16 August 2012

Revelation 21:15-27

"The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal." (v. 16)


Last month Europe's tallest building the Shard was officially inaugurated. Standing at 310 metres and dominating the London skyline, it was 12 years in the making, the subject of a public enquiry and has 72 floors. Yet the question remains: who is going to fill all that space?

People always strive to build the tallest, the longest or be the best. It seems to be part of the human condition. Yet compare this against the new Jerusalem that John the Divine (the writer of Revelation) describes. In shape, it is a cube and in size, 1,500 miles. Its vastness is beyond our imagination with its footprint (width and length) comparable in square miles to the Roman Empire. And that is before we begin to consider the fine metal and jewels of its construction.

The cube shape is significant, as it this is the shape of the Holy of Holies in the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:20), where God was said to dwell.

But now the cube is an immense city, and the whole city is God's dwelling place.

In today's passage, John is giving is reader the vision of an ultimate future. But in putting the vision down in words on paper, he is offering a peep of what is to come to the present world. It is a glimpse of the future in the present.

Living a Christian life of faith and discipleship is about living kingdom values - being in the world, but not of the world (John 17). It is about following Jesus, whose presence, light and glory flood throughout the heavenly city.

To ponder:

  • Take a moment to dream. In contrast to empty skyscrapers and office blocks, what and who do you imagine to be in the heavenly city?
  • Revelation stands between the present and the future - the world and God's kingdom. Where do you signs of God's kingdom in your life? What might you be able to do to enable "thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven"? 

Bible notes author

Ken Kingston

Ken Kingston preaches in the High Wycombe Circuit. He has worked for the Connexional Team since 1992 in a variety of roles and has been involved in 'Called by Name' and 'Time to Talk of God' amongst others.