Question from a reader:
Does Scripture say the New Jerusalem will really come down to the New Earth, or will it stay above earth’s surface? If it is directly on earth, wouldn’t it be too big and too heavy for the planet’s current size?
Answer from Stephanie Anderson, EPM staff:
About the New Jerusalem, Randy writes, “As resurrected people, we’ll live on the New Earth, not a non-earthly angelic realm for disembodied spirits. We’ll live in our resurrected bodies on a resurrected earth, where the resurrected Jesus will rule on the throne of the New Earth’s capital city, a resurrected Jerusalem.”
Scripture indicates that the city really will “come down,” not just hover over the New Earth, as the emphasis seems to be on God dwelling with His people, and there no longer being any separation between Earth and Heaven:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. . . . I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. . . . And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God’“ (Revelation 21:1-3).
About the city’s size, Randy writes:
A metropolis of this size in the middle of the United States would stretch from Canada to Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the California border. The New Jerusalem is all the square footage anyone could ask for.
Even more astounding is the city’s 1,400-mile height. Some people suggest this is the reach of the city’s tallest towers and spires, rising above buildings of lesser height. If so, some argue that it’s more like a pyramid than a cube.
About how the earth would accommodate such a city, Randy also writes:
Some argue, “But this city rises above the earth’s oxygen level.” Can’t God put oxygen fourteen hundred miles high on the New Earth if He wishes? Or can’t He make it so we don’t have to breathe oxygen? Such things are no problem for God.
Some argue that nothing could be that big. It would cover two-thirds of the continental United States. If the great pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China amaze you, imagine a city that extends five miles into the sky—let alone fourteen hundred miles! Envision the city disappearing into the clouds.
Some claim anything that big would weigh so much it would disrupt the earth’s orbit. Of course, the New Earth could be much bigger than the present one. In any case, issues of mass and gravity are child’s play to the Creator.
For further reading, see:Browse more resources on the topic of Heaven, and see Randy’s related books, including Heaven.