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The New Jerusalem

By Valori Farrell

I believe the New Jerusalem is a spiritual place literally constructed out of those the Father has given to Christ. We are, “living stones being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 2:5-9)

In Revelation 20:12-15, the Judgment of God takes place. As a result, all of mankind is either cast into the Lake of Fire or they enter the New Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven. If the New Jerusalem was described in Scripture as a walled in fortress, or was sealed up forever at the Judgment, then I could more easily understand the popular end-times interpretation, which says that mankind and the present earth will be destroyed (eradicated) by the Judgment. If all human life outside the New Jerusalem is literally destroyed, then why does God choose to keep its gates open?

Revelation 21:25 says, “Its gates will never be closed.”(NASB) “And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” (KJV) Revelation 3:12 dispels the idea that the gates are open so the Saints can go in and out as they please; “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore…”  (NASB) So, why has God in His sovereignty decided to keep the gates open forever?

Perhaps the surrounding verses will shed some light. In the KJV, verse 24 says, “And the nations of them which are saved will walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.” Since all believers are already inside the city, who are the kings of the earth who bring their glory and honor into it?  How can nations be saved if they are already safe inside the city walls and the rest of creation is destroyed?

In the NASB, verse 27 says, “And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb*s book of life.” If this describes a time beyond the literal end of the world, then why does verse 27 say, “shall ever come into it” instead of simply saying, “came into it”?

If all unbelievers were cast into the Lake of Fire at the Judgment, who are the people with unclean practices currently being kept out of the city? These verses seem to indicate that believers will continue to enter the New Jerusalem after the time of the Judgment; therefore the gates are kept open for them.

If the destruction of the physical Jerusalem in AD 70 by the Romans is the Judgment spoken of in Revelation, then the ongoing nature of the New Jerusalem makes sense. The Judgment of AD 70 was not the end of all time, but rather, it was the end of the Jewish sacrificial system and the establishment of the New Covenant in Christ. The end of the Jewish system of worship was the end of their world as they knew it, but it was not a literal end of everything on earth.

Further evidence of the ongoing nature of the New Jerusalem is found in Revelation 22:2. The Tree of Life inside the city is described as, “bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

If there is no one left outside the city to come in and eat the fruit, why does the Tree of Life continue to, “yield its fruit every month”? When we are in Christ, we have eaten from the Tree of Life and have gained eternal life. Do believers inside the city need to eat the fruit as a monthly ritual?

In Genesis, it was not possible to go back to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil to get more fruit and yet our sinful nature never left us. I suspect that the Tree of Life is probably the same; once we truly eat of it, we gain an imperishable nature that cannot be corrupted again. I believe the fruit is being produced monthly for those who will be drawn to the Tree of Life down through the ages.

Those inside the city do not need to be healed or restored spiritually to a right relationship with God. If they did, they would not be inside the city (Revelation 21:27). Yet, the leaves of the Tree of Life are provided, “For the healing of the nations.” Where are the nations that are being healed by the tree? I believe they are all around us.

The function of the Gospel has always been to restore mankind*s spirit into fellowship with God. See Acts 3:2-10 where a beggar sits outside the gate until he is healed. Once restored, the beggar enters the temple to worship. Likewise healed of our sinful nature, we enter the New Jerusalem through Christ. Having partaken in the Tree of Life, we then worship God as the bride of Christ (Revelation 21:9).

In conclusion, the New Jerusalem is a place where life is carried out in the Spirit, for God is Spirit. The city is ongoing, active and forever filled with light. It is a thriving community constantly seeking to heal the nations and never-ceasing to produce life-giving fruit. Living waters flow through the midst of it continuously and its gates will never be closed!

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