The prophecy is recorded by Ezekiel as having been received on Yom Kippur of the year 3372 of the Hebrew calendar. It will be inhabited by people to live eternally in spirit form, not everyone will reside in New Jerusalem, as most will possibly stay on Earth. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, the city is called the Heavenly Jerusalem. The Babylonian threat to the Kingdom of Judah began as the Babylonian Empire conquered Assyria, Jerusalem surrendered without major bloodshed to Babylon in 597. An Israelite uprising brought the destruction of Nebuchadnezzar’s army upon Jerusalem in 586 BCE, the entire city, including the First Temple, was burned. Israelite aristocrats were taken captive to Babylon, the Book of Ezekiel contains the first record of the New Jerusalem. Within Ezekiel 40-48, there is an extended and detailed description of the measurements of the Temple, its chambers, porticos, Ezekiel 48, 30-35 contains a list of twelve Temple gates named for Israel’s tribes. The Book of Zechariah expands upon Ezekiel’s New Jerusalem, after the Second Temple was built after the exile, Jerusalem’s population was only a few hundred. There were no city walls until 445 BCE. In the passage, the author writes about a city wall of fire to protect the enormous population and this text demonstrates the beginning of a progression of New Jerusalem thought. In Ezekiel, the focus is primarily on the act of Temple construction. In Zechariah, the focus shifts to God’s intercession in the founding of New Jerusalem, New Jerusalem is further extrapolated in Isaiah, where New Jerusalem is adorned with precious sapphires, jewels, and rubies. The city is described as a free from terror and full of righteousness. Here, Isaiah provides an example of Jewish apocalypticism, where a hope for a perfected Jerusalem, as the original New Jerusalem composition, Ezekiel functioned as a source for later works such as 4 Ezra,2 Baruch, Qumran documents, and the Book of Revelation. These texts used similar measurement language and expanded on the limited eschatological perspective in Ezekiel, Judaism sees the Messiah as a human male descendant of King David who will be anointed as the king of Israel and sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem. He will gather in the lost tribes of Israel, clarify unresolved issues of halakha, Zechariah prophesied that any family among the nations who does not appear in the Temple in Jerusalem for the festival of Sukkoth will have no rain that year. Isaiah prophesied that the rebuilt Temple will be a house of prayer for all nations, the city of YHWH Shamma, the new Jerusalem, will be the gathering point of the worlds nations, and will serve as the capital of the renewed Kingdom of Israel. Ezekiel prophesied that this city will have 12 gates, one gate for each of the tribes of Israel
John of Patmos watches the descent of New Jerusalem from God in a 14th century tapestry.
The New Jerusalem and the River of Life (Apocalypse XII), Beatus de Facundus, 1047
Folio 55r of the Bamberg Apocalypse depicts the angel showing John the New Jerusalem, with the Lamb of God at its center.
The angel measures the New Jerusalem with the rod or reed. Note the Lamb of God and the twelve sets of figures, gates, and stones.