And so we come to one of the loveliest portions in the Revelation given to John by the Lord Jesus – the vision of the holy city, the new Jerusalem (21:2,10), the bride, the wife of the Lamb . The vision began in v. 2. We have already considered the first 8 verses. In the detail to follow (21:9- 22:5) John is given further information concerning this vision.
Vv. 9-10: " The angel who shows John the vision, is one of those angels we had met before in Chapter 16 – those who poured out the 7 bowls of God’s wrath upon the earth. There is a connection between those judgments and the appearing of the New Jerusalem, after all it is these judgments and the final destruction of Babylon that open the way for the renewal of the heavens and the earth and of the coming of the New Jerusalem.
This angel carries John away in the Spirit, and in that state he is shown the New Jerusalem from a great, high mountain. Again we remember that John did not see a literal city here. The context makes that clear. John is shown spiritual things (i.e. in the Spirit), and these heavenly things can hardly be described in human words. The language used here indicates this. This new Jerusalem is a metaphorical city. She called "the bride, the wife of the Lamb". This is as we know, a reference to the church of the new creation. She is literally indescribable, breath-taking in beauty, and so it is that symbolic descriptions must suffice for the time being! From that great high mountain John is able to get a perspective of this new city, just like the current spacecraft called “ New Horizons” , sent to explore Pluto sends back perspective of Pluto by way of images from a current distance of approximately 146 000 kilometres above this dwarf planet. In the same manner John is able to view this new Jerusalem, the church, as it descends down from heaven (21:2,10).
We observe that the shape of the city is a perfect cube - twelve thousand stadia each way. Just to get some perspective on this: A stadia is about 185 meters long. If we multiply this by 12 000 we shall find that the city is 2200 kilometres long, wide and deep. To further illustrate: It would be roughly the distance from Namibia’s northern border with Angola down to Cape Town, and from our West coast (Walvis Bay) across to Maputo in Mozambique!
Around the city is a wall which is said to be 144 cubits high. A cubit is approximately 45 centimetres, making the wall about 65 metres high. In the wall there are 12 gates, three on each side. At each gate there is an angel, and on the gates are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The wall has twelve foundations and the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are written in the foundations. The 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles are symbolic of the entire church of the OT and NT. The wall is made of jasper stone, while the city itself is constructed of pure gold which is transparent like glass. The foundations were decorated with precious stones of various kinds. The gates were made of pure pearl. The street of the city is also made of pure gold, and transparent as glass. The overall impression of this enormous city is one of striking beauty, summarised in v. 11… “
THE MEANING OF THIS SYMBOLIC VISION
We make the point once again. What John sees here is not a literal city. It is a metaphorical description of the church. After all, houses and buildings are not what makes a city. It is people that constitute a city. And the fact that the church is described as a city is to show that this is a community, a place where people live closely together. The church, the New Jerusalem, will be a new perfect society where the saints of God from all the ages will live together.
This is a vision “in the Spirit“. It is a vision described with human eyes and with human language. It is a vision of the bride, the wife of the Lamb. This is not a picture of heaven. Remember that this church is coming down from heaven. Many times we hear people speak of heaven as a place with streets of gold and with pearly gates, and where there is no night, etc. There is no doubt that heaven will be glorious, but remember that this is not the description of heaven. It is a description of the church, the dwelling place of God. The church is not in this city; but this city is the church. This city, the bride of the Lamb is intimately connected to the Lord Jesus Christ. We have seen the picture of a marriage taking place in Ch. 19: 6-10. This city – this great multitude of people loves Christ greatly and Christ greatly loves her!
What about the names of the apostles in the foundations of the city ? In Eph. 2:19-21 we read this : “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles (NT) and the prophets (OT) , Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
THE PERFECTION OF THIS CITY:
1. This perfection is seen by the fact that the city is in the shape of a perfect cube. The church here is so to speak ‘in perfect shape’. She has truly become holy Jerusalem - the perfect, holy and suitable dwelling-place of God. Incidentally, the most holy place in the tabernacle and in Solomon’s temple was a perfect cube of 20 cubits ( i.e. 9 cubic metres ) ! 
2. Concerning the wall we may say that it is certainly not for protection, and the angels at the respective gates do not function as guards. Besides that fact we read that the city gates are never shut (v. 25). There is no need for guards or for protection, as is the case here in our world, where the church has to be constantly guarded with sound doctrine where she has to be constantly under the watchful leadership of her elders. In the new creation there will be no enemies. So what is the wall for? It is a perimeter, a place of inclusion for all those of Christ’s sheep that have been gathered throughout the ages and who have been brought into that city. And the angels at the gates? Do you remember that at the end of time the work of the angels will be to bring in the human harvest? The angels standing at each of the twelve entrances of the city are the angels who have served in the ingathering of the citizens of the new Jerusalem . “The sons of Israel” in v. 12 are all those spiritual children from all the ages , who like Abraham were called by God, and who in time believed. Israel here is more than a nation. It here indicates the entire church of God, made up of Jews and Gentiles.  In Christ there is neither Jew nor gentile (Gal. 3:28,29). There is one only people – spiritual Israel - loved by her bridegroom , the Lord Jesus!
3. The number 12 - 12 gates , 12 angels , 12 tribes, 12 foundations, 12 apostles signify the number of perfection, completion and accomplishment. The church is now perfected. The complete number of God’s elect people have entered through the gates, and all are within those walls. If we consider the size of the city, then we understand that this is indeed a multitude like sand on a seashore – a great multitude which no man can number.
4. The dazzling glory of the new Jerusalem : The materials i.e. gold , jasper , precious stones , pearl furthermore indicate this perfection. We do not want to fall into the trap of allegorizing these details . We are interested in the principles. To the eye of John all this appeared to be glorious, for this was the reflection of the glory of God in the lives of these redeemed people of God. This city bought with the blood of the precious Lamb of God reflects the expense at which her people were bought. Righteousness and holiness and love and purity shine from these people as they with unveiled faces reflect the glory of God, and what can John do but to describe all this in terms of the most stunning materials given to us on earth? This , dear brothers and sisters is the reflection of the glorified church - “ This church is beautiful and precious , and this is exactly what the apostle Peter spoke of, when he wrote of the “ tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ!” (1 Peter 1:7) .
The Quality of Life in the New Jerusalem ( vv. 22-27)
Again , remember the symbolic nature of this vision:
1. No need for a temple ! (v.22) The text does not mean that the temple-idea is done away, but rather that it has come to its highest and fullest realization. The whole city is in a sense a temple. The fact of the matter is that the temple of God will not be a building. The building is ….”a spiritual house made up of living stones….offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (see 1 Peter 2:5). Not a special building will be His temple, but the whole city, shall be His dwelling place.
2. It is in this context that we must also consider v. 23: The light spoken of here is not the illumination given by sun and moon , but the illumination given by God the Almighty and the Lamb whose word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). The reference here is not to the new creation, but to the church, the bride of the Lamb. At that time we shall no longer see in a mirror dimly, but face to face (1 Cor. 13:12). We shall see the glory of Christ directly and immediately.
3. In that context we shall be busy: (v. 24) “ shall be active. In the new creation there will be work that will never make us tired. Our work will be of such a restful nature that we do not need a night to catch up with sleep.
4. This city , this church is made up out of all nations. (vv. 24,26) . The church is made up of nations – not in the sense that we shall be separated by language and culture – but the glory of the church shall be seen in the fact that all the redeemed among the nations having appeared from one common root are able to get on with each other. The mentioning of the “kings of the earth” (v.24) does not mean that structures in heaven will be simply transplanted from this earth, for many of our kings and structures are very evil, and such cannot inherit the kingdom of God. These things will be destroyed by fire. It seems however that there will be authority structures found in the new Jerusalem. There will be great and small. There are ranks in the world of angels. The apostles shall sit on twelve thrones. The doctrine of rewards teaches that there are some who will be given greater rewards & positions etc. However, all conduct of such shall be pure and in humble submission to the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
5. There will be no fear and there will be no night : the city gates will be open and never closed for fear – there will be a constant activity and flow - a constant fullness of life and joy. There will be no night to make us afraid , and there will be no evil.
6. There will be no imperfection (v. 27) Only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life shall have a place there. The possibility of sin and corruption is forever gone. The reason is that Christ will be at the centre of this new community .
What a wonderful picture. What a wonderful promise. Can you imagine living in such a surrounding? What a contrast there is between Babylon, the symbolic city of man bound in sin and its end in outer darkness, and the New Jerusalem, the church, with its everlasting light and perfection, happiness , satisfaction and glory!
Remember that you can only be the citizen of one city. If you participate in Babylon's corruptions, then your name is not written in the Lamb's book of life. But if all your hope is in Jesus your bridegroom, and if you serve Him with all your heart, despite many challenges and weaknesses, then continue to persevere. Remember that the Day of the Lord is now nearer than when you first believed. Amen !
 A.H. Hoeksema : Behold He cometh
 See 1 Kings 6:20 ; Ezekiel 41:4
 See Acts 20 :17- 32
 Ephesians 2:11-3:13
 2 Corinthians 3:18
 Gr. peripateō. This word is used in the scriptures to signify the whole round of the activities of the individual life ( W.E. Vine) e.g. in newness of life (Rom 6:4) , in honesty ( Rom 13:13), by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), in good works (Eph. 2:10), in love ( Eph.5:2), etc.
 Galatians 5:20,21