Bible Symbolism

 Revelation 21:12. And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13. On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.  AKJV

Ezekiel 48:30 And these are the goings out of the city on the north side, four thousand and five hundred measures. 31 And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. 32 And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. 33 And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. 34 At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali. 35 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.

     The book of Ezekiel contains some of the Bibles most difficult visions to understand. At least 8 chapters of it is about the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21 & 22 directly quote passages out of Ezekiel's New Jerusalem vision. This is just one of them.  What might be the most relevant thing that ties this passage into Revelation 21-22 is the fact that the name of the city is "God is there."  That is the persistent theme of the New Testament, repeated in many different ways as it is in Revelation 21-22; that God is there, in the very midst of his people. Not just with them but inside of them as they themselves are the temple\tabernacle\house\dwelling place\city of God.

     There is a good object lesson in comparing the details of this passage with Rev. 21:12-13 about the nature of visions and the unfortunate state we find ourselves subjected to in not comprehending them. The internet and many churches are filled with the testimony of people who have seen visions or perhaps died and saw a vision or even believe themselves to be taken to heaven. A problem with these testimonies is that the people who have them will almost always say, "I was taken heaven or this is what is in heaven." Many times though when you hear what they saw "in heaven," it sounds so ridiculous as to be unbelievable. The problem is in many cases is not that their vision wasn't from God or real. The problem is how they are interpreting them. A little bit closer examination of the details of the vision will reveal that God was using illustrations to show them something that the Bible teaches, or about a need of theirs. In other words he did not take them to heaven. God just has an ability to  put a person into any scenario he wants and make them see anything he wants them to see. It's the viewer of the vision that makes the mistake of thinking he or she was in heaven, (or hell.) It may indeed seem like they were in heaven and more real than anything the recipient of the vision has ever seen or heard in their entire life,  but it is not.

      Here is how this object lesson ties into Ezekiel's and John's vision of the walls and gates of the New Jerusalem. In both cases these were not visions as if they were sitting in a movie theater watching a movie. Nor were they holographic visions. No they both used the terminology of: "I was taken to this place." The apostle Paul spoke of this phenomena of being taken to a place but could not really tell of the exact reality of it.  2nd Corinthians 12:2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. AKJV So it is in the case of Ezekiel and John. If  were taken to a literal place and saw something that was in the future. Why was Ezekiel's city only 1.5 miles squared and John's 1500 miles squared, actually cubed?  It is easy to see they are seeing the same future by the other scriptures that John takes, (or saw) out of Ezekiel. You'll see these verses as the article proceeds. The skeptic would say, "Obviously because it is not the Word of God since this is a major discrepancy." The answer though lies in what is being pointed out. That God is able to "take" someone to a "place", at least that is what it seems like to the person being taken there. Then he is able to show that person whatever he wants in that "place." In this instance. God was able to take  Ezekiel and John to different illustrated "realities" specifically tailored to the recipient that showed them the same future. 

© Daniel Martinovich 2002-2017