Reflections on Revelation #331

‘Day 331

The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones:[a] the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

21 The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. Revelation 21:19-21. 
Jesus said that He was going to prepare this place for His people (John 14:1-3). These stones in the city’s foundation are the same as those on the breastplate of Israel’s High Priest. (Remember Rev.1) Here, as so often in this book, the vision ties together the whole of God’s revelation. In Revelation all the books of the Bible meet and end. It is like the finale of the biblical symphony.

The vision of the new Jerusalem is grounded in the rest of the Bible. The waters flowing from the throne (Rev22:1) and the tree of life (22:2) recall the garden of Eden. The radiance of the city and its cubical shape (21:11,16) recall the sanctuary and Solomon’s temple (Exod.40:34,35; 1Kings 6:20; 1 Kings 8:11). There are only 2 cubes mentioned in the Bible: The Most Holy Place in the sanctuary and the New Jerusalem. Many parts of the design of the city also recall Ezekial’s visionary temple (Ezek.40-48). Also, many of the details of the New Jerusalem recall the promises to overcomers in the 7-churches portion of Revelation (e.g.the tree of life 2:7; 22:2). The description of the city makes abundant use of the number 12 – the kingdom number. So, the vision of the New Jerusalem has precursors in the history of God’s leading throughout the Bible.

The Most Holy place and its relationship to the imagery of the New Jerusalem are related to an important word mentioned in Rev 21:3; the word “Tabernacle” (RSV, KJV) (Greek skene), which is translated by the NLT as “live with them.” Other versions use the word “dwell.” The OT stated that one of the purposes or lessons of the sanctuary (there are many lessons) is that God would dwell or live with His people (Exod.25:8). How significant that the same word is used by John concerning Jesus’ incarnation (John 1:14.) God dwelt with his people in the sanctuary of the OT. Jesus dwelt with His people in the NT. Finally, God will again dwell / tabernacle with His people in the Earth Made new. Just like the sanctuary of old, all references involve a filling of the Temple with the Shekinah Glory. The cube structure of the New Jerusalem is a strong allusion to the Most Holy Place.

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