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Chapters 21 and 22 conclude the Book of Revelation, and so they constitute the climax of the whole Bible narrative. These chapters present a very special challenge to most readers, because they attempt to symbolically describe something which probably few persons have ever yet experienced, a state of perfect well-being based on knowing the pure truth.
Outwardly and literally, we notice that these final two chapters consist of many details about the new city of Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven. Everything about the city is connected with the number 12. Now, we’ve already talked a great deal about that number 12, and you will remember, the number 12 stands for wholeness and perfection. And the word Jerusalem, which is a Hebrew word, means habitation of peace. Metaphysically, Jerusalem stands for an illumined spiritual consciousness. Such a consciousness produces inner and outer well-being in every sense of the word, in all respects, totally and completely and perfectly. Hence the number 12.
The number 12 is used lavishly and consistently in every descriptive detail concerning this perfect city, or perfect state of spiritual consciousness. We have 12 gates, 12 angels at the gates, 12 names of the tribes of Israel written on the gates, 12 foundations for the walls, 12 names of the apostles written in the foundations, 12,000 furlongs being the measurement of the city, 144 cubits the measurement of the wall, 144 being 12x12. We have 12 precious jewels on the foundations of the walls, 12 pearls as gates, 12 manner of fruits on the tree of life, of which all nations may eat freely.