The earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem. /
Reply - Jörg Frost 00, 2000-07-13
The earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem. / Table 12
The new, heavenly Jerusalem is an allegorical representation of the glorified
and perfected church of Christ, consisting of all the elect, both Jews and Gentiles, as it will
be after the first Resurrection: the final state of the church in the new heaven and new earth
in which justice shall dwell. The holy city, the new Jerusalem, comes down from the (renewed)
heaven to the (renewed) earth, prepared and decked out like a bride (= the congregation) for her
husband (= Christ), and her joy manifests itself through the presence of God in her and in the
communion with Him, which causes her to rejoice, as she rejoices in being delivered from all
evil. The heavenly Jerusalem is the wife or bride of the Lamb (Rev 21,9-10), and has absolutely
nothing in common with the earthly Jerusalem, which is spiritually referred to as "Sodom and
Egypt" (Rev 11, 8). To the faithful among the Jews it has been said, "You have come to
the heavenly Jerusalem" (Hebr 12,22), that is to say, they have become citizens of the new,
heavenly Jerusalem. From that time on the earthly Jerusalem no longer has any kind of
significance for salvation: the only principle that applies is citizenship with the saints and
members of God’s household (Eph 2, 19) in the edifice that is based on the foundations of the
(12!) apostles and the prophets, as Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of it (Rev 21,14). Isaiah 60
also treats of this "heavenly Jerusalem" (compare Rev 21,23 with Isa 60,19-20). Isaiah is
NOT speaking of the earthly Jerusalem here! This glorious state of the church will come about
when Satan is bound for a thousand years, and can no longer seduce the heathen, and the saints
will dwell with the King of all Kings in peace and righteousness, and reign with him for a
thousand years as priests of God and of Christ. And thereafter they will reign from eternity to
eternity (Rev 22, 5).
New heaven and new earth = millennium = new creation = the goal of Christian hopes (2Pet 3, 13).
Millennium = dominion of justice on earth = renewing of creation (Isa 65, 17 ff) = paradisal conditions on the holy mountain of God (Isa 65, 25).
The measurements of the heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation are not to be understood in a literal sense, but have a symbolic significance ‒ namely, that there is room enough for all twelve tribes of the spiritual Israel, that is, for all the elect of God, because Christ has prepared a place for them (Jn 14, 3).
(Jörg Frost / Katholisch Apostolische Bewegung [Catholic Apostolic Movement])
Joerg_Frost@compuserve.de / https://www.johannesoffenbarung.de/ )
Just as the reorganization of heaven and earth before the Millennium is frequently
"viewed together with" the disappearance of heaven and earth at the end of the first creation
and so misinterpreted, some biblical commentators likewise base their interpretation of the "heavenly Jerusalem" and the future Jerusalem here on earth, in the Millennium, on a misunderstanding.
(See also Chapter 08: "The reorganization of heaven and earth")
Here again, inadequate knowledge of Scripture and a want of confidence in the correctness of the prophetic Word is the reason for this truncated view of the matter. And yet there are fundamental
and unmistakable difference between these two prophecies. This begins already with the size of the two cities. As it appears from Eze 48,16, each side of the millennial city will measure 4500 cubits (about 2220 meters).
These shall be its measurements: 4,500 cubits each side.
Ezk 48,16 These shall be its measurements: the north side 4,500
cubits, the south side 4,500 cubits, the east side 4,500 cubits, and the west side 4,500 cubits.
The city which comes down from heaven in the New Creation, the heavenly Jerusalem,
on the other hand, is exactly a thousand times bigger, according to Rev 21,16. It measures twelve
thousand stadia (about 2220 kilometers) along each of its sides.
Twelve thousand stadia; its length and width and height are equal.
Rev 21,16 The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great
as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and width
and height are equal. 21,17 And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human
measurements, which are also angelic measurements. Rev 21,16-17;
The millennial Jerusalem will be situated on a high mountain:
Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site.
Zech 14,10 All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to
Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s
Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the
king’s wine presses. Zech 14,10;
The heavenly Jerusalem, on the other hand, is a mountain, as the "length and width and height" of the city are equal, as stated in Rev 21,16 above. These are the dimensional statistics of a pyramid-shaped solid ‒ of a mountain, in effect. To try to see a "cuboid", or cube, in this description (where then is the "wall" mentioned in Rev 21,17 going to be situated?) contradicts all normal conceptions of the layout of a city.
By the way, this misinterpretation is due to the translators who once again wanted to translate the Bible "as literally as possible and yet understandably". While in their translation Rev 21,3 the passage in question is translated with "the tabernacle of God with men!", the original text says: "the tent of God with men". And a tent does not look like a "cuboid".
(See also Chapter 14: "The New Creation.")
As John expressly mentions in Rev 21,22, there will be no temple in the heavenly
Jerusalem, for God and the Lamb will be present in the city in person.
I saw no temple in it.
Rev 21,22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. Rev 21,22;
For the millennial temple of the earthly Jerusalem, however, we find in Eze 40‒43
four whole chapters of the most detailed building instructions and prescriptions for the service of
According to Isa 60,11, the gates of the millennial city will be open day and night.
Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night.
Isa 60,11 Your gates will be open continually; They will not be
closed day or night, So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings
led in procession. Isa 60,11;
In the Jerusalem of the New Creation there will no longer be any night at all, as
can be seen from Rev 21,25.
In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed.
Rev 21,25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its
gates will never be closed. Rev 21,25;
(See also Table 12: "The earthly and the heavenly
But also the additional descriptions in Isa 60 are an indication that we have to do
with a place on this earth of ours, the old earth:
For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations will be utterly ruined.
Isa 60,12 For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you
will perish, And the nations will be utterly ruined. 60,13 The glory of Lebanon will
come to you, The juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, To beautify the place of My
sanctuary; And I shall make the place of My feet glorious. Isa 60,12-13;
As Isaiah says in this passage, the nations that refuse to serve Jerusalem at this
time will perish and be ruined. This is covered too by the statements of other prophets, like
Jeremiah and Zechariah, who also speak of this time of the dominion of the Prince of Peace, and
prophesy that God will punish and destroy those peoples who refuse to accept the dominion of God in
But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it.
Jer 12,15 "And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each
one to his land. 12,16 Then if they will really learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the LORD lives,’ even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, they will be built up
in the midst of My people. 12,17 But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it," declares the LORD. Jer 12,15-17;
Whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship, there will be no rain on them.
Zech 14,16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 14,17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 14,18 If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. Zech 14,16-18;
(See also Chapter 10: "The Millennium.")
As can be seen from these comparisons, it should not be difficult for any one who approaches the study of Scripture in a responsible spirit to keep these two prophecies apart. The question therefore asks to be put whether those who toss these prophecies into a single pot, so as to postulate a "heavenly Jerusalem on earth", are really saddled with an error here, or whether we again have to do with a deliberate twisting of the sense so as to reach a particular interpretation that is desired.
The earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem. / Table 12