THE LIGHT OF THE HOLY CITY
Revelation 21:11 describes this city as "having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal." Jasper has been already mentioned in Revelation 4. John saw One sitting upon the throne whose appearance was like a jasper and sardius. The One whom John saw sitting upon the throne was the same as jasper. In other words, the meaning of jasper is God seen, God made visible. When man stands before the throne, God will be known to him as jasper. This is how we will recognize Him when we go there, but not while we are here. What we realize today is quite obscure in many areas, but in that city the glory of God has the brightness of jasper. This means that when the New Jerusalem descends to earth we will be able to see God Himself. We shall never again misunderstand Him, nor will we ever need to ask the reason for anything. The light of the New Jerusalem is as clear as crystal, without a trace of mixture. In that day, everything will be transparent and clearly shown to us. In that day we will see God, and we will know God.
THE INHABITANTS OF THE HOLY CITY
Verses 12-14 say, "It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel: on the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." How many are included in this corporate man? We are told that the names of the twelve tribes of Israel are written upon the gates, and the names of the twelve apostles are written upon the foundations. This shows us that the city includes the saints from both the Old and the New Testament.
This can be proved by reading the following passages of Scripture. Luke 13:28-29 says, "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you being cast outside. And they will come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and will recline at table in the kingdom of God." Here we see that the kingdom of God includes Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who represent the Old Testament saints. Those who come from the east, west, north, and south represent the New Testament saints. These two groups of people are participants in the kingdom of God; therefore, they will all enter into the New Jerusalem together.
Hebrews 11:8-10 says, "By faith Abraham...dwelt as a foreigner in the land of promise as in a foreign land, making his home in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the fellow heirs of the same promise; for he eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God." The city referred to in this passage is the New Jerusalem. Only this city is a city with foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God. Verse 13 says, "All these died in faith." "All these" are Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others. Verse 16 continues, "But as it is, they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." "They" in verse 16 are the "these" in verse 13. This shows us that the Old Testament saints have a portion in the New Jerusalem. From Abel at the beginning and for all the saints in the Old Testament, God has appointed a city, the New Jerusalem. They all have their share in it. Verses 39-40 say, "And these all, having obtained a good testimony through their faith, did not obtain the promise, because God has provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect." God has kept all the Old Testament saints waiting; they have not yet obtained that city. He has bid them to wait so that both we and they might go there together. From this we see that both the saints of the Old Testament and the saints of the New Testament will be in the New Jerusalem.
Ephesians 2:11-14 says, "Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, those who are called uncircumcision,...that you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have become near in the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, He who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition." From verse 11 to 13, the pronoun "you" is used, but in verse 14, it changes to "our." When "you" is used, it refers to the saints in Ephesus, but when "our" is used, it refers both to the Jewish saints and the Ephesian saints as well as all the saints of both the Old and New Testaments. Christ is our peace and He has made both one, breaking down the middle wall of partition. Verse 15 says, "Abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace." The "two" in this verse corresponds with the "both" in verse 14. This also refers to Old Testament saints as well as New Testament saints. It does not refer to the relationship between man and God. Could God and man be created together to become a new man? No. This passage refers to both the saints of the Gentiles and the saints of the Jews, the Old Testament saints as well as the New Testament saints.
Verse 16 says, "And might reconcile both in one Body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it." To reconcile "both in one Body" to God means that the Old Testament saints as well as the New Testament saints are reconciled to God. Verses 17-19 say, "And coming, He announced peace as the gospel to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near, for through Him we both have access in one Spirit unto the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." The saints in Ephesus were no longer strangers but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Verses 20-22 say, "Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit." Thus, the habitation of God includes all the saints of the Old and New Testament. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are there, and we also are there. In conclusion, at the time of the new heaven and new earth, all those who have the life of God will be included in the New Jerusalem.
(The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)