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Heaven:
The City of God
To the Hebrews there were three heavens: 1) the atmosphere where
the birds fly and the clouds float; 2) the universe where the sun, the
moon and the stars are found; and, 3) the abode of God.


The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his
eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. (Psalms 11:4 KJV)


Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter
any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth:
therefore let thy words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2 KJV)


The residence of God in heaven shows the vast chasm that exists
between the God of heaven and man of the earth. Our eyes, and even
our greatest telescopes and space probes cannot reach the end of the
universe beyond which is the third heaven and the abode of God. Yet,
our prayers, the prayers of the humblest saint are able to be heard,
because His eyes and His ears can span that difference – hearing and
seeing the details of our lives.


U.S. military satellites can zoom in on an object the size of a license
plate. The operators can literally read a newspaper from space. GPS
can zoom within three feet of where we are. The speed reading on the
GPS is more accurate than the speedometer. God can zoom in on our
thoughts and motives from across the universe.


But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven
of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him
an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him? (2 Chronicles 2:6
KJV)


But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven
and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this
house which I have built! (2 Chronicles 6:18 KJV)


Our images of heaven are derived mainly from the imagery of the book
of Revelation. Revelation is a book of signs and symbols. In other
words, much of Revelation is figurative. It places spiritual ideas and
locations in physical descriptions that we can relate to and
understand.  Its images of heaven are meant to instill awe and wonder
in our hearts and souls, not to truly represent what heaven physically
looks like.


We can no more comprehend what heaven looks like than we can the
appearance and power of God.


Revelation 4:1-11 KJV  After this I looked, and, behold, a door was
opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a
trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew
thee things which must be hereafter.  (2)  And immediately I was in the
spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the
throne.  (3)  And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a
sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in
sight like unto an emerald.  (4)  And round about the throne were four
and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders
sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of
gold.  (5)  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings
and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the
throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.  (6)  And before the throne
there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the
throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes
before and behind.  (7)  And the first beast was like a lion, and the
second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and
the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.  (8)  And the four beasts had
each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within:
and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God
Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.  (9)  And when those
beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne,
who liveth for ever and ever,  (10)  The four and twenty elders fall down
before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever
and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,  (11)  Thou
art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou
hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.


The throne of God is surrounded by a rainbow – that symbol of
promise and grace given to Noah and to mankind. It is surrounded by
24 elders clothed  in white robes with golden crowns  sitting upon
seats – symbolic of the tribes and apostles – the entirety of God’s
people throughout the ages. Out of God’s throne come “lightnings
and thunderings and voices” – the sounds and symbols of power.
There is also the perfect Spirit of God. There are also four beasts –
representative of every type of man who declare: “Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” And the 24
elders, bow and give up any symbol of authority, saying, “Thou art
worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast
created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” A
scene to invoke awe, wonder and praise: as well as humility.


Revelation 21:1-22:5 KJV  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:
for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there
was no more sea.  (2)  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,
coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for
her husband.  (3)  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them,
and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and
be their God.  (4)  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither
shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed
away.  (5)  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all
things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and
faithful.  (6)  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the
beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain
of the water of life freely.  (7)  He that overcometh shall inherit all
things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  (8)  But the
fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and
whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have
their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is
the second death.  (9)  And there came unto me one of the seven
angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and
talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the
Lamb's wife.  (10)  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and
high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem,
descending out of heaven from God,  (11)  Having the glory of God: and
her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone,
clear as crystal;  (12)  And had a wall great and high, and had twelve
gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon,
which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of
Israel:  (13)  On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the
south three gates; and on the west three gates.  (14)  And the wall of
the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve
apostles of the Lamb.  (15)  And he that talked with me had a golden
reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall
thereof.  (16)  And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as
the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand
furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are
equal.  (17)  And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty
and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the
angel.  (18)  And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city
was pure gold, like unto clear glass.  (19)  And the foundations of the
wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The
first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a
chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;  (20)  The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth,
sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz;
the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an
amethyst.  (21)  And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several
gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it
were transparent glass.  (22)  And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord
God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.  (23)  And the city had
no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of
God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.  (24)  And the
nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the
kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.  (25)  And the
gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night
there.  (26)  And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations
into it.  (27)  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that
defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but
they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.  (22:1)  And he
shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out
of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  (2)  In the midst of the street of
it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare
twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the
leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  (3)  And there
shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be
in it; and his servants shall serve him:  (4)  And they shall see his face;
and his name shall be in their foreheads.  (5)  And there shall be no
night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the
Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.



John concludes his Apocalypse with a description of “a new heaven
and a new earth.”  This is “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down
from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her
husband.” It is “the tabernacle of God” with men where “they shall be
His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
Many of these terms are used of the church, or the saved; which is
what Jesus will deliver up to the Father in the last day. That this is
referring to something different than the church in its existence here
upon the earth is seen in verse 4: “And God shall wipe away all tears
from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor
crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the form things are
passed away.” This is proclaimed by the One who is the “Alpha and
Omega, the beginning and the end.” He was there in the beginning,
and He will be there in the end – the time spoken of by John, here.
That this is speaking of the end time is again emphasized by verse 8:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers,
and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall
have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:
which is the second death.” It is the fulfillment of John 5:28,29.


The great city, “the holy Jerusalem” descending from God in heaven
has “the glory of God.” It sparkles like a clear crystal. The gates in the
walls of the city are guarded by the angels: three gates on each of the
four sides with “the names of the twelve tribes of the children of
Israel” written on them. The foundation of the wall has twelve layers,
with each layer having “the names of the twelve apostles of the
Lamb.” This city, foursquare, the same distance in height and width
and depth is measured by a “golden reed.” Even the measuring stick
is made of gold.


The city is described in terms of precious jewels. The wall is jasper,
while the city itself is pure gold, buffed to a clear shine. The
foundations are jewels which produce a rainbow of color. The gates
are of a singular pearl, and the streets are of pure gold.


There is no temple like Jerusalem of old, because God and the Lamb
dwell there. There is no need of a reminder. And the glory of God, and
the light of the Lamb provide more light than the sun or the moon, or
both combined. There is no night.


And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither
whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are
written in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21:27 KJV)


From the throne of God proceeds the water of life which waters the
tree of life, which provides fruit for all of God’s people year round.
Such riches – such glory – such beauty – such serenity is beyond our
comprehension. We can only begin to imagine the wonders which the
heaven of heavens much contain.


And yet, Jesus gave this up for us – for you.


Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in
the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made
himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and
was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a
man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and
given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth,
and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my
beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but
now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear
and trembling. (Philippians 2:5-12 KJV)