The New Jerusalem is the eternal location of the Lord Jesus and the Bride of Christ. What are the basic foundations on which this city is built and what are the high standards set by God for its residents? The residents are without spot, wrinkle or blemish or any such thing and availed themselves during their lives for God to change them from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:11-13; 5:27).
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Corinthians 3:10-11).
Like for any building, foundations have to be measured, prepared and laid out for the New Jerusalem. The blueprint for the foundation of the New Jerusalem is given in the Bible. For a Holy City that will preside throughout eternity and oversee the whole of Paradise its foundations must be rock solid and absolutely unshakeable. For the foundation to be rock solid there can be no other foundation laid than that of Jesus Christ.
But wait! The Bible gives more details in Revelation 20:9; 21:9-27. Do you wish to be part of it? The qualifications expected of its future residents is not based on how much theology they understood in this present life but on whether they laid down their lives because of their love for Jesus Christ. Did they obey their Father’s will or did they do their own thing (Matthew 7:21)?
Then consider what the foundations involve and see where you fit in in relation to those in the foundation.. I do not think it premature to think about such things, even if only in seed form, until the Lord reveals more. He will surely clarify things further before too long. Otherwise, why would He have included a description of the New Jerusalem in the Bible if we are not meant to seek it out and understand?
What We Known About the New Jerusalem
She is eternal and is adorned as a bride. There are several elements that can be pictured and assembled diagrammatically,
• The New Jerusalem is a holy city in the expanses of Paradise
• It is symbolically represented as a cube (like the Holy of Holies)
• The dimensions of the cube involve the number 12
• Its foundations involve the apostles of the lamb
• Separate from the apostles is Jesus Christ the chief apostle
• The city has twelve gates facing the four directions of the compass in threes
• The foundations involve 12 precious stones
• The foundations involve the 12 tribes of Israel
• Each of the precious stones can be identified with one of the 12 tribes
• The light of the city is the Lamb that was slain
I woke up with a picture in my mind of two square slabs, one lying on top of the other (shown in blue below). The upper slab was slightly shorter all around thus providing a ledge. As I was thinking and praying about this for several days, it occurred to me that the first foundation represented the 12 apostles or their doctrines from the early church. The slab on top, resting on the former apostles, pictures the end-time 12 apostles of the Lamb, as developed elsewhere on my websites. These ones lay their lives down for the gospel.
The only way to enter the four-square city is via the gates. It was given to me that the gauntlet for passage through the gates was apostolic doctrine. All those that pass through have surrendered to apostolic doctrine as proclaimed in the Bible. In the scheme the gates rest on a narrow ledge provided by the first foundation. The gates were stabilized by resting against the second slab, as shown in the diagram. A gate is a person or persons who welcome God’s people in contrast to a shut gate illustrated by Diotrephes who would not allow the apostle John or his company to preach at his church (3 John 9-10).
This seems logical as no other foundation can be laid than that which was declared by Jesus through the first apostles (Ephesians 2:20). The 12 end-time apostles of the Lamb can only confirm and teach the doctrine of the first apostles of the Lamb (Rev 5:8). They will do that with great authority but they cannot deviate from what has already been declared. As Jesus often said, “It is written”.
Think about it
God has jealously guarded over His Word in its various legitimate forms and translations; some more valuable than others. Some are actually heretical, as is indeed the case of the Thomas Jefferson New Testament. Others have tampered with the original converting all measures to the metric or imperial systems, which has some value, except that prophetic elements become obscured.
Paul was an apostle of great note bringing powerful doctrines to the table and was chosen by the Lord Himself. Matthias, chosen by ballot, became an interim apostle until the Lord had adequately prepared Paul. Note the wording in Acts 1:26 concerning the replacement found for Judas the traitor, “And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles”. Wonderful though he must have been he was only numbered with the 11 apostles. I therefore consider Paul, as part of the apostolic company of 12, who was chosen by the Lord Himself.
“Now the wall of the city had 12 foundations, and on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14).
Gemstones and the 12 Tribes
The square foundations on which the wall rests (Revelation 21:18-19) brought to mind the square golden breastplate of the High Priest which bore 12 gemstones each inscribed with the name of one of the 12 tribes (Exodus 28:17-21).
Allow me to quote from page 54 “Studies in the Royal Priesthood: The Order of Melchizedek” by Kevin J Conner with Jeff Cameron (2011), distributed by Word Bookstore, Melbourne, Australia.
“There were 12 stones set in gold attached to the breastplate. All were precious stones each having their own particular glory and beauty, as represented in the 12 tribes of Israel which names are found eternally in the foursquare City of God (Revelation 21:12-13). These point to the true, the spiritual and eternal Israel of God. The 12 stones were placed in a different order to that of the two onyx stones on the High Priest’s shoulders. There it was according to birth. Here it is according to the order of the tribes in camp (under Moses in the wilderness). It will be noted that Reuben, who forfeited his birthright, is replaced by Judah as being first. Also the tribe of Levi is not named but represented in the Priesthood and Joseph is seen represented in his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (born of an Egyptian woman). Read also Isaiah 54:11-12; Zechariah 9:6 and Malachi 3:17.
They were placed according to their positions in the camp (according to the four compass points as shown in the painting below). The tribes were positioned in four lots of three tribes around the Tabernacle of the Lord in the shape of the cross the tribes on the East of the Tabernacle being the most numerous. Aaron bore the names of each tribe upon his heart. Jesus bears our names upon His heart. The High Priest was decked as a bridegroom indeed (Isaiah 61:10)”.
As the apostle Paul said, gentile converts are included in the new Israel since we have been grafted in or adopted so to speak (Romans 11:11-24). All those in Christ, ever since the first blood sacrifice when Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden and clothed with fresh skins, and those who built altars (e.g. Abel and Abraham), are therefore represented in some way, in the spiritual structure of the New Jerusalem which is embodied in people.
The number 12 is the number of Divine Government. This number is prominent in the Tabernacle of Moses as also in the New Jerusalem, the “City of God”. The 12 number also features in the article on the two massive brass columns guarding the Temple of Solomon. The two free-standing columns, Jachin and Boaz, symbolise the former and end-time apostles of the Lamb.
The Molten Sea
The ‘Molten Sea’ or ‘Brass Sea’ in Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 4:2-4) was borne on 12 oxen, and arranged in a square, as painted by Robyn Uglow from a Wikipedia illustration.
The fact that it held 2000 baths of water but had capacity for 3000 baths is prophetically significant to end-times as pointed out elsewhere. Briefly, it was prophetic of 2000 years of redeeming work (cleansing from sin) followed by 1000 years in the Millenium where cleansing is no longer required.
The main application here is that it rested on the backs of 12 oxen symbolizing the twelve apostles of the lamb, the world-wide burden bearers. The 12 were grouped in threes pointing to the four compass points, indicative also of their world-wide application on the Earth. In the symbolism of the New Jerusalem each is pointing to one of the 12 gates, again emphasizing apostolic doctrine as a condition of entering, hence those visiting or living in the City will display full unity in apostolic doctrine. As the New Jerusalem is the residence of the King and His bride, it is fitting that she possesses no wrinkles or blemish but is comparable to her husband Jesus Christ in every aspect of doctrine and attitude.
The cubic structure and its resemblance to the Holy of Holies, in the Tabernacle of Moses, has been discussed in my book on Amazon. The simplest mathematical ‘net’ of a cube is the shape of a cross, as when the six surfaces of a cubic cardboard box are folded out flat. Six is the number of man signifying what Jesus did on the cross as the Son of Man. Jesus was fully human and fully man, a concept difficult for the human mind to grasp. He brought flesh into the throne room of the Father. The cross and His presence wraps up all there is to the New Jerusalem, hence the cubic symbolism of the New Jerusalem and the Holy of Holies in the temples.
A Smell of Death
After submitting my first draft of this article to my editor and proof-reader, John Seamons, and re-reading my draft I was dismayed. I sensed that there was no life in what I had written. There was a smell of death about it and I wondered whether I had overreached myself this time. Gloom and doom descended upon me for a couple of days. Have I lost the plot and strayed from God’s will I asked myself? But God is ever faithful. His answer strengthened me once again. I seem to habitually awake in the mornings with His voice running through my mind.
“You’ve got it”, the phrase piercing my mind. He wanted me to feel it; its all about death. The people in My foundation laid their lives down for Me. They are living sacrifices. They died for Me. Then the thought welled up, “You forgot about the number 144; in the original listing the 144 cubits, the measure of the wall” (Revelation 21:17).
What is 144 all about? “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev 12:11), which was soon linked, in my mind, to Romans 12:1 and Revelation (7:4;14:1-5). This was also the characteristic that was upon the chosen 12 tribes of 12,000 each in Revelation 7:4-8; 12 x 12 = 144. The foundation of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, was laid by people laying their lives down.
During the preparation of the first draft, while colouring in the gem stones on the breastplate, it occurred to me that these stones, though polished no doubt, would have essentially been in their raw state. They would have exhibited none of the glitter and exquisite beauty of the precious cut stones displayed in jewellery stores today. The only glitter would have emanated from the gold setting as is evident from the mask of Tutankhamun (about 120-150 years after the time of Moses; photo by Pixabay/Pexel.com). Note the beautiful but uncleaved gemstones available to the Pharaohs and compare them to modern jewellery.
That was also true of the 12 tribes, of the apostles and even of Jesus Himself. “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2). The Complete Jewish Bible puts it this way: “For before Him He grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw Him but His appearance did not attract us”.
Jesus apparently even displayed a blemish of some sort (Luke 4:23). Being a Jew, Jesus would have had Semitic features and would not have stood out in a crowd. The resurrected Jesus will be a different story I am sure.
The 12 tribes were largely a rough lot with dysfunctional families and personalities. The only beauty about them was God’s touch and presence upon their lives.
The same could be said of my new paperback and Kindle book (“Supernatural Visions and Dreams: Personal Experiences” – Amazon books). In the book my poem on page 134 turned out blurred and unreadable, as is also true of a couple of images, but the images are good for the most part. The legible poem can be readily accessed on my website under the title “The Way of the Cross”. However, the message of the book is clear.
The first take-home lesson that pervades everything is that no one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ. As far as we can tell from the Bible there is no other pathway, “There is no other name by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). How far His sovereign mercy may reach I cannot tell, but it would be a terrible risk to presume that there is another way.
Secondly, we see that Moses, David and Solomon had to receive specific instructions for the plans of the temples because the precise structures were to convey important information to future generations. All the measures, colours and materials in the Old Testament have great significance to those truly seeking the Lord. They confirm that God works according to patterns and will not deviate from His plan of salvation, and the glory that awaits the redeemed.
Thirdly, what makes the City of the New Jerusalem radiant is the glory that emanates from the works of God that resides in its foundations. Rough gems have laid their lives down throughout history for the sake of the gospel, including Jesus the God-Man; the greatest of the gems of all time. He was the Word personified. Numerous people died martyr’s deaths. The Bible, in its entirety, repels many because it seems too brutal and full of warts for the faint-hearted. It has a smell of death but offers life through the blood of the Lamb. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35).
‘And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth’” (Revelation 5:6-10).
Surely we must see that God wants all to come to a unity of doctrine; not only to a unity in fellowship, willing to agree to disagree. Since there is no room for an agreement to disagree within the Trinity or within the New Jerusalem so it must also become with us. We must not rest in false complacency. It is interesting that God treasures His Word even above His own name,
“I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name for Your loving kindness, and Your truth. For You have magnified Your word above all Your name” (Psalm 138:2).