The New Jerusalem's Measurements, Revelation Chapter 21 Verses 15-21 (NASB)

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    And the one who spoke with me had a GOLD MEASURING ROD
GOLD stands for divinity or royalty, and it is the only appropriate material for this MEASURING ROD. This is especially true since it will be used to measure the dimensions of a city having the GLORY of GOD (verse 11). The angel holding it is John's city guide (verse 9).
    to measure
    • the CITY, and
    • its GATES and
    • its WALL.
Clearly here we are looking at the exterior of the new Jerusalem. Later scattered throughout Chapter 22, we get just a few glimpses of what's inside.

Using the GOLD MEASURING ROD, we will be given the actual dimensions in the next two verses. The other time in the Revelation (Revelation 11:1-2) when the temple of God was measured during the tribulation period, we weren't given the dimensions. This is consistent with the devil not being allowed to have either our "spiritual names" or the measurements of "spiritual places". Now that the devil is put away permanently (Revelation 20:10), it actually is neat to show him how many souls (city residents) he was not able to subvert. Furthermore, with GATES and a WALL, this city is not approachable unless you are a bona fide resident. Amazingly, you can reserve your place in this new Jerusalem, TODAY!
    And the CITY is laid out as a SQUARE, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the CITY with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its LENGTH and WIDTH and HEIGHT are equal.
This cubic city reminds us of the inner sanctuary of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:14-20-22). It was 20 cubits on all three dimensions. It is appropriate for the new Jerusalem to be this shape too, for even as God filled the sanctuary of the Old Testament tabernacle (Exodus 25:1-8-9), He also fills the new Jerusalem (verses 11 and 3).

From crystallography, we know the cubic-structured molecule is one of the most stable and stackable structures in our current world. Our common table salt is one such cubic molecule, and in an interesting sense, this gives us a whole new way of looking at what Jesus said about salt (Matthew 5:13-16) or what a believer is like. Since God saw that what He had made in the current world was "very good" (Genesis 1:1-31-31), He apparently saw fit to continue the pattern, into the new Jerusalem, the CITY which contains the essence of believers (verse 2).

From a spiritual viewpoint, many of us have a difficult time accepting the real physical dimensions of our "transformed" bodies (Philippians 3:17-21-21). But do not forget that after Jesus was resurrected, He showed Himself to have real physical dimensions (Luke 24:36-43 and John 20:19-31). The CITY, the new Jerusalem, is a real dimensioned CITY.
    And he measured its WALL, seventy-two YARDS,
We assume that this is the thickness of a wall that reaches from the foundation to the top of the new Jerusalem (verse 12). While most commentaries dwell on the physical dimensions of the new Jerusalem, the importance of the theological symbols must not be overlooked. In the previous verse, we showed that the new Jerusalem is a view of the most holy place in the temple, That is, a covenant was established between God and a chosen people (verse 12 and Genesis 17:1-8); our Savior, Jesus Christ, came from this chosen people (Luke 2:1-7); and this Jesus Christ's teachings (theology) was spread around the world by the apostles (verse 14). All who are residents of this new Jerusalem are there because of a SPIRITUAL commitment they made to Jesus Christ.

Now to the wall, in particular, we know that the wall is for protection. The wall must be made up of a select group of spiritual entities that will protect the new Jerusalem. In Revelation 7:1-8, we find a select group of bondservants sealed for God. While nowhere is it explicitly stated that the wall is the residence of the 144,000 bondservants, but inasmuch as the gates through this wall have the names of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel (verse 12), this may be the case.
    according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.
As for the human and angelic measurements being the same, we probably are shown the 'after resurrection' (Revelation 20:5 and Revelation 21:8) life equivalency of angels and the redeemed (Luke 20:27-36-40).
    And the MATERIAL of the WALL was jasper;
That the New Jerusalem exists and has substance is given by the expression "the MATERIAL of the WALL". Yet, imagine the difficulty this presented to John when he was shown what the GLORY of GOD looked like (verse 11). John is consistent with his previous description of the One who sits upon the THRONE (Revelation 4:3). None of us, neither the readers nor this author, has experienced our transformed body, so we have a difficult time 'seeing' what our true and pure spiritual nature is (Philippians 3:17-21).

Jasper was a revered gem in ancient times. It is mostly unknown to us in modern times. It is clear, however, that jasper represents the righteousness and purity of God. Given that all of us are living with a sin besmirched mind, we cannot possibly understand this purity (1 Corinthians 13:1-12-13).
    and the CITY was PURE GOLD, like clear glass.
The CITY is, in fact, the one that the angel is showing John (verses 9 - 11) and is the BRIDE of Jesus Christ. PURE GOLD is a way to show the purity and blamelessness of the inhabitants of the CITY (Ephesians 5:22-27-33). Furthermore, GOLD is aligned with both deity and royalty as of a kingdom. We are told that we are a kingdom in Revelation 1:6.

The CITY is like clear glass meaning that it is totally transparent or in a different way of looking at it, the glory of God (verse 11) shows through and throughout the CITY. There is no privacy in the new Jerusalem, There is no need for it. For that matter, even today you and I are totally transparent to Jesus (Hebrews 4:12-13). I don't know about you, but sometimes I wish it were different. However, I sure am glad that Jesus constantly forgives my "iniquities" in order to get me ready for this transparent new Jerusalem!
    The FOUNDATION STONES of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone.
We come to an interesting view of the new Jerusalem. Given that the city is the bride of Christ (verse 9), this is John's attempt to describe the colors reflected by the transformed believers. This is an odd concept, for how many of us are able to describe our own spiritual side (or color)? We use terms like saved, born-again, or believer to describe the actual time in our spiritual walk when the conversion to believing in Jesus Christ took place. But how would you color the fruits of the Spirit, for example?  What color is kindness? What color is purity (jasper - see previous verse)? And so on.
    The first FOUNDATION STONE was jasper; and second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20. the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.
From a spiritual viewpoint, these FOUNDATION STONES signify basic tenets of the believer's faith or our relatedness to Jesus Christ (verse 14).  Many commentators feel these FOUNDATION STONES are related to the 12 stones on the breastpiece of the High Priest (Exodus 28:15-30 and Exodus 39:8-21). There is some merit to that relationship given our priestly status (Revelation 1:6).

However, since the FOUNDATION STONES are directly related to the apostles who were chosen as Jesus Christ's followers, it is more appropriate to say that these FOUNDATION STONES are reflections of the groom/husband Jesus Christ. Just as you can't tell the color of a stone in a completely dark room, so too, it takes light to show the colors of these FOUNDATION STONES. Jesus said He is that Light (verse 23).

Ella A. Rust clearly denotes each of these FOUNDATION STONES as reflections of Jesus Christ:

       The Twelve Foundations*

    "The first foundation was jasper: . . . " This jasper is light, clear as crystal and is emblematic of Jesus Christ in His Divine Glory. He is God. John 10:30, "I and my Father are one." John 14:9. When only in a measure God's glory is manifested and filled the tabernacle and the temple, even men of God could not enter because the brightness was so great. Believers are founded on God.
    ". . . the second sapphire; . . . " The pure blue sapphire presents to us in symbol Jesus Christ as the Truth. John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." I John 5:20.
    ". . . the third, chalcedony; . . ." The chalcedony in color is grey, blue, purple and yellow. We believe that it is an emblem of "grace and truth."
       John 1:14, ". . . full of grace and truth."
       John 1:17, ". . . grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
       Rom. 3:24, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
    Grace is the favor and free pardon of God through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
    Purple is a sign of royalty and yellow, resurrection. As Son of God, He arose triumphant in His Godly power, and grace and truth are extended in Him in His resurrection glory.
       Eph. 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."
       Col. 1: 13, 14, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." In Jesus Christ we have the unmerited favor and pardon of God in His love and mercy.
    Grey and blue joined together bring into our minds the thought of a dove.
    ". . . the fourth, an emerald;"
       Rev. 4:3, ". . . and there was a rainbow round his throne, in sight like unto an emerald."
       Ezek. 1:28, "This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." The rainbow is a token of mercy. The emerald in its beautiful green represents the great mercy which is extended toward the saints in Christ Jesus.
       I Tim. 1:2, "Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."
       Titus 3:5, ". . . according to his mercy he saved us, . . ."
       James 5:11, ". . . the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."
    "The fifth, sardonyx; . . ." Sardonyx stones are bluish white. Jesus Christ is Truth and in that Truth, or in Himself He is the spotless Lamb of God. Exod. 12:5.
       II Cor. 5:21, ". . . who knew no sin; . . ."
       Heb. 4:14-16, ". . . yet without sin."
       I Peter 2:22, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth."
    ". . . the sixth sardius; . . ." The sardius, a blood red stone typified the Lamb of God on the cross for our sins.
       I Peter 2:24, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, . . ." Heb. 9:22
       Rev. 1:5, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
    ". . . the seventh, chrysolyte; . . ." Purple and green in color the chrysolyte sets forth our Saviour and Lord as the merciful Son of God, the Prince of peace. Isa. 9:6.
       Rom. 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
    ". . . the eighth beryl; . . ." A beryl is bluish green. Green is also an emblem of life and fruitfulness. Jesus Christ is Life in Truth, or in Himself and the Life-giver by the Word and the Spirit.
       John 14:6, ". . . I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me."
       John 5:26, "For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;"
       I John 5:12, "He that hath the Son hath life; . . ."
       John 10:27-30, "And I give unto them eternal life; . . ."
    ". . . the ninth, a topaz; . . ." Because golden in color, a topaz symbolizes our Lord and Saviour as the precious Rock, everlasting, unchangeable, and incorruptible, Gold is unchangeable.
       Heb. 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever."
       "--to the ages to come--." --Scofield.
       Heb. 7:24, "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood."
       Ps. 103:17, "But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting."
    "It is impossible so to crush an amethyst that it loses its structural pattern. All you can do is to make of an amethyst many smaller ones.
    This same fact is noted in the case of all the other precious stones as well. No matter what their pattern may be, it remains all through the crushing process, with the geometric perfection thereof unimpaired." --Harry Rimmer.
    Jesus Christ never changes. He is the same Foundation from everlasting to everlasting.
    ". . . the tenth, a chrysoprasus; . . ." This stone is bluish, green, and yellow. Ps. 68:13, ". . . yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." We believe that these words refer to the resurrection of the Jews as a nation. They shall yet mount up with wings through the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ and in His worth.
    Yellow, undoubtedly, is an emblem of Christ's resurrection in His Godly power. Blue, truth, and green, life have risen again from the tomb. Resurrection was possible because the grave could not hold His body. He was sinless, pure as the purest gold, and precious.
       John 15:15-17, In His own Godly power He lay down His life and He took it again.
       Acts 2:24, "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."
       Rom. 4:25, "Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification."
    ". . . the eleventh, a jacinth; . . ." The jacinth is violet or red with a mixture or yellow. The sacrifice on the cross and love are inseparable, and red represents both. Without love our redemption would never have been accomplished. John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
       Rom. 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." In His resurrection glory He still loves us, because His is a Godly and an everlasting love.
       Song of Sol. 8:7, "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: . . ." Christ's love cannot be broken.
       Rom. 8:35-39, ". . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
    ". . . the twelfth, an amethyst." The amethyst is purple in color and represents royalty. Jesus Christ is the Royal Heir to the throne of David and the Royal Elder Brother to His saints. He is the only begotten Son of God and through faith in Him, we become God's sons.
    "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
       Rom. 8:14-17, As children of God, we are joint-heirs with Christ and we shall reign with Him.
       Rev. 1:6, "And hath made us king and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen." Because Christ is the rightful King, He has the power to make us kings and priests.
    In these marvelous foundations Jesus Christ is symbolized in twelve different aspects. He is God, Truth, Grace and Truth, The Mercyseat, the spotless Lamb, the Sacrifice, the Prince of Peace, Life, the Rock, the Resurrection, Love, and the Royal Heir. On this Foundation the New Jerusalem is built safe and sure.
    < end of quote >
*Rust, Ella A., B.Th., B.D., Th.D., "An Exposition of The Revelation of Jesus Christ", 1939


One final thought: a rainbow of colors in the new Jerusalem is to eternal life as the rainbow promised to Noah (Genesis 9:8-17) is to continuing life on earth.
    And the twelve GATES were twelve PEARLS; each one of the GATES was a single PEARL.
Over the centuries of present earth, the PEARL has been revered as much as precious metals. Many cultures in ancient writings extol the PEARL and its value

Jesus equated PEARLS to that which is sacred and holy and truthful. On this earth, we are to be careful with whom we share these TRUTHS (Matthew 7:1-6-6). In the new Jerusalem, nothing but truth will reside within the city. One can look at it as though the GATES, although they are never closed, are there to filter out any untruth which may try to enter. The twelve PEARLS visually describe what Jesus said about Himself in John 14:1-6-7-11. Jesus is the WAY (the STREET (singular), here), the TRUTH (the PEARLY GATES, here) and the LIFE (the new Jerusalem is ETERNAL LIFE here). As Jesus said, "...no one comes to the Father but through ME (the GATE). With the names of the tribes of the sons of Israel associated with the GATES (verse 12), every believer should be thankful for our relationship with our Jewish brothers.
    And the STREET of the CITY was PURE GOLD, like transparent GLASS.
The Greek word for STREET as used here is Plateia. Some translators indicate rather than being translated as STREET (singular), it actually is more like a wide open space. One can then visualize that this open area can accommodate the River of the water of LIFE (Revelation 22:1), the Tree of LIFE (Revelation 22:2), and the Throne of God (Revelation 22:3). Recall that before the Throne in Revelation 4:1-6 was a sea of GLASS like crystal which fits the description given here. Again the GLORY of GOD gives the STREET (area) a GOLDEN hue of purity and righteousness.

From Physics, one learns that electrons of materials when they change orbital energy levels often emit electromagnetic radiation in the visible range. This is how the Mars rovers, for example, can identify the materials in the Columbia Hills and on the outcroppings around craters. The spectrograph for the STREET in the new Jerusalem emits light (verse 23) that indicate it is like PURE GOLD.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only