The great moment has come of the arrival of the new heaven and the new earth. In this seventh and last great vision after the outpouring of the vials of wrath, the Apocalypse comes to its apotheosis. Or, as Schult (p.335) remarks: ‘When the power of evil has driven the world to the most extreme alienation of God, the earthly world of illusion must pass away and the divine world, the eternal God, is revealed as the foundation of all that exists. Nowhere in world literature, the completion of the creation on Earth is envisioned as grandiose as in the final vision of the Apocalypse’.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. And the holy city, a new Jerusalem, I saw them coming down from the heaven of God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice, coming from the throne, saying: Behold, the dwelling-place of God with men, and he will reside with them, and they shall be his people, and he, God himself, shall be with them. And he shall wipe away each tear from their eyes. And their shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.
Holy Spirit, Son and Father
With wide gestures, John writes about what he sees of the heavenly new Jerusalem. This last great vision is presented in three parts. First we learn how God and the Lamb present themselves here. In the second part the symbolic shapes and materials of the heavenly Jerusalem are described in detail. And in the third part, the most intimate one, we learn about the stream of crystal clear water that flows from the throne of God and the Lamb, the paradise, and finally we see the throne itself, the actual heaven.
Schult (p.337) summarizes that time and space do no longer exist. Creation is transformed to the super-temporal and super-spatial realm of God’s eternity, where God’s light, life and love pervade all worlds and beings. The human community of the period of the thousand years, united in Christ, can be attributed to the Holy Spirit aspect of God. The world judgement in all kingdoms is part of the Son aspect of God. And the entering of Creation in the realm of God’s eternity belongs to the Father aspect of being. In the One on the throne, all three aspects of God are revealed simultaneously.
The first Christians interpreted the description of the heavenly city, the paradise with the river, and the heavenly throne, as the three levels which represent the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father (Schult, p.341).
The bride and the city
John describes the new Jerusalem in two ways, as the bride and as the heavenly city (Schult, p.338).
The bride, the divine wisdom of virgin Sophia, is symbol of the pure world of ideas of God, the lighting cosmos of the beginning. The heavenly city is the divine heaven of fire, the divine Pleroma (the total of divine powers) itself, the Empyrean (the place of the highest heaven) to which creation returns.
The city of the heavenly Jerusalem descents as the bride from the heaven of God. Here God will live with men, death will no longer be, because what was, ‘has passed away’. He who sits on the throne, Christ as the world logos, speaks: Behold, I make all things new. And he said: Write, for these words are true and faithful! And he said to me: It is done! I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be God to him, and he will be son to me. But the mockers, and the unfaithful, and the abominable and murderers, and the whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the sea, the burning sea of fire and sulphur, and this is the second death.
John sees the new Jerusalem descending as the bride, after another elevation in consciousness. And there came to me one of the seven angels, which had the seven vials full of the seven plagues, the last ones, and he talked with me, saying: Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife! And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Her splendor was like the most costly precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. She had a wall great and high, she had gates twelve, and at the gates angels twelve, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. Against (sun)rise three gates, against midnight three gates, against noon three gates and against evening three gates. And the wall of the city had foundation stones, twelve, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Both symbols of bride and city are presented as equal. The bride symbolizes the empyrean in man (Rev.21: 3-8) and the heavenly city symbolizes the empyrean in the cosmos (Rev.21:8 and following).
The new Jerusalem grows from heaven downwards
The temple of God is among the people, the whole of the new Jerusalem is God’s temple. This shows the totally new situation that emerges. There is no death and who is thirsty will drink from the fountain of life. People have developed at the end of evolution a new consciousness, which makes that they can perceive the spiritual beings and can see the Alpha and Omega from face to face (Steiner, GA 346, p.135-138). The people will experience new life forces, because of the impact of the purified astral body, the Manas. At this stage, man has become an angel. The old Jerusalem was built upwards from the earth and her materials, while the new Jerusalem is built downwards from heaven and its spiritual ingredients, growing from the pure spiritual source which makes that it cannot be contaminated, like the old Jerusalem. Steiner makes us aware that the Apocalypse is not a story of pictures, but reveals concrete spiritual facts to come.
The new Jerusalem appears on the highest spiritual level that we can attain with our consciousness. It is a picture of the future of mankind. When reading the characteristics, one starts to doubt if it only refers to the next incarnation of the earth, the Jupiter earth. The description suggests a broader view on the future developments, including also the later Venus and Vulcan incarnations. An example is that the descending new Jerusalem is not only referring to the Jupiter earth but to a permanent state of being in future evolution. The new Jerusalem continuously descents as a center of inspiration from God during the whole cycle of creation, during the seven incarnations of earth. For man, this becomes more perceptible when the end of creation comes closer, as simultaneously his consciousness reaches to higher realms.
The notion of the descending holy city is also found in the Jewish Talmud (Schult, p.338). Here the new Jerusalem is kept in the fourth heaven from where it descents. Kabbalah discerns, as we saw before, between four spheres: Assiah or the earthly world of action, Jetzirah or the world of the souls and of formation, where created beings take shape and form, Beriah or the spiritual world of creation but yet without shape and form, and finally Atziluth, the world of emanation where the ten sephiroth emerge. From this fourth heaven or Atziluth, the new Jerusalem descents.
The golden measuring reed
And he that talked with me, had a golden reed, with which he should measure, the city and her gates, and her wall. And the city lies there square, and her length is as large as her breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs, her length and her breadth and her height are equal. And he measured the wall, one hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the composition of her wall is of jasper, and of the city shining gold, shining as glass, and the foundation stones of the city wall were garnished with precious stones of all kinds. The first foundation stone is a jasper; the second, a sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth an emerald; the fifth, a sardonyx; the sixth, a sardius; the seventh, a chrysolite; the eighth, a beryl; the ninth a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, every separate gate was of one pearl, and the street of the city was shining gold, transparent as glass.
Daniël van Egmond (lecture June 1995) explains the measures of the heavenly city. The city is measured with a golden reed. This determines a measure, the radius, that is the foundation of everything. An example can be developed by using this measure while drawing from a point a circle or a three-dimensional sphere. In the center man is present like a mustard-seed, but also the totality of the cosmos. The sphere, the circle and the point are essentially the same, the same divine quality, which can manifest itself expanding from the center and withdrawing from the periphery, exhaling and inhaling.
The point in the center represents dimension zero. Only warmth exists here. From warmth, light emerges, which moves along lines in the air, the first dimension of the start of creation. From this light emerges the second dimension, the circle, the water of the beginning. The six circles around the central circle represent the 7 sephiroth. This stage is followed by the outer ring of 12 circles, representing the element of earth. It has the three dimensions of the spatial cube of which the measure is determined by the radius of the first circle, the length of the golden reed. The new Jerusalem can be seen as a combination of the sphere and the cube. The cube represents the Earth and the sphere, which we can image around the cube, the heaven.
This figure with the circles (spheres) and cubes, tells us that the 12 foundation stones of heavenly Jerusalem appeared last.
Schult (p.345) illustrates, that the symbolic measure of the city of 12,000 furlongs, equals about 2,300 km, while the wall measures 144 cubits, or 65 meter.He concludes that the Babylonian worldview must have been the basis for this image, in which the cube represents the firmament and the wall the line of the horizon. The number 12 refers to the zodiac signs and the months of the year, and indicates in this way the whole of cosmos. And 12×12=144 also points at the elevation of the total cosmos into the spiritual realm. In antiquity the cube was a symbol for the completion of the cosmos. In line with these symbols, man is further completed by reaching the phase of the angel level.
The image of the heavenly city ca also be explained in the terminology of Kabbalah. The inner circle represents Briah, the world where the Neschamah, the divine spark in man, is located and the throne of God is seen. This throne of God is located in the midst of the new Jerusalem. The throne is the first cube. Round about the throne lays the second cube, the city, the world of Jetzirah. And the walls and foundations are in the world of Assiah. Van Egmond sees on Earth the heavenly city present in a mirrored way. We see the Earth as the central point, the 1, round about it we locate the planets as the middle realm, the 7, and the heavenly realm we see as the stars of the zodiac, the 12. We see the heavenly city upside down. But from a spiritual point of view it grows from heaven, like the tree of life also growths from top to bottom. But the essential issue is that we become aware of heavenly man, Adam Kadmon, the point in the center, from which this all is an expression. The 12 foundations of the new Jerusalem are the virtues we have to develop in ourselves. When these have been developed, the 7 qualities of the soul come to growth as a gift. And then, in the mystical heart, the throne can be formed on which the Holy Spirit can descent, according to Daniël van Egmond.
The cube, gold, pearls and gemstones
In the eternal Jerusalem, the inner forces of the twelve zodiac constellations are active in an outward way. The number 12×12=144 of the walls, characterizes, as we saw, men who is entering the rank of the angels. The city has the shape of a cube. She has twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. And the wall of the city has foundation stones, twelve, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, the representatives of the new covenant of God with man. The sight of the heavenly city shows the purpose of the evolution of man (Schult, p.348).
In the heavenly city a three-folding structure can be found, which also characterizes God and man: a wall, gates, and a city inner live (Schult, p.344). The wall consists of gemstones, the gates are made of pearls, and the inner part of the city is made of crystalline transparent gold. Gemstones are star symbols of the purified body. Pearls are from an astrological point of view linked to the Moon, and symbolize the purified soul. Pearls represent transformed suffering when man is overcoming Moon forces in his astral body. This inner victory gives the entry to the new Jerusalem. And the transparent gold, the metal of the Sun, points at the enlightened spirit. These three forces now work from the inside in body, soul and spirit of man and make man to a perfect reflection of the Father, Son and Spirit.
The first color that is radiated by the city is like the color of jaspis, which probably equals Bergkristall or quartz (Schult, p.343). And the street of the city is shining gold, transparent as glass. The gold symbolizes that the Earth is again unified with the Sun. The Earth has become a Sun! This is the phase of the Venus incarnation of Earth, which carries the light of the Christ, the Lamb.
The foundations of the city
The gemstones, used as the foundations of the heavenly city, correspond with a high level of consciousness, where the group-souls of minerals reside, the higher mental (higher Devachan) world. The group-souls of plants reside in the lower mental world and those of the animals in the astral world (Steiner, GA 97, p.296). In line with the above the founding gemstones correspond with the 12 zodiac constellations. Schult (p.347) connects them also with the apostles in a way summarized in the next table.
Connections between gemstones, zodiac signs, apostles and tribes of Israel (Schult, p.347).
Gemstone Zodiac sign Apostle Tribe of Israel
- Jaspis/Bergkristall Aries Simon Peter Naphtali
- Sapphire Taurus Andrew Joseph
- Chalcedony Gemini James, son of Zebedee Simeon/ Levi
- Emerald Cancer John Issachar
- Sardonyx Leo Philip Judah
- Carnelian Virgin Bartholomew Dina
- Chrysolite Libra Matthew Levi Dan
- Beryl Schorpio Thomas Benjamin
- Topaz Sagittarius James, son of Alpheus Gad
- Chrysoprase Capricorn Thaddaeus Zebulun
- Hyacinth Aquarius Simeon Zelotes Reuben
- Amethyst Pisces Judas, replaced by Matthias Asher
The twelve gates are also attributed to the twelve tribes of Israel (Schult, p.347) and consequently to the zodiac signs.
And the city has no need of the Sun, neither of the Moon, to shine in her
The city is furthermore characterized by the surprising fact that it does not need any longer the Sun and the Moon. And I saw no temple in her, for God, the Lord, the Almighty ruler, is the temple, and the Lamb. And the city has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in her, for the glory of God lightens her, and the Lamb is her light. And the peoples will walk in her light, and the kings of the earth do bring all their splendor into her. And her gates are never shut, for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring into her the splendor and valuables of the people. And never shall enter into her anything that defiles, neither who works abomination or lies, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
In the heavenly Jerusalem, Earth is united with the Moon and the Sun again. This will be the characteristics of the coming Venus and Vulcan incarnations of Earth. This future perspective of the new Jerusalem is our source of inspiration for all three coming Earth incarnations.
Bock (p.328-350) describes how the Bible as a whole plays between paradise, the Garden of Eden, and the new Jerusalem. We could also say: between the Old Saturn incarnation and the Vulcan incarnation of earth. In the process of creation, we see an evolution from nature, the garden, that is created by the gods, to a city in which new men are living who spiritualize it because they are created in Gods image. Bock (p.343) also refers to the earlier vision of the Lamb on mount Sion with the 144,000 sealed men. That was a preview of this new Jerusalem. Everything in heavenly Jerusalem is permeated with the number 12, like the number 7 characterized the previous developmental phases. As time is ended, 12 as the number of space rests. In heavenly Jerusalem time becomes space and the measure of this space is the bride of the Lamb. The bride is man, attaining its completion and realizing in a more and more perfect way the image of man-in-God.
The crystal clear stream of water of life proceeding from God’s throne
Are other indications available which indicate that the new Jerusalem not only refers to the Jupiter earth but to all three coming earth incarnations? The answer is yes, when we look at the vision of the throne. Here, we see the creative work of God and the Lamb. John sees how from the throne with the divine trinity of Father-Sun-Spirit, a stream flows of pure life-giving water, the spiritual manifestation that precedes all life which is created.
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, shining as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of the street. And on either side of the river trees full of life, which bear fruits, twelve times, every month giving their fruit, and the leaves of these trees are for the healing of the peoples. And no banishment, no banishment by God will anymore occur.
The stream is flowing downward from heaven, flowing as a river to lower worlds, where beings can still be healed of their darkness. The river with trees strongly resembles the Tree of life of Kabbalah, with the ten sephiroth growing from heaven to earth, connecting heaven with earth and flowering again (Van Egmond, June 1995). The Tree of life also is the axis of the world, the Jacob’s ladder (Gen.28:10-19), which is the connection between heaven and earth, as well as the central axis in our body, along which the chakra’s are positioned. This axis of the world can be experienced by each one when we become silent and open our mystical heart. In all traditions man is searching for the axis of the world, the promised land. In Buddhism it is called Shambhala. In Islam the journey is to the Green island where dwells the hidden imam. The Apocalypse is a Christian summary of this journey to the axis of the world.
The purity of God’s city
The purity of God’s city is safeguarded by not giving access to those who are impure. We met already the vials of wrath which are poured out to protect the purity of the heavenly Jerusalem. Here additional bans are described. At the first ban (Rev.21:8) seven groups are named which cannot enter the holy city.
But the mockers, and the unfaithful, and the abominable and murderers, and the whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the sea, the burning sea of fire and sulphur, and this is the second death.
In the second ban all that is impure is denied access. Allowed are only those written in the Book of life (Rev.21:27). These are those people who have realized their name, written in heaven, and who have initiated the divine spark in themselves (Schult, p.343).
And never shall enter into her anything that defiles, neither who works abomination or lies, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
The ban is mentioned a third time when the transition from the paradise to the ultimate heaven occurs. But now it is said:
And no banishment, no banishment by God will anymore occur.
With this final step, hell is disappearing, as well as the sea of fire, in the very foundations of the divine being. The eternity of reincarnations and torments of hell stay back in the natural world. Eternity belongs to the spiritual world, de divine world of being.
When arrived at the source of creation, the Father, elevated man sees the divine face.
And the throne of God and of the Lamb shall stay in her, and his servants shall serve him, and they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for God, the Lord, shall give them light, and they shall be kings of his dominion from aeons to aeons.
God enlightens them from within, and man shares in the thinking, feeling and willing of the divine. Man starts to participate in the work of the creator of worlds, while standing above time and space.
Schult (p.350) ends with the remark that ‘the Apocalypse written by John is not only a book of meditation and initiation, but at the same time a reality-conform prophecy of the coming victory of God’s kingdom in the world…and of the unification of heaven and earth’.