The thing I notice about this eternal dwelling place of the faithful is its specificity. Let me go over some of those and see how these specifics strike you.
The angel who spoke to me had a gold measuring rod with which to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 Now the city was laid out as a square. Its length was the same as its width. He measured the city with the rod, and it was fifteen hundred miles. Its length and width and height were equal. 17 He also measured the thickness of its wall. It was two hundred sixteen feet thick, as a person—or rather, an angel—measures things.
The city is a cube with specific dimensions – fifteen hundred miles and 784,000,000 miles of mass. Surrounded by a wall that is 216 feet thick. Do you think that persecuted people would be comforted by a vision of a city large enough and fortified enough to keep them safe?
18 The wall was built of jasper, and the city was pure gold, like pure glass. 19 The city wall’s foundations were decorated with every kind of jewel. The first foundation was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was chalcedony, and the fourth was emerald. 20 The fifth was sardonyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, and the eighth was beryl. The ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was made from a single pearl. And the city’s main street was pure gold, as transparent as glass.
This wasn’t a fortress intended merely for protection, but a work of art. It was made of jasper, sapphhires, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite and beryl. And if those weren’t enough the city was made also of topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth and amethyst. Pearls for gates and gold for streets as transparent as glass. These precious jewels come in the following colors: green, red, yellow, brown, deep blue, milky quartz, orange, purple, violet, dark red, white, yellowish green, aquamarine, and light green.
No expense was spared. If you felt like the world was against you, then you read a passage that promises sanctuary and splendor, how would you feel? I return to this passage often as a reminder that God is not only at work, but as a promise for how he is at work. This is how God rolls. Maybe this is a good way to start thinking about our response to this kind of God.