“City of David” no more. Now the City of God. The New Jerusalem is awe inspiring and is the new home of God. Here He will rule the earth.
This new city is placed on the new earth. EVERYTHING within and without will glorify God. NOTHING is spoiled by sin or will ever be touched by it. But there are reminders of the past incorporated into the very structure of the New Jerusalem.
The reminders I speak of are the names inscribed on the gates and possibly the foundations. When thinking of Israel’s sons, Joseph is the only one who stayed faithful to God his whole life. Yet the other names are as important as his and are included in the construction of His holy city. This is because they were part of the bloodlines establishing the nation itself. It would be a nation of complete inbreeding if only those who were faithful to God were included through the centuries. God chose Jacob over Esau. God chose Isaac over Ishmael. And God chose Abraham over all the other people on the earth. Even Abraham wasn’t perfect.
Another reminder of the past are the names of the disciples on the foundations of the city. “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (verse 14). Jesus called twelve men to be His apostles. Judas was among those HE called. I would not be the least bit surprised to see his name on one of those twelve foundations. Yes, he was replaced after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, but the lessons learned and the integral nature of his contribution to God’s plan remain. God didn’t purge His story of the tough or even bad parts.
Ok. Here is something I hadn’t noticed before. There will be other nations and kings of those nations on God’s new earth! I had always simply stopped at the gates of the great city and paid no attention to the goings on beyond it. Here the angel is speaking to John about the glory of God being the only illumination needed for this new world and he mentions that there will be nations and kings. “By its light will the nations walk and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it” (verse 24).
I’m curious who those kings will be. Will it be the twelve elders who were ruling on the thrones in the old Heaven? Will it be those who have been extremely faithful here on this earth? Will there be elections to decide who are to be the kings?
One thing is for certain, there will be no more wars between the nations. There is also no need of security. Gods gates “will never be shut by day- and there will be no night there” (verse 25). Satan will be no more so there will be no more temptation or sin.
The last verse in our reading leaves me with a question though. We see in the previous verse that the nations will all give God glory and honor. I don’t know what “form” it is that has it being brought into the city. Maybe verse 26 is simply speaking of individuals coming from the nations to the New Jerusalem and bring their praises to God. But the next verse has me scratching my head. “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (verse 27). Sin is gone. All those whose names were not written in the Book of Life are gone. There is nothing unclean on the new earth. What is it that is being kept at bay? Is the angel simply stating the obvious, that everything on the new earth will be clean as only those in the Book of Life populate it? Or is this implying that there will be more “anyone’s” populating this new earth than were originally listed in the Book of Life? Will “children” be born on this new earth? Will there be others that God brings into this new earth from other places?
Continuing to think about this question doesn’t give me any SURE answers, but this is what I do know from God’s dealings with man. He did call ONE group out from among all the rest. But He didn’t intend for this group to be an elitist society. He used the one to reach out to the rest. His love extends to ALL men and He desires that ALL come to Him. But He also knows that not all will make that choice. Those left out of God’s rewards are excluded by their own will and choices; not by His. He set a standard that is equal for ALL, even for those He called out separately in the beginning. So I honestly can’t imagine Him excluding anyone based on their “birthday” or “birth place.” Unless there is more to the story AFTER the new Heaven and new Earth. After all, God didn’t give this current information to those before Jesus’ birth. They were looking forward to a Messiah, not the absence of Satan. Maybe God has another “chapter” to add once this portion is completed. Only HE knows where the Omega really is.
Father God, thank You for keeping Your stories in tact so I can learn from them. ALL Your stories. The good, the bad, and the “just a hint” ones. Is this one of those with just a hint? Is there more to come? It has been an AMAZING story so far! I can’t imagine what lies ahead, if there is more. What I do know though is that You will be front and center in it no matter what it is. You created the WHOLE universe in just a word. It is up to YOU to decide how to use it.
Thank You that You don’t edit the bad parts out. Thank You for the reminders that spur me on to live better for You. Maybe that is why when You forgive my sins You don’t also remove the “scars” it leaves. I need those reminders. Not only can You use my circumstances to Your glory but You use those same scars to propel me to “stay away from the fire” and to help me point out some of the dangers to others. Experience is a hard but valuable teacher.
Whatever Your plans are God, they are AMAZING. And they are amazing because You are in the center of them all. That is what I’m holding onto. As long as I’m with You, I won’t worry about anything else.