“I Saw New Jerusalem”

John saw New JerusalemRevelation 1:2 tells us that the apostle John “testified the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, even all that he saw.” In our understanding, much of what is described in Revelation is in the future but this verse says that John “saw”—past tense. The reason:

This book is a book of prophecy — not prophecy merely in words but in visions revealed to the seer. In the eyes of God, all the things prophesied in this book have already taken place. Thus, all were shown to the seer, vision after vision. Therefore, most of the verbs used in this book are in the past tense.*

In this principle, regarding New Jerusalem, John told us,
• “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Revelation 21:2a)
• “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (v. 21:10)
• “And he [an angel] showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.” (v. 22:1)

According to our human concept, New Jerusalem is in the future. Humanly, we are stuck in time. But God is eternal! He is outside the confines of time. In God’s eternal view everything of New Jerusalem has been accomplished, so over 1900 years ago John saw** the city. We too need such a vision. Lord, give us the heavenly and eternal vision of New Jerusalem. Let us see with Your seeing.

* one paragraph of note 1 on Revelation 1:1 in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM

** “I saw” in v. 21:2 is one of almost 50 times in Revelation that John says, “I saw.” A few more times another says to John, “you saw.” The present tense “see” is used only eleven times in Revelation, mostly for worldly or evil people, such as in 11:9, 17:8, and 18:9.

photo by Toby Shelton

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  1. I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17-23. There he prayed that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened…” What the apostles like John and Paul “saw,” we too need to “see.” Since what they saw of God’s plan was revealed to them in their spirit (Eph 3:5; Rev. 21:10), we too need, as Paul prayed, to be in such a spirit of revelation to see these divine realities. May the Lord, grant us by means of prayer to be in such a spirit (Eph. 6:18) in order to see the New Jerusalem and all the mysterious signs in the book of Revelation..


    • Yes, God showed much to them and He can show the same to us. Lord, grant us a spirit of wisdom and revelation!


  2. what a difference between only hoping and looking forward to the New Jerusalem (or some sort of “heaven”) and what the Bible says! John saw everything in the past tense – it has all been accomplished!

    Lord, grant us to SEE the New Jerusalem, and especially to see that in Your eyes the New Jerusalem has been consummated! A heavenly and eternal view of the New Jerusalem!


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