Why Does Heaven Have Gates?

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The city [New Jerusalem] lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he [an angel] measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, one hundred forty-four cubits[i] by human measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.The Book of Revelation, chapter 21

I wish I could say that the title of this post originated with me, but no, it did not. I stole it from comedian Jim Gaffigan. I just finished watching Gaffigan do a comic routine on being Catholic. He said something funny about the “pearly gates” and then said with an inquisitive, somber look: “Why does heaven have gates? Is it in a rough neighborhood?”

Hilarious!

Why would an all-powerful, all-knowing creator god need gates (and walls)? What the hell is the Big Guy afraid of??

This story about heaven, the Creator God’s alleged home, found in the last book of the Christian Bible, is very revealing. Obviously, the author concocting/telling this story could not conceive of a city without gates and walls. In his day, all cities of any significance had gates and walls. This story is more evidence that the stories in the Bible come not from an all-knowing god, but from the irrational minds of superstitious human beings.

It is all a tall tale!

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End of post.

8 thoughts on “Why Does Heaven Have Gates?

  1. Maybe the gates are to keep out the next batch of revolutionaries after they’ve been kicked out some time in the infinite future. If Satan and some of the angels could be in heaven and God’s presence and yet still rebel, it’s not inconceivable that Christians in heaven some time in eternity will grow bored or decide God wasn’t quite what they thought, and cause trouble. Being in heaven and in God’s presence seems to be no guarantee of contentment.

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      1. Christopher Hitchens made the point that heaven is like an office party that you can never leave, and on top of that, the boss INSISTS that you have a good time.

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  2. The last book of the Bible mentions a city that descends from heaven, the “New Jerusalem: “And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth. . . . twelve thousand furlongs [about 1,500 miles, according to most commentaries, which is also the distance from the earthly city of Jerusalem to the city of Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire]. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal” (Revelation 21:16). Some Christians believe this is a literal city that shall descend from heaven, but wouldn’t a cube that size seesaw on the earth’s surface, since the earth is not flat, but a sphere? An object that massive would also trigger earthquakes, eruptions, and make a planet wobble on its axis. (Try gluing a small cafeteria-sized carton of milk to a large bowling ball and spin the bowling ball to see what I mean.) How could the New Jerusalem maintain its cubic shape since asteroids of far smaller widths collapse into sphere-shaped objects due to the force of their own gravity? And what would prevent the city, after it landed, from growing as wide and flat as any mountain range due to its mutual attraction with the earth’s gravity? The height of the New Jerusalem is so great that it would extend 1,300 miles further into space than the International Space Station (which is situated only 200 miles above the earth). The New Jerusalem would also block jet streams in the upper atmosphere and be pummeled by natural and manmade objects orbiting the earth, as well as by solar winds and radiation. If one happens to live in the New Jerusalem on a floor a few miles above sea level, I would not suggest opening your windows without first donning an oxygen mask, or better yet, a space suit.

    The author of the book of Revelation also wrote that the “twelve gates” of the New Jerusalem are “twelve pearls; every gate is of one pearl” (21:21), hence the slang expression for heaven, “the pearly gates.” But where can one find a “pearl” as large as a city gate? However, Christian apologist, Grant R. Jeffrey, turns all such questions on their heads, and asserts the literal truth of everything written in the Bible about the “New Jerusalem,” by asking, “What reason would God have for describing such details so precisely unless they were true?” [​Apocalypse: The Coming Judgment of the Nations (Toronto: Bantam Books, 1994), p. 351] But who knows whether it is ​God​ who is describing such details?

    The author of the book of Revelation probably envisioned the New Jerusalem as a cube because that was the shape of the holy of holies of Solomon’s temple—and he assumed this super massive cube did not have to travel light-years to get here, but would descend from God’s heaven directly above the earth and rest securely, as cubes do, on a flat surface, that of the flat earth. In a similar vein, the book of Revelation mentions that its author passed through a “door to heaven” (Revelation 4:1) and was shown things “in the spirit.” “I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth” (Revelation 7:1). Another verse in Revelation says that “every eye” will see Jesus when he returns from heaven to earth “on clouds” (Revelation 1:7). “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1).

    Final question: if the Bible begins and ends with a mythical view of the cosmos, then what other myths might not lay between its pages?

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    1. Yet there are those –to this day!– who believe the earth is FLAT so they have no problem with this. In fact, for them, this just confirms the validity of both their belief — AND the bible. SMH

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