9 ¶ Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
10 And he 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 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.
12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.
13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
An angel spoke to John, saying, , “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” From this point John is taken to a great and high mountain, and shown the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. The holy city, Jerusalem, IS the bride. The great and high mountain is the realm of Zion, from which the bride ascends. From verse 11 onward John begins to describe what he saw. Like the rest of the book of Revelation, what John sees are symbols of spiritual realities. Coming down out of heaven is indicative of descending from a higher spirit realm into the lower earthly realms to be manifested. Thus, every eye shall see Him. Verses 11-14 are describing the diversity of Zion, for the holy city, Jerusalem, is both a realm in God, and the Bride. Zion is also indicative of sons. These titles are all interchangeable.
Zion, or the Bride, has a great and high wall. Among other things, the wall represents inaccessibility except through its gates. Zion has twelve gates, with three gates on the North, three on the South, three on the East, and three on the West. At the twelve gates are twelve angels, which symbolize divine protection. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel are written upon the gates. The gates are types of God’s sons, each one giving access into the city. The names of the twelve tribes upon the gates is symbolic of the diversity of the ministry of Zion. When God led Israel out of Egypt, each of the Tribes was unique. When they camped, it was according to divine instruction.
1 ¶ Now the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
2 “The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ households; they shall camp around the tent of meeting at a distance.
As you read through the rest of the second chapter of Numbers, you see how three tribes each camped on the north, south, east and west of the Tent of Meeting, which is where the presence of the Lord was manifested. If you do the research, you see will how each tribe had unique prophecies over it. Each tribe had a unique function. Twelve tribes, diverse in their function, yet making up Israel as a whole.
John says that the city has twelve foundation stones, and on them are the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This too is symbolizing the uniqueness of ministry. The twelve apostles did not all travel and minister together. They each ministered within the sphere God had apportioned them. The names of the 12 apostles also symbolize the authority of Christ Himself as He is the one true apostle, being called the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Heb. 3:1).
The ministry of Zion is like a jeweler displaying the many facets of a beautiful diamond. While each facet is unique, it is still one diamond. The one common thread that runs through all of Zion’s diversity is that it is the same revelation of Jesus Christ being revealed. It is one Spirit that flows out of Zion, which is symbolized by the River of the Water of Life flowing from the throne in the midst of Zion. “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street.”
In Rev. 22 John is told not to seal up the words of the prophecy. This means we have access to understand the unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation begins with these verses:
1 ¶ The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
3 ¶ Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
The revelation of Jesus Christ is revealed to bond servants. John calls himself a bond servant. The revelation of Jesus Christ is not revealed to the casual seeker. All of Zion opens to those who diligently seek Him.