Revelation 21:16

16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

The description of the city is one of a cube.  This has often brought to the mind of the believer a city that is shaped like a cube.  Some have related this to an apartment building in which each believer would have a separate apartment that would be large and roomy.  This belief comes from an ultra-literal interpretation of the Bible.  It is difficult to match this interpretation with that of the continuity and context of the Bible.

The city’s length, width and height are all equal.  As such, the city is the shape of a cube.  Each measurement is 12,000 furlongs. Because it is a cube, there are 12 edges to the cube.  Total measurement is 144,000 furlongs.  144,000 is the same number that is found in Revelation 7:4 and Revelation 14:1.

4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

These are the ones that make up the best of the best of Messiah.  These are the ones that will eventually be part of the Bride of Messiah.

It is interesting that the city’s unit of measure is furlongs.  It is the Greek word stadion (G4712).  It is in the Bible six times.  It is translated furlong 5 times and race one time.  It is defined as a stade or certain measure of distance; by implication, a stadium or race-course.  A space or distance of about 600 feet, a race-course, a place where running contests were held, the one who reached the goal first received the prize.  Courses of this description were found in most large Greek cities, and were like that at Olympia.  It was thought to be approximately 600 Greek feet in length or possibly 625 feet.  The actual measurement is not of importance for the remainder of this discussion.

The first three uses of the Greek word stadion (G4712) refer to a distance, Luke 24:13, John 6:19 and John 11:18.

13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Yeshua walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.

18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

The fourth use of the Greek word stadion (G4712) is in 1 Corinthians 9:24.  It does not refer to a distance, but a race that is spiritual in nature.

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

In this use, Paul refers to a race that all believers are in.  Salvation itself is not compared to a race or competition.  However, all believers are in a race to be in the Bride of Messiah.  Whether a believer realizes it or not, their spiritual life in Messiah will be judged.  Only the best will be in the bride, refer to 1 Corinthians 9:27  Prize is Not a Gift  and The Race for further clarification.  This is what Paul is referring to in 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

The fifth use of the word stadion (G4712) is in Revelation 14:20.

20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

This is referring to the Judgment During the Millennium.

The final use of stadion (G4712) is in Revelation 21:16.  Only those who measure up to the golden reed will be a part of the Bride.  Their works will be the best, because they did compete in the race.  They endured the struggle to a mature spiritual life.  They will be a part of the city New Jerusalem.

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