THE NEW JERUSALEM A
of the most remarkable paradoxes of the Church of our times is its abhorrence
of materiality in connection with the eternal future, whilst practically up to its
ears in materialism and earthiness. Its ‘heaven’ has no substance, no reality, for the soul to
lay hold on: it is nothing but a world of shadows, of mist, of dim visions of
blessedness. On the other hand, that a
real City as well as a perfected moral system is to be understood in the
Apocalypse, I see not how we can otherwise conclude. It stands in antithesis to the final
- J. A. SEISS, D.D.
* * *
are many things in the description that have their most natural (their normal)
application to a great City, as is evident upon the bare perusal. This application is supported by the following
considerations:- (1) A material dwelling-place is as
necessary for resurrected saints as was
- E. R. CRAVEN, D.D.
* * *
1. The New Jerusalem is a literal city because of the literalness of its description. If gold does not mean gold, nor pearls - pearls, nor precious stones - stones, nor exact measurements - real dimensions, then the Bible means nothing accurate nor reliable. There is no one on earth who can assure your heart concerning the meaning of these ‘symbols’ - if they are symbols! Nowhere in God’s Word, for instance, is there any account of the ‘symbolism’ of precious stones. Twelve such stones are found in the high priest’s ‘four-square’ breastplate (Exod. 28: 15-21):- sardius, topaz, carbuncle, emerald, sapphire, diamond, jacinth, agate, amethyst, beryl, onyx, jasper. No one doubts that these were literal stones; but to deny that they are literal stones in the Revelation, and to admit them in Exodus as literal, is not only absurd, but unbelieving.
2. A second reason to consider the city a literal one is that child-like faith in reading the account always regards it as such. As the little girl asked her mother concerning the preacher who said that our Lord’s words in John 14., “I will come again,” did not mean that He would come back in person:- “Mamma, if Jesus did not mean what He said, why didn’t He say what He meant?”
3. Abraham and the patriarchs “looked for a city” - not a state of mind! The sublime faith of Abraham led him to leave a city in the most remarkable civilization known on earth, and become a stranger and pilgrim of the earth, caring only for a cave in which to bury his dead; “for he looked for the city that has the foundations, whose architect and maker is God.” Abraham will be satisfied with nothing short of a place, such as he looked for.
4. In all other parts of the Bible, simple faith in God’s statements is asked from man; why not then in Revelation 21., of all places, here at the end of God’s book! “Wherefore do questionings arise in your hearts?” the Lord asked, when He presented Himself in a risen body in the Upper Room. But if reasonings and doubts of the reality and literalness of His body were excluded then, when the human mind would naturally be astonished, how much less can questionings and doubts be admitted as to the literalness of the marvellous city of Revelation 21., which is to be the eternal home of our Lord’s risen body, and that of His saints in glorified bodies?
5. If the New Jerusalem is not to be taken literally, we cannot claim that the millennial Jerusalem of Ezekiel 20., 40., 48. and Zechariah 14. can be literal. But to deny these is to abandon faith in the accuracy of God’s Word.
In this book of the Revelation the former
7. The unfolding of divine things in the Bible is precisely contrary to the idea that in order to have spirituality, material things must be left behind. The old Manichaean heresy governs millions who call themselves Christian; though it is a Satanic lie, and pagan, and utterly anti-biblical. The Bible leads on to a literal and blessed home of the redeemed, possessed of bodies like Christ’s body - real and holy, incorruptible, immortal.*
* Serving and Waiting.
‑W. R. NEWELL.
* * *
Which city matters?*
[* From ‘Thought for the Week’, Leader, March 30, 2012]
the announcement was made of the three new cities created in the
What a pity we are not going to get the chance to live in a city after all!
Cities to me are vast conurbations, bustling centres, thousands of people, traffic jams, undergrounds, museums and art galleries, open bus tours, cathedrals and busy airports. However interesting they may be to visit, they are not very inviting to live in.
I wonder how many of you who are reading this, actually moved from a city to live here in Coleraine? Some of us were only too glad to get out of them for a more leisurely lifestyle.
Whatever the criteria for the selection of a new city were, we didn’t seem to meet it, or at least we were apparently not better qualified than (Lisburn and Newry), (Perth or Chelmsford or St. Asaph!) but then that is a matter of personal taste!
Many of us have been born and bred in Coleraine and district and some of us probably have never been to Lisburn or Newry and may wonder what they have that we don’t? That is a question for the Queen, the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State to answer, because it was they who decided who should get the nod.
Apparently we are not qualified to be a city, but no matter what the outcome of this Jubilee Committee, it does not take away from the fact, that we can be qualified to live in a city.
This city is nothing like you and I have ever seen, no matter if you have travelled throughout the world. This city does not appear in any of the glossy travel brochures, or in any holiday programmes on television. It is a city established by Royal decree and one where the King of all Kings lives and reigns.
It is a city that does not have any health, lighting, heating or crime problems. There will be no need to work, no need to worry, no need for banks even any need for churches!
In fact a man called John described the city like this. It would have no tears, no death, no mourning, no crying and no pain. There will be no night there, no need for a lamp or even the light of sun.
Now that sounds like a city that I would like to not just visit but also live in.
I read my Bible, it tells me that there is a royal invitation given to each one
of us to come and live in that city. It
is not issued from
not be too disappointed that the chance to live in the city of
The invitation is open to you today. The response is just a matter of faith.
‘For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.’ Hebrews 14: 13.