Question: What Is The New Jerusalem?

Answer: After God remakes the heaven and the earth, the Bible speaks of a city called the “New Jerusalem” coming down out of heaven.

In the Book of Revelation this city is described for us.

Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband (Revelation 21:2 CEV).

The city comes down out of heaven, uniting both heaven and earth. Note that the city is compared to a bride dressed in her wedding gown awaiting to meet her husband. It is where believers will forever live with God.

The New Jerusalem Compared With The Old

The old city of Jerusalem is where the Lord Jesus will rule from during the Millennium; His one-thousand year reign upon the earth.

The New Jerusalem will be the center of His reign after the Millennium. Indeed, the Lord will rule from this place for all eternity.

It is also called the “Holy City” in contrast to the earthly Jerusalem which was unholy at many times in the past. Indeed, earlier in the Book of Revelation, we read this description of “unholy Jerusalem.”

Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city —which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8 NIV).

What a contrast it will be to the old Jerusalem which is here compared to the evil city of Sodom and the country of Egypt, which is often likened to the unbelieving world system.

As we read the description of the “Holy City” we note that there are some things which are made clear while there is some ambiguity in other descriptions. From Scripture, here is how the city is described.

1. It Is A Large City

According to the biblical description, the city is huge. The dimensions are given to us in the Book of Revelation.

When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles (Revelation 21:16 NET).

Fourteen hundred miles equals about 2,200 kilometers. The Greek text says the length, width, and height were each 12,000 stadia. One stade was about 607 feet or 85 meters.

Some English translations use the word “furlongs” to translate the Greek word stadia.

And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal (Revelation 21:16 New King James Version).

For most Americans, the term “furlong” would be a bit ambiguous.

A number of English translations merely leave the Greek term stadia in the text without trying translate the word and, therefore, convert the dimensions to miles or kilometers. For example, we read in the New International Version the following description.

The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long (Revelation 21:16 NIV).

Whatever the case may be, this city is obviously very large.

What Is Its Shape?

The description of the width, height, and length all being the same distance reveal that it as cube-shaped. This is consistent with the dimensions of the Holy of Holies in both the tabernacle and the temple. The Bible say the following about the temple Solomon built.

He prepared the inner sanctuary at the far end of the Temple, where the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant would be placed. This inner sanctuary was 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet high. He overlaid the inside with solid gold. He also overlaid the altar made of cedar (1 Kings 6:19,20 NLT).

Although there are those who see it as pyramid-shaped, there seems to be more evidence for it being shaped like a cube.

2. The City Has High Walls

John described the walls of the city as follows.

The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels Revelation 21:12 NLT).

We are also told of the material in which the wall will be made of as well as the foundation stones in which it will be built upon.

The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: 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 (Revelation 21:18 NLT).

The description is certainly that of a magnificent-looking wall!

3. The City Is Made Out Of Gold

The heavenly streets of gold will be in this future city. We read the following description of it.

The city was made of pure gold, as clear as glass (Revelation 21:18 God’s Word).

The New Jerusalem is the golden city.

4. In The Midst Of The City Is The Tree Of Life

In the midst of this Holy City is the tree of life, as well as a river which is crystal clear. John describes it this way.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1,2 NIV).

The tree of life in the midst of this Holy City will have different kinds of fruit growing on it.

In addition, we are told that the leaves are for the healing of the nations. As to exactly what that means, we discuss this in appendix four at the end of this book.

5. The Streets Of Gold And The Pearly Gates Are In The New Jerusalem

The Bible says that the New Jerusalem will have streets of gold and gates made of pearls. We read the following in the Book of Revelation.

The 12 gates are 12 pearls; each individual gate was made of a single pearl. The broad street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass (Revelation 21:21 HCSB).

Each of the twelve gates is made from one individual pearl. According to this passage, we will actually walk on a golden street in the New Jerusalem!

6. The New Jerusalem Has No Temple

The Bible says that there is no temple in the New Jerusalem. Scripture says that the Lord God, and Jesus the Lamb of God, are themselves the temple. John wrote.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb (Revelation 21:22 ESV).

The temple is unnecessary in this city. Indeed, since the presence of God will be among us there is no need of something to represent Him.

7. This City Has No Sun Or Moon

There is no sun or moon the New Jerusalem. The Book of Revelation says.

The city doesn’t need any sun or moon to give it light because the glory of God gave it light. The lamb was its lamp. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it (Revelation 21:23,24 God’s Word).

The light will come from God Himself.

This will fulfill a prophecy given by the prophet Isaiah.

The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory (Isaiah 60:19 NIV).

The living God will be our glory.

The Gates Of The Holy City Will Never Close

We also find that the gates of the city will never close.

Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:25 NLT)

In the ancient world, the city gates were always closed at night. This was done to protect the inhabitants from those outside. However, there will be no more night in eternity and no enemies outside. Therefore, there will be no need for the gates to ever close!

The great news about this city is this: those who have placed their faith in the God of the Bible are promised that they will forever be in His presence.

This sums up what the Scripture has to say about this Holy City, the New Jerusalem. From the biblical description is appears to be a place beyond our wildest expectations. Words, most likely, do not even begin to justice in describing this place.

Summary To Question 10 What Is The New Jerusalem?

After God makes a new heaven and new earth, the Bible says that the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven. The New Jerusalem, or the Holy City, is where believers will live for all eternity. We are told that outside the city are unbelievers. Only those who have trusted the Lord will be allowed in the Holy City. Nobody else is welcomed.

The glorious description of this city is given to us in Scripture. There are a number of things we are told about this future home for the righteous.

For one thing, it will be an extremely large city with high walls. This emphasizes that heaven will be a safe place for those inside. The Lord Himself protects those who belong to Him.

The New Jerusalem is described as a city of gold with a golden street and twelve huge gates; each made from a single pearl. This speaks of its beauty.

There is no moon or sun in this city because the Lord Himself will provide the light. Jesus Himself said that He was the light of the world. His light will shine in the New Jerusalem. This fulfills a prediction which the Lord made through the prophet Isaiah. God will be our light.

We are also told there is no temple in this heavenly city. The Lord Himself is the temple. Consequently, there is no need for some place to represent Him for He is there!

Finally, we are told that the gates of the city will never close! There is no need to close the gates at night, as was the practice in the ancient world, because there will be no night and no dangers lurking outside! Believers will safely enter and leave the Holy City.

Indeed, although it will be a city of incomparable beauty, the greatest thing about it is that the Lord will dwell there with His people. This is the fantastic future promised by the God of the Bible.

This question is from my book “Heaven: The Final Destination For The Believer.” It is now available on our product page


Don Stewart is an internationally recognized Christian apologist and speaker. He graduated cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary and the International Seminar in Theology and Law in Strasbourg, France, as well as from Biola University. Don is also a best-selling and award-winning author/co-author of over seventy books. [ read more ]


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