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Israel and Jerusalem
- in history and prophecy -
The New Jerusalem
by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, January 9, 2022
Scripture quoted from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.
This study is Part V in our series on Israel and Jerusalem. In Part III of this series, I explained that there will be a city of Jerusalem, during the 8th millennium, but it will not be the final New Jerusalem. Ezekiel’s Temple will be built “outside” that City (Ezek 45:1-8). That is when “the rest of the dead” will be resurrected to live again. That is when the redeemed will serve as “priests of God and of Christ” to teach and govern “the rest,” (Rev. 20:5-6) until they have made their decisions - either for or against Jesus as King. That is when the final Battle of Gog/Magog will take place.
The Jerusalem of the 8th millennium,
on this earth
is NOT the New Jerusalem - the final City of Christ’s redeemed.
I believe the last plagues will wipe out all life on planet earth. Jesus will need to heal and restore this earth, before anyone can live here again. For at least a good portion of the 7th millennium, the redeemed will live with Christ in the New Jerusalem - in the heavenly realm - The Father’s House.
When we return to the earth for the resurrection of “the rest,” that is when Ezekiel’s Temple will be built. After the Final Battle of Gog/Magog, after the Great White Throne judgment, and after the earth is cleansed of all sin, THEN the New Jerusalem will descend from heaven to earth.
With that background, let’s continue our study.
A CITY - BUILT BY GOD
Hebrews 11:10 “Abraham waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
John 14:2 [Jesus said] “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
I believe the New Jerusalem is a real place, not a metaphor for a position in God’s realm - like a “place” at a company, or a “place” at the round table of King Arthur, or a place in the family of God. Jesus prayed, Father, “I want those you have given me to be with me where I am . . .” (John 17:24 NIV).
Hebrews 11:16 “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
NOTE: The word translated as “prepared” is the same in both verses.
The New Jerusalem is the place He has prepared for His “bride,” for His “church,” for Israel redeemed. The City is “adorned for her husband.” She is “the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:9). We learn from Paul, that we - those who believe, are “betrothed” to Christ Jesus (2Cor 11:2). He is the “head of the church” (the congregation) as a husband is head of His wife (Eph 5:23). We who believe, are citizens of the commonwealth of Israel (Eph. 2:12) and citizens of the New Jerusalem.
Philippians 3:20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 12:22 “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect . . .” (NIV)
NOTE: In the Ancient Middle East, the betrothal ceremony was the marriage covenant. Adultery during the betrothal period was punishable with death. The betrothed husband would build a home for his wife, and when all things were prepared he would come to take her back to his family compound. The wedding feast (marriage supper) would then take place.
Revelation 19:9 [The angel of Revelation said to John] “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”
WHERE IS THE NEW JERUSALEM NOW?
Yeshua (the Son of God) came “from Heaven” to earth (John 3:13) and returned to sit at the Father’s right hand. He returned to “where He was before” (John 6:64). He has “prepared” a place for His “bride” - “a city” - The New Jerusalem. That City is presently located in the heavenly realm. God and The Lamb are the Temple of that City. God’s throne is presently located within that City. Hebrews 12:22 calls The New Jerusalem, “the city of the living God.”
In vision, John the Apostle was shown the New Jerusalem “descending out of heaven from God” (Rev 21:10) - “coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2). The City will not descend, until every trace of sin is gone.
Some say the City will not descend to this planet, but rather to a “new earth” with “new heavens” around it. I think that possible. Hebrews 1:10-12, suggests this old earth will be “rolled up” and disposed of like a worn out piece of clothing. 2Peter 3:10 says this earth and “the heavens” around it, “will be burned up.” I also know that Christ can heal this planet completely, and restore it to an Edenic state. Christ did say, “The meek will inherit the earth” (Matt 5:5). Many passages speak of God’s plan to create “new heavens” and a “new earth” (Isaiah 65:17, Isaiah 66:22, 2Peter 3:13, and Revelation 21:1).
GREEK WORDS for “NEW”
Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” (NAS)
The Greek word translated “new” here is kainos (#2537), used 42 times in the NT.
“new tomb” (Matt 27:60)
“new commandment” (John 13:34, 1Jn 2:7-8, 2Jn 5)
“new covenant” (Matt 26:28, Luk 22:20, 1Cor 11:25, 2Cor 3:6, Heb 8:8-13, Heb 9:15, Heb 12:2)
“new song” (Rev 5:9, Rev 14:3)
“new name” (Rev 2:17, Rev 3:12)
“new person” (Eph 2:15, Eph 4:24, Col 3:10)
“new tongues” (Mark 16:17)
“new creation” (2Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15)
“new earth” (2Pet 3:13, Rev 21:1)
“new heavens” (2Pet 3:13, Rev 21:1)
“new Jerusalem” (Rev 2:12, Rev 21:2)
The other Greek word translated as “new” (23 times) is neos (#3501). In some passages the terms were used interchangeably. “They put new (neos) wine into new (kainos) wineskins” (Matt 9:17, Mk 2:22, Lk 5:38).
Paul wrote of “the new man” in Ephesians 4:4 and Colossians 3:10. In the first passage he used kainos, in the second neos, to speak of the same “new man.” The writer of Hebrews uses both kainos and neos to speak of the “new covenant” (Heb 12:24, Heb 8:8, 8:13, 9:15).
NOTE: Many are teaching that the “new covenant” is not “new,” but is rather “renewed.” If it is simply “renewed,” then it is not “new.” I believe it is “new,” both in point of time and in quality. See our study: Two Covenants.
Kainos represented a more literary usage, while neos was becoming the more popular term. This according to the Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol 4, pg 1087. See also the “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament” by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, pg 388.
Some ascribe a temporal quality (new in time) to neos, and a qualitative aspect (new in kind or nature) to kainos, as the “new man” who walks in “newness of life,” is one transformed by the Spirit of Christ.
I don’t think anyone would argue that the New Jerusalem is simply a transformation of the old city. That City is an entirely new creation. Her human citizens on the other hand, are transformed (both physically and spiritually) by the Spirit of God through Christ. You could use both kainos and neos to describe the “bride of Christ.”
Revelation 21:9 “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.’ 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.
16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl.
And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.”
DIMENSIONS of THE CITY
Revelation 21:15-16 “And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
The City is laid out as a perfect square. The perimeter is 12,000 furlongs, or 1,500 miles. (A furlong is 1/8th mile.) Each side is 375 miles long. It is also 375 miles high, going up through earth’s atmosphere.
Will it be a portal to other dimensions? I believe so. Think Jacob’s ladder.
THE LAND - Promised to Abraham’s Seed
The City will cover “the land” area promised to the Seed of Abraham. How perfect! Yeshua IS the Seed of Abraham, and those who belong to Yeshua Messiah are “Abraham’s seed” by faith (Gal 3:29). He fulfilled every requirement of the covenants, therefore He will inherit “the land” promised by those covenants. He will then own - legally - the land area upon which His City will rest.
The City will completely cover up the present nation of Israel, and the territory of Ancient Israel. No more disputes concerning property or inheritance.
I’ve read dozens and dozens of articles about The Holy City. Almost everyone describes The City as a giant cube. I think that very possible. The Most Holy Place of the ancient Tabernacle was a cube. The Most Holy Place of Ezekiel’s Temple, is a cube. The LORD certainly likes squares. The breastplate of the High Priest was a square. The Alter of Incense was square, and the Alter of Sacrifice. At the center of every city was a “town square.” Ezekiel’s Temple sits on a “square plot” of land (Ezek 45:2).
12 Gates - 12 Foundations
Revelation 21:17 “Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel [the one with the measuring rod]. 18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.”
Revelation 21:12-14 “Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The gates through the wall, are named for the 12 Tribes of Israel, and the foundations of the wall are named for the 12 Apostles. It’s height - 144 cubits - is 12 x 12, the number of the Tribes, multiplied by the number of the Apostles. Both OT believers and NT believers will enter there. There would be no New Jerusalem without them. It is twenty stories high (216 ft) and is made of crystal-clear jasper (diamond?).
The twelve foundations of the wall were faced with precious stones: jasper, sapphire (blue), chalcedony (a greenish emerald), emerald (bright green), sardonyx (red and white), sardius (bright red), chrysolite (golden yellow), beryl (bluish green), topaz (yellowish green), chrysoprasus (apple green), jacinth (blue), and amethyst (violet and purple).
In the wall are 12 gates, three on each side. Each gate appeared to John as a single giant pearl. The gates were engraved with the names of the Tribes of Israel. We assume that each gate is engraved with the name of a single tribe. This mirrors the vision of Ezekiel, though we know that the City Ezekiel was shown, was NOT the New Jerusalem.
The New Jerusalem is 12,000 furlongs in circumference, 3,000 furlongs to a side, Ezekiel’s city is but 4,500 cubits to a side, quite a bit smaller. Since Revelation’s city is roughly 230 times the size of Ezekiel’s city, we might say that Ezekiel’s city is intended to be a small-scale representation of the New Jerusalem.
There is no thirteenth gate named “Gentiles Enter Here.” To enter The New Jerusalem, one must be a citizen of Israel. Nothing that defiles will enter there, only those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Gentiles who come to faith in Yeshua as Messiah and Savior, are “grafted in” to the commonwealth of Israel (Eph Cpt 2). They are adopted of God. This confirms Paul’s statement that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom 11:26). Those Hebrews who refuse to repent are “cut off” from Israel. See our study: Who are Israel?
Numbers 2:1-3:39 lists the tribes and their arrangement around the Tabernacle.
Ezekiel 48:30-34 lists the gates into the City of Jerusalem after the return to the land.
Revelation 7:5-8 lists the tribes which compose the 144,000.
The tribes were encamped around the wilderness Tabernacle in a very organized, military manner.
East side: Issachar, Judah, and Zebulun West side: Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin
North side: Naphtali, Asher, Dan South side: Gad, Simeon, Reuben
The tribe of Levi was divided into four groups, with their tents immediately adjacent to the Tabernacle. Descendants of Gershon (West), Merari (South) and Kohath (North). The tents of Moses and the priests were on the East side, closest to the Tabernacle Court entrance.
Ezekiel 48:30-31 “These will be the exits of the city: Beginning on the north side, which is 4,500 cubits long, the gates of the city will be named after the tribes of Israel.
East side: Joseph, Benjamin, Dan West side: Gad, Asher, Naphtali
North side: Reuben, Judah, Levi South side: Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun
These were the original 12 Tribes of Israel. Gates in the North and South sides are named after the sons of Leah. Joseph and Benjamin on the East, were both sons of Rachel. Dan, Gad, Asher, and Naphtali were all sons of the handmaids Zilpah and Bilhah.
Revelation 7:5-8 lists those who are “sealed” just before the first Trumpet is sounded. Twelve thousand from each tribe of Israel are sealed, resulting in 144,000 sealed. The list of the tribes does NOT include the Tribe of Dan or the Tribe of Ephraim. Instead Manasseh (the firstborn son of Joseph) replaces Dan, and Joseph replaces Ephraim (Joseph’s other son). Joseph was promised a “double portion.” The Tribe of Levi is listed simply as one of the tribes.
WHY A WALL?
The gates are never closed. The angels at the gates seem to be welcoming, rather than guarding. Perhaps the City has existed - in the heavenly realm, from very nearly the beginning of the creation. Perhaps that is why the angels were guarding the gates in John’s vision, to prevent Satan or any of his fallen ones from returning, until they are cast into the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 22:15 “Outside are the dogs (prostitutes) who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” as well as the “cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, and all liars (Rev. 21:8).”
Believers “come to” the New Jerusalem, now - in this present life (Hebrews 12:22). The wicked do not. Hence, the wicked are “outside.”
Hebrews 12:22 “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels . . .”
THE RIVER OF LIFE - THE TREE OF HEALING
Revelation 22:1-3 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city;
also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
Water has long been a symbol for the Holy Spirit. We are baptized in water, and we are baptized with the Spirit (Matt 3:11). Israelites were sprinkled with the cleansing water, containing the ashes of the Red Heifer (Isa. 36:25), and “our hearts [are] sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Heb 10:22). Christ gives “living water” (John 4:4-14, John 7:38, Eph 5:26). The “early rain” and the “later rain” are Christ poured out (Hosea 6:3, Gal 4:6). Water from the smitten Rock gave life to Israel (Exo. 17:6, 1Cor 10:4). We drink the water of life that “flows from the throne of God and the Lamb.” The Father and His Son occupy that throne.
John 7:37-38 “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.’ This He said of the Spirit whom those believing in Him would receive.”
John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’”
Isaiah 44:3 “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” (ESV)
In the vision of Ezekiel, a stream flowed from under the threshold of the Temple (Ezek Cpt 47). In the vision of Zechariah “living waters shall flow from Jerusalem” (Zech 14:8). Where the rivers flow, everything comes to life, including fish in the Dead Sea (Ezek 47:8-9). “A fountain shall flow from the House of the LORD and water the Valley of Acacias” (Joel 3:18). Isaiah longs for the day when “the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest” (Isa 32:15).
Revelation 21:22 “on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
In Romans Chapter Eleven, Paul says believers are “grafted in” to the Olive Tree that is Israel. Israel redeemed is made up of twelve 12 different Tribes, and we all produce “fruit” for the kingdom of God - 12 different kinds of fruits. Perhaps the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem symbolizes immortal Israel. She is fed by the water of life that flows from the Throne of God.
It is interesting that “the leaves,” rather than the “fruits,” are “for the healing of the nations.” Perhaps each of us is symbolized by a “leaf” on that Tree. The Tree of Life is “on either side of the river.” The divided trunk seems to be joined at the top, over the river. Ezekiel prophesied that Judah and Israel would be “joined together” again forever, to become one kingdom with one King (Ezekiel 37:16-22).
“The leaves of the Tree are for the healing of the nations.” Why would “the nations” still need “healing” in this City of Gold? I believe “the nations” are still “outside?” (The word “nations” was a term for the uncircumcised - persons not of Israel.) The people of God will return to the earth for the 8th millennium, to serve as priests and rulers, for “the rest of the dead” (Rev 20:5-6). Perhaps this is when “the leaves” of that Tree, will serve for the healing of the nations.
Our entire lives in this world, we learn to distrust. We lock everything! We ask for references. Who can we really trust? Yes - we will need a long period of healing. I do not believe the LORD will instantly remove every bad memory at His glorious return. That would be artificial manipulation. I do believe Jesus will heal those memories and the defensive thinking habits we have acquired in this world. He will heal us gradually as we partake of Him, during the 7th millennium in The City He has prepared.
We pray this study will prove a blessing.
Go to Part I of this series - Tabernacle and Temples.
Go to Part II of this series - Who are Israel?
Go to Part III of this series - Ezekiel’s Temple.
Go to Part IV of this series - The Temple of Antichrist.
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