The Heavenly Jerusalem
Revelation 21:9-14
And there came to me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying…

Let us take up two or three points in the inspired description of the city in this chapter and consider what they really mean.

1. Consider first what is said in ver. 13 "on the east three gates," etc. What do these twelve gates mean then, three on each side? What, save that the city lieth open and accessible to all quarters, and to all quarters alike? Now let us not fail to notice how strongly this contrasts with the character of all human institutions. How obvious it is that they are accessible to the few only, and almost in exact proportion to the advantages they offer is the smallness of the number of those who are admitted to share in them. The prizes of this life are only for the rich, the successful, the talented, the favourites of fortune; only its miseries, its sicknesses, its bereavements, seem the common heritage of all, of rich and poor, high and low, one with another. But it is not thus with the glories of the holy city; they lie equally open towards every quarter, equally accessible to men of every race and clime, and colour, and circumstance. Therefore take courage, O traveller Zionwards; if only thy face be set towards the holy city, thou too shalt surely find a gate open to admit thee, from whatever direction thou shalt come.

2. Consider next what is written about the city in ver. 15 that it "lieth foursquare," etc. The city is the same in every direction — thoroughly symmetrical, with no inequality about it; all is full, complete, utterly satisfactory, nothing falls behind the mark of the rest. How great and striking, again, is the contrast between this and any human happiness, any earthly good, so unequal, so incomplete as that always is!If well in one direction, so certainly ill in another; if pleasant for the body, so generally bad for the soul; if wholesome for the spirit, so generally grievous to the mind. But in heaven nothing will be wanting; perfect and equal extension will be the law of being; life will have its threefold expansion, in fulness infinite, in intensity perfect, in duration eternal.

3. Consider, again, how it is written in ver. 18 that "the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass." We shall remember at once that no gold on earth is like this, for it is one of the qualities of gold to be opaque, however thin it may be beaten out; even gold-leaf is not transparent: the beauties of pure gold and of clear glass are never combined in this world. Nor, if they were, would the result be at all desirable for building purposes. For what would be the consequence if a city were made of such material? Why, that every house and every chamber would be transparent, and that one could look through the whole city from side to side. But what does this universal transparency signify in heaven, save that there will be nothing to hide, nothing to keep secret, but that all will be open to all, because nothing will be shameful and nothing selfish? And now, since we have gone round about our Sion, and marked well her bulwarks and considered her palaces, tell me, O my fellow-pilgrims, shall this be really our home? It is ours, no doubt: we are heirs of it, joint heirs with Christ of all that He as man hath won for man; but shall we certainly come into our inheritance? Oh, my fellow-pilgrims, travellers together, as ye say, towards the heavenly' Jerusalem; this holy city, this happy city is certainly ours; its joy is our joy, its glory is our glory. Shall a little toil, a little need for earnestness, a little necessity for patience, daunt us and defeat us? Shall we fall short of so great and full salvation for want of a few years' careful watching, a few years' resolute striving?

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb's bride."

The Glorious Bride
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