Revelation 21:9-14 - Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
What an image from the book of Revelation!
Fascinating how the description of this new Jerusalem, with all its glittering beauty and radiance, coming down from heaven and having the glory of God, has 12 gates with angels in attendance at each one. On the gates the names of the "tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed." It's as if to say, this city is the city of God's people—those chosen children of the patriarch Jacob through whom came priests and prophets, warriors and kings, servants, scribes and, in "the fullness of time," a Savior (see Galatians 4:4-7).
And through which son, which tribe, was it that the honor would be given to name the Messiah among its descendants? That distinction fell to Judah, the fourth son of Jacob (later named Israel) and his wife Leah.
"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for Me, One who is to be Ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days" (Micah 5:2).
With the blueprint of God's future city in place since time began, and with the great Architect Himself having made His appearance among us (see Hebrews 2:14), the enclosing wall's foundations could be laid. And as the men and women of old had served their God and Father faithfully, so too would Jesus' disciples serve Him with distinction, their names forever emblazoned on 12 foundations of the New Jerusalem.
Beyond any scene conceived in print in some bestseller or on screen in some Hollywood blockbuster, God's holy city, "coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God," will most certainly be well beyond our feeble imagination. Paul knew this already when he referenced Isaiah as to what God has in store for His faithful: "But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him'" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
The new Jerusalem: a city for God's own people—one day to be our city, in a life without end where God is worshiped and adored— "enthroned on the praises of Israel" (Psalm 22:3b).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, to be Yours in Your city, living for You in thanksgiving and joy, that is where we want to be. Lead us ever onward in the Name of Your Son. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
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