Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Holy City is Measured

   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.
   And he measured its wall, a 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.

Four Very Large Walls

 twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.  Mr. Smith** offers this view concerning the size of the city.  In ancient times, when the size of the city was given, the number referred to the circumference of the city and not to the length of one side.  If that is the way this is to be interpreted, the New Jerusalem will be only three hundred and seventy five miles on any one side. 

   The reference to the word equal concerning the height would not be the actual height but rather it would mean that the height was proportionate to the size of the wall.  This way of reckoning would, of course, make the Holy City much smaller.

He measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, that is, about 216 feet (65 meters).  This, obviously, does not refer to the length of the wall if the length of the city is 1500 miles each way.  So, was he measuring the thickness or the height of the wall? 

 Here are two answers:  

  1. Then he measured the thickness of the walls and found them to be two hundred and sixteen feet across. Living Bible.  
  2. He measured its wall, two hundred and sixteen feet (in height). Wuest#  

According to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.  Wuest# clarifies this by writing, using the measuring system of mankind, which is that used by the angel.  The Living Bible is even more up to date in its translation; the angel called out the measurements to me, using standard units.  

We must notice that the writer very carefully says the wall was of jasper not that it was “like jasper”.  The city was of gold and not like gold, but then he continues to say that the gold was like clear glass.

   The foundations of the wall of the city, not the foundations of the city, were garnished with all manner of precious stones.  There are twelve foundations,
21:14, each foundation had its own gem.  Foster*** points out that these twelve gems very closely compare to the twelve gems worn by the high priest on his breastplate.

   In the statement, the street of the city was pure gold, we see that the word, street, is singular.
 The broad avenue of the city was pure gold. Wuest#    The main street of the city was pure gold. Berean Study Bible.  Is it possible that only one and not all the streets of heaven are paved with gold (as we so glibly say)?

   Even though it is impossible for us to imagine a city this large with only one street, is it possible that heaven has only one street, as the Bible says?  Dr McGee* suggests that it is one continuous street weaving throughout the city to provide access to any part of the city; from the bottom tier of the city to the very top level.
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.
**Daniel and The Revelation, Uriah Smith
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster
* Through the Bible with Dr J Vernon McGee.

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