“And he said unto me, ‘It is done’” (Revelation 21:6).
by Joseph Ledwinka
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The last two chapters of the Holy Bible contain two beautiful descriptions of The Kingdom of God. Each describes a time of peace, righteousness, resurrection, restoration, and the healing of the people of all nations. These two beautiful panoramas capture the fondest hopes of mankind as they have longed for (unknowingly) the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19).
A new earth is promised to be filled with God’s righteousness. The historic battle between good and evil will be over, and each human heart will be filled with a full and accurate knowledge of a just, loving, wise, and powerful Creator (1 Timothy 2:4).
The new heavens will contain the grandest creation of God — a newly complete, immortal New Creation, the New Jerusalem. A perfect eternity is on the horizon for all who will opt-in to an intimate relationship through obedience to the Almighty Creator (2 Peter 3:13).
Ever since Adam’s sin of disobedience, each generation of mankind has been tormented by sin-driven selfishness. Today, at the end of the Gospel Age, a restless humanity finds itself further away from God than ever before. A searching after, and waiting for the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise, has been the object of hope for believers in God for thousands of years (Genesis 22:18).
The end of mankind’s restlessness is marked in Revelation 21:1 with the vanishing of the symbolic “sea.” The sea is commonly used to refer to the restless masses of sin-cursed humanity in several places in the Bible. For instance; in our Lord’s description of the “Time of Trouble” (Luke 21:5-36), Jesus speaks of great dismay among the nations. He describes the fear that would rule the hearts of men and the anguish of the nations at the “roaring of the sea and waves” (Luke 21:25, 26 Diaglott).
In Psalms 46, symbolic language reaffirms the wistful promise that “God is our refuge” even during the darkest trouble, even when the “mountains slip into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-3 NASB).
James makes the matter more personal when he describes a doubt-driven man as one who is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6). Isaiah 57:20 tells us, “the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet” (NASB). At the opening of Revelation 21, the restless, doubt-driven masses of mankind are now still, since the “sea” is no more (Revelation 21:1 Diaglott).
With the sea gone, this new stillness sets the stage for the most inspiring event in history; the introduction of the New Creation — more pure, more valuable, more brilliant, and more awe-inspiring than ever known. In Revelation 21:2 this majestic creation is named “New Jerusalem,” and in verse 10 “Holy Jerusalem.”
Each of these verses provides a unique and specific metaphor to describe the New Jerusalem. Verse 2 describes it “as a bride adorned for her husband” (Diaglott). This bride of 144,000 (Revelation 14:1,3) blameless firstfruits of God and the Lamb, reign as joint-heirs with Christ for a thousand years (Romans 8:17, Revelation 20:4). They will have an incredible reconciliation work to do, and they will be given incredible power to do it. This ambitious work, the decisions that are made, and the new reality that will follow, are described beautifully in Revelation 21:3-8.
Books will be written about the character and the experiences of the saints, each of the individuals who make up the New Jerusalem (Malachi 3:16). Their righteous and godly individual characters, developed through their own struggle to overcome sin, will make them agreeable in the eyes of the world of mankind, who will need the Church’s sympathy with their own struggles.
The second description of the “New Jerusalem,” from a different perspective, is detailed in Revelation 21:12-21. These verses describe how our Almighty Creator values each individual who is part of the New Creation. Jehovah’s immeasurable love and profound care for His divine family is evident in the use of the glorious imagery used to visualize His New Jerusalem.
The physical size of the New Jerusalem is cubical, 12,000 furlongs in each dimension (Revelation 21:16). Its walls are 144 cubits high (verse 17) and the entire construction is of pure gold (verse 18). With the brilliance of a diamond (verse 11), the foundation of the city is adorned with every kind of colorful precious stone (verse 19). The city has no need of an outside source to give it light since it is perpetually illuminated by the glory of God (verse 23).
To understand its proportions, let us compare its volume of gold with the most generous estimates of the amount of gold on earth. The earth is estimated to contain enough gold to cover six football fields with 18 inches of solid gold. By contrast, New Jerusalem contains enough gold to cover the entire surface of the earth with an 18 inch (1 cubit) layer of solid gold! Perhaps these out sized proportions depict the higher value and glory that our Heavenly Father places on the individuals of the symbolic city and their work of saving mankind and returning them to harmony with the Heavenly Father. Their value and beauty includes the work they were developed to accomplish — to save the race of mankind.
The perpetual light source emanating from within the city reminds us of the Shekinah glory of Israel’s tabernacle in the wilderness. While this guiding light of ancient Israel was limited to the Most Holy compartment, the New Jerusalem’s footprint (the world’s guiding light) will cover an area that equals half of the United States of America! In the Apostle John’s vision, this brilliant light cascades through the city’s golden walls with a glorious, never-ending iridescence. Imagine the color variations and their brightness as they reflect off the precious stones which adorn the city’s foundation!
In the picture of New Jerusalem, God amasses the earth’s most valuable elements on a scale that mankind cannot comprehend. This inspiring visual, combined with the noble work of reconciliation, provides us with a clue that these descriptions only reveal the “tip of the iceberg” of the magnificent glory that awaits the members of New Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV).
The restoration and reconciliation work of Christ and his Bride are detailed in Revelation 22. The wonderful reconciliation work described in Revelation 21-22 will begin after each member of the New Creation is found faithful and in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ. The angel showed John a symbolic river flowing with the “water of life,” the curse of Adamic death lifted (verse 3) and the healing of the nations in full swing. The healing of mankind includes the wiping away of every tear from every eye. There will no longer be any more death, mourning, crying or pain (Revelation 21:4).
With such a glorious vision, such a reversal of the repeated tragedies of a sin-soaked history, and the miraculous, beautiful global changes taking place, John twice falls down to worship the angel who delivers these amazing visions (Revelation 19:10, 22:8).
Why did John worship the angel? Perhaps he was overwhelmed by the glory of the visions, or perhaps it was his gratitude for the privilege of seeing the glorious plan of God. John made this mistake of worshiping the angel twice. This mistake and the angel’s correction may be an admonition to all believers that the wonderful message of reconciliation deserves all of our attention and not the messenger. The angel twice redirects John to worship the Heavenly Father. Let this be a sober and thoughtful reminder to us if we find ourselves worshiping the messenger. How blessed are we to be living during a time when the opportunity still exists to become a member of the New Creation! It is an opportunity that will never be offered again.
Jesus announces “It is done” as the church becomes completed. This is similar to his words on the cross “it is finished” (John 19:30). Let us press forward with all diligence to be faithful to our calling, that we may be in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when he makes that glorious proclamation!