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Revelation 21:12


12 And [te] had [echo] a wall [teichos] great [megas] and [kai] high, [hupselos] and had [echo] twelve [dodeka] gates, [pulon] and [kai] at [epi] the gates [pulon] twelve [dodeka] angels, [aggelos] and [kai] names [onoma] written thereon, [epigrapho] which [hos] are [esti] the names of the twelve [dodeka] tribes [phule] of the children [huios] of Israel: [Israel] KJV-Interlinear


12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. NASB


John is standing on a mountain. He is able from his vantage point, to see the city of Jerusalem descending down from heaven to the new earth, which is in the new universe.

When we get to verses 16 and 17, we will see that the city is huge, surrounded by a giant wall measuring 72 yards, or some 68 meters high or thick, and the city itself measuring 1500 miles, or 2400 kilometers, in all directions. By the way, this is almost three-fourths the size of our moon in its mass. Our moon is 2100 miles, or 3380 kilometers, in diameter.

In yesterday's lesson, I used the word cube to describe the city, and that might be a little misleading. Even though the text of this chapter uses equal measurements for the city, it does not mean that the city exists inside a box. The city's height might very well be due to various elevations within the city, or to the height of buildings, and so forth.

When we see pictures of our present cities, we see their skyline. We see lower residential buildings on the outer edges and the higher skyscrapers near the core area. But, cities can also have hills and even mountains within their boundaries. Certainly, a city which is 1500 miles wide, can have a mountain or two, or even a whole range of mountains, within it.

I found some images of the New Jerusalem, on the internet, and have placed them on an image page. You can view them by going to the Bible Study Index page and then scrolling down to the 'Charts' section, and selecting 'New Jerusalem' to see the examples I found. Note that these are just other peoples ideas of how the city might look. None of us will really know how it will look, until we actually get into the next universe.

Anyway, this new city is brilliantly lit by the glory of God. And now, we see that it has a great high wall, measuring 72 yards, 68 meters, with twelve gates. See verse 17 for the measurement. The wall surrounds the city, and the gates are three on each side of the four sides of the city.

Ornamental angels are also stationed at each of the gates and the names of each of the tribes of Israel are written on each gate. Throughout history, Angels have assumed the role of guardian of individual believers as well as guardians of Gods people, Heb. 1:14.

Back in Moses day, when the Israelites camped, the tribes were arranged in a specific way.

Of the twelve tribes, three were camped on the east side, namely Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
On the south side were Reuben, Simeon, and Gad.
On the west side were Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin.
And on the north side were Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. See Numbers 2 and Ezekiel 48 for those details.

Note too that Levi was the tribe of the priests, and of the first covenant. Since we will all be priests having direct access to God, we will no longer need an intermediary. We will be able to enter into the city directly. After all, it is going to be our new hometown.

The first covenant issued to Moses and maintained by the Levitical codes, was abandoned. Therefore, the name of Levi will not be on a gate, but the twelve apostles will have their names on the foundations, designating the new covenant of Christ, and that is the covenant of God which will last forever.

Given these same names and arranged in the same way, we will then have a compass of sorts. The compass references to north, south, east, and west are preserved. Remember that in the new universe the stars, if stars even exist, will not be in the same positions as they are now. There will be no sun or moon, because the light of Christ will provide us with all of the light we need throughout the universe.

So, this leaves the layout of the city as our primary reference point to the rest of the universe.

But, besides being reference points of access to the city, these specifications exclude all other human tribes. Only the family of God, as symbolized by the tribes of Israel, have their names written on the city.

We can assume that, since this is our hometown, we will each have a home inside of the city. Our individual names should most likely be on our front door. Don't you have your home 'welcome' mat or some kind of a sign with your name on it, in your front yard or on your door?

When anyone moves into their new home, they immediately decorate it and personalize it. Why would this new home be any different?

Since the city of Jerusalem exists in heaven even now, and since you have believed in Christ, then it is reasonable to assume that your new home exists right now. You just won't see it until the new universe is created.

Also, the names of the twelve tribes will be an eternal honor to the plan of God, who set forth a divine plan. And though that plan was constantly under attack by Satan, it could never be broken or altered.

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Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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