More Than Adequate

Title: More Than Adequate

Bible Book: Revelation 21 : 9-21

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: New Jerusalem; Heaven



I was grew up in Tunica County, Mississippi just in time to see the REA run power lines through the Mississippi Delta, long before air conditioning, casinos, and even psychology arrived there. What had reached the Green River Community, seven miles west of Sledge, was powerful preaching - okay, some of it wasn’t so powerful as I recall. M. C. Waldrup, the associational missionary for Riverside Baptist Association in northwest Mississippi, and his wife Connie had spent some time working in our community before WW II. I don’t remember that, but I do remember that after the war Brother Waldrup returned and began preaching in a little run down, decapitated building. A few years later, a new building was built, a frame building with brick-siding around it. Most people today would never slow up at a church building that looked so plain. It would be their loss, because very few churches have ever heard greater preaching than they heard from M. C. Waldrup, and very few churches have ever had the success in reaching lost people or in training the ones they reached.

For a number of years, we had our morning worship service at 9:00 A.M. and Sunday School at 10:00, and we made it home in time to turn on the TV in time to see a white haired man in a white Palm Beach suit kneel to his right side of the pulpit at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. I heard R. G. Lee, the prince of preachers, every Sunday. I will never forget the Sunday when he was still preaching at 12:00 noon. He suddenly turned and pointed his finger at the camera and shouted, “And DON’T YOU TURN ME OFF!” They left him on through 15 minutes of their news time. Can you imagine anyone doing that today. I can’t imagine anyone other than R. G. Lee doing that then. We heard a very young Billy Graham at 1:00 o’clock every Sunday afternoon. I have often said that the preacher who fed us most was M. C. Waldrup.

As I stated earlier, if I could choose a preacher and a sermon (since the first century) I would most like to hear I would probably choose Charles Haddon Spurgeon - preaching any sermon. I would love to hear Jonathan Edwards preach SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD. I did hear R. G. Lee preach PAY DAY SOME DAY - the most often preached sermon in the history of the world - he preached it himself over 1200 times. Who knows how many attempts have been made by others?

You may be wondering what that has to do with a sermon from the Revelation. Well, I would too if I were in your place. I love to preach, I love preachers, and I love to hear a sermon that expands the mind and enlarges the heart. I can identify with R. G. Lee, who said that his church could pay him for what he did Monday through Saturday, “But nobody can pay me for what I do on Sunday!”
There was another preacher with a Memphis connection I would love to hear again. I met Stephen Olford at Luther Rice Seminary in 1978. We were both there to complete our doctoral programs and to receive our degrees. When I met Stephen Olford and looked into his eyes, I had the distinct impression that I would looking into the eyes of a man of great humility - and at the same time, a man of great power. I had the privilege of hearing Stephen Olford in person a number of times, and I have listened to a number of his tapes. I joined a large number of preachers who said that they got more out of the preaching of Stephen Olford than anyone else they had ever heard. I was listening to one of his tapes once when he told the story about a man in South Africa who had placed an order for a new Rolls Royce. The car was delivered and the man was showing it to a friend when the friend asked what horsepower engine the automobile had. He didn’t know, so he looked through the owner’s manual, but could find no answer. He sent a telegram to Rolls Royce in London: WHAT HORSEPOWER, MY ENGINE. He didn’t have to wait long for a response. He opened the telegram and saw one word: ADEQUATE.

I have heard a lot of people speculate about heaven: How big is it? How many people will it accommodate? I have an answer for them. ADEQUATE! No, more than adequate. In our Scripture today we are going to be looking a the new Jerusalem. I think you will agree that it will adequate for all our needs, just as the Lamb is sufficient for all our needs, both now and throughout eternity.


A. John Is Invited to See the Bride of the Lamb, 21: 9.

“Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: ‘“Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

1) The invitation came from one of the seven angels of chapter 15 who poured out the seven bowls of final judgment on the earth. There is no significance given to the identity of this angel, other that to maintain the continuity of the revelation. However, this reminds me of the detail John was inspired to include in the Gospel, written some ten years earlier. Do you remember the feeding of the five thousand men (possibly 20,000 with women and children)? John wrote that there was plenty green grass there where the great multitude was seated. This simply provides us with a little more detail.

2) The angel invited John, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” In the Old Testament, Israel is portrayed as the bride of Yahweh. In the New Testament, the church is the bride of Christ. Throughout eternity the redeemed of the Lord are the bride of the Christ.

B. John Is Shown “The Holy City, Jerusalem, 21:10-11.

“He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.” Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.”

1) John says, “He carried me away in the Spirit.” This is not called a dream. It is not called a vision. It is not John’s imagination. He says that was transported “in the Spirit to a great and high mountain” where he was privileged to see the holy city, Jerusalem, “arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.”

2) He was carried away to “a great and high mountain and shown the holy city, Jerusalem.” In the first two verses of this chapter we read:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:1-2).

In verse 5, we read, “Then the One seated on the throne said, ‘Look! I am making everything new.”
In verse 6, the One seated on the throne said, “It is finished,” Jerusalem is not being made at this point, it is being lowered down out of heaven. Have you drawn the same conclusion that has come to my mind? If it if coming down from God out of heaven, may we infer that heaven is far greater, far bigger, than the new Jerusalem? When as the holy city created? And by Whom? May I suggest something for your thought? In His farewell discourse, Jesus sated that He was going to prepare a place for us. The time is not given, but the Maker may be none other than the Agent of the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1; John 1:1f).

Some see the new Jerusalem as being suspended over the earth during the millennium, possibly because of the emphasis on its being lowered down from heaven. However, I believe we are looking at the Jerusalem we will know for all eternity.

3) The new Jerusalem was “arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.” Great emphasis is placed on the glory of God in the Bible. The radiant glory of God was the constant companion of the Children of Israel in the wilderness. When Moses came from the presence of the Lord in the tent of meeting, his face shown so brilliantly that the people were frightened. God told Moses to put a veil over his face, and at first I thought that the idea was to keep the radiant glory of God on the face of Moses from frightening the people, but when we come to the New Testament we find we the real reason. God did not want the people to see the glory fade. In heaven the glory will never fade away.

The holy city is “arrayed with God’s glory” and the glory will never fade. There is no way that John could perfectly convey in human language all that he saw, and there is no way we can completely comprehend the glory of heaven or new Jerusalem. John simply says, “Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.” Maybe you have a greater imagination than I, but I am totally incapable of picturing anything so wondrous, so magnificent, so glorious. Picture the most beautiful stone you have ever seen, and then expand that to heavenly proportions! John said that like a jasper stone. The word jasper is a transliteration rather than a translation.

John saw the holy city as a gigantic brilliant jewel which he compared to jasper, clear as crystal. This speaks of its great beauty. “John was trying to describe what he saw and to relate it to what might be familiar to his readers. However, it is evident that his revelation transcends anything that can be experienced. The jasper stone known today is opaque and not clear (cf. 4:3). It is found in various colors, and John apparently was referring to the beauty of the stone rather than to its particular characteristics. Today one might describe that city as a beautifully cut diamond, a stone not known as a jewel in the first century” [Bible Knowledge Commentary].


A. New Jerusalem Is Going to Be a Real Place, 21:12-14.

John could see it. It could be measured. Details are given. Some have implied, as I have noted, that since New Jerusalem is seen as descending out of heaven, it must mean that the city will somehow hover above the earth during the millennial reign of the King of Kings. I am still persuaded that John was given the privilege of seeing the New Jerusalem that will exist throughout eternity - the capitol city of heaven, the place Jesus will have prepared for those who place their trust in Him.

You may ask, is this city which John sees in the Revelation real or is it symbolic. I will not even try to answer that here. It is sufficient to point out that a symbol is but a shadow of the real thing. That means that if this is symbolic, the real New Jerusalem will be infinitely more glorious, and infinitely more spacious. In other words, whatever is required, it will be adequate - no, more than adequate!

No, let’s look at the description of New Jerusalem;

1) “The city had a massive high wall, with 12 gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; on the gates, names were inscribed, the names of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel” (vs. 12). Unlike a modern city, ancient cities, especially the great capitol cities were protected by a massive wall. Nehemiah, cup bearer to the kind of Persia, was permitted to return to Judah to lead the people to rebuilt the walls of the city. It is said that the walls around ancient Babylon were thick enough to race four chariots side by side along the top of the wall. Modern man is still amazed at the Great Wall of China. The wall around a city was very important to the protection of the people and the government. Some walls were so thick that residences were built into the walls. Paul was lowered from a window in the wall around Damascus.

The wall around New Jerusalem is both massive and high. There will be no enemy left to attack the city or its residence - but if there were, any attempt would be futile. No siege mound, no battering ram, or for that matter, any rocket could destroy that wall, breach it, or scale it.

There were twelve gates, with an angel guarding each gate. Each gate had the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel on it. The number twelve has special significance in the Bible. Don’t ask me why, it just does. That is according to the sovereign will of Almighty God. God entered a covenant with Abraham, which he continued through Isaac, his son, and then through Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Jacob had twelve sons - the twelve sons of Israel. You will remember, however, that these twelve sons did not all receive an inheritance or have a tribe named after them. The Tribe of Levi was set aside for a priestly ministry. That left eleven tribes. Joseph, whom God used to preserve all the clan of Israel, received no portion. That seems so unfair, considering both what Joseph’s brothers put him through, and what he did for his brothers. How could God do him that way? Why would God leave his faithful servant out when inheritances were announced? Well, of course you know that Joseph was not left out. He received a double blessing, which any father can appreciate. Rather than name one tribe after Joseph and end up with eleven tribes, God had a tribe named for each of his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Now we are back to twelve tribes.

After Judas betrayed Jesus, and later went out and hanged himself, the remaining eleven apostles had an election. Even though they had bickered over who would be the greatest in the Lord’s kingdom before His death, now they are only concerned with electing a true disciple who would take the place of Judas. They elected Matthias. Now, they are back to twelve disciples.

The number twelve came to be viewed my many as the number for organized religion, with special significance given that number when God used it. There were four and twenty thrones in the throne room of heaven (Ch. 4), and four and twenty elders seated on those thrones. How do you arrive at twenty four, and what does that have to do with the number twelve?

Numbers have often been used, especially by ancients, to represent facts or truths. In one system, Gamatria, the number one stands for unity; two for added strength; three is the divine number; four is the universal number; seven is the perfect number (combining the divine number with the universal number. The number ten is the number for human completion and the number twelve is the number for organized religion (or simply that which pertains to God’s kingdom). To intensify the significance of a number, multiply it by itself, by two, ten or any multiple of ten (10 X 10 X 10 = 1000), or multiply the number by itself (12 X 12 = 144 and 144 X 1000 = 144,000, which, by the way is the number of those who went to heaven when the world ended in 1919 - that is according to the Jehovah’s Witness’s calendar).

There are twelve gates, twelve angels, and twelve names. Not five gates, five angels, and five names. Not ten, not fifteen, not twenty - twelve. What is the significance of that number? I would like to think, that whatever else it may signify, it emphasizes the fact that this place has been prepared for you and me. It has been prepare for all born-again believers in Jesus Christ.

2) “There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west” (vs. 13). An explanation would be in order only if the arrangement was otherwise. Any other arrangement, in light of the description that follows, would be a surprise.

3) “The city wall had 12 foundations, and on them were the 12 names of the Lamb’s 12 apostles” (vs. 14). There is that number again! Twelve. Twelve foundations and twelve names. Perhaps the only surprising thing here is the fact that there are twelve foundations. Any building needs a good foundation. The foundation for a building man not be the same in one place as another. Johnny Ray Smith has built malls and many other large buildings all over America. One day he mentioned to me the difference in the codes from one area to another. He was building four malls across America at the same time and the code for New Mexico was different from the code in Florida. He pointed out a bank building in Monroe and told me that the soil under it would not support the building with a normal foundation, so he had to pour concrete pilings 8 to 10 feet in the ground before he poured the foundation.

What do we learn from the fact that New Jerusalem has 12 foundations? Well, again it is prepared for believers, for saints. It is interesting that here the names are not those of the 12 tribes of Israel, but for the 12 apostles. No doubt some will assume that this means that their apostolic authority is continued in heaven. Perhaps a better interpretation is that the reference to the 12 tribes of Israel, followed by a reference to 12 apostles is that both Old Testament saints and New Testament saints are included. In the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Lazarus is with Abraham - and before you say that Jesus had not died, been resurrected, and ascended to the Father at the time. Let me remind you that Jesus taught that the Law is unto John (the Baptist).

B. The New Jerusalem Is Measured, 21:15-17.

1) “The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, its gates, and its wall” (vs. 15). I grew up on a farm in the Mississippi Delta. My father had bought farm land and he could take you to the corner posts that marked our property. He knew exactly where our property lines were. I drove home one day a number of years later and discovered that the gravel road had been black topped - and widened. It concerned me that someone had taken advantage of my father because the ditch on the north had not been moved, but the ditch on our side had been moved several feet to allow for the new road work. I asked my father and he seemed unconcerned. He said, “The road is already too close to Garfield’s front door and I didn’t want to see them take any more of his yard.” Garfield was an African-American, but the term would have surprised him. What he was to us was our neighbor. Daddy gave up several feet of land for 3/4 of a mile to keep the county from taking any more of Garfield’s yard.

On the south side of our farm a neighbor, Garfield’s nephew hired a surveyor and one day my father looked out and saw that stakes had been driven into the ground across ½ mile of our farm, about 100 feet back on our side of the line. The surveyor explained how smart he was and how much his equipment cost, and Daddy explained whose land he was standing on. We checked with the county attorney and before long that neighbor decided that his brilliant and well equipped surveyor had been very generous with himself when boasted of his skill and training. No doubt the equipment was every bit as good as he had claimed.

What does that have to do with this passage? I am glad you asked. If there is one thing I discovered growing up on a farm, and working for the USDA through college and seminary, it was that you might measure your on land, but if you started measuring your neighbor’s land, you were going to have some explaining to do. One neighbor went to court to try to take some land that he claimed his neighbor was working illegally. Under oath, he swore that he had been in peaceful possession of that land for fifteen years. The neighbor said, “Peaceful....his granddaddy and my granddaddy stood on that line with shotguns for years.”

The city was about to be measured. The One Who gave the order to measure the city is the One who owns the city! He has the right because it is His. If God is omniscient, why would He have the city measured? That had to be for our benefit. From this, we know that it is real, and we know that it will be our home forever.

2) “The city is laid out in a square; its length and width are the same. He measured the city with the rod at 12,000 stadia. Its length, width, and height are equal” (vs. 16). The city was a perfect cube, 1,500 miles on each side and 1,500 miles high. Some commentaries have 1,400 miles, but what’s a hundred miles here and there? One writer says that comes out to over 2 million square miles, but I did the math and I realized that the figure covers only the first one mile layer. This city measures our over well over three billion square miles, meaning that the space will be adequate for all the redeemed of all ages - no, more than adequate.

3) “Then he measured its wall, 144 cubits according to human measurement, which the angel used” (vs. 17). The wall of the city is 216 feet thick, and even though an angel is doing the measuring, the measurements are human measurements, the same measurements as we use here on earth. If the walls are there for our protection (certainly not for our confinement), our protection will be adequate - and more that adequate.

C. The Building Materials Are Given, 21:18-20.

1) “The building material of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold like clear glass” (vs. 18). John describes the wall in terms of its appearance to him. What he saw was a wall made of stones more precious than any wall has ever been constructed with here on earth. Remember that we have seen that jasper is a transliteration rather than an translation. Rather than the modern opaque stone this stone was seems to be a perfectly clear as a diamond with the glory of God shining from it, illuminating the city.

The city was made of pure gold, as pure as glass. We often hear a reference to streets of gold, but I wonder how many people picture this gold as being clear like glass. “John was using the language of appearance, for apparently both the jasper and the gold differ from these metals as they are known today. In verse 11 the jasper is translucent, and in verses 18 and 21 the gold is clear like glass” [The Bible Knowledge Commentary].

The streets are not the only thing in the New Jerusalem that are made of pure gold - the whole city is, and this gold is “like clear glass.” This gives new meaning to glass houses, doesn’t it? What I gather from this is that the materials of which the city is built are far superior to anything we know here on earth.

2) “The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone: the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst” (vv. 19-20). There are twelve foundations, each bearing the name of an apostle, and each made of a different kind of precious stone. Since the names of some stones have changed since the first century it is difficult to identify each of them with absolute certainty. Think of the beauty of New Jerusalem with all its stones and with all the colors.

1. Jasper, as we have seen is not opaque like modern jasper, but a clear diamond.
2. Sapphire was probably a beautiful sky-blue.
3. Chalcedony, named for Chalcedon (Turkey), is blue with stripes of other colors.
4. The emerald is a bright green.
5. Sardonyx is red and white.
6. Carnelian (“sardius” in the NASB) ranges from ruby-red to an amber or honey color.
(In 4:3 the carnelian stone is coupled with the jasper to reflect the glory of God)
7. Chrysolite is gem with a transparent gold or yellow tone) modern chrysolite is pale green).
8. Beryl is a sea green.
9. Topaz is a transparent yellow-green.
10. Chrysoprase is an apple-green quartz stone (may be gold tinted).
11. Jacinth is violet in color.
12. Amethyst is a beautiful purple.

All together, these stone foundations must be more beautiful than anything we can imagine, and the glory of God is reflected off them, or through them.
3) “The 12 gates are 12 pearls; each individual gate was made of a single pearl. The broad street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass” (vs. 21). The gates resemble huge, single pearls, and the street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass (21:18). Does this mean that each gate is made of one single pearl - now get this - 1500 miles high!!?

John MacArthur writes, “Even as earthly pearls are formed in response to the wounding of oyster flesh, so these gigantic, supernatural pearls will remind saints throughout eternity of the magnitude of Christ’s suffering and its eternal benefit.”


The beauty of New Jerusalem, as described here, may have a symbolic meaning. Since no clue is given to help us speak conclusively about the interpretation, I think it is reasonable to assume that the all the redeemed will dwell in the city. It certainly seems that the city is going to be the literal future dwelling place of the saints, angels, and all the hosts of heaven. I will make one concession here. Since New Jerusalem is being lowered out of heaven, it may be reasonable to assume that while heaven contains the city, and that the city is the capitol city of heaven, heaven is greater in scope and size than the city.

What great truth may we glean from this description of heaven? Let me answer that by reminding you that when Jesus fed the 5,000 men (possibly 20,000 with women and children), He had the disciples to seat the people in orderly grids so the disciples could pass between the groups of fifty or so. He took a child’s small lunch and blessed it and fed a vast multitude. When the vast multitude had eaten and were sufficiently filled, the disciples gathered 12 baskets full of leftovers.
If there has been one hundred thousand there, they would have gathered 12 baskets full of good food - not scraps. What Jesus had to offer them was adequate - more than adequate.

When the multitude followed Jesus back to the other side of the Sea of Galilee demanding more bread, He said, “I am the Bread of Life.” If the supply of physical bread was adequate, how much more is Jesus, the Bread of Life, adequate for all those who will take Him into their hearts! I hear people speak of the supremacy of grace, but I ascribe supremacy to a Person. I like to think of the supremacy of Christ, and the sufficiency of His grace.

The provision Jesus made for our salvation is adequate. His grace is sufficient. In fact, it is more that sufficient. In His farewell address, Jesus said”

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believein God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

Jesus is preparing a place for us, and the place He prepares will be adequate. It will be far more than adequate. There is also a place for those who reject Him, and I can assure you that place will be adequate for the most vile, hardened, rebellious, arrogant, evil individual. It will also be more than adequate.

It is with a great joy that I can also assure you that you don’t have to wait until you die and go to heaven to know the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. He is more than sufficient for all your needs right now. Will you commit yourself to Him. Trust Him right now, as the Holy Spirit leads you.

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