We are spiritual beings who deep down in our hearts and souls are seeking our true home and a restored relationship with God. Those who recognize this spiritual longing and need may have searched for comfort and answers to their longing in all the wrong places. For, we know that some people have delved into false religions with gods that do not exist. Others have chosen to look for spiritual peace within themselves believing in their own ability to be the god of their own lives by using yoga, meditation, Buddhism and other so-called cerebral methods to try to find the answer to who they are and who they can be. Still others have chosen to totally ignore the spiritual aspect of their lives; deciding to live only for themselves and instant gratification. Sadly, all of these methods lead to total separation from God and our true home in Eternity in Heaven.
In the past few blogs, I have discussed with you nine groups of Holy Scripture assurances that God has given to us about Eternity in Heaven. Last week we started looking at the group of Scriptures in the Bible relating to Assurance Number Ten that involves what Heaven will look like. In the first part of Assurance Number Ten we looked at the specific Scriptures that told us about the types of people who will and will not be in Heaven, as people will make up a large part of what Heaven will look like. This week we will look at the other Scriptures within Assurance Number Ten, which involve Scriptures having to do with the physical make-up or beauty of Heaven. Taken together, all of these Scriptures relate to those assurances found in God’s Word that give us a beautiful picture of Heaven.
If you know Christ as your Savior, i.e. you are “born-again” into a new spiritual awareness of Who Christ is and who you are as a child of God’s, then you are indeed assured that one day you will see Heaven. But, your new spiritual being in Christ does not just reside on your God-given assurance of going to Heaven. Rather, God wants you to share your Salvation knowledge of Christ and the Word of God, including Eternity in Heaven, with others. Furthermore, as you live for Christ, you are to help empower other people to live for God and His Son. Along the way, you can help another woman be the best woman she can be for the Lord and for herself and her family. You can do this by engaging in Active Relational Christian Mentoring (ARCM). However, to mentor others for the Lord, every Christian should inquire of and come to know as much as she can about the Word of God in order to help others walk for Christ and to be assured that they, too, will one day see Heaven.
Assurance Number Ten about our Eternity in Heaven with God
Tells us that God will create New Heavens and a New Earth
Billy Graham, the Evangelist, said: “Even when we allow our imaginations to run wild on the joys of Heaven, we find that our minds are incapable of conceiving what it will be like.” – (Billy Graham in Quotes, p. 75.). However, God has given us Scriptures to give us hints or indications of what Heaven will be like. Yes, we may still need to use our imaginations to some degree, but through the Word of God we actually have a factual basis for our imaginings as well as a factual basis for understanding more about Heaven.
So, let’s find out what Heaven will look like according to the Word of God. The Bible tells us that after the thousand-year reign with Christ as our King, all evil will be destroyed along with death, and the earth will be a new creation. First, though, the old earth and the old heavens will be destroyed. The Apostle Peter said, “… by His word the present heavens and the earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men. … the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. … But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” -- (II Peter 3:7, 10, 13. NASB).
Peter says the “heavens”, meaning more than one heaven, will pass away. But, with our limited knowledge of the world and outer space, and then not knowing where the residence of God is, means that we know little about heaven or the heavens. However, the Apostle Paul spoke to the Corinthians (see II Corinthians 12: 2-4) about being taken up to the third heaven. So, from these Scriptures we know that there is more than one heaven. However, it is believed that the first heaven is the one that we see when we look up from the earth to the stars in the sky; this heaven is located within our atmosphere. The second heaven may be where the stars and planets reside in outer space. The third heaven, though, is paradise or where the Lord resides, and no one but the Apostle Paul has ever seen it to report on it.
Notice that in the Apostle Peter’s holy Scriptures about the destruction of the old heavens and the creation of new heavens also states that only those who are righteous will be allowed into the new Heaven. We have previously learned that those whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. But that is not the end for the rest of us whose names are written in the Book of Life. For, those of us who are made righteous through the saving grace of Christ, i.e. then having our names recorded in the Book of Life, will go on to our new home that God and Christ have prepared for us. You see, God is the ultimate Creator, and He can create anything He desires. So, just as He created the universe and the earth, He will again create new heavens and a new earth for those who love Him and His Son and for those whose names are written in the Book of Life.
This plan for new heavens and a new earth is not new, because God has been planning on creating a new heaven and new earth since the beginning of time. In fact, many centuries ago the prophet Isaiah was given a vision of Heaven along with specific words from God to share with the Jewish people. God said to Isaiah, “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth – so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in My creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and delight in My people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more.” -- (Isaiah 65: 17-19. NLT). Then, God told Isaiah to tell the Jewish people that they would always be His people. “As surely as My new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be My people with a name that will never disappear.” – (Isaiah 66: 22. NLT).
Wow! God loves the Jewish people just as He loves all those who have turned to His Son. You see, God is love, and He has tried to get us to focus on loving each other. Therefore, one of the things that will no longer occur when we are in Eternity in Heaven is “hate” or dislike of any kind. All people will love each other. The Jewish Christians will live right alongside Christians from all the other ethnic groups such as the Spanish, Americans, Mexicans, British, Chinese, Indians, etc. In other words, there will no longer be any ethnic hating or cleansing in Eternity in Heaven. For Eternity in Heaven is all about love.
Moreover, as seen in the previous verse, the Jewish people will always be God’s people and their name will never disappear. You see, God always keeps His promises, and one of those promises was long ago to a Hebrew man named Abram. For, on the day that God changed his name from Abram to Abraham, God told him it was because “… you will be the father of many nations.” Then God said, “I will give you millions of descendants who will represent many nations. Kings among them! I will continue this everlasting covenant between us, generation after generation. It will continue between Me and your offspring forever. And I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” – (Genesis 17: 5-7. NLT). This indeed occurred, and God will continue his covenant with Abraham forever, because God keeps His promises. This means that when we get to Heaven all of Abraham’s descendants who have believed on Christ as the resurrected Son of God will be living in Heaven with all the other people groups.
The New Jerusalem
In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John was given a vision in which Christ not only told him about the end times and the thousand-year reign, but Christ also showed him what Eternity in Heaven would be like. Later, John wrote down and described what Christ had shown him, so that we all could know what he had seen. John said, “Then I saw a new heaven and new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was gone. And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.” – (Revelation 21: 1, 2. NLT).
The only way that John could explain this beautiful city to his readers was to give them something to relate to when he described it. So, John compared the city’s beauty to that of a beautifully adorned bride. He used this comparison, because during ancient times, the most beautiful gown that a bride had would be worn for her groom. Often, a special gown was made, and that is usually still the case today. In fact, most brides-to-be will save their money to purchase the most glorious gown they can afford. But, for the very rich, the bride’s wedding gown was often richly adorned with jewels and pearls. Moreover, the rich parents in ancient times sometimes gave the bride, their daughter, a gown that was not only adorned with beautiful jewels, but that may have been even woven with gold threads. That is why in order to help his readers understand the beauty of the city, John explained that the New Jerusalem in Eternity was the most beautiful city imaginable; likening it to the beauty of a richly adorned bride.
Then, as John was seeing this beautifully adorned city and was watching it come down from the heavens, he heard a voice. John wrote: “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will remove all their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.’” – (Revelation 21: 3, 4. NLT).
John was probably terribly surprised at this shout, as he must have been surprised with every part of this entire vision, which Christ was giving to him. Obviously, John had heard previous shouts and proclamations during this visionary revelation given by Christ. However, this shout was different, for it was the shout of a herald making a proclamation for a Majesty, i.e. God, Who is far greater than John could understand or comprehend. The next surprise, though, was that the herald stated that God would dwell among His people. John knew, though, that in order for us to live with God, we have to be cleansed through the blood of Jesus Christ, for that is the only way that all our sins and unrighteousness can be taken away. Only through Christ and His forgiveness can we be pure enough to live with God. Now, John was being told that because we are forgiven, God will actually dwell among His people, i.e. those people who have believed on Christ as their Savior.
How exciting to know that we will be able to see and worship God every day for the rest of our lives. But, that won’t be all we will be doing. For, God has something for each of us to do. Yes, there will be choirs that will sing to God every day, but worship is more than just singing. Obedience, love, and doing things for God are all some of the ways that we can worship God. So, within our worship of God, each of us will have something great to do for the Lord. For, not only were we created to worship God, but we were also created to have a relationship with Him. Right now, our relationship is based on the initiative that we each may or may not take to pray, to recognize His presence in our lives, and to worship God daily. But in the New Jerusalem, we will want to or will desire to have a close relationship with God as we worship Him in many different ways. We will also look forward to each moment that we can spend with God. Are you beginning to see that Eternity is going to be more exciting, beautiful and wonderful than we ever imagined?
The Walls, Foundation and Shape of the City
As John’s revealing vision continued, one of the seven angels who had previously held the seven bowls with the seven plagues before the total destruction of the old earth, called to John and ask him to follow him to the top of a mountain to get a closer look at the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. When John viewed the city he was in awe. John said, “It was filled with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious gem, crystal clear like jasper. Its walls were broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side – east, north, south, and west. The walls of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” -- (Revelation 21: 10-14. NLT).
What does the shape of the New Jerusalem and its beauty mean? Well, it means that God has thought of everything that will make our home perfect and beautiful. Even within the beauty, though, there is great symbolism for what this city will mean to all people and to God. In fact, the vision of this city was so glorious that John was overwhelmed. But God wanted John to understand what his new home would symbolize. So, in order to give him and us even more information about the size and scope of this Eternal City, an angel came to John with a gold measuring stick to measure the city for John. The Scriptures tell us that when the angel measured the city, “…he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, it was in the form of a cube, for its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick.” – (Revelation 21: 16, 17. NLT).
To give you some idea of how large the city will be, it is approximately 1400 miles from New York to the middle of the state of Nebraska. It is about 1426 miles from Galveston, Texas due north to the Canadian border. So, if we measured from north to south and from east to west, we would discover that the size of the Eternal City is a perfect square that would take up the entire right half of the United States and even some of the ocean. But, we are also told that the height of the city is the same as its length and width, making it a perfect cube. Thus there is a massive amount of volume contained within the city? Consequently, it will easily hold all those who have believed in God and followed Christ since the beginning of time. In fact, God has made sure that everyone who is a believer will have some type of home or a residence within this city.
The Life Application Study Bible tells us that all these measurements of the city are in multiples of 12 and that these measurements are symbolic of a place that will hold all of God’s people. For those who have an interest in the numbers that God uses throughout the Bible, this particular study Bible (on page 2068) says that the number 12 is God’s number for God’s people (The Jewish people). For example, there were 12 Hebrew tribes in Israel. There were also 12 Apostles who started the Christian church. But God doesn’t stop there with the number 12, for His angel tells John that the walls of the city are 144 (12x12) cubits thick. Those walls are also made up of 12 layers. Then there are 12 gates in the city. Finally, the height, breadth and length of the city are the same, which is 12,000 stadia or 1400 miles each. So you can see that God has used multiples 12 or the number 12 throughout the creation of this city. Furthermore, the entire city is a perfect cube. If you remember, the Holy of Holies in the Temple that God asked Moses to build for Him was also a perfect cube. So, the symbolism of these measurements could be that the city will not only be perfect in mathematical shape, but also perfect in purity and holiness as well.
Then the angel showed John that the walls and the streets of New Jerusalem were made of special materials. John wrote: “The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve gems: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, and eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.” John also wrote that “The gates were made of pearls – each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.” – (Revelation 21: 18-21. NLT).
You may not be able to imagine the color of walls of the city or the colors of the gems in the foundation stones, because some of the colors of these gem stones are not commonly known unless, of course, you are a jeweler. So, to give you an idea of the beautiful colors, I looked up the colors of all these gem stones for you. The Apostle John said the walls of the city were made of jasper, which is a reddish or rusty brown quartz gem stone, having the color of beautiful fall leaves. But, just like fall leaves, the jasper stone can have a little more yellow in it giving it the color of reddish-orange leaves too. So from reddish to reddish-orange in color, the walls of the city will glow like fire from both inside and out.
John was also shown that the walls of the city will be set on twelve foundation stones that will each be inlaid with 12 gem stones; with each gem stone engraved with the name of one of the 12 apostles (no, Judas’ name will not be among them, for Matthias replaced Judas in order to again have 12 Apostles). It is interesting to note that most of these gem stones were also used in the Priest’s Ephod during Temple times, but instead of being engraved with the twelve Apostles' names they were engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The first of the gem stone that John tells us is in the foundation stones is the sapphire, of which the most common color for a sapphire is a royal blue color. The sapphire was also in the second row of stones on the Priest's Ephod. The next gem stone is the agate stone which was found on the Ephod, too. The agate stone is a two-toned stone usually made up of white or cream with red stripes or lines running through it. The next stone listed is the emerald, which is usually a beautiful deep green colored stone. God placed this emerald gem stone next to an onyx stone that is as black as midnight. Again, both of those stones were also in the Ephod, with the emerald on the first row and the agate on the third row of the Ephod. Then there is the carnelian stone which is a deep orange-red color. It, too, was in the Ephod on the first row. Today, the carnelian stone is often set amongst turquoise stones so the two colors can play off of each other in a jewelry setting. Although, turquoise was not listed by John as one of the foundation gem stones, it was placed on the Priest's Ephod on the second row. After that, is the chrysolite stone, which is usually a yellowish-green gem that God chose to place next to the beryl gem stone, which can be blue, green or pink in color. Both the beryl and the chrysolite stones were also in the Ephod, with the chrysolite in the first row of the Ephod and the beryl stone in the fourth row. But whichever color of beryl God chose to use, He placed it next to topaz gem, which is a goldenrod or deep yellow-gold color.
The only two stones not used for the Priest's Ephod was the topaz stone and the chrysoprase which is a light-yellow green stone, however, God chose to use the chrysoprase as one of the foundation gem stones. In place of the topaz and chryosprase gem stones, God used the turquoise and moon-stone for the Ephod. Finally, we learn that God also placed both the jacinth gem in the foundation stone, which is a reddish-orange colored gem stone, and the amethyst, which is a purple or lavender colored gem stone. Both of those stones were also used in the Ephod. Although we do not know the significance of those chosen colors or the significance of the gem stones themselves, we do knot that 12 were used in the Ephod and 12 were used in the foundation stones, and both sets of those 12 stones were engraved with names.
What we do know, though, is that the city walls and the foundation of the New Jerusalem will be beautiful, just as God is beautiful. We also know that the Great Creator, God, has chosen to create walls for His city that will radiantly glow and will be able to be seen easily. Moreover, just like the great artist that He is, God has chosen to put the colors of those stones in the order that will be the most beautiful. In fact, both the walls and the foundation will be so beautiful that the colors will take our breath away.
When the angel was showing John the walls of the city, the angel also showed John that there were twelve gates to the city. Each of those gates was made from a single pearl. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a pearl that large. However, we know that indeed the gates will be made of pearls that large, because the Bible tells us so. Then, John was shown the main street of the city and it was made of pure gold. In fact, it is gold so pure and refined that it is as clear as glass. Are you finally getting a picture in your mind of the indescribable beauty of this city?
The Throne of God Inside the New Jerusalem
In verse 3 of the 21st chapter of Revelation, John heard a shout from the throne of God telling him that “the home of God is now among His people.” However, it wasn’t until after he had shown John the city walls, foundation and gates, that the angel finally took John inside the city. John described what he saw. He wrote: “No temple could be seen in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city and the Lamb is its light.” – (Revelation: 21:22, 23. NLT). The reason that there will not be a temple in the city is because God will be everywhere with His people. He will be everywhere at once. Furthermore, we will have no need of sacrifices, the kind that were made in the temple before Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. In Eternity we will all be righteous and clean; not needing a sacrifice to make us so. Moreover, we will each have instant access to God as His children who worship Him. Our eternal life also gives us eternal access to God, because we are home with Him.
The Throne of God will be in the New Jerusalem of Eternity. We know this, too, because the Holy Scriptures tell us about the Throne. For, the angel showed John “a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit with a fresh crop each month.” – (Revelation 22: 1, 2. NLT). Where have we heard of the Tree of Life before? Well, there was a Tree of life in the Garden of Eden. Remember, God told Adam and Eve that they could eat of every tree in the Garden including the Tree of Life, but they could not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or they would die (See Genesis 2: 15, 16). Then, when they disobeyed, God banished them from the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life. In fact, “the Lord God stationed mighty angelic beings to the east of Eden. And a flaming sword flashed back and forth, guarding the way to the Tree of Life.” – (Genesis 3: 24. NLT).
So, what is so important about the Tree of Life? Well, eating from the Tree of Life would have allowed Adam and Eve and future generations to live forever. Moreover, here on earth, the Tree of life was to also be used as a healing tree; curing all types of possible diseases from the twelve types of fruit it produced. However, we know that in Eternity there will be no diseases or health issues. Instead of needing these twelve fruits, the Tree of Life will symbolize our health and our complete healing from all mortal diseases and problems. No longer will we eat the fruit for healing, but just for enjoyment.
The Tree of Life also once symbolized Adam and Eve’s relationship with God. But, once they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they broke their relationship with God. Furthermore, they could not be allowed to eat of the Tree of Life, because they and all humans born after could then have lived forever in a fallen immoral, untruthful, unethical, and evil world. God knew that we could be under sin’s control forever, if we weren’t protected. So, God protected us from being caught in Satan’s trap of immortal hatred and evil, by banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden and by placing cherubim with swords to guard it forever from Satan’s possible reach. Now, in Eternity, the Tree of Life will again symbolize a restored relationship with God and His Son. We will again be able to not only eat freely from the tree of life, but again be able to talk to God the way that Adam and Eve could talk to Him before they succumbed to sin.
The same Scripture in the book of Revelation describing the Trees of Life also tells us that a beautiful crystal clear stream will run through the city from the Throne of God. This is the water that symbolizes Eternal life. Remember when Christ told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she drank of the water that He gave her that she would have eternal life and never thirst again (See John 4: 7-14). Well, this is the water that Christ was referring to. This stream symbolizes the quenching of our spiritual thirst. For, in this picture of a flowing river we see never ending water coming from the throne of God; God who is our Creator, our Spiritual Father, and the Father of His Son who gave us Eternal life. This stream of crystal water also symbolizes the eternal blessings that we will receive in Eternity in Heaven.
Finally, John again tells us that “the Throne of God and the Lamb will be there (in the New Jerusalem), and His servants will worship Him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there – no need for lamps or sun – for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” – (Revelation 22: 3-5. NLT). What a glorious picture of Eternity in Heaven. The beauty described is unimaginable! The relationship with God and Christ will be so wonderful that we cannot begin to comprehend it here on earth. To be spiritually re-connected to God will be truly amazing and a blessing.
I know that it has taken several blogs, and lengthy ones at that, to get through all Ten groups of Assurances that God has given to us about Eternity in Heaven. I pray that you hung in there and that you were able to learn something that you did not previously know. I also pray that you will be able to take your new found knowledge to the next step, which is to first and foremost make sure that you are right with God and that you will indeed inherit your place in Eternity with other “born-again” Christians. After that, I hope that you will use this knowledge to share with others, including your mentees, so that they too will be ready for Christ’s return. It will happen when we least expect it. Remember, time is winding down, and we all need to be prepared for Christ’s return.
Feel free to write and ask a question if there is something that you don’t understand. I may have to do a little research before answering you, but I will try my best to find the answer. My goal is to prepare everyone that I can to see Christ someday, but not only just to see Him. I want everyone who reads this blog to be able to enter into that rest in His arms. I want everyone to be prepared to share the Word of God with others and to be able to mentor another woman who needs support and empowerment through the Word of God. Remember, God has given you a special talent or knowledge that can be shared with others. Step out in faith! Step into Active Relational Christian Mentoring! God bless each of you!