Heb. 11:10 For he eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.
Rev. 21:2 And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
The New Jerusalem is designed and constructed by God. Speaking of Abraham, Hebrews 11:10 says, “He eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.” The Greek word for architect in this verse can also be translated either “builder” or “artificer.” This indicates that God is a skillful designer and a top craftsman. As such an Architect and Builder, God certainly has not designed and built a physical city.
Ephesians 2:10 reveals that the church is God’s masterpiece. The Greek word for masterpiece, poiema, means something which has been written or composed as a poem. Poetry expresses the writer’s wisdom. Through the church as a poem written by Him God makes known His multifarious wisdom (Eph. 3:10). The New Jerusalem, as the ultimate consummation of the church, will be full of wisdom. God designed the New Jerusalem with His wisdom, and this city will display His wisdom for eternity. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, p. 2029)
To say that the New Jerusalem is a physical city depreciates God’s wisdom and belittles Him as the eternal, wise Architect. If we realize that the New Jerusalem is a sign which signifies spiritual and divine things, we shall begin to see the wisdom of God in this city. God is a wise Designer and Craftsman who designs such a city to be a full manifestation of His multifarious wisdom. Furthermore, in His wisdom God constructs the New Jerusalem by dispensing Himself as the Architect and Builder into our being.
God’s design is revealed in the book of Ephesians…. In chapters 1 and 3 Paul speaks of God’s economy, which is God’s plan with a design. Surely, God has not designed a material city, and He has no intention of building a material city. God has designed and built a spiritual entity for His corporate expression.
The city of the living God was seen from afar, longed after, and waited for by the Old Testament saints (Heb. 11:13b, 16a, 10a)…. [Abraham] sojourned in the land of promise as a pilgrim, even as an exile and an expatriate, longing after a better country, a heavenly one (Heb. 11:16). Isaac and Jacob followed him in the same steps, living on earth as strangers and sojourners and waiting for the God-built city of foundations.
In eternity past the Triune God made a plan, and throughout the centuries He has been carrying out His economy. The Son came through incarnation, lived on earth for thirty-three and a half years, died on the cross, was resurrected, and then ascended. Since His ascension, the Spirit has been working out many wonderful things. Surely, as the conclusion of all this, God will not build a material city for His redeemed people to live in. The New Jerusalem is a city, but it is not a physical, material city.
Hebrews 11:10 indicates that God is the Architect and the Builder of the New Jerusalem….This is “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22), “the Jerusalem above” (Gal. 4:26), “the holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2; 3:12), which God has prepared for His people (Heb. 11:16), and the tabernacle of God in which God will dwell with men for eternity (Rev. 21:3). As the patriarchs waited for this city, so we also seek it (Heb. 13:14).
Consider the New Jerusalem as it is revealed in the New Testament. Who other than God is capable of designing such a city? Only God as the supreme Architect is able to design it. The New Jerusalem was designed by the eternal, divine Architect. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 2029, 2683, 56)
Further Reading: The Conclusion of the New Testament, msgs. 6, 9, 29, 45, 187, 190, 193, 256, 307, 337, 344