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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 96

The New Jerusalem
 

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Let’s pray together:

Father,

Your prophetic Word has shown us that, after the Last Judgment, Your faithful people will inherit a magnificent dwelling place, the New Jerusalem.

May this lesson help us to learn more about this wonderful city, and cause us to work more ardently in Your harvest.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.




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Genesis 1:31

And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.

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When God created the earth, it was perfect.

And on this perfect earth, in the garden of Eden, He placed the newly created man and woman, so that they might enjoy all the wonders surrounding them.

Unfortunately, because they chose to disobey their Creator, they were no longer allowed to stay in Eden.

But, in His infinite love, God set up His plan of salvation in Jesus Christ, so that they might, one day, return to paradise.




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John 14:2,3

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.

I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

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Jesus repeated that promise: there really is a place prepared for those who follow God, a place where they will spend eternity.

It is, therefore, reasonable to allow one lesson simply to have a better knowledge of the place where we could spend eternity!




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Hebrews 11:9,10,14,16

By faith [Abraham] sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.

For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God. (...)

For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. (...)

But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly.

Why God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He has prepared for them a city.

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Abraham, his household, and his descendants knew that the real Promised Land was more than a piece of land in Canaan.

They were waiting for an infinitely superior heritage: the heavenly city which God has prepared for His people.




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Philippians 3:20 [NKJV]

For our citizenship is in heaven.

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Hebrews 13:14

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

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Hebrews 12:22

But you are come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.

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The New Testament also confirms that God has prepared a glorious heavenly city for His people.




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Revelation 21:2

And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

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Isaiah 65:18

But be you glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create.

For, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

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This heavenly city is the New Jerusalem.

After the Last Judgment and the final destruction of the wicked, the city will descend to the new earth.




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Revelation 21:3

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,

«Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.»

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Exodus 25:8

And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

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Like the earthly sanctuary, built by Israel so that God might dwell among His people, the New Jerusalem will serve as a tabernacle, an eternal and perfect sanctuary, in which God will dwell with His people forever.




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The New Jerusalem will be the eternal home of God and His people:

«The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face. (...) And they shall reign for ever and ever.» (Revelation 22:3,5)

«I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the middle of them for ever more. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yes, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the middle of them for ever more.» (Ezekiel 37:26-28)

«And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever.”» (Ezekiel 43:7 [NKJV])




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Revelation 21:9,10

«Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.»

And [the angel] carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

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Daniel 2:35,44

The stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (...)

The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

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The New Jerusalem is the «great mountain» mentioned in the prophecy of Daniel chapter 2.




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Revelation 21:11

And her light was like to a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

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Isaiah 54:5,12 [NKJV]

For your Maker is your Husband. (...)

I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones.

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Prophecy goes on with the description of the New Jerusalem’s architecture.

Our imagination can’t possibly conceive the sublime beauties this city will display for the happiness of God’s people living there.




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Revelation 21:15

And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

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Revelation 11:1,2

And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying,

«Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given to the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot.»

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Unlike the temple and its outside court trampled under foot, which were measured with a plain reed, God’s holy city is measured with a golden reed.




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Revelation 21:16

And the city lies foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth.

And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.

The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

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Since a furlong is equal to 606 feet (185 metres), 12,000 furlongs represent 1,379 miles (2,218 kilometres).

So the New Jerusalem covers a huge area, and rises to the same height, like an immense mountain, shining and glorious.




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Revelation 21:16,18

And the city lies foursquare. (...)

And the city was pure gold.

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1 Kings 6:19,20 [NKJV]

[Solomon] prepared the inner sanctuary inside the temple, to set the ark of the covenant of the Lord there.

The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high.

He overlaid it with pure gold.

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Being square-shaped and overlaid with pure gold, the New Jerusalem, which is God’s temple, is like the Most Holy Place of the earthly sanctuary.




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Revelation 21:12,17

And [she] had a wall great and high. (...)

And [the angel] measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

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Revelation 7:4

And I heard the number of them which were sealed.

And there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

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The city’s wall measures 144 cubits, that is, 210 feet (64 metres).

This reminds us of the 144,000 faithful ones who make up the Israel of God.

In fact, this isn’t the only feature of the city’s wall which calls to mind the 144,000...




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Revelation 21:12,13

And [she] had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

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Ezekiel 48:31-34

The gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; (...) and at the east side, (...) three gates; (...) and at the south side, (...) three gates (...); and at the west side, (...) three gates.

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Just like the 144,000 who are taken from the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve gates of the city are named after the twelve tribes of Israel!




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Revelation 21:21

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl.

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Matthew 13:45,46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

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The gates of the New Jerusalem, each being composed of one pearl, recall this parable of Jesus, teaching us that no sacrifice is too great to obtain our eternal home in the glorious city of God.




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Revelation 21:14,19

And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (...)

And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones.

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Isaiah 60:18

You shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.

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The twelve foundations of the wall, made with various precious stones, are also named after victorious people: the twelve apostles.

Why did God choose these names for the twelve foundations of His city?




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1 Corinthians 3:10,11

According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon.

But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

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Ephesians 2:20

[You] are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.

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God chose these names for the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem because the apostles, resting on the chief cornerstone which is Jesus Christ, founded the Church.




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The foundations of the city recall the breastplate of the high priest




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Revelation 21:23

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it.

For the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

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Isaiah 60:19

The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light to you.

But the Lord shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.

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The glory of God and the coming of eternity will make the heavenly bodies unnecessary, since the sun and moon were «for seasons, and for days, and years» (Genesis 1:14).




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Revelation 21:25

And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day.

For there shall be no night there.

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Isaiah 60:11 [NKJV]

Therefore your gates shall be open continually.

They shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession.

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Since evil will be banished forever, the city’s gates will always be open.

And now, what does the coming of «the wealth of the Gentiles and their kings in procession» mean?




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Revelation 21:24-26

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.

And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.

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Isaiah 60:3

The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

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In our lesson «The Loud Cry», we have seen that, before the close of probation, a last evangelical work will present the light of truth with power, as never before, leading a great multitude to accept God’s call to salvation.




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The nations who follow the light on earth will also follow it in eternity:

«The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see, and flow together, and your heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted to you, the forces of the Gentiles shall come to you.» (Isaiah 60:3-5)

«All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before You.» (Psalm 22:27)

«The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.» (Isaiah 2:2)




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But God’s City cannot receive those who rejected the light on earth:

«And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.» (Revelation 21:27)

«Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.» (1 Corinthians 6:9,10)

«For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.» (Ephesians 5:5)

«Outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.» (Revelation 22:15 [NKJV])




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Revelation 21:27

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

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Revelation 20:14,15

This is the second death.

And whoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

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Revelation chapter 21 ends just like chapter 20, by showing the sad consequences of not having one’s name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Then, for all those who accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord of their lives, Revelation chapter 22 gives more details about the reward which awaits them...




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Revelation 22:1

And [the angel] showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

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Revelation 7:17

The Lamb which is in the middle of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

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First, all those who have not forsaken God, the Source of living water, will be allowed to drink at the pure river of water of life, which will flow through the New Jerusalem.




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Revelation 22:2

In the middle of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life.

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Revelation 2:7

To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the Paradise of God.

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Then, just as Jesus promised to him who overcomes, the people of God will regain access to the tree of life.

And why do we say «regain» access?




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Genesis 3:22-24

And the Lord God said,

«Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever,» therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from from where he was taken.

So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

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Man will regain access to the tree of life, because this tree of life was in Eden, out of which man was driven because of his sin.




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Revelation 22:2

In the middle of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded its fruit every month.

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

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Malachi 4:2

But to you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.

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Since illness will be no more, the «healing» provided by the tree of life is the light and the life which Jesus, our Sun of righteousness, will give us.




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In brief, the New Jerusalem contrasts considerably with Babylon




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Revelation 12:1

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

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We have often seen in our lessons that the number 12 symbolizes the eternal covenant between God and men.

So the description of the New Jerusalem, sign of the eternal covenant between God and His people, uses the number 12 many times...




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The twelve «12»s of the New Jerusalem, the sign of the perfect covenant!




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Revelation 22:14

Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

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Revelation 7:14,15

These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Therefore are they before the throne of God.

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It is high time we reserved our place in God’s City.

How?

We must wash our robes in the Lamb’s blood, that is, allow God to purify our hearts through the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, and then follow Him until the end.




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Revelation 2:7; 3:5,12; 21:7

To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the Paradise of God. (...)

He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life. (...)

Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. (...)

He that overcomes shall inherit all things.

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Jesus will help us to overcome, if we entrust our lives to His hands.

It is ours to decide.




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Let’s pray together:

Our Father in heaven,

Your promise is so wonderful that we may find it difficult to believe. Yet Your Word says, «Behold, I make all things new. (...) Write: for these words are true and faithful.» (Revelation 21:5).

We truly desire that our names be written in Your Book of Life.

Please help us to faithfully follow You with perseverance until the end, until the day You give Your people the New Jerusalem for their inheritance.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.


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