New Jerusalem is the City of the Great King

Revelation 21:2 says, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

The second characteristic of New Jerusalem in this verse is that it is a city. Matthew 5:35 says that the earthly Jerusalem is “the city of the great King.” How much more is the heavenly Jerusalem also the city of the great King! Since God here is called, “the King,” it means that the city is His kingdom, the realm over which He rules. However, we should not think of Him merely as one sitting on a throne with a scepter in His hand. This kingdom is not like any earthly kingdom. Rather, our repenting and believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ is for this kingdom (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15). Also, through our repenting and believing we have been born into this kingdom (John 3:5). New Jerusalem is a kingdom of the divine life.

We can preach the gospel of the kingdom today, following the example of Philip. He proclaimed Christ in Samaria and announced the gospel of the kingdom of God (Acts 8:5, 12). He spoke both Christ and the kingdom because when we receive Christ as our Savior and life, this Christ becomes the reality of the kingdom in us. Now, we can live in the inward reality of this kingdom (Romans 14:17) while waiting for its outward manifestation at the Lord’s second coming.

Hebrews 11:16 says that Abraham “eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.” We are accustomed to buildings with foundations, but here is something much grander in scale—a city which has not one but multiple foundations. This corresponds with Revelation 21:14 which says that the wall of New Jerusalem has twelve foundations.

God Himself is the Architect and Builder of this city. New Jerusalem is of His design and thus each element of its design must be interpreted in accord with the Bible, as I endeavor to do in these posts. God is the Builder; details regarding this will wait until a later post.

Finally, Hebrews 13:14 encourages us not to set our affection on any present city but rather to seek the one to come. May each of us ask the Lord for mercy to be seekers of the coming city, New Jerusalem.

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