Johnís description of the New Jerusalem seems to be in three parts. Firstly, in Revelation 21:11-14, he describes the city as he saw it from a distance (see Revelation 21:10).
Then he approached the city and the angel (a special servant of God) measured it. That gave John the opportunity to examine the cityís walls and gates more closely (21:15-21). Finally, it seems that John entered the city. Revelation 21:22 to 22:5 describes what John saw inside the city.
Everything that John saw there was beautiful, precious and wonderful. It shone with the glory (splendid beauty) of God, which was like a bright light. John could recognise Godís glory; he had a previous experience of that glory (Mark 9:2-8).
John often refers to precious stones in his description. Their beauty, colour and the light that passes through them helped John to describe Godís glory. However, John is not just describing a general impression of light, colour and beauty. He mentions the particular precious stones that he saw.
John first mentions the precious stone called jasper. As Revelation 21:18 shows, that is Johnís description of the cityís walls. So, John saw the cityís walls first. Jasper can have several different colours, but this jasper was clear. In other words, it allowed the light in the city to pass through it. The light in the city is the glory of God (21:23). So, the city walls do not hide what is in the city; they show it. By means of these walls, the light of Godís glory passes out from the city to fill his new world. The nations will not depend on light from the sun then; they will depend and trust in God alone (21:24).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.