What is New Jerusalem? If there is a new one, we need to understand something about the old Jerusalem. 

The ancient Jerusalem was the center of Israel’s life. It was the holy city where God’s Temple was built. 

This is the city where you could come to worship God and find the center of good government. It has been destroyed and rebuilt more than once by its enemies.

During a time of its destruction, the apostle John had a vision that revealed God’s idea of what will happen when the gap between Heaven and earth closes.

Revelation 21:
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the
throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John's elaborate description of the New Jerusalem retains many features of the Garden of Eden and the paradise garden, such as rivers, a square shape, a wall, and the Tree of Life.

There is no temple building in the New Jerusalem. God and the Lamb are the city's temple, since they are worshiped everywhere. Revelation 22 goes on to describe a river of the water of life that flows down the middle of the great street of the city from the Throne of God. The tree of life grows in the middle of this street and on either side, or in the middle of the street and on either side of the river. The tree bears twelve fruits, or kinds of fruits, and yields its fruit every month. According to John, "The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." This inclusion of the tree of life in the New Jerusalem harkens back to the Garden of Eden. The fruit the tree bears may be the fruit of life.[i]

Soon I want to take you on a walking tour of the New Jerusalem and point out several features that speak to how we can live in our city now with New Jerusalem values.

You live in the lower city, but do you have an address in the upper city. Are you part of God’s vision for the New Jerusalem? Do you foresee a future when the Shalom peace of God is restored and we walk on those streets?

The writer of Hebrews spoke to people who had discovered that Jesus was the architect of a new humanity. God’s preferred future and plan came with Jesus and is now awaiting fulfilment.

Hebrews 12:
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

As you enter the gates of relationship with God through Jesus, you become citizens in the City of God. We are called to join God’s work in building a community, a city where God can live with his people.

We believe the day is coming when the Lord’s Prayer will be answered fully. ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.’ The gap between Heaven and earth will close and all is restored to God’s idea for a world without the chaos and dysfunction.

Let us live for that day.