The last two chapters of the last book of the Bible—Revelation—describe the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
The new Jerusalem is not a physical city. It is not going to literally descend onto the earth. If it did, its top would stretch hundreds of miles beyond earth’s atmosphere into outer space. People living there wouldn’t be able to breathe!
Everything John described in the book of Revelation, he saw in the spiritual world, not in the material world (see Revelation 1:10; 4:1–2; 17:3; 21:10). Even if we interpreted the book of Revelation literally, there would be no reason to believe that what John saw happening in the spiritual world will take place in the physical world.
It helps to understand that “heaven” and “earth” could also be translated “sky” and “land.” What John saw visually was not really a new heaven and a new earth, but a new sky and a new land: the sky and land of the spiritual world.
But what I’m most interested in right now is how big this new Jerusalem is.
Revelation 21:15-16 says:
The angel who was talking to me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city is laid out in a square, its length equal to its width. He measured the city with his rod at 12,000 stadia. Its length, width, and height are equal.
If we convert the ancient “stadia” into modern units of measurement, it turns out that the city is about 1,400 miles (or about 2,200 kilometers) in length, width, and height!
Yes, if it were a physical city (which it is not) it would reach far beyond the stratosphere.
Now let’s look at its length and width.
Since I live in the United States, in order to give an idea of how big the new Jerusalem is, I used to say that it would stretch from Boston to Kansas City—almost halfway across the country.
But that’s not the best way to think about it.
To really understand the meaning of 12,000 stadia, we need to think of that distance as John and others in Bible times would have thought of it. These people lived in the ancient Near East. They didn’t even know North America existed. The horizons of their world were much smaller than ours.
Though there was some vague awareness of more distant lands, the world that John knew stretched from Media and Persia (present day western Iran) in the east to Egypt and Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) in the west. It stretched from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea in the south up to the Black Sea in the north.
If we measure that distance, we find that the world John lived in was about . . . yes . . . 1,400 miles across from east to west, and about 1,000 miles from south to north.
So when John saw the new Jerusalem as 12,000 stadia (1,400 miles) long and wide, this is what it meant to him:
The new Jerusalem fills the whole world!
The new Jerusalem is not some sect or creed or ism or institution that will include only a select few Christians. The new Jerusalem includes all people, all nations, all races, all religions. It is a new spiritual era that reaches, enlightens, and includes everyone on earth who is willing to be a part of it.
I believe that we are witnessing the new Jerusalem descending into the world all around us right now.
This is the first in a series of articles on the theme “The Bible Re-Viewed.” Each piece will take a new look at a particular selection or story in the Bible, and explore how it relates to our lives today. For more on this spiritual way of interpreting the Bible, please see, “Can We Really Believe the Bible? Some Thoughts for Those who Wish they Could.”
How do you know that the new Jerusalem will not ascend in physical form? Where is you proof? What scripture do use to verify this theory? Also, if God is powerful enough to build this city(as well as the entire universe), is He also not intelligent enough to help us breathe at 14,000 ft?
Thanks for stopping by, and for your questions.
As I said in the article, everything John described in the book of Revelation, he described as happening in heaven, not on earth. He speaks of being “in the spirit,” and of seeing heaven opened. The whole book is describing a spiritual experience. There’s just no good Biblical reason to think that it is going to happen physically.
Plus, if it did happen physically, it would either cause the destruction of the earth or it would require God to violate the laws of physics wholesale. God is the one who established the laws of physics, and I don’t believe God would violate God’s own laws.
The New Jerusalem is described as being 12,000 stadia, or about 1,400 miles, long, wide, and high. The lack of breathable air would not be the only problem. Even if the city were sealed like a spaceship, with an atmospheric system inside, the sheer size of it would prevent the earth from rotating smoothly on its axis.
At 1,400 miles high, it would be over 1/6 the diameter of the earth. We don’t know how massive it would be, but something that big resting on one side of the earth would move the earth’s center of gravity well away from its current center of gravity, which is roughly the same as the center of the spheroid of the earth. This offset center of gravity would cause the whole earth to wobble and shake in its rotation like an off-balance washing machine. The results would be catastrophic.
Such a large mass added to the earth’s mass would also throw the earth out of its current orbit around the sun. If a violently off-kilter and shaking earth didn’t destroy all higher life forms on earth, getting thrown out of its orbit would finish the job.
That just isn’t how God works.
If you still want to believe that it’s going to happen physically, I won’t try to argue you out of it. But the Bible itself describes the whole thing as a spiritual experience, not a physical one. John was talking about spiritual events, not physical events.
well a spiritual experience could be like he had a vision ..not so? it also mentions that a mans measurement is used in this …144 cubits ..besides it could be literal as God says it will be a new heaven and new earth being of new sizes and dimensions ..so all physics laws will be renewed…could be a mix of the physical world with the new spiritual world..a new heaven and new bodies
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comments.
As I said to Daniel, if you want to believe that the New Jerusalem is going to be a physical city on this earth, you’re welcome to believe it, and I won’t try to argue you out of it. But as I explained in the article and in the various comments, I believe that is a complete misunderstanding and misinterpretation of what the book of Revelation is saying.
Does it not occur to anyone that although the New Jerusalem is seen “coming down from heaven”, nowhere does it say In the Book of Revelation that it comes right down on to the earth!
Obviously it couldn’t, because gravitational forces would rip it apart, and probably the earth as well. In fact, John actually confirms this because he says he had to be “taken up to a high mountain” to even view it, so it obviously never came down low enough to be seen in any detail with the naked eye!.
When the New Jerusalem visits earth, it will do as any visiting physical “body” does when “visiting”. It will go into orbit around the earth, which is why the people of earth will need to be “caught up into heaven to meet the Lord in the air” as the Bible says, an act we have come to refer to at being “raptured”
Either we have to go up or someone needs to come down and collect us!
As stated in the article, I don’t think John ever intended to convey that this was a physical event at all. All the events he describes, including the New Jerusalem, are seen “in the spirit” and “when heaven was opened” to him. So it’s going well beyond what John wrote to think that there will be a physical New Jerusalem. Biblical literalists are making a lot of unwarranted assumptions when they teach that there will be a physical city New Jerusalem. The Bible simply doesn’t say that, and it strongly implies that it will not be a physical city.
You’re quite right that Revelation never says that the New Jerusalem touched down on earth. However, the idea that it will orbit the earth couldn’t possibly have been in John’s mind. People in those days believed that the earth was a flat disk. They had no concept of something orbiting the earth. Even the sun, they believed, just traveled across the sky each day, perhaps pulled by heavenly horses. If anything, John saw the New Jerusalem floating above the earth. (But once again, he saw all of this in the spiritual world, not the material world.)
Also, if the New Jerusalem were as massive as described, there would be no need to go up onto a high mountain to see it. It would be very visible from everywhere on earth even if it were orbiting the earth. Consider that the moon is 2,159 miles (3,474 km) in diameter, while the New Jerusalem is described as being about 1,400 miles (about 2,200 kilometers) in length, width, and height, which is nearly 2/3 the diameter of the moon. Presuming that the New Jerusalem is largely open space for people to live in rather than solid like the moon, it would be far less massive than the moon, and would therefore orbit the earth much closer, assuming it traveled at a reasonable speed. This means that for people on earth, it would appear far larger than the moon. No one could miss it, no matter where they lived.
Of course, it would have very little gravity even in its outer parts. And it would not be the right shape (a ring or cylinder) to create apparent gravity by spinning on its axis. So unless it had Star Trek style artificial gravity generators, people would float around in it rather than walking, and there wouldn’t be much need for those golden streets.
But all of this is pure speculation and goes far beyond anything said in the Bible. Those who think that there will be a physical New Jerusalem just aren’t paying attention to what the Bible actually says.
Thanks so much
And who said the people in the New Jerusalem needed to breath Rev 21:4,1 Cor 15:53.
You said John saw this things in the spirit does that now mean the entire Rev 6-19 of the antichrist,
second coming of Christ and etc, all happened in the spirit and are not literal.
Beside various physical laws will be broken before this event of the New Jerusalem in the rapture, the wrath of God and the plagues etc.
God has even broken His physical laws quite a number of times recorded in scripture with Joshua Josh 10:12-13, Moses,Elijah etc and even Jesus himself on many occasions.
You said earlier that God doesn’t violate His own Law but that statement is to His Eternal Laws not temporal laws 1 Peter 3:10. As we see there this earth is temporary and will pass away and be destroyed and why must the New Earth have the old laws of physics when God said “Behold I make all things new” and note He said all things not things in the spirit.
Peter’s prophecy in this context is clearly literal.
There is something called the law of precedence, and it is that a law can be broken if another law superceding it seeks to accomplish something opposite. The Ultimate Law in all of existence is The WORD OF GOD and whether there is a contradicting law or not once He (not it) speaks everybody and everything complies.
Seeing in the spirit simply means seeing by the empowerment of God’s Spirit whether it is the physical or spirit realm.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. However, the book of Revelation never says that all of these things will happen literally. That is human opinion and speculation. In fact, John several times says he saw these things in the spirit, and when heaven was opened to him, indicating that he saw them happening in the spiritual world, not in the physical world. For more on this, please see:
Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?
All these literalist ideas about not needing to breathe and so on are pure speculation in an attempt to support nonsensical physical-minded (“fleshly,” in biblical terms) interpretations of the Bible. The Bible never says anything like that. So you can believe these things if you want. But they are purely human opinions, not anything the Bible says.
wow , thanks so much for adding to what Lee says.
This is complimenting not competition
God bless you
I am actually replying to something you said earlier in this about all religions and all people will be in the new Jerusalem . The bible says noone shall come to the father except thru Jesus Christ. If a religion doesn’t believe that Jesus was the son of God and died on the cross for our sins was dead 3 days raised up and is living still. If that’s not believed by a religion they cannot be in God’s kingdom. Am I missing something here or is this your beliefs . I know there are many religions some believe in Buddah , some Mohammed these religions are not of my God. I know I am writing this under another post but I read that somewhere in this and wasn’t sure how to ask about it so I saw reply and this is where it lies but I’m curious as to what your teaching because there is but one way to the kingdom of heaven and that the blood of Jesus Christ . I have often thought how sad that some children had parents that never taught then of Jesus but God’s word says every corner of the Earth shall hear of Him and have the chance to accept Him. My grandson is 21 and going to Bible college here in Florida. He has already been on a missions trip to South Mexico where he got to witness to Indian people who lived inna remote part of Mexico. His desire when he graduates is to go into the depths of Iran Iraq and nation’s that believe in other God’s . He said God called him at 7 years old and he has stayed faithful to that calling and will if Jesus doesn’t come back before he gets the chance to go to these places to try and convert these people that hate Americans and Christians. I am not the least bit worried about him because I know God has got him by the hand and trust God to protect him. Although he said if they kill him he will just be with Jesus sooner than later. This is the first I’ve read or been on this site maybe I should have studied all you’ve written before asking this but immediatly after reading that I couldn’t continue until I understand if you are teaching from the Holy Bible or just your beliefs . Or I could have possibly read it wrong or out of context if so forgive me. But please give me some insite into this. Because I know what the Bible says and it says not to add to or take away anything. Jesus Christ is the only way
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comments and questions.
Yes, what we teach here is from the Holy Bible. In fact, it is from a careful reading of exactly what the Bible says. We do not accept the centuries of human theologians, councils, and creeds that have said that the Bible says this or that, when the Bible doesn’t actually say any of those things. See:
There are many articles linked from these ones that present what the Bible actually says, compared to the human dogmas and traditions that have taken over in today’s “Christianity.” Unfortunately, the present-day Christian Church has done exactly what Jesus upbraided the religious leaders of his day for doing:
Most of the “Christian doctrines” taught in today’s Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches simply aren’t in the Bible. They were made up by human beings hundreds or even thousands of years after the Bible was written. Many of them are flatly rejected in the Bible’s own plain words.
Yes, the only way to the Father is through Jesus Christ. But that passage does not say that the only way is through believing in Jesus Christ. Traditional “Christianity” has added a word to the Bible that is not there, and has therefore misunderstood and misinterpreted what Jesus was saying. For a full explanation, and an answer to your question, please see:
Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Heaven?
Meanwhile, Godspeed to your grandson. Though it is true that some Muslims hate America and Christianity, given that the U.S. and other “Christian” nations have been bombing their cities, towns, and villages for decades, and tearing apart their countries and their communities, it is not surprising that some of the more radical and fundamentalist among them have turned to hatred. But most Muslims do not hate America or Christianity. They just want to be left alone to run their own countries and determine their own affairs. My daughter visited a Middle Eastern country several years ago, and found that nearly everyone she came in contact with welcomed her with open arms. Most ordinary Muslims love Americans. But they do not like what the U.S. government is doing in their region. Many of them have lost fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and relatives in the U.S.-led bombings and military campaigns in their countries. This, unfortunately, gives Christianity a very bad name in the eyes of those who have suffered at the hands of a supposedly “Christian” nation. Jesus came as the Prince of Peace. We are not following his commandments when we continue to wage war all around the world.
Good article, thanks for the many interesting points. But on the issue of a physical new Jerusalem, I have to agree with Daniel; there’s no reason to assume the new Jerusalem won’t be physical. Christ’s resurrected body was physical, and we’re told that we will be like him in a resurrected body. And who’s to say that the earth isn’t actually flat, like the Scriptures suggest? There may be a limitless plane horizontally, and “outer space” may be nothing more than fiction NASA has cooked up to make us feel even more insignificant than we already do here on earth. We just don’t know what’s out there, and how it’s all going to look.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
Christ’s resurrection body was physical in the sense that it was solid. But it could also pass through locked doors. So it was not physical in the same way that our bodies are physical. Also, he remained on earth only forty days after his resurrection. After that he ascended to heaven. So his resurrection body clearly was not meant to stay here on earth indefinitely. There is no support in Christ’s resurrection body for the idea that we humans will live forever here on earth after our resurrection.
There is also no reason to assume the New Jerusalem will be physical. As I said to Daniel, John’s entire vision is described as being in heaven, not on earth. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the New Jerusalem will be physical.
And if you want to believe that the earth is flat, then there’s probably nothing I can say to dissuade you.
But I’ll just state it plainly:
The earth is not flat.
It’s not just NASA, but the space agencies of many other nations, such as China, Russia, India, and the countries of the European Union that have been up into space and taken millions of pictures of a spherical earth, and of many other spherical planets and moons. The idea that all these governments, some of which have been mortal enemies during most of our spacefaring years, would collude with each other in a vast conspiracy to deceive the public into thinking that the earth is spherical when it is actually flat is just too ludicrous for words.
And now there are private, profit-making companies that regularly send payloads up into space to orbit the earth. Millions of people both in government and in the private sector would all have to be in on the conspiracy. It’s just plain silly.
Further, there are thousands of satellites orbiting the earth beaming signals back and forth. Unless you live in a hut deep in the woods hunting and foraging for food using only wood and stone tools and weapons, you use technology every day that depends upon the earth being spherical.
But if you’re willing to reject things like this that we know to be true beyond any shadow of a doubt, then you will believe whatever you want to believe regardless of what science or the Bible says. If you insist on believing that the world is flat against massive amounts of evidence to the contrary, and regardless of the fact that the Bible never actually says that the earth is flat, then even if God himself were come down and tell you that the earth is spherical, you would keep right on believing these fantasies about a flat earth.
I strongly urge you to stop burying your head in the sand and open your eyes to reality as it actually exists. The Bible does not encourage us to deny the truth when it is looking us right in the face.
“Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. NKJV 1 Cor 15:46-54
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. NKJV Eccl 12:7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. NKJV
Pretty evident that we are not raised as a physical body/entity. Those of you who have an ‘agenda’ will believe what you will. A spiritual body would have no need of a physical city nor would it make sense. God is not the author of confusion or contradiction.
Thanks for stopping by, and for the good thoughts and Bible quotations.
hi! Laws of nature and science all try to explain what God did not necessarily explain them. God is too powerful enough to do anything beyong human imaginations. Remember John said i saw a new earth and a new heaven for the old one has passed away. How does this new earth looks like? Is it the same as the old one? How can you have a revelation from God without being in the spirit? Remember Daniel? Paul talks even about a spiritual body.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Yes, God is powerful enough to accomplish what God wants to do, even if it goes beyond human understanding! And yes, revelation comes from the spirit!
All religions will not be allowed in our heavenly Father’s kingdom. Only God’s true children will inhabit New Jerusalem.
Hi Son of man,
Thanks for your comment. That’s not quite how the book of Revelation itself describes the situation. It says of the New Jerusalem that:
Not only the Christian nations, but all the nations.
And it is not non-Christians, but evildoers who will be outside the city:
Read also Matthew 25:31-46 on how the people of all the nations will be judged for eternal life or eternal punishment.
You have taken Revelation 21:24-26 and Matthew 25:31-46 out of context. In your statement of the New Jerusalem you included all people, all nations, and then added all religions. That is where you made your mistake. Go back to those references you used to justify your reply to Son of Man, and you will see that, yes, all people from all over the world of every tongue, nationality, country and the like WILL enter into the Kingdom of Heaven IF THEY HAVE RECEIVED JESUS AS THEIR SAVIOR. There is no other option. In both Scripture references you give, the “all people” who enter in takes place after the judgment. There is another judgment for the righteous, but that has to do with something else entirely. Jesus said He was the only way to the Father. Either that is true or Jesus is a liar. And if Jesus is a liar you might as well throw out Revelation, since it was given BY Jesus Christ.
Thank you for stopping by, and for your comments. Before you comment further, I would ask you to read our comments policy. Meanwhile, I will also respond to some of the points you made in your two other comments that I did not approve for public viewing.
It is you, my friend, who are adding to the words of the prophecy of the book of Revelation, and to the rest of the Bible.
Take your own challenge, and read the passages that I quoted, and their context. Those passages do not say that people “will enter the kingdom of heaven if they have received Jesus as their Savior.” You are adding those words. In fact, Paul is crystal clear that people who do not accept Jesus as their savior will enter the kingdom of heaven if they live a good life according to their conscience:
Here Paul says plainly that there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good. And he does not leave any room for doubt that this applies to non-Christians. He says, “The Jew first, and also the Greek.” Jews are not Christians. “Greeks” (pagan polytheists) are not Christians. And Paul says that they will have glory, honor, and peace if they do good.
Further, he says that Gentiles, which includes all people who are not Jews or Christians, will be judged by Jesus Christ according to their secret thoughts, and according to whether they have lived according to the law of their conscience.
In this saying this, Paul is simply following the teaching of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 25:31–46 Jesus says that the people of all the nations who do good deeds for their fellow human beings, as judged by Jesus Christ, will go to eternal life, while those who do not do good deeds for their fellow human beings will go to eternal punishment. Read it for yourself. Jesus doesn’t say a word about any requirement that the people of all the nations must believe in him in order to go to eternal life. Only that they must do good deeds for their fellow human beings.
Here is the situation, then:
If David Brollier disagrees with Jesus Christ and with the Apostle Paul about who is saved and who is damned, who do you think we should believe?
It is true that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. That is why the judgment on all people, Jews, Greeks, and Gentiles, takes place through Jesus Christ, exactly as Paul says. If Jesus Christ is God, and there is only one God, then Jesus Christ is the God of all people, not only of Christians. There is no other God. There is no other judge of the people of all the nations. See:
Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Heaven?
You are in error, my friend, because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. I urge you to abandon the false human teachers who have filled your mind with unbiblical falsities, substituting human traditions for the Word of God. Learn the true teachings of the Bible from the lips of Jesus Christ himself, and from his Apostles. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
To respond to one more point from one of your unapproved comments:
Yes, please do read Revelation 2–3, the so-called “letters to the churches.” But they are not actually letters to the churches. You will see, if you read carefully, that every single letter is addressed, not to the churches, but to the angels of the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Not a single letter is addressed to the church itself, but to the angels of those churches.
Now, angels are spiritual beings. And the letters are addressed to the angels of those churches, meaning to their spiritual guardians. The very example you give provides one more proof that the entire book of Revelation is about spiritual events, not physical events, and that it is addressed to the spiritual state of humanity, not to kings, nations, and empires here on earth.
It is you, my friend, who are adding to, and subtracting from, the book of Revelation by contradicting its own words when it says that all of these things were witnessed and took place in the spirit and in heaven. You are contradicting the book of Revelation’s own words when you claim that these events will take place here on earth.
Read the Scriptures for yourself, my friend. Read the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation. These are the words of eternal life. Abandon the teachers of the false doctrines of Martin Luther and John Calvin, and listen to the words of life from the Lord’s own lips, and from the lips of his Apostles.
Thanks God that there are people like you because what you just explained it’s indeed a true revelation from the Father not every one would understand the way Holy Ghost has revealed to you, others. Jesus He is the only Holy temple as He said so himself, I believe that he is the new Jerusalem, that Jerusalem is the Spirit of the Lord descending upon the people of God so this new Jerusalem is already within other people and God He’s giving them the ability to make changes in the world to be a better place like heavenly Jerusalem
the new earth and the new heaven it is a transformation from the old spiritual realm which was corrupted by evil spirits so as I am writing now the old spiritual realm it is being destroyed by the Lord now, there is outpouring fire of volcano that is overflowing right now melting the elements of the spiritual realm of the past age, the wrath of the Lord is released against all evil spirits whom polluted the physical realm with evil……..
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. Yes, the New Jerusalem is a spiritual event that is happening all around us right now, as the spirit of the Lord comes to people on earth in new and more spiritual ways.
Godspeed on your spiritual journeys!
We cannot get to heaven by works . To get to heaven you must admit your a sinner , ask for forgiveness, beleive Jesus died for your sins and have a personal relationship with him . The first birthday let verse I can remember learning as a child John 3:16 For God so loved the world he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life . John 14:6 I am the way the truth and the life. Noone comes to the father except thru Me. John 3:5 Jesus answered , Very truly I tell you Noone can enter the kingdom of God unless you are born of the water and spirit . Many many times the Bible tells us we cannot see God by works , by might , but only thru Jesus . Jesus is a mystery and we will all know that answers to these questions we ask one day .The Bible tells us this. But you can’t get to heaven or to New Jerusalem , or Even near God without Jesus . If you can show me a place in the Bible where it says if you live a good life or be a good person or give alot of money to the church you can get to heaven please show me now. Because it’s not in the Bible I read . I’m sure there are alot if people that would love to believe this but it’s a lie from Satan and I stand on that and noone can prove me wrong . One way to heaven ,JESUS CHRIST, It’s a one way street people and Jesus is the one way .
Thanks for your additional comment.
Unfortunately, most of what you are saying here simply isn’t stated in the Bible. And the Bible verses that you do mention do not say what you say they do.
In many, many places the Bible says that we must do good works in order to be saved. Here are just four examples, two from the Old Testament, and two from the New Testament:
Meanwhile, there is not a single passage in the entire Bible that says that we do not have to do good works in order to be saved. Yes, Paul talks about being saved by “faith apart from the works of the Law” (Romans 3:28). But in those passages, by “works” he means getting circumcised and being an observant Jew, as explained in this article:
Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
If you read Paul’s letters carefully, you will see that he never says that we are not saved by good works. Only that we are not saved by “works.” That’s because he is not talking about not being saved by good works. He himself says, in the above quote from Romans 2:1–11, that people who do good will be given eternal life, while those who do evil will experience wrath and fury. And Paul does not contradict himself. If he had wanted to say that we are not saved by good works, he could very easily have done so. But he never did.
Paul also never said that we are saved by faith alone, nor did he say we are saved by grace alone. “Grace alone” never appears anywhere in the entire Bible. And in the one and only passage in the entire Bible that mentions faith alone, it is specifically rejected:
This, incidentally, is yet another passage in the Bible saying that we are saved (“justified”) by works. There are dozens, if not hundreds, more such statements in the Bible.
Unfortunately, you have been taught things that the Bible doesn’t actually say.
You have been taught all of these things, but they are simply not taught in the Bible.
It is true that technically, we are not saved by doing good works. Neither are we saved by having faith. We are saved by God’s love and by God’s power. But if we do not have faith and do good works according to the Lord’s commandments, then we have rejected God, and have rejected the Lord’s salvation.
I could go on, but there are many articles here that cover these subjects in more detail. Here are a some to get you started, if you really want to know the truth of what the Bible teaches about salvation:
And there are plenty more where those came from!
I know that’s a lot of articles, some of them quite lengthy and detailed. But if you want real answers to your questions, you will have to put in the time to get those answers. Unfortunately, your preachers and teachers have filled your mind full of a lot of unbiblical falsity that you will have to unlearn before you can understand the Bible’s message, and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Hi My name is Carlos,
I’m not quite in agreement with your statements base on the argument of a stadia measurement of the city. The Bible says that ..and I quote….He measured the city…it does not say he measured only one side of the city. If I were to measure your house and told you I just measured your house and it is 2,300 ft. Would you agree that I took the time to measure it completely…is it not possible that the complete measurement of the city equals to 12000 furlongs. Revelation 21:16. The city is perfectly square. Its perimeter is 12,000 furlongs, or 1,500 miles (a furlong is 1/8 mile). It is 375 miles long on each side. Also is the following correct…”And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits. … And the building of the wall of it was of jasper.” Revelation 21:17, 18. A wall 144 cubits, or 216 feet high (a cubit is 18 inches), surrounds the city. The wall is made of solid jasper, with radiance and beauty beyond description. Think of it! Nearly 20 stories high and solid jasper!
To me a city that is made of these materials and size is speaking in literal terms not necessarily spiritual terms. I don’t think God would allow John to see something that was real and later tell Him it was all spiritual only.
Let’s not forget that…Few shall be chosen! God knows exactly how big and how many will fit in His new Jerusalem! Not only that but God knows perfectly well how to balance the scales of the universe as the creator of the universe he is in complete control of all things!
Thank you for hearing me out! and GOD Continue His blessings on you!
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
However, about the measurements of the city, there is no word for “perimeter” in the original Greek, and it would be very unnatural to translate Revelation 21:16 as saying that. I’m not aware of any Bible translation that interprets that measurement as a measurement of the perimeter of the city. The clear intent of the Greek is to say that the city is 12,000 stadia (about 1,400 miles) on each side, and also 12,000 stadia high.
And even if that were what the Greek means (which it is not), a city 375 miles high would still stretch far beyond breathable atmosphere, and it would still cause the destruction of the earth as it threw the earth’s rotation off axis and shook the earth to pieces.
As for the measurement of the wall, the Greek text does not say exactly what it’s measuring. Most Bible scholars believe it is referring to the height of the wall, but another common measurement of the walls around ancient walled cities was how thick they were, and thus how capable they were of resisting battering rams and other means of breaching them. So although the text is likely to be referring to the height of the wall, we can’t say for certain that it’s referring to the height and not to the width.
But to the larger point: Contrary to what you’re saying, there’s no reason at all, based on the text of Revelation itself, to think that the city in John’s vision was meant to be a literal city. As pointed out in my article, “Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?” throughout the book of Revelation John regularly speaks of being in the spirit when he saw the things he describes in that book. See, for example, Revelation 1:10, 4:2, 17:3, 21:10. So the text itself presents all of these things as taking place in the spiritual world (i.e., in heaven), not in the physical world.
Those Christians who think that there is going to be a literal New Jerusalem coming down out of the sky onto the physical earth simply aren’t paying attention to what John himself says in the book of Revelation.
a new earth doesnt mean it will be another earth ball .it could be flat forever in all the directions with this big jerusalem in the middle of it all. ..thinking ahead into the future with the nations growing in population cant be done on another new small earth..otherwise God will have to undo it again and make it bigger again. or over population…so making it big for the future of all nations growing is the way to go…there is said there will be no more night and the 12 gates wont shut close for God will live amongst his people..so all of this has to be in the to come new earthly realm
Sure, all of this could happen. But it assumes that God did a bad job of designing the world and the universe the first time around. I don’t think God made a mistake in designing the universe, and I don’t think that God will have to fix that mistake the second time around. I believe God designed the universe exactly as God wanted it, and that there is no need for an Earth 2.0 to upgrade or fix the mistakes of the first one.
As I said to Carlos, everything John saw, he saw in the spiritual world, with his spiritual eyes, not in the physical world with his physical eyes. There is no good biblical reason to think that the things he saw happening spiritually in the spiritual world are going to happen physically in the physical world.
The whole idea that Revelation is talking about future physical events has no basis in the book of Revelation itself.
But once again, if you want to believe that these things are going to happen physically, that’s your choice. But I predict that you and others who believe as you do will be waiting a very long time (like, forever) for any of these things to take place in the physical world.
God can do whatever he desires. Logic always makes God subject to laws of physics, when God doesn’t have to subject to rules he created. Jesus walked on water. God can create a literal city this size. You are saying that God can’t do all things when he vs created the heavens and earth from nothing. Remember his mind is as far as the heaven and earth in comparison to ours. You will never rationalize his capilbilities.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
If God were to violate God’s own laws, then God would be like a kingdom divided against itself, which is laid waste, and like a city or house divided against itself, which cannot stand.
God does not make laws and then decide those laws were mistaken, violate them, and make different laws. God’s laws are not like human laws. God’s laws are eternal and universal.
Hi Lee…Regarding not being able to breathe because of 1400 mile height of the New Jerusalem. We are given an incorruptible body. Jesus being 100% God, and yet 100% man, was transfigured, and He sits at the right hand of the Father. The word says that we will be like Him. So with that in mind, we should not discount what John saw in the spirit, and think that it could not happen in the physical.
As for the earth rotating “smoothly,” God said He will make all things “new.” He has everything already worked out. He also said that the “righteous shall inherit the earth.”
The Lord returns to earth AFTER it is purged from sin. Revelation speaks of the angels coming first, to kill the unbelievers and gather them (“tares”) to a place where the birds of the air will feast on their corpses. Then fire comes upon the earth.
Now, you tell me, who will be left? Like Daniel in the fiery furnace who was protected by the fire because Jesus was there with him, so shall it be for the righteous. THEN the New Jerusalem will (imho) “hover,” above the earth. And ONLY those who are righteous will be able to travel back and forth from earth to it.
Best not to mock John for what God showed him.
God bless all who hear what the Spirit says.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
Of course, we could engage in various mental exercises to try to explain how all of these predictions about the Last Days and the New Jerusalem are going to happen physically in this world.
However, if you read the book of Revelation carefully, you will see that John saw all these visions taking place, not here on earth, but in the spiritual world. He says that “heaven was opened to him” and that he was “in the spirit.” So everything he saw took place in heaven, meaning the spiritual world, not here on earth. It doesn’t make much sense to think that everything John saw it the spiritual world is going to take place in the physical world.
This is the basic mistake made by all of the Christians who think that these things are going to take place physically on this earth. Those Christians simply aren’t paying attention to what the book itself actually says.
Lee, you are spot on. People either do not have the Spiritial eyes to “see” or they are not reading the bible with a new mind. What I mean by that is the mind has been programmed to believe what it’s been taught and it doesn’t seek answers. The Holy Spirit has placed it on my heart to hear and see truth. The new Jerusalem is here. The old Jerusalem has passed. Jesus ushered in ALL
things new. Amen. The Spiritial kingdom of God is within us today. God breathed HIS Spirit into us. Not all but many folks are missing this just as the Jews missed Christ. Be blessed,
Thanks for stopping by, and for your good thoughts!
Regarding the New Jerusalem…I am in a quandary. Does the New Jerusalem come down from heaven BEFORE the earth is destroyed by fire? All evil will be burned up, so how could there be any sinners? I am thinking during the Millennium. This verse, “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood? (Revelation 22:15) Christ though returns AFTER the earth is destroyed by fire, and made new…
In Revelation 21: 27 “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Thanks for sharing your observation Lee, et al.
Once we realize that the book of Revelation is talking about spiritual events rather than physical ones, these problems and quandaries disappear.
The “fire” in the book of Revelation is not literal, physical fire, but rather the spiritual fire (in a negative sense) of burning anger and hatred of evil people against all who do not bow down to them and worship them as gods, or who get in their way in any way whatsoever. This evil spiritual fire destroys their souls spiritually in that they become burnt out cinders of human beings, living only for themselves instead of for others as they were created to do. They do continue to exist, but it is not a truly human existence, so they are said to be spiritually dead.
All such people remain outside of the New Jerusalem, which is the home of people who are spiritually alive, meaning who love God and love their neighbor, and show that love through daily acts of kindness and service to their fellow human beings.
It is interesting your interpretation of all things in Rev. Being “spiritual” not literal.
Certainly John was caught up in the Spirit realm to view events that would occur “on earth”.
But to assume the events would be spiritual vs. Literal is a remarkable stretch to the point of error I believe.
God is creating a New Heaven and New Earth. To apply current earth rotation limitations for a literal New Jerusalem is presumptuous at best.
Just my thoughts.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
But where in the book of Revelation does it say that the things John saw in the spiritual world would take place on earth?
Keep in mind that the Greek words usually translated “heaven” and “earth” mean, in their more ordinary sense, “sky” and “land.” When John saw a “war in heaven” (Revelation 12:7-18), and Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, what John was seeing visually was a war in the sky, and the dragon being thrown down to the land upon his defeat. And John is seeing all of this “in the spirit,” meaning in the spiritual world. So both “the heaven” (the sky) and “the earth” (the land) are the sky and the land of the spiritual world, where John saw all of these events taking place.
There is certainly no good reason to conclude from the text of Revelation itself that any of this is going to take place here in the physical realm. That’s not where John saw it happening, and nowhere in the book does it say that it is going to take place in the material world.
In fact, it is precisely the other way around: It is a remarkable stretch to the point of error to ignore John’s own words about where he saw these events taking place, and to jump to the conclusion that these things will all take place on earth. Those who believe this simply aren’t paying attention to what the book says.
Lee thank you for engaging in conversation with me.
Being in the spirit John sees a “vision” of things that will occur. To categorize this to mean the events as occuring in the “spiritual realm” instead of a warning to earthly inhabitants of events literally coming upon earth is problematic from the onset.
A warning is a warning to those facing literal judgement on earth.
Having read Rev. several times it is clear that a New Heavens AND a New Earth will be the residence of God on earth in a city called the New Jerusalem. It will have gates and streets and people walking in and out.
To take away the meaning of the literal warnings of literal events coming upon the inhabitants of this world given by God in Revelation may incur the Judgement given in Rev. 22:19.
You’re welcome. And I do understand that you and many other Christians believe that the things described in the book of Revelation are going to happen literally in this world.
However, that is simply an opinion. The book never actually says that these things are going to happen literally and physically, in this material world. It simply describes the events as things John saw while he was in the spirit, and when heaven was opened to him.
You are, of course, welcome to your opinion that these events will take place physically and literally. But it is just that: an opinion and a human interpretation. It has no particular basis in the book of Revelation itself.
Jesus said, ” my kingdom is not if this world”
A new heaven and a new earth is now. The old covenant is passed. Amen.
The new covenant has come. The new heaven and the new earth. Thank you Jesus!!
It’s a spiritual kingdom.
Good Day to you brother in Christ,
If you could seek the Holy Spirit guidance for me in agreement I would appreciate it. In the Fall of 2010 while sleeping I was shaken lightly out of sleep and heard, ” you will be a keeper of the flame” two nights later the same thing happened but I heard, ” the spirit of Elijah and the seed”
Since then I receive a lot to go to Zechariah 4. When I hear this I open right to the chapter. Coincidence? I don’t believe so. One thing this morning did JUMP out at me. Verse 6 ” Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying Not by my might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. The rebuilding of the temple which has begun would be accomplished not by human hands but by the POWER OF GODS SPIRIT. Amen. IT IS FINISHED. I ask please pray in agreement with me on what was spoken to me.
I won’t comment on the messages you received since they are personal to you, and only you can know their meaning for you. But I’ll keep you in my prayers, as you request. And whatever messages you may receive, keep reading the Scriptures, because that is where God especially speaks to us. Godspeed on your spiritual journey!
Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. Godspeed on your spiritual journey!
The Kingdon has come. Jesus said,” thy kingdom is within you”
Does Jesus not dwell within believers? Isn’t HIS kingdom within you?
Let’s look at Rev. 22:15 For without are dogs, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and make a lie. Are they still not among the kingdom?
Oops, looks like I missed this comment when you first made it. Sorry about that!
I agree that the kingdom has come—for those who accept it—and that it is within, or as some translations say, among us (the Greek word can be translated either way). The people who are outside are there by their own choice, because they have rejected the kingdom of God by their selfish and evil actions.
I believe our minds as people are too simple to understand the very complex and eternal plans of God. Therefore no one on earth is qualified to boldly make a claim that the New Jerusalem is in fact not a real physical city or that it is a real physical city. Some questions are best unanswered until we see Jesus in the days to come. However I do appreciate your 1,400 miles measurement conversion.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
By the same token, no one on earth is qualified to boldly make a claim that the New Jerusalem is a physical city when the Book of Revelation never describes it as one. Instead, it says that everything John saw, he saw “in the spirit” and “when heaven was opened to him.” The idea that it is a physical city is merely humans jumping to conclusions without carefully reading what the Bible actually says.
You won’t need air in our new bodies – they’re eternal.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. However, eternal bodies are still bodies. That means they still need food, air, water, and so on. Otherwise what would be the point of living in a city, with all of the infrastructure that a city has to supply our human needs? What would be the point of having a body at all? Why wouldn’t we just be wispy things floating around here and there?
God Bless you Lee,
The Bible truth cannot be half true it’s either completely true or completely false. Do you ignore that the new Jerusalem that John saw in a vision was a prophetic event of things to happen seen in a vision? (Yes, i suppose you know it!). This particular event of the new Jerusalem descending is made of the Bride of Jesus-Christ coming down on a new earth from God (Heaven) not as old creatures but as new creatures in their glorified body (Theophany) which are celestials bodies just like angels have got some entirely free from this actual world natural conditions and laws completely corrupted by sin when Eve fall in Eden to let death plant it roots into everything as we know it today.
The raptured Bride of the Lord can breathe beyond the atmosphere nothing can limit her simply because she’s God Himself in another form after that the marriage of the lamb has already taken place! The countenance of God is with her, God dwells within them.
read Revelation 21:1-3
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
As I said, in the beginning, a single line of the scripture wrongly interpreted makes all the storyline false. I pray that God will open your understanding of His Word to see what I am pointing to your attention here.
God Bless you.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
However, nowhere does the Bible say that what John saw in the spiritual world will take place in the physical world. Those Christians who believe this are jumping to conclusions due to their fleshly and literalistic view of the Bible and of the teachings of Jesus Christ, who said to us:
Similarly, Paul said:
Unfortunately, many Christian preachers have focused on the useless flesh and the letter that kills rather than on the spirit that gives life. Nowhere is this more true than in their fleshly and physical-minded reading of the Book of Revelation. For more on this, please see:
Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?
In another comment you argued the reason the New Jerusalem couldn’t be in orbit was because people in John’s time believed the Earth was a flat disc. That is not true at all.
In fact, 300 years before John wrote Revelation, Eratosthenes found the circumference of the earth and proved it was round.
John wrote Revelation in Koine Greek, which was what educated Greeks wrote in and thus he would have known the Earth is round.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
It is true that various Greek philosophers believed or knew that the earth is spherical several centuries before the New Testament was written. However, it took many centuries for a spherical earth to be generally accepted. (See Wikipedia -> Spherical Earth.) The Church opposed the idea of a spherical earth, and of it orbiting the sun, for many centuries, even into the Middle Ages. And even today, when we have numerous photos of a spherical earth taken from space, and the scientific community views a spherical (technically, ellipsoid) earth as a basic fact, there is a whole organized movement of people who still believe that the earth is flat, not spherical.
So yes, John could have heard that various Greek philosophers held that the world is spherical. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he knew it to be true. The Hebrew Bible, which John grew up with as a Jew, pictured the world as flat. That is how John himself most likely pictured the earth.
In fact, even using the word “earth” to translate certain Hebrew and Greek words is not really correct. They should be translated “land,” as in the visible expanse of the land that we see. The Greek words that John wrote that are commonly translated, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,” should really be translated, “Then I saw a new sky and a new land; for the first sky and the first land had passed away.”
At the end of chapter 12 of Conjugal Love, Swedenborg mentioned a “new heaven” involving the New Church. Is this a heaven that New Church believers go to, similar to how Swedenborg says Muslims go to an Islam heaven? Is it possible this heaven looks just like the New Jerusalem described in Revelations, with various heavenly communities living within the giant city?
I doubt that any of the heavens, even the new heaven that was formed at the time of the Last Judgment in 1757, would literally look like the New Jerusalem as pictured in the book of Revelation. For one thing, that city isn’t described in any detail. It speaks of a river, a main highway paved with gold, the tree of life growing between them, and the dimensions of the city, the height of the wall, the number of gates, and so on. But there is no description of the city itself. It is clearly meant to be a symbolic picture, not a literal one.
However, angels in the new heaven who enjoy life in the big city would certainly be able to live in a densely populated urban area. These do exist in heaven, and based on Swedenborg’s statements, the population of these cities in heaven seems to track the population of cities on earth. Meaning that the largest cities in heaven are about the same size as the largest cities on earth.
Does this mean there are multiple heavens depending on what religion you believe in?
And if so, wouldn’t that kind of be violating your rights as human by sort of putting you in a “filter bubble” at death, like the one google puts you in when you see ads, etc?
Yes, there are multiple heavens and areas of heaven. What religion people belong to does have an effect upon where they will be in heaven, assuming that they have actually lived according to their religion. People generally like to be together with people who share their particular faith and values.
There is no violating of people’s rights, because people choose what heaven, and what part of heaven, they want to live in. It is all a matter of people’s own free will. No one is forced to live anywhere.
Hello. I’d like to add something to this conversation. Two somethings, actually. 1) When Swedenborg talks about a Christian heaven being different for example from a Muslim heaven, what exactly does “Christian heaven” mean? Is it formed only by people who identified themselves as Christians in the world or do the good people who had no religion also go to the Christian heaven for living a good moral life (instead of going to some other community that isn’t the Christian one)?
2) When Swedenborg talks about a spiritual and a heavenly kingdom, he explains it in a very abstract way and I’m not sure if I understand exactly the difference between what kind of peeople go where. He talks about people who accept good and truth first in their memory and understanding going to the spiritual kingdom, but again, I don’t really know what exactly that means. Would I be wrong in saying that people who are more of the intellectual type go to the spiritual kingdom and the ones who are more of the emotional type go to the heavenly one, or am I getting it wrong? He also talks about people who accept good and truth to a higher degree going to a higher heaven and the ones who accept it to a lesser degree going to a lower one. Again, I also don’t understand the exact meaning of that. Would it be something like this?
People who are very good and do lots of good things = higher heavens
People who are less good and do less good things = lower heavens
People who hate good and truth = hell
1) Which heaven people go to is determined not only by their beliefs, but also by their culture, which becomes a part of their character. People from Christian cultures will, if they are good people, most likely end out in a Christian heaven because that will match their character and culture. People from Muslim cultures, if they are good people, will most likely end out in a Muslim heaven because that will match their character and culture.
Of course, people who go to a Christian heaven must also believe that Jesus Christ is God. But that will come as a matter of course if their heart is good and they are receptive to the true nature of God. People from Christian cultures who were atheist or agnostic or just not particularly religious, if they were good, will most likely end out in a Christian heaven once they see and accept the truth about God in the spiritual world. But if they come from a non-Christian culture, they will more likely go to a heaven for the culture and religion from which they came, or by which they were surrounded.
2) Yes, in general, more intellectual types will go to the spiritual kingdom of heaven, whereas more emotional types will go to the heavenly (traditionally “celestial”) kingdom.
But this is complicated, because in addition to the spiritual and heavenly kingdoms, Swedenborg also says there are heavenly, spiritual, and “natural” or earthly heavens, which are usually pictured as higher and lower levels of heaven.
If we map this onto the body, it is sometimes pictured as the kingdoms being the right and left side of the body, and the heavens being the head, torso, and limbs. However, Swedenborg himself maps the heavenly kingdom to the heart and vascular system, and the spiritual kingdom to the lungs. That, of course, leaves a lot of other parts and organs of the body unaccounted for. So as you can see, it’s a complicated issue. And to make things worse, Swedenborg occasionally equates the heavenly kingdom with the heavenly heaven, and the spiritual kingdom with the spiritual heaven, which really confuses things!
But in general, once again, the people in the spiritual kingdom are the more intellectual and head-centered ones, whereas the people in the heavenly kingdom are the more emotional and heart-centered ones.
Meanwhile, the heavens, one above the other, seem to have more to do with how far we progressed in our spiritual rebirth during our lifetime on earth. The “natural” or earthly heaven is for people who didn’t really focus on God or spirit, but who just acted in the right way out of obedience to law and social expectations, from a good heart. The spiritual heaven is for people who accepted definite beliefs about God and spirit, and who lived according to those beliefs because they saw it as the right thing to do. The heavenly heaven is for people who continued onward from this stage of acting out of believing the truth to the final stage of doing what is good because they truly love God and their fellow human beings in their heart.
These are not mutually exclusive, of course. Heavenly angels do live according to the truth, but they do so because they know that this is how best to love and serve their fellow human beings. And spiritual angels do have love for God and the neighbor, but they live more out of a sense of principle and “doing the right thing” than out of a direct motivation of love for God and the neighbor.
Meanwhile, in each of these heavens there some people who tend more toward the intellectual side of things, and others who tend more toward the emotional side of things. These two groups form the two kingdoms within those heavens.
Even this is quite a simplification of the complex nature of heaven. Consider that Swedenborg says that heaven forms the spiritual equivalent of the human body, and consider how complex and multifaceted the human body is, and you can get some idea of just how complex and intricate heaven really is.
Can people from different kingdoms visit each other? Like say if you and your parents/best friend got separated into two different kingdoms. Will you still be able to visit each other?
Yes, people from different kingdoms of heaven can visit each other if they wish. In one place Swedenborg mentions seeing two old friends who were living in different parts of heaven meeting halfway between, greeting each other, and embracing each other. In heaven, we are free to do the things we want to do, and to see the people we want to see.
Thank you for the explanation, I understand it better now. By the way, it’s always great to see new articles here on the website. Please keep at it!
Thanks. It’s unlikely I’ll return to posting new articles as often as I did for the first five years of this blog. However, now that Annette and I are mostly settled into our new home, I do plan to return to posting new articles semi-regularly.
Just a quick thought. Too often Rev 21:16 is read TOO quickly.
It does NOT say that EACH side will be 12,000 stadia, but rather that it is measured with length and breadth equal. Then we are told the total measurement is 12,000 stadia. Finally we are told that the height is also equal.
This leads to TWO choices as to meaning, without spiritualising it (which is CONTRARY to what Rev 21:17 notes as a measurement of man – also read Ezekiel 40 – 48 to get what is going on.
Choice one is that the 12,000 is the sum of the four sides – for it is foursquare. This makes each side 3,000 stadia (which when put into miles 600 feet x 3,000 / 5280 = 341 miles). This is approximately the size of Israel under King David, from the Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt and from the Great Sea to east of the Jordan.
The height of the wall is then 144 cubits or about 72 yards high.
John had to be taken to a high mountain in order to see this large extent.
This is most likely what the dimensions in Revelation mean.
Choice two is that 12,000 stadia is the sum of the cubed size. This makes a much smaller city – 12,000 cubed is 23, which when multiplied by 600 = 13,800 feet in any direction, so just over 2 miles long, wide and high. This allows the height of the verse to be part of the equation, but then makes the size of the city less impressive. Ezekiel 48 has the space for the priests and Levites as 25,000 cubits which is around 7 miles, so a 2 miles long city fits inside, but careful reading of Ezekiel suggests the entire land is actually the city, and that this portion is simply what is set aside for different uses.
I go therefore with Choice one and a city the size of the largest extent of Israel, with Egypt on one border and Syria the other.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
However, it is very unlikely that the dimensions mean anything other than what a normal reading of the Greek suggests, which is that each measurement, the length, width, and height of the city, is twelve thousand stadia. There is no mention in the text of the Bible of the angel measuring the circumference of the city, and certainly no mention of measuring its cubed size. Such ideas are making the text much more complicated than it actually is. Here is Revelation 21:16 in Young’s Literal Translation:
The dimensions mentioned are length, breadth, and height. The measurement given is twelve thousand furlongs, or stadia. The most natural reading of the Greek is that each of these measurements is twelve thousand stadia.
Reading it any other way is trying to force it into some preconceived notion, usually based on people trying to read the book of Revelation literally when it was never meant to be taken literally. It is written in an obviously prophetic and symbolic style. And John continually tells us that he saw these things when he was in the spirit. See:
Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?
As for the city being the size of Israel under King David, the distance from the Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt is more like 400 miles. And that includes large areas that were well beyond the tribal boundaries of Israel proper. Meanwhile, the width of the land, including the transjordan tribal areas, couldn’t have been more than about 100 miles at its widest extent. Beyond that you run into uninhabitable desert. And the very reason two and a half tribes settled on the other side of the Jordan was that it was good grazing land.
In other words, Israel then, just as now, was a long, narrow country. It simply doesn’t fit the picture of a “city that lies foursquare.”
I do agree that the measurement of the wall most likely refers to its height, not its thickness as some Bible scholars believe. I do not think John saw the city as a giant cube, as in some depictions. Rather, I believe he saw something like a giant version of Mont-Saint-Michel in France. It would be a pyramidal city, whose topmost point was the same height as the city was long and wide.
But once again, this was a vision of John, and never meant to be taken literally. Aside from the symbolic meaning of the number twelve—which is a number of completeness—here in the form of twelve thousand, the dimensions were meant to evoke a vast city that filled the entire word, and reached up toward God in heaven.
Here’s another typical example of a false teacher who has no means to interpret Scripture correctly. New Jerusalem is a literal city and is still under construction. When complete, Yeshua will return via the rapture to receive the church, His bride and we will reside in the city being built exclusively for us to reside in. One is always compelled to dismiss the opinions of those who don’t hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture. According to their false views, God wasted time and effort in authoring the Scriptures and then revealing them to man.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. I would delete it as contrary to our comments policy, but I am really curious to know where you think the New Jerusalem is literally under construction, what materials are being used, where it will land, and how it will deal with all the science and communications satellites, not to mention the International Space Station and the Chinese space station, crashing into it all the time, since it will extend out into space far beyond their orbits.
And I do wonder why Jesus wasted time and effort telling us parables that are obviously not meant to be taken literally, and then revealing them to us in the Gospels.