The New Jerusalem
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2–ESV)
John quickly moves from a new earth and and new heaven to a city. Cities are where people live for while we are created and we exist on the earth we are more than a perfect blueberry bush or mountain laurel. We are aware of ourselves in a way that an oak tree or a butterfly is not. So into the place of cool streams, warm breezes and buzzing bees comes a place for man.
That place is called the holy city and it is introduced to us at the beginning of this eternal newness. It is important enough to comprise more than half of this chapter, but John is only ready to speak of its coming right on the heals of the new creation. Perhaps we could think of it as the Eden in the first creation.
Four things of this city
|Originated with God||Likened to a bride|
A human tendency is to consider ourselves valuable. Some people will spend years sketching their thoughts, beliefs, and their worries into drawings about the meaning of life. Even the most skeptical sweat their thoughts somehow knowing life means something even if they are challenged by it. Do we matter? Are we more than that hickory? Are we like a squirrel nest that falls from the tree becoming little more than yard debris?
In my office I have a copy of Frankl’s work on the matter. This book always comes to mind when I am pondering these things.1
The Bible, if we will but allow its veracity, informs the drawings and sketches of life. Did you know there are more than 31,100 verses in the Bible? If we had but this one verse and a mustard seed of faith the meaning of life’s riddle could be unraveled.
This city, this dwelling place of humanity originated in heaven. It came down from there. Out of heaven, God’s place and home, came this city. Just like the origination of man in Eden way back at the beginning of these 31,100+ verses people are given a special place. From the alpha to the omega the man-project is God’s project. No accident we are. Humanity needs no sedative to numb us away from the meaning of life. Humanity merely needs to accept what God has written on our hearts and in the centuries we’ve walked through the memoirs of his people; of Jesus himself.
Humanity not only finds its origination with God, but its preparation its purification. Humanity fell oh so early. The rope up and out of the pit of sin has been hanging there all along. This is not a rope we climb, but a rope thrown down to us that we must but grasp. It holds us above the quicksand and as we grasp it we become strong and our feet nimble.
Through the buffeting of life we are prepared for relationship with God himself. The person in the pit is not ready for that, but getting ready for that. God will enable it.
God loves the marriage metaphor having established it all the way back in Eden. So this city of people is compared to a bride, that one-half of the family unit. Concluding this verse that tells us we matter we see the city as adorned. The inhabitants of this city are made with an inner beauty that will go on and on never diminishing. In some manner the preparation part is the adorning part.
While these words are not specifics, the human longing for meaning must in some manner grow out of the abstract. Abstractions may seem spongy but these types of abstractions are as eternally sturdy as the concrete of God.