1. Revelation 21:2 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why is the New Jerusalem called “the holy city”?

Revelation 21:2 (ESV)

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

A “city,” in contrast to countryside or even village, denotes humanity-together, reflecting profound technological and social accomplishments. God’s command in the beginning had been that mankind be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:26–27). The fall into sin derailed that instruction (not least because people died). Yet the Lord was pleased to redeem an innumerable multitude (Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:1). Sin no longer alienates the people of this redeemed multitude from one another (Genesis 4:14; Genesis 11:8; Revelation 18:6, Revelation 18:13); instead, they live together, city-like. Its sense of togetherness, its harmony, sets this city aside as different from all previous cities in the history of the world; hence the use of the tag “holy” (= separate, unique, different). The city’s harmony is due, of course, to the presence of God in her midst.