There is so much strife and turmoil in our world. The nightly news is full of what went wrong during the day. The internet is always ready to show you the ugliness that us human beings can manufacture. We feel divided by every available category. We want to see peace, but we just don’t see a way for it to happen. And yet…our longing for peace suggests that somehow, it’s possible…
Now is the time to use our sanctified imagination. Try to imagine what John is seeing:
Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a precious jewel, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
John was doing his best to describe to his readers what he was witnessing. Jasper was a precious stone in Bible times. As it is known today, jasper’s appearance is more opaque than clear. Using today’s terms, we would probably refer the New Jerusalem as a brilliant diamond (a stone which was not known as a jewel in Bible times).
The city had a massive high wall, with twelve gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; the names of the twelve tribes of Israel’s sons were inscribed on the gates. There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. The city wall had twelve foundations, and the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb were on the foundations.
Interestingly enough, we see reference to both the Old and New Testament people of God…living in the same place, but yet they are still distinctly identified. The Holy City will be a beautiful place of peace for those who love God, no matter what age they lived in.
This is the ultimate fulfillment of what Paul explained to the believers in Ephesus:
So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh…at that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For He is our peace, who made both groups one…so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross…the Gentiles are (now, together with believers from Israel) coheirs, members of the same body, and partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
The distance from each other the and divide between us and God has been bridged because He is our peace. The peace we want can only be found in Christ Jesus through the gospel. That peace we can have right now, when we accept Jesus’ offer of eternal life. Although we long to live in a peaceful society, we can take comfort knowing that our desire for a peaceful world will ultimately be fulfilled in the New Jerusalem.
For that, I am a very thankful Gentile…and I can’t wait to see Christ’s work of reconciliation and peace displayed in Eternity Future and the New Jerusalem.