"And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb. In the midst of its wide street, and on each side of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit monthly, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there will be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it; and his servants will serve him: and they will see his face; and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no night there; and they have no need of the light of a lamp, nor of the light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they will reign forever and ever." Rev.22:1-5.
Objects of great interest, of which only a passing glance was permitted in previous visions, are again and again presented, until their relative glory is sufficiently manifested. Thus the new earth was considered worthy of being the subject of a special vision; and now the Bride, the Lamb's wife, although before referred to, is again made the subject of a special vision, under the symbol of a city, explained to be the bride.
The descent of the city, to harmonize with corresponding scriptures, has been shown to be at the commencement of the millennium, when those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb descend from the clouds of heaven, to receive "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you ... ready to be revealed in the last time," 1 Pet.4:5.
"The glory of the Lord," which is the light of the city, is explained to be "the Lamb" (21:23), which "is the light thereof." "In him was life, and the life was the light of men." "That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," John 1:4, 9. In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9), so that as the Holy Shekineh illumined the pathway of ancient Israel, the nations of the redeemed will walk in the light of His glory.
The gates of the city correspond with the number of the tribes of Israel; and the "names of the apostles" are in its foundations. Thus Paul affirms that the "fellow citizens" of "the household of God" are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, Eph.2:20.
The dimensions of the city are in length equal to the breadth -- and 1500 miles in circumference, or 375 miles square. The length is in all parts equal; and so is the breadth, and the height, -- the latter being 216 feet.
Its splendor is fully equal to all that inspiration has recorded respecting those on whom the Lord will have "everlasting kindness;" and to whom he saith: "O thou afflicted, tossed with the tempest, and not comforted! behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee," Isa.54:11-14. "Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation; I the Lord will hasten it in his time," Isa.60:11-22.
O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,