5/24/10 The angel measures the city. The measuring of the temple in other instances is an evaluation of the spiritual integrity of the people. Measuring appears to suggest not so much the idea of dimensions for the sake of actual measurement but for the purpose of illustration. The holy city is massive. Whether or not the dimensions are literal is debated, but it’s clear that the measurements illustrate both perfection and adequacy to contain all of God’s people.
The city is a square about 1,300 plus miles either on a side or in circumference. It’s also as tall as wide, though the text is unclear whether the entire city appears as a cube or the highest pinnacle reaches to that height.
John sees the city with a high wall, which is what he would have understood. However, it’s interesting to note that when Gog attacks in Ezekiel he attacks a people without walls for security. The holy city doesn’t need a security barrier, so if the wall is literal it is decorative. The gates are always open, after all.
The wall appeared to be like jasper and the city of pure, clear gold. The twelve foundations of the wall were made of different precious stones, which can’t really be identified with certainty. The possible parallel with the stones in the high priest’s breastplate seems to lead nowhere, but it’s still worth noting. In the end the description of the city may not need to be analyzed to death but considered mostly for its wow factor.