Chester is a university city in the north of England, close to the Welsh border. It is popular with tourists who love its quaint mediaeval buildings. Indeed it has a long history, with records of a Roman fort built there as early as the 1st century AD. King Arthur and King Alfred also have associations in the area. One of its more recent claims to fame is as the birthplace of actor Daniel Craig, better known as Special Agent 007!
Chester is renowned for the almost perfectly preserved city walls which surround the old town area. Romans, Saxons, Normans and James Bond have all come and gone but these walls remain.
One of the images of the age to come given by Christ to His apostle John in Revelation 21 and 22 is of a city, the ‘new’ Jerusalem. Some people may think of modern cities in terms of noise, overcrowding and traffic jams, but this city is described in ideal terms – spacious with firm foundations, strong walls and ever open gates. In other words safe and secure with room for everyone!
It appears to be made from gold and precious gems. Put simply, it is more than well-supplied and outstandingly beautiful!
No more evicted or homeless, no more poverty or threat, no more crying or sorrow or pain for God’s people, for death itself has passed away!
Well has the hymn-writer put it:
‘Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion city of our God;
He whose word cannot be broken
Formed thee for His own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou mayst smile at all thy foes.
Saviour, if of Zion’s city
I, through grace, a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy name.
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show;
Solid joys and lasting treasure
None but Zion’s children know.’
(John Newton, 1725-1807)