Friday, March 16, 2018

Revelation 21:9-27 In My Father's House

KEY TEXT: Revelation 21:9-27 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.

And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare; its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life. 

KEY THOT: Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" (John 14:2). Many of us might have wondered what kind of house we will be dwelling in that has enough rooms for all redeemed humanity since the dawn of time. In today's passage, we have a description of it. It's apparently a cube-like city, each side measuring 12,000 stadia, which is roughly 1,400 miles or 2,240 km in length. This is the roughly the distance from Singapore to Hanoi. The present Israel is only 424 km from north to south. So, the New Jerusalem will sit on an area five times the length of Israel on the way northwards to Turkey and eastwards to Iran. And it also rises 2,240 km upwards as a cubic city. 

The heavenly Jerusalem is called the Bride of the Lamb (v.9). The description depicts this city as a glorious structure with walls and gates built from precious stones with streets paved with gold. And there will be an everlasting light inside the city because of God's presence there. There will be no need for the sun or moon, because God's glory will light up the new earth. But only those whose names are written on the Lamb's Book of life will be able to enter there.

How many can a cubic city 2,250 km on every side house? If one takes into account its height, it can take in all humanity that ever existed from the beginning of time. If each person occupies the size of a 4-room HDB flat by himself or herself, the number of occupants that can fit into this city will be 2 x 10^15, which is 2 million billions people. Consider that the most liberal estimate of the world's population since the beginning of time is less than 100 billion (current population is 7 billion). Even if all humanity is saved, it occupies only less 1% of the city. God's house really has "many rooms" as Jesus has promised--much much more than all humans that have ever existed.

In fact, there will be many empty rooms. Jesus wants them all filled. 

Abba-Father, You are not only a gracious God but also a generous one. You have prepared more rooms than there are people on earth. We ask that You will cause many more people to come to faith in You, so that they may occupy those empty rooms. Amen.

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