THE CITY, THE GATES, AND THE WALL
Let us continue in our reading of Revelation 21. We must give special attention to the wall of the city. Verse 12 says, "It had a great and high wall." Verse 15 says, "He who spoke with me had a golden reed as a measure that he might measure the city and its gates and its wall." Verse 17 says, "And he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel."
In the beginning God made a garden in Eden, and the serpent was able to come into this garden to speak to Eve. This shows us that there was no wall surrounding the garden. God originally intended for Adam to keep the garden. In other words, His intention was that Adam would be the wall of the garden. However, Adam did not guard it, and Satan entered. But what about the New Jerusalem? The New Jerusalem has a wall. On one hand, a wall includes, and on the other hand, it excludes. It includes and keeps everything that is within the city, and it excludes and rejects everything that is outside the city. When there is a wall surrounding a city, it serves to separate everything that is within the city from everything that is outside; it serves to make a difference between them. The New Jerusalem is the new man whom God has desired to obtain. The new man is in God’s presence and separated from all that is outside. The serpent can no longer creep in. There is a wall, a separation, a distinction. Every possibility of the serpent entering again has been eliminated.
When describing the New Jerusalem, the first thing that is mentioned other than God’s glory is the wall. Separation, therefore, is one of the most important principles in a Christian’s living. If there is no separation, the Christian is of no value. There must be a line that is drawn to differentiate that which is spiritual from that which is fleshly. The New Jerusalem has a separation, a boundary line, and we need to learn a lesson from this. Everything that is of Babylon must be rejected, while everything that is of God must be protected. To build a city wall is not an easy thing, because Satan hates a wall more than anything else. When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to build the wall, Sanballat and Tobiah came and made every effort to stop the building. Nehemiah held a spear in one hand, and with the other hand, he built the wall. We must pray, therefore, that God will enable us to bear spiritual arms in order to wrestle with spiritual wickedness in high places and in order to maintain the principle of separation.
The city has twelve gates and twelve foundations, and on the foundations are the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This tells us that everything in the city is based upon the principles of the kingdom of God preached by the apostles. Ephesians 2:20 says, "Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets." This means that the revelation which the apostles obtained is the foundation of the New Jerusalem.
The gates are for going in and out, but why are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written upon them? The Lord Jesus said that salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22). We have learned everything related to God from Israel. The law was given to Israel, redemption is known through Israel, and salvation has come from Israel. Therefore, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel are on the gates.
(The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)