The New Jerusalem that John saw according to the book of Revelation was seen coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed with God's glory. Later on in the chapter, verse 18 precisely, it was laid out in pure gold and had foundations adorned with precious stones.
The New Jerusalem was seen in this form because, firstly it is the way in which the vision was revealed to John—through the means of figures and representatives, so that John could describe the vision to people with material things that they can seen for better understanding.
Secondly, the New Jerusalem appeared as city of pure gold, with gates of pearl and foundations of precious gems because a temple offers and presents an image of the Lord's divine nature(John 2:19,21), and every feature of the temple was a prototype of the nature of the Lord, even as Moses too had been commanded to build the Tabernacle according to the image of heaven (Exodus 25:40).
Moreso, the New Jerusalem refers to the church that was going to be founded, as the it is said to John, that, "I saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband". (Revelation 21:2). The church is the body of Christ, as Ephesians 5 has describe it.
Therefore, the twelve gates are the Truths that lead to what is good, and the foundations are the Truths on which it is based. The more reason why the twelve tribes of Israel represent the Old Covenant through which all the messages of the church have been revealed, and the teachings of the twelve apostles represent the foundational truths for the New Jerusalem, the New Church.
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