Beginning of the New Jerusalem

Being a city produced by the divine work, New Jerusalem is an ideal place of the Earth where all humanity would live in harmony and where justice and fraternity, wisdom and generosity, and peace and prosperity would reign. This holy city is therefore associated with the promised land and the rebuilding of the Temple. The New Jerusalem originates from the Christian tradition. Although the prophets of the Old Testament, such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah, had already anticipated the ideal city, the term of the "New Jerusalem," as such, appeared for the first time in the book of Revelation, which evokes Christian eschatology.

Book of Isaiah

The book of Isaiah covers the period between the eighth century B.C. and the fifth century B.C. (historical dating). Isaiah had anticipated the restoration of the new city after the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem.

“Afflicted city lashed by storms and not comforted. I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.” (Isaiah 54 : 11-12 )

“In righteousness, you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.” (Isaiah 54: 14)

“No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.” (Isaiah 60: 18)

Book of Ezekiel

The book of Ezekiel covers the period between the sixth century B.C. and the third century B.C. (historical dating). The book describes in detail how the Temple should be built in the ideal city: its measure, its decoration, its rooms, its gates, etc.

“These will be the exits of the city: Beginning on the north side, which is 4,500 cubits long, the gates of the city will be named after the tribes of Israel. The three gates on the north side will be the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah and the gate of Levi. On the east side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin and the gate of Dan. On the south side, which measures 4,500 cubits, will be three gates: the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar and the gate of Zebulun. On the west side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher and the gate of Naphtali. The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on will be: The Lord is there.” (Ezekiel 48: 30-35)

Book of Zechariah

The book of Zechariah covers the period between the fourth century B.C. and the second century B.C. (historical dating). The book widens the idea about the Temple of Ezekiel. Because after the construction of the Second Temple (516 B.C.), there was no rampart to defend the city until 445 B.C. The book begins to mention the wall of fire to protect the city and its populations.

“[…] and said to him: Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.” (Zechariah 2: 4-5)

Considering that the book of Zechariah covers the period after the construction of the Second Temple, we can observe the progression of thought on New Jerusalem through the book. While the book of Ezekiel focuses on the act of human being about the construction of the Temple, that of Zachariah changes the focus to the intervention of God in the construction of the Temple.