Bible Study With Jairus—Revelation 21

The New Jerusalem Is the Wife of the Lamb and Her Beautiful Display

 

The New Jerusalem is a beautiful heavenly dwelling place for believing Israelites and New Testament saints. God is at the center, and the Father is transcendent, permeating everything. The New Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, adorned with extreme beauty. Her finest adornments are not gold and silver, but the inner adornments of imperishable virtues more lovely than fine jewelry (1 Peter 3:3-4). Her testimony, dedication, and love for God throughout the ages will be the building materials that God uses to create the beautiful New Jerusalem. These virtues will make the Lamb’s wife exceedingly beautiful on the day of the wedding feast with the Lamb.

 

In a dream, I saw a heavenly house being literally constructed with virtues. In the vision, I saw a Christian’s sister’s house in heaven, which was constructed using the lady’s virtues and spiritual gifts. The courtyard wall of her house was fused with grapevines full of grapes, which represented spiritual fruit. Another wall was full of music boxes that could play music, which represented her talents. I believe that the New Jerusalem is a dwelling place constructed by the collective virtues and talents of all the believers in heaven.

 

The New Jerusalem is a part of the new heaven and the new earth, but not its entirety, just like Los Angeles is only one part of the United States. There is more to heaven than the New Jerusalem, and there is more to our heavenly experiences than the scenes described in the New Jerusalem. The Bible only describes part of the heavenly history because it would take an eternity to describe everything we will do in heaven. The New Jerusalem is only one part of the new heaven and new earth, but there is also much more beauty and glory to discover in the new earth.

 

Will The Vastness of Heaven and The New Jerusalem Continue To Expand?

Heaven is immensely vast. Revelation 21:1-2 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” These verses tell us that John first saw a new heaven and a new earth and then saw the holy city, The New Jerusalem, descending from heaven. Later, God tells us the dimensions of the New Jerusalem: “The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal” (Revelation 21:16). One stadion is approximately 600 feet, so 12,000 stadia is about 1364 miles, roughly the distance from Los Angeles to Dallas. This helps us imagine the size of this city. It doesn’t come close to covering the earth’s surface, and certainly doesn’t fill the vast universe or heaven itself. So what is the New Jerusalem? It is the Holy of Holies in heaven. Revelation 21:22 records, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” Does the city represent the entire temple or only the Holy of Holies? I believe the New Jerusalem may be a larger version of the Holy of Holies, and the entire earth is the Holy Place. Beyond that is the Outer Court. Mature believers have entered the Holy of Holies and have entered God’s presence. The New Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, the Holy of Holies where believers join together with God.

 

Why do I mention that there is also a Holy Place and an Outer Court? Because even after the New Heaven and the New Earth are born, and the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, the Bible still mentions that outside the city “are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Outside are unclean people who do what is detestable or false (see Revelation 21:27). They can never enter into the city; only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life can enter the city (Revelation 21:27).

 

This verse raises a question. If unbelievers have already been thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), why does this verse say that the unclean are outside the city? Why are there still detestable things in the new heaven and new earth? How can we understand this? Is there a possibility that the lake of fire is outside the New Jerusalem? This could be possible. In the Old Testament, the book of Isaiah mentions that in the last days, God will choose the Israelites as priests to lead the nations to worship God in Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:20). Moreover, Isaiah 66:22-24 says, “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord. And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” According to this scripture, those who come to worship God will have the opportunity to see the punishment of those who rebelled against God, including their dead bodies. Similarly, at the end of Revelation, God mentions unclean people who are outside the city. Perhaps they are in the lake of fire outside the city. In addition to the lake of fire, I believe there may be a Holy Place and an Outer Court as well.

 

Revelation also mentions that the leaves of the Tree of Life are for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:2). This verse is also difficult to understand. If our resurrected bodies no longer get sick and our spirits are perfected in heaven, why would we still need to be healed? I believe it’s possible that the New Jerusalem is a place of intimate connection to God that not all people will immediately access. Like the Holy of Holies, not all are granted access. Perhaps some people escape hell but still need healing, discipline, growth, and sanctification in order to enter the city. If the New Jerusalem represents the Holy of Holies, it would make sense that there would also be a Holy Place and an Outer Courtyard outside of it.

 

Although the New Jerusalem is the center of the new heaven and the new earth, it is not the whole thing. In my dreams and visions, I saw the souls of some Chinese people living in a valley. They were in darkness but not in hell. I believe these souls might still have the chance to continue learning and getting to know the Lord. Then they may be allowed to enter the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:26 and 22:14).

 

But will they live in the New Jerusalem, and will the New Jerusalem continue to expand eternally? Is the size of the New Jerusalem described in Revelation fixed, or could it continually expand until it fills the infinite universe? As more people are sanctified, will they be able to enter the Holy of Holies, and will the Holy of Holies expand to accommodate them? The answers to these questions are unclear. If the New Jerusalem does not continue to expand, we should seize every opportunity to spiritually mature so we can enter the city of God.

 

The New Jerusalem Is the Manifestation of Our Resurrected Bodies

Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem is the Lamb’s wife, and that the church is the bride of Christ and the body of Christ. Are we the body of Christ in a spiritual sense only, or does this depiction also have a physical side? There is certainly a spiritual aspect, in which both men and women can be a part of Christ’s bride. The New Jerusalem is described as the Lamb’s wife, but it is also described as a physical city built with precious stones (Revelation 21) We as believers are also said to be living stones, being built up as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). We as believers are the building blocks of the city.

 

What does this mean? What are living stones? To understand this concept, we must break free from our materialistic concepts. Heaven exists in a different dimension, and some say that even the grass in heaven can speak. We need to leave behind our preconceptions as we grasp this metaphorical language.

 

This brings me back to my dream about the Christian sister’s heavenly house. In the dream, the walls of her house were alive and were built of her spiritual gifts and talents. Grapevines were growing within the walls, as a part of the wall, bearing abundant fruits. This points to the fact that this sister has the gift of evangelism and has brought forth abundant fruit as she has led people to salvation. Not only were the walls alive, but the door was also alive, made of something resembling bricks that were full of life. The door had a music box that could play music. This sister loves music, and after hearing my testimony, she said that she never thought God loved her so much that he would place a music box on the door of her heavenly house!

 

As Christians, we trust that not only our spirits will be renewed in eternity, but also our bodies. What will our bodies be like after the resurrection? We can only speculate based on the appearance of the Lord’s resurrection body. When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, they thought He was a spirit or some type of ghost without a body. However, Jesus told them that a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as He did. He specifically stated that he had a body, bones, and flesh that could be touched. He even ate a piece of fish in front of them to demonstrate the physical nature of his body (Luke 24:36-43). He had a physical body in the resurrection, and so will we. Yet our bodies will be nothing like our current bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-45).

 

An example from nature will help us understand this. A caterpillar transforms into a chrysalis and finally into a butterfly. If we hadn’t seen such a transformation with our own eyes, it would be hard to believe that such a thing could happen. In the same way, the transformation and resurrection of human beings will be marvelous. One day we will be like caterpillars, the next we will go through the cocoon stage, and after the resurrection, we will obtain another form, just like butterflies. It will be truly incredible. I believe the New Jerusalem is a manifestation of our resurrected bodies. We will still be individual beings, but we will also be part of something bigger. It’s clear from Scripture that we will still be individuals; Jesus said that after the resurrection, we will be like angels, neither marrying nor being given in marriage (Matthew 22:30). This statement assures us that we’ll remain individuals; we won’t lose ourselves. But we will also be living stones that are being built together. How? Will we be literally linked together arm to arm, standing on someone else’s shoulders? No, God builds us together through the life of God within us, linking us together. He is over all, through all, and in all (Ephesians 4:6).

 

A few examples from nature may help us understand these spiritual realities. A coral polyp is an individual, yet it builds and spreads and creates a network of dead coral polyps that turn into reefs. Slime mold creates an even better illustration of this concept since slime mold is alive. This type of mold not only grows as individual mold organisms, but also communicates and cooperates with other single-celled organisms to create efficient systems for the distribution of nutrients. A group of Japanese and British researchers strategically placed food in a pattern that mimicked Japanese subway stations. In response, the slime mold units worked together to create a pattern of tunnels that was remarkably similar to the pattern of the efficient Japanese subway systems. Several slime mold organisms connected and grew together as one network. In this example, each slime single-celled mold organism was an individual with life, yet they grew together to form a larger organism, exhibiting various shapes, structures, and forms. This is truly a wonderful thing, and it is an illustration of how we will remain individuals and yet will grow together into a dwelling place of God in the spirit.

 

In the New Jerusalem, we will live inside the city, yet we will also be a part of the city. We will live in God’s building/tabernacle, yet we will also be the living stones that it is built of. This is a profound mystery that cannot be fully described in words. Yet the story of the house built of grapevines and music boxes gives an image of this reality. The grapevines and the walls were one, forming a living unity. These walls were part of the house, but they were also a part of this Christian sister, since they represented the spiritual fruit of her preaching and were inextricably tied to her identity. This grapevine was also rooted in God and was also a part of God’s building. This concept is truly marvelous. I believe that the New Jerusalem is a wonderful manifestation of our resurrected bodies.

 

The New Jerusalem Is the Glorious Wife of the Lamb

This city is full of the glory of God (21:11) because God’s people are filled with God’s glory and the New Jerusalem is the Lamb’s wife, the church. Believers are created to be filled with God’s glory, vessels of His glory, manifesting His glory within them. Therefore, when the church is built into the New Jerusalem, it will naturally be filled with the glory of God.

 

We are not only living stones, but also precious stones (21:11). This means we have undergone a transformation, just like rock undergoes high pressure and change to become precious stones. The gates are made of pearls (21:21), which reminds us that pearls are formed when oysters experience irritation from a grain of sand and secrete a special coating to create the gem. This also speaks of transformation.

 

The city’s twelve gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel inscribed on them (21:12). The city’s twelve foundations contain the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (21:14). This shows how Israel and the New Testament church are joined together through Christ, the cornerstone. In Him, both grow together into a temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:20-21). This is the beautiful display of the unity of Christ’s new bride, but who will view this display? If we showcase something but have no audience, then the display loses its meaning. Who is the audience for this display? It’s all of God’s creation, including everything in heaven, on earth, and beneath the earth. This is why I believe that there is certainly a Holy Place and an Outer Court apart from the Holy of Holies (the New Jerusalem). The church has an audience that stands in awe of what Christ has done in unifying Jews and Greeks in his body. Outside the Outer Court is the lake of fire.

 

This city does not need the sun or the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God gives it light (21:23). The present world needs the light of the sun and moon, but the future world will only need the light of the New Jerusalem, because God’s light brings all the life, warmth, and nourishment we will ever need. In a way, we will become part of this “sun.” No wonder Proverbs 4:18 says, “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”

 

Revelation 21:25-27 says, “and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” This verse indicates that there are nations that live outside the city. Perhaps these are the nations referred to in Revelation 22:2 who live in the Outer Court or Holy Place but continue to mature until they are admitted into the Holy of Holies. They do not necessarily live inside the city, but they bring their glory into it. Those dwelling in the city are those whose lives are mature enough to enter the Holy of Holies. Those in the lake of fire outside the city cannot enter it. This is confirmed again in Revelation 22: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (22:14-15) Those who wash their robes are redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, but they are not mature enough to wear the bride’s “fine linen.” Clearly, they do not live in the city; if they did, there would be no need to talk about gaining the right to enter the city. There are difficult levels of spiritual life and maturity, and we must seize every opportunity to love and sacrifice for the Lord on earth today, so we can enter the Holy City one day. Let’s make the most of every opportunity during our precious time on earth so we can enjoy the full blessings of the life to come.