21:12-14 "And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the
gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the
twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on
the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names
of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."
biblical days, the walls of a city were built for protection. They served as an
obstacle against invading armies. If the city was built on the side of a hill or
mountain and then had high walls, the enemy was at a great disadvantage in
trying to gain access to the city and overthrowing it. The higher and thicker
the walls, the greater protection they provided. The following verses show the
utility of walls as means of protection for the city:
1. 2 Sam.
11:20 "And if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee,
Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not
that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who smote Abimelech the son of
Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the
wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy
servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also."
2. 2 Sam. 20:15 "And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and
they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the
people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down."
3. 2 Chr. 26:6 "And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and
brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and
built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines."
4. Neh. 1:3 "And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the
captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall
of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire."
of the city had two main functions. They were a point of entry and exit to the
city and by them access to the city was controlled. The second function of the
gate is that it served as the place of city government and of official business
transactions. The following verses show forth this second function:
23:10 "And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite
answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went
in at the gate of his city, saying, 11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field
give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of
the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead."
Gen. 23:17 "And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before
Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in
the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18
Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before
all that went in at the gate of his city."
2. Gen. 34:20 "And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their
city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 21 These men are
peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for
the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us
for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only herein will the
men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among
us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Shall not their cattle and
their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto
them, and they will dwell with us. 24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his
son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was
circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city."
3. Deu. 21:19 "Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and
bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn
and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so
shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."
4. Deu. 22:15 "Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and
bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in
the gate: 16 And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my
daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 And, lo, he hath
given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a
maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall
spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that
city shall take that man and chastise him; 19 And they shall amerce him
in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel,
because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall
be his wife; he may not put her away all his days."
5. Deu. 22:24 "Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city,
and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried
not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's
wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you."
6. Deu. 25:7 "And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let
his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's
brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not
perform the duty of my husband's brother. 8 Then the elders of his city
shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not
to take her; 9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of
the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and
shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up
his brother's house."
7. Josh 20:4 "And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand
at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears
of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and
give him a place, that he may dwell among them. 5 And if the avenger of blood
pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand;
because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime."
8. Ruth 4:1 "Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and,
behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a
one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. 2 And
he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they
sat down. 3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out
of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother
Elimelech's: 4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the
inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem
it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is
none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem
9. Ruth 4:11 "And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said,
We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like
Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou
worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: 12 And let thy house be
like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD
shall give thee of this young woman. 13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was
his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she
bare a son."
"And had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written
thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel."
There is a similar passage in the book of Ezekiel: Ezek. 48:31 "And the gates
of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates
northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. 32
And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one
gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. 33 And at the
south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of
Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. 34 At the west side
four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one
gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali. 35 It was round about eighteen
thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is
had a name of a tribe of Israel so that there being twelve tribes of Israel,
there were twelve gates. We would expect that each tribe would enter the gate
with that tribe's name. We would not expect someone to enter by another tribe's
Twelve is a representative number and, both in Ezek. 48:31-35 and in the 12
stones on the breastplate of the high priest, was used to represent the twelve
tribes of Israel. Thus, not just the twelve sons of Israel were represented, but
all the descendants of those twelve sons were represented also. Thus, all Israel
was represented. Therefore, in Ezekiel chapter 48 if you were not a part of the
twelve tribes of Israel you did not have lawful access or entry to the city.
Entry was therefore restricted to the children of Israel.
Rev. 21:12 is not considering the twelve tribes of natural Israel, but points us
to the spiritual Israel of God. Entry to the city (church) is restricted to only
those who compose spiritual Israel, i.e., are born of the Spirit of God as the
Lord said in John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I
say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"
and in John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
God." Only those born of the Spirit have the capability of entering into the
church "kingdom of God."
the gates twelve angels" Once again we point out that the word angel means
messenger. There was a messenger at each gate. The church has gospel messengers
who preach the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. They point the Lord's born
again people to what they need to do to enter into the Lord's church here in
1. We have
already noted that one must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God.
This is God's work and he does it at his appointed time, without the means or
help of man.
2. John the Baptist said in Matt. 3:1 "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand," and the Lord said in Matt. 4:17 "Repent: for the kingdom of
heaven is at hand." John also said, "Bring forth therefore fruits meet
for repentance." Thus, repentance is necessary to gain entrance to the city.
3. One must hear and believe the gospel before he can gain entrance to the
A. Lk. 16:16 "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the
kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it."
B. Rom. 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?
and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall
they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they
be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the
gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
C. Mk. 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
4. Once must also confess the Lord in order to gain access to the church:
A. Acts 8:36 "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water:
and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And
he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
B. Rom. 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and
shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt
C. Lk. 12:8 "Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him
shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:"
5. One must be baptized in water in order to enter the church:
A. Mk. 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned."
B. Acts 2: 38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one
of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and
to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God
shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort,
saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that
gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto
them about three thousand souls."
C. Acts 8:12 "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning
the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men
D. Acts 9:18 "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales:
and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized."
wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve
apostles of the Lamb." The church (the wall) is founded on the work of the
apostles of Jesus Christ: Eph. 2:19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers
and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus
Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building
fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom
ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
The Lord used the apostles and prophets to lay the foundation on which the
church is built upon.
above we know what we are built upon. However, this also teaches us that we are
not only built upon a foundation, but that we are also built up as a wall.
Remember the wall is the protection for the city and the higher and thicker it
is the more protection it provides for the city. The wall consists of the Lord's
obedient disciples. According to Col. 2:7 we are to be "rooted and built up
in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein
with thanksgiving." The stronger each member is, the stronger the whole wall
"And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city,
and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth
foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city
with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the
height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred
and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the
attention is invited to our previous discussion in chapter 11 about the reed:
11:1 "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood,
saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that
worship therein." We concluded that the measuring reed by which we are to
measure things is the scripture and it is a perfect measuring instrument. The
above things to be measured are the city, the gates, and the wall of the city.
We are told
that the city lieth foursquare, with the length as large as the breath. There
are several things in the scripture that are described as being foursquare:
1. Ex. 27:1 "And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long,
and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof
shall be three cubits."
2. Ex. 28:16 "Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the
length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof."
3. Ex. 30:2 "A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth
thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the
horns thereof shall be of the same."
4. Ex. 37:25 "And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it
was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits
was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same."
5. Ex. 38:1 "And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood: five
cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was
foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof."
6. Ex. 39:9 "It was foursquare; they made the breastplate double: a span was
the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof, being doubled."
7. Ezek. 40:47 "So he measured the court, an hundred cubits long, and an
hundred cubits broad, foursquare; and the altar that was before the house."
8. Ezek. 48:20 "All the oblation shall be five and twenty thousand by five
and twenty thousand: ye shall offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the
possession of the city."
9. Rev. 21:16 "And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as
the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.
The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal."
that all of the above share is that there was an object in the middle and the
container of that object was foursquare about the object. In Examples #1 and #5,
the object is the sacrifice, and the container is the brazen altar which is
foursquare. In Examples #2 and #6 the object is the twelve stones with the names
of the twelve tribes of Israel, representing the entirety of Israel, and the
container is the breastplate of judgment which is foursquare.
In Example #3 the object is the prayers of the saints (see Rev. chapter 8) and
the container is the incense altar which is foursquare.
In Example #7 the people is the object and the container is the court which is
In Example #8 the holy oblation is the object with the land on which it is
offered being the container which is foursquare.
Example #9 which is our subject would have as its object the people within the
city. The border of the city, which surrounds the people of the city, is the
container which is foursquare.
is foursquare implies perfection in building. It is extremely rare if not
impossible that a building can be built by man that is so exact as to have its
outside measurements exactly the same and the angles of the square to be exactly
90 degrees. Yet that which is foursquare implies such perfection. There is a
covenant set forth in the scriptures that has as its object the elect family of
God. Surrounding the elect family of God are four actions of God that are exact
in measurement. This covenant is set forth for us in Rom. 8:29-30: "For whom
he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his
Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did
predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified:
and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Please note that the people
that God foreknew or chose before the foundation of the world are surrounded by
four actions of God. They are predestinated, called, justified, and glorified by
God. The dimensions are exactly the same. The exact same ones that are
predestinated are also called and are also justified and are also glorified by
God. There is neither addition or subtraction of a single one. This is a perfect
measurement. Thus, the city lies foursquare and the length is as large as the
breath. All four measurements are equal in length.
"He measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs." Your
attention is invited back to chapter 7 where we identified the number "twelve
thousand." The number twelve thousand is associated with an army. The
inhabitants of the city (church) make up the militant army of God. The militant
army of God is housed in the city (visible church) of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the army that follows the Lamb upon white horses. The other part of the
measurement of the city is depicted by the term "furlongs." A furlong is a race
course. Each of the "twelve thousand" depicting the army of God has a race to
run: Heb. 12:1 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a
cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the
joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set
down at the right hand of the throne of God." As the army of God and as
those who make up the bride, the Lamb's wife, we are to run the race of faith
with patience, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to
the measure of a man, that is, of the angel." According to Ephesians chapter
2 God's people are the building of the city and thus of the wall. The wall is
measure as an hundred and forty and four cubits. The number "hundred and
forty and four" invites us back to the use of that number in Rev. 7:4; 14:1;
and 14:3. In those previous instances the one hundred and forty and four were
pointing us to the elect family of God. Thus God's people form the wall of the
city. This measure is proclaimed to us thru the preaching of the gospel of the
Lord Jesus Christ. The preacher is the "angel" or messenger to the church.