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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Rev 21:15-21 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 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. 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. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 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; 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. 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.

The lesson text begins with an angel speaking to John, just as he and other angels, had spoken and revealed various symbolic occurrences of future events to him throughout the Revelation letter. Here, the angel, instead of speaking to John again, was carrying a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. From Ezekiel 40:3 and verses that follow, we find a measuring reed being used to measure the holy city, Jerusalem. Also, in chapter 11, of Revelations, beginning in verse 1, we find thata reed like unto a rod was used to measure the symbolic temple of God, the church of Christ. According to most bible dictionaries, a reed and a rod were used interchangeably, and were one in the same. The length of this measuring instrument, according to bible scholars, was approximately 6 cubits. With 18 inches being the length of a cubit, the reed would be 9 feet long. However, according too Ezekiel 40:3, we note that a "long cubit" was also used, the measurements of which was a cubit and a hands breath. Using this dimension, the reed would have been slightly over 10 feet in length. Spiritual significance is the real issue here, so the exact size of the reed has very little meaning.

This measuring reed was golden. Doubtless, it was gold because it was to be used to measure the greatest treasure ever revealed to mankind. It is the spiritually treasured city of Jerusalem, the kingdom of Christ, which is richly described in verses that follow. All parts of this spiritual city, the heavenly portion of Christ's kingdom, were to be measured, including the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. This heavenly portion of the Bride of Christ is the spiritual city symbolically depicted, which lieth foursquare. It was a perfect cube having equal measurements of twelve thousand furlongs for its length, breadth, and height. Current measurements tell us that a furlong is equal to 1/8 of a mile. Therefore the city, which symbolically depicts the heavenly kingdom of Christ, would be 1500 miles, 2,640,000 yards, or 7,920,000 feet, square.

Cities, as we know them today, are only two dimensional, having no height measurement. Unlike the symbolic city described here, earthly cities are far from perfect, in that they have many irregularities that result from the land characteristics on which they are built. However, the measurements of this holy city, the kingdom of Christ, are not to be taken in a literal sense; rather they symbolize its faultless symmetry, its immeasurable vastness, as well as its humanly incomparable perfection.

The wall surrounding this symbolic heavenly city measured 144 cubits, or 216 feet in height. Certainly the height of the city, at 7,920, 000 feet, far exceeded the wall which surrounded it, and certainly does not detract from its beauty and glory. The measurement used here by the angel of God, was the cubit, a measurement commonly used,and easily understood by mankind. The wall was of jasper, an earthly mineral stone commonly known to men and women of the world. Jasper is a brightly radiant stone that is extremely hard and durable. Again, the term jasper is not to be understood literally, but is used in order for mankind to have only a comparable knowledge of its indescribable symbolic beauty.

The same is true of the spiritual city, which represents the bride of Christ. The city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. Its rich beauty is described in terms known to mankind, but is truly beyond human comprehension. To say that this city of gold had a clear, transparent nature is not easily understood, unless we consider its golden hue, as that coming from its reflective radiant beauty. The twelve foundations, on which the wall was built, represents the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Here, they are depicted as precious stones known to mankind as jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst. All of these stones were well known during biblical times, and each held spiritual significance. They were extremely desirable for their precious ornamental brilliance, and their natural beauty.

The twelve gates leading into the spiritual city of New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, were previously described as attended by twelve angels, and inscribed upon them were the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel (See Vs. 13). In the lesson text, these gates were said to be made of twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl. Symbolism is necessarily inferred here, since this depiction would bea literal impossibility. It probably means that these gates were reflectively translucent similar to that of these gemstones, as we know them. Jesus used the great value of a pearl to teach the spiritual value of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew13:46). The beauty of these heavenly gates, containing the names of Israel's tribes, is aptly described as being like that of precious pearls having a lustrous white to bluish-gray hue.

And the streets within this eternal city are described, in terms understandable to mankind, as being made of pure gold., And,because of its purity, these gold pavements were said to be as transparent glass. Just as New Jerusalem was described in verse 18, so were its streets. When the heavenly kingdom of Christ is described as being made of pure gold, I have often had this though. On earth, gold is one of the most precious metals known to mankind. Its material value attests to its human desirability. It is treasured and even hoarded by mankind. Yet, in heaven, it is given the menial task of being used to pave its streets, and being trodden upon by heavenly beings.

Indeed, this symbolic city of God, resplendent in its unmatched beauty, represents for all mankind, both the earthly as well as the heavenly kingdom of our Savior, His Bride, which is the church of Christ, whose King is Christ Jesus, Himself, and whose radiant beauty defies any description that would allow human beings to fully comprehend its true spiritual significance.