The New Jerusalem—a Pattern for Living—the Foundation
A full description of the New Jerusalem, the topic of this study, is recorded in John's book of Revelation.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
— Revelation 21:10-21
This heavenly depiction is so much more than a fantasy home to look forward to at the end of our earthly journey. It is the blueprint of an entire Christian life lived for God.
Much like the Tabernacle of the Old Testament Tabernacle, in which every detail spoke of salvation through a sacrificial system which Christ fulfilled, so to this structure's every detail will have something to say about a life lived in fellowship with Him. Both structure's main goal and focus are to dwell with God eternal.
This structure consists of the individual lives of believers, and It is also a picture and symbol of how God was able to take sinful humanity and bring forth a new and beautiful creation.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
— I Corinthians 3:9
. . . you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
— I Peter 2:5
Every foundation and gate will include people that were not perfect but submitted themselves and surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name means salvation. And in the end, the Lord was able to create a beautiful and suitable habitation with their lives.
So it is with us. Our individual lives may not seem to bear much beauty from our mistakes and may even be marred by the sins committed against us. But as we place our faith, trust, and hope in the saving work of Jesus' death for our sins and the sins committed against us, and in His resurrection, we can believe to have our lives resurrected and transformed into a beautiful new and perfect creation.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
— Romans 8:28
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
— Ephesians 2:10
This lesson will lay the foundation, the most important part of any construction project.
A Good Foundation
Every good building starts with its foundation.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
— Hebrews 11:8-10
Abraham was looking for a permanent place that had "foundations," Just as we are looking for that solid abiding love that we can count on and build our life upon, something eternal and lasting that has a firm foundation.
Abraham dwelt in a foreign country and lived in tents. This scene shows us that when we come to Christ, we become citizens of a new existence and become foreigners in this world. We dwell in tents, our temporary earthly bodies, and wait in faith for an eternal life that has "foundations."
The Chief Cornerstone
Jesus Christ, Himself, is the Chief Cornerstone of the New Jerusalem foundation. All other stones will be set about Him. He determines the position of the entire structure.
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone . . .
— Ephesians 2:20
According to Wikipedia
The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. online encyclopedia.1
We can go out and buy all the necessary materials to build a house like lumber, nails, shingles, and windows and build for ourselves a fine-looking house in which to dwell. It might even be quite comfortable, but our house will not stand without a reliable and dependable foundation.
Our house will inevitably be subject to external conditions such as weather and shifting soil, but it will not withstand the conditions that nature will produce without a proper base.
Our spiritual lives are much the same. The atmosphere of our lives may be the result of our own choices. Perhaps we have experienced hurricanes of troubles or maybe the tsunamis of other people's choices that have come to wash us in its torrents of waves. If our trust for our salvation and deliverance from any of these things is based and founded upon anything other than the saving work of Jesus Christ, it will fall.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
— I Corinthians 3:11
God shows us in Matthew how to build our house (life) on the "Rock."
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
— Matthew 7:24-27
Hearing Him and obeying Him sets the rest of the stones upon the cornerstone of this structure.
In Conclusion, My husband and I built a house and discovered that the foundation is the most challenging part of the structure to make. From a spiritual perspective, the foundation is the place where we deal with our sin condition. We were sinners separated eternally from God. Jesus, the Son of God, came from eternity to the earth and became one of us and bore the penalty and paid the ransom to set us free from our sin by sacrificing His life on the cross in our place. He was then resurrected and opened the door for man to be resurrected in His position with God that we may live eternally with Him.
There are many shortcuts in the world today that do not involve the confrontation of our sin or a need for salvation from it. Strangely enough, the principles and laws that God established in the Bible might profit or benefit us in this lifetime, But without the true foundation of the forgiveness of sin through God's offered Son Jesus, those profits and benefits will not be supported eternally.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
— John 10:1
Many modern religious movements today use biblical principles for success in this life because they work. Still, they deny that the real power of that provision was made available through the suffering and death of our Savior God and requires we confront the issue of sin in our lives. By shortcutting the problematic part of this process, we are forfeiting the eternal benefits. We become thieves and robbers.
. . . having a form of godliness but denying its power . . .
— II Timothy 3:5
May forgiveness through Christ's sacrificial love be our solid foundation from which we build the remainder of our lives.
© 2010 Tamarajo