Rev. 21:10 – He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal. (HCSB)
Arrayed with God’s glory
John sees the bride, the wife of the Lamb, coming down out of heaven from God, “arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal” (v. 11).
The most significant quality of the New Jerusalem is stated at the outset. It is the radiance of God, the sign of His visible presence. As in the burning bush, the pillar of fire by night, the Shekinah glory in the Holy of Holies, and the brilliance of Jesus’ presence on the mount of transfiguration, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.
The prophet Isaiah foretells the work of the divine warrior who penetrates the earth’s spiritual darkness (Isa. 59:17-21). As a result, Isaiah exults, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you” (Isa. 60:1).
The glory returns
In a similar fashion, Ezekiel sees the glory of God returning through the eastern gate of the temple, from which the glory had earlier departed. He describes it in Ezek. 43:2 in these terms: “I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice sounded like the roar of mighty waters, and the earth shone with His glory.”
God’s glory always is depicted as radiant or very bright. John seems to pick up the prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel and apply them to their ultimate fulfillment in the glorious return of Christ with His saints, and he compares the light proceeding from God to that of the jasper jewel.
In Rev. 4:2-3 John is “in the Spirit” and sees a throne set in heaven. The One seated on the throne looks like a jasper and carnelian stone. And now in Rev. 21:11 the bride has a similar radiance. What could be more perfect than the glory of God shining through His people?
Charles Swindoll writes that when John compares the brilliant glory of God to a jasper stone – the Greek word iaspis – he probably doesn’t mean the modern stone that comes in a variety of colors, but rather an unblemished, perfectly clear diamond that refracts the brilliant, blazing glory of God. “Nothing on earth begins to compare to what God has prepared for us, since any choice of words fails to capture the breathtaking intensity of His glory” (Insights on Revelation, p. 282).
Next: A massive high wall – Revelation 21:12