The New Jerusalem is the heavenly city the Bible predicts will exist on the new earth at the end of time. It is described in detail in Revelation 21:9-27.
The first aspect mentioned about the New Jerusalem in this passage is that its origin is in heaven: “the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:10).
Then we see a description of its beauty: “having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:11).
Next we are told some of its features. “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” (Revelation 21:12-14).
We are also told its size: “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” (Revelation 21:15-17). This length is approximately 1,400 miles in each direction according to modern measurements! Most believe the shape will be cube, though some argue for a pyramid-shaped city.
The New Jerusalem has precious jewels and riches: “The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear 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, like transparent glass” (Revelation 21:18-21). Words certainly limited what John could describe, yet it is clear the New Jerusalem will include the most lavish features imaginable, far beyond anything this earth has seen.
The city’s light is the Lord Himself: “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.” (Revelation 21:22-25). The Lord God and the Lamb, Jesus Christ, will serve as temple and light, providing for every need of the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem.
The city’s inhabitants are described this way: “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 21:26-27). In addition to the Lord Almighty and the Lamb, only those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life will dwell in the New Jerusalem. It will be a city characterized by purity and the glory of God.
The New Jerusalem will be far more than an improved version of ancient or modern Jerusalem. It will be a heavenly city that exists on an entirely new earth along with a new heaven. There the Lord Himself will dwell in perfect peace and unity with those who are children of God (John 1:12).