I do not know how many of you are travelers. My wife June and I have been traveling all around the United States and into Canada throughout our 40+ years of marriage. We have been in most big cities of America and of Canada and have found each of them to be unique in their own ways. We have even had the unexpected opportunity to run across some very interesting towns and cities which provided an extremely quaint and welcoming atmosphere.
I have to say though that the most captivating place I remember experiencing over the years is Las Vegas. Now hold on a minute and do not get all fired up about my answer, at least until I have a chance to explain myself and my reasoning. No, it is not the attraction of gambling that moves me to say this. And, no it is not access to all the entertainment venues that entices me to think about Las Vegas, otherwise known as “Sin City”. What caught my attention so quickly, when we first entered the main part of this gambling and entertainment mecca, was the bright lights and extravagant surroundings of the downtown and Strip areas of the city. I guess I know why they call it by another name as well, “The City that Never Sleeps”. This is definitely not Kansas Dorothy!
No matter how amazing and brilliant Las Vegas may appear to the human eye, it can never match the grandeur and dazzling appearance of the city John is talking about in Revelation.
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed--on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. 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.” Rev. 21:10-25
Because of the saving work of Jesus all who know Him as Lord and Savior will one day see this glorious city, where He resides, with their very own eyes and not another. By God’s grace shown to us in the person of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection, we have the wonderful promise of being residents of this unbelievable city of the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb.
I can tell you, and I am sure you will agree by John’s description, that this holy and glorious place far and wide surpasses what is referred today as the “City of Angels” Los Angeles! If you want to talk about what paradise really is just listen again to John’s vision of the Lamb and radiance beyond compare. Pastor McCarty