I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
In Jesus, God has come from heaven and reached down to us—and at the end of all things, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will also come down out of heaven from God.
God is putting together a new Jerusalem that will comprise believers from all the ages and from all places—people like you and me. We will be city dwellers living in perfect harmony with one another; God’s face will be before us, and we will be marked as His own (Revelation 22:4). This company will be a multitude so vast and magnificent that no one can count it, with citizens coming from every nation, tribe, people, and language (7:9).
The description of this vast multitude was intended as a source of hope and encouragement for the church in the apostle John’s day, and it should also be so for us. The early church was very, very small in numbers—quite insignificant by human standards, just as it has been in many eras throughout history. But John tells us that the church is actually far greater, vaster, and more significant than we can ever imagine, for its members are citizens of the new Jerusalem, journeying as pilgrims ever onwards until they stand in its streets.
One day, in that city, innumerable believers will worship together, and we will witness the final fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham: “He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them … So shall your offspring be’” (Genesis 15:5).
For now, creation is marked by division and discord. We are separated by language, nationality, and culture—by ancient enmities and recent suspicions. One day, though, all of that is going to be reversed. God is putting together a new community—a multiracial, multicultural city under His reign and rule. When we are finally all brought together as heaven comes to earth and Christ’s people are raised to dwell in it, we will be united by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ because the gospel is for all nations.
Can you imagine such a day? No, not fully, of course—but yes, sufficiently to pull you onwards through the trials and pressures of this life and to cause you to fling off all that would hold you back (Hebrews 12:1-2). This world is not your home; but one day, the heavenly city will come down, and it will be. One day you will see for real what John saw in this vision, and you will be home.