:14-16 – “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Please note in both of these verses, where our eternal dwelling place is mentioned, it is linked to our faithful service NOW.
In the 1 John passage, we see that because we have the confident assurance that we will be personally in His presence (“see Him as He is”), we are to live Godly lives for his glory (“purifieth himself, even as He is pure” ).
In the Hebrews passage we see that, because we have no eternal dwelling on this earth but look forward to the one that is to come (“here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”), we are to glorify God in our lives continually, verbally tell others of our thankfulness to the Lord, serve the Lord, and sacrifice ourselves to meet the needs of others (“offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not“)
May we all remember the wonderful eternity that awaits us in the very presence of our Lord in New Jerusalem. Because of this wonderful blessing may we seek to serve Him and meet the needs of others around us.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: