The great vision of the New Jerusalem at the end of the Book of Revelation is a vision of ultimate beauty (Rev. 21–22). The word beauty doesn’t occur much in the Bible, but the celebration of creation all the way from Genesis, through the Psalms and prophets, on into the Gospels, and here in Revelation, should alert us to the fact that, though the ancient Jewish people did not theorize about beauty like the Greeks did, they knew a great deal about it and poured their rich aesthetic sensibility not only into poetry but also into one building in particular: the temple in Jerusalem, whose legendary beauty inspired poets, musicians, and dancers alike.

This city is not a place of retreat from a wicked world. Its new life is poured out into the whole world, to refresh and heal it.