New Jerusalem Questions



Dr. John Hoole – Nov. 16, 2014





QUESTION #1:   Can the New Jerusalem hold all the believers who have ever lived?


This is a questions I am often asked about the New Jerusalem.  And, if all children who die before the age of accountability, go to heaven, we must be sure not to leave them out.  And we must include all aborted babies as well.


Before attempting to see if someone has actually tried to calculate this number, I tried to do this on a napkin while eating lunch at SouthCenter.


How many of you have heard, in some form or other, the statement ”more than 50% of all the people that have ever lived are alive right now!”  Don’t you believe it.  It is nowhere close.


I tried to take these variables into account:


                   •  Estimated birth rate and longevity after Adam

                   •  The population dropped to 8 after the flood

                   •  Estimated birth rate and longevity after the flood and Noah

                   •  Estimated birth rate and longevity after Abraham

                   •  Estimated birth rate at the time of Christ

                   •  Current birth rate

                   •  The length of humans on this earth is approx. 6,000 years.


With these assumptions, I estimated the total number of people who have every lived.  The number, using this non-scientific calculation, was 48 - 50 billion.


When I arrived home, I did a search on the internet.  I put in the question, “How many people have lived on earth?” into the search box.  I received back 196 web pages.  Very few of them had any credible data.


The first credible one, taking in some of the same factors I had estimated, came up with a little over 100 billion people.  But this estimate assumed mankind had been on the earth at least 50,000 years, and gave no allowance for the flood.  Because of that, nearly 50% of the people lived before Christ.


Another web site was more scientific in its approach, although any estimate of this number is just that, an estimate with many variable.  They also went back more than 50,000 years, but had broken it up into smaller chunks.  So taking the pieces going back to 6000 years ago, gave an estimate of 49 billion.  I read another, which came in at 51 billion.


So now the assignment is:  Can a significant portion of this many people live in the New Jerusalem?  Again, certain assumptions have to be used.  There could be any number of estimates, based on differing assumption.  The assumptions I used in one scenario are these.


         •  Each of the floors, or levels, of the New Jerusalem are 1,000 feet apart.


         •  Each person in heaven is given 100 acres where their mansion is located.


         •  The New Jerusalem is in the shape of a cube.


Our first calculation is to determined how many layers, assuming each was separated by 1,000 feet.  1,500 miles high by 5,280 feet per mile, divided by 1,000 feet per level = 7,920 floors.  Taking 1,500 miles wide times 1,500 mile long, times 640 acres per square mile,  = 1,440,000,000 acres on each level (floor).  Divide that by 100 acres per person gives 14.4 million dwelling places per floor.  7,920 floors times 14.4 million dwelling places per floor = 114,048,000.000  dwelling places.


I would guess this number is really on the low side.  I can’t see us living with that much distance between us.  We are going to want to be near each other.  Others Christians have calculated there will be room for 20,000 times the entire population that has every lived on earth.  Oh, by the way, if the shape of the city is a pyramid, the resultant number is exactly one-third that of a cube.


The bottom line is, there is plenty of room in our eternal city for all the people who have loved God.  To say the least, the size and description of our eternal home is astonishing.  Gold, for which men have sacrificed their lives,…the most coveted treasure among nations will be commonplace in God’s city.  People will walk on it.  Precious pearls, once the most valuable of adornments, will be so large that one of them will enhance the beauty of every entrance.


These details emphasize the fact that the greatest valuables on earth are insignificant when compared with God’s treasures.  Considering the glorious wonder, complexity, and beauty of this earth, which the lord created in 6 days, can our minds even comprehend what must be the glory of the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, which our Lord has been creating over the last 2,000 years.


QUESTION #2:   Who will inhabit the New Earth for Eternity?


In our last few lessons on the New Earth and the New Jerusalem, some of you have asked me who will live on the new earth in eternity.  Sometimes your questions were asked in the following manner:  “If the body of Christ is going to live in the New Jerusalem, who will live on the New Earth?  Let me begin with a Passage from Revelation 21 that solicited your questions.


Revelation 21:24-27 NKJV


24     And 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.

25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).

26     And 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.


What is the identity of the people who will be living upon the New Earth?  The mention of “nations” in this passage has led some to think we must be talking about the Millennium.  Others say it must represent information inserted here, but pointing back to the time of Christ’s reign.  Still others have proposed there will be mortals living and having children.  I think it is more proper to take it as speaking of the “eternal state” because of significant differences between the heavenly New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 and the earthly Jerusalem of the Millennium, as described in Ezekiel 40-48.  Also, verse 24 specifies these nations are “of those who are saved.”


Again, I ask, Who are those who will live eternally on the New Earth.  Keep in mind there are some things God has chosen not to unveil to us.  In Deuteronomy 29:29, we read:


29     The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.


What I am about to present to you cannot be taken by me to be dogmatic and absolutely true.  But I would not present it if I didn’t think there was some credible Scriptural backing.  Nevertheless, it is only a theory.


A possible clue is given twice in the passage we have read in Revelation 21.  We are told the nations on the New Earth will conduct their lives by the light of the New Jerusalem.  We are also taught that the kings of these nations on the New earth will bring their glory into the New Jerusalem (verse 24).  Again, in verse 26, we are told “they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.”


The first key word is that which is translated “nations.”  In Verse 24, the Greek is ETHNEE, and in Verse 26, the Greek is ETHNOWN.  The root Greek word for both is ETHNOS,  We derive our English word “Ethnic” from the Greek.  The word is speaking of various national or familial groups or entities.  In the writings of the apostle Paul, this word is translated 47 times as “Gentiles.”  It always represents non-Jewish groups of people.


This may cause some to ask, “Does that mean those in the Church who are not Jewish will live on the earth and not in the New Jerusalem?  No, I don’t mean that at all.  The Bible speaks of 3 groups of people.  We find this in Paul’s first letter to the congregation at Corinth.


1 Cor 10:32 NKJV


32     Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Gentiles or to the church of God,


                   We should not confuse these three.


When God called Abraham to begin a nation, Abraham became the first Hebrew, and his children became the Jews, or Israelites.  This family will continue to be a distinct entity through the rest of history.


The church is the Body of Christ, which began on the Day of Pentecost, and they will go to heaven in the Rapture.  The makeup of he Church is different from both Jews and Gentiles, although both Jews and Gentiles can become part of the Church today.


God has a clear prophetic plan for all three – Jews, Gentiles and the Church.  There is a distinction between the saved Jews of the Church and the righteous Jews of Old Testament Israel.  The term, “Church of God,” can be applied legitimately only to the Church birthed on the Day of Pentecost until the Rapture of the Church, but not applied to Old Testament Israel.  The Old Testament Israel and the Church are not essentially the same.  That means they will be resurrected at a different time than the Church.


Some Bible commentaries who speak about the New Earth write that its residents are Gentiles.  They could be righteous Gentiles who are not part of the Church or Israel.  We know the inhabitants of the New Earth will be godly from the writing of the apostle Peter.


2 Peter 3:13 NKJV


13     Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.


                   Only righteous people will dwell on the New Earth.


We should not think those living on the New Earth are a lower class than those living in the New Jerusalem.  They have been redeemed and made righteous.


Before leaving this topic, let me give an additional piece of information.  When we studied what the Bible has to say about the Millennium – the Reign of Christ, we did not address what happened to the people living on the earth at the end of the 1,000 years.


According to Revelation 20:7-10, we are told:


7       Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison,

8       and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.

9       They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

10     The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.


Many people who have lived during the Millennium from the nations will be deceived, and follow the released Satan in trying to destroy the earthly Jerusalem.  But a great number – maybe most – will not be deceived.  We are told what happens to deceived humans at this time – Fire from heaven consumes them.  We are not however told what happens to those not deceived by Satan at this time.  Are they given new bodies like what happened to Church believers alive at the Rapture?  Are they the Gentiles that will populate the New Earth?  Are they taken off the earth so Christ can renovate it into the New Earth?


Again, I cannot be dogmatic about who will populate the New Earth.  Maybe I have given you something for you to consider, and maybe through your own study, put together a more tenable argument.


I have one more thing to say about the leaders of those who live on the New Earth.


Revelation 21:24 NKJV


24     And 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.


This passages speaks of kings, who would bring something when they enter the New Jerusalem.  We are told some of what they are to bring, but that is not what I want to focus on.  I want to address the fact that when they do come, they bring something.  This is what should happen any time we come to God.  In fact, the Bible tells us this instruction started early in the Old Testament.


Deuteronomy 16:16 NKJV


16     Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.


Jewish men were required to travel to Jerusalem on three annual feast celebrations.


         The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins the day following the Passover and last 7 days.


         The Feast of Weeks is also called the Feast of Pentecost, occurring 50 days after the Resurrection.


         The Feast of Tabernacles – called Sukkot – the last of 7 annual feasts in the Old Testament.


They were instructed that when they arrived for the feast, they were never to come empty-handed.  When they appeared before the Lord, they were to make a sacrifice at the temple.  Exodus 23:15 gives the same instruction – “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.”  That is good instruction for us today.


Here are some things we must bring when we come before God”


•  To worship God, man presents his body as a living sacrifice – Romans 12:1.


•  We must bring a continual sacrifice of praise – Jeremiah 33:11 and Hebrews 13:5.


Only with empty hands can we receive anything from God.  But since we did not come with empty hand, we must first give God what is in our hands. That is, our burdens, our sins, our tithes and offerings.  Then, we are ready to receive anything from Him.