And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
 having the glory of God Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.
 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.
 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.
 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
In tonight’s scripture, Apostle John actually begins to write about the New Jerusalem he had seen.
He first describes the shape, color, and feeling, along with the gates and foundation stones of New Jerusalem.
Since I explained in great detail about New Jerusalem in the recent sermon series, “Heaven”, I will only briefly explain the things that are repetitious.
Even if I were to deliver in-depth explanation on New Jerusalem again, those who are full of hope for heaven will never be bored hearing it again.
Let’s say, you have saved money for decades, and now you are about to have your own home built.
You’ve never owned your own home before, but you will soon have your own house. On top of it all, you plan to build a palace-like house.
How full of hope would you be as you wait every day for your house to be built?
The ground is dug, the foundation laid, supports are set up, and the roof is raised. You become even more excited every day as the interior work is finished and the whole construction project is finally completed. Can you sense the excitement?
If possible, you may even try to visit the construction site every day and see how far it’s come.
If you cannot be there for some reason, you will want to hear a minute-by-minute update on the progress saying,
” … Right now your home construction includes such things as the floor material is being laid in marble of such-and-such a color, and so far the house will have X- number of rooms.” You might want to know the color and texture of the trim and wallpaper, and that they are now landscaping by planting certain flowers and varieties of trees.
In the same way as the home, you will want to hear every detail. You will dream about the kind of furnishings you would like to put in your rooms.
However, if the house belongs to someone else, you will not really have any interest in how it’s being built.
It should be the same for heaven.
If you truly change and run toward New Jerusalem, you will be full of emotion whenever you hear about heaven.
Instead of being indifferent, you will want to know more and hear more; the more often you hear, the happier and more thankful you will become.
If you picture your house in heaven, where you will soon enter, you can easily overcome hardships in this earth.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you may be comforted in your heart through this message so that you can receive strength to sanctify yourself more and to be more faithful.
Revelation 21:10-11 says, “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.”
If you want to see the complete view of Seoul, you can either go up to Nam-San Tower or ride in a plane and look down.
Likewise, Apostle John’s spirit was lifted up by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and he could look out upon the entire city of New Jerusalem.
“He carried me away to a great and high mountain” doesn’t mean that there is a mountain in heaven that overlooks the whole of New Jerusalem. Apostle John used this expression so that the fleshly people of the time could understand.
Now, he says that New Jerusalem has “the glory of God.”
When do we give glory to God?
We do so when the power of God is manifested which cannot be accomplished by a man.
We also glorify our God when an incurable disease is healed; when the blind, the mute, or the crippled recover from the handicapping condition; when a typhoon or hurricane disappears through prayer; or when it rains after an extended period of severe drought.
We also glorify God when we find an evil man accept the Lord, become a good man, cast off evil and sin, and become sanctified.
The heart of a man doesn’t become good through education or learning.
We find that the world is getting darker and darker and the hearts of people are getting more and more evil even though morals and ethics are taught in school.
Furthermore, it is not possible only by a will and ability of a man to cast off the evil nature deep in a heart and become sanctified.
It is only possible by the grace and help of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When we find ourselves changed from the past through the works of God, we become full of emotion and give glory to God.
We also give glory to God when souls who were destined to hell become saved and reach heaven.
When we see such a beautiful or mysterious scene in nature, we praise the greatness of God the Creator and give glory to Him.
In tonight’s scripture, Apostle John says New Jerusalem has the glory of God because he finds the ultimate of all beauty there.
The entire wall of New Jerusalem is made of the jasper of heaven which cannot be found on this earth.
In other words, the city was completely made of jewels.
The light and beauty of the city is beyond description. Just by looking at it from outside, you will be surprised and you will give glory to God.
Apostle John says, “Her brilliance was like a very costly stone.” It is to describe his general impression on the city when he saw it from a distance.
Apostle John is describing the city as if he used a video camera. He first puts the entire city into the viewfinder from a distance, and then moves the camera toward the city to show its details.
He first explains the overview of the entire city, and then gives more detailed description of the city.
Now, he says that the city is made of a very costly stone, and it is as clear as crystal and jasper.
The jasper in heaven has bluish color, and it is completely different from jasper of this earth.
The value of a jewel greatly changes according to the quality of its raw ore and craftsmanship.
For example, even diamonds have various colors, characters and designs.
Just how much more beautiful are the jewels of heaven that are crafted by God?
The jasper of heaven is bluish white, yet the blue color is not thick, but it is very clear and transparent.
It has a bluish color with crystal clear feeling.
God said that, to make the best comparison with the things of this earth, it is the shining bluish light coming out, when sunshine is reflected upon very clear waves of water.
When you look at this bluish light, you can feel the clearness and cleanness without blemish. You can sense the honesty and righteousness of God.
When Apostle John looked at this beautiful wall of jasper, he naturally gave glory to God for its beauty and splendor.
When the scripture says “the brilliance of New Jerusalem was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper,” it helps you understand what kind of life you will live in heaven.
It is a spiritual life that a man cannot imagine. You will live such a glorious and miraculously wonderful life that it cannot even be compared to the life that we live on this earth.
In addition, jasper spiritually carries the meaning “faith.”
Just as you make a high wall by putting one brick upon another, the city of New Jerusalem is the city that you can enter when you go through each level of faith and reach the fifth level; the highest level of faith.
That’s why God has made the wall of New Jerusalem of jasper.
Revelation 21:12 says, “It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.”
There are 12 gates, and at the gates are 12 angels who are like gatekeepers.
No one would dare break into New Jerusalem, but still angels stand guard at the gates; the reason is to reveal the glory of New Jerusalem.
When soldiers in smart dress uniforms are solemnly guarding the front of a palace or a castle, we can feel the might of the castle owner or a royal family who live in it.
The Throne of God the Creator is located in New Jerusalem, and God’s most beloved children live there.
When dignified angels guard the city, it reveals the authority of God and the authority of the saints who live in the city.
In addition, having the angels guard the city is showing the order of heaven.
Heaven operates according to strict justice in an orderly manner without any error.
No matter how splendid heaven is decorated, if it operates with no order and self-control, it would never look as beautiful or happy.
By t he way, even though there is strict justice and order, it doesn’t mean that the saints are kept with any kind of force.
Since they understand the justice is very proper and correct, they obey from the depth of their hearts.
For example, when they see other saints who are in higher positions, they are not forced to bow down to them.
They have respect and love for them from the bottom of their hearts, and thus they serve them with joy and love.
Also, it is possible only according to the fixed order for the saints in one of the different dwelling place of heaven to visit New Jerusalem.
When a feast is held in New Jerusalem, not all the saints of heaven can gather there.
Only those who are invited will come to the feast at the designated time, and have a seat on the spot prepared for them.
Of course, even if angels don’t guard the gates, the saints from different dwelling places of heaven cannot freely visit New Jerusalem whenever they want.
Since there is tremendous difference in the light of glory, they cannot enter without permission.
However, since it is being specially guarded by angels, it shows that heaven is operated in accordance with perfect order.
Revelation 21:13-14 says, “There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
Since the height, width, and length of the city of New Jerusalem are the same, it has the shape of a cube.
God built the city to have a shape of a cube is to reveal the perfection and order of heaven.
And it also has a meaning that all peoples will be saved from in all directions and come into the city.
That’s why they city has 3 gates on its each side – a total of 12 gates – and proper children among all the people will enter the city through these gates.
Among the 12 gates, through which gate will each person enter New Jerusalem? It depends upon the characteristics of their faith and the fragrance of their hearts.
Tonight’s scripture says that the names of the 12 tribes of Israel are written on the 12 gates, and that the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb – the 12 disciples of Jesus – on the 12 foundation stones.
This implies how God the Father has accomplished and finished the providence of salvation.
Let me briefly explain the providence.
God created Adam, the forefather of all mankind and Eve, in order to get true children. But they committed sin and they were banned from the Garden of Eden.
From that moment on, human beings had to toil and sweat and cultivate the land to eat from it.
And then they eventually died, and their bodies, which was made from dust, went back to the dust, and their souls fell down into the hell of death.
In order to save this mankind who were going the pathway to death, God unfolded an amazing providence.
When the time came, God called Abraham, the forefather of faith, and He set up His chosen people through the descendants of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham.
God gave Abraham words of promise as written in Genesis 22:17.
He said, “Indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.”
According to this word, God established a country and a nation of peoples from the descendants of Abraham.
And in the country God had Messiah born who would break the authority of death and save mankind.
Jacob – or Israel – had 12 sons, and the 12 tribes of Israel were established from them.
Through them, a nation of God was established and the Law was proclaimed.
The Law of the Old Testament is the shadow of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, of the New Testaments.
Where there is a shadow, there must be body, and just as the body is one with the shadow, the Old and the New Testaments become as one.
The law of the Old Testament prophesied the Messiah who would come, and the Messiah came in the days of the New Testament and completed the Law.
By being crucified on the cross, Jesus completed the Law with love, and left the Gospel to His disciples.
He called for 12 disciples, and made them witnesses of the Lord to the remotest part of the earth, and let them establish the spiritual kingdom of God.
The 12 tribes that set up the country of God in the Old Testament are important, and the Law which was proclaimed among them is also important.
However, the New Testament, where the Law was completed, and the 12 disciples who established the spiritual kingdom of God, are more important.
These disciples kept the word of God, taught the word, and made others practice the word; they are like the foundation stones of New Jerusalem.
By the way, among the 12 foundation stones, there is an unusual foundation stone.
Among the 12 disciples, Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord and went to the path of death even though he was selected as a disciple of Jesus.
Later, Matthias was chosen and replaced Judas Iscariot to carry out the roles of disciples.
The foundation stone which has this ‘Matthias’ name’ has special meaning that separates it from other foundation stones.
This foundation stone includes not only Matthias but also all the servants that God has used since the resurrection and ascension of the Lord.
The 12 disciples did their ministry according to the order of the Lord, and many servants of God have received the baton of the gospel and accomplished the kingdom of God.
In a relay race of this world, not only the first runner but also each and every runner who receives the baton are all individually important.
They can win the race only when all the runners run well.
Since the 12 disciples, many servants of God have been called and accomplished the providence of God and built New Jerusalem.
Likewise, those servants who have participated in accomplishing the providence of God can enjoy great glory just like the 12 disciples whose names are written on the foundation stones.
However, not all the servants of God or workers can be honored to be one of them.
They should be worthy of being called as an apostle.
In other words, they should have proper hearts before God. They are the ones who only obey to the point of giving up their own lives, and who completely practice the truth.
And they are those who love God more than their own family, relatives, or lives; they don’t insist on their own idea.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:37, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
He also said to His disciple who was bereaved of father, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”
Of course, these words don’t mean that children of God should not go to their biological father’s funeral.
The dead, those being the people whose spirits are dead, concentrate on the works that belong to the world.
But the workers of God think more about the spiritual works than the fleshly works; their hearts should be always in the kingdom of God.
As 2 Timothy 2:4 says, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier,” your personal affairs should not interfere with the work of God.
Likewise, those who have met all the requirements can have their seat at the place of the 12th disciple.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
New Jerusalem is built not only on love but also on strict justice.
When people hear the words, love and justice, they like the word, ‘love,’ but not the word, ‘justice.’ They may feel burdened by it.
But love without justice doesn’t shine very much.
This justice is not something fearful and difficult. It plays a role of being the basic framework that makes people more complete and beautiful.
For better understanding consider this illustration. Truly wise parents don’t do something unconditionally that their child wants just to please the child because the child is so precious.
A child, you may have though very highly of your parents because they would say only ‘Yes’ to your desires.
However, after you grow up to have perception, you will realize it was not true love.
Of course, the expressions of love made by parents to make the children feel the love of parents are important.
At the same time, however, the parents should teach their children what they should do and what not; sometimes even though it may hurt, they should strictly reprimand them.
Only then can the children control themselves; they will grow up as fine individuals and they will be recognized outside their home.
In addition, what kind of person do you elect as your leader?
You should not elect someone only because he is gentle and doesn’t argue with others, and has good personality.
The leader should be able to discern the right from the wrong in the truth, and he should be able to understand when to begin and when to stop.
If he has a heart that is gentle and doesn’t hurt others, he may give a mind of peace toward other souls.
However, the righteousness should be combined with the gentleness. Only then can he lead other souls into truth, and give true spiritual rest to them.
When true gentleness is combined with righteousness, then they can join to form the attribute of virtue.
Here, when gentleness symbolizes love, righteous symbolizes justice.
Of course, those who are short of love with strong self righteousness may look cold and stern, and may even suffer personally.
However, the justice that is combined with gentleness and love can make a man more noble of character and more beautiful in grace.
Instead of making others lives difficult with his righteousness, his righteousness helps others discern light from darkness and thus gives spiritual joy to them.
These sorts of principles are contained in New Jerusalem.
New Jerusalem is a place which is full of the love of God; it is a place with overflowing freedom, happiness and peace.
At the same time, God’s just personality is embedded in its many places.
The wall is not made roughly and crudely, but it is a straight, plumb and true cube that had its size set by God from the very beginning of time.
The providence of salvation is well contained in the size of the wall, the 12 gates, and 12 foundation stones.
All the houses built inside the city have different meanings and testimonies in their materials, sizes, and shapes. The saints in the houses live in such scale of grandeur yet they live moderated lives.
Since New Jerusalem is equipped with this justice, the glory of New Jerusalem is great, and thus the saints in it can live happier and most glorious lives.
I hope dear brothers and sisters in Christ will understand the heart of God the Father.
I do hope that you will resemble the perfect heart of God in justice and love, and be qualified to enter this holy city as soon as you can.
Moreover, just like the disciples whose names are written on the 12 foundation stones, may you perform a great deed so that you can dwell in the indescribable glory, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!