Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared … And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
…Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels…
The angel who talked to me held in his hand a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, 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 21:1, 9-11, 15-17)
Scholars disagree as to whether the measurements of Revelation 21 are meant to be understood as figurative or literal numbers. Either way, God’s magnificent plan astounds when we remember that Jesus told us He was going to prepare a place for us, and that those who love Him will live with Him there forever. If the measurements describing the place He’s preparing are figurative, they signify a place so much bigger and so much better that we’ll never be able, here on earth with finite minds, to understand. If the measurements are literal:
“Picture an area in the western United States between the Pacific Coast and the Mississippi River, roughly the distance from Los Angeles to Saint Louis. Or New York to Denver…[with a] seven-million-foot height of the city…
That’s 2,250,000 square miles, on the ground. Then 1,500 miles up from there…That’s 3,375,000,000 cubic miles, enough room to comfortably accommodate 100,000 billion people!
It has been estimated that approximately thirty billion people have lived in the long history of the world. Even if everyone who ever lived was saved — which is not the case — that would still allow each person 200 square miles on the ground alone … and that’s just in the city!” (Steven J. Lawson)
So, whether figurative, or literal, I’m left breathless. Speechless. Filled with wonderment at the luxuriant grace of God. I’m also filled with (nervous?) excitement at the thought of the sparkling city. Nervous because I’ve never seen a city sparkling like jasper as clear as crystal, whose walls are guarded by angels.
Nervousness dissipates, though, when I remember this: the Lamb will be there. Jesus, my Lord. I’ll get to see Him, and I’ll get to bow before Him, and He’ll call me “daughter.”
Hear His words: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”