Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev22part12.mp3?type=podpage

 

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 12

 

1) And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2) in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3) and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4) and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5) and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6) Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the holy prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7) Lo, I come quickly. Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll'.

8) I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9) and it said to me, ‘see not. I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll. Bow to God'.

10) And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11) the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12) Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13) I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14) Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15) Without.... the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16) I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches. I AM David's root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17) The Spirit and the bride say ‘come'; and he who hears say ‘come'. He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18) I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19) and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20) He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly'. Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21) (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)

 

 

As I mentioned last Lord's Day, I'm going to finish commenting on the text today, and I'm a bit "pensive" about it. No, in fact, I'm in mourning. I don't want it to be over yet.

But for me, it's been much like the guy who, when commenting about what he wanted his life to be like, said: "When I'm done, I want to be exhausted, and be able to say ‘whoa! What a ride!'"

It has been that! Now I can't imagine what it would be like without it!

When we all decided to do this, it was sometime toward the end of 2006. And the first introductory sermon was the first week in January 2007. I remember we were all hoping that God would give me enough time to preach through it.

I'm very thankful that I've been given this much time, because I've learned so much! It's been far-and-away more than I ever expected! And I'm thankful that you've been given to hear it. I can't think of anything that I would rather have done for you; and I'm sure there's nothing that would have served you better... especially if now you will hold the testimony of Jesus and keep His Commandments; and if you will now be bearers and messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After all, you have heard it all - front-to-back, line-by-line, word-by-word, precept-upon-precept! And mow you have an obligation; for if not you, then who?

After a couple of concluding messages in summation, we'll take a short break for some much needed rest, and for translation and exegetical work and, God willing, begin the letter to the Churches in Rome sometime in the latter part of January or early February.

 

Now... here in our text, the messenger that was sent directly from the mouth of Jesus appears to John and utters the words of Jesus regarding His imminent Parousia.

We've just heard Jesus say to the Churches that He is the King of Kings Who was "spoken" by David and all the former prophets; and that He is that Morning Star - the dawning of a new day; for previously there was only darkness and the shadow of death. But He will come quickly; and He will be light and life to all the world.

At that point, the end of what is our verse sixteen, He has completed the Revelation of all that was "about to be". And verse seventeen has to do with the anticipation of all that is about to be... at His Parousia.

From the beginning of this letter (which is our first three verses of chapter one) to the end of verse sixteen of chapter twenty-two, Jesus has revealed to John that it is the end of the age, and His Parousia is imminent. It's time for the fullness of all things written. It is "near"; "I Am coming quickly!" The entirety of the scroll makes that perfectly clear!

And now, at verse seventeen, the Spirit and the bride are to say "COME"! And he who hears is to say "COME"!

Before, Jesus said to His disciples that no one knows when the end of the age will take place. And, later, we heard that the blood of the "holy ones" cried out to God for revenge against those who had poured out that blood. "When", they said. And the answer came to them that they had to wait a little while until some more of their brothers were persecuted and their blood poured out on the land. And then would come the end.

And then we heard that every last one of the lost sheep of the house of Jacob were to be saved from the wrath to come; for the wrath of God was poured out on The Christ for all of His holy ones! Only those "remaining in the land" were to suffer that wrath to come in the last days!

And we saw that all those who Jesus called to the wedding feast came. And they were given the white robes of righteousness. She was His "betrothed" who would become "one" in Him -His "bride" - at Pentecost when Holy Spirit descended from the heaven to rebirth all of His holy ones into the body of Christ. And the "Second Adam" would have HIS bride with whom He would become "one". And she would be faithful and true (unlike the bride of the first Adam).

And Holy Spirit would abide IN her, and pray IN her, and direct her and connect her to the ONE Who betrothed her and came for her and called her and had died for her.

And now, at the conclusion of the Revelation, Jesus says to John that the Spirit and the bride say "Come!"

The One Who has made her alive in Christ, and Who prays in-her-and-for-her, and emboldens her, and excites her, and informs her, and invigorates her, and quickens her, and provokes her to bring forth the fruit of holiness and obedience, and reassures her, says "Come!" And she says "Come"! And anyone who hears is to say "Come"!

Having heard these things, the entire Church of Jesus Christ, prompted and aroused by His Spirit, will implore the Lord Jesus to "Come"! No matter what the doubters and pseudoprophets and pseudoteachers were saying, the entire body of Christ was to shout a petition to the Lord and Master of heaven and earth, imploring Him to come; for He said He was coming quickly!

 

He who thirsts for the water of life, let him come; he who longs for it, let him take it freely; for at the Parousia of Jesus, there will flow a river of water of life into a world that was formerly cursed and covered in darkness, and was a wilderness filled with beasts of prey.

And all who are thirsty for that water - anticipate it, yearn for it, crave it - may take it freely and be messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - looking forward to the day when all the earth would once again be a lush paradise to the glory of God; for Jesus had said it... promised it. And it would be done.

Everywhere the river would flow, the tree of life would produce its fruit; and the leaves would be for healing and restoration of the world. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is life from death for all who belong to Him - to all who are written in His book of life. And from those who are raised up to life springs forth the fruit of the Spirit and the balm and healing and restoration of the earth.

And what "newborn" in Christ would not long for that water? What babe in Christ, having heard the Revelation of Jesus Christ, would not thirst for that water, that he might be the bearer and the messenger of life? Desiring it, he may take it freely! There's no "cost" to him; it's a gift! And the emphasis isn't on the gift - which gift, and how to use it; the emphasis is on the word "free"! A gift is free; it's at no cost! And one who thirsts for it and desires it may have it! He may take it without cost, and be a bearer and messenger of life in Christ Jesus.

 

Then John hears these words from Jesus - verse eighteen:

"I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll...."

Because Moses had said something similar to Jesus' words here, then most translations have used those words here at verse eighteen. Moses said, in Deuteronomy chapter four:

 

1) And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes - the laws that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that YAHVEH, the God of your fathers, is giving you.

2) You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of YAHVEH your God that I command you.

3) Your eyes have seen what YAHVEH did at Baal-peor, for YAHVEH your God destroyed from among you all who followed the Baal.

4) But you who held fast to YAHVEH your God are all alive today.

5) See, I have taught you statutes - laws, as YAHVEH my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

6) Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'

7) For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as YAHVEH our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?

8) And what great nation is there, that has statutes - laws so righteous as this law that I set before you today?

 

Because Moses said it like that; and because verse nineteen says "take away" from these words, then it's assumed that verse eighteen ought to say: if anyone "adds to" these words, God will "add to him" the plagues. "Add to", and "take away" are opposites; and it just "fits"! So, it must be the case that John meant "add to" here in eighteen.

That sounds reasonable; and it is certainly true that this is a deliberately "final word" from Jesus; and the Revelation of our Lord is one continuous Word that is unchanging from beginning to end... from Moses to John.

Therefore no one should "add" anything to what our Lord has revealed to John. There is truth there, you see. It "sounds" right; and it IS true! We shouldn't add anything to it.

However, that's not what the text says! And neither does the context support what the common translations say. The context is clearly the pseudoprophets and pseudoteachers and the jezebels and the baalams who (as Jesus had prophesied) were pursuing and persecuting the Lord's people and doing everything they could to subvert the Churches and cause doubt and unrest regarding Jesus' imminent Parousia (chapters two and three)!

The word that Jesus does use here (and that John writes to the Churches) has to do with a hostile environment toward the true and certain and faithful Word of God!

The prophetic Word, from Moses to John, is one continuous Word. And the Word of God is His Strong Right Arm! And HE was made flesh and dwelt among us! HE is the One Who spoke to the prophets of old; and HE is the One speaking to John. And HIS Word is faithful and true.

And an "imposition" toward that Word - to "impose" upon it - means to censor it, to depreciate it, to bring it into disfavor, to aggressively re-interpret it, to dissent from it, or otherwise impugn its integrity and perfections!

The sense of the word that Jesus uses here has to do with "aggression"; and He doesn't make any distinction between the act itself and the intent! Words and deeds that cause doubt or bring ill-repute to the prophetic Word are acts of aggression. They are an "attack" upon the prophetic Word! They "impose" upon it!

And if anyone "impose" upon it, God will impose upon Him all of the plagues written in this scroll! You see, it is the WORD of God - His Strong Right Arm. And HE is the One Who gave Himself for His people! And acts of aggression toward Him will elicit acts of aggression from God! And all of the plagues in the scroll will be his reward!

And the context has to do with judaists who have insinuated themselves into the Churches and are contending against the truth and faithfulness of the prophetic Word!

The "fullness" of all of the written Word - The Lord Jesus Christ - says He's "coming quickly". And there will be "active aggression" against all who have "imposed" upon the words of this scroll; for He will impose upon them all the plagues written in this scroll!

Not only will there come the plagues and the final end upon all remaining in the land; but the Churches are not to suffer the presence of any pseudoprophets and teachers, or any jezebels or balaams. There were some of them in the Churches!! And their presence there, and the suffering they caused, was to the end that those who belonged to the Lord were manifest!!

 

I want you to listen to the apostle Peter in his "rant" against all who "impose upon the words of prophecy" by their words and their deeds... written to the Churches shortly before John's Revelation was sent to them:

He wrote:

12) ...but these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will utterly perish in their destruction,

13) receiving the reward of unrighteousness. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.

14) They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady persons. They have hearts trained in covetousness. Accursed children!

15) Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing,

16) but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

17) These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

18) For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who have barely escaped from those who live in error.

19) They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For of whom one is overcome, of the same he is brought into bondage.

20) For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

21) For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

22) What the true proverb says, happens to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire."

 

Here in our text, Jesus says to John that anyone who imposes upon the words of this scroll are already condemned; and they will receive the reward of their unrighteousness. For God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll.

And the Churches that suffer their presence among those who belong to Jesus Christ will receive a "visit" from Him at His Parousia. And their "lampstand" will be removed from them. No longer would they be allowed to be a "light" to the world of the salvation wrought in Christ Jesus the Lord.

And these are serious words to Churches now - nearly two thousand years later. For there is little light - if any at all - coming from many of them as they suffer the pseudoprophets and the jezebels and the balaams among them, and as they are moved along with every wind of doctrine, and as they "impose" upon the prophetic Word.

Now here's verse nineteen:

 

19) and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

 

We just read this a couple of minutes ago from the apostle Peter:

 

"For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them."

 

Now, before we comment on that, we need to hear from the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, at chapter ten. Listen carefully now... this is really important to our understanding of what Jesus said to the Churches here at the end of the Revelation:

 

19) Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus

20) by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh),

21) and since we have a great high priest over the house of God,

22) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.

23) Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

24) And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works,

25) not staying away from our worship assemblies, as some do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

26) For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

27) but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.

28) If anyone disregards Moses' law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

29) How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

30) For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people.

31) It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

32) Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured such a hard struggle with sufferings.

Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way.

33) For you had compassion on the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession.

34) So don't throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

35) For you need endurance, so that after you have done God's will, you may receive what was promised.

36) For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.

37) But My righteous one will live by faith; but if one draws back, I have no pleasure in him.

38) But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who faith and have life.

 

And, once again, the words of Jesus to John here in verse nineteen:

 

19) and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

 

There are two things that are important to our understanding of this warning from Jesus.

The first one is this: both the letter to the Hebrews (i.e. the Jews), and the letter from Peter, clearly state that the day of His "coming" is imminent. Therefore the continuity is established with the final prophecy of John to the Churches. All three reveal the same thing.

If anyone in the Churches "take away" from, or remove, or cut off the words of this scroll of prophecy, his part in the tree of life, and his part in the new, and holy, city of Jerusalem, will be taken away, or removed, or cut off.

Obviously it is those in the Churches who retain their antagonism toward the Word of Prophecy, and who continue in their words and deeds of unrighteousness that are the ones who were "taking away" from the words of the scroll of prophecy, and who would be cut off from their part of the tree of life and the new holy city.

The second important point to remember here is that God's covenant was made with all members of the tribes of Jacob! They all were to be circumcised; and they all were to be participants in the annual passover feast in which their salvation was prophesied! And they all received the promises of blessing from God should they anticipate the Savior of the World and obey God's Law. And, too, they all received the warning of God's wrath should they not be faithful.

All members of the tribes of Jacob had "part" in the covenant; all members of the tribes of Jacob had part in the promises of God; all of them had part in the sacrificial Lamb of God; all of them had part in the tree of life in the promised land; all of them had part in the city of Jerusalem in which would be the man-made tabernacle of God.

And in our text, Jesus says that, by their words and deeds of unrighteousness, those who take away from the words of the prophecy of this scroll, their part in the tree of life and the holy city would be taken away, or cut off!

This final Word of Prophecy from our Lord Jesus was written to Jews. They were all members of the twelve tribes of Jacob who were rescued from Israel before the Parousia of Jesus Christ and the pouring out of the wrath of God upon the land.

Included in the rescue were not only the elect remnant of Jacob (the Daughter of Zion), but obviously there were members of the covenant who were not of the hundred and forty four thousand "holy ones" who Jesus came to seek and to save.

And in addition to those, there were many (Jesus Himself prophesied this to His disciples) there were many judaists who pursued and persecuted and slandered and tried the ones who belonged to the Christ; and they caused them great suffering.

Before our Lord's Parousia, it wasn't Romanists who persecuted the Church, you see; it was judaists!

Needless to say, there were some in the Churches who were covenantal members of the tribes of Jacob who were not of the elect Daughter of Zion, who were not among the hundred and forty four thousands who Jesus came to seek and to save. There were those who were already in the nations; and there were those who came out of the land with our Lord's elect!

And their words and deeds proved their intent to "take away" from the words of prophecy, to deny the Christ of God was the promised Messiah, to rail against His imminent Parousia, and to subvert the Churches with their high-sounding words and lascivious lifestyles!

They were deceivers and pseudoteachers in the Churches who participated in the assemblies; they feasted with them; they received all the benefits of the congregations of Christ's holy ones; they gained knowledge of God from the preaching and teaching and from the letters of the apostles, and from this last prophetic Word from John.

But as the letter to the Hebrews said, it would be better for them had they not received all of these benefits; for their latter state was worse than it would have been had they not been among the Lord's holy ones!

As Jesus said to John here in verses eighteen and nineteen, their covenantal "part" in the tree of life and the holy city (all promised to them by Moses) would be taken away from them, and they would be "rewarded" for their works with all the plagues in this scroll.

Then in verse twenty John writes the final Words from Jesus at the close of the prophecy. The Spirit and the bride say "Come!". And here He says "Yes", I come quickly". And John adds his own prayer to the others: "Come, Kurie Jesus".

There's some serious doubt as to whether verse twenty-one is in the original text; so I've included it but put it in parentheses. However, it is very appropriate (if it is, indeed, original); for, in the light of Jesus' warnings to the Churches in chapters two and three, and due to the presence of these deceivers in the Churches who imposed upon the Word of prophecy, a prayer to our Lord for His grace toward these Churches is pertinent and warranted.

 

Now, just as a "postscript", let's spend our last couple of minutes reflecting on the "tree of life" that grows up from the river of water of life. We haven't yet spoken about the "fruit" that it would continually bear for the nations in the new heaven and the new earth at the Parousia of the Christ.

What is that fruit?

Judaists "part" in the tree of life would be taken away from them; so they, obviously, would have no fruit. But the fruit would be plentiful, every month, for the Gentile nations of the earth. For as the river of water of life flowed into tribes and tongues and peoples, there would be that tree of life springing up from it; and there would be fruit; inevitably there would be fruit.

There are numbers of passages having to do with the fruit in the Gospels. We've dealt with lots of them in the past. And it is also true in the letters of the apostles, some of which differentiate between the fruit borne of an "evil" tree and that of a "good" tree.

We've also noted, from the psalmist, that one who obeys God's Law-word is like a tree planted by the river of water that brings forth fruit every season.

And there are many others.

But that passage that many call the premiere passage concerning the Spirit's fruit was written by Paul to all the Churches in Galatia some years before the Revelation to John.

Here it is from Galatians five:

 

22) But the Spirit's fruit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23) meekness, self-control; there is no law against these!

24) And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its vices and lusts.

25) If we are alive by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

 

Just a few things here... first, the Spirit's fruit is as a result of the rebirth from death unto life - dying to sin and death, being made alive in Christ. By the work of Holy Spirit we are made new creations in Him; and there's this wonderful connection to Him in which we are freed from our former heritage in Adam.

Secondly, since there is no law against the Spirit's fruit, we no longer come under the condemnation of the law against fornication, uncleanness, murder, drunkenness, gluttony, idolatry, sorcery, envy, strife, divisions, etc., all of which Paul wrote just before he wrote the Spirit's fruit!

Thirdly, all of us who are born of the Spirit in Christ Jesus have crucified the old adamic flesh with its vices and passions and lusts. And it's no different for us than it was for the firstfruit of the resurrection! And since we are alive by the Spirit, we are to walk by the Spirit in the Spirit's fruit - just like Paul told our Lord's "holy ones" in the first century Churches! The fruit of the "old man" is put to death; and the new creation in Christ exhibits the Spirit's fruit!

And, lastly, the Spirit's fruit is ubiquitous! All who are re-born into Christ - we all bear the fruit that is borne of the Spirit! We crucify the fruit (or works) of the flesh! We put them to death! But the Spirit's fruit is the nature and character of the Christ. And it is manifest - evident - in all who belong to Him!

And we shall know them by their fruit.

 

With this, we have completed the preaching of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. As I said, we'll have a few Sundays in summation during which we'll touch on a few topics of interest... and we'll be done.

My earnest prayer for each of us is that we will manifest the Spirit's fruit by holding the testimony of Jesus and keeping His Commandments, and that we will all be bearers and messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

 

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 22:1-21 Part 11

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev22part11.mp3?type=podpage

 

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 11 

1) And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2) in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3) and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4) and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6) Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the holy prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7) Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll'.

8) I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9) and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God'.

10) And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without... the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David's root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come'; and he who hears say ‘come'.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly'.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)

 

Until the "Light" shines, until the Morning Star arises, the Lord's people in the Churches were to hold fast to that which is written in the prophetic Word; for it is near at hand!

And that Word says that, in the latter days, One shall arise out of Jacob with the "scepter" of dominion - the "rod" of supreme authority; sovereign rule over all things; for He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  He is Kurios Kuriwn - Lord and Master of all that was made.

He IS the "Morning Star" Who would arise as the "dawn" of a new "day" over a world which existed in a state of gross sin-darkness and was under the curse of God. 

At His appearance He would destroy all the remainder of that nation which perverted the peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth with the wine of her fornication; for Israel (which was to be the city on a hill and the light of the world) was "worse" than the Gentile barbarians of the world.

And there would be a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem; and God would abide with man.

And there would no longer be a curse.  And the River of the Water of Life would flow freely unto the farthest reaches of this creation.  And the tree of life would be the fruit for the feeding of the nations; and the leaves for the healing and restoration of all things.

And during all the years of His reign and rule, the full "Light" of the Savior of the world would be witnessed in all the nations of the earth.  And they would "see".  And they would come.  And they would bring multitudes to worship God and the Lamb in His abode with man.  And there would be increasing "peace with God" - and peace among men, and great prosperity in the nations as the creation is progressively restored.

This that we're reading here at the end of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the prophetic Word to the firstfruit of the resurrection, who were scattered among the peoples of the world; and that whole world was in wretched darkness.  He had kept this "remnant" of the tribes of Jacob; they were His; and they were the "firsts".

But this last prophetic Word (which connects to, and fills up, all of the former prophetic Word) was more sure that anything they were experiencing; and, certainly, more sure than anything said by the dogs and the Jezebels and the Balaams that were among them (and attempting to subvert them)!  Hold the testimony of Jesus (John wrote to them)!  Keep His Commandments!  The Root and Offspring of David had arrived at the end of the age, as prophesied, with the scepter of dominion in His hand!

And He, the Morning Star, would soon arise.  The dawn was soon to come; and the light would shine over the nations and peoples and tongues of the earth who have heretofore lived in gross darkness.

We need to explore this "darkness and light" during our time together this morning; for this is the "crux" of the matter here at the conclusion of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  It is at the "heart" of the continuity of God's Word. When we get this, the whole of the text of Scripture comes into focus!

So, what is God's perspective here - with regard to death and darkness (on the one hand), and light and life?  And what was it that was about to happen in the fullness of the time?

Listen to what God revealed to Isaiah at chapter nine:

"But there will be no pall of darkness for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter day he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, beyond Galilee of the nations!

The peoples that walked in darkness will see a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them will the light shine.

...

For a child will  be born to us, a son will be given unto us; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

His dominion will be vast; its prosperity will never end.  He will reign upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from henceforth and for ever. The zeal of YAHVEH of hosts will perform this.

 

"The peoples that walked in darkness will see a great light!"

What was it that was revealed to this apostle, John, as written in the first chapter of his Gospel?  He wrote:

"Life was in Him, and life was the light of man."

And what was it that was revealed to John as written in his third letter to the Churches at the end of the age... before our Lord's Parousia?  He wrote:

 

"Yet I am writing you a new command, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and very light is already shining."

 

And here in our text, as Jesus Christ reveals His imminent appearance seven times, He says to John (verse sixteen) "I AM the bright Morning Star".

Earlier in his Gospel, John wrote that the One by Whom all things were made was born into the world; but the darkness didn't perceive Him!  However, here in the Revelation, His sacrifice having been made, and having been glorified, and having received His inheritance, He tells John that His Parousia is imminent, and He is the light of the world... the Morning Star!

There is a hymn that was written in the late nineteenth century, and it's a favorite among fundamentalist Churches.  The first line goes like this:  "the whole world was lost in the darkness of sin; the light of the world is Jesus".

It so happens that that first line is the only part of the hymn that's worth singing, because all the rest of it is touchy-feely stuff.  But that first line is "right on"!

The whole world was lost and in "darkness"!

The darkness over all the world spoken by God to the prophets was a "thick" darkness... much like the three hours of darkness when Jesus hung on the cross.  There was NO light; no stars, no moon, no lamps... a complete absence of light - only darkness!  The darkness did not "know" Him.

God spoke His will and intent regarding the world's darkness and the coming of the Light at the end of the age.  Isaiah records one of those instances in chapter sixty:

 

1)      Arise, shine; for your light comes!  The glory of the Lord rises upon you.

2)      For, behold, darkness covers the earth, gross darkness covers the people; but YAHVEH shall arise upon you; His glory shall be seen upon you.

3)      And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

 

Thick, gross darkness is a state associated with, and simultaneous to, death.  It is the absence of Light; for there is no "life".  And this was the state of the world before the "rising" of the Morning Star.  Jesus Christ is the Morning Star; and In Him is light and life!

It is God's perspective of all that He has made and all that He wills and intends.  And therefore we have to perceive it as HE does!  This is the sure and faithful word of prophecy to the Churches just before Jesus' Parousia!

Well, what was the state of humanity and the creation at the beginning?  As Moses wrote, the creation was all in the full light of the glory of God!  It was a lush paradise with every good and beautiful thing!  He had made it all to reflect His glory.  And those who God had made in His Own image, and into whom He had breathed "life", had intimate communion with their Creator!

But what was it like after sin entered the world?  The first thing to be noted was the curse of God upon mankind and the creation.  No longer would there be the light of His Presence.  Henceforth He would abide above His tabernacle in the heaven; and there would be a glory cloud between Him and His cursed and wretched creation.  From that time there was gross darkness... an absence of His glorious light!  And although a promise was made of a coming Savior of the world, mankind was dead and blinded in thick darkness and could not see!

Cursed mankind died to life. Death reigned in his mortal body; and he was depraved in his very being and existence... being made unable to see light, or to have life, or to do anything to earn it!  How could he do anything to earn it if he couldn't see what it was that he should earn!!?  He was blind!  And he gave birth only to offspring just like himself, and there was no access to the tree of life and its fruit.

The earth itself, cursed as it was, brought forth briars and thorns; for there was a pall of darkness over it all.  And there set in an integral deterioration and dissipation of all that was made.  And man had to work by the sweat of his brow to bring forth any order to it.

And as he produced more of his own kind (all of them doing what was right in their own eyes), the destruction and disintegration was exponentially increased.

Squandering, indulging, lusting; degeneracy and perversion, debasement; idolatry, sorcery, murder and warfare filled the earth along with the increasing numbers of depraved humanity.

And the earth itself reflected that decadence; for it increasingly became an exhausted wilderness - a wasted earth - in dissolution and decline.

And later, even God's chosen people filled the earth with licentiousness; for she perverted the nations even more with her fornication!

And the whole earth became covered in blood as four savage, cold-blooded, merciless kings arose to subdue the world to themselves.  And everywhere they went, they left a wasteland occupied only by vultures that gorged themselves on human carrion.

Under the curse of God, you see, there was no light!  Only darkness and increasing decline and misery.  And the earth was in "random decay" (as they say) and deterioration... described by God through the prophets as a desert wilderness fit only for wild beasts lying in wait - ready to pounce upon their prey.  And the peoples of the earth were a violent and turbulent "sea" of humanity!

And the four kingdom nations of history were, indeed, described by God in His Word as "beasts".  And the priests and elders and pharisees of Israel were called jackals and wolves.

It was all a wilderness with no glorious light.  The whole world was cursed and in darkness.  It became worse and worse!  It deteriorated.  It came apart.  The very creation that God had made to reflect His glory was in a state of disintegration.

When the Savior of the world was born, Israel was in such "blackness", that it didn't know the One Who was prophesied... the Anointed One sent by God at the end of the age!  John wrote of the darkness.  He said: "the darkness did not know Him."  Along with all the rest of the world, the sons of Jacob were in deep, thick darkness.

Because she had been given the Law and the Prophets, Israel was "worse" than the Gentile nations!  She was blinded and in "palpable" darkness.

Everything and everybody in this world was covered in gloom, and there was no knowledge of God.  Israel didn't know David's Lord and David's Son when He appeared; and the rest of the world had never even heard His Name!

Once more, everyone was doing what was right in his own eyes; and the major industry was producing weapons of savagery.  The ones who God had made in His Own image were doing nothing more than what was instinctive to animals: copulate, kill and eat!

Oh, and some even built great shrines to themselves in which they could copulate, kill and eat... more leisurely!

Others formulated great philosophies by which they could justify themselves.  And many more made figurines and idols with which they could converse about themselves!

We could go on with that; but the point here is that from the creation to the end of the age there was only deterioration and disintegration!  God had cursed mankind and the world; and that was the result.

BUT...God had covenanted; He had promised that, in the latter days, One would be born Who would be the Savior of the world.  And through the prophets He made it known from the beginning!

As the entire sacrificial and ceremonial system indicated, He would be sacrificed for the sin of the world; He defeated and destroyed death by coming up out of it; He ascended to the right of the Father, and was crowned King of Kings and received all the nations as His inheritance.

And at His Parousia a "new day" would dawn; for He would be the Light of the world.  The Morning Star would arise, and there would no longer be a curse!  And the One given absolute rule over everything in the heaven and on the earth would begin the reversal from gross darkness to the full light of His glory.

And over the course of all of the decreed years, the King of Kings and Savior of the world would bring light and life to all of His creation!  The death and disintegration and disorder and waste and chaos of a world - lost and covered in the gloom of darkness - would be rescinded, revoked... nullified!

He would reverse the disintegration.  Through all the years of His reign and rule, darkness would be increasingly decreated.

At His Parousia, there was the dawning of the Morning Star.  At first light, there was the beginning of a new heaven and a new earth in which there was no longer a curse.

And throughout all the years of His Kingdom there would be increasing light until all the earth would be in the full light of the world's Savior.  And kings and nations and peoples would come to His light.

And the river of the water of life would flow ever deeper and ever wider into the farthest reaches... the tree of life producing its fruit; and its leaves for healing and the restoration of all things.

 

1)      Arise, shine; for your light is come (Isaiah wrote), and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

2)      For, behold, darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people; but YAHVEH shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you.

3)      And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

 

Multitudes of mankind would be raised out of death unto life in Christ Jesus (the second Adam).  There would be increasing peace with God; for the roiling, foaming sea of cursed humanity would be calmed.  The earth would no longer suffer deterioration, but would be increasingly restored to its order.  And the desert wastelands would be made lush and fruitful.

More and more, man would be obedient to God's Law-word; and they would transform their weapons of savagery into tools of production.  The serpent of old would be bound and sealed in the abyss; so newborns in Christ would be free to work and play in its former realm.  And the Lamb of God would soothe the bruises and scratches of His sheep with the balm of the leaves of the tree of life without fear of beasts of prey.

In the full light of Christ there would no longer be darkness and deterioration... but light and life, and the restoration of all things.  He made full payment and restitution for sin and death and the curse.  And God the Father is satisfied with that payment.  And His Anointed One - the Word of God - His Strong Right Arm, will cause it all to be reversed - and paradise restored, all for the glory of God.

There is the will and intent of God, from Whose perspective we must see.  From the creation to the Christ there was only darkness and death - and continuing, and increasing, deterioration throughout the age.

But at the Parousia of the Christ - The Savior of the World - there would be light and life and the continuing, and increasing, restoration of all things throughout the years of His reign and rule.

And as we see, and adopt, God's perspective on all that He has made, the focus of the entire Word of God comes into full view.

And that's what the firstfruit of our Lord's resurrection were enabled to see when Jesus sent this scroll for them to read and hear.  It is a majestic prophetic Word - to them and to us; for by no means is all of His prophesied work done!  There is much to come!

Even though the ever-increasing light of Christ shines in all the world, there are still many who are blind and refuse to see the light that's all around them; for there are many sons of the devil who won't submit to the King.

And even though there has been increasing peace and tranquility in many nations of the earth, there are still brutal men and tribes ravaging and raping and killing their neighbors.  These will all become fewer and fewer as the sons of God are made manifest.

And even though there are men who contest the kingship of Jesus Christ and try to replace Him with their own dominion, the worship of God in the Name of Jesus is multiplying exponentially all over the earth.  Men and women and children are flowing into the New Jerusalem in huge numbers; where, before, none had ever even heard His name.

And even though there are plenty of places around the world where populations still live with minimal provision, much of mankind now lives in greater wealth and prosperity than ever could have been imagined before the time of our Lord's Parousia!

And even though there are still some places in the world where the human life span is still short, much of the world has advanced medical care, good food and wine, and excellent nutrition, all used by our Lord to extend life far beyond that of humanity before Christ.  Even considering abortions and plagues among the perverted, life spans in peaceful and civilized societies are extended well up into the eighties - more than twice that of people who lived before Christ.  And life is promised to be increased even more.

And there is much more to come, you see!  Peace on earth; great prosperity; knowledge of God and His so great salvation in a vast majority of the earth's population; long life; deep renewal and restoration of the earth.  And judgment day, when all the works of the wicked will be judged.

All of these commenced at His Parousia; and in all the years of His reign and rule, these things are yet to be in their fullness!  For He will finish His work in order to bring glory to the Father.

As we finish this morning, let's read the words of prophecy to which our Lord refers just before His Parousia:

First, from Moses in Deuteronomy twenty-eight:

 

2)      And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.

3)      Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.

4)      Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.

5)      Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

6)      Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

7)      "YAHVEH will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

8)      The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God will give you.

9)      YAHVEH will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways.

10)  And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of YAHVEH, and they shall fear you.

11)  And YAHVEH will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that YAHVEH swore to your fathers to give you.

12)  YAHVEH will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.

13)  And YAHVEH will make you the head and not the tail; and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of YAHVEH your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them,

14)  and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

 

Then from Isaiah sixty-five:

 

17)  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

18)  But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

19)  And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying.

20)  There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.

21)  And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22)  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

23)  They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for calamity; for they are the seed of the blessed of YAHVEH, and their offspring with them.

24)  And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

25)  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says YAHVEH.

 

And from the prophecy of Ezekiel, at chapter thirty-four:

 

22)  ...therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

23)  And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them... even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

24)  And I, YAHVEH, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, YAHVEH, have spoken it.

25)  And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell securely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.

26)  And I will make them and the places all around my mountain a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing.

27)  And the tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in the land; and they shall know that I am YAHVEH, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those that made bondmen of them.

28)  And they shall no more be a prey to the nations, neither shall the beasts of the earth devour them; for they shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid.

29)  And I will raise up unto them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with famine .., neither bear the shame of the nations any more.

30)  And they shall know that I, YAHVEH their God am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says YAHVEH.

 

As the apostle Peter wrote to the Churches before the sending of this scroll, prophecy is more sure than anything they saw or experienced.  And although they were sent out into the world before the Parousia of the Christ, they were to rejoice in hope and anticipation of all that was about to take place.  They were to hear the Word of prophecy, and hold fast the testimony of Jesus, and keep His Commandments.  For the time was near for the Morning Star to arise, for the Light of the world is Jesus.

The decline and debasement and deterioration and decomposition of heaven and earth occurred over the course of millennia.  There was decay and fragmenting and coming-apart of the very structure of the creation itself due to God's curse.  It was all in thick darkness and death; and it would not hold together.

Had it not been for the covenant between Father, Son and Spirit for the salvation of the world, the entire creation would have dissipated.  It would not have held together to sustain life of any kind.

But when Jesus came - at the end of the age, in the fullness of the prophesied time in which all the world was in thick, palpable darkness - that first heaven and earth passed away in the dawn of a new day.  "And BEHOLD!  I will create a new heaven and a new earth", God said... as written by Isaiah.

"And there would be no more curse".

And God would abide with man.

And the light of the Morning Star, the Savior of the world, would decreate the darkness.  And throughout all the years, or millennia, of His Kingship, the effects of the darkness and death would be increasingly reversed until the knowledge of God would cover the earth as the water covers the sea.  It would all be in the full light of His Person and His salvation.

And it would no longer be subjected to death and darkness and deterioration; for IN HIM all things hold together.  All things are attached to the Rock Who is immoveable and unchangeable.

All of these words from Jesus to the Churches are faithful and true.  They are the prophetic Word which is more sure that any reason or experience of men... certainly more than any "manipulation" of His Words.

This is that "point of convergence" through which all the rest of God's Word is "sharpened".  It all comes into "focus" right here at the end of the Revelation.

Millennia of sin and darkness and death and the curse.  But at His Parousia that was all negated, revoked, invalidated... decreated; for He is the Word of God, the Strong Right Arm, the Anointed One Who would save His people and this creation to the uttermost - to the glory of the Father.

 

 

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 22:1-21 Part 10

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev22part%2010.mp3?type=podpage

 

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 10

 

1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the holy prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll'.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God'.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without.... the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David's root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come'; and he who hears say ‘come'.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly'.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)


We have before us the final words of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Churches just before His Parousia.  The words extend to the farthest reaches of the prophetic Word regarding our Lord and Savior, and referring the Churches, again and again, back to the original seven messages of chapters two and three.

These are words that cause us to extend ourselves to our own limits and to depend on Holy Spirit to teach us; for we are the "children" of the firstfruits of the resurrection... ones written in the Lambs book of life from the beginning!  So, it's incumbent on us to know as much as we're given to understand, no matter how difficult it may seem.

Here a little; there a little.  And the jots and tittles will grow into great pearls!  And the praise for our Redeemer will bring Him glory.

Before we come to verse sixteen though (which will drive us back to verse fifteen anyway), as you will remember, the explicatory and illustrative number by which God refers to man in the prophetic Word is "six".  Fallen mankind, in his desire to be "as God" in his own right, continues to be that way "ad infinitum".  Thus, the perfect "three" sixes - six, six, six.

Cursed and depraved man can never achieve the qualitative perfection (indicated by the number "seven"), nor can he be "as God" in perfect "threeness"!

The "threeness" permeates the Revelation of Jesus Christ; and we hear it once again in verse thirteen, at which point our Lord refers to Himself three times: He said: "I AM  the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End".

Yet, when He refers to fallen mankind (those who have no entrance into the tabernacle of God and the Lamb), there are six categories (verse fifteen): the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood!  It is the gross darkness of mankind left in his sin and under the curse of God.

All who are written in the Lamb's book of life and are made alive in Christ and have washed their garments may enter through the gates of the twelve tribes of Jacob into the New, and holy, Jerusalem to worship and serve God and the Lamb.

However, all of the "sixes" are without!  And none of them are privileged to the fruit of the tree of life and entrance into the tabernacle of God with us!

Now.  In verse sixteen, Jesus verifies once again that it is He Who has sent His messenger to testify all of these things; and the message is for "all of you in the Churches".  The messenger is sent directly from Jesus and speaks His very words.  And the words are to "all of you holy ones".

The "seven" Churches to which were sent the messages in chapters two and three indicate the totality of the Churches and all of the holy ones who have been sent out into the nations.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ was to all of the Churches... all of the holy ones.

When you're reading through your Bibles, you may come across the word "saints" with reference to those of the tribes of Jacob who God had kept for Himself.  I really don't like the use of that word, because it indicates that there may have been something inherently "holy" about them... and therefore God had kept them.

Such is not the case.  They were "holy ones" because God had kept them from the beginning - not because they somehow had chosen to know Him and be obedient to Him.

The holy ones to whom this letter was sent were the ones who were present at Pentecost and sent back into the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and they were the ones in Israel who Jesus had come to seek and to save.  As He had called them in the older Scripture, so He called them here!  He had known them from the beginning, and He called them "holy ones".

All together they were the remnant of Israel, the Daughter of Zion, the elect of God from the tribes of Jacob, the firstfruit of the resurrection.  This was the Church of Jesus Christ, established in every nation on earth (all seventy of them).  They are the holy ones.  And the words of the prophecy of this scroll were sent to them in the last days when our Lord's Parousia was near at hand!

As Jesus said, here in verse sixteen, this message was sent by Him to "you (plural) in the Churches.  All of them.  All of the holy ones were to hear it and be strengthened in advance of the mighty things that were to come to pass "quickly".

And the words to them are also to be understood by us, as well.

And then Jesus says to them (second part of verse sixteen): "I AM David's root and offspring...."

The strengthening and confidence and assurance of all of His holy ones in all of the Churches in the nations would have been greatly enhanced by this statement from Jesus; for it drives down to the very core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Savior of the world.

So it's appropriate that we take time here at the end of the Revelation to understand it as best we can; for it will provide us the same confidence and assurance that it gave the original Churches of the firstfruit.

The first thing to note is the present tense "I AM".  And it's the same as at verse thirteen where Jesus said "I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  Here He says: "I AM David's root and offspring".

The first to hear the great "I AM" was Moses.  He asked "who should I tell them sent me?  And God said: "tell them I AM sent you".  That name, with the Hebrew markings included, is the name YAHVEH.

By the threefold I AM in verse thirteen, and the I AM here in verse sixteen, Jesus tells the Churches that He IS the I AM Who was the only one able to open the seven seals of the scroll (chapter five).  He IS the root and offspring of David.  And He IS the One Who spoke to Moses.

And He is the One to Whom Moses spoke later on regarding the people who had been freed from bondage in Egypt.

Recorded in Exodus 15, this is what Moses said of Him:


"You (YAHVEH) shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance."


The twelve tribes of Jacob, freed from bondage, would be planted in the promised land.  And they were to take root there and bring forth fruit unto YAHVEH among the nations of the earth.  And it's obvious throughout the text of Scripture (and here in the Revelation) that He is that "root".  I AM is the beginning and the end!  He IS the root of the planting!

But, Moses told them, should they not obey, curses would be brought against the nation; and it would be uprooted and burned.

Now, five hundred years later, King David wrote this in Psalm 110:


"The Lord said unto my Lord, ‘Sit at my right until I make your enemies your footstool". 

The Psalm is obviously about the coming Anointed One - the King of Kings and Savior of the world.  King David, by the Spirit, spoke of Him.

Jesus, in a confrontation with pharisees, quotes King David, as recorded in Matthew chapter twenty-two. Here it is:


41)  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

42)  saying, "What think ye of Christ (the Anointed One)? whose son is he?" They say unto him, ‘The son of David'.

43)  He said unto them, "how then does David in spirit call him Lord, saying,

44)  The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit on my right, until I make your enemies your footstool?

45)  If David then called Him Lord, how is He (then) his son?


The pharisees couldn't answer Him of course.  But we can!  It's right here in the text of the Revelation.  He is David's "root" and David's "offspring" (verse sixteen)!  David's "Lord" is the very One - I AM - from Whom David "sprang up".  And, He is the One born in the line of David - David's Son.

Not only was YAHVEH God the very source - the root - of David's existence and David's Kingship of Israel; but David's son (to be born at the end of the age) would also be David's Lord and Master!

The pharisees had no answer to Jesus' question.  He was the "root" and "offspring" of David.  There had been another "planting", you see.  The pharisees were not of this root and this offspring; so their eyes were blind and their ears deaf!

Moses had said that they would be "planted" in the promised land.  But if they did not obey the One Who planted them, then all the curses would come upon them; and there would be another "planting".

Some three hundred years after David, God spoke these things to Israel through the prophet Isaiah.  Listen at chapter eleven:


1)      And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch of his roots shall bear fruit.

2)      And the Spirit of YAHVEH shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of YAHVEH.

3)      And his delight shall be in the fear of YAHVEH; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears;

4)      but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the land with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

5)      And righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.

6)      And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

7)      And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8)      And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.

9)      They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of YAHVEH, as the waters cover the sea.

10)  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse (David's father), that stands as a sign to the peoples, unto him shall the nations seek; and His rest shall be glorious.


He is the "root" of all His holy ones.  And the nations (the Gentiles) will seek Him; and He will give them "rest".

Listen to the prophet Malachi at chapter four:


1)      For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that coms shall burn them up, says YAHVEH of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

2)      But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

3)      And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says YAHVEH of hosts.


He shall leave them with neither root nor branch.

This people who God "planted" in the promised land will be left with neither root nor branch in the Day of the Lord.

Once again from Isaiah, this from chapter thirty-seven:


31)  And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall take root downward, and bear fruit upward;

32)  For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant... they that escape from mount Zion: the zeal of YAHVEH of hosts shall do this.


Jesus Christ the King of Kings was the very "root" of the Kingly line, traceable through King David and his father Jesse, back to Adam through his third son Seth.  These are ones who God kept for Himself - "rooted" in, and kept by, David's Master; for from them would be born the Anointed One - The Christ.  And He would seek out and save the remnant that belonged to God and "plant" them in the nations.

Planted and rooted in the promised land was a nation - among which would come forth the root and offspring of David.  And when He came (in the last days), the "planting" in the promised land was uprooted and burned.

As our Lord sends this message to the Churches, it was, indeed, the last days; and the city of Jerusalem, on Mount Zion, the house of God on the dome of the rock, and the land of Israel... would disappear in the fiery wrath of God.  And would come the new, and holy, Jerusalem in which God would abide with man.  And the Kingdom of the King of Kings - the root and offspring of King David - would be over all the nations.  And they would come and bring their glory into the new tabernacle of God and the Lamb.

His reference here to "David's root and offspring" would have brought to the minds of all of His holy ones in the Churches the whole-Bible fullness and continuity of the prophetic Word as it reveals the will and intent of God from the beginning; for the nation of Israel was planted and rooted in the land.

But the "remnant" was rooted in the Christ - the King of Kings - from the beginning!  They were His "holy ones" who were gifted with the righteousness of the One from Whom they "sprang up".  And they would be kings and rulers IN HIM.  And they would feed on the fruit of the tree of life (which was their privilege).  And they would never be uprooted and burned.

Just as the minds and hearts of those in the original Churches would have been filled with wonder at the words of Jesus in this scroll, so ours should be as well.  And I couldn't help thinking about Jesus' seven kingdom parables.

The Root and Offspring of David, He Who came to find His sheep who were lost among the wolves and jackals, kept on uttering the warning: "the kingdom has come upon you", "the kingdom is at hand".

And He spoke kingdom parables... all of them with content spoken previously in the prophets.

He was the Offspring of David Who would sit on David's throne.  It was at hand!  And He spoke in parables!

When His disciples asked why, He quoted Isaiah:  "So they won't hear."

The parable of the zizanium in the field (which had to be explained in detail to His disciples, and they still didn't understand it), was a parable about the Root and Offspring of David!

In the "planting" of the tribes of Jacob in the promised land, two different crops had been planted together; and they took root and grew.  One bore a foul-tasting evil fruit, and the other was the good one.

The Owner of the land determined that the two crops should grow together until the time when the good one could be identified and harvested, lest any of it be left behind with the evil crop.

When the time came, the good crop was harvested - in full.  And the evil crop (the zizanium) was burned!

The disciples of Jesus wouldn't have understood this until Pentecost!  But, as Moses prophesied, the tribes of Jacob that had been freed from bondage in Egypt would be "planted" by God in the promised land; and the crop would grow until the time of the harvest!

When it was time to reap, all who were rooted in the Root and Offspring of David were harvested and sent out into the nations; and all remaining were burned in the wrath of God... root and stalk.

The root and stalk of Jesse - David's Father, was the Son of God - God's Anointed King of Kings.  All of those He found were rooted in Him; and they would bear fruit for the nations and the leaves for the restoration of the earth.

Two crops growing together until the end of the age.  One foul and evil; the other rooted in Christ and written in the Lamb's book of life from the beginning.

Two crops growing together - all of them of the tribes of Jacob.  Some were "holy ones" who were kept by God for Himself.  The other crop were sons of the devil.

All growing together in the same "field" until the end of the age when the Offspring of David assumed His Kingdom.  And "all Israel would be saved".  All whose "root" was the Christ of God were true Israel!

Now, Jesus also said to the Churches (verse sixteen): I AM the bright morning star!  We'll read the words He sent to the Churches in chapter two shortly; for that's what He's referring to.

But, first, let's read the older prophetic Word!

As the tribes of Jacob moved from the Sinai desert to just across the Jordan River from Jericho, they brought great fear to the kingdom of Moab.  So, King Balac sent messengers to the most renowned magi/sorcerer in the East - Balaam.  He offered to pay him an enormous sum to come and pronounce a curse on this fearsome people who had recently been freed from Egypt, in order that his forces could then overtake them and defeat them!

Balaam agreed; and he traveled to Moab from the East.  But before he could curse the tribes of Jacob, YAHVEH spoke to Him and told him what to say to King Balac.  And Balaam did!  Three times this happened!

Where we pick up reading is at the third occasion; and the king is angry and frustrated that the most famous of all sorcerers, who he had hired at great expense, would do nothing except bless the people that God had freed from Egypt!

Here it is, from the book of Numbers chapter twenty-four:


10)  And Balac being angry at Balaam, clapped his hands together and said: I called you to curse my enemies, and you, to the contrary, have blessed them three times.

11)  Return to your place!  I had indeed determined to honour you greatly, but YAHVEH has deprived you of the honour designed for you.

12)  Balaam answered King Balac: Did I not say to your messengers who you sent to me, saying:

13)  If Balac would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the words of YAHVEH, to do any thing of my own mind either good or evil; whatsoever YAHVEH speaks, that I will speak?

14)  But now, before going back to my people, I will give you counsel, what this people shall do to your people in the latter days.

15)  Therefore taking up his saying he said: Balaam the son of Beor says, the man whose eyes are opened says,

16)  who hearing the words of God says, who knows the knowledge of the Most High, and sees the vision of the Almighty, who falling down has his eyes opened says:

17)  I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not near. A STAR SHALL RISE out of Jacob, and a sceptre spring up from Israel, and He shall dash the corners of Moab and destroy the sons of tumult.

18)  ....

19)  Out of Jacob shall he come that shall rule, and shall destroy the ones remaining of the city.


I want you to listen again to Psalm 110 as I add one verse to what I read earlier:


1)      The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right until I make your enemies your footstool.

2)      The Lord will send forth the sceptre of Your power out of Zion: rule in the midst of your enemies.

3)      From the beginning Your strength is with You, You have shone in the brightness of the holy ones.  From the womb before the "morning-star" I begot You.


And now hear the words of the birth of Jesus from Matthew chapter one:


1) When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came magi from the east to Jerusalem

2)      saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him.

3)      And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4)      And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born.

5)      But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Judea. For so it is written by the prophet:

6)      And you Bethlehem in the land of Judea art not the least among the princes of Judea; for out of you shall come forth the ruler that shall rule my people Israel.

7)      Then Herod, privately calling the magi, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them;

8)      And sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come to adore him.

9)      Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was.

10)  And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11)  And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


The magi/sorcerers of the East knew the sayings of their famous forebear Balaam.  And when they heard of the star that had arisen out of Jacob, and the Great King with the scepter Who would destroy all who remained, they came to see for themselves - and adore Him; for Balaam had said: "I shall see Him; but not now.  I shall behold Him; but not near."

And now hear Jesus' message to the Church at Thyatira (chapter two of the Revelation).


18)  And write the message for the Church in Thyatira:   The Son of God Who has eyes as flames of fire, and Whose feet are burnished bronze, says these things.

19)  I know your works and the love and the faithfulness and the service and your perseverance, and the last works greater than the first.

20)  But I have against you that you suffer the woman Jezabel who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives My servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols;

21)  and I gave her time that she might repent, and she is not willing to repent from her fornication.

22)  Lo!  I cast her into bed and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation unless they repent from her works,

23)  and I will destroy her children in death, and all the Churches will know that I Am He Who searches reins and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

24)  But to the rest of you in Thyatira, in as much as you have not this teaching, who do not know Satan's depths (as they say), I lay on you no other charge.

25)  However, hold fast what you have until I come.

26)  And he who overcomes and keeps My works throughout [until the consummation] I will give to him authority over the nations,

27)  and he shall tend them with a scepter of iron, dashing them in pieces as the potters' vessels as I also have received of My Father.

28)  And I will give to him the morning star.

29)  He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.


And lastly, the words of the apostle Peter to the Church:


16)  For we have not made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ by following (made up) fables; but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness.

17)  For he received from God the Father, honour and glory; this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him.

18)  And this voice we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount.

19)  And we have the more firm prophetic word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star arises.

20)  Understanding this first in your hearts, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.

21)  For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by Holy Spirit.


The apostle Peter, in this letter to the Churches before our Lord's Parousia, wrote only that which had been written previously by Moses (Numbers 22 - 24) and by David (Psalm 110) and by Matthew in his account of the birth of Jesus.  And it is exactly what Jesus said to John here at the end of the Revelation.

Therefore these aren't "fables",  Peter said... fairy tales, or inventions, or allegory, or mythology, or divination, or legend, or improvisation... this is the prophetic Word of God, which is more sure than anything having to do with personal experience!

This is men writing the very Words of God, having been moved along by God the Spirit.

And until the "Light" shines, the Lord's people in the Churches are to hold fast to that which is written in the prophetic Word; for it is near at hand!

And that Word says that in the latter days, One shall arise out of Jacob with the "scepter" of dominion - the "rod" of supreme authority, sovereign rule over all things.  For He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  He is Kurios Kuriwn - Lord and Master of all that was made.

He is the "Morning Star" Who will arise as the "dawn" of a new "day" over a world which was in gross darkness of sin and the curse.  And He would destroy all the remainder of that nation that perverted the nations and peoples and tribes of the earth with the wine of her fornication.

And there would no longer be a curse.  And the River of the Water of Life will flow freely unto the farthest reaches of this creation.  And the tree of life will be the fruit for the feeding of the nations; and the leaves for the restoration of all things.

And during all the years of His reign and rule, the full "Light" of His glory will be witnessed in all the nations of the earth.  And they will "see".  And they will come.  And they will bring multitudes to worship God and the Lamb in His abode with man.  And there will be increasing "peace with God" - and among men, and great prosperity in the nations as the creation is progressively restored.

This that we're reading here at the end of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the prophetic Word to the firstfruits of the resurrection, who were scattered among the peoples of the world; and the whole world was in wretched, obscene, hellish darkness.

But the prophetic Word was more sure that anything they experienced, more sure than anything said by the dogs and the Jezebels and the Balaams.  Hold the testimony of Jesus!  Keep His Commandments!  The Root and Offspring of David has arrived at the end of the age with the scepter of dominion in His hand!

And the Morning Star will soon arise; the dawn is soon to come; and the light will shine over the nations and people and tongues of the earth who have heretofore lived in the grossest darkness.



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3/3/13 10:00am EST - Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 22:1-21 Part 9

Follow along witht the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev22part9.mp3?type=podpage

 

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 9


1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the holy prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll’.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God’.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without…. the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David’s root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come’; and he who hears say ‘come’.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly’.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)

 

Popularly called “The Sermon On The Mount”, Jesus began teaching His disciples, saying:

 

3)      Blessed the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of the Heavens.

4)      Blessed the ones who are mourning, for they shall be comforted. 

5)      Blessed the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6)      Blessed the hungering and thirsting after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

7)      Blessed the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8)      Blessed the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9)      Blessed the peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God.

10)  Blessed those who are enduring persecution on account of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of the Heavens.

 

Forty years later, in the text of Revelation chapter twenty-two, He speaks two more (what are often called) “beatitudes”.  The first one is found in verse seven.  It says:

 

‘Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll.’

 

The second one is in verse fourteen:

 

‘Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.’

 

The one in verse seven has to do with the scroll, the seals of which have just been loosed by the Lamb of God at the end of the age.  So the things written in it are now “imminent”.  And one who “keeps” them is blessed!

And the one in verse fourteen has to do with access to the tree of life and the new, and holy, Jerusalem wherein is the seat of God and the Lamb.  Just as with the first temple in the first Jerusalem, entrance into the new, and holy, tabernacle of God requires satisfaction by substitute sacrifice… and clean garments. 

So all who repent of sin, and hold the testimony of Jesus and keep His commandments, are blessed.  They have “washed their garments”; and they are privileged to eat the fruit of the tree of life that grows by the river of water of life; and the gates to the city and the seat of God and the Lamb are open to them.

Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll; and blessed the ones who wash their garments!

You remember from the messages that Jesus sent to the Churches, as recorded in chapters two and three, there were those within some of those congregations who grumbled and debated (and even mocked), the prophecies regarding our Lord’s Parousia at the end of the age.

And there were others in the Churches who obviously had not repented from sin… and therefore had not “washed their garments”.  And so they were not privileged to eat the fruit of the tree of life; and they were not given access to the new tabernacle of God and the Lamb through the gates!

Our Lord, in those seven messages, warned those Churches about condoning and/or tolerating those things.  The Church was to be the earthy representation of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and the tabernacle of God-With-Us!  And anyone who would not keep the words of the prophecies of this scroll was to be removed from the congregation!

And those who would not wash their garments (repenting from sin) were not blessed; they did not have the privilege of the fruit of the tree of life; they did not have entrance through the gates to the seat of God and the Lamb… and they were to be cast out from the congregations.  Otherwise, Jesus said, He would “visit” those Churches at His Parousia!

That meant “serious trouble”, of course.

The Churches were congregations of the firstfruits of the resurrection!  The Churches were congregations of “messengers” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentile nations!

The Churches were visible, earthy representations of our God’s “abode” with us… from which flows the river of water of life to the world!

The Churches were to be the public worship of God in His new tabernacle with man. 

The Churches were to be congregations of servants of God and the Lamb in the new, and holy, Jerusalem.

The Churches were to be filled with judges and prophets and priests and kings in the new heaven and the new earth!  Members were to anticipate the imminent Parousia of Kurios Kuriwn – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - and they were to know that all belonged to Him and therefore to them!!

The Churches were the “Body of Christ – The Head”.  Their members fed on the fruit of the tree of life; and they served God and the Lamb in His tabernacle!  From them – through them – flowed the river of water of life to the nations!

No one who mocked the coming Parousia of Christ was to be tolerated!  And the Churches were not to suffer the presence of anyone who had not turned from sin – thereby washing their garments!  How was one to serve God in His tabernacle having filthy garments?  How was anyone with filthy garments ever to be permitted through the gates?  Those seven original messages from Jesus to the Churches were stern warnings about all who were “without” (verse fifteen)… outside the new, and holy, Jerusalem!

He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  He has kept them from the beginning; and He has many, many more from among the nations who He will keep to the end of all the years.

Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.  Without - “outside”, with no access through the gates to the abode of God with man, are the dogs,  sorcerers, fornicators, murderers, idolators, and all who love and practice falsehood!

Let’s take them one at a time again this morning.  And remember, this is our Lord’s instruction to the firstfruit of His resurrection (those who He came to seek and to save from the tribes of Jacob).  And it would be sent to them at the end of the age… just a short time before His Parousia.

These who He lists here in verse fifteen are the ones who have not washed their garments; therefore they cannot enter the new tabernacle (abode) of God with man.  And the first that He identifies are the “dogs”.

 

Hear what the psalmist says, at Psalm twenty-two.  And you’ll recognize the very words of Jesus at His crucifixion – prophesied a thousand years before.  The Psalmist says:

 

14)  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

15)  My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and You have brought me into the dust of death.

16)  For many dogs have compassed me.  The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.

17)  I can count all my bones: they look and gloat over me.

18)  They part my garments among them, and cast lots for my vesture.

 

He called them “dogs”.  The  assembly; the council.  The priests and elders and pharisees encircled Him.  Wicked men.  Feral dogs.

Listen to what God said through the prophet Isaiah, as recorded in chapter fifty-six:

 

4)      For thus says YAHVEH unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

5)      Even unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

6)      Also the sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant;

7)      Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their offerings and sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

8)      The Lord God, Who gathers the outcasts of Israel says, Yet will I gather others to him, besides those that are now gathered unto him.

9)      All you beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all you beasts in the forest.

10)  His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs that can’t bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

11)  Yea, they are greedy dogs that can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

12)  Come, say they, I will get wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be just as this day, and much more abundant.

 

The shepherds of Israel – the watchmen of Israel – are “dumb dogs” that only sleep and eat and drink.  The prophetic Word had been spoken, yet all they can think of is sleeping and eating and drinking tomorrow… and even more abundantly than today!

Here’s the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippian Churches – chapter three:

 

1)      Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write these same things to you, to me indeed is no trouble, but it is protection for you.

2)      Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision:

3)      for we are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh….

 

The ones who Paul describes as “dogs” are those of the “concision” … the circumcised who put all their hope and confidence in their heritage.  That’s what he meant by “the flesh”.  But Paul tells the Churches that they are the true ones of the “circumcision”; for they glory in Christ Jesus and worship by the Spirit of God.

The dogs are “judaists” – the assembly of whom had encircled Him and tortured Him and crucified Him.  Rabid dogs who would then pursue and persecute and kill those who He came to seek out and to save.  None of them would have entrance into the tabernacle of God-with-us.

Now.  The second in the list of those “without” (i.e. outside) are “sorcerers” (verse fifteen).  The Greek word used is “pharmakoi”.  You can hear the root of our English words “pharmacist” and “pharmaceutical”.   This Greek word is used here to include such practices as witchcraft, soothsaying, magic; fortune-tellers, enchanters and diviners.

And since this word is used to include all of the above, there’s no way to avoid the use of “mixtures” or “potions” or “substances” that enhance the experience of the craft.

 

Paul uses the word in the list of the works of the flesh, found in Galatians chapter five.  He wrote:

 

19)  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20)  idolatry, (pharmakoi) sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,

21)  envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Also hear what God said through the prophet Nahum at chapter three:

 

4)      because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that sells to nations through her whoredoms, and to families through her witchcrafts.

5)       Behold, I am against you, says YAHVEH of Hosts, and I will uncover your skirts over your face; and I will show the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame.

6)      And I will cast abominable filth upon you, and make you vile, and will set you as a gazing-stock.

 

Israel, in all her harlotry with the nations, had many practitioners of sorcery, witchcraft, soothsaying, necromancy, divination, and enchantments (all subsumed under this word “pharmakoi”).

It wasn’t that long ago that we heard these same things from Revelation twenty-one.  Hear them again:

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 22:1-21 Part 8

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REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 8

1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the holy prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll’.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God’.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without…. the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David’s root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come’; and he who hears say ‘come’.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly’.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)

 

The Word of God will accomplish all His intent!  It will not return to Him void!  The Word is His Right Hand and Strong Right Arm.  And in the fullness of the time, He was made flesh.

As John had written earlier in His Gospel, “in the beginning was The Word; and the Word was with God; and the Word was God.  He WAS in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him.  And without Him nothing was made that was made.”

At the end of the age He appeared in order to do all that had been spoken through the prophets.  The will and intent of God had been spoken.  It was the Word of God “spoken”; and it was faithful and true.  And in the fullness of the time it would be done.

Until the fullness of the time (i.e., the end of the age), the Word would be “sealed”; and it would be sealed because it was not yet time for the things spoken to come to pass.

Note, though, that it wasn’t as if the Word of God couldn’t be read.  And it wasn’t as if the Word couldn’t be heard!  The Words were written!  Isaiah wrote them; Jeremiah wrote them; and Ezekiel and Micah and all the rest….  It was all available for the people.  They could read the texts; they could hear the texts.  The texts weren’t “sealed” from sight or from hearing.  The Word of God was sealed until it was time.  God had spoken; therefore what He spoke would be!  But only in the fullness of the time!

Listen to the Word to Daniel at chapter twelve:

1)      And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands up for the children of your people; and there shall be a time of tribulation such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time your people will be delivered, every one of them that shall be found written in the book.

4)      But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the scroll, even to the time of the end, while many go back and forth increasing their own knowledge.”

5)      Then I Daniel looked and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.

6)      And one said to the one clothed in linen who was over the waters of the river, ‘How long shall it be to the end of these wondrous things?’

7)      And I heard the one clothed in linen, who was at the head of the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by Him Who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when He shall have accomplished scattering the power of the holy ones, all these things shall be finished.

8)      And I heard, but I didn’t understand.  Then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

9)      And he said, Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.

10)  Many shall be purified and made white, and tried; but the wicked ones will still be doing wickedness, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise will understand.

 

That Word was spoken to Daniel more than five hundred years before the birth of Jesus.  It was a time during which the nation of Israel was in captivity for seventy years (that’s over two generations!)… when there was hardly anyone left who could even remember what Jerusalem had looked like!

But, as we read here in the Revelation, as John received the prophetic Word, it was the end of the age, the fullness of the time.  These were the days during which all the things revealed to Daniel would take place, and about which Daniel wrote!  The time was near for the spoken Word of God to come to pass – the consummation of the age.  Therefore none of these things were to be sealed any longer.

 

Listen to what John wrote (at chapter six);

1)      And I did see a scroll on the right of the One sitting on the throne

2)      having been written front and back having been sealed with seven seals.

3)      And I did see a mighty messenger announcing in a great sound, “who worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

4)      And no one in the heaven or upon the earth or under the earth was enabled to open the scroll or to see it.

5)      And I was weeping greatly because no one worthy had been found to open the scroll or to see it.

6)      And one of the elders says to me, “don’t be weeping!  Lo!  The Lion from the Judah tribe, the David Root, did overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

 

The time was near; and the Lamb of God – the Word of God made flesh – would loose the Words that had been sealed, one at a time, and all that had been prophesied would then come to be.

 

And at verse ten of our text here in Revelation twenty two he writes:

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near….’

 

The Word of God is “loosed” (as John looks on), and it is no longer to be sealed; for it is time for all things written to be fulfilled.  Just as Luke had written in His Gospel:

 

20)  But when you see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.

21)  Then let them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter therein.

22)  For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

 

Let’s hear again what Jesus told His disciples when they asked, ‘what will be the sign of Your Parousia and the end of the age’?  Here is some of what He said to them from Matthew twenty-four:

 

7)      For there shall be raised up a nation against a nation, a kingdom against a kingdom; and there shall be famines and shakings from place to place,

8)      and all these ‘beginning of travails.’

9)      Then they shall deliver you, and you shall be the ones detested by all the nations because of My Name.

10)  And then many shall be entrapped, and they shall deliver one another and kill one another;

11)  and many false prophets shall be raised up, and they shall deceive many;

12)  And because of the lawlessness to be multiplied, the love of many shall be caused to expire.

13)  But the one persevering to the end, this one shall be saved.

14)  And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the habitable world in a testimony to all the nations, and then shall come the end.

15)  When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, the thing spoken through Daniel the prophet, stand in a holy place (let the one reading understand),

16)  then let those in Judea escape into the mountains;

21)  for then there will be great tribulation such as has not happened from the beginning of the cosmos until the present, nor shall there ever be.

27)  … just as the brightness comes out from dawnings and shines until settings, so will be the Parousia of the Son of Man.

34)  Amen I say to you, in no way will this generation pass until every one of these things comes to be!

 

What was unspoken (but clearly implied) in the disciples’ question to Jesus was, “the word spoken to Daniel concerning the fullness of the time was sealed to the end of the age!  So, what will be the sign of your Parousia and the end of the age?  What are we to look for?”  And Jesus answered them with a number of things to occur during the following forty years – culminating in His Parousia.

Here in our text, John writes to the Churches what he heard from this messenger: ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near….’

There probably couldn’t be a “better” example of the continuity of Scripture anywhere; for that which was spoken to Daniel is the same as that which was spoken to John… the only difference being the fullness of the time!

The Word spoken to Daniel was that which would come to pass at the end of the age.  The Word had been spoken; therefore it would be done.  However, when spoken to Daniel, it wasn’t yet “imminent”.  So that which was “willed” to be done (and already spoken) was “sealed” until the time in which it would be done!

And when these same things were revealed to John, it was imminent; so they were no longer to be sealed!  All the things spoken before would now be done quickly!  For the time was near.  It was the end of the age – the fullness of the time.

And when the Lord’s people in the Churches received this letter, they would have been strengthened in the truth and faithfulness of all that had been spoken and written.

And verse eleven of our text is a continuation of the immanency of that which had previously been spoken.  Here it is :

 

11) the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

 

John hears these words from the messenger, and he would have known instantly that they, too, were from the Daniel passage.  As we read… until the fullness of the time this Word of God was sealed.  And during the interim, the wicked would continue to do wickedness – going to and fro seeking their own understanding.  But the ones written in the book of life were the holy ones.   And they would continue to be the holy ones!  And they would be made clean (purified).  And having been made righteous, they would hear and understand and do righteousness.

And, too, we’re also reminded of Ezekiel chapter three where it was spoken to the prophet:  “he who hears, let him continue to hear.  And he who refuses, let him continue to refuse….”

And also the time leading up to the flood, when Noah and his family did what was spoken to them; and they were baptized and saved by the waters.  But all the rest would not hear.  And they were carrying on their daily lives as if God had not spoken.  And they were overtaken in the flood of God’s wrath.  And so it would be at the end of the age; for the unrighteous would continue to be unrighteous, and the filthy would continue to be defiled.

But the holy ones would be saved from the flood of wrath to come, which would be worse than anything had ever been for any nation from the beginning of creation itself.

Now, in verses twelve and thirteen, the messenger that is speaking the words directly from the mouth of Jesus pronounces once again the imminence of His Parousia… “Lo I come quickly.”

And at His Parousia, there would be the fullness of all things written. There would be the final judgment upon Jerusalem and all of Israel; there would come the new heaven and the new earth, and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ over all the nations; there would be the New and holy Jerusalem, and God abiding with us (for there was no longer any curse); and the redemption of the world.  And He would pay His wages… recompensing all according to their works.

And let’s be sure that we understand this.  There is only one faithful and true servant, the “Suffering Servant”/Lamb of God Who did all His Father’s will.  All others are of their father Adam… all are descendants of Adam.  That includes not only the nation of Israel, but also the elect remnant of the tribes of Jacob - and all us Gentiles as well!  All of us are born of Adam; all of us are conceived in sin and are of Adam’s nature.

Only one human – God the Son/Son of Man – was well-pleasing to the Father.  He is the spotless Lamb of God Who paid the price for the redemption of humanity and for the healing and restoration of the cosmos.  It is His perfections and His sacrifice that are credited to the account of all who belong to Him.

Their humanity in Adam is put to death in rebirth-into-Christ, and they are made alive in Him… His righteousness given to them and counted as theirs.  Their “Adam nature”, and their works in Adam, are forgiven them; and they wash their garments in confession and repentance and obedience.

You see, the wages of sin is death.  And our Lord paid the wages for all His people in His death.  All who belong to Him die to death in His death!  We are no longer “dead” in sin, for the wages have been paid!

But for those who are not His, the wages have not been paid.  And at our Lord’s Parousia He had His wages with Him (verse twelve).

For those from the tribes of Jacob who were written in the Lamb’s book of life, and those from the peoples and nations of the earth who were written in the Lamb’s book of life, the wages of sin were paid in the death of Christ.  And none would suffer the second death, but be raised again in the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

But for those who were not written in the Lamb’s book of life, the wages will be paid them according to their own works – all of which are as filthy rags.  And the wages is death – the second death.

The evangelical and fundamentalist objection to the Eternal Word of God regarding what belongs to Him is that it isn’t “fair”.  It isn’t fair that the potter would make one vessel a vessel of honor and another unto dishonor!  So they transfer the will of the potter to the will of the pot!

It’s only fair (they say) that the pot can say to its potter “you don’t understand me!  I can choose to be what I wish to be”!

But from our Lord’s perspective (and He is Kurios Kuriwn – the Master of the house Whose will and intent is unimpeachable), (from His perspective) all are of the nature of Adam – a nature which is dead in sin and cursed.

And since that’s the case, it is of the eternal love and grace of God that any are the recipients of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  It is of the eternal love and grace of God that any are counted as “holy ones”.  He was under no compulsion to be merciful to any.  He was under no obligation to be merciful to any.  And it is certainly nothing about us that would cause Him to look upon any of us favorably, and to love us and to be gracious to us.  His decision to do that is completely free; it is “unconditional”… which means there are no conditions under which He exercises His volition; and His integrity cannot be questioned! For He is Almighty God – Kurios Kuriwn – our Creator.

It is an undeniable fact that our Lord sought out and saved and rescued a certain number from the tribes of Jacob… those who God had kept for Himself from a depraved, idolatrous and adulterous nation.  And they did not choose to know Him or accept His righteousness.  They were written in the book of life from the beginning, and He sought them out by name.  And every single one was found.  And they were given – freely given – the righteousness of Christ, and were made new creations in Him.  And they washed their garments in repentance and faithful obedience.

And He then scattered them among the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth; for there were many, many others who were also numbered and written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the cosmos.

Those from the tribes of Jacob would be the firstfruit of the resurrection, servants of God and the Lamb, and the “messengers” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world.  They were freely chosen of God and kept for Himself and called “holy ones”… even before our Lord came to find them!  He came to find them – not because they were “holy”.  They weren’t!  He came to find them because God unconditionally chose them and knew them and loved them from the beginning!

And His love for them was boundless and incalculable considering the fact that His Own Son – the Word of God made flesh – was made sin and was abandoned to death and hades for them.

At the Parousia of the Christ, all who remained in Jerusalem and the land were put to the sword and consumed by vultures; aReturn to the Sermons on Revelation Show Page
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What is Covenantal Continuity?

What is Covenantal Continuity?

     Covenantal continuity simply means that there is ONE God (Father, Son and Spirit) Who has spoken. That Word proceeded from One God Who is eternal and unchangeable in His Being, Wisdom, Power, Holiness, Justice, Goodness and Truth.
     From Genesis one to Revelation twenty-two, there is a continuity of purpose and speech because it all comes from One. The perspective is the same from beginning to end; the language is the same from beginning to end; the purpose is the same from beginning to end. And He revealed the beginning to Moses, and revealed the completion to John.
     That very Word was made flesh and gave Himself in order that that purpose might come to its fullness for the glory of God. That was the covenant made even before the cosmos was called into being!
     The language and purpose revealed to Moses (the first prophet) is the same revealed to John (the last prophet) because it is all One Word... it all comes from the same mind, in the same language, and with the same perspective on all that He has created! And it is complete.
We who belong to Him can actually read and see and hear that continuity and rest in His unchanging Person and Word.

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 22:1-21 Part 5

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REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 5

 

1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll'.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God'.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without.... the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David's root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come'; and he who hears say ‘come'.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly'.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)

 

The only way to avoid the popular re-interpretations of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is to learn to think God's thought after Him; and His thought has been written.  He is Creator, and He is sovereign Lord over all that He has fashioned; and we can't take it upon ourselves to describe what He's done from our own point of view!  That would just be "absurd"!  We can't be as the pot that says to the potter: "you didn't make me", and "you have no understanding".

Jesus said, "The meek shall inherit the earth".  And the definition of meekness is receiving, understanding and submitting to what the Potter has made and how He defines it and how He describes it!

And if you approach The Revelation in that light (i.e. from the view of the creature), it is the height of arrogance (which is the opposite of meekness) - it is the height of arrogance - to re-interpret our Lord's prophetic Word according to one's own perception!

In other words, we have to have our God's perception of what belongs to Him.  We have to think His thought about what He has made.  We have to conceive it as He conceives it.  We have to define it as He defines it.  And we have to describe it as He describes it.  Anything else comes from an exaggerated self-opinion.

It was thought to be necessary that a further reminder of these things be brought to our attention this morning due to the oft-misinterpreted words here in verse five: "for there would be no night there"; for God had warned the false prophets of Israel that He would bring "night" to their minds and hearts and understanding... that their incantations and divinations would be "as the night".

But in the new and holy Jerusalem there would be no night there.

Just listen for a moment to what God said through His prophet Micah as he wrote in chapter three:

 

5)      This is what YAHVEH says concerning the prophets (false prophets) who lead my people astray, who proclaim peace when they have food to sink their teeth into but declare war against the ones who have nothing to put in their mouths.

6)      Therefore, it will be night for you - without your visions; it will get dark for you - without your divination.  The sun will set on these (false) prophets, and the daylight will be black over them.

7)      Then the seers will be ashamed and the diviners disappointed. They will all cover their mouths, because there will be no answer from God.

 

You see, God's concept of the "night" (in His prophetic Word) is a state of "darkness" of wisdom and understanding; it is a state of "blackness" regarding anything of God.  It is an absence of any "light" in the false prophets of the first Jerusalem.

But in our text here, John is shown that there will be an absence of "night"!  There will be no "night" in the holy Jerusalem coming down from God.  The "contrast" here is in reference to the prophetic Word through Micah; and His servants would see the countenance of God and the Lamb.  The brightness of God and the Lamb would shine upon them; and there would be no darkness of understanding of the Truth and Righteousness of God in His new holy city.

And, then, from Zechariah chapter fourteen we read this:

 

5)      ...YAHVEH my God will come, and all Your holy ones with You.

6)      And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall not be light; the bright ones shall have withdrawn themselves;

7)      but there shall be one day which is known unto YAHVEH; not day, and not night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light.

8)      And it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the east, and half of them toward the west; in summer and in winter shall it be (all seasons, every season).

9)      And YAHVEH shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall be one God, and his name one.

....

11)  And men shall dwell in her, and there shall be no more curse; and Jerusalem shall dwell securely.

 

And John sees that, very shortly, there would be that Jerusalem - the new and holy one, coming down from God, in which God would abide securely with us.  And there would be no night in her!

The deep, gross darkness of cursed and condemned creation would not be in her - no cloak or shroud of blackness: for there would be no prophets bound by the night... there would be NO night there. 

And for His servants (the daughter of Zion), there would be no black "pall" of darkness over their eyes and hearts and minds (as there was in the first Jerusalem); for they would have no other light than the light of His righteousness and His truth.  There would be no night there.

This is how God conceives these things, you see.  The curse upon the earth and all humanity belongs to the "night"; for God, in all His glorious brightness, was separated from it in loathing and displeasure.

But at the death and resurrection of the one sacrifice for the sin of the world, atonement was made; and there would be no more curse!  And God would abide with us; and there would be no night there.  Even at evening there would be day because of the glorious Presence of God-with-us and the Lamb.

The Firstborn was sacrificed for the sons of Jacob and all of their children (Exodus chapter thirteen).  They are the firstfruits of His resurrection and the first, and original, members of the new and holy Jerusalem.

They would be "first"!  And then the Gentiles.  A River of the Water of Life would flow into all the nations, in a creation in which there was no longer a curse!  And it would all be watered; and the dark places would receive light.  And it would all flourish; for the Right Hand and the Strong Right Arm of God will destroy the "night" in every place; for there would be no more curse in all of God's creation.

So, as you can see, "no night there" is definitely NOT an opportunity for imaginative minds to dream up things that God has never said!  As creations (new creations, at that!), we are to receive God's concept of what He's made and what He's doing with it.

No arrogant "pots" here.  They aren't allowed into the gates of the new, and holy, Jerusalem.

 

And then as verse five concludes, let's consider this: (His servants) will reign into the ages of ages".

You remember, in earlier chapters of the Revelation, that the elders that John saw in God's tabernacle in the heaven had "crowns".  And in one scene that John was shown, they cast their crowns at the feet of the One Who had been crowned King of Kings.  That was an "acknowledgment" that there was reign and rule only in Him and at His command.

Then, in a later scene, John was shown the firstfruits of the resurrection - the hundred and forty-four thousands of the tribes of Jacob; and they also were crowned (in addition to being robed with the garments of righteousness).

Throughout the older Scripture, those who were chosen as priests and judges and kings were "anointed" and dressed appropriately for their offices.  And when Jesus sought out and found the lost sheep of the house of Jacob, they too were "anointed" and dressed appropriately and crowned... all of which is prophesied; and all of which is filled up in the work of the Savior of the world.

All of that prophetic Word, and all that John is shown that was about to be at the Parousia of the Christ, clearly indicate that there is a co-priesthood and a co-judgeship and a co-kingship -with Him and In Him - of all who belong to Him, beginning with the firstborns of His resurrection.  They would receive the crowns that had been cast at His feet!

As John says here at the end of verse five, "and they shall reign into the ages of the ages".

These doctrines (especially the priesthood of all believers) have been hashed out through the history of the Church, so we won't spend much time rehearsing the implications... only to say that Reformation Theology (in the face of the Roman hierarchy of the priesthood) returned the Church to Biblical Theology with respect to the offices that each of us has been given to occupy in Christ.

 

What I do want to do with you today is re-enforce the continuity of Scripture by reading a few passages having to do with the priestly and prophetic reign of God's Anointed One, culminating in our co-reigning with Him and in Him in His priesthood, judgeship and Kingship.  Once again, as John writes here in verse five: "and they shall reign into the ages of the ages."

 

Here is Moses in Exodus chapter thirteen:

13)  You in thy lovingkindness will lead the people that You have redeemed; You will guide them in Your strength into Your holy habitation.

....

16)  ... By the greatness of YOUR arm (the peoples) are as still as a stone. Till thy people pass over, O YAHVEH; till the people pass over that You have purchased.

 

And here is Moses as he wrote in Exodus fifteen:

17)  You will bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, the place, O YAHVEH, which You will make for Yourself to dwell in... the tabernacle, O YAHVEH, which Your hands will establish.

18)  And YAHVEH shall reign in the ages of the ages.

 

And listen to Isaiah at chapter thirty-seven:

31)  And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.

32)  For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

And from Isaiah fifty-two:

1)      Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean.

2)      Shake yourself from the dust; arise, sit on your throne, O Jerusalem: loose yourself from the bonds around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

3)      For thus says YAHVEH, you were sold for nought; and you will be redeemed without money.

....

7)      How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace, that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation, that says unto Zion, "your God reigns!

8)      The voice of your watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when YAHVEH returns to Zion.

9)      Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem; for YAHVEH will comfort his people, he will redeem Jerusalem.

10)  YAHVEH will make bare his holy Arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

...

13)  Behold, My Servant shall deal wisely, He shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.

14)  Like as many were astonished at you (his visage was so defaced..... more than any man, and his form (distorted) more than any of the sons of men),

15)  so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand.

 

And from Isaiah sixty-two:

1)      For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.

2)      And the nations shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of YAHVEH shall name.

3)      You shall also be a crown of beauty in the hand of YAHVEH, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

4)      You shall no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall your land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shall be called Hephzibah (a delight), and your land Beulah; for YAHVEH will delight in you, and your land shall be married.

5)      For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

....

10)  Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way of the peoples; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up an ensign for the peoples.

11)  Behold, YAHVEH has proclaimed unto the end of the earth, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.

12)  And they shall call them "the holy people, the redeemed of YAHVEH"; and you shall be called "Sought Out", a city not forsaken.

 

And once again from Micah chapter four:

1)      But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of YAHVEH's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples will flow unto it.

2)      And many nations shall go and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YAHVEH, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of YAHVEH from Jerusalem;

3)      and he will judge between many peoples, and will decide concerning strong nations afar off: and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

4)      But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of YAHVEH of HOSTS has spoken it.

....

6)      In that day, says YAHVEH, will I assemble that which is lame; I will gather that which is driven away, and that which I have afflicted;

7)      and I will make that which was lame a remnant, and that which was cast far off a strong nation: and YAHVEH will reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth even for ever.

8)      And you, O tower of the flock, the mountain of the daughter of Zion, unto you shall it come, yea, the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.

....

13)  Arise!  Thresh O daughter of Zion; for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hooves brass; and you shall beat in pieces many peoples: and I will devote their gain unto YAHVEH - their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

 

And also hear the "extent" of the reign and rule of Christ and His people from the messenger to Mary before the birth of Jesus.

 

Luke chapter one:

31)  And behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS.

32)  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David;

33)  and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

 

Paul, the apostle of Biblical Theology to the house of Jacob scattered in the nations, expounds on union with Christ - not only for the remnant of Jacob, but for the Gentiles as well.  In Christ, Paul says, all who belong to Him are priests and judges and kings.

 

Here is Romans chapter five:

17)  Since by the one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

 

Again.....Paul in First Corinthians chapter four:

6)      Now these things, brethren, I have, in a saying, turned them toward myself and Apollos for your sakes; that, in us, you may learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that none of you be puffed up - the one against the other.

7)      For who makes you to differ? and what do you have that you did not receive?  And if you received it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?

8)      Already are you filled, already you are become rich, you have come to reign without us: yea and I would that you did reign, that we also might share the reign with you.

 

First Timothy chapter two:

10)  Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

11)  Faithful is the saying: For if we died with him, we shall also live with him;

12)  if we persevere, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us....

 

Paul's theology is really very clear.  It's all in advance of the Parousia of Jesus Christ; and it's written to the elect remnant of the house of Jacob scattered in the nations; and it's concerning their perseverance in the faith.  Stick to what is written, he says.

And if they are "IN CHRIST", it was given to them; so they shouldn't boast of something that was given to them.  And if they are in Him they will persevere; but if not they will deny Him - and He will deny them.  So, prove your election sure.

Those who persevere are priests and judges and kings in Christ, and will reign with Him - In Him; and the extent of His Kingdom will know no end - spacially, temporally, numerically; for Jesus Christ is the "second Adam", the "Head" of a reborn "mankind"; and all the Gentile nations, promised to Abraham, will come and bring their glory; for they, too, will receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.

And then there shall be a great resurrection!  And these elect of the house of Jacob are the "firstborns" of the resurrection and the "messengers" to the Gentiles of the Savior of the world.

As you may remember, the former chapters of John's Revelation of Jesus Christ have powerful and captivating views of the daughter of Zion who Jesus came to seek and to save.  Remember, she is called the "Sought Out" one in the Isaiah sixty two passage.

They are shown to John wearing garments of righteousness - His righteousness; for they were In Him and With Him.  And John is shown them wearing crowns; and they are said to "reign" with Christ.

Let's hear them again.

 

Here are John's words, written in chapter five:

7)      And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

8)      And He did come and He takes from the right of the One sitting upon the throne.

9)      And when He did take the scroll, the four creatures and the twenty four elders fell before the Lamb, each having a harp and golden bowls filling with incense which are the prayers of the holy ones,

10)  and singing new songs, saying "worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, for You were slain, and You did buy for God in Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

11)  and You did make them a kingdom, and priests for our God, and they will reign upon the earth.

 

And in Revelation twenty:

4)      Then I saw seats; and the lives of those who had been stricken because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God, and who did not adore the beast or its image and did not take its mark on their forehead or on their hand, sat on them; and judgment was granted to them; and they did live; and they prevailed with The Christ a thousand years.

5)      The remaining dead did not live until the thousand years was completed.  This is the first resurrection.

6)      Blessed and hallowed is one having part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no authority over them!  They will be priests of God and The Christ and reign with Him a thousand years!

 

And our text here at the end of verse five says: "and they will reign into the ages of the ages".

His servants will reign with Him into the ages of the ages.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is the High Priest of God and Savior of the world prophesied throughout Scripture; He is the Word of God, so He is the foremost prophet; and He is the prophesied King of Kings and Judge and Ruler of all in the heaven and on the earth.

Since the man - Jesus - arose out of death and entered (one time) into the Presence of Almighty God above the firmament to make intercession for us; and since we who were "in Adam" were raised up out of death and have "died to death" in the first resurrection; and since we are united to Christ the second Adam; and since God now abides with us, and we have immediate and bold access to Him; and since our prayers and petitions are a "sweet savor" to Him in Christ, we are priests with Him and in Him in His High Priesthood.

In theological circles it's called "the priesthood of all believers".  Whether we take issue with that terminology, it is the case that all of His Own - the ones who have been "given" His righteousness, having been raised out of death unto life - are received into the Presence of God and the Lamb with delight; His countenance is toward us, and He hears our praise and thanksgiving and our intercessory prayers for one another and for the world.

That's why our morning prayer during worship is called the "prayer of intercession".  God is most glorified in the praise and prayers of His people in public congregation.  After the order of the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, we pray for that which God has promised, for that is a faithful prayer.

And as priests in the priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we all have access to the "seat" of God and the Lamb individually as well.  He abides with us.  And He is attentive to our faithful prayers in the Name of Jesus.  In family; and at work; and at play, the "awareness" of our priesthood in Christ should predispose us and arouse us to remain connected to the "seat" of grace and mercy.  As Paul commanded, we are to be "constant" in prayer.

As the Scripture says, and as John was shown, our Lord Jesus is the "Judge" of all the earth.  And we are judges in Him!  He is the Word of God and His Right Hand and His Strong Right Arm.  His judgments are faithful and true; and He judges in righteousness.

And so we In Him must also judge; and we must judge in His righteousness.  If any man judge with some other standard than His standard (which is righteousness), then he will be judged with the standard with which he judges; for it is a false standard.....it is not judgment with the righteousness of Christ!

Should there be righteousness and faithfulness, then we must judge it so.  And should there be that which is faithless and unrighteous, then we must judge it so.  As judges of the earth in Christ; and since we are to have the mind of Christ, that which displeases Him must also displease us.  And that which pleases Him must also please us.

Our Lord is Savior of the World.  He has inherited all the nations; and He rules as King of Kings.  And we are kings In Him.  We are marked with His mark between our eyes; it is the crown of life; and we are rulers of this creation in Him.

As children of the Daughter of Zion, we are messengers of the Gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus.  And there is no more curse.  And through all the years as His Kingship is acknowledged by kings and rulers and leaders, we are vice-kings In Him.

This creation belongs to Him; therefore it belongs to us In Him.  And it must never be denied.  That's why apostle Peter says that we must always be ready to give an answer.  The magisterial Kingship and Lordship of Jesus Christ, and our kingship in Him, is that with which we approach the world; and the world must see it and know it.  We mustn't give up one inch of this creation to aliens.  Those who are the seed of the serpent must be confronted with the claim of the King.  "It doesn't belong to you; it belongs to Him."

Fornicators and adulterers and murderers and idolators and lying prophets have no rights here; and all of their attempts at primacy and authority are illicit and fraudulent; and they are doomed.

That's the "stance" of vice-kings in Christ.  Keep His Commandments; hold His testimony.  Speak the message of the salvation of the world in Christ.  You "reign" with Him!

Lastly, we are "prophets" in Him... not that we prophesy additional prophecy.  But, as apostle Paul said to the Churches:  "stick to what is written".  We speak what is written.  It is God's Word and it is complete with the prophecy of John.

Our speaking is the speech of co-prophets in Him.  It is the speech of that which God has said, and nothing more or less.  And the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God into salvation for all who are faithing.

So, we are co-prophets, co-priests, co-judges and co-kings in Christ our Savior.  And we reign with Him just as did the "firstborns" of the resurrection at the Parousia of the Christ.  We are the children of the Daughter of Zion; and we are of the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ - prophets, judges, priests and kings in Him.  We own all of this in Him; it belongs to us in Him.

And just remember that the seed of the serpent is powerless when you're unafraid.

 

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 22:1-21 Part 4

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev22part4.mp3?type=podpage

 

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 4

 

1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll’.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God’.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without…. the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David’s root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come’; and he who hears say ‘come’.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly’.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)

 

The benediction of Moses upon the children of Israel has been fulfilled, and is being fulfilled, in us who are the children of the firstfruits:  “May the Lord lift His countenance upon you… and give you peace.”

Moses knew that he had a depraved, covetous and idolatrous people on his hands.  But he also knew the prophetic promise of God to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob (he wrote all of that, you remember, in the Genesis book).

And he knew that from the tribe of Judah would be born The One promised of God.  And he knew that God would keep for Himself a remnant of all twelve tribes – the “children” of this people.

He had told the people what would happen to them should they not obey… all the plagues, death by the sword, and inundation by fire – all of which were about to occur as John writes to the Churches in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

But Moses blesses the “children” of the tribes with this final benediction.  God would lift His countenance upon them; He would abide with them, and they would see His countenance.

God did keep them; and they are called “the holy ones” all through the Scripture.  They are the children of Israel who are the “separated out” ones.

When you’re reading the English translations, you will encounter the word “saints” with reference to those who God had kept for Himself.  Bad translation!  They were not “saints” in the sense of goodness as opposed to evil ones.  God did not choose to keep the “good ones” over the “evil ones”.  They were all depraved and cursed mankind.

So, whenever you read the word “saints” in your Bible, think “holy ones”… the ones who were “separated out” from an idolatrous people.  They were the children of the tribes of Jacob – upon whom God would lift His countenance, to whom God would show favor.  And that’s why God referred to them as “holy ones” – the ones who He had separated out for Himself (which is what “holy” means).

And not only had God chosen the ones from whom would be born Israel’s Messiah, but had also “set apart” a perfect number from each of the twelve tribes.

And when Jesus came, His mission (in His Own words) was to find every last one of them - the lost sheep of the house of Jacob, “children” of Israel blessed by Moses, who God had chosen to keep for Himself from this desperately wicked nation.

And by His abundant love and mercy and favor toward His Own chosen “holy ones”, our Lord and His disciples found them.  And because God had chosen them and set them apart; and because He had blessed them by Moses and lifted His countenance upon them and favored them, they came when they were called!

Because of the ravages of the wicked nation, they were in desperate condition, for there was no “balm” in Gilead.  They were the “prey” for the wolves; they were in the pit of darkness… dispossessed, broken, crooked, blind and deaf, sick, and demon-possessed.  And the harlot-nation would pay dearly for the condition of God’s holy ones.  She would be dealt, in multiples, what she had dealt to “the daughter” – the children of Israel who God had kept for Himself.

As Jesus called God’s chosen ones to Himself, He was the “balm” for their miseries – reversing the ravages of this evil nation.  And He became the “offering” to God for their sin and the curse of God.  And in His resurrection out of death, they were united to Him in His resurrection; and He dressed them in the garments of His righteousness and saved them from the wrath to come.

The ones of the tribes of Jacob who God had chosen for Himself from the beginning were the firstfruits of our Lord’s resurrection.  They are His “firstborns”.

And from the firstborns of the resurrection, so also all of the multitude who belong to Him from the nations would see His countenance; for He would regard them; His attitude and demeanor would be toward them; and He would delight in them, and they would “see” it!  He would be “with” them.

They would all belong to the Christ – the Savior of the World; they would be In Him.  And His Father’s countenance would always be toward The Son and all for whom He had been sacrificed.

The Father would always delight in them; and they would delight in the Presence and countenance of God for all eternity.

All of this is what John is shown, and what he writes to the Churches, just before the Parousia of our Lord at the end of the age.  There would be no more curse; and God would abide with us.  First, the firstfruits – the firstborns of the tribes of Jacob; and then all of their “children” from the Gentile nations.

And since our Lord gave His body and poured out His blood for our sin, we who belong to Him are recipients of peace with God.  It’s a gift… a gift of life in Him.  Our having been raised up from death unto life in Christ, the Father’s countenance is no longer turned away from us in loathing and hostility; but He is turned toward us with love and grace and affection and pleasure.  And we are given to “see” it.

 

Now… as verse four continues: “His name on their foreheads.”

As John writes to the remnant of the twelve tribes, they are made aware, once again, of the event in history that prophesies what John is describing to them as he’s shown the New and holy Jerusalem; for they are set apart and marked with the Name of God between their eyes.  They are the firstborns – the firstfruits of the resurrection.

All of it prophesied during the time the twelve tribes of Jacob were in bondage in Egypt.  They had all participated in Passover, and they were about to be freed from bondage.  And God spoke to Moses and told him what all the people must do once they were in the “promised land”.

During the month in which they were freed from bondage in Egypt, they were to “set apart”, or “consecrate”, or “sanctify” the firstborns of the sons of Jacob.

Listen to this carefully from the book of The Exodus at chapter thirteen:

 

1)      And YAHVEH spoke unto Moses, saying,

2)      Set apart unto me all the first-born, whatsoever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast.  It is mine.

3)      And Moses said unto the people, remember the day in which you come out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of His Hand YAHVEH will have brought you out from this place.  There shall no leavened bread be eaten.

4)      This day you will go forth… in the month Abib.

5)      And it shall be, when YAHVEH shall bring you into the land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which he swore unto your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month.

6)      Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to YAHVEH.

7)      Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with you, neither shall there be leaven seen with you in all your borders.

8)      And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘it is because of that which YAHVEH did for me when I came forth out of Egypt’.

9)      And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, and the law of YAHVEH be in your mouth; for with a strong hand YAHVEH has brought you out of Egypt.

10)  You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.

11)  And it shall be, when YAHVEH shall bring you into the land of the Canaanite, as he swore unto you and to your fathers, and shall give it to you,

12)  that you shall set apart unto YAHVEH all that first opens the womb,  every firstling which you have that comes of a beast; the males shall be YAHVEH’s.

13)  The firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; but you shall redeem all the first-born of your sons.

14)  And it will be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, what is this?  You shall say unto him, ‘by strength of His Hand YAHVEH brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage,

15)  and it came to pass, when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, that YAHVEH slew all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both the first-born of man, and the first-born of beast.  Therefore I sacrifice to YAHVEH all that opens the womb, being males; and all the first-born of my sons I redeem’.

16)  And it shall be as a mark upon your hand or between your eyes: for by strength of His Hand YAHVEH brought us forth out of Egypt.

 

All through the older Scripture the coming Anointed One is referred to as the Right Hand and the Strong Right Arm of God.  And as you remember, when our Lord ascended, post resurrection, into the glory-cloud/tabernacle in the heaven, He “sat” at the “Right” of glory.  That’s His place.

He is the Word of God, second Person of Triune God, and the power and authority of God.  He is the Right Hand Whose “strength” freed the tribes of Jacob from bondage in Egypt.

And this Exodus passage prophesies His sacrifice for the firstborns of Jacob’s sons – the “children” of the tribes.  The firstborn of the flocks were to be sacrificed for the firstborn of the sons!  And when The Christ did come at the end of the age, He was that sacrifice heretofore prophesied; for He is the Firstborn, and “only” Son of God.  And at His resurrection out of death, He freed the sons of Jacob from the bondage of sin and the curse.  And they became the firstborns – or the firstfruits – of the resurrection for whom the firstborn was sacrificed!

The Exodus chapter thirteen passage is the prophetic Word to which John refers when he wrote: “His name on their foreheads”; for not only were the firstborn of the flocks “marked out” for sacrifice, but that sacrifice was “as a mark between the eyes” of the firstborn sons of Jacob.  For, as God said: “they are Mine”.

And I would refer you back to what John had been shown earlier in the Revelation; for the sons of the beast were marked with its number, and the hundred and forty four thousands of the sons of Jacob were marked with the mark of God; for they belonged to Him.

Here it is from Revelation chapter thirteen:

 

15) And it was given to it to give life to the image of the beast that the image of the beast might speak, and (it was given to it to) cause even the least of those who would not adore the image of the beast that they be killed;

16) and it causes all, the menial and the great, the rich and the poor, the freemen and the servants, that they be provided a mark upon their right hand or upon their forehead

17) so that no one be able to buy or to sell without having the mark: either the name of the beast or the number of its name.

18) The wisdom is herein.  Let one having a mind calculate the number of the beast; for that number is man, and his number is six hundred and sixty six.

 

And then, at the beginning of chapter fourteen, John was shown this at verse one:

 

“Then I looked and, lo, a Lamb having been standing upon the mount – Zion; and with Him a hundred and forty four thousands having had His Name and His Father’s Name written on their foreheads.”

 

And then we read this in verse four:

“… these firstfruit were bought from the men to God and to the Lamb,

and falsehood was not found in their mouth; they are blameless.”  As the

 

Exodus passage had required, “there was no leaven among them”.

 

So, as in the prophetic event in Exodus thirteen, just before the “exodus” from Israel, the beasts were marked out for the slaughter; and the firstfruits – the firstborn of the resurrection – were marked on their foreheads (between their eyes) with the Name of God.

And it’s exactly what John is shown here in chapter twenty two as he sees the New – and holy – Jerusalem coming down from God; and His servants – the firstfruits of the resurrection – are with Him; and they all have the Name of God and the Lamb on their foreheads.

The curse is gone, their sin has been forgiven; they are robed in the righteousness of Christ; they shall see His countenance… for they belong to God.  As He said to Moses while they were in Egypt:  “they are mine”.

And from them would go the Gospel of Jesus Christ into all the Gentile nations of the earth.

As the apostle Paul had written earlier, there would be no difference between the flesh of Jews and Gentiles; for all would be alike in Christ - the firstborns of the resurrection and all of their children from among the peoples and tribes and tongues of the world.

Now, verse five of our text says: “and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them….”

Previously in this passage (which began at verse nine of the former chapter) John wrote this:

 

23) The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24) the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25) by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26) and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

 

In that former passage, John is describing the city – the holy city – coming down from God.  The city would have no need for the sun or the moon as the first Jerusalem did; for there is no night there.

However, in this later passage (chapter twenty-two, verse five), His servants – those who serve in the new holy city – will have no need of lamps or sunlight; for there is no night there.

So, we have two references to the glorious light of the Presence of Almighty God and the Lamb, both here at the end of John’s letter to the Churches – the first having to do with the city, and the second having to do with the servants.

And there is no more powerful revelation of Triune God in all of Scripture!

In that which was about to be, John is shown the tabernacle of God (above the firmament) coming down from the heaven.  He would no longer be separate and unapproachable; for by the one sacrifice, there would no longer be a curse.  So our God would abide “with us”!  And the brightness of His glory would illumine the city.

And all His servants would have no need for lamps; for the Lamb of God (previously described by John) has seven eyes “as lamps”, from Whom proceeds the “seven spirits of God” – the “seven” indicating the fullness of the work of Holy Spirit in every place in the creation!

The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is also shown to John with the seven horns of absolute authority.  He is King of Kings, and the bright “morning star” who destroys the darkness.  Over the course of His “arising”, He brings full sunlight to every gross darkness on the earth; and all the earth will be renewed and restored.

And here, in all His glory, is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

And the Church in congregation is the earthy representation of the tabernacle of God-with-us.  From us must shine the light of the new and holy Jerusalem… the tabernacle of God.  From us the world must see the light of the Morning Star as He proceeds to enlighten the world and subdue it all to His Kingship.  From us must go forth the lamps of the eyes of the Lamb of God as God the Spirit brings light and life to the dead who are in gross darkness.

And we must thirst for that water of life (which, if we do, it will be given to us freely); for from it will spring forth life in all the wilderness places.

So there is no clearer exposition of the essential triune nature of our God in all of the prophetic Word.  He is shown here to John in all His glory as He tabernacles with us in the new, and holy, Jerusalem.

His “tri-unity” is the foundational Revelation for the Church of Jesus Christ.

And let me say this once again, for it can’t be overly stressed: the Word of God through John to the Churches is prophetic Revelation; and it is in the language of prophecy.  It’s the language through which God spoke to all the former prophets.

It is the last prophetic Word of God in a long line of prophecy; and it is understood only when seen in that light.  We’ll have a lot more to say about this when we’re finished and are reviewing all we’ve done during the last six years.  But it is enough right now to say that any description of the Revelation of Jesus Christ that represents the language as being “imaginative”, or “extraordinary”, or “eccentric”, or “peculiar”, or even “bizarre” (as most of them do), indicate that there is no understanding of the continuity of the prophetic Word of God throughout the Scripture.

And verse five of our text is a very good place to illustrate that, since almost every explanation of the Revelation is a re-interpretation that omits its continuity with the former prophecies.

So when John writes all that is “about to be”, which includes the New Jerusalem in which there will be “no night there”, it is almost always “assumed to be” some variation or another of “heaven” at the end of time.

Well, we’ve learned never to “assume” anything regarding John’s Revelation.  An “assumption” could be construed as an attack on the words of the scroll which could land one neatly within the category of “anathema”.  Plus, the fact that nowhere in the Scripture is there a “heaven” – a place where people go who have done good in this life (rather, John sees that God would make His abode with us, since there’s no more curse).  Plus, nowhere in the Bible is it ever said that there would be an end to time!

So, when John writes to the Churches about what was about to be, he describes the New and holy Jerusalem coming down from God upon the great mountain of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  It is the tabernacle of God with us; and the “Seat” of God and the Lamb would be in her, and there would be no night there.

And the hundred and forty-four thousand “firstborn” servants of God and the Lamb would have no need of lamps or sunlight; for there would be no night there.

Is this one of the places where the imaginations of modern false prophets go crazy?...is this the “heaven” that they prophesy when there will no longer be a sun and a moon?......where there is no longer an earth rotating in its God-ordained orbit?

Is this the place where the “true Church” is taken away before the earth is burned up in the fiery wrath of God?...a place “somewhere up there” where there is no sun and no moon and no time?...a place that exists in which there is no “night”?

They have no concept of prophecy and God’s prophetic language!  They don’t know that John is the last prophet in a long line of prophets.  They have little perception of, and scant appreciation of, Biblical Theology and the continuity of God’s Word.

And lastly they just dispense with the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of the age, and make assumptions that all of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is “yet to come” sometime in the future.

And “no night there” is somewhere “out there” where God is busy making a “place” for us called “heaven”!  And when Jesus comes back, he’ll take all who believe in Him to that place!

It’s just a small “remnant” of humanity (they say) – believers, pilgrims wandering around in this cursed world that’s ruled by satan.  But Jesus will save them (the ones who have accepted Him), and send the rest to another place called “hell”, and burn this cosmos that God so “hates”!

But, you see, none of that is found in the Scripture!  Just like the false prophets of Israel, they’ve turned the Gospel of Jesus Christ upside down and inside out!  They follow the false prophets instead of God’s prophets.

 

There is an unbroken, undivided, unimpaired continuity of the prophetic Word from Moses to John.  It’s full, and it’s complete.  There’s no deviation in it.  And the language is the same.

So, when we read (concerning the tabernacle of God with Man) that there is “no night there”; for the glorious light of God and the Lamb is its light; and we read that the servants of God (the firstfruits of the resurrection) will have no need of lamps or sunlight, for there’s no night there, what do we do with it?

Do we make something up and try to fit it into a preconceived scheme?  Or do we find out what God has shown to John by reading the former prophets!  God has put His Word into the mouths of an unbroken line of prophets; so what’s not obvious?!

Is it too primitive?  Is it just too simple?  Is it not clever enough for vivid imaginations?

Just listen for a moment to what God said through His prophet Micah as he wrote in chapter three:

 

5)      This is what YAHVEH says concerning the prophets (false prophets) who lead my people astray, who proclaim peace when they have food to sink their teeth into but declare war against the ones who have nothing to put in their mouths.

6)      Therefore, it will be night for you — without your visions; it will get dark for you — without your divination.  The sun will set on these (false) prophets, and the daylight will be black over them.

7)      Then the seers will be ashamed and the diviners disappointed. They will all cover their mouths, because there will be no answer from God.

 

You see, God’s concept of the “night” is a state of “darkness” of wisdom and understanding; it is a state of “blackness” regarding anything of God.  It is an absence of any “light”.  But in our text here, John is shown that there will be an absence of “night”!  There will be no “night” in the holy Jerusalem coming down from God….no darkness; for they would see the countenance of God and the Lamb.  The brightness of God and the Lamb would shine upon them; and there would be no darkness of understanding of the Truth and Righteousness of God.

Listen to God’s Word to Isaiah at chapter twenty-nine:

 

13)  And YAHVEH said, Forasmuch as this people draw nigh unto me, and with their mouth and with their lips to honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them;

14)  therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.

15)  Woe unto them that hide deep their counsel from YAHVEH, and whose works are in the dark (night), and that say, Who sees us?  who knows us?

16)  You turn all things upside down! Shall the potter be esteemed as clay, that the thing made should say of him that made it, He didn’t make me; or the thing formed say of him that formed it, He has no understanding?

17)  Is it not but a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?

18)  And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of their former gloom and darkness.

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 22:1-21 Part 2

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev22part2.mp3?type=podpage

 

 

 

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 2

 

1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll’.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God’.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without…. the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David’s root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come’; and he who hears say ‘come’.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly’.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)

 

In the early days of our nation’s history (and before, and after, the war between the states), there arose the black Churches… mostly in the South.  Many slave-owners had taught the Gospel to their slaves and encouraged them to meet on Sundays to worship.

And from those gatherings there came forth a number of hymns and songs that have been preserved – a few of which are still included in the more “inclusive” hymnals; and they are called “negro spirituals”.  (At least they were once so-called.)

Some of them are quite lovely.  And if one were to look closely at the words, one would find that a few come right out of the text of the King James translation of the Bible.

Most of you probably wouldn’t remember any of them; but I grew up hearing them and being familiar with them in the forties and early fifties… even including them sometimes in my repertoire as a performing vocalist.

One of those spirituals is called “There is a Balm in Gilead”.

When the slaves sang it, and when the post-war black Churches sang it, the song was always applied directly to them (as a people in bondage) – rather than understanding it in its original context.  And they turned it to a positive application (for them) – rather than its purely negative context (for the first Jerusalem).

The words come directly from Jeremiah chapter eight, at which point God was putting words directly into the mouth of this lamenting prophet concerning the state and condition of His people Israel.

The context covers the whole chapter; and it’s a long one.  So I won’t read it.  I’ll just summarize it for you.

God said to Jeremiah that because of the gross idolatry of this people, they have chosen death rather than life.  And they hold fast to their self-deceit!  Not even one would repent.

Like a horse rushes into the battle, every one of them has set his own course.  And God contrasts His people with animals and birds, saying that even these creatures know what to do in their seasons, but His people don’t even know that they’re rushing to judgment and destruction.

There is no wisdom in them, and they won’t listen to the words of the prophets.  And the pens of their own scribes are vanity!  And their priests are all given to covetousness.

There are none among them who have any shame at all; they’ve all committed abominations against God; and their own scribes and priests and heads have done nothing to give healing and solace to His people.

So God, through the prophet Jeremiah, says to them that He would give their wives to another people, and their fields to another inheritor, and He would cast them down and consume them.

He would send plagues of serpents and insects; and a strong people would devour the city and the whole land; for they had provoked YAHVEH with their graven images and their strange vanities.

And God told Jeremiah that He had heard the cry of the Daughter of Zion in her misery.  The daughter of this people has been hurt!  And He asks the question “is there no healer among all of this people?”  “Is the daughter just to remain in grave condition and misery?”

“Is there no balm in Gilead?”

The water has turned to gall, and the trees bear no fruit, and their leaves have withered, and there is no healing for the “daughter” among these people.

 

Gilead was an area across the Jordan in the heights of Bashan that was renowned for its great variety of trees, many of which bore copious amounts of fruit, and the leaves of which were used as balms for the relief of human suffering, diseases and illnesses.

And who could possibly doubt that Jeremiah chapter eight is prophetic of all that John is shown here in the first two verses of Revelation twenty two?  The leaves of the “Living Tree” are for the healing of the Daughter of Zion and for the Gentile nations.

When our Lord appeared at the end of the age, He came to seek and to save the lost sheep of the tribes of Jacob.  She was the “daughter of Zion” that had been left in such terrible condition; for there were no “healers” among the idolatrous priests and elders and pharisees of Israel.  There was no “balm” for her in all of Gilead.

But when Jesus came, He healed her leprosy, and cast out her demons, and returned her sight and her hearing, and stopped her flow of blood, and straitened her limbs.  And when He called her, she came to the wedding festivities.  And He dressed her in the white robes of righteous virginity and gathered her to Himself as His Own.  And she was birthed out of the harlot nation before the wrath of God to come… all of it prophesied right there in Jeremiah chapter eight.

And what John is shown here in the last chapters of The Revelation of Jesus Christ is the New and holy Jerusalem that would be coming down from God upon the high mountain of the Kingdom of our Lord.

Jesus – Savior – had come (at the end of the age) to find the “daughter”… the chosen of God from the tribes of Jacob.  And just as a groom would do with his bride, He took her to Himself.

John saw them all earlier, you remember; and they were with Him, and they were robed with the white garments of righteousness.  For He had come for them; and He had found them; and He had healed them; and He had suffered and died for them.

He had saved them from the wrath to come; and the entirety of the “Daughter of Zion” belonged to Him and was united to Him.  She constituted the “holy ones” who God had kept for Himself.  And they were “holy” because God had kept them for Himself from the beginning!

She was the “true Israel” promised to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob.  And before the termination of the harlot Jerusalem, true Israel’s Messiah came for her!

She was not “holy” because of what she had done; she was not righteous due to anything inherent in her…..she was holy because God had chosen her!  And Jesus sought her out and took her to Himself and dressed her in righteousness… for she was raised from death unto life IN HIM.

In the same way that a groom takes unto himself a wife, and they become one flesh, so Jesus took the Daughter of Zion – true Israel – to Himself; and she was “united” to Him.  And therein – and only therein – is her righteousness.

And since the “daughter” is the true Israel; and since the first Israel and the first Jerusalem would pass away; the Daughter of Zion would have a New – and holy – Jerusalem; a true Jerusalem.

And John is shown what was about to be… it was the New and holy Jerusalem coming down from God atop the Kingdom mountain of Jesus Christ.  And she was bedecked and adorned with the gold and the stones of the first paradise; the names of the apostles on her foundation stones; upon her gates of pearl were written the names of the tribes of Jacob.

The New Jerusalem would be the “abode” – the tabernacle – of God and the Lamb Who was sacrificed for her.  His tabernacle would be “with man”.

The first Israel and the first Jerusalem upon the first Mount Zion, rather than being the light of the world, corrupted the entire earth with the wine of her fornication.  But the light of the New Israel and the New Jerusalem upon the New Mount Zion would destroy the gross darkness over all the nations of the earth.

And a River of the Water of Life would flow from her; and a living tree would be food for the nations; and its leaves would be a “balm of Gilead” for the health of the nations; for God has chosen many from the peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth.  And they, too, are written in the Lamb’s book of life!  And ALL Israel – the true Israel – will be saved!

And there would no longer be a curse upon the earth; for the Lamb of God has poured out His blood for the sin of the world.  And God would abide with us!

From the “seat” of God and the Lamb would flow that crystal clear river of the water of life, and that living tree bearing copious amounts of fruit to feed the nations, and the leaves of which are for the “healing” of the nations.

And the tree will never die, nor its leaves wither; for there are multitudes of the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues who belong to The Christ.

They are “holy ones” who God has loved from the beginning, and who He has kept for Himself, and for whom God has provided His Own sacrifice.

The River of Water of Life will flow into the “sea” of humanity, and the sea would be healed; and the great multitude promised to Abraham will be raised up out of death unto life, united to Christ, and come under full influence of Holy Spirit.

And they will thirst for that water; and it will be given to them freely.  And the River will flow hence ever wider and deeper into the wilderness places.

And through all the years decreed, the nations that our Lord has inherited will be healed and fed from the “Living Tree”; and they will thrive and prosper and flourish; for they will increasingly be “at peace” with God.

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the world must hear.  And as we’ve seen so many times, it isn’t just here in the last chapters of the Revelation!  It’s all through God’s Word from the beginning!

Right now I want you to hear the prophetic Word of God through the prophet Isaiah.  This is the passage in which God reveals His eternal covenant of peace with His creation.

In Christ Jesus the Redeemer and Savior of the world, the curse of God is satisfied, all His people will be united to Him in the New Jerusalem, and all the earth will be redeemed and restored.  And by the grace of Almighty God, the wilderness and thorns and briars of the curse will go away; and in their place will arise great trees under which the creatures will take refuge, and in which the birds will make their nests.  And all the earth will thrive and prosper.

 

The promise of God of an eternal covenant of peace follows the wonderful Revelation (Isaiah chapter fifty three) of the One Who would be stricken of God and afflicted; He Who would be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquity; and by His stripes we would be healed.

 

And listen to what comes right after that in chapter fifty-four…!

 

1)      Sing, O barren one, you that did not bear; break forth into singing and cry out, you that did not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the betrothed wife, says YAHVEH.

2)      Enlarge the place of your tabernacle, and let stretch forth the curtains of your habitations; spare not; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.

3)      For you shall spread abroad on the right and on the left; and your seed shall possess the nations and make the desolate places to be inhabited.

4)      Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed; neither will you be confounded; for you shall not be put to shame; for you shall forget the shame of your youth; and the reproach of your widowhood shall you remember no more.

5)      For your Creator is your husband; YAHVEH of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall He be called.

6)      For YAHVEH has called you as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.

7)      For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you.

8)      In overflowing wrath I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting lovingkindness will I have mercy on you, says YAHVEH your Redeemer.

9)      For this is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be wroth with you, nor rebuke you.

10)  For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my lovingkindness shall not depart from you, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, says YAHVEH Who has mercy on you.

11)  O you afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted; behold, I will set your stones in fair colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires.

12)  And I will make your pinnacles of rubies, and your gates of pearls, and all your wall of precious stones.

13)  And all your children shall be taught of YAHVEH; and great shall be the peace of your children.

14)  In righteousness shall you be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and you shall be far from terror, for it shall not come near you.

15)  Behold, they may gather together, but not by me.  Whosoever gathers together against you shall fall because of you.

16)  Behold, I create the smith that blows the fire of coals and brings forth a weapon for his work; and I create the waster to destroy.

17)  But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall judge.  This is the heritage of the servants of YAHVEH, and their righteousness which is of me, says YAHVEH.

    1) Lo, every one that thirsts, come ye to the waters; and he that has no money come, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

2)      Why spend money for that which is not bread? and labor for that which does not satisfy?  Listen diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

3)      Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I make an eternal covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

4)      Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander to the peoples.

5)      Behold, you shall call a people that you don’t know; and a people that doesn’t know you shall run unto you because of YAHVEH your God and the Holy One of Israel; for he has made you glorious.

6)      Seek YAHVEH while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.

7)      let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto YAHVEH, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

8)      For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says YAHVEH.

9)      For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10)  For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven and doesn’t return, but waters the earth and makes it bring forth and yield, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

11)  so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth.  It shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

12)  For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.  The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing; and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.

13)  Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree; and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree: and it shall be to YAHVEH for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

 

There is the revelation of the eternal covenant of peace prophesied through the mouth of Isaiah some seven hundred years before the birth of the Redeemer Who would come for the Daughter of Zion, and Who would be stricken and afflicted of God for the sin of the world. 

And that which is spoken by YAHVEH will not return unto Him void; for it would accomplish all that He wills.

In the fullness of the time, God’s Anointed One – the Holy One of Israel – was led to the horns of the altar; and the sin of the world was laid on Him; and as a Lamb led to the slaughter, the full fury of Almighty God was poured out on Him, and God was satisfied with the sacrifice.  And there would be no more curse.  And the thorns and briars of the cursed earth would be replaced with mighty trees that would clap their hands at His restoration of all the earth.

And His promise to Israel was fulfilled when the Daughter was taken unto Himself and united to Him; for the Redeemer had saved every last one of God’s chosen ones from the tribes of Jacob.

And they would all be with Him, and would serve Him in the New Jerusalem.  And from them would go forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world.  And peoples of all flesh would be united to Him.  And they would be called the “children” of the Daughter of Zion!

And the birds would sing and make their nests in the mighty trees that replaced the thorns and briars.  And the fields would produce.  And kings and rulers would lead their people into the New Jerusalem.  And weapons of warfare would no longer be needed; and they would be beaten into plowshares.

What we’re seeing here is the restoration of all the earth to its original paradise; for there would no longer be any curse; for God had spoken an eternal covenant of peace.

 

Before we go further in the text, I want to spend our last few minutes this morning in a reminder of Reformed Theology and our Lord’s “reformation” of His Church.

During all the years of the decree for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the restoration of all the earth, there have been many messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  There has never been a time since our Lord’s Parousia when the light of God and the Lamb did not shine in the darkness of the nations; and there has never been a time when the River of the Water of Life did not flow, ever wider and ever deeper, into the dry and wilderness places of the earth.  And there’s never been a time when the tree of life was not feeding and healing the nations.

The curse is gone, you see; and the Daughter of Zion has many, many children.  It’s an eternal covenant in Christ Jesus for the redemption of His creation!

No matter what we see happening around us, and in different places around the world, there are children of the Daughter preaching and teaching the Gospel.  And our Lord is adding to Himself all who are written in His book of life.

This has all been taking place ever since the Parousia when God made His abode with man.  Every period of time is filled with faithful men and women Who the victorious Overcomer has raised up from death unto life.  And that will continue, and increase, until all the earth is filled with the knowledge of God and His so great salvation of the world.

And we’re so blessed to have a fairly good written record of the preaching and teaching of the faithful during the period called The Reformation.  And that record is available – not only in print, but also on the internet.

It’s called the reformation because some parts of the Church had fallen into evil hands.  And men and women who held the testimony of Jesus stood against them; and the Water of the River of Life continued to flow in spite of them!

And, as I said, we have a pretty good account of the faithful lives and work of a few of them.  (I’m certain that there were many more who labored faithfully in historical obscurity.)  And through the preaching and teaching and prolific writing of a few, all the world has been blessed and made more fruitful; for the written record of their faithful message has reached every place on earth.

We call it “Reformed Theology” as if something new had been “added” or “discovered”.  But nothing had been added… nothing new had been “discovered”.  It was the Gospel of Jesus Christ held faithfully and continually since the beginning.

It was apostolic doctrine; and before that it was the testimony of the Daughter of Zion – the remnant of the house of Jacob Who Jesus came to seek and to save.  These men of the Reformation were the Biblical “children” of the hundred and forty four thousand (the firstfruits of the Resurrection).  The Reformation was just a continuation of the salvation of the world as our Lord raised up men to hold His testimony in the face of pagan incursions into His Church.

The first name that always comes to mind when we think of the Reformation is John Calvin, who always wrote his sermons, and whose other writings (including the “Institutes of the Christian Religion”) have also been preserved for the posterity.

But there were many others who were faithful to the Scripture during that time, and who were also prolific in their preaching and writing, and who also stood strong amidst idolatry and persecution.  And we should hold them in as high esteem as pastor Calvin.

Among those who we could mention would be Peter Martyr Vermigli in Italy; and Girolamo Zanchi, also in Italy; Francis Turretin, the Frenchman who came to Switzerland sometime after Calvin; William Perkins and John Owen in Britain; and Herman Witsius of Holland.  And there are many more (way too many to list here!)  There wasn’t just “one” who stood strong.  Our Lord always had a “host” of messengers preaching the Gospel!  And these (and others) left a treasure of written material… which has circulated throughout the world.

If one were to read all the written work of these preachers and pastors that I just mentioned, all he would be doing would be reading!  But, you see, these over here would be the recipients of the work of Zanchi; and these over there the writings of Calvin; and up there the work of Witsius; and then others the faithful preaching of John Owen.  It was the same River of Life, you see.

And common to all of them was the eternal covenant of peace with God in Christ Jesus the Lord (as we read earlier from portions of Isaiah fifty four and fifty five).  Covenant Theology.

And you’ll notice that I said “peace with God IN Christ Jesus”; for the only way to have peace with God is to be raised from death unto life IN HIM.  It is “union with Christ” from which flows the doctrines of salvation so freely and powerfully preached by our reformed forebears.  And it is the one Biblical doctrine that is so adamantly opposed by pagan notions.

It is the one Biblical doctrine from which irrevocably arises the total depravity of all mankind.  It is the one doctrine from which irrevocably arises unconditional election.  It is the one doctrine from which irrevocably arises the atonement of Jesus Christ for all of His Own Who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  It is the one doctrine from which arises the irresistible grace of God the Spirit.  And it is the one doctrine from which arises the perseverance of every last one of His holy ones.

It is that which was shown to John (as recorded by him in chapter twenty).  It is the first resurrection.  It’s the resurrection from death unto life.  It’s the resurrection from death unto life IN Christ Jesus!  It is union with Him in rebirth.

It is union with Christ in His death and His burial and His resurrection.

It is IN HIM that there is forgiveness of sin.  It is IN HIM that the curse of God is satisfied.  It is only IN HIM that the dead become new creations.

Union with Christ – the resurrection from death unto life in Him – was the center of Reformation preaching and teaching and writing; for it is the water of life proceeding from the SEAT of God and the Lamb.

And it was apostolic doctrine before them.

And when we’re finished with this last prophetic Word from God to the apostle/prophet John, we’ll see Covenantal Theology and Union with Christ all through the letter to the Churches of the Daughter of Zion in Rome.

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 22:1-21 Part 1

 

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev22part1.mp3?type=podpage

 

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 1

 

1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll'.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God'.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without.... the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David's root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come'; and he who hears say ‘come'.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly'.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)

 

Let's set the context carefully here, for there is no break in the text of John's letter to the Churches between chapters twenty-one and twenty-two.

As we've seen so many times over the last five years, when people just like you and me manipulate the text for some utilitarian purpose (like making it easier to find things), it does little else but confuse.  And we must not be confused here.

So, here's the context, beginning at verse nine of the last chapter:

 

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, "here, I will show you the bride - the wife of The Lamb".

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city - the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven having her God's glory....

 

The messenger that came to speak to John, beginning at verse nine of chapter twenty one, is still speaking to him about the New Jerusalem here in twenty two!  It is a message directly from the mouth of our Lord; and there is no interruption in the message from that point to the end of The Revelation.

This is one of the messengers that had the seven bowls of the seven last plagues upon Israel and the city of God at the end of the age.  And the subject of its message there in twenty one is still the subject here in twenty two.  The text here at verse one says: "and it showed me...."  It's the same messenger; and it's still showing John the New Jerusalem coming down from God.

So don't let the break in chapters confuse you.

As John looked on, it was the end of the age; and the time was near.  In the final few years of Israel's existence, the plagues to come were to be horrific.  And then she would be put to the sword; and she would be burned in the fiery wrath of God.  The first Jerusalem would no longer exist, and would pass from remembrance.

Then that messenger, having previously shown John the plagues shortly to come, takes him to the top of a great mountain and shows him the new, and holy, city - Jerusalem - coming down from the heaven having her God's glory.

Remember...this is to happen "shortly".  As John receives these things, the plagues are shortly to come; the destruction of the city and the nation was shortly to come; the binding of the serpent is shortly to come; and the "holy" city - God with Us - would come... the New Jerusalem!

She is the bride - the wife of the Lamb.

Replacing the first Jerusalem would come the "holy" Jerusalem.  It is the tabernacle of God in the heaven... coming down "into" His creation to abide with us.  And she is filled with the hundred and forty-four thousands who John has previously seen - with God in the heaven - robed in the white garments of righteousness.  The bride of Christ is "holy"!

She is the one who came to the wedding festivities when she was called; and she was "given" wedding garments fit for the King!  She is the "daughter of Zion" birthed from the prostitute.  She is the one who Jesus came to seek and to save; for she is the elect of the Father from the tribes of Jacob - the "true" Israel.  And because of His perfect sacrifice, she is dressed and adorned appropriately; and she is holy and perfect and beautiful and crowned with glory in all of her aspects.

John describes her perfections in detail there in chapter twenty one; and there's nothing unclean in her.  Her foundations have the names of the apostles; and her gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Jacob.  And the gold and the stones of the first paradise adorn her!

John is shown her coming down from the heaven upon a great mountain - high and above all other mountains.

Jesus Christ, having saved The Father's elect from the tribes of Jacob, the Lamb of God having been sacrificed for the sin of the world, and having received all authority in the heaven and on the earth, had ascended to the Right and received His inheritance: all the kingdoms and nations and peoples and tribes and tongues.  He became their King; and they then all belonged to Him.

His Kingdom is the great mountain over all the mountains and hills of the earth.  And the New Jerusalem comes down to the top of His Kingdom/mountain.

What John is shown here, at the soon-to-come Parousia of the Christ, is 1) an unholy harlot nation passing from existence, 2) an unholy city with its unholy temple passing from existence; and 3) an unholy mountain - Mount Zion - passing from existence.  And in place of these, a holy people and a holy city coming down on a holy mountain.

He has saved the Father's elect from the tribes of Jacob; and now He will save the world!

What flowed from the first city on the first mountain (just like Babylon before it) was the wine of her fornication, and all the nations drank from it.  But from the new city on the new Kingdom/mountain would dawn a great light in the darkness; and would flow a River of the Water of Life to all the nations and tribes and tongues.

That's what John sees here in verse one of our new chapter as he continues to describe what he's being shown by this messenger.  And we're reminded of the first prophetic Word of this River of Life; for when Moses was at the top of the Sinai mountain - in the presence of God in His holy tabernacle, he was told of the great river that flowed from Eden and broke into many parts to water all the earth.

And here we see the fullness of the Word of God to Moses; for what John is shown "about-to-be" is the mountain of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, atop of which is the New Jerusalem - the tabernacle of God-With-Us.  And from the "Seat" of God and the Lamb flows a River which will water every dry and wilderness place of the earth!

It is the seat of God and the Lamb, for the Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sin of the world!  The first heaven and earth, and the first paradise, were ruined by sin and cursed of God.  But as John looks on here, there was about to be a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem; and there would come to pass a paradise that cannot be ruined by sin; for Jesus Christ had given His body and poured out His blood for the sin of the world.

We've seen the Lamb of God "in midst" of the seat of God before, haven't we?  Listen once again to what John has previously seen.  This is from chapter five:

 

1)      And I did see a scroll on the right of the One sitting on the throne

2)      having been written front and back having been sealed with seven seals.

3)      And I did see a mighty messenger announcing in a great sound, "Who worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?"

4)      And no one in the heaven or upon the earth or under the earth was enabled to open the scroll or to see it.

5)      And I was weeping greatly because no one worthy had been found to open the scroll or to see it.

6)      And one of the elders says to me, "Don't be weeping!  Lo!  The Lion from the Judah tribe, the David Root, did overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals."

7)      And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

8)      And He did come and He takes from the right of the One sitting upon the throne.

9)      And when He did take the scroll, the four creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each having a lyre and golden bowls filling with incense which are the prayers of the holy ones,

10)  and singing new songs, saying, "Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, for You were slain, and You did buy for God in Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

11)  and You did make them a kingdom, and priests for our God, and they will reign upon the earth.

 

It's exactly what was revealed to John the baptizer when he first saw Jesus coming toward him.  He said, "lo, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world".

It was prophesied to Isaiah before, in chapter fifty-three:

 

6)      All, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and YAHVEH has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

7)      He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

8)      By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?

 

So, what John is shown here in verse one is the "Seat" - the throne - of Almighty God above His tabernacle in the heaven coming down from the heaven to abide "with us".  And "in midst" of the seat is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

And from the seat of Almighty God and the Lamb, the River of water of life flows amidst the streets of the New Jerusalem and, hence, into all the world.  It's not a flood of wrath (as with the first Jerusalem), but a flood of life that ever widens and ever deepens, and that waters the dry and wilderness places of all the earth.

This is what John is shown about to be!

The God Who spoke and all creation came to be; the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob Who kept the seed of the woman for Himself out of all depraved and cursed humanity; the God Who, in the fullness of the time brought forth a sacrificial Lamb for Himself; the God who had been remote and separated from a cursed humanity and a cursed earth, would abide with us - tabernacle with us; for His Lamb had taken away the sin of the world.

The Lamb had become sin!  And He had satisfied the wrath of God toward cursed humanity and toward a cursed earth.  As the beginning of verse three says, "and there would no longer be any curse"!

You see, because of the love of God for His elect people and for His creation, He provided a sacrifice to Himself - the depth and height and breadth of which "satisfied" the curse of God.

So thorough, so profound, so unconditional, so exhaustive was the payment for sin and the satisfaction that it provided, that there was no longer any curse; and our holy God would now tabernacle with us!

No longer remote and above the firmament of His cursed creation, He would be "with us"!  And over the course of all the decreed years (the curse having been satisfied), the One with all authority in the heaven and on the earth would complete the Edenic restoration of the entire creation.

We'll get to the tree of life here in verse two in a few minutes.  But before that, there is something here that is of supreme interest to us who reside in the New - and holy - Jerusalem, and who gather for public worship on the first day of the week.

It isn't something that's mentioned by John, but is nonetheless "conspicuous" in his description of all that he is shown.  Hear once again one verse from the passage that I read earlier from chapter five:

 

"And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth."

 

That's the passage in which John is shown the Lamb of God, the only One worthy to open the scroll having to do with the last days at the end of the age... the scroll that had been sealed to the prophet Daniel until the fullness of the time.

John's description of God's Lamb (there in chapter five) included the seven horns and the seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

The seven horns are indicative of the full and complete authority given to the risen and ascended Lamb of God.  And the seven eyes are the full and complete work of Holy Spirit proceeding into all the world from God and from the Lamb in midst of the throne.

Also around the Lamb, John had seen the four mighty creatures at the four corners of the mercy seat beneath the throne of God.  And there were all the twenty four elder-creatures.

And what is so striking to me here in chapters twenty-one and twenty-two (and it should be to you as well), is the prominent and conspicuous "absence" of these creatures as John described the new Jerusalem - the tabernacle of God-With-us!

Also, significantly absent here in the description of the new tabernacle of God, is all the sounds that John had heard previously from the tabernacle in the heaven!

There were wonderful harmonic sounds being emitted from the very existence of the tabernacle itself - as harping strings.

But also there were mighty shouts, and sounds of great thunders, and flashing lights as lightnings, and trumpeting, and crashing as the sound of cymbals, and fire and brimstone being poured out of chalices, and choruses of praise to Almighty God for His faithful justice and righteousness!

But John mentions none of these things in His description of the New Jerusalem as our God tabernacles with us!  They're all missing!  The creatures, the sights and the sounds; the chariots of God as He rode over the wings of the four creatures; the rushing sounds like a great wind, the pillars of smoke and pillars of fire, the cloud of glory hiding His Presence and filling his man-made tabernacles - all of the creatures and sights and sounds of the heavenly tabernacle are absent here in John's description of the New Jerusalem - the tabernacle of God with man!

And what occurs to me as John is allowed to see what is "about to be", is that none of these things would any longer be needed!

What John is shown is a new - and holy - Jerusalem; and God would tabernacle with us; for there would no longer be any curse!  The throne - the very "seat" of Almighty God is with us, and the Lamb of God in midst of the seat.

And from the seat of God and the Lamb flows the river of the water of life into all the nations and tribes and tongues of the earth.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And proceeding from God and the Lamb is the full work of God the Spirit in rebirthing His people from death unto life.

No longer is it appropriate to have the twenty-four creatures praising God in His heavenly tabernacle; for the Church - the Redeemed of the Lamb - gathers on the first day of the week in public to give praise and honor to our God and to sing a new song!  It is no longer sung by creatures that don't participate in the salvation wrought on our behalf; but it is the singing of praise by the Redeemed!  And we do so in public because this all belongs to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  It's His by inheritance.  And He is "with" us!

There is no longer any need for the roaring and the thunders and the lightnings and the trumpeting and the glory cloud.  There's no longer any need for the four creatures that called up the four horses of the Revelation, or that called up the four great beasts of God's history, or that dealt with the deception of the serpent of old, or that - from the four corners of the earth - called up the four winds at the end of the age, and that held back the waters of the Euphrates so the armies of the world would gather at the valley of Megiddo!

Their four faces and four wings and their many eyes are no longer needed; for the Lamb slain - with seven horns and seven eyes is in midst of the seat of God.  And from Him goes forth the full influence of God the Spirit into all the earth.

And the Gospel of Jesus Christ flows as a river of living water into all the dark and wilderness places; and up springs light and life.  The New Jerusalem - the tabernacle of God with us - has no need for any of those things.  Restitution has been made!  And restoration is in progress!  Our God is with us!  And there is no more curse.

And restitution and restoration are also implied from what else John sees coming forth from the seat of God and the Lamb - and from the River of the water of life.  John was also shown the tree of life; or the translation might also be "the living wood".

This view of the New Jerusalem and the seat of God and the Lamb is both complex and profound.  And it is so from the beginning; for it refers to so many things and so many prophecies and so many events all through the Scripture.  For example, the psalmist speaks of man-made idols that have no life!

He wrote:

 

5)      They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

6)      They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

7)      They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

8)      They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusts in them.

 

In this case (regarding the tree of life), living wood is contrasted with that which is lifeless!  The wooden idol can't see, it can't hear, it can't speak, it can't smell; for it is a man-made idol that has no life.  So why should it be worshipped as if it could impart or provide life?

The prophetic Scriptures are full of the Word of God to Israel and Jerusalem regarding its idolatry.  There was even a "tree of life" in the garden at the beginning.  It was prophetic of that which John was shown here in the New Jerusalem.

And there, in the garden, Adam and his wife refused to be satisfied with the "paradise" that God had made; and they refused to see the paradise that would be!  Preferring self-idolatry, they became cursed and lifeless as a man-made idol; and they were expelled from paradise.

And then, all through Israel's history we read of her man-made idols as she built them in gardens, and under great trees, and on the tops of hills, and on their roofs, and at every crossroad.  And along with the warnings of the coming wrath of God, she was sent the clear words of God through the prophets of a coming paradise in God's Anointed One... a paradise in which that "tree of life" would be restored to His people.  And there would be "restoration" of the cursed earth - one in which all the nations would rejoice in light and life and increasing prosperity.

The curse of God upon all His created realm - and the satisfaction of that curse - was also prophesied in the curse of the law.  For God said "cursed is the one who hangs on a tree".

When our Lord was nailed to the cross and was hung there until His death, He suffered the full and devastating curse of God on mankind and on His creation.  The curse of God's Law-word was laid on Him; and He became sin - and He died with it, suffering complete rejection and separation from God, and enduring His perfect wrath and justice.

But having been raised up out of death, having made satisfaction for sin and the curse, and having ascended to the Right of The Father, John is now shown the "soon-to-come" Parousia of Jesus Christ, at which time the tabernacle of God would abide with us.

And the tree of life - "living wood" - found in the first paradise would again blossom to the healing and restoration of the earth and all nations and peoples.

Moses spoke of Him; the Law-word of God revealed Him; King David - whose Root and Offspring was the Christ - was given perfect insight of Him as he wrote in the Psalm:

 

1)      Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.

2)      But his delight is in the law of YAHVEH; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3)      And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.

 

And again the Psalmist from Psalm 92:

12)  The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

13)  Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14)  and they will bring forth fruit in old age; they shall remain fresh and flourishing,

15)  showing that YAHVEH is upright.  He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

 

And once more, from Psalm 96:

11)  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice.  Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof;

12)  Let the field exult, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy

13)  before YAHVEH; for he comes, He comes to judge the earth: He will judge the earth with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth.

 

Listen to Isaiah as these things are prophesied to the remnant of Israel.  Chapter forty one:

18)  I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

19)  In the wilderness I will put the cedar, the acacia, and the myrtle, and the olive tree; I will set in the desert the fir-tree, the pine, and the box-tree together,

20)  that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the Right Hand of YAHVEH has done this; the Holy One of Israel has created it.

 

And lastly, in Daniel chapter four we have the mighty vision of the new heaven and the new earth at the coming of the King of Kings at the end of the age.

The vision was given to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and interpreted by Daniel.  And it drove the king to insanity; because he was not to be the king over all the earth.  Another was to be King!  Here's the place where he describes to Daniel what was shown to him:

 

10)  Thus were the visions of my head upon my bed.  I saw, and, behold, a tree in midst of the earth; and the height thereof was great.

11)  The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached into heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.

12)  The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit much, and in it was food for all.  The beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the heavens dwelt in the branches thereof, and all flesh was fed from it.

 

This was the vision of the first beast of world history who, at the deception of the satan, defeated Jerusalem and all Israel, and brought its people and its goods into captivity in Babylon.  And he then went back and completely destroyed the wall and the city and the temple and laid the entire land to waste... leaving it a barren wilderness.  It was all an attempt, by the serpent, to cut off the Seed of the woman to be born in Israel.

And this satanically motivated king of all the world was shown the True King of the world to come; and he was driven insane by rage and jealousy.  And he became a beast that grew claws and hair over his entire body; and he grazed in the field like the beast that he was.

But the vision shown to him, and interpreted by Daniel, was a  kingdom with a great tree in midst of the earth, under which all the animals took their shelter, and the birds made their nests in its branches; and all the earth flourished and was fed and nurtured by its fruit and its leaves.

And it's exactly what John is shown at the soon-to-come Parousia of the King of Kings.

The "living wood" - the coming tree of life, was shown to the first beast of history!  The tree of life in the first Paradise was prophetic of the tree of life in the new, and holy, Jerusalem - Paradise restored in Jesus Christ; for our God would "tabernacle", abide, with us.

And the tree of life would produce a perfect "twelve" fruit every month to feed the nations - equal to all the perfections of the new city of God; and its leaves the "balm" of all the nations of the earth.

As YAHVEH said to Ezekiel, recorded in chapter seventeen, the very "roots" of the first Jerusalem and the land would be pulled up; and the fruits of the tree withered; and the fresh, springing leaves would be dried up.  And no strong arm or many people could raise it up again from its roots.

But God and the Lamb would be in the New Jerusalem.  And there would be a "lively wood" - a "living tree"; and all the nations would feed on it and be healed.

This is what John saw that was about to be.  And there's so much more.  We'll continue it next time.

 

 

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Revelation 21:1-27 Part 12

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

First, hear the Word of God spoken directly to the prophet Isaiah at chapter sixty-six:

 

18)  For I know their works and their thoughts.  It shall come that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and they shall see my glory.

19)  I will set a sign among them (i.e. Israel), and I will send the ones who escape from them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan,  and to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame nor have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.

20)  And they shall bring all of your brethren for an offering unto YAHVEH from all nations…… upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts… to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says YAHVEH, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of YAHVEH.

21)  And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, says YAHVEH;

22)  For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says YAHVEH, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23)  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says YAHVEH.

 

 God’s Word, put into the mouth of Isaiah seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, is the same as what John is shown here in our text.

John wrote to the Churches of the first century about these very things that were about to happen.  The Savior of the World was about to appear in the cloud of glory at the end of the age; and all things would be made new.

God would tabernacle (make His abode) with those of the tribes of Jacob who Jesus came to seek and to save… the hundred and forty-four thousand scattered into the nations of the world.  Our Lord had set His “sign” on them; and they had escaped from Israel. 

John has already seen them with the Christ in their white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they would be with Him at His appearance.

This was the New, and holy, Jerusalem in all of its perfections, from which would flow the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the River of Life – to all flesh.

John is shown the New Jerusalem descending from God upon the New Mount Zion – the Kingdom of our Lord (the first one – Jerusalem the prostitute of the nations… about to be destroyed.)  And through all the years decreed, kings and rulers and peoples and tribes and tongues from all over the world would see the glory of God and His so great salvation; and multitudes would come into the new, and holy, Jerusalem.

The multitudes in the nations would be clean vessels in the tabernacle of God… the seed – the offspring – of the original hundred and forty four thousand.  The Gentile nations would be the children of the Daughter of Zion; and the name written on those elect from the tribes of Jacob would also be written on all their seed from the Gentile nations of the earth.  And the name written on them would endure forever.

And as the Sabbaths come and go, and as the months come and go, and through all the years of our Lords reign and rule, the whole earth would be filled with the knowledge of God as the water covers the sea.

And the multitudes of the seed, promised to Abraham, would fill the earth to the glory of God our Creator and Savior.

Now hear from the prophet Joel at chapter three:

 

15)  The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

16)  YAHVEH then shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.  But YAHVEH will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

17)  So shall you know that I am YAHVEH your God dwelling in Zion my holy mountain.  And Jerusalem shall then be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

18)  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth out of the tabernacle of YAHVEH, and shall water the valley.

 

The Word of God by the prophet Joel is the same as that spoken by Isaiah, and is the same as that seen by John (here in our text) and written to the Churches just before the end of the age.

The first heaven and the first earth, and the first Jerusalem, would be “shaken”.  And only that which could not be shaken would remain.  It would be a new heaven and a new earth, and there would come a New, and holy, Jerusalem.

This would be the hope and anticipation and strength of those who Jesus came to seek and to save; for God would dwell with them.  And from the mountain of our Lord’s Kingdom would flow the “new” wine.  Not the wine of fornication, as it was from the first Jerusalem.

And a fountain of the waters of life would flow from the New and holy Jerusalem into all the dry and wilderness places; and they would come; and no “stranger” would ever be granted entrance into His new tabernacle.  For “Lo, the tabernacle of God with man”.

And let’s hear from the prophet Zechariah at chapter two:

 

10)  Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of you, says YAHVEH.

11)  And many nations shall be joined to YAHVEH in that day, and they shall be my people.  And I will dwell with you.’  You shall know  (Zechariah says) that YAHVEH of Hosts has sent me unto you.

12)  And YAHVEH shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall elect Jerusalem again.

 

It is the “daughter of Zion”, the elect of the twelve tribes of Jacob, that will sing and rejoice; for God will tabernacle with them – dwell in the midst of them.  He would choose Jerusalem again, and it would be the New and holy Jerusalem into which many nations would come and be His people.

Once again from Zechariah, this time from chapter eight:

 

3)      Thus says YAHVEH; I will return unto Zion; and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts (shall be called) the holy mountain.

4)      Thus says YAHVEH of Hosts; there shall yet be old men and old women dwelling in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for his very age.

5)      And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.

6)      Thus says YAHVEH of Hosts; If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, should it not also be marvelous in MY eyes, says YAHVEH of Hosts.

7)      Thus says YAHVEH of Hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east and from the west;

8)      and I will bring them.  And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem in truth and in righteousness.  And they shall be my people; and I will be their God.

 

The Word of God through the mouth of the prophet was spoken and written to the nation in captivity in Babylon, and was written after the temple and the city of Jerusalem was reduced to rubble in the fifth century B.C.

Zechariah spoke of a New Jerusalem – one in which truth and righteousness would dwell; for God would be with the remnant, the daughter of Zion, the elect of the twelve tribes for whom Jesus came to seek and to save.

And from the New Jerusalem, on His new Mt. Zion, would flow the River of Life to the East and to the West; and He would save His people and dwell with them.

And there would be His people of all the nations and tribes and tongues living to great age; and the children of the daughter of Zion playing in the streets in peace and tranquility and prosperity; for God would tabernacle with them.

As you can hear from these few passages, the New Jerusalem is prophesied throughout the older Scripture.  It is a new – and holy – and perfect – and permanent Jerusalem; for God would bring His people from all the nations, and He would tabernacle with them…..dwell with them.

The New Jerusalem and its perfections were first seen by John as written in chapter seven of The Revelation.  Here it is once again:

 

13) And one of the elders uttered, saying to me ‘who are these who have been arrayed in white garments?  And from whence did they come?

14) And I addressed him: ‘my lord, you have known!’  And he said to me, ‘these are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation.  And they did wash their garments and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.’

16) Because of this they are before the throne of God.  And ‘they do service to Him day and night in His sanctuary’, and ‘the one Who sits on His throne shall tabernacle with them.’

16) ‘They shall no more hunger, nor shall they thirst any more, nor shall the sun fall down upon them, nor any burning heat.’

17) ‘For the Lamb in midst of the throne shall feed them, and He shall lead them upon springs of living water, and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

 

As one might expect, the continuity of the covenantal Revelation is displayed once again as the older and newer Scripture speak the same.  As the prophets Isaiah and Joel and Zechariah spoke, so did the last prophet – John; for the Revelation is the same.  And it is the same language; for it was God speaking to them and through them.  God gave them the words to speak and to write.  God’s Word is faithful and true; so how could it be “other than” the same?

And what is spectacularly revealed is a new, and perfect, and permanent New Jerusalem in which God dwells with us.  Since the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of the age, God dwells with us.  He is our Rock, our shield and our defense, our Fortress.  And nothing, or no one, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The name is written on us!  It’s the name given to the remnant of the tribes of Jacob who He came to seek and to save.  We are their “seed” (their children) from the Gentile nations.  And God tabernacles with us.  We live in the New Jerusalem with them.

And from Him, through us, flows the River of Life unto all the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues.  It is the Gospel of the Savior of the world.  And there will be multitudes of us, as promised to Abraham. 

As I’ve mentioned several times before, here in the Revelation of Jesus Christ there is a striking connection and similarity to the prophecy of Ezekiel.

The perfections and excellencies of the new Jerusalem promised to Israel through Ezekiel are fearfully and wonderfully connected to what John sees about to be at the shortly-to-come Parousia of Jesus Christ.

Ezekiel was called of God to prophesy about five hundred and eighty years before Christ was born.  If you remember your history and the dates, that would put Israel in captivity in Babylon.

The vengeance and deception of the serpent of old had been used by God to raise up the first world-wide kingdom of man… a ferocious and terrible beast full of lust and power, lusting for blood and conquest, submitting the peoples of the world to its will by the sword.

And the land of Israel and its city of Jerusalem, because of its great wealth and beauty, was clearly in the sights of the beast.  And incensed and deceived by the serpent – satan, in 586BC the armies of king Nebuchadnezzar descended upon the land with a mighty force; and Israel was defeated.

Leaving a mere scattering of the destitute, and leaving nothing of worth, everyone and everything of value was removed from the land and from the city, and taken back to Babylon, including the gleaming gold and all of the implements of worship from Solomon’s temple… leaving nothing but an empty shell.

Sometime later, the tribes of Jacob in captivity received word that the walls and the city and the temple on the dome of the rock had all been destroyed, and everything lay in ruins.

Two generations of the tribes of Jacob were devastated.  The promise to Abraham; the twelve sons of Jacob; Moses and the mighty exodus from Egypt; the tabernacle in the desert and the sacrificial and ceremonial system; the promised land; the eternal kingdom of David; the building of Solomon’s temple and the wall around the city atop Mount Zion… all gone.

For over four hundred years God had sent prophet after prophet to Israel, warning of coming judgment should she not repent of her idolatry and corruption and fornication with the nations.  But she would not.  And now everything was gone.

But God also sent His prophetic Word to his people during their captivity in Babylon.  Not only was Daniel there, but there came His Word through Jeremiah and Zechariah and Haggai….  And there, in the Word of God through the prophets, were the promises from God of a new heaven and a new earth, and a New – and holy – Jerusalem in which God would tabernacle with them!

And God had raised up Esther who saved the tribes from complete annihilation at the hands of the Persian beast – the gogite – Haaman.

And there also came the Word of God through Ezekiel.

God showed Ezekiel His tabernacle in the heaven, and gave him a view of the glory of God above His tabernacle.  And he showed Ezekiel the corrupted and degraded nation and its idolatrous and fornicating city.  And He showed him the temple/tabernacle on the dome of the rock on Mt Zion and the evil that inhabited and infested all of its rooms and on its walls and in its corridors and passages.

The abode of God – His tabernacle in Jerusalem – was filled with every abomination.  The contrast shown to Ezekiel was startling!  The brightness and glory of God’s tabernacle in the heaven - with the covenantal bow around the One seated above it all - contrasted with the darkness and corruption of the evil-infested tabernacle in the first city of Jerusalem!

And the tribes in captivity were caused to hear these things in the words of the prophet sent to them.  Here’s the reason it was all destroyed, wrote Ezekiel!

And then Ezekiel describes for them what is to happen after their release from captivity.  They will return to the promised land and a new Jerusalem and a new temple and a new wall; and he describes a messenger from God who measures all the perfections of the new temple and the new city and its wall.  And it’s perfect in all its measurements; and it is bright and clean and with no idolatry and no fornication and no unclean things in its rooms and corridors and on its walls; and all its gates open.

What is being prophesied through Ezekiel is the New Jerusalem that John sees coming down from God upon the new Mount Zion of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. 

In the context and setting of Israel’s return from captivity is the prophecy that John receives of the tabernacle of God-with-man.

The language is the same as that of Ezekiel; and John is even shown the gog and magog event prophesied by Ezekiel.

In the prophecy of Israel’s return to the promised land, God would save Jacob – Israel - in a flood of His wrath against the descendant of gog – Haaman the Persian.  And at the Parousia of the Christ, the remnant of Jacob, the daughter of Zion, the true Israel would be saved, and God would tabernacle with them in the New Jerusalem.

In the context of Ezekiel’s prophecy of the return of Jacob to the promised land, and the rebuilding of the walls, and the building of a new Jerusalem, and the building of a new temple on the mountain, we hear the language of John here in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

In the context of Ezekiel’s prophecy of the release of Jacob’s seed from captivity, we hear the same language of John here in the Revelation; for the Gentile nations who have been in captivity to gross darkness will see a great light!

In the context of Ezekiel’s prophecy of a new Jerusalem, we hear the language of the tabernacle of God-with-us, the New – and holy – and perfect – and permanent Jerusalem coming down upon the mountain of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

In the context of Ezekiel’s prophecy to the tribes of Jacob, and their release and escape from the beast of Babylon, we hear in the prophecy of John the birth of the daughter of Zion and her escape from Israel into the nations.

In the context of Ezekiel’s prophecy we hear the measurements of the new temple of God – measured by a messenger from God; and in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the perfection of the New Jerusalem is measured by a messenger from God.

There are many more continuities and equivalencies in the two prophecies.  All this to say that Israel’s hope was to be in the coming Messiah of God in the fullness of the time.  For then, and only then, would there be a new heaven and a new earth, and a New – and holy – Jerusalem in which would dwell righteousness; for God would tabernacle with us.  And there would be nothing abominable in it – for the Savior of the World will have poured out His blood for the world’s salvation.

We can’t read twelve chapters of Ezekiel’s prophecy (that’s where the measured perfections of the New Jerusalem are prophesied); I’ll leave it to you to read them.  But let’s listen to just a few quotes from God’s Word to Ezekiel; for here is where we find those prophesied perfections  – the holy tabernacle of God-with-us… just as we read here in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

First, after thirty-five chapters of God’s indignation toward Israel and her idolatry and corruption, He speaks of her salvation.  Listen from chapter thirty-six:

 

24)  For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.

25)  And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean. From all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

26)  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

27)  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them.

 

Right there is prophesied the resurrection from death unto life in Christ Jesus.  And in the very next chapter God shows Ezekiel the dry bones that will be raised to life by Holy Spirit.  And Ezekiel also is shown the two “sticks” becoming one… two kinds of flesh becoming one flesh in Christ.

In chapter twenty of the Revelation, John says this is the “first resurrection”, you remember.  It is our God giving light and life in Christ to those who were in darkness and death in Adam – and not only to those of the tribes of Jacob, but also to Gentiles in the nations.

Then in chapter thirty-eight, in the context of the Persian descendant of gog being destroyed by fire from the heaven, Ezekiel hears the shaking of heaven and earth, and God would bring a sword and fire against Israel and the first Jerusalem.  In His great wrath she would be destroyed forever.  And there would be a new heaven and a new earth that could not be shaken.  And He would make Himself known in all the nations of the earth; and they would all know that He is God.

And in the next chapter Ezekiel is shown the feast of the vultures (just as John is shown in chapter twenty).  And in the new Jerusalem all Israel shall be saved.  They shall come from all flesh and from all the nations, peoples and tongues.  And God will sanctify Himself in the sight of many nations.

And then comes chapter forty.  Listen to the beginning:

 

“In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was struck down, on that very day, the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me to the city.

In visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel, and set me down on a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south.

When he brought me there, behold, there was one whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway.

And this one said to me, ‘Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.’”

 

And from chapter forty through chapter forty-six the new city of Jerusalem and its walls and its temple are meticulously measured by the one with the measuring reed, and it is perfect in all respects.  And its temple is completely free of any idolatry or abominations.

In chapter forty-three, Ezekiel heard this:

 

“As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east,

 the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

While the one was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple,

and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name….

Now let them put away their whoring and the dead bodies of their kings far from me, and I will dwell with them forever.”

 

Lastly, Ezekiel hears the names of the tribes of Israel.  Their names are written on the gates of the city, three on each side (just as John was shown).  And the last thing written in Ezekiel’s prophecy is this (at the end of chapter forty-eight):

 

“And the name of the city from that time on will be ‘YAHVEH is there’”.

 

This is exactly what John is shown just before the end of the age and the appearance of the King of Kings and Savior of the World.  He writes it all to the Churches:  there was about to be, at the Parousia of the Christ, a new heaven and a new earth.  The old serpent and deceiver of the nations would be cast into the abyss… never to deceive the nations again.

And the New Jerusalem would come down from God.  It would be, unlike the first one, a “holy” Jerusalem – the tabernacle of God with man.  And it would be perfect in all respects; and no idolaters, fornicators or liars would ever be found in it.

Its brightness is the glory of God and the Lamb – filled with the gold and the beautiful stones and the covenantal bow of the first paradise; and, unlike the first Jerusalem, it would bring light to all the gross darkness of the earth.  And the nations and peoples would walk by that light!

And from the hundred and forty-four thousands of the sons of Jacob who Jesus came to seek and to save would flow the River of Life to every nation, tribe and tongue… even to the farthest reaches and islands of the earth.

And they would come.  The kings and rulers of the earth would bring their glory and the glory of their nations into the new city of God… a city whose foundation cannot be shaken.  The foundation is the apostles of Jesus and apostolic doctrine and preaching.  They are the glorious stones of the first paradise in all the colors of the covenantal bow, and the stones of the priesthood of all the faithful.

All the gates, named for the twelve tribes and all of their seed, would be open… pearls of great price indeed!  And through all the years decreed, a great multitude from the nations – those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – would stream into the New Jerusalem.  And the whole earth would increasingly spring to life and peace with God; and it would prosper.

Having groaned for its coming redemption, the whole earth would then flourish in its Savior’s work.  And at the end of all the years, it would perfectly reflect the glory of its Creator. 

You see, the Son of God had given His body and poured out His blood to save all of His people and His Father’s creation.  He IS the Savior of the world.

This was the Word of God to the Churches just before our Lord’s Parousia.  And it is our great anticipation as well, for the salvation of the world IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And there is no room in the New Jerusalem for the fearful and the faithless.  Our Lord will complete the work that He began; for He is faithful and true!  There is your confidence and assurance, you see.

You are to hold His testimony and keep His Commandments.  You are the seed of the remnant of Israel – true Jews in Christ.  And you are messengers of the Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus – the Savior of the World.

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Revelation 21:1-27 Part 11

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

What Jesus has really done, and what He’s doing, is the Gospel (as is what He will have done when He’s finished); and the Gospel (the Good News) is sharper than any two-edged sword, and it pierces the very essence of man and rebirths him from death unto life and sets him free from the captivity of darkness and death unto the liberty of the sons of God!

Mankind must hear what Jesus has really done!

The Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus isn’t finished at the cross.  The Gospel of God isn’t finished at the resurrection.  And it isn’t finished at the ascension.  And it isn’t finished when He is crowned King of Kings and given all authority in the heavens and on the earth!  He is the Savior of the world!

Because of what Jesus has done, there is now a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells… whereas, before, righteousness did not dwell in the first heaven and the first earth.

Because of what Jesus has done, there is a new heaven and a new earth in which our God makes His abode with us, and in which righteousness dwells.  Whereas, in the first heaven and the first earth, God condescended to even look upon it all!

Because of what Jesus has done, there is a new heaven and a new earth which will never again be destroyed; rather, He is saving it, and will save it.  And it will flourish and prosper and be filled with the multitude of His people… whereas, the first heaven and the first earth were destroyed in floods of His wrath.

And because of what Jesus has done, there is now a New Jerusalem in which our God tabernacles with us… whereas, before, in the first Jerusalem, there was only a man-made copy of His tabernacle – a “shadow” of God tabernacling over-and-above the heaven and the earth (so separate and remote was He from this cursed earth and cursed humanity).

There is now a New Jerusalem – a “holy” one… whereas, the first Jerusalem was filled with idolatry, infested with demons, and “worse” than all the pagan nations.

There is now a New Jerusalem, bedecked with the gold and beautiful stones of the first Paradise… whereas, the first Jerusalem had adorned herself with the product of her fornication.

There is now a New Jerusalem, filled with those who Jesus came to seek and to save… whereas, the first Jerusalem didn’t even care to prepare for the wedding festivities.

There is now a New Jerusalem in which the Lamb of God has provided free and intimate access to Almighty God-With-Us for all His people… whereas, the first Jerusalem denied access to everyone.

There is now a New Jerusalem which shines the radiant Light of the glory of God upon all the nations and tribes of the earth, and from which flows a River of Life unto every dry and wilderness place… whereas, the first Jerusalem left the nations in gross darkness, corrupting them all with the wine of her fornication; and her springs and watercourses were the clotted blood of the prophets and holy ones who God had kept for Himself.

There is now a New Jerusalem – God-With-Us – the perfections of which are seen and described by John as appearing at the Parousia of The Christ, and which are prophesied throughout Scripture.

The tabernacle of God is with man.  And its perfections are indeed glorious, and “in contrast” with the first Jerusalem. He is with us; and righteousness now dwells upon the earth!

There is now a new – and holy – Jerusalem – a perfect one; for God tabernacles with us… whereas, the first Jerusalem was imperfect, and provided the prophetic foreshadowing of the new one!

There is now a new – and holy – Jerusalem.  It is God-With-Us.  He abides with us.  He is our sun and our shield, our never-ending Helper and Provider, our Fortress, the One In Whom we live and breathe and have our being.  He is not remote and separated from us, but He holds us and shields us.  He is the One in Whom we rest, the One Who answers our prayers even before we ask.  He is Almighty God Who knows each of us, by name, from the beginning, and Who loves us and protects us and provides our every need; Who has forgiven our sin and secured our everlasting life, and Who will be “with us” forever.  He calls us “sons of God”; we are family.  And there is our joy and delight, you see… knowing Him and knowing these things.  He is With Us, and we belong to Him.

 

When John sent this letter to the Churches, this was about to be; and they were to anticipate it, hold the testimony of Jesus, keep His Commandments, and rid the Churches of the judaist false prophets and teachers, and the fornicators, and Jezebels.  They had no place in the congregations of the ones for whom Jesus had poured out His blood.

There was about to be a new Jerusalem – one which would be holy, and therefore which would exclude forever the fornicators and the lying prophets and the unfaithful.  And the Churches, the public representation of the New Jerusalem, must not abide them in the assemblies of the faithful.

The “firsts” were about to disappear, and all things would be made new!  And God would be “with us”; and the New Jerusalem would be gloriously perfect… from which would shine the Light of the World, and from which would flow the River of Life into all nations, and into which the kings and rulers would bring their glory and the glory of their nations.

The mountains and hills would be made low; and the valleys would be lifted up, in order that the multitudes from the East and the West and the North and the South could proceed to the open gates of the New Jerusalem.

 

Now. For a few minutes let’s just consider the “perfections” of the New Jerusalem.  We’ll take this nice and slow – here a little, there a little – until we can see this from God’s perspective.

When John is shown the new heaven and the new earth, and he sees the New Jerusalem, he hears these words: “Lo, the tabernacle of God with man”.  And he is shown the New Jerusalem coming down upon the great mountain of our Lord’s Kingdom that is over all the mountains and hills of the earth.

The New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God.  He is WITH US.  Because of what Jesus has done, our God is no longer alienated from His creation due to sin.  Because of what Jesus did, we no longer have need of a priest to represent us; for we are immediately in His Presence!  And John sees that Presence among us – with us – in all its perfections.

And there are a number of things that are particularly and distinctively “absent” here when compared to earlier events of God’s Presence in the text of Scripture.

For one, there are none of the sights and sounds of the Presence of Almighty God as He sovereignly dealt with cursed humanity.  Before (in the first heaven and the first earth) His Presence was accompanied by mighty roaring, and trumpeting, and thunders and lightnings, and fire, and dark clouds, and great “shaking” of the earth and its mountains.  And any life that approached Him was immediately terminated.

But here in our text, John sees and hears none of those things; for “Lo, the tabernacle of God is WITH man”!

And the same is true with respect to the man-made copies of His tabernacle in the heaven, which were the tabernacle constructed after the Exodus and the temple built on the dome of the rock in Jerusalem; for when God inhabited the “holy of holies” in those earthy copies of His tabernacle, He did so with the same sights and sounds of His Presence among cursed mankind.  There were the incredible sounds, and fire, and thick cloud.

You see, God is “HOLY”; but mankind was cursed and depraved.  There was a “set-apartness” (which is the active meaning of the word “holy”); there was a set-apartness from sin.  Mankind was destitute of righteousness; and God was alienated.  He was sovereignly and comprehensively dealing with the earth and its estranged humanity while being unapproachable.

There was a separate room in the tabernacle; there was a separate room in the temple.  And God occupied the room in fire and cloud – separated from the sin of man and the curse upon creation.  It was the same as with the pillar of fire by night in the desert, and the pillar of smoke by day.

And mankind could not come near.  Only by pouring out blood and sprinkling it on everything man-made, could one man enter the room annually.

That was the first Jerusalem, you see; and the first tabernacle – in the first heaven and the first earth.

These things are all “absent” as John sees the New Jerusalem coming down upon the mountain of Christ’s Kingdom… no fear-inspiring sounds; no fire; no cloud of separation.  “Lo, the tabernacle of God with man”; for through the one sacrifice of the Lamb of God, righteousness dwelled on the earth.  And God would be with us rather than separated from us.

Also “absent”, as John is shown the perfections of the New Jerusalem, is the fear of God’s withdrawal and the resulting “doom” to come from a flood of wrath upon depraved mankind.

As much as some evangelicals love the mystery and fear of a future total destruction of this evil earth by fire, the perfections of the New Jerusalem include its permanence in a world saved by the Lamb of God.

In the first heaven and the first earth, the earth was “destroyed” in a flood of God’s wrath.  One man was saved by water; for he was the seed of the woman, kept by God for Himself, through whom would be born the Savior of the World.

In God’s special “heaven-and-earth” – Israel (in which the Savior would be born in the fullness of the time), there was about to be another flood of the wrath of God… this time – not with water, but – with fire.  And there would be a complete annihilation of the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel.  That’s what John has already seen here.

But as John looks upon that city coming down from God, “doom” is absent; fear of annihilation and the wrath of God is absent … replaced by perfection and permanence and fullness and completion; for righteousness would dwell upon the earth!

Once again, absent from the New Jerusalem is the presence of the deceiver of the nations – the serpent/dragon of old.  From the sin of Adam to the Parousia of the Christ, this creature, in its rage against God and the coming Kingdom of His Christ, kept the nations in darkness and turmoil.

But in the new heaven and the new earth God would tabernacle with us; the satan would be constrained in the abyss until judgment day; and the peoples and nations and tribes and tongues would hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and increasingly come unto the New Jerusalem until the earth would be “at peace with God”, and enlightened from the brightness of His glory!

And any king or ruler who refuses to bring his glory and the glory of his kingdom into the New Jerusalem will not prosper.  His kingdom will not be at peace with God and will spiral into corruption and decadence; and it will not flourish – but will languish as a dry place with no water.

At this point in time, that’s where our nation is; for our rulers and leaders are the seed of the serpent; and they are antagonistic to the King of Kings and His Kingdom.  Therefore our great prosperity is diminished.

But we are not to fear or despair.  God is with us!  And through all the years decreed they will come – multitudes of them.  God is With Us, and righteousness dwells upon the earth.  And the Gospel of the Savior of the world will resurrect many from death unto life, and they will come to the New Jerusalem; and the earth will be renewed and transformed, that it reflects the glory of its Creator!

Undoubtedly there are other “absences” that could be mentioned concerning the perfections of the New Jerusalem.  But let’s turn that around and mention a few of the evidences and revelations of its “newness”.

I mentioned this before when speaking about the absence of “doom” and the “end of the world” mentality.  But the permanence of the New Jerusalem is a positive revelation of its newness.

And I take you to two portions of New Testament Scripture, the first of which is in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter twelve:

 

25)  See that you not refuse him that speaks.  For if they wouldn’t escape when they refused him that warned them on earth, much more shall we not escape who turn away from Him Who warns from the heaven,

26)  whose voice then shook the earth.  But now he has promised, saying, Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.

27)  And this word, “Yet once more”, signifies the removal of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.

28)  Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe;

29)  for our God is a consuming fire.

 

The writer to the Hebrews, who were the seed of Jacob dispersed out of Israel into the nations, knew that at the birth, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, everything would be “shaken”; for the Lamb of God had been sacrificed for the sin of the world; and He had received His inheritance.

He had promised on earth that He would shake the heaven and the earth.  But Israel refused Him.  But He had now spoken from the heaven.  And our God is a consuming fire.  And the first heaven and the first earth would disappear in the consuming fire of His wrath.  And the first Jerusalem would be turned into a wilderness devoid of all life except for the vultures.

But the new heaven and the new earth, and the New Jerusalem, will remain; for they are not “shakeable”!  They will remain.  Their permanence is guaranteed; for the One Who paid with His Own body and poured out His Own blood has received all authority in the heaven and on the earth.  And His Kingdom shall remain for the full completion of the salvation of the world.

It’s revealed; therefore it’s a matter of faith!

And then, secondly, you’ll remember John, back in chapter six, as he was shown the Lamb of God opening the seven seals.  Here is the opening of the sixth seal:

 

12)  And I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great shaking; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became as blood;

13)  and the stars of the heaven fell unto the earth, as a fig tree casts her unripe figs when she is shaken of a great wind.

14)  And the heaven was removed as a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

15)  And the kings of the earth, and the princes, and the chief captains, and the rich, and the strong, and every bondman and freeman, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains;

16)  and they say to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

17)  for the great day of their wrath is come; and who is able to stand?

 

Everything in the first heaven and the first earth that could be shaken – would be shaken.  And all that could not be shaken would not be shaken.

The first heaven and the first earth would disappear in the wrath of God; and all things would be made new.  The Word of God would remain; the promise of God of a new heaven and a new earth, and the promise of a New, and holy, Jerusalem, could not be shaken; for it would be permanent.  And its Light would shine over all the earth; and all its gates would always be open for the multitudes and for the kings of the earth to bring their glory and wealth into her.

One of the prophets of old is particularly instructive as to the perfections of the New Jerusalem.  There will be much to say from several of them; but God’s Word, through Ezekiel, to Israel while she was in bondage in Babylon and Persia bear the prophecy of the New Jerusalem – the tabernacle of God-With-Us.

The references to the new city and its temple and its walls are scattered through the last twelve chapters of the prophecy to Ezekiel – to be delivered to the tribes of Jacob in captivity.  So there’s no way for us to read through it all in this setting.  So I’m just going to give you the “mini-version” as we work our way through the remainder of the chapter.  Lord willing, we’ll begin that next Lord’s Day.

But first I want to read for you from one of the messages of our Lord to the Churches – as recorded by John in chapter three.  You remember that there were seven messages from Jesus (one each to seven Churches) in advance of His soon-to-come Parousia at the end of the age.

The messages (a complete “seven”) covered the full range of issues regarding judaism; for there were false prophets and teachers, there were those who would persecute the Lord’s people who He had come to seek and to save, there were philosophers with high-sounding words that were full of lies and deceit, there were seducers and fornicators and Jezebels, there were those who would eat the sacrificial meals with idolators; there were lawyers who required adherence to the old signs and seals of Passover and circumcision, there were those who denied the resurrection, and there were others who mocked the imminent Parousia of the Christ.

In the messages, the Lord warned the Churches not to receive these people nor tolerate them.  They were not to accept their presence in the congregations.  They were not to eat with them.  They were to be removed and excluded from the congregations; for shortly there would be a new heaven and a new earth; and there would come a New Jerusalem.  For the Churches were to be the public representation of God-With-Us, and from them would flow the River of Life unto all the peoples tribes and tongues of the earth!

Before we conclude, I want you to hear, once again, just one of those messages… this one to the Church at Philadelphia, chapter three beginning at verse seven:

 

7)      And write the message to the Church in Philadelphia.  The Holy, The True, the One having the ‘David key’, “the One opening and no one shall shut, and the One shutting and no one opens”, says these things:

8)      I know your works – lo, I have presented an opened door before you, which no one is enabled to shut – that you have some strength, and you did keep My Word, and you did not deny My Name.

9)      Lo, I give from out of the synagogue of Satan those declaring themselves to be Jews and are not but deceiving themselves, lo I will appoint them in order that they shall come, and they shall worship before your feet, And they shall know that I did love you.

10)  Because you did keep the word of My patience, I, I also will keep you from the hour of the fiery trial, the hour about to come to pass upon the entire household to put to the proof those dwelling on the land.

11)  I come quickly!  Hold fast what you have, in order that no one might take your crown.

12)  I will make the one overcoming a pillar in the temple of My God; and he shall then by no means go out.  And I will write on him the Name of My God and the Name of the City of My God, the New Jerusalem, the One that descends out of the heavens from My God, and My Own new name.

13)  The one having an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.

 

Jesus’ message to the Church at Philadelphia was “I come quickly.  Hold fast what you have.  Have My patience while all of your brothers are coming out of the land!  Overcome! And I will make you a pillar in the temple of God.

And you will have the name of God, the name of the city – the New Jerusalem – and My name written on you.  And you will always be there!”

Here’s the permanence, you see… not only the permanence of the New Jerusalem, but the permanence of those in it.  The very name of Jesus, the name of the tabernacle of God – God with us – written on us.

These words of Jesus Christ to the apostle John, to be delivered to the Churches “before” His Parousia, indicate His holding on to them, and their holding to His promises.  They are the “seed” of Abraham, the “seed” of Isaac, the “seed” of Jacob and his twelve sons… those who God had kept for Himself from cursed and depraved mankind.

And they would be “pillars” in the temple of God-With-Us, the New Jerusalem.  They are the firstfruits of the resurrection, you see… twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Jacob; the names of the twelve tribes written, one each, on the twelve gates through the wall of the New Jerusalem.

And the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb of God, one each, written on the twelve foundation stones of the wall, each foundation stone adorned, one each, with the twelve precious stones of the first paradise of God.

The city was measured at twelve thousand stadia “square”– multiples upon multiples of twelve.  The wall was a hundred and forty-four cubits – multiples of twelve.

And we can begin to see and understand the perfections and the permanence of the New Jerusalem – the city of God-With-Us.

Just as the first Jerusalem rested on the dome of the rock at the top of Mount Zion in the paradise kingdom of Israel, so John sees the New Jerusalem – the tabernacle of God with man – coming down from the heaven to rest upon the top of the great mountain of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

And the mountain of God – the new Mount Zion – will be over all the mountains and hills – that is, the kingdoms and dominions and principalities of the world; and they will all be brought low as they recognize and acknowledge the reign and rule of King Jesus.  And they will bring their glory into His Kingdom; and the multitudes of the nations and peoples and tongues will increasingly transit the new highway into the tabernacle of God.

And after all the years decreed, the new heaven and the new earth will be filled with the radiant brightness of the glory of God.  And our Lord will then sit in judgment of the dead in Adam – all who are not written in the Lamb’s book of life.  And they, along with the satan and death itself, will be cast into the eternal lake of fire.

And those of us who will have died in Christ, and therefore belong to God, will be raised up in a final justification of all things.  And the curse of God will have been satisfied; and the stain of sin will have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.  And all things will redound to the glory of the Father.

Next time a further look at the perfections and permanence of the New Jerusalem – the tabernacle of God-With-Us - from the prophetic Word.

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 21:1-27 Part 10

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev21part10.mp3?type=podpage

 

Revelation 21:1-27 Part 10

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

We have to read; and then we have to read some more – and then again – until there is clarity about our God’s new heaven and new earth, and about the new Jerusalem and her perfections (described here by John in detail).

Not only is our own faithfulness and assurance and anticipation at stake; but when others around us have ideas and opinions and “sentiments” that are out of accord with Scripture, we must be able to say “oh, no… let me tell you what our Lord Jesus has really done!”

What He has really done, and what He’s really doing, is the Gospel (as is what He will have done when He’s finished); and the Gospel (the Good News) is sharper than any two-edged sword, and pierces down to the very essence of man and rebirths him from death unto life and sets him free from captivity unto the liberty of the sons of God!

Because of what Jesus has done, there is now a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells!  Whereas, before, righteousness did not dwell in the first heaven and the first earth.

Because of what Jesus has done, there is a new Jerusalem in which our God tabernacles with us!  Where, before, in the first Jerusalem, there was only a man-made copy – a “shadow” – of God tabernacling over-and-above the heaven and the earth (so separate and remote was He from this cursed earth and cursed humanity).

Because of what Jesus has done, there is a new heaven and a new earth in which our God makes His abode with us, and in which righteousness dwells.  Whereas, in the first heaven and the first earth, God condescended to even look upon it all!

Because of what Jesus has done, there is a new heaven and a new earth which will never again be destroyed; rather, He is saving it, and will save it.  And it will flourish and prosper and be filled with the multitude of His people!  Whereas, in the first heaven and earth, He destroyed it in floods of His wrath.

And while I’m here (mentioning floods), I want to just make the connections for you between Noah and Jesus.  (Everything in the Scripture is prophetic of the Christ, isn’t it?  It all foreshadowed Him; it all prophesied Him and it all reveals Him; and it all leads to a greater understanding of what He has done… and will do!)

From the sin of Adam until Noah’s time there was no righteousness upon the earth, for everyone was doing what was right in his own eyes.  And at the advent of Jesus, the same thing was true.  All the nations were in gross darkness and were a foaming sea of depraved humanity.  And Jerusalem and the land of Israel was the demon-infested harlot that made all the world drink from the wine of her fornication.  There was no righteousness upon the earth – even in God’s special, cosmic paradise… especially in God’s paradise – Israel!

In Noah’s time God’s wrath was poured out in a flood of cosmic proportions in which every living thing on the face of the earth was destroyed.  And at the advent of Jesus Christ at the end of the age, the wrath of God was poured out upon His heaven-and-earth Israel; and every living thing was destroyed by the sword and by fire.  And the first Jerusalem was as it had never existed.  The way this is described in the language of God in His Revelation, it was a flood of cosmic proportions that left the promised land a complete wilderness… devoid of life, just as the flood in Noah’s time.  So, you see, righteousness did not dwell on the earth… from the sin of Adam all the way to the Parousia of the Christ at the end of the age!

In Noah’s time one man was chosen to save humanity and replenish the earth.  And at the end of the age, one Man – Jesus, the Christ – saved humanity and would renew the earth and fill it with His people.

In Noah’s time one man and his family would be the prophetic forerunner of the Second Adam – Jesus Christ.  The third son of the first Adam would be the “seed” of the woman through whom the Christ would be born.  And Noah, the seed of Seth, had three sons – one of which would be the seed from whom Jesus – the Second Adam – would be born.

Noah’s family (his wife and three sons and their wives) were saved in the flood of God’s wrath.  In the flood of wrath upon Jerusalem and the land (at the end of the age), our Lord’s family were saved… all of them.  As the apostle Peter makes clear in his letter, Noah and his family were saved in the baptism of water; and just so, every single one of Jesus’ family would be marked out, given a new name, and saved in the baptism of fire.

There are many “likenesses” to be ascertained between Noah and Jesus; but let me give just one more.  As the rain stopped and the flood receded, what emerged was a dawn of a new day and a cleansed and renewed heaven and earth – a new beginning.  And at our Lord’s Parousia, what is described by God to the apostle John is the creation of a new heaven and a new earth in which the light of a new day would shine upon all the gross darkness of the earth… a world in which righteousness dwells; for our God would tabernacle with us! 

The renewed earth after the flood was a prophetic foreshadowing of the salvation of the world by Jesus Christ our Lord! ... the very Gospel that we’re hearing here in The Revelation.

 

That’s just one example of how our minds must work as we think God’s thought after Him.  We’re told to take every thought captive to The Christ.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the world must hear.

And, also, the world must see that we live how we think and what we say.  Righteousness now dwells in the earth; and the peoples of the world must see the works of righteousness:  worship, faithfulness; obedience and anticipation.

So, living the Gospel is good.  It’s necessary; for life in Christ is faithing!  And faith without the works of obedience is dead… it’s no faith at all!  Those who are watching to see your faithfulness will recognize your inconsistencies in the “blink-of-an eye”!

But the world must hear the Gospel.  It is the River of Life flowing from us who thirst for that water!  Seeing the works of faith may be a confirmation to those who are watching; but hearing the Gospel is life from death!  We are messengers of light and life!

Praying for our Lord’s salvation of the world and, at the same time keeping our mouths shut from delivering the message, is a faithless perversion born of fear of rejection and/or persecution.

Prayer is good; it’s very good.  We all must be men and women and children of prayer.  But living a life of prayer and, at the same time, remaining monastically separated from the world, and living a so-called “secret” Christian life, is a twisted abasement of the nature of a messenger!

Resting, and being at peace with God, and being assured and joyful and thankful in His salvation and, at the same time, not engaging the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an abdication of the role of a messenger.  It’s succumbing to the two-kingdom theology that we heard about last Lord’s Day… a theology that leaves professing Christians living secluded, hyphenated, schizophrenic lives of secret devotion rather than contending for the Kingdom!

Being content in the state in which you were found, and praying for the salvation of this world, are both very good things.  We’re commanded to be content in Christ in the state in which we were found; and our Lord has revealed the salvation of the world!  So praying for it is the prayer of faith.

However, we are invested and ordained as messengers!  And you can’t grant authority to rule this world to somebody else other than the Christ by leaving your Christianity at Church and at home!

And neither are you granted power to negotiate with those to whom this world does not belong!  It isn’t negotiable!  It belongs to Jesus Christ; therefore it belongs to you – IN HIM.  And you are to engage it and speak His Word which is the rod of iron of His reign and rule.  And by the power of His Word He will overcome and bring the world into submission to His Kingship.

Speak!  Write!  Use the new media!  Engage the magistrate; engage the enterprises of art and music and architecture; engage technology; engage archaeology; engage medicine and science and mathematics; engage business and business enterprises!  Engage practices of idolatry and fornication and deceit and exploitation of the poor and widows and orphans!

Public worship on Sunday morning isn’t the place to leave your Christianity!  And you don’t leave your Christianity at the door when you leave the house!  Confront the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and He will secure it and occupy it and rule it as He sees fit.

You aren’t to compromise with it; you aren’t to settle with it; you aren’t to make terms with it; you aren’t to strike a balance with it… that’s negotiation!  That’s not your job!  You are to speak to it with the authority of the Christ!  You are priests in Him in your own right!  And Jesus Christ the Word of God will do the work!

Since the advent and Parousia of The Christ, righteousness now dwells upon the earth; God is with us!  And He has covenanted (promised) that, through all the years decreed, the earth will increasingly come under the reign and rule of Jesus Christ the King.  And the Light will increasingly enlighten every dark place on the earth.  And the River of Life will increasingly water every dry place on the earth. 

And the promise to Abraham for a multitude of his seed filling the earth will be fulfilled.  And the whole earth will be a paradise of God reflecting His glory; for the Second Adam will not abdicate as did the first Adam!

As you can hear and see…  this is not negotiable!  You and I are not to compromise with anyone about anything that our Lord has said or done; or about anything that He is doing or is going to do!  It isn’t yours or mine to do!

And while we’re at it, let me just say that we don’t demand that others outside our spheres of authority submit themselves to our wills!  Avoid that like the plague that it is!  It’s not your place – nor mine!  Our Lord will submit this world to Himself… not you!  One who requires submission to himself is a king and tyrant of his own right and in his own eyes, and it is self-idolatry.  Your place is to make judgments according to His Word and speak the Truth of the Gospel in faith.  And our Lord will impose His OWN will as He chooses.

 

Okay.  Now, back to our original proposition:  we must read; and we must read some more.  The Word of God is faithful and true and sure.  The prophets wrote and spoke His very words.

Our Lord’s disciples knew the words of the prophets very well; but they didn’t understand them until Pentecost when Holy Spirit caused them to understand them for the first time!

We aren’t as familiar with these passages (which are spoken and written in the prophetic language of God seven hundred years before the advent of Jesus); so we have to read them and become familiar with them.  And we will be caused to understand them in the same way the apostles were given to understand them; for our God now abides with us!

You know, we spent seven and a half years learning the words and deeds and parables of our Lord from the Gospel of Matthew.  And we saw, over and over again, that His disciples didn’t understand that He was the Savior of the World, and that He would create a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem in which righteousness dwells… all of which is prophesied from the beginning!

It wasn’t until after Jesus was crucified and arose out of death; it wasn’t until He ascended to the right of the Father above His tabernacle; it wasn’t until He poured out His Spirit at Pentecost that His apostles understood.  And then they remembered all that He had said and done.  And they then understood God’s words to Isaiah that all things would be made new.  And they then understood the perfections of the New, and holy, Jerusalem to come at our Lord’s Parousia.

And that’s exactly what John is shown, and what he describes in our text (which we’ve now read ten times together).

So let’s hear once again the words that God spoke to Isaiah about what was to be at the appearance of The Christ of God at end of the age.  From Isaiah sixty-five, listen to the words spoken directly to the prophet….

 

1)      I will be inquired of by them that didn’t ask for me; I will be found of them that didn’t seek me: I will say, ‘Behold, ME’,  unto a people that was not called by my name.

2)      I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, that walk in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts;

3)      a people that provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens, and burning incense upon bricks;

4)      a people that sit among the graves, and lodge in the secret places; that eat swine's flesh; and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

5)       that say, ‘stand by yourself, come not near to me, for I am holier than you’. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burns all the day.

6)      Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense; yea, I will recompense to them fully

7)      your own iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together, says YAHVEH; a people that have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills; therefore will I first measure their work unto them fully.

8)      Thus says YAHVEH, as the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, ‘don’t destroy it, for a blessing is in it’, so will I do for my servants' sake, that I may not destroy them all.

9)      For I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an Inheritor of my mountains; my Chosen One shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

10)  And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down in for my people that have sought me.

11)  But you that forsake YAHVEH, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny;

12)  I will destine you to the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear; but you did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not.

13)  Therefore thus says YAHVEH, Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame;

14)  behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and wail for vexation of spirit.

15)  And you shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen; and  YAHVEH will slay YOU; and call his servants by another name.

16)  so that whoso is blessed in the earth shall be blessed by the God of truth; and he that swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles will be forgotten, because they are hid from mine eyes.

17)  For, behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

18)  But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a joy, and her people a delight.

19)  And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying.

20)  There shall then be no more an infant of days, nor an old man that has not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.

21)  And my people shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22)  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; and as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

23)  They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for calamity; for they are the seed of the blessed of YAHVEH, and their offspring with them.

24)  And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

25)  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says YAHVEH.

 

The new mountain of God – the new heaven and the new earth – would not be the first Mount Zion.  The first one was the prostitute of the world.  The new one would be the mountain of the Inheritor of all the nations – the King of Kings and Savior of the World… the mountain over all the mountains and hills of the earth.

And God says to Isaiah that the former won’t even be remembered, for His people would be called by another name; and He would abide with them.

And unlike the first paradise/mountain of God, in the new heaven and the new earth there would be no predators preying on the sheep (as was the case with the priests and elders and pharisees of the first Mount Zion) , and no serpent deceiving the nations!  There would be increasing justice and length of days and a flourishing earth and peace and joy in all the earth.  And God would be with them and hear their prayers even before they spoke them.

Now hear what God continued to speak to Isaiah… this is from chapter sixty-six:

 

6)      A voice of tumult from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of YAHVEH that renders recompense to his enemies.

7)      Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child.

8)      Who has heard such a thing? who has seen such things?  Shall a land be born in one day?  Shall a nation be brought forth at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

9)      Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? says YAHVEH: shall I that cause to bring forth shut the womb? says your God.

10)  Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn over her;

11)  that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.

12)  For thus says YAHVEH:  Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream.  And you shall suck thereof; you shall be borne upon the side, and shall be dandled upon the knees.

13)  As one who his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14)  And you shall see it, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like the tender grass; and the hand of YAHVEH shall be known to his servants; and he will have indignation against his enemies.

15)  For, behold, YAHVEH will come with fire, and his chariots shall be like the whirlwind to render his anger with fierceness, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

16)  For by fire will YAHVEH execute judgment, and by his sword, upon all flesh; and the slain of YAHVEH shall be many.

17)  Those that sanctify themselves and purify themselves in order to go unto the groves, following after one another (i.e. to worship idols), eating swine's flesh, and the abominable things, and rats, they shall all come to an end together, says YAHVEH.

18)  For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and shall see my glory.

19)  I will set a sign among them.  And I will send such as escape of them (i.e. escape the idolators and predators) into the nations - to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, all the way to the isles afar off - that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.

20)  And they shall bring all your brethren out of all the nations for an oblation unto YAHVEH, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says YAHVEH, as the children of Israel would bring their oblation in a clean vessel into the house of YAHVEH.

21)  And of them also will I take for priests and for Levites, says YAHVEH.

22)  For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me, says YAHVEH, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23)  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah.

24)  And they shall go forth, and look upon the dead bodies of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

 

God told Isaiah that, at the end of the age, before Israel even travailed in the birth pangs of the Daughter of Zion, a Man-child would be born!

And it was unthinkable that God would then shut the womb and stop the birth of the daughter from between the legs of the harlot!  The Man-child would seek out and save a remnant of the seed of Jacob, and put His “mark” on them, and give them another name; and in great travail they would be birthed out of the first Jerusalem and sent into all the nations – to the farthest reaches.

And unlike the first Jerusalem, a great River of Life would flow into all the nations from the new Jerusalem.  And the first Jerusalem would be recompensed for all its idolatry and its fornication and its hypocrisy and its predatory treatment of the poor and the sick and the widows and orphans; for a flood of wrath would be poured out from the lake of fire in God’s tabernacle; and it would be worse than with Sodom and Gomorrah!  And the land of Israel and the first Jerusalem would cease to exist forever.

And all things would be made new.  And in this new heaven and new earth, God would dwell with them in the new Jerusalem; and all the nations would come; and they would see His glory!

And through all the days and years of the decree, the Light of the new Jerusalem would shine in the gross darkness of all four corners of this creation; and all flesh would see it and come.  And the River of Life would flow to the ends of the earth; and multitudes (promised to Abraham) would be raised out of death unto life and flow into the new Jerusalem.  And there would be increasing peace and comfort and life and prosperity in all His holy mountain; and all the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues would flourish; and they would delight in the new Jerusalem; for God would be with them.  And righteousness will dwell in all the earth.

This is exactly what John saw and heard (as recorded here in our text); and it’s what he wrote and sent to the Churches just before our Lord’s Parousia/appearance in the cloud of glory at the end of the age!

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He is the Man-child born in the fullness of the time.  He is the sacrificial Lamb of God, prophesied from the beginning, Who was made sin for the salvation of the world (as John the baptizer put it: “Lo, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”); and so righteousness would dwell on earth (as it had never been since sin entered the world through Adam).

He’s the One who gave His body and poured out His blood, and Who saved every last one of The Father’s elect from the tribes of Jacob.

He’s the One (the Word of God made flesh) Who ascended – bodily – to the Right of The Father, making satisfaction for the curse upon humanity and the earth itself.

He is the One Who is the Right Hand and Strong Right Arm of God Who saved all His people to the uttermost; and He is the Inheritor of all the nations, and given all authority in the heavens and upon the earth, and crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He is the One – The Inheritor of the kingdoms of this world – Who has set the mountain of His Kingdom over all the mountains and hills of the earth.  It is a new heaven and a new earth, for Jesus Christ paid for it with His Own blood!  It belongs to Him!  The old has passed away, and righteousness now dwells in it!  And God is satisfied with His sacrifice; and He tabernacles with us in His new – and perfect – Jerusalem!

The first heaven and the first earth is gone; the first mountain of God is gone; the first Jerusalem is gone… all never again to be.  There is a new heaven and a new earth; and there is a new Mount Zion and a new Jerusalem from which all the earth is enlightened, and from which flows the River of Life.  And there is no dragon to deceive the nations ever again.  God tabernacles with us; and righteousness dwells on the earth.

And our Lord Jesus Christ – the Owner Who paid for it and inherited it – would do what the first Adam did not do… which is to populate the world with those written in the Lamb’s book of life, and cast the full legacy of the first Adam into the eternal lake of fire.

And all of God’s creation will reflect His glory forever.  This is the Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus – The Christ.

 

Next time we’ll see the perfections of the New Jerusalem that John was shown coming down from God at the soon-to-occur Parousia of The Christ at the end of the age.

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 21:1-27 Part 9

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev21part9.mp3?type=podpage

 

Revelation 21:1-27 Part 9

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

Here a little; there a little… hearing the language, learning to hear what God has revealed from the beginning, learning to see through His eyes, being so thoroughly familiar with His will and purpose,  knowing the work of Jesus Christ – the Savior of the world, our minds being sanctified by Word and Spirit….

God had identified Himself as “I AM”.  And at the beginning of the Revelation our Lord appeared to John as the One Who had been described in Ezekiel chapter one.  And He said to John that He IS “WAS”; and He IS “IS”; and He IS “WILL BE”.

And here in our text He is said to be Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.  He WAS at the creation; for He brought it to be by the Word of His Power.  And it all belongs to Him.  He made it; and He knows His Own will and purpose for it all; for it’s all HIS!

The way He describes its history is HIS way; for it’s His history!  The way He describes the salvation and reconciliation of all things is His way.  It’s His to reveal in the way He chooses!

So, why should any creature be so bold as to describe it some other way, or re-interpret it for himself?  Should the one “created” say to its Creator: “I don’t want to be what you made”?  Or: “I don’t want to be described in the way you describe me”?  Or: “I don’t much care for the way you reveal your purpose for all of this”!  Or: “why is Your Revelation in YOUR language… why don’t you reveal yourself the way I talk”! 

Shouldn’t that be described as the epitome of arrogance?

What we’re attempting to do here is to so immerse ourselves in the Revelation of Jesus Christ that we think His thought after Him… that we learn to view all these things the way HE views them and the way He causes them to be; that we see this world and its salvation the way He sees it… in other words, to refuse to perceive with an alien perception!

Before we continue our place in the text this morning, what I want to do is to give you an example of one of those “alien perceptions” of our Lord’s revealed will and purpose in the salvation of this world.

This isn’t meant to be haughty, or to make us seem somehow superior.  It is, simply, a demonstration of a current and ongoing deviation from Biblical, covenantal Theology, the likes of which re-interpret the will and purpose of God’s salvation of His creation; and it is presented for the purpose of our learning to have the mind of Christ as He proceeds to reconcile all things to Himself.

The one thing that I would declare to you, before I give you the scenario that I have in mind, is that no creature has a right to his own opinion!  To many freedom-loving people, that statement would sound very strange… maybe even startling!  But just keep that in mind as I present this ongoing scenario to you.

Here’s what’s going on right now as we speak; and it’s a deviation from Biblical Theology:

Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a west coast branch in Escondido California.  Westminster, as originally founded, has always been considered (especially by Presbyterians) as a “bulwark” of the faith, holding the doctrines of the Westminster Confession and catechisms, and producing good theologians and pastors for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

However, the west coast branch has, almost from its inception, set its own course.  Although there have been some good men in the Churches of California, the direction that the seminary has set for itself has left others in a maze of deviant Theology.

For the last number of years, what has emerged from the seminary (or, at least, from some members of the seminary staff) is a “two-kingdom” theology.  It’s well-developed at this point in time; but in its simplest form it is the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdoms of this world.

God’s principles (their word) for governance in this world are to be determined – not by Scripture alone, but by natural law.  That’s the way the “other” Kingdom operates!  And natural law is to be ascertained by human reason and conscience.  And the Kingdom of Christ is wholly future, so we can do nothing to advance it; we just have to accept everything as it is, and deal with it until judgment day.

The Kingdom of Christ and the kingdoms of the world will proceed together until Christ returns; and He’ll sort it all out in the end.  Christian devotion to Christ is to be practiced at one level; but functioning in the earthly kingdom is to be at a wholly “other” level.

As you may be able to hear, this is a terrible perversion of the Law and the Gospel.  We have heard nothing like this in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

And the perversion has produced a tide of relativism with regard to civil government and how Christians are to relate to (what are called) the “realities” of the present society and culture.

Now… during the last number of years – maybe ten – there has been a very public example of the two-kingdom theology that is taught there in Escondido.  And it has reverberated, in very public discussions in print and in the social media, among many Churches and in seven different denominations (much to the shame of our Lord’s Church)!

The wife of a California Orthodox Presbyterian pastor has taken upon herself to display, for all the world to see, a Christian “acceptance” of the (so-called) “gay” community and its activism in the promotion of “gay marriage”.  We can’t be “against” them, she says (reflecting the two-kingdom theology).  They are a part of this world-order that’s ruled by conscience and by natural law; so we, as Christians, must love them and accept them for who they are.

Christ’s Kingdom is in heaven; His Kingdom has not yet come on earth, they say.  The earth is another kingdom; and Christians have to live by its rules – and by conscience.

So this lady is on the board of directors of some alliance of christian practicing homosexuals, speaking at its conferences, advocating for it in the media, and advancing its agenda nationally!  She is very public with it; and the social media, including the forums, swirls with conversation about it.  After ten years it’s still ongoing.  I’ve received no less than twenty lengthy contributions to the forum discussions in the last two weeks!   And it shames the Lord’s Church!

It’s her “opinion” that we must accept their presence as a “reality” in culture and society, and accept their “practices” and their “marriages” as equal treatment under the law by the civil government in this earthly kingdom; and our Christian consciences demand that we love them as they are.

That’s just one – very public – example of the theology being taught in one of the world’s esteemed theological institutions.

Now… on another level, the seminary’s highly developed two-kingdom theology teaches that kings and rulers and elected officials rule by their own light, and by their own opinions and consciences as they perceive “natural law”!  The Law of God, which was given to the kingdom of Israel, isn’t “binding” on present-day civil authorities (that theology declares), because the present world order isn’t the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

So, therefore (according to the two kingdom theology), at any given point in time; and in any given set of circumstances, the civil magistrate’s “reason” and “conscience” (by way of the light of nature) guides his ruling.  And the ensuing opinion becomes the law for all those within his jurisdiction!

Like I said, this has become well-developed over a period of years.  And the students are immersed in the “system” rather than being taught a good covenantal hermeneutic!  And the pastor’s wife who is so engaged with the civil liberties of sodomites is only one example of the results.  Without being thoroughly grounded in Biblical Theology, systematics can easily go awry.

It wasn’t so with our Reformed forebears.  Although the revised Westminster Confession and catechisms aren’t as specific as they should be with regard to the civil magistrate and the rule of law, the confession produced in Switzerland (mid 1500s) after Calvin passed away, was very careful to establish the source of the law from which the authority of the magistrate was derived.

The Second Helvetic Confession brought Zurich and Geneva into confessional harmony; and the reformed Churches of a number of other countries received the confession as their own.

So, listen as I read this short statement about the civil magistrate in the present Kingdom of our Lord.  And take note that there is no indication whatever of another kingdom or of a two-kingdom theology!

 

"Let him (that’s the civil authority), therefore, hold the Word of God in his hands, and take care lest anything contrary to it is taught. Likewise let him govern the people entrusted to him by God with good laws made according to the Word of God, and let him keep them (i.e. the laws) in discipline, duty and obedience.  Let him exercise judgment by judging uprightly.  Let him not respect any man's person or accept bribes. Let him protect widows, orphans and the afflicted. Let him punish and even banish criminals, impostors and barbarians; for he does not bear the sword in vain.”

 

No deviant and un-Biblical theology there!

Now, that’s all a very short and simplistic explanation of the two-kingdom theology and our forebears’ understanding of the present authority and Kingdom of our Lord.  And it goes right to the heart of what we’re hearing in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, doesn’t it?

Okay… the entire Word of God prophesies exactly what John is shown in The Revelation.  The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ!

At His appearance in the cloud of glory at the end of the age, the serpent of old would be bound from deceiving the nations; the first heaven and the first earth would disappear; the first Jerusalem would cease to exist; all things would be made new!

The mountain of our Lord’s kingdom would be over all the mountains of the earth, and there would be a new Jerusalem – God With Us – from which the Light would shine upon the gross darkness of all the nations; and the water of life would flow into every dry place on earth; and through all the years of His reign and rule the entire earth would prosper and flourish, and multitudes of the peoples, tongues and tribes would acknowledge the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (as promised to Abraham).  And, as promised, the Savior of the world will have saved the world!  And the entire creation would reflect the glory of God!

How does that square with a two-kingdom theology that says this world is to be ruled by the consciences of man by the light of nature!!  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is sure and faithful and true; and no man has a right to his own opinion.

The Scot, William Symington, a mid-1800s puritan product of the Reformation once wrote:

 

"Our object should not be to have scripture on our side but to be on the side of scripture; and however dear any sentiment may have become by being long entertained, so soon as it is seen to be contrary to the Bible, we must be prepared to abandon it without hesitation."

 

Hopefully the seminary in California will see that its two-kingdom theology is contrary to Scripture and militates against the Revelation of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom; and that they abandon it without hesitation in confession and repentance.

 

Let’s review some of what we’ve read recently in the prophets regarding the glory of God in the perfections and beauty and adornment of the New Jerusalem.  And then we’ll look at another very important connection regarding the gleaming stones of her foundations and walls and gates.

 

Here’s Isaiah chapter forty:

3)      The voice of one that cries out, “Prepare the way of YAHVEH in the wilderness; make level a highway for our God in the dry places.

4)      Every valley shall be raised up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and all the uneven places shall be made straight, and the rough places a plain;

5)      and the glory of YAHVEH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of YAHVEH has spoken it.

 

The radiant glory of our God is the brightness of His Person – His holy Presence.  His glory shall be revealed to all flesh… every people, tongue and tribe. And all flesh shall see it.

And from Isaiah chapter sixty:

1)      Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of YAHVEH shall rise upon you.

2)      For, behold, darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but YAHVEH will arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you.

3)      And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

4)      Lift up your eyes round about, and see: they will all gather themselves together, they will come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in arms.

5)      Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto you, the wealth of the nations shall come unto you.

11)  Your gates also shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto you the wealth of the nations, and their kings led captive.

14)  And the sons of them that afflicted you shall come bending down unto you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of YAHVEH, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15)  Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man passed through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

18)  Violence shall no more be heard in your land, desolation nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls “Salvation”, and your gates “Praise”.

19)  The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto you: but YAHVEH will be unto you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.

20)  Your sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdraw itself; for YAHVEH will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.

21)  Your people also shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

 

There’s the prophecy of the new Jerusalem – the “holy” one – the tabernacle of God with man!  It’s exactly what John sees, as written in our text (and was shortly to be).  It’s in the same language!  And John sent it to the Churches before the appearance of Jesus Christ in the cloud of glory! 

Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight:

 

13)  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone  covered you, the sardius, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the pearl; the workmanship of your  mountings and of your settings was crafted in gold; in the day that you were created they were prepared.

14)  You were the anointed guardian cherub that covers; and I set you, so that you were upon the holy mountain of God; you had walked up and down in the midst of the gleaming stones.

15)  You were perfect in the day that you were created, but unrighteousness was found in you.

16)  By the abundance of your traffic, violence filled the midst of you, and you did sin; therefore I did cast you as profane out of the mountain of God; and I did destroy you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the gleaming stones.

17)  Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom with all of your brightness.  I will cast you to the ground; I will lay you before kings, that they may look at you.

18)  By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your traffic, you profaned your sanctuaries; therefore will I bring forth a fire into the midst of you; it will devour you, and I will turn you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.

19)  All they that know you among the peoples shall be astonished at you: you will become a terror, and you will nevermore have any being.

 

We’ll be reading a lot more from Ezekiel as we go.  It’s also important to remember the description of the first paradise – the garden into which man was created.  Moses’ language there in Genesis is abbreviated; but the land was filled with gold and wonderful fragrances and gleaming stones of a variety of colors equal to the colors of the bow around the Presence of Almighty God.  They reflected His radiant glory!

But there is another connection that we have to make.  Listen to God’s instructions to Moses at chapter twenty eight of the Exodus:

 

15)  And you shall make a breastplate of judgment, the work of the skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, shall you make it.

16)  Foursquare it shall be and double; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof.

17)  And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, four rows of stones: a row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row;

18)  and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond;

19)  and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;

20)  and the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be enclosed in gold in their settings.

21)  And the stones shall be according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names; like the engravings of a signet, every one according to his name, they shall be for the twelve tribes.

 

As you can hear, Moses was required by God to have skilled artisans make (what is called) a breastplate, like an ephod… just one.  And once a year, one man would enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle to make intercession for the people while wearing this item.

Also, during the history of Israel when one wished to make inquiry of YAHVEH about some course of action, he was required to wear the ephod/breastplate.

As you heard in the text, the item was to be four-square; that is, perfectly square.  And it was to have twelve different precious stones set in gold, in three rows of four.  And each stone represented one tribe of the house of Jacob/Israel.

The breastplate was to be hung over the chest of the priest.  And after the sacrifice was made, he would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice throughout the tabernacle and then enter the holy place as an intermediary in order to make intercession for all the people.

This was a perfect prophetic image of what the Christ of God would do when He poured out His Own blood and entered, one time, into the tabernacle of God to make intercession for His people.

They would be a perfect number… (John saw them, you remember, they would be twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.)  Each perfect number from each tribe represented by a precious gemstone reflecting the glory of God; for each one was precious in His sight.  And not one was lost; and the total was one hundred and forty-four thousand.

We’ll have more to say about the new Jerusalem and its measurements in multiples of twelve as we go.  But the stones set in gold in the ephod of the high priest of Israel are the same as those that were found in the original paradise of God.

The garden of Eden was filled with shining gold and littered with precious, glistening stones of beautiful colors in great variety… all of which were reflective of God’s glory and His faithful covenant for the salvation of every single one written in the Lamb’s book of life.

And here in the Exodus we see that the priests of Israel themselves were adorned with these gleaming stones… all foreshadowing a complete salvation of perfect proportions!

A thing is surely confirmed by multiple witnesses, isn’t it?

And the very same language is used by God in describing the first Jerusalem!  She was to be an edenic paradise of shining gold and gleaming stones to reflect His glorious light to the world.  But she didn’t want those; she adorned herself in the gold and gems that were gained from prostitution with the nations.

And now, here in The Revelation, the new Jerusalem (about to be, as John writes) is described in even greater detail with the exact same language as was the garden of Eden; and, later, the priesthood of Israel; and then the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel!

What John is shown is the new Jerusalem coming down from God… holy; and adorned round about with the crown of gleaming stones; for He is With us.

The twelve stones are the stones among the gold found in the garden of Eden.  The twelve stones are the stones set in gold in the priest’s breastplate.  The twelve stones are the adornment rejected by the first Jerusalem; for she had her own crown of ill-gotten gold and beautiful stones.

And the twelve stones are the perfect foundation of the wall (or crown) of the four-square city – the new Jerusalem.  They are the elect of the tribes of Jacob who Jesus came to seek and to save.

And written on twelve individual foundation stones were the names of Jesus’ twelve apostles.

It is the perfect tabernacle of “God-With-Us” – crowned with the perfections of the covenantal promise of so great salvation; for every last one written in the book of life from the tribes of Jacob were saved to the uttermost.  And they are the crown of glory around the new Jerusalem!  They gleam with the glory of God; for not one was lost.

They thirsted for the water of life.  And from them would flow the River of Life into every dry place; and through all the years the entire creation would flourish and prosper in the Peace of God.

It is the New Jerusalem; and it is truly “God-With-Us”.  The kingdoms of the earth have become the Kingdom of our Lord.  And it all belongs to Him; and so it all belongs to us.

The Savior of the World promised that He would save the world; and it will all be a crown of glory for the Father when He’s done.

And within the Church of Jesus Christ there’s no greater alien deviation from the Faith than the two-kingdom theology now being publically propagated.  It calls for Christians to be hyphenated and schizophrenic as they live in a secret, personal devotion to Christ; and operate (somewhat secretly) in another kingdom that doesn’t belong to Him.

That’s being “fearful” and “unfaithful” to the King of Kings.  And John writes that the fearful and unfaithful will be cast into the lake of fire in the day of judgment.

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Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev21part8.mp3?type=podpage

 

Revelation 21:1-27 Part 8

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

The new Jerusalem, the “holy” one, that John is shown (in contrast with the first one) is coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride for her husband.  She is adorned with her God’s glory (verse eleven).  Lo!  The tabernacle of God with man.

All things are to be made new, John writes to the Churches.  The first heaven and the first earth will have gone away; and the first Jerusalem would no longer exist.

Our Lord Jesus Christ had been given all authority in the heaven and the earth; and at His soon-to-come Parousia, these are the things that He – the Word of God – would bring to pass!

The elect sons of Jacob in the Churches scattered in the nations would have understood the language: “Lo, I make everything new!”  (It was spoken previously!)  They would have understood the mighty power of God the Son, the Word of God Made Flesh, Who had made atonement for the sin of the world!  They would have understood the language of God through the prophets regarding the shaking of the heaven and the earth at the death, resurrection, ascension and Parousia of the Son of God/Son of Man.

Having received John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ, they would have understood that, at His appearance at the end of the age, everything would be shaken, and everything would be made new.  It’s what they were to anticipate!  It’s what the judaizers and the false prophets denied!  The serpent was raging against the will and purpose of God and His Church in the nations!

At the awesome and terrible appearance of God’s Messiah in the cloud of glory at the end of the age (all of which was prophesied from the beginning), the “firsts” would flee from His Presence, Jerusalem and the promised land of Israel would cease to exist… no longer be; the Dayspring would arise upon all the cursed earth; the satan would be cast into the abyss; and all things would be made new!

Because of the curse of God and the gross depravity of mankind, nobody before the advent of The Christ had access to God in His holy tabernacle in the heaven.  And the temple, on the dome of the rock, in the city of Jerusalem, in the land of Israel, manifested that unapproachability!

He was separate from them.  No one could be in His Presence until the Son of God/Son of Man poured out His Own blood for the sin of the world.  And the old would pass away, and all would be made new! 

Then the tabernacle of God would be with us!  All of this was shortly to be, John wrote to them!  Mankind in Christ would have direct and immediate access to God.  It’s what the entirety of the Scripture foreshadowed and prophesied!

The death, burial, resurrection, ascension and Parousia of the Christ of God was the “axis” of time and creation.  Everything before that was to disappear; and by His authority everything after that is made new! 

And the sons of Jacob, in Christ, would have understood the language and anticipated the event that was about to occur in the fullness of the time.

There would even be a new covenant (in continuity with the old), and a new covenant sign and seal (which we celebrate today)!  Everything would be made new!

God is with us; we are In Christ our sacrificial Lamb and High Priest Who provides our perfect and complete access all the time!  And He gathers us to Himself on the first day of every week to rejoice in His so great salvation, and to wonder in this awesome new creation, and to grow in grace, and to be sanctified into one body that has the same mind and speaks the same things, and anticipates the completion of the salvation of this world….  It’s a gathering from which flows the River of Life which waters every desert wilderness on this earth.

 

This is all the Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus, the Anointed One of God.  And He shall reign for all the years until kings and nations and tribes and tongues acknowledge Him – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is the Word of God, His Strong right arm Who accomplishes the eternal will and purpose of God.

And here in the text we see the perfections of the New Jerusalem that John sees coming from God; and, by extension, the “land” of the new Israel, which is the whole world!  It is a new heaven and a new earth… not like the first one; for the firsts would disappear.

The first Jerusalem, the glorious, golden city of God, on the mountain of God, in the land of paradise (Israel), and its temple on the dome of the rock, was to be the “light” to the world which existed in cursed darkness… a world which was left to the domain of the serpent of old.

Her temple on the dome was to be the image of the Presence of God above His tabernacle in the heaven… an image of inaccessibility except by sacrifice.  And only once a year, one priestly representative could enter the holy place in the tabernacle.

The sin of mankind and the curse of God excluded man from being in His Presence; and the sacrificial system was prophetic of that which would be at the appearance of the One Sacrificial Lamb Who would take away the sin of the world in order that there be open access to Almighty God.  He made it so, that God would be with us!

That, in essence, was the first Jerusalem.  But at the Parousia of the Christ, that first Jerusalem would cease to exist.  All things would be new; the Lamb of God would have already made the sacrifice for sin; and the old Jerusalem and its temple, in the land of paradise, would be destroyed by the sword and by fire!  She was a harlot, and worse than all the nations that walked in gross darkness.

And there would be a new one… a new Jerusalem coming from God in a new heaven and a new earth – not the “image” of an inaccessible God above His tabernacle in the heaven, but a new Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth in which sin and the curse had been paid for by the Lamb of God. 

At His death, burial and resurrection and ascension, there was a mighty shaking of the heavens and the earth; and all things are made new!  And God would be with us, John writes.  Not above the firmament over His tabernacle in the heaven… but WITH US!

There would be a new heaven and a new earth.  And a new Jerusalem would come from God; for the sin of the world had been paid for by the Savior of the World.  Our Lord Jesus Christ had satisfied the wrath of God toward mankind and His creation; and the curse had been lifted.  And rather than tabernacling above, and separate from, and unattainable by, cursed mankind and creation, He would tabernacle with US!

Never could we have approached Him; but now He makes His abode with us!

And in continuity with the firsts, there would be a new heaven and a new earth and a new mountain (Christ’s dominion), and a new city of God from which the light of the glory of God would shine upon all the earth and its kings and nations, and from which would flow the water of life into every dry land. 

And through all the years decreed, all the earth would be the paradise land!  The mountains would be made low and level; and the valleys would be raised up level, and the highways to the New Jerusalem would be filled with the peoples and tongues and tribes; and the multitudes would fill up the promise to Abraham!  And Lo!  All Israel would be saved.

The old, you see, was just a copy… a manmade copy of that which would be.  The new would be the real Jerusalem and the real paradise land; for God would tabernacle with us.

Once more… John is shown the new Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God.  She would be God tabernacling with us!  Before, He tabernacled in the heaven (above the heaven) and was unapproachable by man.  But at the appearance of the God/man, Jesus Christ, having poured out His blood, and having entered once into His Presence for the sin of the world, God would now be with us!  The time was near (John wrote nineteen hundred and forty-five years ago).

And there would be no temple in her; for no longer would there be a need for one!  No sacrifices; no holy of holies; no priestly representatives going in and out; for all in Christ would be priests in His Presence; for God Himself would be with us; and His people could approach Him boldly - anytime.

But the fearful and unfaithful and the fornicators and the idolaters and the lying prophets would never be permitted to enter.  They are not written in the Lamb’s book of life; they are not “in Him”; they are the seed of the serpent; and they are reserved for the eternal lake of fire in the day of judgment.

At verse eleven John begins his description of the new Jerusalem as the very radiance of the glory of God.  It is “illumined” with His glory.  Let’s read some Scripture and hear some prophecy of these things that were about to be:

Here’s Isaiah at chapter forty:

 

3) The voice of one that cries out, “Prepare the way of YAHVEH in the wilderness; make level a highway for our God in the dry places.

4) Every valley shall be raised up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and all the uneven places shall be made straight, and the rough places a plain;

4) and the glory of YAHVEH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of YAHVEH has spoken it.

 

The radiant glory of our God is the brightness of His Person – His holy Presence.  His glory shall be revealed to all flesh… every people, tongue and tribe. And all flesh shall see it.

And from Isaiah chapter sixty:

 

1) Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of YAHVEH shall rise upon you.

2) For, behold, darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but YAHVEH will arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you.

3) And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

4) Lift up your eyes round about, and see: they will all gather themselves together, they will come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in arms.

5) Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto you, the wealth of the nations shall come unto you….

11) Your gates also shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto you the wealth of the nations, and their kings led captive….

14) And the sons of them that afflicted you shall come bending down unto you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of YAHVEH, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15) Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man passed through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations….

18) Violence shall no more be heard in your land, desolation nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls “Salvation”, and your gates “Praise”.

19) The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto you: but YAHVEH will be unto you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.

20) Your sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdraw itself; for YAHVEH will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.

21) Your people also shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

 

There’s the prophecy of the new Jerusalem – the “holy” one – the tabernacle of God with man!  It’s exactly what John sees, as written in our text (and was shortly to be).  It’s in the same language!  And John sent it to the Churches before the appearance of Jesus Christ in the cloud of glory!  They would have immediately turned to Isaiah to read it!  And the prophecy of Isaiah was written seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus!

Listen now to the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter one:

 

26) And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above.

27) And I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of his loins and upward; and from the appearance of his loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him.

28) And the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of YAHVEH.  And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.

 

That’s Ezekiel’s opening description of what he was shown above the firmament of God’s tabernacle in the heaven.  It had been shown previously to only a very few.  It was a view of the radiant brightness of the Presence of Almighty God.  It was sent to Israel in captivity in about 550BC.  And the language is strikingly similar to all that John is shown here in our text, isn’t it?

The new Jerusalem coming down from God was like a precious stone, radiant and gleaming with the glory of God, like a jasper stone and crystal clear.

Just a quick note here about the word translated “jasper”.  I don’t think that there’s any Biblical reason that John would choose to pick one stone of the twelve to describe the radiance of the new Jerusalem coming down from God.

More than likely he went back to the original Hebrew word (pronounced ‘yashpheh’) which means “glittering” or “gleaming”.  In most places in the Scripture it is translated “jasper”.  And so it is in Greek. But, once again, I don’t consider that to be his intent here.  It’s more certain that he sees the new Jerusalem as the radiance of a gleaming, crystal clear stone of infinite worth which, once again, is the original meaning of the Hebrew word.

It’s also of great value to us to remember the description of the first paradise – the garden into which man was created.  Moses’ language is greatly abbreviated; but the land was filled with gold and wonderful fragrances and gleaming stones of a variety of colors equal to the colors of the bow around the Presence of Almighty God.  They reflected His radiant glory!

Listen once more to the prophecy of Ezekiel – this time at chapter twenty-eight.  This is the premier passage of prophetic Scripture describing the holy land as an original edenic paradise filled with glimmering precious stones.

And remember, Ezekiel was a prophet of God to Israel in captivity after the temple and the city and the land had been destroyed by the first beast of God’s history:

 

Ezekiel hears these words from God, and he writes them to Israel in Babylon:

 

13)You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone  covered you, the sardius, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the pearl; the workmanship of your  mountings and of your settings was crafted in gold; in the day that you were created they were prepared.

14)You were the anointed guardian cherub that covers; and I set you, so that you were upon the holy mountain of God; you had walked up and down in the midst of the gleaming stones.

15)You were perfect in the day that you were created, but unrighteousness was found in you.

16)By the abundance of your traffic, violence filled the midst of you, and you did sin; therefore I did cast you as profane out of the mountain of God; and I did destroy you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the glimmering stones.

17)Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom with all of your brightness.  I will cast you to the ground; I will lay you before kings, that they may look at you.

18)By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your traffic, you profaned your sanctuaries; therefore will I bring forth a fire into the midst of you; it will devour you, and I will turn you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.

19)All they that know you among the peoples shall be astonished at you: you will become a terror, and you will nevermore have any being.

 

Just as God had posted a cherub to guard the garden of Eden, Jerusalem was the anointed guardian cherub of God’s paradise on earth – Israel.  But she was full of iniquity and profaned the tabernacle of God.  So God banished the cherub and caused the entire paradise land to cease to exist.  It would nevermore have any being.

But Isaiah had prophesied the new Jerusalem – the “holy” Jerusalem – which would be the fullness of God’s covenantal promise to Jacob – Israel.  Listen to it from chapter fifty-four:

 

10)  For the mountains may flee, and the hills be removed; but my lovingkindness shall not depart from you.  Neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, says YAHVEH Who will have mercy on you.

11)  O you afflicted one, tossed to and fro, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in beautiful colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires.

12)  And I will make your pinnacles rubies, and thy gates pearls, and your wall precious stones.

13)  And all of your children shall be taught of YAHVEH; and great shall be the peace of your children.

14)  In righteousness you will be set: you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and far from terror, for it shall not come near you.

 

Once again, the language of the new Jerusalem that John sees coming down from God!

In numbers of Biblical texts, the bow is the very radiance of the Glory of God in every color; and the description of the new Jerusalem includes every gleaming stone in every variety of color, and all in settings of crystal clear gold!  The stones are obviously the adornment of the true bride of Christ prophesied throughout Scripture.  And it is God-With-Us, and all made to be by the Person and work of Jesus Christ our true Treasure.

Although adorned with edenic beauty, the first Jerusalem, the prostitute of the nations, met with a complete and inglorious end.  But the promise of God to Jacob and to Abraham would be filled up in the new, and holy, Jerusalem, which would be adorned with gleaming stones reflecting the glorious Presence of Almighty God-With-Us.

The garden of Eden was filled with shining gold and littered with precious, glistening stones of beautiful colors in great variety… all reflective of God’s glory and His faithful covenant.

The very same language is used by God in describing the first Jerusalem.  She was to be an edenic paradise to reflect His glorious light to the world.

Now, here in The Revelation, the new Jerusalem (about to be, as John writes) is described in even greater detail with the exact same language as was the garden of Eden and, later, the land of Israel!

She is the daughter of Zion (the new Jerusalem), the true and elect bride of Christ, holy and adorned with the shining glory of God Himself; for He is With us.

You and I who are In Christ – when we look on the brightness of gold, and breathe in the wonderful scents of the creation, and enjoy the colors of the rainbow and the stones that He has made, we need to remember that we live in the new heaven and the new earth… the new, and holy, Jerusalem… the paradise of God in which He abides with us.

We are adorned with the righteousness of Christ.  He is our righteousness; for we live in Him.  And we share in His character and His virtue!

As the apostle Peter said in His letter to the Churches, our Lord is the corner foundation “stone” of the new Jerusalem; for He is the One Who causes it to be perfectly square and perfectly level.  Its perfections “rest” in Him.

And he said that we who belong to Him are gleaming white “stones” in the new tabernacle of God, from which shines the Light to every dark place on the earth.

The first Jerusalem corrupted the entire earth with the wine of its fornication.  But the new Jerusalem has nothing corrupt in it!  And the kings and rulers and tribes and tongues will walk in its light and bring their glory into it.

And the River of Life will flow from it into every dry and desert wilderness.  And up will spring everything green and lush, and great trees will flourish in which the birds of the sky will make their nests.

And nations will beat their swords into plowshares.  And through all the years there will be increasing peace and prosperity until the multitudes will acknowledge the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  And all the peoples and tribes and tongues will rejoice in the new heaven and the new earth… and in the new Jerusalem.  And all the earth will be the edenic paradise of God, shining in the reflection of His glory.

Since all the “firsts” have passed away, and all things are made new, so there is a new covenant sign and seal.

Circumcision – the sign and seal of the covenant given to Abraham after he faithed in the coming Savior of the world, is old.  It has passed away.

Passover, the celebration of the body and blood of the sacrifice that set Israel at liberty, is old.  It has passed away.

Now, the Savior of the World has appeared, and He did offer His body and pour out His Own blood, in order that those of the uncircumcision be credited with righteousness through faith, just as Abraham was credited with righteousness before he was circumcised!

The first signs and seals of the covenant are passed away, you see; for the Savior has set the world at liberty!  The nations and tribes and tongues of all the earth have been set at liberty by the Savior of the world.  And so, all Israel shall be saved!

The new sign and seal of the covenant is the bread and the wine, signifying and sealing the promise of resurrection out of death unto life in Christ for every single one who belongs to Him.  The sign and seal is the guarantee that none will be lost!

In Him (our Prophet, Priest and King) we have been set at liberty to worship our God in spirit and in truth; for In Christ the wrath and curse of God has been satisfied; and we have free access to Him, and He abides with us.  In Christ the world belongs to us because it belongs to Him.

In Him we anticipate the full reconciliation of all things to the glory of God… even our bodies at the resurrection!

Lo!  I make all things new.”

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 21:1-27 Part 7

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/rev21part7.mp3?type=podpage

 

Revelation 21:1-27 Part7

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

We had a good discussion in the second hour last Lord’s Day, though I felt like we didn’t quite get to where we needed to be language-wise.  But “God-With-Us” is too important for us to miss.  So I want us to continue with that for a little while this morning.

That’s what the completion of John’s Revelation is all about, isn’t it?  God-With-Us!  The Hebrew word, you remember, is “Immanuel” – the very name given to Isaiah and prophesied to Israel seven hundred years before Jesus was born.

We have been raised out of death unto life.  (That’s the first resurrection, you remember.) We are In Him, and He is With Us.  We are to have His mind; and we are to thirst for that water of life; and it will be a river of life flowing from us through all the years decreed, to the end that all the world will be saved.

As every human propensity is to be sanctified in Christ Jesus, so the mind.  We who are resurrected from death unto life are In Him, and He is “with us”.  He said He has made everything “new”.  As new creations in Him, we must no longer think from the perspective of depraved humanity (dead humanity); but we must think His thought after Him.  We are alive… IN HIM.

We might ask ourselves (and others) questions such as this: when reading the Scripture, or hearing the Gospel (or even speaking to others), from which direction comes your predisposition!  Are you predisposed to read or hear from your perspective… or are you predisposed to do so from His?  Do you think as one alive in Him?

We had trouble putting good language to this last Lord’s Day; but we used the word “mindset” to describe the “beginning point” of the sanctified mind.  If one has been re-birthed from death unto life in Christ, and all things are made new, then should our prejudice remain with that which is old?  The “old” has been put to death!

I’m going to read from some of Paul’s letters to the Churches for you.  Listen carefully; the apostle addresses this very subject again and again and again.  We call it “presuppostionalism” (big word); but it simply means that those who are IN CHRIST are to be predisposed to His perspective on everything.  We begin where He begins.  After all, He is the Word of God.  He is the origin of wisdom and rationality.  And to have some other perspective on all that is, and all that is to be, is not only arrogant, but it is outright irrational!

But here is some of Paul’s teaching.  And remember, all of his letters were written in advance of our Lord’s Parousia at the end of the age:

Romans eight, verse five:

For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”

 

Romans eight, verse six:

For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.”

 

Romans twelve, verse two:

“And be not fashioned according to this world; but be transformed by the renewing (sanctification) of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

 

1 Corinthians one, verse ten:

“Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfected together (sanctified) in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

 

Ephesians four, verses twenty-two through twenty-four:

“Put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man that waxes corrupt after the lusts of deceit, so that you be renewed (sanctified) of the Spirit in your mind; and put on the new man that, after God, has been created in the righteousness and holiness of truth.”

 

Philippians two, verse five:

“Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

 

Colossians three, verse two:

Set your mind on the things that are above, rather than the things that are on the earth.”

 

The second letter to the Churches in Thessalonica chapter two, verses one and two:

“Now we beseech you, brothers!  Regarding the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering unto him, that you not be quickly shaken from your mind nor even be troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter as if from us, that the day of the Lord is near at hand….”

 

Just a minute here with this last one… apparently Paul got word that the Churches of Thessalonica were especially being beset by judaizers and false prophets regarding the Parousia of the Christ – and were even receiving letters from deceivers over the signatures of the apostles!  They were forgeries!  (Paul even wrote later: “here, this is my signature!”)

And he said, “don’t be shaken from your mind” concerning the imminent Parousia of Jesus Christ!  Your mind must be the mind of Christ by Whom you were raised out of death and in Whom you are alive.

Our Lord Jesus Christ poured out His blood for us and satisfied the wrath of God toward us; and He gifted us with life and faith; and resurrected us from death unto life in Him.  So, do our minds remain disposed to the old man?  Do we view this world from the perspective of what was?

That’s the question here.  And it’s particularly pertinent as we hear what John was shown here in the Revelation.

The mind of one who is alive in Christ Jesus thinks His thought after Him!  The thought process begins there!  Paul said “don’t even be troubled” by deceivers.  Your first inclination must be the mind of Christ, for there is the righteousness and holiness of the Truth!  You are In Him, so you are to have His mind!

He is the great Philosopher; He is Wisdom Personified; He is Rationality (The Logos); He is the Word.

Mankind can’t produce a man of wisdom; it can’t produce a rational philosopher, or leader (or guru); there are no wise and rational psychologists or philosophers from the ranks of fallen mankind.  They don’t think rationally because they begin with themselves.  Wisdom and rationality belong to God the Word!  Those things don’t come from us… they come to us – from Him!  And they belong to us because they belong to Him.

Everyone else, and everything else is irrational!  Even when they stumble upon rationality, it’s irrational!  If it doesn’t comport with the mind of Christ, it’s irrational!

And, you know… prejudice is a GOOD word!  He is the First; and He is the Last.  And all belongs to Him.  And that’s our “starting place”, you see.  So we must be prejudiced.

That doesn’t mean “ugly”, or “mean”; it means, simply, that we immediately recognize whatever isn’t the mind of Christ… we immediately recognize whatever isn’t the righteousness and holiness of Truth!  It’s the “mindset” by which we examine everything.

That’s where we are; it’s in Whom we live.  And it’s where our prejudice lies.

It’s the place we occupy when we approach the Scripture.  It’s the “rule” that we assume as judges of the world in Him.  He is the “lens” through which we perceive.

So, once again (from last week), whatever you feel, whatever you think, whatever you say, whatever you desire, whatever you eat and drink, whatever you look at, whatever you read, whatever you listen to, whatever your hopes and anticipations, whatever your relationships, whatever your conversations… you are to have the mind of Christ.  Your mind is to be sanctified.

Your first inclination is to think His thought after Him… to have His mind.  He is the One in Whom we live; and we have been set free to the liberty of the sons of God.  We are freed from the captivity of darkness and death into the glorious light of God the Son.

So, (before we come to verses nine, ten and eleven), here’s the conclusion:

God said “I AM the First; and I AM the Last.  I WAS at the beginning; and I WILL BE at the completion.  This is how I conceived it; and I made it to happen by the Lamb of God Who is My Word made flesh.

You who belong to Me were written in His book of life from the beginning!

Since My sacrifice has made atonement for you, My Son will assume all authority in the heaven and on the earth; and all things will be new!  And I will abide with you.  And through all the years decreed, you and your seed will fill the earth; and all the earth will prosper; and I will destroy all His enemies.

I AM the First and the Last; My Word is sure and true!  You are not to be fearful and unfaithful; for I AM with you!

And My creation will glorify Me as I intended from the beginning!

Now, does that sound like something that should be re-interpreted?  If anyone could ever answer that question in the affirmative, then the next question would have to be: “from whose perspective?”  What created being has ever been given the option to question God’s will and purpose?

You see, God’s Revelation of Jesus Christ through John to the Churches IS the reality.  We don’t have an option to interpret it… it’s already interpreted!  We can’t see it in any other way than what He has revealed.

We belong to Him; we’re alive In Him, and it’s all ours In Him.  And it is ours to receive and to view as He has decreed it to be!

But if you reinterpret what you see from your own perspective, that is, the perspective of the world and what may be happening around you at any given point in time, then you’ll be fearful and unfaithful…and the fearful and unfaithful are first on the list (in verse eight) of the ones to be cast into the lake of fire.

God has revealed His will and purpose for this world.  And the ones with the mind of Christ will be “at peace” with that.  There’s a quiet certainty that is to arise in the sanctified mind.  And apprehension and foreboding don’t belong there.

He is the First; and He is the Last.  And all of this belongs to Him; and therefore it belongs to you!  He is faithful and true; and He will complete what He began!  You are in Him and He is with you.  So anguish and anxiety and fear have no place!

Fearfulness concerning the world’s circumstances is unfaithfulness; it is disbelief in what our Lord has promised to do, and what He has clearly revealed that He will do!

Your feelings are to be sanctified; your mind is to be sanctified.  You are to have the mind of Christ.  He isn’t obsessed and troubled with the things of this world… it belongs to Him!  And He will save it to the uttermost.  Leave the vexation and the suspense to the seed of the serpent!  They are the ones who should be in dread; they’re the one who should be in despair.  They’re the only ones who have a reason to be fearful!

 

What we’re about to see, from here on to the end of the chapter, is “God-With-Us”.  It is all pre-figured in the tabernacle in the desert; it is all prophesied in the prophets; and it is pre-figured and prophesied in the temple on the mount in the city of Jerusalem. 

We will make those connections as we go.  And we’ll hear Jesus’ own words as He reveals the new heaven and the new earth and the new Jerusalem.  And we’ll hear from the apostles in their letters to the Churches.

We’ll serve the Lord’s table next Lord’s Day; and we’ll see God-With-Us signified in the new covenant sign and seal.

And we’ll once again hear all about the “gathering”, or congregating, on the first day of the week as the “members” of the body of Christ meet for public worship; for it is the public spectacle of God-With-Us at the beginning of a new week.

And we will necessarily re-visit Pentecost; for that was the inaugural event of God-With-Us in advance of our Lord’s Parousia.  That, too, was prophesied by Jesus and by the prophets.

 

Now, in the first eight verses of the text, John was shown the new heaven and the new earth.  And he saw the new Jerusalem coming down from God in the heaven.

And he heard God say: “Lo!  The tabernacle of God with man!”  God Himself will be with them, John writes to the Churches!  At the imminent Parousia of the Christ, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, for all things will be created new.  And there would come down from God a new Jerusalem… And God said: ”Lo!  The tabernacle of God with man!”

Then John begins, at verse nine, to describe the new Jerusalem that is adorned as a bride for her husband.  It IS the tabernacle of God with man.  And there is a continuity with the Jerusalem that is about to be destroyed at the Lord’s Parousia.

That’s because the first Jerusalem was to be the earthly replica of God’s tabernacle in the heaven!  As the foreshadowing of that which was to come, Jerusalem was to be the glorious, golden city of God shining His glory to the world.  It was built, with its golden temple on the dome of the rock, to “look like” God’s heavenly tabernacle.  And Israel was to look like God’s glory cloud.  It was to be paradise on earth.

However, the first Jerusalem – rather than being the light of the nations – was the harlot of the nations; and Israel was infested with demons.  Everything about her was corrupt and evil; and the temple itself was full of everything wicked and idolatrous.

And the whole world loved her because of it!  They all became rich from her, for she adorned herself as a harlot!

She was to be the light of the glory of God in His holy tabernacle to the nations and peoples and tribes of the earth; but she was worse than them all!

The nations existed in gross darkness; whereas Jerusalem had the light of the Law and the prophets and the Gospel of the coming Savior of the world!  But even with all of that, she was worse than the nations that walked in darkness!  And her tabernacle on the dome of the rock was to be the very image of the coming sacrifice for the sins of the world.  It was the man-made image of God’s tabernacle with its cherubim and mercy seat.  And the sacrifice before its entrance was the visible, prophetic foreshadowing of the sacrifice to come that provided cursed mankind full access to the Presence of Almighty God.

The continuity then, between the first Jerusalem and the new Jerusalem that John saw coming down from God, is perfectly evident.  Only the new Jerusalem is a complete contrast from the first Jerusalem.

In fact, the new Jerusalem (that was about to be at the Parousia of the Christ), IS the tabernacle of God.  “Lo!  The tabernacle of God with man.”  He would tabernacle with them, they would be His people, God Himself would be with them.

“Keep His Commandments”; “hold the testimony of Jesus”, John writes to the Churches; these things are about to be at the Parousia of the Christ!

The letter to the Hebrew believers (the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been scattered into the nations) is a powerful testimony to these things.  The continuity between the firsts (which were about to disappear) and the new, is clear and incisive in the letter.  And I want to read a small portion of it for you… from chapter twelve.  Listen carefully:

 

The writer writes “… when Christ appeared as High Priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tabernacle (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves (as in the earthly tabernacle), but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

“Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites (the blood of animals), but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these; for Christ has entered, not into a tabernacle made with hands (which is only a copy), but into the heaven itself, to appear in the Presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy of holies every year with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world.  

“But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes the judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear the sin, but to save those who are waiting for Him.”

 

There in those words the letter to the Hebrews presents not only the continuity between the first heaven and earth and Jerusalem and the new heaven and earth and the new Jerusalem, but also the contrast.  For the nations, and creation itself, were waiting for His appearance!  He had made the one sacrifice for the salvation of the world.  And at His second appearance all things would be made new!

The promise in the Law and the prophets would be realized:

“I will make My tabernacle among you, and I will not reject you; I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (Leviticus 26:11-12).

 

“And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them.  And I will establish them and multiply them and set My tabernacle in their midst forever.  My dwelling place will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.  And the nations will know that I am YAHVEH Who sanctifies Israel when My tabernacle is in their midst forever” (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

 

The tabernacle of God with man!

At the Parousia of the Christ the firsts would disappear and be no more; and there would be a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem.

At verse nine a messenger from God appears to John.  It is one of the seven that had the seven bowls of the seven last plagues upon Israel and the city of Jerusalem.

The seven final plagues are now complete here at verse nine; and the messenger says to John: “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of the Lamb”.

Here’s what John saw and heard back in chapter fifteen:

 

7) And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven messengers seven golden bowls being full of the wrath of God – the One Living into the ages of the ages;

8) and the holy place (the temple in Jerusalem) was filled of smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and not one was enabled to enter into the holy place until the seven plagues of the seven messengers were finished.

 

And then (there in chapter fifteen) John heard a thunderous sound from the tabernacle in the heaven ordering the seven messengers to pour out the bowls of wrath into the land (chapter sixteen).

And at the outpouring of the seventh bowl, once again a thundering sound from the heaven saying: “It is done”.  And there was then a great “shaking” of the land in which the walls fell and the cities fell and all the mountains “fled away” as John saw the complete destruction of the harlot that refused and hated the Bridegroom when He came.

And here in chapter twenty-one John sees that that first heaven and earth is gone (having been destroyed in the seven final plagues); and there is a new heaven and a new earth; and a new Jerusalem.  And there is no longer a dense smoke keeping anyone from entering into the Presence of God; for He is with us!

The mountains of the first heaven and the first earth had “fled away” in the wrath of God.  All was removed.  But now (in our text) John sees a great and high mountain over all the mountains of the earth.  “Lo!  I make everything new!”

And John’s attention is now turned to the new Jerusalem by one of those messengers of the seven bowls of wrath.  The firsts are gone away. The new Jerusalem is the bride of Christ.  And God would tabernacle with them!

This is the reality that John was to write to the Churches.  It was shortly to come to pass.  And, indeed, in about three and a half years it would come to pass!  The firsts would disappear; and all things would be made new; and God would be with them and dwell among them.  And never would they be forbidden to be in His Presence!

They were the ones who He came to seek and to save; they were the lost sheep of the house of Jacob who God had kept for Himself; they were the ones who came to the wedding festivities when they were called; they were the “daughter of Zion” – birthed from the harlot into the nations… the new Jerusalem (not the harlot); they were the ones provided the “water of life” and through whom the River of Life would flow from the great mountain of Christ’s Kingdom into the nations.  God would be with them and dwell among them.

The new Jerusalem is the bride of Christ in stark contrast to the first Jerusalem.  Here’s the view that was given to John of the first Jerusalem.  This is from chapter seventeen:

 

Then one of the seven messengers having the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying ‘here, I show you the judgment of the great harlot that sits by many waters

with whom the kings of the earth did fornicate and those indwelling the land were made drunk from the wine of her fornications.

And it bore me away in spirit into isolation.  Then I saw a woman sitting upon a crimson beast full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns;

and the woman was purple and crimson clothed, adorned in gold and precious stone and pearls, and having in her hand a gold cup full of abominable things and the unclean things of her fornications;

and a name, a mystery, having been written on her forehead: BABYLON THE GREAT, the mother of the harlots and the land’s abominations;

and I saw the woman drunkened from the blood of the saints and from the blood of Jesus’ martyrs.  And when I saw her I wondered with great wonder!

 

What John was shown there was the harlot, and the “adornment” of the harlot… the first Jerusalem.  She would not receive the adornment from God.  She would not be adorned as a bride for the coming Messiah.  She would not come to the wedding festivities at all!

She preferred to prostitute herself in order to buy her own adornment!

But here in chapter twenty-one, the same messenger has come to speak to John again.  And he shows him the new Jerusalem that is about to be at the Parousia of the Christ; for He has entered, once, into the tabernacle in the heaven, into the Presence of Almighty God having made the sacrifice for the sin of the world.  (And, as you remember, John saw Him there with all the “holy ones” He had kept for Himself - all arrayed in the white robes of virginity).

And the new Jerusalem that John is shown (in contrast with the first one) is adorned with her God’s glory (verse eleven).  She has been bought with the blood of the Christ (she has become One in Him… two shall become one flesh!).  And she is adorned appropriately with God’s adornment.  All things will have been made new!

And John is shown her coming down from God in the heaven.  She would be the tabernacle of God; and there would be no temple in her; for God is with us!  No sacrifices; no holy of holies; no priestly representatives going in and out.  All in Christ would be priests in His Presence; for God Himself would be with us.

And He gathers us to Himself on the first day of every week to rejoice in His so great salvation, and to wonder in this new creation, and to grow in grace, and to be sanctified into one body that has the same mind and thinks the same things, and anticipates the salvation of this world.  And from which flows the River of Life which waters every desert wilderness on this earth.

Next Lord’s Day the perfections of the New Jerusalem;  and, by extension, the “land” of the new Israel – the whole world.  It is a new heaven and a new earth… not like the first one; for the firsts would disappear.

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Revelation 21:1-27 Part 6

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

Listen to the apostle Paul from his second letter to the Churches at Corinth (at chapter five):

 

16)  Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh.  Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more.

17)  Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.

18)  But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation;

19)  to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20)  We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

21)  Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

 

Paul wrote to these Churches in Corinth about twenty years before our Lord’s Parousia; and as you just heard, he wrote some serious Theology which is essentially the same as that which we find in our text.

Remember, that Paul had been taught personally by the risen Christ; and he had, by his own admission, been in the tabernacle in the heaven where he was shown these things.

And so he wouldn’t become proud and pretentious in his own mind, he was then given an acute and grave malady in his body (in order that he be kept humble and lowly), and told that he was not to speak of the things that he saw… (for it wasn’t yet time.  That, of course, would be left for John to do at the end of the age).

But the things he had been taught, and that which he had seen in the heaven, are manifest to the Churches in his expository remarks concerning the will and purpose of God in Christ Jesus our Lord; and tells them to be ambassadors of the King to the nations.  They were given the Word of Reconciliation.

And this exposition regarding the work of Christ has to do with those of us In Him having been made “new creations”.  As He reconciles all things to Himself, He will have made everything new!

As the ones in the Churches were, individually, made new creations in Him, so all things would be made new.  At His Parousia, all things would be definitively new (they are come to pass, John says, and he sees the firsts disappear); and, in space and time during all the years, all things would be reconciled to Him.  Nothing would be left that was not reconciled to Him.

He is the Creator of the first Adam; and He is the Second Adam.  He created the first humanity, and He is the new Humanity.  He is the Beginning and He is the End; He is the First and He is the Last, He is the Alpha and He is the Omega.  The “firsts” go away; and only the “new” will be!

Back in First Corinthians chapter three, Paul wrote to them that “the Lord knows that the reasonings of the wise are meaningless.  So no one should boast in human leaders, for everything is yours — whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come — everything is yours; and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”

These are the very things that John is shown here in our text, aren’t they?

You see, the whole world belongs to Christ and His Kingdom… the world and all that lives and moves in it.  And as it belongs to Christ, it all belongs to you, Paul says.

You have no need of a leader, or a “guru”, whose wisdom is such that he guides you through the “maize” (as if you were somehow separate from The Christ).  The world, life, death, things present, things to come… they all belong to the Christ, so they belong to you!

You are In Him; and He tabernacles with you; by His Spirit He perfects you.  You are a “new creation”!  “I make everything new”, He says.

The view of many in protestant pietism is that Christianity is “abstract”.  It exists separate from, and in opposition to, natural life; and that it is always fleeing from the world!  Monasticism is a more extreme example of that “flight from this evil world”.  But fundamentalism isn’t all that different from Romanist monasticism, for it considers Christianity as a separate entity.  We’re only pilgrims here, they say.  This world is evil; and heaven is our home.

But that’s in stark contrast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And it’s a false religion!  Our Lord has redeemed the world.  He has made all things new; and He will reconcile all things to Himself.  And the ones who won’t see that are, themselves, in a flight from reality!

“All is yours”, Paul wrote to the Churches in Corinth.  Resurrection out of death in Christ Jesus (i.e. a new creation In Him) isn’t an abstract, separate sphere of human life, but is that by which the entire person is made new, refined and made complete!  And since we are given the Word of Reconciliation, it is that by which the world is redeemed!

And since Christ is all wisdom, the new creation in Christ needs no other leader to give him wisdom about some rational explanation of the origins and future of this world and how one is to navigate it!

Being made a new creation in Christ takes hold of a man (or woman or child) in his totality, his very being; it gives light to his understanding; it gives holiness to his thought and his will.  And so it pours forth the sacred consecration of the new birth, and the glorious liberty of the children of God, over his whole life and being!

And there is no rational element that may not be sanctified.  There’s no sphere of life that may not be glorified.  It is a complete rebirth… a new creation in Christ the Second Adam… and His redeemed humanity!

And the entire creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God; it groans and sighs for that same reconciliation and deliverance.  It all belongs to the Christ and all who are In Him. 

Christianity is the redemption and reconciliation of the world; and we aren’t separate from the world – it belongs to us!  It belongs to The Christ; and therefore it belongs to us In Him!

And now, listen to Isaiah at chapter forty-four:

 

1)      Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel who I have chosen:

2)      Thus says YAHVEH Who made you, and formed you from the womb, and Who will help you.  Fear not, O Jacob My servant; and you, Jeshurun, who I have chosen.

3)      For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring;

4)      and they shall spring up among the grass as willows by the watercourses.

….

6)      Thus says YAHVEH, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, YAHVEH of Hosts: I am the First, and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.

 

As God said to Isaiah, He is Alpha and He is Omega (the First and the Last).  He has created Israel (Jacob); and He will keep him and help him.  And He will pour out His Spirit as water in the desert wilderness; and the seed of Jacob will spring up like willows beside all the watercourses.

Here are the words of Jesus, as recorded by John in his Gospel, chapter seven:

 

37) Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.

38) He that believes me (faiths), as the scripture has said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water.

39) But this He spoke of the Spirit, which they who believed Him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.

 

“From within him shall flow rivers of living water…!”

That’s what Jesus said.  From the believer; from the one faithing in Christ, there shall be a “thirst” for the living water.  And from him who thirsts, there shall flow RIVERS of living water, for that living water will be given to him “freely”!

And wherever the living water flows across the dry ground, our “SEED” will spring up as willows by the watercourses.

 

Now, let’s go through all of that again.  We can’t allow ourselves to miss even a little of it!  It’s what the prophets said; it’s what the apostle Paul said; it’s what Jesus said; and it’s precisely what John sees and hears in our verses five, six and seven.

So let’s hear those three verses again:

 

5) Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6) He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7) and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

 

The Churches at Corinth were populated by the seed of the woman, those who God had kept for Himself, those of the tribes of Jacob who Jesus came to seek and to save… those who were rebirthed into the Christ at Pentecost and then sent into the nations!

Paul was writing to them, there in his second letter, that they were new creations in Christ Jesus Who is the Alpha and the Omega (the First and the Last) and Who would make all things new!  And since there was about to be a new heaven and a new earth; and there was about to be a new Jerusalem, in no way did they have need for the wisdom of men in order to navigate through this evil world!

They were redeemed humanity; they were new creations in Christ.  And the whole world waited for the manifestation of the ones who belonged to Him.  The world belongs to You, he told them, because it belongs to the Christ!

You aren’t moving around in some separate cosmos!  You haven’t been redeemed “out of the world”!  This world belongs to you!  Every facet of your life is redeemed; and every facet of the world will be redeemed.  He is the Beginning, and He is the End.  Therefore it will be!  All will be reconciled to Him.

Then we heard from Isaiah where YAHVEH promised to pour living water upon the dry ground; and the “seed” would spring up around the watercourses.  And those who thirst for the living water would see their seed flourish.  He is the Beginning and the End.  He was their origin; and He would bring forth their seed… to the completion!

Then we heard what John wrote in His Gospel, quoting Jesus, when Jesus quoted from that very Isaiah passage.  And He said that to the ones who believe Him – faith in Him – He would freely assuage their thirst for the living water; and the living water would flow from them as rivers of life into the dry wildernesses of the earth.  And their seed would spring forth as trees and green grass beside the watercourses.

And now, here in the text of The Revelation of Jesus Christ we hear the exact same thing written to the Churches.  The Lord Jesus Christ IS YAHVEH of Hosts.  He is Alpha and Omega (the First and the Last).  He created them in the beginning.  He kept a “seed” for Himself; and He has freely given them the water of life and planted them in the wilderness.  And from them will flow that water of life into all the earth.  And the “Beginning” will complete it to the “End” as all the earth will bloom forth and flourish into “paradise” as He promised.

As Geerhardus Vos once said, we are not “spectators” of the redemption and reconciliation of the world.   Just as we are new creations In Him, there is a new heaven and a new earth, and as there is a new Jerusalem.  It’s new; and it belongs to us!  He made it in the beginning and He will complete it to the end.  He IS the Alpha and the Omega, The First and the Last.

The old cosmos in which He preserved the seed would be destroyed; the old tabernacle on the mount through which the new was prophesied would be destroyed; the dragon of old would be bound and sealed in the abyss.

And the River of life would flow from under the new mountain of God into all the earth.

And “Behold!  I make all things new.”

And at the end of all the years decreed, the seed of the serpent (those not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life) would be cast into the lake of fire.  And all the multitudes of the seed of Jacob would be the ones that our God knew by name from the beginning.

We will inherit it all (John says in verse seven); for those in Christ are sons of God, whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  The Strong Right Arm of God has “overcome”.  And we, In Him, are overcomers… from whom flows the River of Life – the Spirit and the Word… the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We overcome IN HIM, for the water of life flows from us into the world.

And before we address verse eight, let’s take another couple of minutes with the nature of one re-birthed into the Christ.  We are the seed of the woman, the seed of Jacob, the multitude promised to Abraham – kept by our God from the beginning, planted by the River of Life, and from whom flows that water of life.  We are members of a new humanity in the Second Adam.  And the old nature – the nature of the first Adam – is gone.  We have been raised up out of death.  (Remember, John said previously that our rebirth into Christ is the “first resurrection”.

Just as the first heaven and the first earth are gone; and just as the first Jerusalem is gone, so the nature of the first Adam is gone.  Our Lord has made everything new; He has reconciled all things to Himself.  We are new creations in Christ.

And the new creation in Christ doesn’t look like the first creation in Adam!  As John says later in our text, nothing about the first Adam is allowed in the new Jerusalem!

There is nothing about you that may not be sanctified.  You are a new creation in Christ Jesus.  Your very thought processes are to be sanctified.  You are a new human being in Christ; so your thoughts, your words, your deeds are to be sanctified.

Your worship; your work; your eating and drinking is to be sanctified.  Your love for your wife or husband and children is to be sanctified.  Your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ is to be sanctified.

Your emotions and your needs and your desires are to be sanctified; your words and conversations, and your interactions with your brothers in Christ are to be sanctified.

You thirst for the water of life – the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and it is freely given to you.

And the River of Life flows from you to the seed which God has kept for Himself… all those written in the Lamb’s book of life.  What you say, what you do, what you look at, what you listen to, what you read, what your interests are… it all is to be sanctified.

Re-birth into Christ involves the totality of your person.  You live as a new creation in Christ!  You can’t even take a breath except as a new creation in Christ!

You are alive in Him; you live in Him.  You belong to Him, and you are His brothers and His sisters.

This creation belongs to the Christ, and you are In Him; so it all belongs to you.  And as He promised in John chapter seven, the water of life flows from you to His seed; and they will spring up as green trees by the watercourses to fill the earth!  And they, and the world itself, will be reconciled to Him.

As a Christian, you haven’t been separated out from this creation!  Having been rebirthed into Him, you own it!  And it will all be reconciled to Him.

And as verse eight says, it will all be sanctified!  Let’s read one more time what John hears from the One sitting on the seat:

 

5)   Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)   He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)   and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)   But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

 

You see, verse eight is the final sanctification of all things, when those not written in the book of life are judged; and they no longer exist in God’s new heaven and new earth.  And not only you…..but the entire creation will be justified and reconciled to God!

Here is Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian Churches, chapter six:

 

9) do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,

10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11) And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

 

And again the apostle in his letter to the Churches of Galatia:

 

19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20) idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,

21) envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I forewarned you before, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

These here in verse eight are not inheritors of the kingdom; they are not the ones written in the Lamb’s book of life; they are not the ones who thirst for the water of life, or to whom flows the River of Life; they are not the ones redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and re-birthed into the Christ.

All who practice such things aren’t allowed into the new Jerusalem (verse twenty-seven), for they are the seed of the serpent and enemies of the Christ.

And as our Lord made clear in His messages to the Churches (chapters two and three), they were to be cast out of the Church of Jesus Christ (just as the satan was cast down from the tabernacle in the heaven).

What John hears from the “seat” is that this creation, at the end of all the years decreed, will be completely sanctified as the First and the Last casts all of them into the lake of fire along with the dragon and death and hades.

And the creation mandate, abdicated by the first Adam, will have been kept by the Second Adam.  The Lord Jesus Christ will have subdued the earth and filled it with His seed!!

Here in verse eight John presents to the Churches the nature of those who are not written in the Lamb’s book of life, who will not inherit the Kingdom, who will never be acceptable in the new Jerusalem, and who will be cast into the lake of fire on the day of judgment.

And he begins the list with the fearful and unfaithful.

And I remind you of all that we learned from Jesus’ words as recorded by Matthew in chapter eight.  Having departed Israel on the sea, in order to reach the Gentile nation on the other side, there was a great shaking.  And the sea was a tumult.  And Jesus stilled the shaking and quieted the tumult; and he rid a Gentile city of its demons… all of which was prophesied in the older Scripture!

But the words that He spoke to His disciples are the very first words that John writes here in verse eight of our text!  He said to them: “why are you fearful, you little faiths!

Those who are fearful and unfaithing, even in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will not inherit the Kingdom.  Those who are fearful of what they see around them aren’t faithing in the First and the Last!  Those who are fearful aren’t faithing in the Word of God and the promise of our Lord’s salvation of this creation!  The fearful and unfaithful don’t believe our Lord when He says that all of this belongs to Him, and therefore belongs to us!   The fearful and unfaithful don’t believe that the water of life flows freely to those who thirst, and that a River of Life will flow from them into all the earth.  The fearful and unfaithful will not inherit the earth.

The next three things John writes have to do with the abominations of the flesh… the corruption, the violence and fornication.

Moses wrote (in Genesis six) that God saw that the whole world was corrupt.  And later he said to the tribes of Jacob that as soon as he died, they would utterly corrupt themselves.

All mankind, and the whole earth, were cursed by God; and Adam filled the earth with his own kind.  And men would do nothing other than what was right in their own eyes.  None were good, for all mankind was corrupt.

And John says that no man of corruption and murder and fornication (all deeds of dead humanity) would inherit the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  Corruption is death; fornication is corruption of human flesh. The things abominable to God are the deeds of corrupt mankind.

Corrupt mankind in Adam must be re-birthed into the incorruptible Christ of God – the Second Adam; and henceforth he will not practice the corrupt deeds of the flesh.

Corrupt flesh will not inherit the Kingdom; corrupt flesh isn’t allowed in the new Jerusalem.

Thirdly, John says that burning in the lake of fire is the allotment of sorcerers and idolators.  From the beginning of Genesis to the end of the Revelation, idolatry and the practitioners of idolatry are at the very root of corruption.

From the garden to these words of John, mankind in Adam prefers gods of his own making.  And as apostle Paul says in Romans one, corruption and uncleanness flow directly from idolatry; for the power and glory of Almighty God are evident in all that He has made – and even in man himself.  The allotment of all idolators is eternal fire and brimstone.

Fourth, and last, is all liars.

Through all of Israel’s history there were false prophets.  They said things that God did not say.  Or they disputed things that God did say.

Jesus told His disciples that in the last days there would be false prophets.  And in the Revelation John heard that the false prophet was the “land beast” that raised the image of the fourth beast of history.  And the false prophet said that Israel and Jerusalem would never be destroyed… that God would preserve her forever.  It was exactly the opposite of what God had revealed to His prophets of old, and exactly the opposite of what Jesus had said.

The false prophets were liars.

And John says, at the end of the Revelation, that anyone who adds to or detracts from what is revealed to the last prophet of God would be anathema.  They are liars; death flows from their mouths rather than the water of life.  And they will not inherit the kingdom.  They do not inherit the earth in Christ Jesus the Lord.  It doesn’t belong to them.  And they will not stand in the judgment.  But they will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone along with the satan, who is the father of liars and lies and deception.

Following is John’s description of the new Jerusalem, which we’ll begin next Lord’s Day.

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Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/Revelation21-1-27p5.mp3?type=podpage

 

Revelation 21:1-27 Part 5

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

As spoken to Isaiah the prophet seven hundred years before the advent of the Christ:

 

22)  For as the new heaven and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says YAHVEH, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23)  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says YAHVEH.

 

Just as it was written in Isaiah, the new heaven and the new earth promised imminently to the Churches of the first century comprises all the years of our Lord’s dominion, during which all flesh will come to worship before Him.

From month to month, throughout all the years, you – and your seed – all the ones written in the book of life will remain.  Just as the new heaven and the new earth remain, so will His people remain.  And from Sabbath to Sabbath, His people will come and worship Him.

Multitudes promised to Abraham from all the peoples and tribes and tongues of the world will be rebirthed into Him; the whole earth will increasingly rejoice in peace and prosperity; the earth’s treasures will be brought to Him by the kings of the nations.

The paradise mandate will be consummated by the reconciliation of all things IN HIM.  And at the end of all the decreed years, all His enemies will be put under His feet as the satan and death and hades are cast into the lake of fire.

 

This was imminent for the Churches of the first century.  And it is a current and present reality for us!  We live in our Lord’s new heaven and the new earth; and there is a new city of God which is “Immanuel”!  “Lo, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and He shall be called Immanuel – God with us”

The new city is in continuity with the first one.  Therefore it is called “the New Jerusalem”.  The first one was man-made… and she was a harlot filled with every detestable thing.  However, she was prophetic of the new; and therein is the continuity.  Our Lord Jesus Christ was judged there (in the first Jerusalem); and He was taken outside the city where He poured out His blood. 

And the first city and the first mountain would be shaken and removed. The temple would be destroyed; the city would be burned, and the mountain cast into the sea.  It would no longer exist.

But the new city is not man-made; it isn’t “shakeable”; it can’t be removed, and it is perfect in every way.  And the River of Life flows from it. Therefore it is called the “holy” Jerusalem.  And its beauty and glory so far surpasses the first one that all flesh… peoples and tribes and tongues from every nation on earth will come to it.

(And how’s that for a presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our Jewish neighbors!)

This is the Revelation of what He has done, what He is about to do, and what He is now doing; and what He will do.  And it’s how our minds have to work; and it’s how we must live in response.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If the Churches in our time were hearing these things from their pastors and evangelists, everything would look so different; our nation wouldn’t be in the condition it’s in; and the people wouldn’t be placing their hope in some “yet-to-come-messiah” to Israel.  That’s a false hope; and it’s the same thing that came from the mouths of the false prophets of Israel before our Lord’s appearance!

The seed of the serpent are still doing their worst out there against the Christ.  Their leader (actually, their “father” according to Jesus) is bound and sealed in the abyss until our Lord finishes His work.  So, whatever they do, they’re doing it without the dragon’s incitements and deceptions.

There are false prophets.  And there are “little caesars” that idolize themselves… terminally depraved mini-anarchists!  And anarchists “militate” against sovereignty. But they only have power given to them temporarily.  They will be diminished; and they will fade and disappear, only to be cast later into the lake of fire with the old dragon.  We have nothing to fear from them.

 Our Lord is Alpha and Omega; He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and He will complete the redemption of the world.  He will reconcile all things to Himself.

This world will be in the full light of His Presence; and it will reflect the glory of its Creator.

So, hold the testimony of Jesus.  Keep His commandments.  Be thankful.  He tabernacles with us, so live life In Him.  Anticipate the fullness of His work, and rejoice in it.  Delight in it!  You have life; and you have it abundantly!  And you have the promise that He will hold on to you in life, in death, and in resurrection.

Our forebears in the first Churches had it so much worse.  They lived in the time before the satan was bound.  And they suffered under the fourth beast of world history!  Some of the house of Jacob to whom Jesus had spoken, and many who He had healed, witnessed the terminal end of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.  And they suffered atrocities at the hands of the beast and at the hands of judaists.

But they had the promise of that which was soon to be.  They had the prophets and the apostles; and they had this letter from John.  So they knew that there was a new heaven and a new earth about to be!  And through the eyes of John they saw the new Jerusalem coming down from God.  It was Immanuel… God with us; the Lord Jesus Christ… the great mountain of His Kingdom over all the kingdoms of the earth.

They were In Him, and He was with them.  And by the proclamation and teaching of this Gospel of Jesus Christ, there would be multitudes of those Gentiles out there who would be made their brothers (and, eventually, even many Jews)!  And the royalties of the nations would bring their glory into the new city of God!

And through all the years of His domain there would be increasing peace and prosperity until all the earth would be in the full light of the Christ!

That’s what they knew; that’s what they anticipated; and that’s what they preached.  And the ferocious beast with the teeth of iron (no longer being incited by the devil) was made to lie down with the Lamb.  And it took only three or four generations.

Here we are, forty-five generations later, enjoying the peace and prosperity that no one before us has ever experienced.  We are their posterity in Christ.

This is the view of the Savior of the world that we must have.  He is with us, and we are in Him; and our lives are to be lived in Him as we deliver the message to our posterity… even to the thousandth generation (all of them).

And when petty tyrants arrogantly raise themselves up against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we should have no fear of them whatever.  Anxiety about what they might do to us, and about their destruction of our “world order”, is faithlessness!

Our Lord has all authority on the earth.  This is the new heaven and the new earth; and these “seed of the serpent” are under His authority.  They belong to The Christ; and they only have power that He grants them.  He uses them for His Own purpose.

By no means are we to ignore them, or cower before them.  But what can they do to us?  Our Lord is with us!  We live in Him.  His is the work of saving the world!  And all the nations and tribes and tongues will acknowledge Him.  He has overcome.  He has made everything new!  And it’s not what we do; it’s what He does!  We’re the messengers.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ flows from under His great mountain of dominion that towers over all the mountains and hills of the earth.  And it heals the sea of humanity.  And the light of the New Jerusalem will brighten everything, so that there will be no place on earth where darkness can remain!

So, when something, or someone, does arise out of that darkness to challenge the sovereignty of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ uses that to manifest His omnipotence!

These things that John is shown are what the apostle Paul wrote to the Churches before the Parousia of the Christ.  He said their minds ought to be in the heaven where these things were about to be!  Our Lord’s appearance was near!  That’s what they were to look for and anticipate; and there would be a new heaven and a new earth; and there would be a new – and holy – Jerusalem!

John was given to see it all.  He saw the One seated on the great white horse, with the Sword proceeding from His mouth.  And he saw the redeemed of the house of Jacob and all the holy ones of old, all seated on white horses with Him.  They were all ready for His appearance!

Anticipate all of these things, said Paul; rejoice and delight in them! In all your difficulties, it’s where your mind must be.  Hold fast the testimony! It’s promised!  His appearance is near; and all things will be made new.

It’s what Isaiah foretold; “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him.”  He will make His abode with you.  There will be a new heaven and a new earth; and there will be a new Jerusalem… not like the harlot of the world, but one made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

Now.  We regard the whole of Scripture as the one Word of the One True God – Father, Son and Spirit.  There is one covenant for the salvation of the world; and the one Word of God is perfectly consistent from beginning to end; for the Word of God is Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end.  He is the Strong Right Arm of YAHVEH.  It is His creation and His will and purpose, and His perspective, and His language.  So the Word is covenantally consistent and faithful in all its parts.

So, when Moses spoke and wrote the Word, it was a faithful Word; and it would, in all cases, come to pass.

Listen to Moses at Leviticus twenty-six:

 

1)      You shall make for yourselves no idols, neither shall you raise up a graven image, or a pillar; neither shall you place any figured stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am YAHVEH your God.

2)      You shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am YAHVEH.

3)      Should you walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them,

4)      then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

5)      And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

6)      And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land….

9)      And I will have regard unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and will establish my covenant with you.

10)  And you shall eat old store long kept, and ye shall bring forth the old because of the new.

11)  And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

12)  And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people.

 

Now, isn’t that the perfect prophecy of what John is shown about to be?  Revere His tabernacle (for God would make His abode with them); keep His Commandments; no idolatry… and He would bring them great prosperity and peace; and they would have no fear of evil beasts.

What we’re hearing here in chapter twenty-one is the fullness of what Moses told the people of Israel after the exodus from bondage in Egypt.

Now, almost six centuries before the advent of the Christ, the first evil beast of God’s history had put the sword to the nation, and had destroyed God’s tabernacle and the city of Jerusalem, and had once again taken Israel and everything of value into bondage in Babylon.

And God told His prophet to write to them.  Here’s what He told Ezekiel to write.  It’s in chapter thirty-six:

 

26)  Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

27)  My tabernacle will be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

28)  And the nations shall know that I am YAHVEH that sanctifies Israel, when my tabernacle shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

 

The prophecy of Ezekiel is the same as that which is shown to John (the last prophet).  It is that of a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem in which our God tabernacles with us; and all Israel will worship Him from Sabbath to Sabbath.

We’ll be reading more from Ezekiel.  But he goes on to write the prophecy of the new tabernacle of God with man.  He describes for the nation in captivity the idolatry and filth and degradation of the tabernacle that had just been destroyed, and compares that with the perfections of the new tabernacle that will be with His people forever.

And it couldn’t be more obvious that what Ezekiel prophesied is exactly what John is shown here in chapter twenty one.

The Word of God was made flesh; and He was sacrificed, as a Lamb, for the sin of the world.  And the resurrected Jesus Christ – once – entered the tabernacle of God in the heaven, having satisfied the wrath of God.  And having inherited all things, and having been given all authority in the heaven and on the earth, He is now shown to John as ready to make all things new and to tabernacle with man.

The tabernacle of God would be with us; and He would reconcile all things to Himself!  In continuity with the old, there would be a new mountain of God over all the mountains of the earth.  And there would be a new – and holy – city of God.

However, there would be no tabernacle in the new city, for His people would have direct access to the father IN HIM.  The old tabernacle was only a “shadow” of the One Who was to come.  He IS the tabernacle; for He is with us.  He makes His abode with us.  We already have access In Him. He has already made the one sacrifice for the sin of the world.  That’s what the first tabernacle was for… for there to be sacrifices in order to have access to God!

So another tabernacle, one in the new city of God, would be redundant!  He IS the priest; He IS the sacrifice (so there’s no more need for blood to be poured out), He IS the One to Whom the sacrifice is made!  Access is provided – once and for all – to all who are IN HIM.  And He is the One Who makes intercession for all IN HIM!

So John doesn’t see a tabernacle in the new – holy – city of God.  That would be (not only) needless, but superfluous!  The new city of God is holy BECAUSE there’s no tabernacle in it!  Our Lord Jesus Christ IS the tabernacle.  He is WITH us in the new holy city.  He tabernacles with us.

While I’m right here, let me say that those “branches” of the evangelical Church that pray for, and work for, the rebuilding of the temple on the mount in Jerusalem, and the re-institution of the sacrifices in advance of the “second coming of Jesus Christ” are guilty of the grossest idolatry imaginable.

Since the sacrifice for the sin of the world has already been made; and since The Father is satisfied with that sacrifice; and since our Lord Jesus Christ has now tabernacled with us in this new heaven and new earth; and since there is now a new city of God with NO tabernacle; and since our Lord abides with us and we in Him, I can’t think of anything worse than another temple with more sacrifices!

That would be a denial of everything written in the Scripture.  Even the idolatry of the nation of islam would have to be considered a “lesser” evil!  There, at least, there is no “pretense” of being Christian!

Let’s go on now to verse four:

 

“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.”

 

At the appearance of the Christ at the end of the age, the first heaven and the first earth would pass away.  And the first heaven and earth, and the first Jerusalem, would pass away in a flood of His wrath.  And He will tabernacle with us and wipe away every tear from our eyes!

Now, we need the full scope of the context here; so let’s read some Scripture!  As always, this will require some intense concentration on your part.  So, don’t lose it!

Out of all the texts that could be cited this morning, there is one of such detail and of such glorious language that it can’t be misunderstood.  It is the prophecy of exactly what John is shown is about to be at the Parousia of the Christ!  So listen carefully; it will bring you understanding of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Here are the words that God put into the mouth of Isaiah the prophet in about seven hundred BC.  It has to do with God’s cosmic “paradise on earth”… heaven-and-earth Israel:

 

1)      Behold, YAHVEH will make the earth empty, and make it waste, and turn it upside down, and scatter abroad the inhabitants thereof.

2)      And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.

3)      The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for YAHVEH has spoken this word.

4)      The earth mourns and fades away, it languishes and fades away, the haughty people of the earth languish.

5)      The earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

6)      Therefore will the curse devour the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few remain.

7)      The new wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merryhearted do sigh.

8)      The mirth of tabrets ceases, the sound of them that rejoice ends, the joy of the harp ceases.

9)      They will not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.

10)  The city of confusion will be broken down: every house shut up, that no man may come in.

11)  There will  be a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land gone.

12)  In the city is left desolation, and the gate smitten with destruction.

13)  When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.

14)  From the sea they shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of YAHVEH, they shall cry aloud.

15)  Even they in the isles of the sea glorify YAHVEH in the fires, even the name of YAHVEH the God of Israel.

16)  From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous.  But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.

17)  Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.

18)  And it shall come to pass, that he who flees from the sound of the fearful shall fall into the pit; and he that comes up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.

19)  The earth utterly broken down, the earth clean dissolved, the earth  shaken exceedingly.

20)  The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a hut; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and never rise again.

21)  And it shall come to pass in that day, that YAHVEH shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the rulers of the earth upon the earth.

22)  And they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.

23)  Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun made ashamed, when YAHVEH of hosts shall reign gloriously in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his holy ones of old.

 

That’s the prophecy spoken by God to Isaiah concerning the shame and the utter destruction of His heaven-and-earth creation – the nation of Israel and its city.

Directly following that prophecy, here’s what God then spoke to Isaiah:

 

1)      O YAHVEH, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

2)      For You will make of a city a heap; a walled city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be rebuilt.

3)      Therefore shall the strong people glorify You, the city of the terrible nations shall fear You.

4)      For You will be a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

5)      You shall bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.

6)      And in this mountain shall YAHVEH of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the hills, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the hills well refined.

7)      And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the dark covering cast over all the peoples, and the vail that is spread over all the nations.

8)      He will swallow up death in victory; and YAHVEH God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for YAHVEH has spoken it.

9)      And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is YAHVEH; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

 

“God Himself will be with them; and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes….”

You remember that Jesus said “I came to find the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Jacob)”.  God had kept a remnant from each tribe for Himself; and Jesus came to find them.

When He found them, they were the weak and the sick and the poor and the crooked and the demon-possessed; and some were even the outcast prostitutes and tax collectors.

These are the ones who had been preyed upon by the wolves and jackals of Israel’s demon-possessed society.  The elders and priests and pharisees had not shepherded them, having turned God’s Word upside down and inside out, leaving them with no hope; and they had ripped and torn them – using every means to take from them all that they had, leaving them destitute and in sorrow and mourning and weeping and in the pit of darkness and despair.

Then Jesus came to find them.  And He began to reverse the effects of centuries of covetousness and idolatry and harlotry.  He healed them and straitened their bodies and cast out their demons.  He wiped away their tears; and He saved them from the wrath to come.

But there was, all through history, mourning and sorrow and weeping for the covenanted people and the land and the city; for God had revealed its complete destruction.  The prophets of old cried out to Almighty God, with tears night and day, to save the land and the city and covenant people.

But God told the prophets that there would be no more tears for the city; for there would be a new Jerusalem into which all the kings and nations would bring their glory.  And all Israel would be saved!  And the abominations of the first Jerusalem would never be found in the new one!

As Isaiah wrote in the chapter twenty five that we just read, the nations… the nations and peoples and tongues and tribes over all of which was a pall – a veil – of darkness, would wail with tears at the destruction of the great shining city on the mount; for she was the harlot of the world.  They were all rich because of her lasciviousness.

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Follow along with the sermon on Revelation 21:1-27 Part 4

Follow along with the sermon: http://toginet.com/podcasts/sermonsonrevelation/Revelation21-1-27p4.mp3?type=podpage

 

Revelation 21:1-27 Part 4

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying "Lo, The tabernacle of God with man."  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: "Lo, I make everything new!"  And He says, "write; for these words are sure and true";

6)      He said to me, "they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars."

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, "here, I will show you the bride - the wife of The Lamb".

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city - the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God's glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square - her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man's measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city's street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb's book of life.

 

John has been told that the time is near.  At the Parousia/appearance of The Christ, when every last one of the elect from the tribes of Jacob had been found and marked and sealed and rescued from the wrath to come, the harlot of the world would be executed.  God's "heaven and earth", Israel, would cease to exist.

John was shown the hundred and forty-four thousands of the house of Jacob in the heaven with the Christ!  He had kept them for Himself; and they had been resurrected from death unto life.  He had already been sacrificed for them; He had found them and redeemed them; they were with Him and In Him.  And they were ready to come with Him at His appearance.

But all those remaining in the land would suffer the wrath of God for their own sin!

The nation that God had set apart for Himself; that great city whose tabernacle God had occupied, would no longer be.  That separate cosmic paradise that He had called "heaven and earth" would be decreated.  It would disappear, and... no longer be.

And since it would no longer exist, neither would there be a turbulent sea of Gentile humanity surrounding it.  And no longer would there be a serpent/leviathian deceiving the nations and inciting them; for the satan would be bound and sealed in the abyss!

And then John saw (also imminent) a new heaven and a new earth descending from God in the heaven.  He sees the first one replaced by the new one.  The old is gone.  John doesn't see it anymore, for it has disappeared.  What John sees, about to be, is that which is "new".  (And, remember, it's new of the same kind... but of greater and superior quality.)

This is what is near; this is what is imminent (as John writes to the Churches).  This is what was to comfort and assure the Churches that had just been established in the nations.  And it's what they were to anticipate; for the promised Messiah had arrived and had poured out His Own blood.  And He had arisen from death and ascended to the Right of glory to assume His authority over the heavens and the earth.

And at His Parousia there would be no longer a use for the old.  It is the fullness of the time.  It's time for the Savior of the world to appear in the cloud of glory; and "Lo, I make all things new"!

At the appointed time for the appearance of the One Who has all authority in the heaven and on the earth, the way things were would no longer be.

In the first heaven and the first earth, there was the dragon and its vengeance.  It had deceived all the nations and incited them to rise up against the covenant seed.  But in the new heaven and the new earth, the satan would be bound and sealed in the abyss so it could no longer deceive them and incite them.  And through all the years decreed, the peoples and tribes and tongues - multitudes promised to Abraham - would stream into the New Jerusalem to worship the King of Kings and Savior of the world.

Throughout history, from the creation, God had kept a remnant/seed for Himself; but from its inception this cosmos moved in the direction of its disintegration.  But at the appearance of the Christ it was all made new; and its direction was then toward its complete salvation and renewal!

In the first heaven and the first earth, paradise was lost; but in the new heaven and the new earth, paradise is created.  In the old cosmos only gross darkness covered the earth; but in the new cosmos every location will be in the full light of the Savior of the world.

In the first heaven and earth there were turbulent floods of savage nations and peoples and tongues, and floods of wrath from Almighty God.  But in the new heaven and the new earth there would be a river of life flowing into the sea of humanity.  And the sea would be healed.  And through all the years there would be increasing peace and prosperity until the earth would be filled with the knowledge of God as the water covers the sea.

In the first heaven and the first earth, God inhabited the holy of holies, in the temple, on the temple mount, in Jerusalem, in the land.  And a priestly representative went in once a year.  But in the new heaven and the new earth, our High Priest Jesus Christ dwells with us; and we are in Him.  He now tabernacles with us!

And it's becoming easier to see from God's perspective, isn't it? It's maybe not "easy" yet... but it's becoming easier!  Rather than viewing all things with our senses and from our perspective (that is, from us toward Him), we have to learn to perceive His will and purpose from His perspective (that is, from Him toward us).

And His revelation to John is that the first cosmos (the first heaven and the first earth) is made to collapse and disappear at the appearance of His King, Jesus Christ - the Strong Right Arm of God; and then John is shown the new heaven and the new earth; and he sees the new Jerusalem coming down out of the heaven from God!  And He would tabernacle with us.  The first is decreated; and the new is created.  And it all would occur at the imminent appearance of the One Who has been given all authority in the heaven and on the earth!

That's what John writes to the Churches.  That's what is about to be, he wrote to them.  Don't be confounded; don't fear; be comforted and assured, he wrote to them; be confident; anticipate it!  Hold His testimony; keep His Commandments!  The time is near!

The Church of Jesus Christ is the public representative of the new heaven and the new earth and the new Jerusalem; so, before His appearance, Jesus sends messages to the Churches by John: cast out the judaists and the jezebels and the lying prophets and the fornicators; they have no place in the Lord's Church!  The Day of the Lord is near!  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is about to appear in the glory cloud with the Sword in His mouth; and all things will be made new!  And He will tabernacle with us!

The prophets of old had spoken and written these things long ago; and all of our Lord's apostles knew these things were about to be.  Not only did they know what the prophets had said, but they had been taught by our Lord Himself.

In their letters to the Churches (all of them in advance of His appearance) they urged the Lord's people to love one another, for they were brothers resurrected from death unto life in Jesus Christ... each of them written in the Lamb's book of life from the beginning.  Each of them known and loved from the foundation; each of them re-birthed into His body by the same Spirit; and, having been re-born into His humanity, they were to grow up together into full-grown members with gifts to perfect the body; and they would be manifest to the world!  The Church is the public view of "God With Us"!

The Lord God of heaven and earth would tabernacle with us, and all things would be made new.  And His appearance is imminent, John said!

And throughout all the years all flesh would acknowledge Him.  Multitudes from the nations and tribes and tongues would be re-born into Him.  There was about to be a new creation brought to be at the appearance of Jesus Christ.  And the Churches were to be a visible, public manifestation of the new heaven and the new earth and the new Jerusalem; and that's the context in which the Gospels and the apostolic letters were written... every one of them!  And without that context, the letters are misread!  They can't be properly understood without it.  At our Lord's imminent appearance there would come to be a new heaven and a new earth, and there would come a new Jerusalem; and our God and Savior Jesus Christ would tabernacle with us!

What does a Church do, and what does it preach, and how do its people live; and (as messengers of the Gospel) what do they proclaim... if they believe that these things are still yet to come?  In their re-interpretation of all of this, they're still living in the time of the apostles when Jesus had not yet appeared in the cloud of glory to assume His authority!  They're still living in the time of the old heaven and earth, as if Israel and the city of Jerusalem remained the location of our Lord's future Kingdom.  They're still living in a time before the satan was bound and sealed so that it could no longer deceive the nations.  They're still living in a time when the Lord's people were only a remnant of pilgrims wandering in a desert wasteland, waiting for the great conflagration yet to come!

So, what is it that they're preaching!!

And then there is that part of the Church that somehow thinks that all of this that John writes is happening "in heaven", where Jesus is!  What is it with that??  It's very clear what John sees and writes here, isn't it?  Our God is with us.  It's a present reality that He tabernacles with us in this new heaven and new earth, in this new Jerusalem!

What would happen if all the Churches once again started preaching what John saw that was imminent in the first century?!!!  We would have another - and much greater - reformation, that's what!  One that would be world-wide!

However, we're assured that that will happen.  It will happen through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The entire corpus of Scripture points to the salvation of the world in Christ Jesus our Lord.  It's this creation - this cosmos, this earth - that is the focus of attention for the Savior of the world......all for the glory of The Father.

And John sees His Parousia coming to pass "shortly".  Jesus said "in this generation.... Some of you standing here today will see Me appear in the cloud of glory" to assume all authority in the heaven and on the earth.  John the baptizer knew Him when he saw Him; for all of Scripture pointed to Him and prophesied Him.

Throughout history, from the creation, there was a remnant - a remnant/seed kept for Himself.  And at His advent He was born King of Kings and Savior of the world.  At His crucifixion and resurrection the Redeemer bought and paid for all who were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (beginning with the lost sheep of the tribes of Jacob).  And at Pentecost mankind - humanity - was rebirthed into Him.  And at His Parousia a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem were created in which God would dwell with His people.  And, for all the years decreed, the earth would prosper for the multitudes of His people from all the nations.

And He would complete its perfection at judgment day when all His enemies (the satan and sin and death and hades) would be cast into the lake of fire along with all who were not written in the Lamb's book of life!

And it was all prophesied.  It's all one continuous Revelation of God's will and purpose.

As I said, all the Scripture points to these things, since the world's salvation was the covenantal intent of God before the creation even came to be.

And our practice here is to read as many of the most clear of the passages of Scripture as we can.  As usual, because of our limited time, it will turn out to be just a few.  But at the manifestation of God's King, the appearance of the new heaven and the new earth and the new Jerusalem are clearly prophesied in the texts of the prophets and the apostles.  And the letters and documents of the New Testament were written with a view to these things that were "about to be".

First, let's spend a minute or two with Paul's letter to the Church at Colossae.  Here are a few verses from Colossians chapter one:

 

9)       For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray and make request for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

10)  to walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11)  strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and longsuffering... with joy;

12)  giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet (i.e. appropriate) to be partakers of the inheritance of the holy ones in light;

13)  who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love;

14)  in Whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins;

15)  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;

16)  for in Him were all things created, in the heaven and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him;

17)  and He IS before all things, and in Him all things consist.

18)  And He is the head of the body, the church; Who is the beginning, the firstborn from death; that in all things He might have the preeminence.

19)  For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell;

20)  and by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through him, I say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.

 

What John is shown here in our chapter twenty-one is that which the apostle Paul already knew and wrote to the Church in Colossae.  At the coming appearance of The Christ, earth's uninhabitable darkness and turbulence would be done away with.  What is revealed in this letter is the eschatological outcome of a comprehensive, cosmic reconciliation in Christ Jesus the Lord.  He has made peace with God through His blood on the cross; and He will reconcile all things to Himself, whether in heaven or on the earth.

John's view of these things is the understanding of Paul as he wrote his letter.  The Church wasn't simply to look forward to these things at a distant, future judgment day and resurrection.  But the Lord's people at Colossae were to anticipate the Lord's appearance... at which time He would reconcile all things to Himself, creating a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  And it would be a present and current reality.

And remember what the apostle wrote in the eighth chapter of Romans, where he said that the cosmos itself craved its reconciliation and renewal in Christ Jesus.

That's what John sees here in chapter twenty-one!

Now let's read from the prophecy of Isaiah at chapter sixty-five.  Seven hundred years before the advent of The Christ, God told Isaiah to write these words:

 

17)  For, behold, I will create a new heaven and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered nor come into mind.

18)  But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I will create; for, behold, I will create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

19)  And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the sound of weeping and the sound of crying.

20)  There shall be no more afterward an infant of days, nor an old man that will not fill his days; for the child will die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.

21)  And they will build houses, and inhabit them; and they will plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22)  They will not build, and another inhabit; they will not plant, and another eat.  And as the days of a tree will be the days of my people, and my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.

23)  They will not labor in vain, nor bring forth for calamity; for they are the seed of the blessed of YAHVEH, and their offspring with them.

24)  And it will come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

25)  The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and the serpents' food will be dust; they won't hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says YAHVEH.

 

Isaiah wrote God's words concerning the new creation... a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem, at the appearance of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world!  And it's exactly what John is shown here in our text.

It can't be "spiritualized", as with those who say that our Lord's Kingdom is "in heaven".  And it can't be a prophecy of the world after judgment day when the devil and death and hades are cast into the lake of fire.

In Isaiah's new heaven and new earth there is still death ... although at very advanced ages.  People are marrying and having children and building and planting and working.  And there would be justice and peace and great prosperity.

And the sounds of weeping in the old Jerusalem won't be heard in the new; for the Lord's people won't be victims of ravenous animals of prey as they were in the old Jerusalem.

The Word of God through Isaiah clearly prophesies the coming Kingdom of Christ at His advent and Parousia, which is exactly what John is shown in our text.  It's what the Churches were to anticipate.  It was a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem in which the Gospel of Jesus Christ would permeate the nations and peoples and tongues and tribes of the earth, reconciling all to Himself, and increasingly restoring the earth to Paradise.

Both Isaiah and John are shown the new heaven and the new earth and the new Jerusalem during all the years in which the Savior of the world tabernacles with His people and recreates all things for the glory of The Father.

Now I want to take you to 2 Peter chapter three.  Listen carefully to what the apostle writes to the Churches... in advance of the Parousia of the Christ:

 

1)      This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write unto you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance;

2)      that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles:

3)      knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts,

4)      and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his Parousia? because, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things just continue as they were from the beginning of the creation!'

5)      For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth of water and by water, standing by the word of God;

6)      by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished;

7)      but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8)      But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9)      The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10)  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11)  Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy living and godliness,

12)  looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13)  But, according to his promise, we look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.

14)  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you anticipate these things, give diligence that you may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight.

 

Peter wasn't writing to the Churches about something that would happen centuries and millennia in the future!  He was writing about that which was imminent... that which they were to look for... anticipate.  It was near!

Our Lord and His apostles had warned the Churches of accelerating apostasy in the last days which, as we've seen so many times, was the forty year period between our Lord's ascension and His Parousia/appearance in the cloud of glory.

Peter says in this passage that these mockers would be judaists... covenant apostates.  And the "Day of the Lord" would come upon this evil and perverse generation, the destruction of ungodly men prophesied in the Scripture.

Just as God destroyed the world of Noah by flood, so He would destroy the heaven and earth of first century Israel and the city of Jerusalem, in fire in a flood of His wrath.

And Peter describes it as the destruction of the present heaven and earth (the present one at the time of his writing), and the appearance of a new heaven and a new earth in which dwells righteousness.

All of the elements of the first heaven and earth would be dissolved in the heat of His fury; and the approaching conflagration is that which Peter cites to the Churches as the motive to diligence in Godly living!

At our Lord's appearance the first heaven and earth would disappear; and a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem would descend from God.  John sees what is about to be!

He sees the dominion of Jesus Christ over all the kingdoms and nations and tribes and tongues as He tabernacles with us.  And it is a current first century reality for the Churches!

Listen to the prophecy of Isaiah at chapter forty:

 

3)      The voice of one that cries out, "prepare the Way of YAHVEH in the wilderness; make level a highway for our God in the wilderness.

4)      Every valley shall be raised up; every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain.

5)      And the glory of YAHVEH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of YAHVEH has spoken it.

 

It is God With Us; it is our Lord tabernacling with His people and taking dominion of His creation.

 

Listen to Isaiah sixty-six at verse twenty-two:

 

22)  For as the new heaven and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says YAHVEH, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23)  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says YAHVEH.

 

The new heaven and the new earth promised imminently to the Churches of the first century comprises all the years of our Lord's dominion, during which all flesh will bow down before Him.

Multitudes promised to Abraham from all the peoples and tribes and tongues of the world will be rebirthed into Him; the whole earth will increasingly rejoice in peace and prosperity; the earth's treasures will be brought to Him by the kings of the nations.

The paradise mandate will be consummated by the reconciliation of all things IN HIM.  And all His enemies will be put under His feet as the satan and death and hades are cast into the lake of fire.

This was imminent for the Churches of the first century.  It is a current and present reality for us!  We live in the new heaven and the new earth; and there is a new city of God which is "God With Us" - Immanuel!

This is the Revelation of what He has done, what He is about to do, and what He is now doing; and what He will do.  And it's how our minds must work; and it's how we must live.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And, oh, if the Churches were preaching these things!

The seed of the old serpent are still flailing around out there against the Christ; but He just laughs!  Their "boss" is bound and sealed in the abyss until He finishes. They're all just "little caesars"... terminally depraved mini-antichrists.  They're anarchists!  They only have power given to them temporarily.  They will be diminished and disappear, only to be dumped later into the lake of fire with the old dragon.

 But our Lord is Alpha and Omega; He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and He will complete the redemption of the world.  He will reconcile all things to Himself.

This world will be in the full light of His Presence; and it will reflect the glory of its Creator.

So stay strong; hold the testimony of Jesus.  Keep His commandments.  Live life In Him.  Anticipate the fullness of His work, and rejoice in it.  You have life; and you have it abundantly!  And you have the promise that He will hold on to you in life, in death, and in resurrection.

 

 

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Revelation 21:1-27 Part 3

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

What John is shown, and what he writes to the Churches here at the beginning of chapter twenty-one, is that which is shortly to come.  And it is the same that was shown to the prophets of old; and it is that which Jesus Himself prophesied in His parables and words and deeds; and it forms the context for all of the apostolic documents of the New Testament.

And it is the same language all through the Scripture.  It is God’s revealed will and purpose prophesied from the beginning.  And as we’re finding out more and more as we go, it would be really hard to understand what God revealed to the prophets of old without hearing what He revealed to the last prophet… the apostle John!  And the opposite is true as well!  It really is the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

John is told that the time is near.  At the Parousia/appearance of The Christ, when every last one of the elect from the tribes of Jacob had been found and marked and sealed and rescued from the wrath to come, the harlot of the nations would be executed.

That nation that God had set apart for Himself, and that great city whose tabernacle God had occupied, would cease to exist.  That separate cosmic paradise that He had called “heaven and earth” would be decreated.  It would disappear, and… no longer be.

And since it would no longer exist, neither would there be a turbulent sea of pagan Gentiles surrounding it.  And no longer would there be a serpent/leviathian deceiving the nations and inciting them; for the satan would be bound and sealed in the abyss!

And John saw a new heaven and a new earth descending from the heaven.  The old is completely replaced by the new.  The old is gone.  John doesn’t see it anymore, for it has disappeared.  What John then sees is that which is “new”.

And it’s now easier to see from God’s perspective, isn’t it?  The “old” cosmos collapses and disappears at the appearance of the Christ; and then John is shown the “new” one!  The first one is decreated; and the new one is created.  And it all would occur at the appearance of the One Who has all authority in the heaven and on the earth!

That’s what John writes to the Churches.  That’s what is about to be.  Don’t be confounded; don’t fear; be comforted and assured, he wrote to them; be confident; anticipate it!  Hold His testimony; keep His Commandments!

Cast out the judaists and the Jezebels and the lying prophets;

the Day of the Lord is near!  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is about to appear in the glory cloud with the Sword in His mouth; and all things will be made new!

And all of our Lord’s apostles knew these things were about to be.  In all of their letters to the Churches they urged the Lord’s people to love one another, for they were each written in the Lamb’s book of life from the beginning.  Each of them were known and loved from the foundation; each of them were re-birthed into His body by the same Spirit; and, having been born into His humanity, they were to grow up together into full-grown members with gifts to perfect the body, and they would be manifest to the world!  The Lord God of heaven and earth would tabernacle with us, and throughout all the years all the nations would acknowledge Him.

There was about to be a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem brought to be at the appearance of Jesus Christ; and that’s the context in which the apostolic letters were written!  And without that context, the letters are misread!

 

Okay… now, there are two completely different Greek words that are translated “new” in English.  Our word “new” doesn’t differentiate between them.  One of them has to do with chronological newness, as in newness of a completely different kind.  And when that Greek word is used, there would be newness that has no basis in, and no continuity with, that which was old.

The second Greek word has to do with newness of the same kind – but of superior quality!

And the word that John writes, translated “new” here in the first verses of our text, is the second of the two.  The new heaven and the new earth is of superior quality to that of the first heaven and earth (which John sees is about to disappear).  And the new Jerusalem is of superior quality to the old one (which John sees is about to disappear).  It does not mean new as in new of a different kind.  There is a basis in, and a continuity with, that which is old.

And while I’m here I’ll just mention another context in which this word appears (because it’s so vital to our understanding of this text).

There are many Churches (even some reformed Churches and denominations that have taken the time to deliberate about the nature of God’s covenant) that have arrived at a two-covenant theology.

As we’ve seen, the “new covenant” is prominent language in the New Testament.  And the “two-covenant” theology says that the covenant made with The Christ is different from the covenant made with Adam.  The “old covenant” is for the “old testament”; and the “new covenant” is for the “new testament”.  The “old covenant” is a covenant of law; but the “new covenant” is a covenant of grace.

These are all errors that lead God’s people astray!  And they come from pre-conceived theological formulas that are imposed upon God’s Word.

The word that New Testament writers use (and is translated by our English word “new”) is the same word that’s used here in the first verse of our text.  It’s a completely different word from the other one.

It’s not the Greek word that means a chronological newness of a different kind, but a newness of the same kind but of superior quality!

The new covenant that’s revealed in the newer Scripture is the same covenant revealed in the older Scripture, but it’s of superior quality in Christ Jesus!  It’s better.  It isn’t an all-new covenant of a different kind! 

Since the advent and Parousia of the Christ, the covenant is made better!  It’s “newness” is based in the appearance of the Christ of God in the fullness of the time!  The Revelation of the covenant in the older Scripture was prophetic of the new… not a covenant of a different kind!!  The covenant that was made with God’s creation is “one”.  And it is perfected at the manifestation of the Christ of God at His advent and Parousia!

And the same is true of the word that John wrote here in our first verse.

The new heaven and earth revealed to John is of vastly superior quality when compared to the decreated heaven and earth (which John sees is about to disappear).  That one was prophetic of the new!  The new heaven and earth isn’t of a different kind; it’s better!  It’s prophesied by the old.  And its newness has its basis in the old; and it rests in the appearance of the Christ!

Just consider these things for a few moments:

The mountain of God in the land (prophetic of the dominion of Jesus Christ over all the mountains of the earth) was to be revered by all the kings and nations of the earth.  It was a mountain that resembled the firmament above the tabernacle in the heaven.  But it was a mountain that could be shaken, and moved, and even cast into the sea; whereas the great mountain of the dominion of Jesus Christ over all the earth could never be shaken.  It’s the new mountain – prophesied in the older one; but it’s better.

The natural springs of fresh water that flowed into the valleys of Israel from under the dome of the rock in Jerusalem were the source of abundance and prosperity in the land.  But those fountains and springs would be turned into rancid blood.

Not so the River of Life that flows from under the mountain of dominion of The Christ!  The mountain at Jerusalem, and the springs of water flowing from below it, were prophetic of that which was to come.  And the waters of the one to come would flow into the sea of humanity and heal wherever they went.  And the whole earth would flourish with abundance!  This new fountain of life was better!

The wall around the mountain and the city of Jerusalem was thick and tall and massive… its construction of such magnitude that would defy the imagination.  Yet it could be sieged; it could be shaken; it could be breached and abominations enter!

However, it was prophetic of that which was to come… an impregnable wall of such perfections that nothing abominable could ever enter.  It is better!

The land of milk and honey, a paradise on earth perceived by God as its own cosmic entity with its own lights (sun, moon and stars).  However, its stars could be made to fall from the sky; its moon turned to blood; the light of its sun turned off.

But that cosmos was prophetic of that which was to come… a new heaven and earth which needs no sun, moon and stars; for its light is better!  Its light would be the Dayspring from on high, the Lamb of God Whose light would brighten the gross darkness of every location on this earth!  It would be a paradise “better” than the former one.

The city of God, in God’s paradise on earth, had a temple on the dome of the rock.  Its holy of holies was the place God would inhabit and dwell with His people.  And it shone glorious with the gold of Egypt and of Seba and of Sheba as an earthly, man-made image of the tabernacle of God in the heaven.  The vestments of its priests bore the gemstones of the world as those priests performed the duties that prophesied the coming of the Anointed One of God in the fullness of the time.

However, that temple was occupied with lying prophets and every abominable thing.  And all of its gold and all of its implements and all of its gemstones were confiscated and taken to a foreign, pagan land, and the temple on the mount was destroyed.

It was prophetic of that which was to come.  And what was to come was “God with us” in His new paradise of unimaginable beauty and glory… no temple; for there was no need for any more sacrifice.  The new would be “better” than that which prophesied it.

So… the two covenant theology that has come about (even in some reformed Churches), is antithetical to all that’s recorded in the newer Scripture.  There are not two covenants – one for the period before Christ, and another one (a different one) for the time after Christ.

There is one covenant of God – Father, Son and Spirit.  All that came before the Christ was prophetic of His appearance and work.  And at His appearance all would be made “new”… a newness which had its basis in all that came before, and which rests on His appearance, which was all prophesied!  And all that prophesied His appearance is made “better”.  It isn’t a newness of a different kind; it’s newness of the same kind – the prophetic Word in all its fullness and perfections.

The Churches received this letter just before it was to occur.  It was a current realty to them… all to happen “shortly”.  And they were to delight in it, prepare for it, anticipate it!  They were the beloved of God, found by the Christ and marked and sealed and rescued in advance of the wrath to come when all that they had ever known would cease to exist!

And although we didn’t know the former heaven and earth and the former Jerusalem, the new is, nonetheless, a present reality for us!  We live in Him.  He tabernacles with us.  It is now a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem.  It came to be at His Parousia/appearance.  And He will have dominion.  Through all the years decreed, the River of Life will flow unto the farthest reaches; and all the earth will blossom with justice and peace and prosperity!

And at the end of all the years decreed, the light of the Christ will have penetrated the darkest and most obscure places on the earth.  And all the earth will be in the full Light of His glory.

And throughout all the years, those written in the Lamb’s book of life will be resurrected from death unto life in Christ; and He will tabernacle with them.  And no one whose name is absent from the book will ever enter.  The waters of life will increasingly heal the sea of humanity until the knowledge of God covers the earth as the water covers the sea.  And the multitudes of the seed of Abraham will inhabit all the nations.

And at the end of all the years decreed, our Lord will judge all the dead in Adam (the seed of the serpent) and cast them all into the lake of fire, along with the satan, and death and hades.

This is the new heaven and the new earth and the new city that John sees at the coming appearance of Jesus Christ.  At His Parousia the new heaven and the new earth would be created.  And John was shown it coming down out of the heaven from God (verse one).

As the old one was about to pass away, the new would be descending.  As the old was imperfect, the new would be perfect – and better.  And it wasn’t to be all new of a different kind.  The old was prophetic of the new and better heaven and earth – the new, and better, Jerusalem that had been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband!

“Having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband”!  And what an “adornment” it would be!  And John describes all of that with which she would be adorned as he sees her descending from the heaven.

Let’s consider the perfect continuity of God’s Word and covenant for a few minutes!

As Moses wrote, YAHVEH saw her in the desert and loved her; and He betrothed her to Himself (He “covenanted” with her).  Moses’ language is very clear there.  And so was the language of the prophets who referred back to all of the events in the Sinai.  There was a betrothal.

But at His arrival for the wedding festivities, there was no joy and excitement at all; and there were no feasts and festivities.  His betrothed was a harlot; and she hated Him.

Jesus’ parable of the Son’s arrival had to do with the preparations for that foreordained time in history in which Messiah the King was to arrive!  It had to do with Kingdom preparations!  It is not a marriage parable; it is not a parable about the coming of the “Bridegroom”. 

The word “bridegroom”, in God’s mind, is metaphorically relevant because YAHVEH covenantally betrothed Israel to Himself at Sinai; and He relates His covenant as to a virgin that anxiously awaits the consummation of her betrothal when her beloved was to come and take her to himself.  All of the festivities during the time of betrothal were to be entered into with great joy and excitement among all involved!

During the betrothal, the prophet/servants of God were sent to Israel to require her joyous preparations… to announce the coming Messiah!  But Israel would not repent of her harlotry during her betrothal; and there were no festivities in anticipation of the great prophesied event – His arrival!

The prophets of God that were sent to her all through her history were ignored and abused and murdered!  And when the King’s Son did arrive for the wedding feast and the consummation, she hated Him!

And Jesus, having arrived for the festivities, and finding that no preparations had been made, and seeing that there was no excitement and anticipation of His arrival, then sent His disciples out into all the towns and villages of Israel to find wedding-feast-participants, the lost sheep/remnant of the house of Jacob.  And as they were found, the awful effects of the hypocritical, demonic leadership of Israel were reversed by His mighty Power.  And the remnant of Israel believed Him; and they turned in sorrow and followed Him.

 

These are some of the preparatory events leading up to the great saving work of Christ on the cross and in His resurrection.  And the parable which He spoke to the elders and priests of Israel had to do with those preparations – events for which the elders were full of hatred and revulsion!  For they did ignore and abuse and murder the prophets; and they did loathe the fact that huge numbers of people had been gathered around Jesus; and they did hate the low-class dregs of society who sorrowed and turned to follow Him (they were the demon-possessed and the sick and the lame and the blind and the destitute.  And there were prostitutes and tax collectors); and the priests and pharisees did abhor the healings that Jesus performed that had so endeared him to the hearts of these “low-lifes”.  And they were so incensed and irritated when, upon questioning him, Jesus turned the Scriptures back on them and humiliated them!

Remember, the parable had to do with the preparations and the guests for the festivities, and the absence of great excitement over the arrival of Messiah!

As we have all heard previously, young people in Israel were not left to themselves to enter into matrimonial arrangements.  An engagement, or betrothal, was taken very seriously; and the finding of suitable parties to a marriage was a family undertaking.  And trusted friends of the family got involved.

But once an engagement was entered into, all of the obligations of marriage came with it except consummation.  They were bound to one another by oath (by covenant), and faithlessness was treated as adultery.

On the day of formal betrothal, oaths were exchanged as in a ceremony, and gifts were given to the bride-to-be and her friends and family; and there were lengthy festive celebrations!  And then the bride-to-be would return to her father’s house and live under his authority until the day of the marriage, which had been set appropriately in the future.  In the meantime all transactions between the two betrothed people were carried on by the bridegroom’s friend (the groomsman).  And there was great excitement and preparations for the coming wedding feast and consummation of the betrothal!

When the day of the marriage arrived, the groom would put on a special wedding garment and proceed with his friend and many other attendants to the house of the bride, who had prepared herself appropriately – ornamentally “adorned” (according to Jeremiah chapter two).

Then that evening, the groom and his entourage and the bride and her entourage would all proceed to the groom’s house accompanied with lights and lanterns and music and dancing.  This is what began the marriage festivities, for during the next days there was to be singing and dancing and games and other festive activities – and great feasting!  Large numbers of relatives and friends and neighbors would be invited by the host – usually the groom’s father – and everybody would indulge themselves in food and drink and joyful merrymaking… all planned well in advance with great anticipation!

And note that the marriage ceremony was composed of the groom going to get his bride and bringing her home.  That’s it!  All the oaths and gifts and formalities were done at the betrothal!  The marriage was the groom taking his bride home to himself at the appointed time.  And all the lengthy festivities seemed to celebrate that.  The consummation – the marriage – the one-flesh union when two become one flesh!  That’s what the festivities and feasting were all about.  It’s all the image of our rebirth as we become one in Christ.

The Kingdom (God’s rule over all things and events) had progressed in history to the foreordained and prophesied work of Messiah – the Son of God.  The betrothal having already occurred (at Sinai) – the oaths and ceremonies having already taken place – that time that God had ordained to be the time of Messiah had arrived.  All the preparations were supposed to have been made, and it was time now for the expectant attendees to arrive!  It was time for the festivities and feasting to begin!

All the preparations had been done – all the Kingdom preparations for the arrival of Messiah had been done!  That’s what’s likened to wedding festivities, you see!  God had sent prophet after prophet after prophet to Israel to call her to prepare for the great festivities associated with the arrival of the King!

The prophets’ words are “likened” to a wedding invitation to Israel to prepare for the festivities of a wedding!  There would be great joy and dancing and eating and drinking and great elation at the arrival of God’s King… “likening” it to wedding festivities!

All Israel was to have observed all the Kingdom preparations with great anticipation; and it was to have prepared for great revelry – dancing in the streets and food and drink and joy and consummation – as God’s King was presented to them (likened to a wedding).  Israel was to adorn herself as a bride!!

The prophets were sent to them with words directly from God to make preparations for His Son!

But nobody came.

What was the case then, rather than being likened to a wedding consummation, it was actually the consummation of apostasy and harlotry.

For 1500 years the judaists didn’t heed God’s preparations for the coming of His Messiah/King.  They didn’t anticipate Him.  The “bethrothed” was a harlot, you see.  And they killed God’s prophets when they brought Word from Him about the necessity for their sorrow and repentance.  And they hated Him.  As Psalm two says, they wished to break all the bonds connecting them to God and His King – Jesus Christ.

The result, of course, was the death penalty for adultery.  God had “betrothed” Israel to Himself, but Israel would not adorn herself as a virgin bride in anticipation of His arrival; but she proceeded to disconnect herself from the betrothal.  And she was divorced and sentenced to death – the death penalty to be carried out in 70 AD.

But the King had come.

The historical moment had arrived – the fullness of the time - when the greatest event of history was taking place – Messiah would assume His Kingdom!

In that parable, the King sent out servant/prophets to call the “called ones” to the event.  For centuries God had sent His prophets to call Israel and its leadership to repentance and to joyfully anticipate the coming of Messiah.  But again and again the prophets had been ignored and mistreated and murdered.  So the king sent out troops and destroyed the murderers and burned their city (as prophesied in Isaiah chapter one).  So the reality of the Kingdom that is included within the historical moment in Jesus’ parable extended all the way to 70AD and the burning of the city.

And remember, Jesus was speaking to the elders and priests of Israel in that parable – just days before His crucifixion.  And that He had with Him a large crowd of the “dregs of society” (as the Jerusalem leaders called them) – the remnant kept by God (also prophesied in Isaiah chapter one) – the ones who had been left with only the tears of hopelessness by the jackals who preyed on them… the blind, deaf, sick, demon-possessed, destitute, broken; and the prostitutes and tax collectors!  Jesus and His disciples had gone all over Israel for two years to find them and let them know that Messiah was here and the Kingdom was at hand.

And for the next forty years the apostles and disciples of Jesus hunted for the rest of them.  And when they were called, they came joyfully and expectantly to the wedding festivities.  And they were all “adorned” with wedding garments.

And here, of course, is the prophesied elect remnant of the tribes of Jacob, the hundred and forty four thousand that God had kept for Himself.  She is the “Daughter of Zion”, birthed from the harlot and bought and paid for by the Lamb of God and rebirthed into Him.  They were made “newborns” in Christ.

And John has already seen them.  He was shown them with the risen and ascended Christ in the heaven.

And it’s unimaginable that one could miss the connection with verse two of our text in which the apostle is shown the new holy city Jerusalem coming down out of the heaven from God, having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

John had been shown the harlot previously… remember?  It was chapter seventeen.  She had adorned herself with scarlet and purple and gold and gems and pearls; and she was sitting on the scarlet beast.  And in her hand was a golden cup filled with all the impurities of her fornication.

And rather than having the “mark” and “seal” of the Christ, on her forehead was written “Babylon, the mother of whores and the earth’s abominations”.

The betrothed of God was the mother of whores.  The betrothed of God caused all the nations of the earth to drink of the wine of her fornications.

And it was all prophesied, wasn’t it?

What John saw next, at the coming parousia of the Christ, was the execution of the harlot, and the consumption of her body by vultures.  And the burning of the holy city – Jerusalem.

The decreation of God’s heaven and earth.  The old Jerusalem passing from existence.

But the daughter had been born!!  The Daughter of Zion had been born; and she was marked with the mark of The Christ and birthed out of Zion into the nations.  And she was adorned with the wedding garment!

And John sees her in the heaven with the Christ.

And then he sees the new heaven and the new earth, and the new Jerusalem descending from God in the heaven, having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

This is God’s will and purpose from the beginning; and it is His perception of it all.  And it was an immediate reality for the Churches of the first century.

For them, having received John’s letter, it was “imminent”.

For us who are re-birthed into Him, there is, now, a new heaven and a new earth.  We live in our Lord’s “New Jerusalem”; for He tabernacles with us!  And it is a perfect tabernacle… not like the old one made with hands.

And it makes all the difference in the world in how we live, doesn’t it?... to be provided, here in John’s Revelation, with God’s will and purpose for us and for His creation.  And the rest of the world needs to get used to it, for all of this belongs to Him; and He sees it as “accomplished”!  The old heaven and earth is “gone”; there is, right now, a new heaven and a new earth brought to be by the Savior of the World – God with us.

And the old Jerusalem is “gone”; there is, right now, a new Jerusalem of such glorious perfections that it can only be the Presence of God the Son – the Lamb of God and those written in His book of life.

That’s all for now.  We have much more to do here… especially from the prophets of old and from Jesus’ apostles.  We’ll continue next time.

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Revelation 21:1-27 Part 2

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27)  By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

Our Lord had shown the apostle John many things throughout the Revelation… all written to the Churches just a few years before the Parousia of the Christ in 70AD.

The final seven shown to him are recorded here in the concluding chapters; and they are regarding all of the work of the risen and ascended Christ, beginning at His Parousia.

The authority of this letter to the Churches, when read properly from beginning to end, is unquestionable.  And when we say “read properly”, we mean read from God’s perspective.  After all, it isn’t the revelation of the apostle!  It’s the Revelation of Jesus Christ!

Its perfections rest in its continuity with the entirety of the prophesied Word of God; and it is just as important to the confidence and comfort and assurance of present-day Churches as it was to those original Churches of the first century.

We’re just nineteen hundred and forty-four years into the salvation of the world by God’s Strong Right Arm – the Warrior/King shown to John at His Parousia… the double edged Sword proceeding from His mouth.  And John is shown these last seven things, all shortly to come, but beginning at that point.

During the last seven months we’ve gone “in-depth” into six of the final seven visions shown to the apostle.  And we’ve now entered chapter twenty-one, which is a view of the “whole” of the work of The Christ.  And it needs to be said over and over again that it is all prophesied throughout the Scripture.  And it’s all to be viewed from the perspective of the ONE Who purposed it from the beginning.

Let’s see first this morning that the work of the risen and ascended Jesus Christ the Savior of the World is complete at the sixth “then I saw”… (end of chapter twenty).  These last seven visions shown to John began at the eleventh verse of chapter nineteen.

And in the last verses of chapter twenty, John is shown that the satan, death and hades, along with all who are not written in the book of life, will be cast into the lake of fire, leaving paradise on earth created in Christ Jesus the Lord.

The “Originator” of this creation (the Alpha and the Omega) will have completed His work of re-creation.  He will have cleansed it of sin and death in order that it all glorifies The Father.

As in the heaven, so also on the earth (the Lord’s prayer).  It will be done.  By the work of the Savior of the world, the cosmos will again image God’s tabernacle in the heaven and reflect the glory of Almighty God.

Just as the satan was cast down from the glory cloud/tabernacle, so the creature and all its “seed” would be cast from the earth into the lake of fire; and they will be no more.  And there will be “paradise” on earth – which is the very “center” of God’s created cosmos.  And He will dwell among us – with us.

That’s the sixth vision shown to John just a few years prior to our Lord’s Parousia.  So he is shown the “end” from the “beginning”, the Alpha and the Omega, the “completion” from the “origin”.

And now John is shown another vision… the seventh of seven.  And it is God’s perception of the whole.  He purposed it and willed it to be.  And it is all in His language as previously prophesied.  It is the language that He put into the mouths of the prophets of old; and it was shown to John in that same language.

It is the whole of the work of the Christ, the Son of God/Son of Man, the Word of God made flesh.  He is the great Warrior/King Who was promised by God as recorded by the Psalmist: “I have set My King upon My holy mountain”.

It is the work of the eternally begotten One – the One Anointed – the Strong Right Arm of God Who would, from the beginning, re-create heaven and earth for the Father’s glory.  He is Alpha and Omega – the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  He is the Origin; and He is the Consummation.

John has been shown all of the work of Jesus the Christ.  It is the view from the heaven of complete cosmic reconciliation, regeneration and resurrection.  He is the Originator – from the beginning – of all that John is shown here.

The seventh “then I saw…” therefore, is not to be understood sequentially … as the next thing to be anticipated.  It is not to be perceived to come “after” judgment day and the completion of the Christ’s work.  It is not wholly future!

All of that which is revealed here in the seventh, regarding the eternality of paradise on earth, is definitively and progressively true right now; and it has been since the advent of the Christ and His 70AD Parousia!  God has always perceived the “origin” and the “consummation” as one.  He sees the end from the beginning, for He has purposed it!  The Word of God made flesh IS the beginning and the end – the Alpha and the Omega. That’s God’s purpose; and the Word of God brings His purpose to pass!  It’s God’s perspective here in chapter twenty one.

John is shown all of these things as a complete “seven”.  It is the whole (as the apostle John is told to prophesy one last time).

The enjoyment of our eternal inheritance in Christ will be a “perfection” – a completion – of all that’s true right now concerning our Lord’s Kingdom and His work.  The tabernacle of God IS with man, you see!  He has already occupied His new tabernacle – His “holy” tabernacle.  At Pentecost… with incredible sound, and with fire, He occupied His perfect tabernacle; and He is “with” us!

So, we aren’t simply to look forward to the blessings revealed here to John.  They aren’t just for an eternity to come, but they are all to be enjoyed now; we are to rejoice in it all now.  And we are to extend them to others now (as messengers).  The Warrior/King is at work!

John was shown present realities (not just realities to be gained far in the future)!  The original Churches of the first century were to see these present realities and be comforted and assured.  And all the Churches since are to have that confidence! 

Our Lord ascended into the glory cloud to be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords and receive His inheritance.  And we IN HIM.  It is a present reality, you see.

Just as God views the seventy years between the advent of The Christ and His Parousia as the one great event of the salvation of the world in the fullness of the time, so He sees and reveals the completion of Jesus’ work in the same way!  For He is the Origin and the Completion.

And that’s God’s perception as revealed to John here in our chapter twenty one.  It has to be our perception!  What John sees was present then; and it is present now.  And it will continue to its perfection and completion at the end of all the years.

We already live in eternity (those of us who are In Him).  We have been resurrected from death unto life!  There is already a new heaven and a new earth; there is already a new Jerusalem; there is already a tabernacle made without hands; and He is with us (God with us).  And it will all be completed and perfected through all the years.

It’s how God sees it; it’s how He purposed it, and it’s how He revealed it to John.  And it’s how we must see it.

God’s King and Savior of the world was prophesied in various ways – innumerable ways and occasions - all through the Scripture.  There is undeniable continuity and integrity in God’s will and purpose… and in His language.  It’s God’s Word, you see.  And it’s all in His language.

And this morning, as we once again see the continuity and integrity of God’s Word, I’m going to give you several examples… examples of historical occasions from the older Scripture in which the coming Christ of God was prophesied… occasions in which “God with us” is prophesied.

First, He was prophesied in the exodus of the tribes of Jacob from Egypt.

Moses, in chapter fourteen of the book of the Exodus, said to the people: “don’t fear!  Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians who you have seen today, you will never see again.  YAHVEH will fight for you while you keep silent.”

Then, after the baptismal resurrection of Israel and the baptismal inundation of Egypt at the Red Sea, Moses shouted: “Yahveh is a Warrior”!

Egypt and all its wealth and glory were destroyed.  All that was left was what the descendants of Jacob had plundered… apparently many, many gemstones, and silver and gold and linens - much of which was used for the construction of the tabernacle, which God inhabited with great sound and flaming glory.

Not only was that an event of great significance in Israel’s history, but, as we’ll see, it was prophetic of the coming of the Christ and Savior of the world, for the new – and “holy” – tabernacle would be inhabited, in the same way, at Pentecost 30AD.  It was the tabernacle of God – God with us.  And all In Him would reap the spoils; for all else would be inundated in the lake of fire.

And the same is true of the entire history of King David and his son Solomon.  David was God’s warrior king who fought all His battles and destroyed His enemies.  David’s life was prophetic of the Christ; for he put all his enemies to the sword!  Then, his son - Solomon - builds YAHVEH’s temple on the mountain.  And, once again, God inhabits the temple with incredible sound and glorious flaming descent.  God had tabernacled with them.

Again, this was a most significant event in the history of Israel.  But, you see, God’s purpose was that it be prophetic of His Anointed One – The Christ – the Savior of the world Whose body is the new, and holy, tabernacle – God with us!

Among all of the examples that we could cite, none would be more striking than that which occurs in the prophecy of Ezekiel.  As God showed things to the prophet, and speaks to him, and causes him to speak and to write His word, there emerges the prophecy of such clarity of the coming Warrior/Savior of the world… prophecy to which John is referred time and again in the Revelation – especially so here in chapters twenty and twenty-one.

Especially the last twelve chapters of Ezekiel prophesy much of what John is shown here.

In chapter thirty-seven, the prophet is shown a vision of Israel in exile, dead, powerless… as in a valley of dry bones.  There is no life in her.  There is no hope in her.

But God tells Ezekiel to preach to her.  He intercedes for her.  And, in the vision, Holy Spirit raises her up from death unto life, re-creating her, and forming an exceedingly great army.  And a united Israel is restored to the Kingdom – and with the promised King David ruling.  (And please note that Ezekiel’s prophecy came six hundred years after David’s reign.  So the “David” which is prophesied is David’s Son and David’s Lord – Jesus the Christ. )

Then, after the resurrection of Israel and the restoration of the kingdom, Ezekiel is shown the Persian beast (Gog and Magog), with all the nations of the earth surrounding her with the purpose of cutting off the covenant seed.  But God, in flaming descent destroys them all in fire and brimstone.  And all the “spoils” are taken by the resurrected Israel.

The armies of Gog and Magog are then left unburied to be eaten by vultures.  And please note that all of that is seen right here in the last seven things that John is shown.  Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Warrior/King, resurrects His people who sit with Him in His new holy tabernacle; and all the rest are inundated in fire.  And His people receive all the spoils as they inherit the earth.

Then, in chapters forty through forty-eight, Ezekiel is instructed by God to write to the nation in exile.  And what he was told to write is an elaborately detailed description of the new HOLY tabernacle of God and a new and perfect Jerusalem in which God Himself would dwell with His people.  We’ll read some of it in a later sermon; but it’s all exactly what John is shown here in the concluding chapters of The Revelation.

It’s all prophesied, you see.

God’s commandment to Adam was to take dominion of the earth (which he didn’t do).  But in Christ Jesus (the Second Adam) that task will be accomplished.  And its cultural implications are realized as the nations willingly bring their treasures into God’s New Jerusalem, and the River of Life flows out from there to all the world, resurrecting the multitude (as promised to Abraham) and renewing the earth itself.

These, and many more throughout Scripture, are prophetic of the Christ of God – His Strong Right Arm and Warrior King.  The fullness of those prophecies are shown to John here in The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Our Lord had promised His disciples that when He went away He would send Holy Spirit.  Forty days after His crucifixion our risen Lord ascended into the glory cloud/tabernacle of God to receive His inheritance.  And ten days later, at Pentecost (the fiftieth day) God the Spirit inhabited His new (and holy) tabernacle with great sound and flaming descent (as in the former tabernacles).

Pentecost was the inauguration of a “new heaven and a new earth”, the beginning of the “new Jerusalem”.  At Pentecost there was a “resurrection” of the dead in Adam – into the body of The Christ; and that resurrection was the inception and inhabitation of a new and holy tabernacle – God with us!

Forty years later, after Israel (the harlot of the world) suffers all of the plagues prophesied by Jesus and by Moses and by all of the prophets, our Lord appears in the cloud of glory, with the Sword of His mouth; and all remaining in the land are destroyed by the sword and eaten by vultures.

Our Lord would then proceed to bind the satan from deceiving the nations.  And by the Word of His mouth He would proceed to establish His Kingdom – described in the prophetic Word as a great mountain over all the mountains of the earth. 

For all the years decreed from the beginning, all the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth would increasingly come under His dominion until the whole earth would be filled with the knowledge of God as the water covers the sea.

For all the years decreed the Light of Jesus Christ would increasingly destroy the gross darkness that covers all the nations of the earth.  There would be no location in all the earth at which darkness would be allowed to exist.

For all the years decreed for the completion of His work, the River of Life would flow into the sea of depraved humanity, and the sea would be healed – even into the remotest parts of the earth.  And the earth itself would flourish in its redemption.

At the end of all the years decreed, there would be the day of judgment at which time all not written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world would be cast into the lake of fire, along with the dragon of old and death and hades itself.

And all that were resurrected in the body of the Christ during all the years of His work (having been written in the book of life from the beginning), would rejoice in eternal paradise; for God will tabernacle with us.

And during all the years decreed, not one abominable thing would be allowed into the new holy tabernacle; for it is the very body of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world.

You see, down through all the years decreed, all those written, by name, in the Lamb’s Book of Life are rebirthed by the Spirit of Christ into His body, forming the great multitude from the nations, promised subsequently, to Abraham.

Through the blood of Jesus poured out at the cross, and by the spoken Gospel of Jesus Christ, men and women and children who are written in the Book of Life from the beginning are resurrected from death unto life, and provided with faith to believe Him.  And by their faithing – which is given to them as a gift – they are justified in the perfections and holiness of the Christ.  His perfections are put to their account!

They are all raised out of death in Adam to life in Christ the Second Adam.  They become members of His body – the new holy tabernacle of God with man.

Washed in the blood of the Christ, and members of His resurrected body, they form a new humanity in Him… the great multitude from all the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues – as promised to Abraham.

One by one, through all the years decreed, this great multitude is comprised of the ones written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world.  And He will freely give them of the water of life which flows from His new tabernacle to heal the sea of dead humanity.

As you can now see, there is already a new, and holy, tabernacle (not like the ones made with hands); and there is a new, and holy, Jerusalem – the city of God.  And it was all a present reality for the first Churches in the nations.  And they were to rest assured and confident – even in the worst of circumstances.

And it is a present reality for us.  With great sound and flaming descent, our Lord has inhabited His new tabernacle.  And all who are IN HIM will reap the spoils when all His enemies are baptized by inundation in fire and brimstone.

What John is shown in verse one of our text was a present reality for the Churches in the nations.  At the Parousia of Jesus Christ, which was shortly to come, all things would be made new.  At the Presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the old heaven and earth would pass from existence, and all would be made new!

We have to remember God’s language and how He perceives what He has made.  We can’t just call it what we want to call it!  And we can’t interpret it the way we want it to be.  It’s already interpreted… by God.

We know that God called His covenant nation “heaven and earth”.  We’ve heard it all through the Revelation.  And it was the same in the older Scripture.  The nation was a covenantal “cosmos” in and of itself that was to shine the light of the glory to God before all the nations.  Those peoples and tribes and tongues of the world were called the “sea”.  The sea was the dark, raging, foaming, troubled waters of Gentile humanity surrounding Israel – God’s heaven and earth.  And she was to obey and be a glorious light before those nations; and she was to faithfully anticipate her coming Messiah.

However, Israel was worse than all the surrounding, idolatrous nations, to the point of the filling up of her sin.  She actually caused all the nations to drink of the wine of her fornications!  She was a harlot adulteress.  And the prophetic Scripture, by the Word of three witnesses, announced her execution for adultery.

At the same time it was announced that God would create a new heavens and a new earth in which His people would faithfully worship Him.  Listen to it in Isaiah chapter sixty-six:

 

22)  “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith YAHVEH, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23)  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me,” saith YAHVEH.

 

Both Jewish and Gentile flesh will worship God in His new heaven and earth (In Christ there would be no difference); and He would tabernacle with them in His new temple, in His new Jerusalem, in His new Israel.  And that would be the case upon God’s execution of the adulterous edenic paradise which He called “heaven and earth” – Israel.

Now.  As our Lord’s perception of His creation includes this use of the term “heaven and earth”, so is His Own definition and interpretation of the word “sea”.  So… it is for us, His people, to read, and to understand, His perception of that which He has made.  Remember… this is His creation; and He defines it.  And He perceives it as He will.  And if we are to fear Him, and if we are to glorify Him, and if we are to obey Him, then we must see these things as He has revealed them.

And the way that He views His created “sea” is so different from any human understanding of it.  So please listen carefully as we look at just a very few of those passages having to do with how God views and describes His Own creation.

First, from the prophecy of Isaiah, here are the first few verses of chapter twenty-seven:

 

“In that day YAHVEH will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent with His fierce and great and mighty Sword, even Leviathan the twisted serpent; and He will kill that dragon that lives in the sea.”

 

Now, there are stories and paintings and epic mythological tales of great sea monsters and serpents roaming the oceans and inland seas due to the gross re-interpretation of passages such as this one.  But that’s not what Isaiah says.  He’s not prophesying sea monsters that Yahveh pursues with His mighty Sword!

What that prophet received is inspired Revelation from God about how God views that which occurs in His creation!  The “serpent” is the devil, which has been cast out of the heaven.  And its domain is the turbulent and raging “sea” of pagan humanity.

 

And here is Isaiah chapter sixty having to do with the new heavens and the new earth at the appearance of the coming Savior of the world:

 

1)      "Arise, shine; for your light will come, And the glory of YAHVEH will rise upon you.

2)      "Lo, darkness covers the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but YAHVEH will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you.

3)      "Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

4)      "Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you.  Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in arms.

5)      "Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.

 

At the rising of the Light (the Dayspring, the Morning Star), the abundance of the “sea” will be turned unto Him.  Isaiah receives the inspired Word concerning the rising of the Light – the Dayspring - upon the nations and peoples of the world.  They are seen by God as the great sea of humanity; and many – an abundance - will be “turned” unto Him.

Then Daniel receives this prophecy from God:

 

1)      In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it.

2)      Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and lo, the four  winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.

3)      "And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.

 

As we’ve witnessed previously, the four great beasts of Daniel’s vision were the mighty tyrant nations of history: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.  And the four winds from the four cherubim at the four corners of the throne of God raised them up out of the “sea” of humanity.  It is the very “breath” of God as He rules the course and events of all of history… HIS history.  And it is how God perceives, and reveals, His creation and its history.  It is all ruled by that “secret inspiration” (as John Calvin put it) from the will and purpose of God; and it is all in the “likeness” of the tabernacle in the heaven.

The last example that I would like for you to hear again is that exalted event, in Matthew chapter eight, in which our Lord Jesus turns His back on the covenant nation, the harlot of the world, and proceeds to rid a Gentile, pagan city of the ravages of satanic infestation.  That city, of course, was Gadara, across the sea of Galilee from Israel.

Here it is from the text of Matthew eight:

 

23)  Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him.

24)  And suddenly a great shaking arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered over with the waves. But He was asleep.

25)  Then His disciples came to Him and awakened Him, saying, “Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”

26)  But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

27)  So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

 

Now, please appreciate the fact that these are terms – the wind, and the sea – that God defines – that God fully comprehends.  But when we read them and define them for ourselves as just “incidents of nature” that Jesus can control, then we forfeit God’s perspective and we don’t get the fullness of the Revelation!

Messiah the Prince of Daniel’s people has arrived, you see!  It’s the last days.  The fourth “beast” (Rome) has been called forth from the sea of humanity by the four winds from the four corners of the mercy seat.  And soon that frothing sea of pagan humanity will be crashing in at the instigation of the four winds at the four corners of the earth, and inundating God’s covenant nation in a flood of wrath.

But it is the Son of God/Son of Man Who rebukes them and quiets them until it’s time. It’s not time yet for the sea!  Jesus said that He came to find the lost sheep of the house of Jacob!  And until all of His sheep are found and sealed and rescued, it’s not yet time.  When they’re all found, then the surrounding sea of humanity will rage against the covenant nation and destroy her.

Then Jesus proceeds to exorcise demons from a pagan city – a Gentile city.  And He excoriates His disciples for not “faithing” in what God has revealed, in His Own language, in the older prophetic Scriptures!  This is what the prophets foretold, He says; and you aren’t faithing!  You don’t know! 

The Son of God/Son of Man is risen, ascended and enthroned; and He has been given all authority in the heavens and on the earth; and He rules the four winds and the sea of humanity. 

And there would soon be coming a time in which Israel would be flooded in the wrath of God; and satan and its demons would be bound and cast under… locked and sealed in the abyss.

Now.  What John is shown, and what he writes here in verse one of our text, is that which is shortly to come (as John writes to the Churches).  And it is the same that was shown to the prophets; it is that which Jesus Himself prophesied in His words and deeds; and it is shown to John all through the Revelation.

And it is the same language all through the Scripture.  It is God’s revealed will and purpose prophesied from the beginning.

John is told that the time is near.  At the Parousia/appearance of The Christ, when every last one of the elect from the tribes of Jacob had been found and marked and sealed and rescued from the wrath to come, the harlot of the nations would be executed.

That nation that God had set apart for Himself; that great city whose tabernacle God had occupied, would cease to exist.  That separate cosmic paradise that He had called “heaven and earth” would be decreated.  It would disappear, and just… no longer be.

And since it would no longer exist, neither would there be a foaming, turbulent sea surrounding it (verse one).  And John saw a new heaven and a new earth descending from the heaven.  (There will be more to say about that next time.)

But that’s what John sees here in verse one of our text, isn’t it?  And the Churches received this letter just before it was to occur.  It was a present realty to them… all to happen “shortly”.  They were to anticipate it!

And it is a present reality for us!  We live in Him.  He tabernacles with us.  It is now a new heaven and a new earth.  And He will have dominion.  The River of Life will flow unto the farthest reaches; and all the earth will blossom with justice and peace and prosperity!

This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  It’s the reality in which you live.  And that’s what must motivate your life!  Those Who oppose Him have no hope; and they must not cause you anxiety and gloom.  Their resistance is futile; and they have their reward.  And you have yours.

Next time – the new heaven and earth, and the new Jerusalem made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

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Revelation 21:1-27 Part 1

 

1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”

9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven

11)  having her God’s glory, her radiance like a precious stone, crystal clear as a jasper stone,

12)  having a great and high wall having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve messengers and names written which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel,

13)  three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south, and three gates to the west;

14)  the wall of the city having twelve foundation stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15)  The one speaking with me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and her gates and her wall,

16)  (the city is shaped square – her length the same as the breadth); and he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand stadia, her length and breadth and height being equal;

17)  and he measured her wall: a hundred and forty four cubits (man’s measurement as is that of a messenger),

18)  the structure of her walls jasper, and the city as pure gold, crystal clear,

19)  the foundations of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,

20)  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst,

21)  the twelve gates twelve pearls (each of the gates were of one pearl), and the city’s street pure gold as transparent crystal.

22)  I saw no temple in her, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is her temple.

23)  The city has no need for the sun or the moon that they should appear in her, for the glory of God was manifest in her and her light - the Lamb;

24)  the nations will walk by her light, and kings of the earth bear their glory into her

25)  by day (none of her gates will in any way be closed, and there will be no night there),

26)  and they will bear the glory and honor of the nations into her.

27) By no means would anyone unclean ever enter into her doing abomination or falsehood, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

There’s a time and a place for everything.  Yet there are things about which we’re not privy… we’ve not been made privy; after all, we’re creatures – not The Creator.

Job just didn’t know.  Given Israel’s constant flight from reality, the writers of the wisdom literature were often very cynical about things they didn’t know.  Their convoluted reasoning was rife with cynicism because the answers to their questions had not been revealed to them.

When the kinsman-redeemer refused to buy Ruth’s property and give her dead husband offspring, Boaz didn’t know, when he stepped in to perform that duty, that the offspring would be Obed – the father of Jesse, the father of David… whose offspring would be David’s son and David’s Lord!

When Esther saved the tribes of Jacob from extinction at the hand of the Persian beast, she didn’t know that their return to the promised land would result in the birth of the Savior of the World in Bethlehem of Judea.

There is much that we don’t know!  It’s not our will and purpose.  We don’t “will” anything to be!  It’s ours to be faithful… and to anticipate what God has promised.  And to be thankful and rejoice in it!

The final chapters of The Revelation of Jesus Christ give us a whole-Bible view into the purpose of Almighty God for all that He made.  There’s a lot that we don’t know.  But He showed John all that he was to write to the Churches in order that they be comforted and assured, and that they anticipate the fullness from the origins, and that they be messengers of the Good News of salvation of the world in Christ Jesus.

It’s the Revelation of the will and purpose of God; and it is all for His glory; and it is all prophesied.  And it is imperative that we know what has been shown to the Churches.

In 30AD, fifty days after our Lord’s crucifixion, and forty years before His Parousia, the risen and ascended Jesus Christ sent Holy Spirit to inhabit the new tabernacle of God with man. 

Unlike the former tabernacles made with hands, this one is a “holy” tabernacle, for it is the body of the risen and ascended Christ.  It is holy because HE is holy.  He is the Lamb of God Who gave His body and poured out His blood that this new tabernacle be spotless!  Unlike the former tabernacles, there would be nothing abominable in this one!

And this tabernacle is occupied by His “holy ones”… those who are resurrected from death unto life, those re-born from death in Adam to life in Christ the second Adam.  These are “members” of His body… His “brothers”, members of His family (His new humanity).  And these inherit the earth in Him… all promised at the creation, and all prophesied throughout the written Word.

The inception of the new – and holy – tabernacle of God with man was at Pentecost, 30AD.  On that day the earthy representation of His tabernacle – the Church of Jesus Christ – was established in every nation on earth.

Several years before our Lord’s appearance at His Parousia, the apostle John was shown the “fullness” of the written Word… The Revelation of Jesus Christ Who is the Word of God – His Strong Right Arm.

The last chapters of John’s letter to the Churches in the nations reveal what he was shown – beginning at the Parousia and extending to the completion.  It is the finished work of the One Who was given all authority in the heaven and on the earth for the purpose of glorifying Almighty God the Father in all that was made.

John was shown seven exalted and penetrating sights as the glorified God-man reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords from His seat above the heavens.

And while I’m here let me just say once more that our Lord Jesus Christ – Son of God/Son of man – was raised out of death bodily; and He ascended into the glory cloud bodily; and, as humanity raised up out of death, He pierced the veil of the firmament to take His place at the Right of Glory.  And He was given the authority to rule from the heaven.

This is a man!  He is the express image of the Father; David’s Lord and David son!  A real human entered the glory cloud and pierced the veil of the firmament into the very Presence of God and took His place at the Right… and we IN HIM!  Those of us written in the Lamb’s book of life from the beginning sit with Him – IN Him.  He is of our flesh; and we belong to Him; we are His brothers.

This isn’t some nebulous, spirit-world concept dreamed up by a false prophet.  Our Lord is a real man!  He is the second “Genesis”… the second “beginning” of humanity.  He is the human express image of the Father.

The first man sinned against God, and he died; and he didn’t take dominion of this earth as he was commanded to do.  Paradise was denied him.

But the second one was raised up out of death; and He would take dominion!  And it is a physical – bodily – dominion!  He is a man; and this concrete, physical cosmos would come under His dominion and would be returned to its original “paradise” state; and all those resurrected into Him are rebirthed into His humanity, and would reign with Him – In Him – during all the years until the multitudes of mankind from all the nations (promised to Abraham) would fill the earth.

This is a physical dominion of a real creation – not some ethereal, other-worldly, celestial creation of human imagination!  Our Lord Jesus Christ reigns bodily over this tangible, material world from His Seat above the firmament.  And this world will reflect the glory of Almighty God and His glory-cloud tabernacle.

That’s a “promise” from Him; and it’s one that you and I can count on… one that we can anticipate – yearn for!  God has promised the salvation of the world by His Son Jesus.  He has done so for His Own glory; and the promise is for you – and for me.  Holding on for dear life to the world order that was, and which (even now to some degree) is, against that which will be, is a rejection of all that He has promised!

And He has given us – His Church – a view of it all through His apostle John.  We are to remember it; we are to be fully engaged with it and delighted by it!  Like the newborns that we are, we are to be captivated an