The New Jerusalem – the Glory of YHVH
How will the New Jerusalem – the Glory of YHVH look like? Actually, the Bible refers to two cities in the future: the millennial Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 will be the subject of this article – the continuation of the series The Revelation from YHVH.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. (Rev 21:1) Also see Isa 65:17 and Isa 66:22.
Here is a vision of the new creation that will follow the former one 7,000 years later. This is the “restitution of all things” to which Simon Kefa (Peter) refers in Act_3:21, and the deliverance of creation from the corruption which Paul predicted in Rom_8:21.
No words can portray in any absolute manner what that new universe will be, as neither could the apostle who marveled after the vision the messenger of YHVH gave him. All he did was to name various elements of the vision he was given, saying: ‘I saw this; I saw no; This shall not be there, nor that’.
And Yochanan, saw the set-apart city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from Elohim, prepared as a bride beautifully adorned for her husband. And he heard a loud voice from the heaven saying,
‘Behold, the Tabernacle of Elohim is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and Elohim Himself shall be with them and be their Elohim’. (Rev 21:2-3)
In order to fulfill what was written in the Torah and the Prophets,
And I shall set My Tabernacle in your midst, and My soul shall not reject you. And I shall walk in your midst, and shall be your Elohim, and you shall be My people. (Lev 26:11-12)
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Ya’akov My servant, where your fathers dwelt. And they shall dwell in it, they and their children and their children’s children, forever, and My servant David be their prince forever. And I shall make a covenant of peace with them – an everlasting covenant it is with them. And I shall place them and increase them, and shall place My Sanctuary in their midst, forever. And My Tabernacle shall be over them. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. And the nations shall know that I, Yehovah, am setting Israel apart, when My Sanctuary is in their midst – forever. (Eze 37:25-28)
And by the apostle regarding the first coming of the Messiah, when He came to dwell (tabernacle) among us,
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (Joh 1:14)
And then the voice from the heaven told Yochanan that Elohim would wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there would be no more death, nor crying, because the time for restitution had come. (See also Isa 25:6-9, and Isa 65:19)
And Elohim shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying. And there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (Rev 21:4)
We may marvel, as the apostle did marvel, as to why there will be tears and crying after a thousand years of the Messiah’s reign in the millennial kingdom.
We should recall that the same statement was made in Rev 7:16-17 a thousand years earlier at the arrival of the Messiah, as we read thus,
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun strike them, nor any heat, because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them and lead them to fountains of waters of life. And Elohim shall wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Rev 7:16-17)
We should ask ourselves, ‘Why will there be any people who would cry at the return of the Messiah?’ Should we not expect that everyone found worthy at the coming of Yeshua be happy and rejoice with Him? Why would there be any reason even to say that there will be tears and crying.
One may say that they will cry out of happiness, because they have been found worthy at the return of the Lord. And many will, but they are happy, and people crying out of happiness do not need comfort. However, those whose tears Elohim will wipe away will need comfort, because they will cry out of sadness. And this is the only reason one would cry: sadness.
Why? What sadness and pain, and not joy, will one feel at the return of the Lamb? This is why.
After the Lamb has defeated all enemies of YHVH’s people at His return, and has established the Kingdom of heaven here on the earth, some of the faithful will turn around to seek for their loved ones, relatives, or friends, and will find none. They will realize that their loved ones did not make it, and they will cry out of sadness.
Here, however, in Rev 21:24, we find the same phrase And Elohim shall wipe away every tear from their eyes referring to what will happen at the end of the millennial reign of the Messiah. We may ask again as to why there will be tears and crying after a thousand years and what would cause these tears in the first place?
Let us recall that just prior to the return of Yeshua the Messiah, there will be a global war aka the war of Gog of Magog (Ezekiel 38 and 39) which the Messiah will end victoriously by defeating Gog and his armies, and then He will establish His kingdom. For more insight read chapter “Two Scenarios for the War of Gog of Magog” from the present author’s book The Reckoning of Time.
In Rev 20:7-9 we are told of another war of Gog of Magog. This war will take place when the thousand years have ended. Then the satan will be released from his prison and he will go out to lead again the nations of the world for battle against YHVH’s city Jerusalem. And fire will come down out of the heaven and consume them. This will be the final war of all wars.
After the Almighty has defeated all enemies of people in the war of Gog of Magog, there may be faithful who will cry, because their loved ones, relatives, or friends from these nations, that had come up against Jerusalem, have perished in the war. They will cry and will be comforted by Elohim. Evidently, there will lots of tears and crying before the restoration of all things and the coming of the New Jerusalem.
Then Yochanan saw One sitting on the throne, who makes all things new, ‘Alef’ and the ‘Tav’, the Beginning and the End, saying to him to write down all words he would hear from now on, because they were true and trustworthy, that those who had thirsted for the truth and overcome the tribulation would be given of the fountain of the water of life and the inheritance of all he would see and hear, and He would be their Elohim and they would be His sons. (Rev 21:5-7)
In order to fulfill what had been said to the ancient that the glory of YHVH was revealed, and the mankind saw it (at the first coming) and will see it again (at the second coming), because the mouth of YHVH has spoken through the prophet (see Isa 40:5).
However, the One sitting on the throne also said that as for those who had violated the Torah, their part is in the lake which would be burning with fire and sulphur, and that would be their second death. (Rev 21:8)
Then, one of the seven messengers who held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to Yochanan saying, ‘Come, I shall show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ (Rev 21:9) And he carried him away in the Wind of YHVH to a great and high mountain, and showed him the great city, the set-apart New Jerusalem, descending out of the heaven from Elohim. (Rev 21:10)
The messenger of YHVH showed Yochanan the New Jerusalem descending from the heaven and explained to him what otherwise the marveling the apostle could not comprehend.
Here we should recall that the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40-48) was also taken to a high mountain and given to see Jerusalem (Eze 40:2), but the city Ezekiel saw was the millennial Jerusalem, while Yochanan saw in the vision was the New Jerusalem the bride of YHVH; two quite different cities a thousand of years apart.
The recognizable difference between the millennial Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem Yochanan must have seen is that the Jerusalem Ezekiel saw had the Temple aka the Third Temple built by the Messiah. The New Jerusalem Yochanan saw, however, had no Temple at all; she was adorned with light from a most precious stone shining with the light of jasper.
Now, let us try to grasp what Yochanan was given to see, as we marveled no less as he did.
As the New Jerusalem was descending before Yochanan’s eyes having the glory of YHVH, her light was like a jasper stone, clear as crystal (Rev 21:11). This precious stone is an opaque form of quartz red, yellow, brown or dark green in color. And although jasper is a non-transparent stone, the New Jerusalem was shining in the eyes of the apostle clear as crystal.
What was the color of the light that was emanating from the descending city, we are not told, only that it had the light of jasper. But, we could only assume that the illumination of the city had the full spectrum of colors of a jasper stone: red, yellow, brown and dark green radiating one after the other or all at once in all directions. That must have been an amazing scene for Yochanan to marvel upon.
After Yochanan saw the descending New Jerusalem adorned in this spectacular light, he continued to describe the beloved city as best as he could.
The New Jerusalem the apostle saw had a great and high wall, having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers, and names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. And the wall had twelve foundations with the names of the twelve disciples of the Messiah on them. (Rev 21:12-14)
In the parallel description in Eze 47:22-23, we read thus regarding the division of the Promised Land among the twelve tribes of Israel,
And you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. And it shall be that you divide it by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who sojourn in your midst and who bear children among you. And they shall be to you as native-born among the children of Israel – with you they have an inheritance in the midst of the tribes of Israel. And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger sojourns, there you give him his inheritance, declares the Master Yehovah. (Eze 47:21-23)
What we should notice in the descriptions of the millennial Jerusalem in Eze 48:1-35 and the New Jerusalem in Rev 21:12-14, though, is that the cities had “only” twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Israel, and no more. Why would that be so telling to notice?
The main stream doctrine of the Christianity teaches that the Jews are not Israel any longer, and as individuals they must join the Church which is the new Israel in order to be saved. This doctrine is also known as the Replacement theory – the Church has replaced Israel in the blessings given to Avraham. It is interesting to note here that the Christians want the blessings but not the curses of not fulfilling the obligations in the Covenant.
As attractive as the Replacement theory can be for many Christians, nothing can be farther from the truth.
Although, it is not in the scope of this work to expose the fallacy of this teaching, it suffices to point for now to Eze 47:21-23 above, but also to Isa 14:1, Isa 56:6-8, Eph 2:19, Eph 3:6, and Rom 11:17-26, to see why three chapters of Romans, and more particularly chapters 9, 10, and 11, are omitted in the main stream teachings of the Church.
And they are omitted, because they do not fit the Replacement theory of the Church, as the Book of Revelation does not fit either, or at least the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches. They are omitted because some Christians may see that Israel has never been rejected by the Elohim of Avraham, Yitschak, and Ya’akov; they may see that Israel has never been replaced by anyone; and they may see that it is not the Jews who are to join the Church, but the Christians are to join Israel, if they want any part of the blessings. This is evident in many other places in the Scripture the Christians do not even know they exists.
We keep on reading.
And the messenger who spoke with Yochanan measured the city, its gates, and its wall, with a golden measuring rod. And the city was found to be four-cornered, and its length was as great as its breadth: twelve thousand stadia (approx. 2,253 kilometers or 1,400 miles in each direction) – the length, and the breadth, and height of it are equal. (Rev 21:15-16)
Most of the commentators suggest that the New Jerusalem will have the form of a cube with sides of twelve thousand stadia. Although, this suggestion is very plausible, the present author wants to suggest that the New Jerusalem may have the form of a pyramid with the same dimensions, since nothing has been said about the actual design of the city whether she is in the form of cube or pyramid.
That is a very astonishing size of the city we can only marvel upon. A city with such size, whether a cube or a pyramid, can hardly fit our imagination of a dwelling place from our earthly perspectives. But since the short and concise description in verse 16 is the only one we have, we can keep on reading.
In the parallel reading in Eze 48:1-35, we find the division of the land by its boundaries, commences in the north, and enumerates the tribes in the order in which they were to receive their inheritances from north to south: first, seven tribes from the northern boundary to the center of the land (Eze 48:1-7), where the sanctuary, with the land of the priests and Levites, together with the king’s land is to be set apart (Eze 48:8-29).
The future land of Israel, as stated in Eze 48:15-16 concerning the size of the millennial Jerusalem is still further expanded in Eze 48:30. It suffices now to note here that the new division of the land of Israel differs from the one in the time of Yehoshua (Joshua). In the millennial kingdom all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates will be given as a possession of the tribes of Israel, while at the time of Yehoshua Israel occupied only a small portion promised to the patriarchs.
The Sages explain this expansion and the ability of Israel to occupy this large territory of the land with the gathering of the lost tribes of Israel to form the Greater Israel promised to Avraham, Yitschak, and Ya’akov. But they also say that that could be impossible without the gathering of the righteous gentiles, as we noted in Eze 47:21-23 above.
Ezekiel 48, and the whole book, ends with the verse that states thus,
And the name of the city from that day is: Yehovah is there! (Eze 48:35)
And the messenger measured the walls of the New Jerusalem: hundred and forty-four forearms (approx. 66 meters or 216 feet). And the structure of her walls was jasper. And the city was clean gold, like clear glass. (Rev 21:17-18)
And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation jasper (red, yellow, brown or dark green).
The second foundation is of sapphire, a precious transparent stone of rich blue corundum.
The third foundation is of agate, quartz consisting of banded chalcedony of milky or greyish translucent to transparent layers.
The fourth foundation is of emerald, a green transparent form of beryl.
The fifth foundation is of sardonyx, an onyx characterized by parallel layers alternating black and white bands of deep orange-red variety.
The sixth foundation is of ruby with a deep and vivid red color.
The seventh is of chrysolite, a brown or yellow-green olivine gemstone.
The eighth is of beryl, colored transparent varieties of gemstone.
The ninth is of topaz, a yellow to light brown quartz.
The tenth is of chrysoprase, a green variety of chalcedony.
The eleventh foundation is of jacinth, a red transparent variety of zircon.
And the twelfth is of amethyst, of a moderate purple color. (Rev 21:19-20)
And Yochanan saw that the New Jerusalem had twelve gates, each one of them was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (Rev 21:21)
We should note here a similar description of the appearance of the future New Jerusalem in a little known book of the Apocrypha, as we read,
Let my soul bless God the great King. For Jerusalem shall be built up with sapphires and emeralds, and precious stone: thy walls and towers and battlements with pure gold. And the streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with beryl and carbuncle and stones of Ophir. And all her streets shall say, Alleluia; and they shall praise him, saying, Blessed be God, which hath extolled it forever. (Tob 13:15-18 KJV with Apocrypha)
And Yochanan saw no Temple in the New Jerusalem, because YHVH the Almighty and the Lamb are her Dwelling Place. And Yochanan wrote down for us that the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in her, because the glory of Elohim lightened it, and the Lamb was her lamp. (Rev 21:22-23)
In Isa 60:19-21 we find a parallel account of Rev 21:22-23:
No longer is the sun your light by day, nor does the moon give light to you for brightness, but Yehovah shall be to you an everlasting light, and your Elohim your comeliness. No longer does your sun go down, nor your moon withdraw itself, for Yehovah shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. And your people, all of them righteous, shall inherit the earth forever – a branch of My planting, a work of My hands, to be adorned. (Isa 60:19-21)
The apostle concluded his description of the New Jerusalem glorifying her through the shining of YHVH as her everlasting light. The meaning of this prophecy is not that the sun and the moon will no longer exist. But, the prophecy in Rev 21:23 and Isa 60:19-20 merely says, that the city needs neither the shining of the sun nor of the moon, because the glory of YHVH lightens it, and the Lamb is her lamp.
There are two understandings as to what this prophecy could mean. As we noted above, there is a final new creation approaching, when the whole universe will be changed. And when that comes to pass, the glory of YHVH will lighten the New Jerusalem in the direct and primeval light which streams down upon her from the Creator Himself like it was in the beginning of the creation.
Secondly, the Temple will be no more, because what is YHVH to the Temple of the New Jerusalem, so is Yeshua the Lamb to the innermost chamber of the Temple. We derive this analogy from the following: as YHVH (who lightens the New Jerusalem) is to the Temple, so is Yeshua (the source of that light, the lamp), to the Most Set-apart Place of the Temple.
And where it says that there will be no need of the sun and the moon, it means that the original primeval light will illuminate continually by the manifestation of the presence of YHVH from the Son (Rev 21:23).
And I saw no temple therein: for Yehovah El Shaddai and the Lamb are the Temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of Elohim lightened it, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Rev 21:23)
It may seem odd that the Messiah is the source of the primeval light from whom the glory of Elohim lightens the New Jerusalem, and not the other way around, but this is what we read plainly in Rev 21:22-23.
As the city receives its light neither from the sun nor from the moon, because the illumination will emit from the Lamb of YHVH, there will be no more night, no more darkness, in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:25). The glory of Yehovah, which hovers above Jerusalem emanating from the Lamb, is her sun and her moon.
To this New Jerusalem the nations, of those who have survived the wrath of the Almighty in the first and in the second war of Gog of Magog, will walk in the light of YHVH, in the knowledge and glory of YHVH, and their representatives will bring homage and the appreciation of their nations into her (Rev 21:24 and 26).
And last but not the least in the prophecy is that in this New Jerusalem, nothing that is unclean will enter it (Rev 21:27): neither abominations and lies, nor detestable things the nations used to eat (see Leviticus 11), because they will be all together completely destroyed (Read more).
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.