Segment 47 - 21.01 - The New Heaven and the New Earth
Let’s see what happens in Chapter 21. What happens now? Here it comes. Here is the vision now, and the final episode. Okay? Which is also part of the apocalyptic view point. After the temporal powers have been dealt with, after the present age has been brought to a close, after all evil has eliminated, then what’s going to happen? Then comes the new Jerusalem, the new birth, the new consciousness. Here we see a very beautiful and dramatic picture of this, in Chapter 21. It begins right there. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more.”
The battle is not over. All the evil, in this case Rome, is now taken care of. So the new Jerusalem comes, and it’s going to be new in quality. A very different type of place. Earth and heaven, as they knew it at one time has perished. Earth and heaven has perished. This is something else. It’s very important. You see that no sea is involved here. Where does it say this? “And the sea was no more.” The sea was considered to be the great divider of mankind. The sea separate us. Now there’s no more sea. And the feeling is everybody is at one. We are all together. And this whole idea begins to develop. “He sees the new Jerusalem coming down now as a bride.” Look at verse two. “And I saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. Prepared as a bride. Adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne saying, behold the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them and they shall be his people. And God himself will be with them.”
In other words where was God before in that concept? Up in heaven. Now God will dwell among us. In the old testament, back during the time of the wilderness days, when Moses and the people of Israel were running around, that God was encamped in the midst of them. God dwelled with his people. That idea is brought out. But contrasting that also, was the idea, later on, that God sat on a throne up in heaven. But what a beautiful thought that God is with us and not separate from us. That’s one of the basic things that we teach in truth. That we are not separated from God. No sense of separation, or we have a sense of separation, but in spirit it’s not true, because in dwells us.
We are individualized expressions of God and all that God is. The writer now is bringing that same idea into the picture here. He says that behold the dwelling of God is with man, he will dwell with them and they shall be his people. We and God are one. Altogether. God himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more. What a classic picture that is. No more death. Is that something that’s unreasonable to expect? Death is something that we bring upon ourselves. If you are an absolutist as a true student in that sense, death in an experience that we choose to go through for whatever reason, and no one is to be condemned for, because I dare say that all of us, one of these days, will meet the experience called death, because in some way we choose it. Not always on a conscious level, but on an unconscious level. Not always directly, but at least indirectly.
And it has to be that way. Because if we were not the ones who were choosing the experience that we call death, then we would not have complete dominion over our world. We love to say that God has given us dominion. But if we qualify that and say, however, death is something that happens to you, then it means we have dominion but ... I don’t like that feeling. Either we have been given dominion all the way or we don’t have it. If you start feeling that you haven’t been given dominion all the way, then when you start meeting the challenges of life you may start to rationalize, “Gee, maybe I don’t have power over this one. Maybe I can’t do anything.”
We have dominion all the way, including the experience that we call death. But when you attain this consciousness of oneness with God, which is what the new Jerusalem and the new heaven coming down from earth represent, as God dwelling with men. Get the feeling of oneness, then there is no literal death. If we could realize every moment of our life, our complete oneness with God ... That kind of sounds flawy, I know that. But you know what we mean. There are very important principles involved. If we really lived in complete conscious awareness of our oneness with God, we would never experience death. So the writer is right. That’s not he’s writing to. He’s talking about a different picture, a political kingdom to come down. But the process that he is describing can be related to us as individuals, and it’s true.
When we have heaven and earth brought together, that’s what this picture is. Heaven coming down and earth coming up to meet it, and all become one, and there there is no death. There is no weeping anymore. There is no crying or mourning or pain. Let’s read all of this. Verse four. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who sat upon the throne said, behold, I make all things new.” So there’s classic picture now of the new Jerusalem coming down from above. And earth, in a sense, coming up to meet it and all becoming as one.
Segment 48 - 21.09 - Jerusalem as the bride of the lamb
Then in verse 9, he goes down to describe the city as the bride of the lamb, okay, as the bride of the lamb. Here, he says that one of the angels ... “Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the last seven plagues, and spoke to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb.”” okay. The lamb is Jesus, who represents God. The bride, in this case, means the New Jerusalem and all the people who are in it, okay? All the people who are in it. Then he gives you a picture of the ideal city, the way it’s supposed to be. This can take place, and is one of these days going to take place on an outward level, as it must take place on an inward level. We can be talking about states of consciousness, but we can be talking about that ideal world that we’re all trying to create when finally we get it all together, all nations, and we can have this heaven on earth.
He gives a very beautiful picture of it. Look at verse 10, let’s pick it up there. “In the spirit, he carried me away to a great high mountain, and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.” The holy city of Jerusalem, that was the center of spiritual worship, coming down from heaven out of God. The apostle Paul makes a reference to the Jerusalem which is above, Galatians. You might want to research this later in Galatians chapter four, verse 26, where he says, “But Jerusalem above is free.” Jerusalem above is free. In other words, this is the heavenly counterpart of the Jerusalem on earth. The real Jerusalem, the true Jerusalem, is in heaven, and it’s been established from the beginning in spirit.
What do we say about ourselves? In spirit, we are created whole, perfect, free, splendid, free from limitation or lack of any sort. That’s the New Jerusalem that has been created in spirit. He’s giving that same idea here. He says, “This is above, and now it’s beginning to come down, because all evil has been wiped out.” We have eliminated all negative thinking from our consciousness. The New Jerusalem must now manifest itself. That New Jerusalem is that spiritual consciousness. So many different ways of saying it. That has always been a part of us, but that we’re not fully aware of, okay? He goes ahead here and describes this city in detail. “Showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper clear as crystal. It had a great high wall with 12 gates, and at the gates, 12 angels. On the gates, the names of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel.” Here, he ties in the old testament.
See, It’s going to include the old testament and new Christianity. Everything is brought together now. Here he makes the tie-in, okay? “The name of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed. On the East, three gates, on the North, three gates,” and so forth and so forth. Verse 14, “The wall of the city had 12 foundations, and on them the 12 names of the 12 apostles.” On the gates, you’ve got the names of the 12 tribes, and on the foundations, you’ve got the names of the 12 apostles. He brings the old and the new together. Isn’t that a beautiful feeling? That’s the whole idea. He conceptualizes the city in this way, within this framework, okay? Then he goes on down to measure the city. “He who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare.” Foursquare is a symbol, the Greek symbol of perfection. Foursquare, the Greek symbol of perfection.
“Its length the same as its breadth. He measured the city with his rod 12,000 stadia.” 12,000 stadia would be about 1500 miles, I believe. This length and breadth are the same, so it’s like a cube, 1500 miles, okay? All right, all the way around. Each side is 1500 miles. Verse 17, “He also measured its wall 144 cubits by a man’s measure, that is in angel’s.” A cubit was approximately 18 inches, about a foot and a half. The city has a wall about one cubit and a half, or 216 feet high, okay? 144 cubits, that would make it about 216 feet high. Do not worry about the specific dimensions, because it’s all symbolic. He’s just trying to say, “Hey. This is quite a city. This long, this wide, the wall is this high,” and so forth. He goes on to continue this beautiful picture that he paints here.
In verse 18, “The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel. The first was jasper,” and he goes right on down the line and names 12 of them, okay? He names 12 of them. These 12, I believe, these 12 precious stones which are part of the foundation here, will correspond with the breastplate of the high priest of Israel. You’ll see a picture of that given in the 28th chapter of Exodus. He’s simply making a tie-in once again. But the breastplate of the high priest had these jewels. The description of it is given in the 28th chapter of Exodus, verses 17 through 20. I understand that it’s also connected with the zodiac, but in reverse order from that which the sun follows through those signs. I don’t know that much about it, but I will just mention that to you because it’s a part of my research, these 12 stones. Also mentioned in Tobit. Tobit, okay, in the Book of Tobit, which is an apocryphal book. Connected with the zodiac, but in reverse order from that which the sun follows through those signs, okay? Well, then he goes on down to verse 21, “The 12 gates were 12 pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.” Isn’t that a beautiful way to ... Gold is the most precious metal, I guess. What’s the price of gold today by the way? I think this is very timely, isn’t it? That he would use gold to help depict this ideal city, and so forth.
Segment 49 - 21.22 - No temple in the city
Here’s some important things. Look at Verse 22. “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God, the Almighty in the land.” The temple is what? It’s a place of worship. What is our activity center in effect? A place of worship. But when the ideal comes, we don’t need any places of worship, because God will dwell in the hearts of all persons. And believe you me, the temple was very important to the ancient Jews. It’s still very important to the people today as our church might be important to us today. But when the ideal comes, there’s no need for these outer structures anymore because we don’t have to go someplace to worship God. God is within us. As true students, we already know that, and we use places of worship such as the activity center and others for expediency’s sake I suppose, and it’s good that we have the, because we’re still working toward bringing that ideal into manifestation in our lives.
This is a temple and has always been a connecting link between man and God, but now God dwells with man as it said back there in the third verse of Chapter 21. There’s no need for a temple. There’s no need for a few other things too. Verse 23: “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” In other words, when the glory of God shines so brightly within us, when we let it shine through, you don’t need a lamp to read by. We don’t need the sun and the moon and the stars, because the light of God will be enough for all of us. What a beautiful picture. “By its light shall the nations walk, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day and there shall be no night there.” Isn’t that a beautiful picture? Constant light. We live in the light, and this is a state of consciousness that we are all endeavoring to attain and that is possible to attain.
And he says, “The gates will never be shut,” so that anybody who wants I guess can come in and out. Doesn’t that sound great? All people are one. The picture is painted. Verse 26: “They shall bring in to it in the glory and the honor of the nations.” Uh oh, but then he retracts a little bit here. In Verse 27 he says, “But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” In other words, he kind of caught himself for a moment, we might say, and remember now, if you don’t shape up, you’re not going to make it right after he’s pictured the ideal, kind of an after thought. But it’s a beautiful picture of the ideal state that first of all must take place within consciousness and then becomes manifest in the outer world as our experience in many different ways.