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Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 121414
Doctrine of Heaven. Part 3. A Glimpse of our Arrival in Heaven.Some people think that the moment they die they are in Heaven and there’s nowhere in scripture that really teaches that. Remember that when the Bible says in the twinkling of eye, it is talking about the resurrection, or the Rapture of the Church. However, where are we going to meet the Lord in our resurrection bodies, in Heaven?
1TH 4:17, Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.
We’ll meet Him in the clouds of the air. However, Heaven is billions of light years away and according to the Scriptures it is up northward from the earth. We really don’t know how far away it really is.
I would like to look at what will take place when we die and the time where we are carried by angels through space to Heaven. What exactly will we see as we approach the third Heaven?
According to the scriptures, first of all, we’ll be able to see Heaven from a distance. We will enter into the New Jerusalem, the capital city of Heaven, which is very real. It’s described as
“. . . the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (HEB 11:10).
The New Jerusalem is different from any city on earth because every city in the world was designed and built by human beings. However, the New Jerusalem is the only city designed and built by God. This very unique city is described as the Holy city, REV 22:19.
REV 22:19, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the Holy city, which are written in this book.
It’s absolutely perfect in every respect. When we see the New Jerusalem for the first time, we will be overwhelmed by its beauty. For example, when God took the Apostle John on a visit to the New Jerusalem, he was so overwhelmed by its beauty that he compared it to a bride on her wedding day.ev 21:2, And I saw the Holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
When angels carry us through space and we see the New Jerusalem for the first time, we will be amazed by its size. It’s much larger than any city on earth. In fact, the New Jerusalem is much larger than any country on earth. New York and Los Angeles would look like tiny villages in comparison to the Holy city. We can see this from the following specific measurements given to us in the Word of God.
REV 21:15-16, And the one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. And the city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width [and just as long as it is wide]; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.
Can you visualize a city so large that the city limits are fifteen hundred miles apart? The length and width of the New Jerusalem make it approximately half the size of the United States. Architects have calculated that the enormous size of the New Jerusalem would easily provide a mansion of over a half mile in length and breadth to every believer from Adam to the present.
God doesn’t do things in a small way. However, this is merely the start. The New Jerusalem is fifteen hundred miles wide and fifteen hundred miles long, but it’s also fifteen hundred miles high. No city on earth can begin to compare with this height. We build our cities on earth flat.
The highest skyscraper in the world will look like a tiny speck compared to the height of the New Jerusalem. The best way I know to visualize the immense height of the Holy city is to take the illustration of fifty percent of the size of the United States and stand it on end to look at it vertically. This will give us some indication of the enormous height of the New Jerusalem.
None of us will have ever seen anything approaching the magnitude of the Holy city. Some believe that the New Jerusalem is like a cube. I not am sure but none of us know for sure. It could be as a mountain with a peak that’s fifteen hundred miles high. For example, when the Apostle John was taken to Heaven, he said in REV 21:10, And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the Holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God,
The Scriptures also seem to indicate that Mount Zion and the New Jerusalem are one and the same.
HEB 12:22, But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,
So the New Jerusalem might be an extremely large mountainous city. It’s difficult to estimate exactly how large this mountainous city is, but the size of New Jerusalem is somewhere in the vicinity of seven hundred to eight hundred times as large as the United States. And no matter how large it turns out to be, we won’t be cramped for space when we live in the Holy city.
Because again “the Architect and Builder is God” (HEB 11:10). So that may be a general look at the size of the Holy city. However, as the angels carry us closer to the Holy city, our attention might also focus on the wall surrounding the New Jerusalem. No wall on earth is as large or as beautiful.
REV 21:17, And he measured its wall, seventy‑two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.
Imagine a city with a fifteen hundred mile wall on each of its four sides. The wall is seventy-two yards high. If you have ever seen a football field, try to visualize three quarters of its length. This is how high the wall around the New Jerusalem is. This large wall is very unique. In addition to being large and beautiful, it also pays tribute to the twelve original apostles of Jesus Christ. Notice there are only twelve apostles.
REV 21:14, And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Can you imagine while landing in the New Jerusalem that you will be able to see the plaques or stones with the apostles names engraved. You’ll see the names of Peter, Andrew, the two James, John, Philip, Bartholomew; Thomas, Matthew, Thaddaeus, Simon, and the one who replaced Judas Iscariot, the apostle Paul. The foundation stones of a wall are usually beneath the surface of the ground. However, these particular foundation stones must extend quite a bit above the surface. They’re very large.
Each foundation stone is approximately five hundred miles long. Think of a city approximately five hundred miles from your home. Try to visualize a foundation stone on a wall that is that long. Imagine how large the name of each apostle must be if it’s approximately five hundred miles long. It’s wonderful to see how the Lord Jesus Christ honored His original apostles. Each of these twelve foundation stones also have a large, beautiful jewel.
REV 21:19-20, The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, [kal-ced-oney] chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth,[sar-don-x] sardonyx; the sixth, [sar-d-is] sardius; the seventh, chry-so-lite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chry-so = prase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, [em-a-thist] amethyst.
Each stone represents a certain characteristic of each apostle? I’ll do my best to describe the colors of each jewel as we go on. Jasper is a translucent stone of many different colors.
Sapphire is blue. Chalcedony is a bluish white. Emeralds are green. Sardonyx is made up of alternating layers of white and orange-red. Sardius is blood red. Chrysolite is yellow or greenish yellow. Beryl is transparent bluish green. Topaz is yellowish. Chrysoprase is greenish. Jacinth is red with a mixture of yellow. [Em-a-thist] Amethysts are purple.
Each of these foundation stones is immense. They’re much larger than we can even begin to comprehend. When we see them for the first time, we’ll be stunned by their size and by their incredible beauty. The magnificent light of the glory of God will shine through each of these precious gems. Again, we fall back on passages like 1CO 2:9.
1CO 2:9, but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
And this is only the start. The wall on top of these large foundation stones also is a precious gem.
REV 21:18, And the material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says the word that’s translated “jasper” in this passage of Scripture is “a translucent stone of various colors, especially that of fire.” And so picture for a moment as the angels bring us closer to the Holy city, we’ll see an immense, transparent, multi-colored wall glowing with many different colors. There are also twelve gates in the large walls around the Holy city.
REV 21:12-13, It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.
This wall is similar to the wall surrounding the city of Jerusalem here on earth which also has a wall with twelve gates, three on each side. However, the wall around New Jerusalem is much larger and much more attractive.
REV 21:12, It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. On the east side, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun;
On the south side, Reuben, Simeon, Gad; On the west side, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin; On the north side, Dan, Asher, Naphtali. Now, some of these things are merely speculation from comparing some scriptures with others because ultimately Heaven is beyond human comprehension and human vocabulary.
In fact, some so-called scholars do not even believe that the New Jerusalem is around today.
However, the scriptures say that it is in passages like HEB 12:18-23; For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.”
And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first‑born who are enrolled in Heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect.
The New Jerusalem, the capital city of Heaven, is very real. However, it is different from any city on earth because every city in the world was designed and built by human beings. But this city in HEB 11:10, “the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
Notice in REV 21:21, And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl.
Try to visualize a large pearl here on earth that’s only a few inches long. Then, try to compare this with the gigantic pearl of each gate. We don’t know exactly how high the gates are in the walls surrounding the New Jerusalem. However, at the very minimum, they must be at least ten feet in height. We can’t comprehend the size and beauty of the twelve pearls in the gates of the Holy city. We can only compare them with pearls on earth that are created by wounded oysters. And this is an interesting analogy.
When a foreign particle such as sand gets inside of an oyster, it irritates the oyster. Pain from this wound causes the oyster to secrete fluid which surrounds the particle and hardens to form a pearl. And the pearls in the gates of Heaven are as large as they are because they were formed to represent the tremendous wounds of Jesus Christ. This may be one reason why the Bible refers to Heaven as a “pearl of great value.”
For example, in MAT 13:45-46, “Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
Every Christian approaching a gate of New Jerusalem will be able to go through this gate only because of the terrible wounds the Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us. These gates will serve as a constant reminder of the price He paid.