The New Jerusalem: Revelation 21:10-11
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. (Revelation 21: 10-11)
YOU WILL NEED YOUR SEAL OF IDENTIFICATION
When I travel overseas I need my passport to identify who I am, otherwise I would be unable to enter into that Nations border gates and land. My passport and my identity are a necessary requirement for any overseas destination in the world today, and it will be no different when one arrives at the spiritual eternal gates of the New Jerusalem, one will need their seal of identity to be able to pass through into the heavenly land of the Holy City.
To enter through one of the twelve gates, your name must be identified as being in the book of life, (Revelation 20:12-27) And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life.) To have your name written in the book of life you will have at some point accepted Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came down to earth to die on the cross for you as your Lord and Saviour, He did it because He loved you from the beginning, and through His blood sacrifice he set you free from sin and death. Upon receiving salvation by faith, you are instantly marked with a seal (the seal of the Holy Spirit) which identifies you in Christ. (Ephesians 1: 13- 14) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
The New Jerusalem, the Eternal City of life awaits all that are His, and your identity will be in Him. Jesus is the only way to God. He himself said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). And, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
Revelation 21: 10 (2005)
This small painting, only a third of the size of the others is in itself the overall bigger picture. It is where the war is finally over, good has triumphed over evil, and God’s eternal order is a place of immeasurable beauty, holiness, colour and joy, where even predators and prey live alongside each other in peace. (Isaiah 11:6-7)
By opening the door into the future, Jesus gives the Apostle John, and us, a glimpse into the inheritance that awaits his own. And if there is one thing any family member looks forward too, it is seeing their family arrive home safely. The Apostle John begins the book of Revelation with, ‘Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it because time is near’ (Revelation 1:3). John wrote the book of Revelation in an apocalyptic language of symbolism, which makes it possibly the least understood book in the world today. Yet it is a book that holds the key to the events that are to come.
Most of us like a good story and generally authors plan for their books to finish where good ultimately triumphs over evil. The film industry often produces movies where good prevails over evil. I know myself that if I see a movie where bad has triumphed over good, I feel somewhat cheated and I would hope that the producers would make a sequel to right the injustice. It’s a part of our human nature to want to see good prevail, but have you ever wondered why we do? It is my belief that deep inside each and every one of us there is a seed of knowledge, the knowledge of what is right and what is not. This seed of knowledge comes from the very essence of where we originated from: ‘Let us make man in our likeness . . . So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him . . .’ (Genesis 1:26-27).
These series of paintings of Isaiah 6, Revelation 6, Revelation 19, Revelation 8, and Revelation 21, are also an unfolding story of good triumphing over evil. Whether a person is a believer or an unbeliever the Bible tells us that we live in an unseen battle between good and evil forces in the heavenly realms: ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but . . . against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
No wonder we experience nasty things happening to us from time to time. Have you ever heard people say, I don’t know what made me do it! You will witness this quite often in cases involving the law. In the natural world we also go into battle; it’s happening right now as I write. Two opposing forces are fighting for what they believe to be right, or just to conquer another’s land. But this story is not about this lifetime which lasts for only eighty years more or less. For the Bible tells us “All men are like grass, and their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall . . . but the word of our God stands forever.’ (Isaiah 40:6-8) Then if the battle is not about this lifetime, what is the real battle? The real battle is about who gets us after we die; the spiritual forces of the heavenly realm under God (good), or the spiritual forces of Satan’s realm (evil) where eternal death reins.
Most people believe that if they are good they will go to heaven. If only that were true, for there are many wonderful people all around the world who are doing such good things: they are feeding the poor, helping and giving to those in need. It would be natural for them to think they will go on into eternity. But the Bible is very clear that we cannot earn our way into heaven by our own good works or any act or type of religion or by being a good person:
‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and not from yourselves, it is a gift from God, not by works, so that no one can boast’ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
This free gift of eternal life – called Salvation – has no religious attachments to it, no condemnation in it, for it has been given freely in grace and in love.
Romans 10: 9-10 says this: ‘That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved’.