Why does heaven have walls? (are the walls symbolic or literal?)

As a Christian, I take an interest in heaven-related topics since I have a wild imagination of what heaven is like and look forward to getting there. I was particularly interested in this topic after reading John’s vision in Revelation which describes the city of God called the New Jerusalem. Since the passage indicates that heaven has walls, I decided to conduct more research to learn more about this. Besides the Bible, I asked different theologians and religious leaders in churches more about the walls of heaven. So last month, as I was teaching my college students about John’s vision, one of them asked me whether the walls that John describes are symbolic or literal. Another wanted to know the purpose of the walls of heaven. Having gathered information from the Bible and theologians, I had all the right answers at my fingertips. So, why does heaven have walls?

Bible scholars suggest that the walls that John describes in Revelation 21 are symbolic. They are believed to be a display of the greatness of God. This is because they are described as high, and the dimensions are mentioned. They also imply that the walls demonstrate the riches of God since the walls are described to be adorned by all kinds of jewelry. The walls are also believed to indicate that every believer shall be safe in an eternal state.

In this article, I invite you to join me as we look at the walls of heaven. Keep reading to find out whether the Bible says that heaven has walls and gates, whether the walls are symbolic or literal, and much more!

Does the Bible say that heaven has walls and gates?

Yes. In Revelation 21, John describes his vision of the city of God, which he calls the New Jerusalem. This city of God descended from heaven, and he describes its exterior design, which includes walls and gates. According to his vision, the city of God has a great high wall and features twelve gates. He also says there are twelve angels at the gates, and each gate contains the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. On the other hand, the walls of the City of God are described as having twelve foundations, and the names of the twelve apostles of Jesus are on the walls. According to John, the material of its wall is jasper.

Bible verses about heaven having walls

Why does heaven have walls? 
Bible verses about heaven having walls. Image source: Pixabay

Though different Bible verses describe walls in ancient cities, heaven having walls is only mentioned in Revelation 21. This passage describes a holy city that descends from heaven. The wall is described as being made with expensive stone, including crystal clear jasper, while its foundation is adorned with different jewels like topaz, sapphire, and amethyst.

In Revelation 21:17-18, the dimensions of the walls are also given. John says that the wall is 144 cubits by human measurements. John also says that the walls of the city of God were measured using a rod of gold (Revelation 21:15)

Are the walls in heaven symbolic or literal?

Most Christians believe that the walls in heaven are symbolic. Christians believe that the walls of the new city symbolize the exclusion of the unworthy. Revelation 21:27 says that those unclean or unworthy will not have a chance to get past the walls of heaven. Only those whose names appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life will get past the walls.

Some Christians also imply that the walls in heaven are not literal but symbolize the beauty of God and his dwelling. On the other hand, some theologians argue that the New Jerusalem described as having walls is a material city with spiritual significance.

Why does heaven need walls and gates?

Since the walls in Revelation 21:12 are described as great and high; it indicates that the city of God is not a floating space. The angels at the gates are believed to serve God’s people and attend to his glory. According to theologians, the walls and gates are memorials of God’s work in his creation.

The gates are arranged in 3s and have 12 entry points. Theologians suggest that 3 symbolize the Trinity. Therefore they believe that this arrangement indicates that God is the creator of everything, including the New Heaven and Earth. On the other hand, the number 12 is believed to symbolize God ruling through the family of Israel.

This passage also states that twelve foundation stones anchor the wall. These stones have twelve names of the apostles of Jesus. The stones are believed to commemorate God’s relationship with the church. According to Ephesians 2:20, the apostles of the Lamb are the church’s foundation.

What is the purpose of the walls and gates of heaven described in the Bible?

are the walls symbolic or literal?
What is the purpose of the walls and gates of heaven? Image source: Pixabay

According to most Biblical scholars, the walls and gates of heaven indicate that the New Jerusalem will not only be occupied by the believers of the present age but also the saints of other ages, including those of the Old Testament.

The walls and gates of heaven are also believed to separate the believers from the non-believers. The description of the City of God, which includes walls and gates, gives us an idea of what the glorious future will be like and reminds us to trust in God so that we may see it. It also reminds us that when the end comes, there will be no more opportunity to repent and get past the walls and gates of heaven. The walls are also believed to communicate that every believer will be safe in an eternal state.

Additionally, since the size of the walls is mentioned in John’s vision, they display the greatness of God. Since the walls are adorned with all kinds of jewels, Christians believe that this demonstrates the riches of God. The walls are also used to symbolize beauty. This is because Revelation 21:2 says to a bride adorned for her husband. Therefore, the walls and gates indicate that believers who will dwell there will enjoy beautiful surroundings.

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