“1Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea, 2Then I, John, saw the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
“3And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the TABERNACLE OF GOD is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
“4And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death’ nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev, 21:1-4).
“22But I saw NO TEMPLE IN IT, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb ARE ITS TEMPLE. 23The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it The Lamb is its light 24And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.
“25Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE.” (Rev, 21:22-27).
The unseen realm of the Kingdom the NEW JERUSALEM is the heavenly home of all of God’s people for eternity. It is where God Himself is headquartered. It is where every believer has personal access to Christ in His presence. It is a better, heavenly country for all born-again saints, who are all holy and righteous in Christ. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared the NEW JERUSALEM city for them to be with Him for eternity (Heb. 11:16).
All born-again believers going forward in human history continually enter spiritually through the open gates of the NEW JERUSALEM city. This is positionally or relationally now in Christ while they are alive on this earth, but it is not fully realized for each believer until their death, when they put-on their new immortal bodies and live with Christ forever in heavenly realm of the NEW JERUSALEM.
All living Christians are now in the seen realm of the one eternal spiritual Kingdom. The seen realm of the New Jerusalem, the city of God, the assembly and church of the first born, the Church, Hebrews 12:22-28. The Jerusalem which is above, Gal. 4:26, is free, the mother of us all. The New Jerusalem descended down with Christ at His Parousia in AD 66-70 (Rev. 21:1-2; Ezek. 37:26-28), and both the seen and unseen realms of His one eternal Kingdom have been reunited (Eph. 1:10). The New Jerusalem represents every professing Christian which submits to the will of Christ, the sole lawgiver. Those who reside in the seen realm of the New Jerusalem have received the promise made to Abraham; they are children and grandchildren, etc of Sarah, 1 Pet. 3:6, and they will reign in the earthly seen realm of the spiritual Kingdom with Christ until they leave this world and then enter into the heavenly unseen realm of the Kingdom to spend all of eternity in heaven with Christ.
[Key note from Ed Stevens] – In regard to the New Jerusalem coming down in Revelation 21, we need to think cosmologically (Refer to eschatology Study Series 7 Lesson 3b pages 8-26 for an in depth study into the cosmology of the Bible). How do we describe the things that are in the UNSEEN realm before and after AD 70? The New Jerusalem did NOT leave the UNSEEN (spiritual) realm and come into the SEEN (physical) realm at AD 70. It remained in the UNSEEN realm, it is just in a different location in the UNSEEN realm. Before AD 70 it was above in the highest heaven with God, separated from us and unavailable to us until Christ made atonement for our sins. Then at AD 70 it was brought down in the UNSEEN realm, so that it is now available to us and we are no longer separated from it, and God now dwells among us in His UNSEEN Eternal Kingdom realm. Believers in the church are the visible realm on earth of the one Eternal Kingdom. The one Eternal Kingdom consists of both the visible (church) and invisible (heavenly) realms. Our citizenship is in the heavenly UNSEEN realm (Phil. 3:20. Also see Heb. 12:21-22), and when we are in Christ, we have the right to enter into that heavenly city immediately after our physical death.
However, there is an earthly aspect to the New Jerusalem, as well as a heavenly one. It is not an either/or scenario (i.e., “only in heaven” or “only on earth”). It is a both/and situation.
It is important for us to remember that Revelation 21-22 is discussing things “after” the creation of the new heavens and earth. These chapters are interspersed with things of both the seen and unseen realms, and we need to correctly interpret which things are being spoken of which realm.
See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:
Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 3b Matt. 16:27-28 (sub study on “Heaven and Earth”)”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 9 Rev. Chapter 21”]