The New City

Open Your Bible

Ezekiel 48:1-35, Zechariah 2:10, Revelation 21:3, Revelation 21:10-22

I’m from a small town in Indiana where cornfields and railroad tracks are the distinguishing features. I’ve lived in a few, much bigger places since then, but one thing I’ve learned for certain: I’m not a big city girl. I prefer wide-open spaces over skyscrapers, trees to block the sun rather than buildings, and don’t even get me started about my love for cows over crowded city streets. It’s the familiarity that draws me in. I feel at home in the suburbs, and even more so in the country, the very places I’ve spent a lifetime growing accustomed to. 

As we draw to a close after six full, rich weeks of Ezekiel, we reach what many consider to be the climax: the new city. In this final chapter, Ezekiel describes God’s promise for His people’s return to the restored land, the very place they had been exiled from. Alongside Ezekiel, Revelation 21 details John’s strikingly similar vision—a fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy made over 500 years before. 

Whereas Ezekiel’s vision centers on the use of the city, John’s pays careful attention to the makeup and architecture. The details, though they are enough to stop us in our tracks, are not the climax of these visions. In Ezekiel’s, the central location and focus of the city is the temple—the center of worship, the place of God’s presence. Yet as John, a Jewish man familiar with the temple’s importance, looked for the temple in his vision, he couldn’t find it—because “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:22). The temple has been replaced—God’s presence has overtaken the city.

Whether it’s crowded city streets or a calm countryside, it’s easy to feel at home in what’s familiar. While it will appear more brilliant and unique than anything we have experienced, this new city won’t be entirely new to us. More important than all its stunning features, this city will be the home we were always intended for—the very presence of God.

“The name of the city from that day on will be The LORD Is There.” —Ezekiel 48:35 

For the exiles who had witnessed the departure of God’s presence (Ezekiel 10–11), the hope of this new city brought the security of His presence forever. As a people living in between Jesus’s first and second coming, it can be easy to read this prophecy assuming its hope doesn’t translate. After all, we still live in the broken cities of this world. It’s here, in the in-between, that we get to join John in looking to the very city in his vision. This Lenten season, because of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, we can cling to the hope that we will one day be home forever. This is the hope secured in Christ that we will read about this Holy Week.

 The book of Ezekiel has reminded me that what’s most important is not whether God’s eternal kingdom looks more like a bustling city or a quiet countryside; what I desire is the presence of God—that’s where we were meant to feel at home.

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32 thoughts on "The New City"

  1. Morgan Latham says:

    I was reminded of an excerpt from Psalms. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalms‬ ‭23:6‬ Then this lyric from a hymn came to mind: “What a day of rejoicing that will be.” I’m looking forward to it!

  2. Leigh Gorham says:

    The name of the city shall be, The Lord is There. How magnificent! The Hebrew pronunciation for the city’s name is [yeh-ho-vaw’][shawm]. (Accent on the ‘vaw’). What a beautiful truth. His very physical presence is our holy space. Forevermore. ❤️

  3. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    “…and the name of the city from that day on will be YHWH SHAMMAY” (Yahweh is here). Ezekiel 48:35. We are being gathered by our Father’s hands. He is restoring us, healing us, preparing us as His bride. The flowers are blooming, the candles are glowing, the scene is being set each new day. The joyful expectation of a restored land anchors my hope today. “Sing and rejoice O daughter of Zion, for behold, I am coming, I will dwell in your midst.” Zechariah 2:10.
    God is in His glory, He is with us now. And He is coming for us here. Right now, where the pain is, where the questions seem unanswered, where fear tempts, where loneliness tries to swallow us. He is coming to rescue us from all of it. Remember who I am. Remember Whose I am. I am a daughter of the one true God, the King. My inheritance far outweighs any trouble or affliction I experience now. Hard to imagine on some days, yet no less true. Comfort me here Lord, as I wait for Your return. And in the meantime, give me strength and peace that comes from the Word. Fall afresh on me. Maranatha.

  4. Benita Whittle says:

    What a beautiful ending to Ezekiel, “and the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord is There”. I can’t imagine what hope that must have given the people at Ezekiel’s time, when they witnessed the devastating lost of their home and destruction of the temple and thus gone was the explicit presence of God. Yet God promised to return and dwell with them again! And we have seen this because Jesus has become the true temple and one day we will see God face to face and dwell in the same city with him! Just amazing to see how promises from old still translate for us New Testament believers, this is the same God who is merciful and gracious to live us with, and let us be his people, and Him our God! Praise God!!

  5. Sarah D. says:

    Praise the Lord for Jesus, who came to dwell with us, so that we may have the hope and security of dwelling to forever with God in heaven! Thank you Lord for the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us. We are not alone.
    Thank you for your prayers sisters, yesterday went better as the day went on. I watched a message by Pastor Jonathan Pokluda who I am always encouraged by, and he described from the book of Job how we can stand FIRM against the enemy’s attacks.
    Fall into worship
    Identify good
    Resist sin
    Maintain hope.
    It was really helpful for me yesterday, and I’m definitely going to try praying a lot more when I start feeling anxious. God is with me, so I have access to him through prayer at all times!! Prayers still appreciated, praying for you all.

  6. Ally M says:

    My heart overflows with hope. We may not be home yet, but we will be someday. We will be with God forever. I also am just struck by the parallels in Ezekiel and Revelation- it’s so cool. God is SO GOOD!!!! I’m so thankful that we have the Bible so that we can learn more about Him and His plans. :)

  7. Searching says:

    The details in Ezekiel were difficult to read on some/many days but l have loved this study overall, gaining more understanding and thankfulness for the Lord’s patience, love, justice, relentless pursuit of me and so many more attributes, and as a reminder that God has a plan for each of us.

    Praying through my sisters’ requests and thankful for each of you.
    MARGARET W – praying for you (and Henry) as you both heal. The things you shared that brought you to your decision reminded me of this (can’t remember where I first saw it) – when we are trying to decide what is the right choice/decision, deep in our hearts we usually already know what we should do. Since many times the right thing is the also the most painful route, we look for an alternative thinking that something close to the right thing might be acceptable. Thankful for the Lord’s guidance and wisdom when we are faced with these situations.

    Praying also for SARAH D, K SWENSON, JENN and RHONDA J. Also for Muslims and other groups to know the one true God, and especially for the people of Ukraine in their unimaginable suffering.


  8. Laura says:

    Jenn Taylor – Praying for you this morning. What a trauma you and your fellow missionaries have experienced. My family lived as missionaries as well, and experienced some things that could have discouraged us and sent us packing home. Our home was robbed in the middle of the night while our young children were sleeping. Our son woke up and caught the intruders. Our vehicle was totaled 2 weeks after arriving in country. Muggings, sickness, miscarriage, the list continued. A friend said to us, “Either you are way outside of the Lord’s will, or you are doing exactly what God wants you to do and Satan doesn’t like it.” We knew that it was the Enemy and we did not waver on our calling, even though it was so hard sometimes. But God carried us through in so many ways, kept us safe (everything that was lost was replaceable), and He blessed us and the ministry in so many ways. I am so sorry for what you and your ministry partners are going through. It is not easy. Keep trusting in the Lord that He will sustain you and continue to use you. Satan doesn’t like when we do the Lord’s work, but God is the victor here, He is the stronger one, and so we can rest in His protection and His provision. Blessings to you today.