Foreigners shall build up your walls,
and their kings shall minister to you;
for in my wrath I struck you,
but in my favor I have had mercy on you.
Your gates shall be open continually;
day and night they shall not be shut,
that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
with their kings led in procession.
For the nation and kingdom
that will not serve you shall perish;
those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary,
and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
The sons of those who afflicted you
shall come bending low to you,
and all who despised you
shall bow down at your feet;
they shall call you the City of the Lord,
the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 60:10-14 ESV
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:22-27 ESV
Every May in the city of Seattle there is a big festival that goes on for four days, called the Northwest Folklife Festival. Many people come to the festival, and the grounds are alive with all the things to see and do. People set up stalls with crafts and delicious food from many different places in the world. People tell stories from their different cultures, or share their music or their costumes or their dance. It’s a very fun place to be because lots of people bring the things from their country or culture that they are proud of and want to share with others. There’s a lot of music, singing, and dancing from all around the world.
The prophet Isaiah talked about a time when Jerusalem would become strong and beautiful again. It wouldn’t be surrounded by armies or attacked, but instead people from around the world would help to build up its walls. People, even kings, would bring their wealth as a gift to God’s people, and the city gates would stay open day and night as processions of people stream into the city to bring the best they have to offer. The people of Lebanon would bring their famous wood to help make God’s temple beautiful again. All the people, even the people who had been enemies of God’s people, would bow before them and call their city the City of the Lord.
This happy, glorious time is a picture of the heavenly city of God, which the Bible calls the New Jerusalem. This city doesn’t have a temple, because God and his Lamb are always in the city. They are the temple of the city and give it all the light it needs, so there is no need for any sun or moon. People from all over the world will come into this city, and the gates will always be open. People, and even kings, will bring their best into this city as a gift to God. But there won’t be any night, or any sin or evil or hurt. Jesus, God’s Lamb, died to take away the sins of the world, and he won’t let anything into the city that would hurt his people. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have our names written in his book of life. We look forward to the time we will be able be live in this heavenly city forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying and for the promise of life forever in your wonderful heavenly city. Amen.