BY Paul Kocourek
Sometimes in the trials of everyday life, we need to take a step aside to gain perspective and to be encouraged.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).
This life comes into better focus when we consider our eternal home. This world in which we live in every day and what we see every day, will one day be changed by God. What we will live in then will be beyond anything we can imagine for God Himself will be the architect of our dwelling place. The Bible teaches we will one day live in a glorious city called the New Jerusalem. Its size is mind-boggling.
"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" (Revelation 21:16).
Now, for some arithmetic for the size of the New Jerusalem, take a peek at this:
Let's compute the size of the New Jerusalem. Some translators say the 12,000 furlongs are 1500 miles, others 1400 miles. Let's go with the lesser.
There are generally two geometric shapes that fit that description: a cube, and a pyramid. A pyramid has exactly 1/3 the volume of a cube. Let's go with a pyramid.
Its size, then, is 1400 miles x 1400 miles x 1400 miles x 1/3, which equals (in rounded numbers) 915,000,000 cubic miles.
Now, let's try and put that into perspective. A 2-1/2 bedroom apartment is about 30,000 cubic feet. Jesus said, in My Father's house are many mansions. So, for a figure to play with, let's assume that my mansion is 33 times larger than that apartment, giving me a mansion with 82-1/2 rooms, or about 1,000,000 (1 million) cubic feet.
How many mansions, at 1,000,000 cubic feet, will fit into the New Jerusalem?
Well, we have to convert from cubic miles to cubic feet. In one cubic mile, there are 5280 x 5280 x 5280, or 147,197,952,000 cubic feet. Now, when you multiple that many cubic feet times the cubic miles in the New Jerusalem as a pyramid, you get (take a breath here, folks!):
134 quintillion, 637 quadrillion, 60 trillion, 96 billion cubic feet (134,637,060,096,000,000,000 cubic feet).
Divide this by 1,000,000 cubic feet for EACH mansion, and you get:
That's 134 TRILLION, 637 BILLION, 60 MILLION, 96 THOUSAND mansions.
That's some serious real estate.
Even if every person who ever lived (say, 100 billion) were able to enter into the New Jerusalem to live there, it would be mostly empty space, with 0.0009% being used for the mansions we'd be living in, and 99.9991% unoccupied.
The largest home in America is the Biltmore Estate. Located near Asheville, North Carolina, America's largest privately owned home was built by George W. Vanderbilt, heir to the steamship and railroad tycoon, Cornelius Vanderbilt, his grandfather.
Consisting of 250 rooms and 175,000 square feet, the estate was opened on Christmas Eve in 1895 following nearly six years of construction. From the original 125,000 acres of property, about 87,000 acres were sold to the U.S. Government that is today part of Pisgah National Forest.
Some Quick Facts:
250 acres of landscaped gardens
Now, as impressive as the Biltmore Estate is, I suspect that God's idea of a mansion is a LOT bigger than my example of 1,000,000 cubic feet or even the Biltmore Estate. Let's say my heavenly mansion was 1000 times bigger than my 1,000,000 cubic feet example (at a mere 82.5 rooms), so that my mansion has 82,500 rooms (about 330 times the size of the Biltmore mansion!).
Then the New Jerusalem would still be about 99.1% unoccupied! This is assuming the New Jerusalem is a pyramid, not a cube. It should be noted that in the days of Moses, the Holy of Holies was a cube, so there is some possible support for the New Jerusalem being a cube; if so, then that would TRIPLE the number of mansions shown above!
How great is God, and how unsearchable His ways! As the Scripture says,
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
So when the trials and stress of this life start getting us down, let's remember that this life is not all there is, that we have a glorious future awaiting us that we can hardly even comprehend.
"Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.
There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful.' And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts" (Revelation 21:2).