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The Revelation of Jesus Christ: Chapter 54 - The Holy City

By Horatius Bonar


      "That great city--the holy Jerusalem."--Revelation 21:10.

      This city is not earthly, but heavenly, and is among the heavenly things said by the apostle to be purified by the 'better sacrifices' (Hebrews 4:23). Why did such a city need 'purifying?' Not because unclean, but because sinners were to dwell in it; and they would have defiled it, had it not been for the great sacrifice. For the blood does two things--it makes the unclean clean, and it keeps the clean from being defiled. Its use in the holy of holies was not to cleanse that place, but to prevent its being defiled by the entrance of the sinner. Our possession of this heavenly city, then, we owe to the blood of the Lamb; and hence He stands on Mount Zion, and sits on the throne, as the Lamb slain (Revelation 5:6, 14:1).

      The earthly Jerusalem is to be cleansed from its impurity by the blood of the Lamb; and the heavenly Jerusalem is to be preserved from impurity by the same blood. The inhabitants of both will find that they owe all to this blood. It is the blood which opens the entrance--and it is the blood which secures the everlasting possession for sinners. This double efficacy of the blood we see also in the case of the elect angels. It is this that keeps them from falling, just as it is this that raises man out of his fall. Let us prize that blood which works such wonders. It is 'precious blood.' O man, do not trample on it!

      But let us mediate on the city as described in these two chapters. It contains in it everything that is excellent and lovely, perfect and enduring.

      1. It is a great city. 'That great city,' said John, gazing on it. Its province is vast, beyond Babylon, or Nineveh, or Paris, or London. That 'mighty city,' says John, speaking of Babylon the Great (Revelation 18:10); but this is mightier far. There has been no city like it. It is the city, the one city--the great metropolis of the mighty universe--the mighty city of the mighty God.

      2. It is a well-built city. Its builder and maker is God. Its foundations are eternal; its walls are jasper; it gates pearls; its streets paved with gold. It is 'compactly built together,' a perfect cube, and complete in all its parts, without a break or flaw, or weakness or deformity.

      3. It is a well-lighted city. Something brighter than sun and moon is given to fill its heaven. The glory of God lights it; the Lamb is its 'light' or 'lamp,' so that it needs no candle, no sunlight. There is no night there.

      4. It is a well-watered city. A pure river of the water of life flows through its streets, proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb. What must its waters be! What must be the rivers of pleasure there! Who in it can ever thirst? Its inhabitants shall thirst no more.

      5. It is a well-provisioned city. The tree of life is there, with its twelve variety of fruits and its health-giving leaves. It has more than Eden had. It is paradise restored; Paradise and Jerusalem in one; Jerusalem in Paradise, and Paradise in Jerusalem.

      6. It is a well-guarded city. Not only has it gates, and walls, and towers, which no enemy could scale or force; but at the gates are twelve angels, keeping perpetual watch.

      7. It is a well-governed city. Its king is the Son of God, the King of kings, Immanuel, the King eternal, whose scepter is righteousness who loves righteousness and hates iniquity. No misrule is there, no disorder, no lawlessness, no rebellion.

      8. It is a well-peopled city. It has gathered within its walls all generations of the redeemed. Its population is as the sands or the stars; the multitude that no man can number; the millions of the risen and glorified.

      9. It is a holy city. Its origin is heavenly, and it is perfect as its builder. Nothing that defiles shall enter; no spot or speck or shadow of evil. All is perfection there, divine perfection.

      10. It is a glorious city. The glory that fills it, and encircles it, is the glory of God. All precious stones are there; no marble nor granite such as we boast of now--all of it is gold, and pearls, and gems. Everything resplendent is there. It shines like the sun.

      11. It is a blessed city. It is truly 'the joyous city.' It is the throne of the blessed One, and all in it is like Him. Its name is Jerusalem--the city of peace. Its King's name is Solomon--the Prince of peace. There is no enemy there; no sickness, no curse, no death, no weeping, no pain, no sorrow, no change forever. Those who dwell in it shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more (ch. 7:16, 17).

      Blessed city! City of peace, and love, and song! Fit accompaniment of the new heavens! Fit metropolis of the new earth, wherein dwells righteousness! How eagerly should we look for it! How worthy of it should we live! It has not yet arrived. Eye has not seen it. But God points to it above, and assures us that it shall come. The right of citizenship is to be had now; and those who are to dwell in it are not angels, but men; not the unfallen, but the fallen. It is as such that we apply for the 'freedom of the city.' He who is its Builder and Maker gives it freely. He who is its Prince, whose blood has bought and opened it, gives it freely. He waits to receive applications--no, He entreats men to apply. He announces that whoever will only take Him at His word, and trust Him for entrance into it, shall have it. He specially proclaims to us His own sacrifice, His infinite propitiation, His divine blood-shedding on the cross, and gives us to know that whoever will receive the testimony to this great work of atonement shall enter in through the gates into the city. It is the blood that brings us to the mercy seat--it is the blood that brings us into the city. It will be a joy to enter that joyous city. By this joy we beseech you now to make sure of your citizenship, by making sure of your connection with the King. He who has the King--has the city.

      It will be a sorrow to be shut out. By that sorrow we entreat you to make sure. Believing the good news, become citizens of this great and holy city. Then all shall be well with you forever!

Back to Horatius Bonar index.

See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Book of the Last Days
   Chapter 2 - The Grace and Peace of the Three-One God
   Chapter 3 - The Chief Among Ten Thousand
   Chapter 4 - The Great Advent
   Chapter 5 - The Fullness of the God-Man
   Chapter 6 - The Voice from Patmos to the Churches
   Chapter 7 - The Seven Golden Lamps
   Chapter 8 - The Glory of the Son of Man
   Chapter 9 - Fear and its Remedy
   Chapter 10 - The Symbolic Sevens
   Chapter 11 - Watchman, What of the Night?
   Chapter 12 - Self-Denial Christianity
   Chapter 13 - First Love Left
   Chapter 14 - Paradise and the Tree of Life
   Chapter 15 - The Divine Food of Our Heavenly Life
   Chapter 16 - The Morning Star
   Chapter 17 - The Fullness of the Holy Spirit
   Chapter 18 - The Key of David
   Chapter 19 - The Church's Little Strength, and the Lord's Great Love
   Chapter 20 - The Philadelphian Conqueror
   Chapter 21 - The Charity of the Lord Jesus
   Chapter 22 - The Heavenly Merchant and His Goods
   Chapter 23 - The Love and the Discipline
   Chapter 24 - Christ's Loving Earnestness
   Chapter 25 - The Victory and the Crown
   Chapter 26 - Glory to the Glorious One
   Chapter 27 - The Weakness and the Power of Christ
   Chapter 28 - How Long?
   Chapter 29 - The Recompense of Martyrdom
   Chapter 30 - Pent-Up Judgment
   Chapter 31 - The Great Multitude
   Chapter 32 - The Earthly and the Heavenly
   Chapter 33 - The All-Fragrant Incense
   Chapter 34 - The Cross of the Lord Jesus
   Chapter 35 - Strangership and Pilgrimage
   Chapter 36 - The Heavenly Song of Victory
   Chapter 37 - The Blood of the Covenant
   Chapter 38 - The Church Dwelling Alone
   Chapter 39 - The Model of a Holy Life
   Chapter 40 - The Everlasting Gospel
   Chapter 41 - The Swift and Sudden Advent
   Chapter 42 - The One Witness and the One Testimony
   Chapter 43 - The Great Prophetic Theme
   Chapter 44 - Messiah's Many Crowns
   Chapter 45 - The First Resurrection
   Chapter 46 - The Great White Throne
   Chapter 47 - Death and the Grave
   Chapter 48 - The Vision of the Restitution of all Things
   Chapter 49 - God's Tabernacle on Earth
   Chapter 50 - The Coming of the Perfect, and the Departure of the Imperfect
   Chapter 51 - The New Things of God
   Chapter 52 - The Conqueror's Reward and the Coward's Doom
   Chapter 53 - The Glorious Bride
   Chapter 54 - The Holy City
   Chapter 55 - The Light of the New Jerusalem
   Chapter 56 - The Life River
   Chapter 57 - The Tree with its Twelve Harvests
   Chapter 58 - The Serving and the Reigning
   Chapter 59 - The Curse Cancelled, and the Kingdom Begun
   Chapter 60 - The Vision of God
   Chapter 61 - Entrance Into the City
   Chapter 62 - Come, O Savior! Come, O Sinner!
   Chapter 63 - The Divine Word, and the Doom of its Defacers
   Chapter 64 - The Free Love of Christ
   Chapter 65 - The Last Amen

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