Q. Where do we find in scripture that the celestial New Jerusalem is for the Church? The 12 gates are named for the 12 tribes of Israel and the foundation stones are the same as the stones on the High Priest’s breast plate.
A. Read the whole description. Rev. 21:14 says the city has 12 foundations named for the 12 apostles of the Lamb. Rev. 21:21 says each gate was made of a single pearl. Oysters are not kosher, so pearls were not valued by Israel. And yet the city was designed to be of inestimable value to its occupants.
Pearls are uniquely symbolic of the Church. They’re both formed by a living organism, they both grow in response to irritation, and they’re both removed from their natural habitat to be set apart as an object of adornment.
Rev. 21:27 says, “Nothing impure will ever enter it nor anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” That phrase is never used in reference to Israel, only the Church.
The references to Israel in the New Jerusalem’s construction should not be surprising. The Church was birthed out of Israel. Our bridegroom is Israel’s Messiah. But Israel’s prophetic destiny is not in the celestial Jerusalem. It’s in the Promised Land on Earth (Ezekiel 43:1-7).