REVELATION 21:1 – 22:5
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO VISUALIZE A CITY FOURSQUARE, MEASURING TWELVE THOUSAND FURLONGS, AND DESCENDING TO EARTH FROM OUT OF HEAVEN? IF YOU HAVE, I BELIEVE YOU WILL FIND THIS MESSAGE TO BE VERY ENLIGHTENING. WE HAVE TAKEN IT VERSE BY VERSE, AND TRIED TO SHOW THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CITY DESCRIBED BY THE APOSTLE JOHN IN REVELATION, CHAPTERS 21 & 22. PLEASE READ IT PRAYERFULLY, AND STUDY THE SCRIPTURE VERSES USED, FROM YOUR OWN BIBLE, AND THEN IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, OR COMMENTS, WE WILL BE GLAD TO HEAR FROM YOU.
I have had a number of people ask me questions lately, about he New Jerusalem which John wrote about in Revelation, chapter 21. It is interesting to note the various ideas and opinions which people have about this city, some believing one thing, and others, something else. It is for this reason that I feel led to publish this message, with all the details and explanations the Holy Ghost will call to our remembrance. Years ago, when I was still in the Methodist church, I too, looked upon that city as a literal city, with all its gold, precious stones, pearls, and so forth, but now we have the Holy Ghost which wrote the book, in us, to reveal its true spiritual significance; therefore we want to take this 21st chapter, and consider the things that are recorded therein. Time-wise this chapter picks up after the great White Throne judgment has been completed, and all fallen mankind, and every evil spirit has been judged. Whatever, and whoever is left alive after that judgment, will live in the 8th day, which is the eternal day. Everything will be restored back to what it was in the 1st day, before Adam sinned. This 8th day will not be broken up into dispensations as the other 7 days, or 7000 years have been. Though it is hard for our finite minds to grasp the reality of such a thing: It will be an endless eternity of bliss, in the presence of the Great God of all ages. The apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Cor. 13:12, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” I only use this verse, here, to call attention to the fact that we do not yet see all things as clearly as we will later. To see through a glass, darkly, does not mean that we do not see anything. It simply means that we do not see clearly, the profile, or image that we are looking at. However, I do believe we are living in a day when it is scripturally reasonable to expect the Holy Ghost to clear up the picture for us, as we are endeavoring to take on the mind of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, we find the apostle Paul referring to the beginning of the 8th day like this, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered (speaking of Jesus Christ) up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He (Christ) must reign, until He hath put all enemies (sin and death) under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” In other words He will rule and reign for 1000 years, on earth: then when His millennial reign is concluded, and the last judgment is all over with, it will be time for the New Jerusalem to descent from heaven. Before going into our subject of the New City though, I want to clear up some of the misunderstanding about the millennial age. I have had many people come to me and say, “Bro. Jackson: If Jesus is going to be ruling with a rod of iron, and the devil is going to be bound: how come there still seems to be death present through the millennium?” It is very simple. These very questions prove that people have not been taught what is written in the word of God. It is not that sin is raging during that time, as we know it now, but that inherited nature to sin is still present in those mortal beings that pass from this age into the millennium. That is why Jesus Christ will rule with a rod of iron: it is to be a disciplinary age. The Millennium age is not the perfect age, but His rod of iron rule over the national subjects will produce a people that can be passed into the perfect age. At the same time He will be releasing the animal kingdom, so that the enmity between man and beast will cease to be. It will be just like the old song, “Peace in the Valley,” the animal kingdom will lie in peace, and be at peace with man. Then the earth will yield her full increase. All of this is written in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 11:6-9, we read, “The wolf also 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. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like an ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, (venomous viper) and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den, (another of the reptile family). They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” When? After the Millennial rule has had time to have its effect. That is when the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord, as the Psalmist wrote.
DEATH, IN THE MILLENNIUM
When we speak of the eighth day, please remember, the eighth day is the first day, just like our calendar. It is a new beginning, with everything restored back as it was before the fall of man in the garden. In Isaiah 65, we find that the prophet was actually looking through the Millennium, to the eternal age. Look at verse 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 an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” Now in our present day, with our life span being an expected 70 years, more or less, we look upon an person who is a hundred years old, as an old person, but in the Millennium when longevity of life is restored, looking at it from a percentage standpoint: a hundred year old person, then, would be as a seven year old child is, to us. Death, then, will not be from tuberculosis, heart trouble, cancer, nor any of those physical diseases; it will be strictly a disciplinary tool in the hands of God, and it shall be administered to those who have had ample time to be corrected. In other words, a child born in the Millennium; being born of mortal parents who have passed from this age into that age, still having the nature to sin and rebel, would be warned and worked with for 100 years, giving him, or her, that much time to submit to the righteous rule of Christ, before death would be administered. In that same verse where Isaiah says, “There shall be no more THENCE (from the beginning of the eternal age and onward) an infant of days,” he also says, “Nor an old man that hath not filled his days,” meaning of course, that if he has been allowed to pass into the eternal age, he has already been tried, tested, judged and found to be worthy, or he would not be there. Saints: Do you realize that if we are living as close to the end as we believe we are: there is a people living, right today, that will live forever. This is not speculation. Either we believe the Bible or we do not. If we believe the Bible, it will bear these things out. Like we said before: the Millennium is not the perfect age. It is a period of time in which God is repopulating the earth, a period when divine government is restored, as well as divine knowledge. The earth will be beautified, and the animal kingdom will again be at peace with man. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.” This mortal realm of people will still have the same inherited nature, which will pass on down to, and through all of their offspring. That is why Zechariah 14:16-17, states, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Verse 17, shows what the result will be for those who refuse to do so. “And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” In verse 18, he goes on to give an illustration, using Egypt as an example. “And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19, This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” This is the effect of that rod of iron. Every individual will have to submit to discipline and come under the law of that age, or death will be the means of getting rid of them. I have my serious doubts that there will be any need for a lot of undertakers, and I do not believe there will be a need for a large casket manufacturer, for I believe those things will be few and far between. Nevertheless, when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be loosed from his prison, and shall go out to deceive all whom he can of those millions born in the Millennium. If you can get the picture here; you will see that a just God could not let those millions of people pass into the eternal age without first being tempted by the old adversary, the Devil. He will not be allowed to corrupt the earth again, as before, but he will have his opportunity to gain a following of people who will think to gather for battle, as they compass the camp of the saints, and the city of Jerusalem, but fire comes down out of heaven to devour them. That is when the devil that deceived them will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are. There is one thing sure though, he will never touch one of the immortal saints of God that have been ruling with Christ during this time. He can only tempt those who were born in the peaceful atmosphere of the Millennium while he was bound. Carnal minded people will say, “Bro. Jackson, do you mean to say we will be here, and we will see all of what is going on. Well, I just would not want to be here at a time like that. You are not there yet. When that time comes, if you are there, you will think differently than you do now. Immortality will make a great difference in the way we see things.
NEW HEAVEN, NEW EARTH – WHERE?
Just think, the bride of Christ will rule with Christ in the Millennium, executing the affairs of the kingdom, with the same authority that Jesus rules with. Then when it comes to a close, and Satan has been loosed for a little season, until his efforts are stopped by the fire of God, the 2nd resurrection will bring up the spirits of all degenerate men, from Cain all the way down to the end of the Millennium. There will be no more hell in the heart of the earth. This is the time for verse 13, of Revelation 20 to have its fulfillment. “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14, And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” There will be no more graves, no more dead bodies to mar the beauty of the replenished earth. This will be the last phase of redemption for the earth itself. The planet will be clean again, for the first time since sin was introduced. This climaxes what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:25-26, “For He must reign, until He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Jesus said, I AM the resurrection and the life. This means that at the sound of His voice the wicked dead will rise, just as simple as the righteous do before the Millennium. I am so thankful that those apostles could write, or speak, as the Holy Ghost moved them, for if they had been confined as some men are today, that is, if they had only been allowed to say what Jesus said, we would not have 1 Thes. 4:16-17, nor 1 Cor. 15:12-58, which help us to know what is ahead for us in the plan of God. Then we have the apostle Peter’s words which declare, (3:13) “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” It is the same planet earth, but it is made new through redemption. We are not looking for new galaxies in the heavens, but a new atmosphere within the same realm of space that you and I are already familiar with. In other words, everything that man has been associated with, will be made anew through redemption. Do not ever think that we are going to be carried off somewhere, to some other planet or something. That is a completely wrong viewpoint. You say, “But, Bro. Jackson, doesn’t the Bible say that the heavens and earth shall melt with fervent heat? Let us read that verse in 1 Peter 3:10, and I am sure you will understand that it is the works of man that are going to be burned up. Verse 10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” If that verse stood alone in the Bible, it might leave room for some question, but it does not stand alone. Look in verses 5-7, of the same chapter, to see how the same man referred to the destruction by the flood, in the days of Noah. “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world THAT THEN WAS, being overflowed with water, PERISHED: But the heavens and the earth, WHICH ARE NOW, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” You need only ask yourself the question, “Is this the same planet earth that Noah and his generation lived on? The Bible makes it very clear that it is, but the writer, here, says that the old world PERISHED in the flood. When we reconcile scripture with scripture, we realize that these judgments are only a cleansing process, by which the Lord cleanses the earth of the works of man. You could ask the question like this, “If the heavens, and the earth, perished in the flood, how can they still be here to be burned?” Man’s works will be burned up, but the rocks, the dirt, the mountains and the water will still be here, when the burning is finished. As in the days of Noah, when the flood was abated, they stepped out of the ark and found that the earth was made new. There was not a hut, nor any trace of the works of man, to be found anywhere. It was a new, fresh beginning. Everything had to be started all over again. Therefore, if we connect these pictures together, it will help us to better approach our subject, on the new city.
When the great white throne judgment is completed, and the earth is completely free from all traces of sin and corruption, then Jesus will turn the kingdom, the government, the rulership of the planet back over to God, that God may be all in all. In other words, it will be God, Elohim, Eternal Spirit, placing himself back within his creation, as in the beginning. He will be able to fellowship His redeemed family in the full expression of His glory and presence, as when He walked in the garden in the cool of the day, talking to Adam. God does not need a house to dwell in, for He is omnipresent, (present in all places at all times) and He never gets cold, wet, hungry nor uncomfortable. Every drop of rain that falls, falls in Him. He doesn’t need man, nor anyone to advise Him, for He is omniscient, (with infinite awareness, understanding, and insight, and has complete knowledge of all things, at all times). Such a God as He, has need of nothing that we could do for Him, personally, but He does desire to have fellowship with His creation. I will say, also, if sin had never entered into the garden, this whole planet would be a beautiful, garden-like place, with perfect climate, beautiful towering trees, shrubs, flowers, rivers, brooks and streams with trout and other fish leaping in them. The animal kingdom would have continued to be at peace with man, and there never would have been any need for man to build his 40, 50, and 60 thousand dollar houses. He would not have needed them. Houses were only necessitated by the fact that nature began to work against man, and the animal kingdom began to express itself against him, causing him to begin to devise ways of secluding himself. The farther he went, the fancier he got, until we come to the day we are living in. All this has been man’s efforts of trying to gain a measure of security, when all the time, his only security was in the Lord. Brothers and sisters: we are secure in Him. Our comfort lays in Him, and without Him, we can do nothing.
As we try to bring our attention back to the announced subject, let us be aware that what we are going to talk about cannot be understood with our natural, everyday kind of thinking and reasoning. We will be dealing with something that carries our thinking into the eternal age, when all of these familiar things will have passed away. Paul spoke of it in Ephesians 3:21, as world without end. Let us begin now, by reading the 1st verse of Rev. 21, where John wrote, “And I saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Remember now, John was given the privilege of viewing THIS planet in its redeemed state. Why would Christ rule and reign on this planet for one thousand years, redeeming and restoring it back as it was before, only to wipe it all out and start with another one, when He had accomplished His purpose? We just do not interpret the scriptures like that. John was looking at this old world as it will appear in the eternal age. Naturally it looked new to him. It will look new to us when we get there. Well, what about the heavens, or the new heaven? We must think of heaven in this particular instance, as the atmosphere around the earth. According to the scriptures, the atmosphere around the earth (or the heavens, as it is commonly called) is the environment, or habitation of devils, or demons, or evil spirits, which ever term best helps to get the thought across. They all pertain to the same thing. Paul referred to our former days, as following the course of this world, walking according to the prince of the power of the air. Those evil spirits are out there battling against righteous angels who seek to minister to mankind for his earthly benefit. The devil and his angels are constantly trying to get man to defile the earth. The filthier it gets, the better they like it. Why? Because it is completely contrary to God’s final plan for this old world, and Satan will go to any extremes in an effort to hinder or prevent the plan of God. Well, what about the part that says there was no more sea? There again, we must settle the fact that it does not mean, there will be no water. There has always been water, and there will be plenty of water then, but I do not believe that two-thirds of this planet will be covered by it then. I might add also, there is no more water today than there ever was. It is just that somehow this planet is not in its proper relationship to the sun. Some of you have heard me say before, why I believe we have 365 1/4 days in our solar year, when it is scripturally clear that a perfect year was to have 360 days, twelve months of 30 days each.
I am not a scientist, but I believe with all my heart that when God let the fountains of the deep open up, and it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, collecting all that water together, it changed the relationship between the earth and the sun. That would account for the extra 5 1/4 days per year that it takes to complete the cycle of orbits. A perfect year, with 12 perfect months of 30 days each, would have one new moon for each month. Since the earth revolves around the sun, it would mean that the earth would need to be a little closer to the sun in order to complete its year of orbits in 360 days. If the earth were to be moved back a little closer to the sun, much of the earth’s waters would be out here in space like a barrier around the earth, which would produce a perfect climate. You would never have a cloud in the sky, and at night the air would cool off and cause the earth to sweat. That is exactly in line with what the scriptures say about how it was in the beginning. With such a condition you would have a perfect climate all the time, never too cold, and never too hot. With so much of the earth’s water moved out into space to form a protective belt around the earth, it would leave a lot more room for people, or I should say, for the earth’s inhabitants. If you had been viewing the world with all its oceans, rivers, seas and so forth, then suddenly you were shown a picture of that earth with all of that extra land showing, you would probably proclaim, as John did, that there is no more sea. Remember what period of time John’s vision was of. As this chapter 21 opens up John is seeing a vision of the cleansed and replenished earth as it is entering into a new age, or into the eternal day which is without time limitations. Now notice in verse 2, John did not say, I saw us going to the new Jerusalem in the heavens, but what did he say? 2, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, (out of space, out of the atmosphere) prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Notice his description of the new Jerusalem, and remember, Jesus only has one bride. As we assemble ourselves together, believing that we are in the true church of the Living God, that shall one day be presented to the Lord Jesus Christ as His bride, we wait with great expectancy, and the things that the apostle John wrote about are of special interest to us. That great marriage supper of the Lord is just ahead of us, then we believe, according to the Bible, that we will come right back here to rule with Christ for 1000 years, over a mortal realm of people who will pass into that age from this one, and also, over the offspring that they bear. We will be the wife of the Lord Jesus Christ, dwelling in immortality, having bodies just like the body Jesus appeared to his disciples in, after his resurrection.
HOLY CITY – BRIDE – TABERNACLE
In verse 3, John speaks further of this holy city, which is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Read it carefully for it holds part of the key to a proper understanding of this terminology. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, (remember this word, TABERNACLE, and what the word means) and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” This absolutely links up with what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:24-28, which we have read already. Christ will rule until the last enemy is destroyed, and redemption is completed. Then He will turn all rule and authority back to the great omnipresent, Eternal Spirit, the Father of all creation, that He may be all in all. Listen carefully now. As John saw this city coming down, he heard a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the TABERNACLE of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Tell me, did John actually see a literal tabernacle coming down? All he said was, that, he heard a great voice declaring it. I want to show you a scripture further on in the chapter that will prove John did not see a tabernacle descending out of heaven, along with the new city. This is where many people become confused, and get tangled up in their carnal interpretations of these chapters. We want to consider all the details that are given concerning this city, and get it settled once and for all. Was the city that John saw coming down out of heaven, actually a literal city of literal gold, and so forth, or is this a language of the Spirit, describing something else? As we move on down through the chapter, we find John describing the city in it’s dimensional makeup, as well as of what sort it is; then in verse 22 he says, “And I saw no temple therein: (NO TEMPLE) for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” We all know that mortal men have always associated the two words, TABERNACLE, and TEMPLE, with a materialistic building or structure where the presence of God could be found. First it was a tabernacle in the wilderness, made of skins, and mobile. When the people moved on toward the promised land, the tabernacle was moved to be where the people were. The tabernacle was later superseded by the temple Solomon built on Mount Zion. Nevertheless, the tabernacle, and the temple have always been associated with the presence of God. Now I want us to look at 2nd Cor. 6:16, and see what Paul said about this temple of God. “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For YE are the TEMPLE of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell IN THEM, and walk IN THEM: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Is that not what John heard the great voice utter, as he watched the holy city descend toward earth? Before going back to Revelation 21, I want us to read Ephesians 2:19-22, and catch some more of the apostle Paul’s revelation of what John saw and heard in A.D. 96, when he was caught up in the spirit while on the Isle of Patmos. Verse 19, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the BUILDING fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an HABITATION of God through the Spirit.” Did you catch the language Paul used here, BUILDING, TEMPLE, HABITATION OF GOD, all these references referring to believers? If we can accept the fact that the true church is a building of God, a temple where the Lord dwells, then we ought not think it strange to be referred to as a city also. With these scriptures and explanations before us, I hope every one of you are able to see that there is no contradiction between verse 3, which declares that there was no temple in the holy city, the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb being the temple of it. Certainly there is no contradiction; it is just the way some people are prone to look at it.
NEW THROUGH REDEMPTION – NOT CREATION
Brothers and sisters: do not be expecting to view this scene from an earthly standpoint. Those who make up the true church of the living God will be a part of that city which John saw coming down out of heaven. Verse 4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This verse well establishes the fact that this scene is after the Millennium reign, for it states that there will be no more death, and we have already proved by the scriptures that death will be used in a disciplinary way throughout the Millennium. 5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Remember now, John is in a vision, and he is seeing, and hearing things that are to come to pass many years beyond his time. As we have stated already, all things are made new through a redemptive act, rather than a creative act. God is a creator. That is how this planet got here in the first place, by a creative act of God. But there is the redemptive side, or attribute of God that must be expressed, and we should be able to tell the difference between the two. 6, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7, He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Praise God, when the reality of that age dawns, it will be exactly as it was in the original beginning, back in the garden of Eden. It was, and is, His desire to be God to every son and daughter of His. He wants to be in His people, and He wants to have a Father and son relationship with them. That does not exclude the feminine side (woman) from the picture. You will find the human race spoken of, as man, all through the Bible. Now verse 8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Now, just to test your memory, when will this take place? When will all these wicked spirits, along with all degenerate mankind, be cast into the lake of fire? At the close of the Millennium, before entering into the eternal age. John saw all this in a vision, and I have heard of people on their deathbed having similar visions. The have actually been privileged to see some of these heavenly scenes before passing from this life. Abraham, the scripture says, sojourned in a strange land, but he looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God, knowing that the city he was looking for, was eternally in the heavens. Therefore, in actuality, what was Abraham looking for? He was looking for a place of refuge, for that is what a city was to those ancient people. When their enemies invaded their land, they would head for the city.
A PLACE OF REFUGE
Many of you have been with me on a tour to Israel; you have seen the city that is built on top of Mount Zion (Jerusalem). About 4 square miles around that city, is a wall. Its geographical outer circumference has been changed from time to time, through wars and earthquakes, but all through the history of Israel, since they have been in that land, when the land was invaded by their enemies, Jerusalem was the stronghold for the people. As the alarm was sounded, that the enemy was approaching, all the people living in those little villages around about, would gather up their personal belongings, put them on an old cart, get their donkeys and oxen, and head for Jerusalem, their city of defense. You may have wondered why they built such huge walls and why they were so deep in the ground. That is why; they were built to give the inhabitants of the land a place of refuge, a place of security and comfort. For thousands of years men built their cities with the main emphasis being placed on the fact that the walls furnished them a certain measure of protection from their enemies. Besides being a stronghold, the major cities were capitol cities, and the people came to those walled cities to worship their gods, whatever deity they worshiped, and the cities were crossroads of communication, and social activity. With those things in mind, Abraham looked for an eternal city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, and he was not necessarily looking for a city built with eternal rocks, stones, and such like, for I will show you why. Turn with me to the 12th chapter of Hebrews, where we will begin reading in the 18th verse. Paul is talking to those precious Hebrew saints, encouraging them to lay aside anything, and everything, that would hinder them in running the race for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He tells them to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He says, consider what he endured at the hands of sinners, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds, for ye have not yet resisted unto the shedding of blood, striving against sin. He goes on to speak of the chastening hand of God, for their own good, reminding them of Esau’s great sin, where he sold his birthright for one meal when he was hungry. Then we come to verse 18, where he says, “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, (He is reminding them, for they, in former days, had lived so devotedly to the law, received by their ancestors at Mt. Sinai. He is reminding them of how it was before the gospel of grace was purchased at Calvary), nor unto blackness, and darkness, (that is how the top of the mount looked to their forefathers who stood there) and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and voice of words; which they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: for they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart; And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.” In other words, as the children of Israel stood there at the foot of Mt. Sinai, while Moses was on top of the mountain talking with God, the mountain became black, and shook, as the voice of God echoed down to them. The people because fearful and turned away to stand afar off. Later they came to Moses saying, “You speak to us; we will hear you; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Just the sound of the voice of God scared them half to death. Paul is using these things to remind them that they have not come to that kind of a mountain in their new found relationship to God. It just shows how helpless mortal man really is, in the presence of Almighty God. He then, goes on to say to them in verse 22, “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn.” That is exactly what the church is: the city of the living God. You have heard me say before, in regards to this verse of scripture, I have never made a trip to Mount Zion, the literal city, in order to obtain salvation. You haven’t either. But we have come to Mount Zion spiritually, to the city of the living God. We have reached our place of safety, and refuge. We can say as the Psalmist did, 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust.” Hallelujah! Though the church of the living God is scattered over the whole face of this earth, it is still (in its spiritual makeup) the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.
PILLARS IN THE TEMPLE
If you can begin to get a picture in your mind, of the terminology used in connection with the body of Christ, the church, it will help you better understand what God showed John in connection with the false church, Roman Catholicism, which He referred to as Mystery Babylon. Men have fled into that city, seeking a refuge for their souls, only to learn, too late, that instead of being a spiritual refuge for their soul, it is a cage for every unclean and hateful bird, a habitation of devils, and a hold of every foul spirit. Instead of being a sanctuary, that city is an unclean, unholy prison from which, only a few have escaped. Praise God, Paul says, “Ye have come to Mount Zion, which is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Ye have come to an innumerable company of angels. Ye have come to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven. Ye have come to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Some of you are thinking, “Bro. Jackson, you have my head spinning with all of this; what does it mean?” I am showing you these things in an effort to lay a foundation for what we are going to say about the New Jerusalem, about its foundations, its wall, its gates, etc. We must first be convinced that the words, city, temple, building, refuge, and such like, do not always pertain to a literal, and tangible object, in order to approach the study of this heavenly Jerusalem, with an open mind. Let us turn to Revelation, chapter 3, for another example of what we are talking about. In the letter to the church at Philadelphia, the church that corresponds with the age of Methodism, God promised something that is so beautiful, something that enhances the harmony of the scriptures, and adds more light to our subject. Verse 12, HIM that overcometh will I make a PILLAR in the TEMPLE of my God.” Now I do not expect to be turned into a piece of marble, do you? Nevertheless, we do have these scriptures to deal with; therefore we must look at them from a spiritual standpoint. The Lord spoke of these things in spiritual terminology; they were recorded in spiritual language, and must be understood likewise. In Galatians 2:9 Paul is speaking of Peter, James, and John, and says that they seemed to be PILLARS in the church at Jerusalem. Now I want us to read all of verse 12, in Revelation 3, and I will show you what you are up against if you try to literalize everything you read. 12, “HIM that overcometh will I make a PILLAR in the TEMPLE of my God, (a pillar is a post, or column that holds up a structure) and HE shall go no more out: and I will WRITE UPON HIM (the overcomer) the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will WRITE UPON HIM MY NEW NAME.” Do you now see what the picture will look like if you make the new Jerusalem a literal city? If you literalize the city; you must literalize all that is said about the whole setting, so what do we have? Every overcomer would be a post, or column in a literal temple, (John said he did not see a temple in the new city) and would be stationary, for it says that they go no more out. Then, that overcomer would have the name of God, the name of the new Jerusalem, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, literally written upon him. I believe you are beginning to see what I am getting at. You, Y-O-U, make up the city of the living God. You make it up, yourselves, Hallelujah! I want you to understand; when John saw the vision of the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, he heard a voice speak these words, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,” but there was no visible, tangible tabernacle or temple in that city, for he plainly says so, in verse 22, (as we have already pointed out) and he tells us why, in the same verse, “For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Otherwise, how could Jesus be in us, and we be in him, and all in God? It is altogether a spiritual environment. We will still be many individual bodies (immortal bodies) but our spirits, our soul, Praise God, can be in Him, and He in us. That makes up the environment for the inner man. What we have now is the earnest (a token) of that which is to come later, 2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5, Eph,. 1:14. In the mind of God, we already are, what we are still looking forward to being later. He sees everything, from beginning to end, in one picture. He just drew back the curtain and allowed John to see these things, as He sees them. But for now we must be content to keep this old mortal body under subjection to the Spirit of God, while we await our change.
NEW BODY – NEW NAME
We have a lot of people running around, these days, worrying about what our new name will be; wondering when we will get it. Let me say this to you, for whatever it may be worth, “When you get a new body, then, and only then, will you be able to handle a new name. In the meantime, this mortal flesh is still subject to a carnal mind that sees everything in a natural setting. That is why, if we do not keep our body under subjection to the Holy Ghost, we will be ruled by the five senses. Now that I have said that, let me read four verses from 2 Corinthians. The apostle Paul did not break his letter up into chapters, and verses, when he wrote it; that was done later; therefore I will read the last two verses of chapter 4, and the first two verses of chapter 5, straight through. 17, “Four our light affliction, which is but for a moment, (a moment, percentagewise, compared to eternity) worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN, but at the THINGS WHICH ARE NOT SEEN: for the things which are seen are temporal; (they will pass away) but the things which are not seen (with the natural eye) are eternal (these are the things we desire to see with the eye of our spirit) For we know (by faith) that if our earthly HOUSE of this TABERNACLE (our fleshly bodies) were dissolved, we have a BUILDING of God, an HOUSE not made with hands, ETERNAL in the heavens, (eternal house, but John saw it coming down out of heaven) For in this (our earthly house) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our HOUSE which is FROM HEAVEN.” Paul says so much in those few verses; it just sort of throws new light on the subject of our text, and at the same time, makes us a little anxious for what we have up ahead. When we get our new body, then we will be able to see the city of the living God, as it really is. Our sanctuary is in Jesus Christ. No wonder Paul could say, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the HOUSEHOLD of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the CHIEF CORNERSTONE; (meaning He is the beginning of all surveyed dimensional measurements of this TABERNACLE of God) In whom all the BUILDING fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom ye also are BUILDED together for an HABITATION of God through the Spirit,” he had a revelation of the plan of God for the Gentiles. (See Ephesians 3:1-6).
ABOUT THE GARDEN
We talk about the Millennium being the age of restoration, and we naturally, are trying to visualize how it was before sin entered into the garden of Eden. We talk also, of how God drove the man, Adam, from the garden, and I wonder how many ever ask themselves the question, “Where did God drive him to?” Did He send him a thousand miles away from where he was? Now, let us shake ourselves, and think seriously for a few moments. Do you realize, there is hardly a square mile, or acre of ground anywhere on this earth, that man has not set his foot upon at one time or the other, so I ask you: what kind of garden did He drive the man from? I must answer the question like this, I believe it was the presence and glory of God that man was driven from. Of course there was a certain geographical area of the earth where Adam dwelt, but somewhere in that, was a presence and glory of God that far superseded any natural, earthly beauty. It was that presence of God that enabled Adam and Eve to be both, natural and spiritual, equally, so that they could move freely in either realm. On the natural side they had the five senses just as we do. With their EYES they could see where they were walking, what was around them and etc. Their EARS allowed them to hear the sounds of their environment, the things that acquainted them with earth. Their NOSE allowed them to smell the wonderful fragrance of a rose, and all the other scents of natural life. They had TASTE and TOUCH which, with the others make up the five senses natural man is guided and ruled by. But besides that they had a nature, an inner makeup that made them like God. They could see just as clearly in the spirit world as you and I can in our natural environment. They could see the angels of God just as clearly as we see an automobile, cow or horse, until Adam forfeited his authority to rule over the earthly creation of God. From then on, they were earthbound, just as man has been ever since. You know the story; God drove them from the garden, from His presence, and placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way of the tree of life. Saints, please do not try to picture that garden as a beautiful place, with a wrought iron fence, and beautiful gates with stone archways. That is a carnal picture. I grant you, there was a particular place, geographically, where Adam and Eve lived. It had to be someplace in the Middle East, but keep in mind, the fact, that God did not place cherubim before a literal garden gate, guarding a tree of plant life, called the tree of life. We have covered this subject so thoroughly in other messages, I feel it is sufficient just to say, the cherubim and the flaming sword were to keep the man from entering back into that eternal presence of God. As far as the natural surroundings are concerned, they remained the same. The rivers, the trees, the other plant life which was associated with the garden are still in the earth today. They may have been rearranged somewhat by earthquakes and other disturbances, but the earth itself is the same size as it has always been, no smaller, and no larger. Men, no doubt, have traveled right through the geographical area which the Bible refers to as the garden of Eden, for centuries, but the presence of God is no more there, than it is anyplace else, since Adam disobeyed God. Men have searched the world over, ever since that day God withdrew his presence from Adam , looking for a fountain of youth, when the only true fountain of youth is to be in the presence of Almighty God. Praise His wonderful name, Hallelujah! I am so thankful that every once in a while God lifts the carnal veil just enough to allow his people to get a little glimpse into that heavenly realm. As I said earlier, dying saints, lying with their eyes closed, have been known to have a smile come across their face, to be followed with such a beautiful description of what they were seeing in the spirit world, or in the life beyond this natural realm. Many have spoke of seeing a beautiful city, beautiful flowers, angels, and many other things. What was it? What were they seeing? They were allowed to have a little glimpse into the realm that Adam and Eve had complete access to before the fall, into the realm that we are looking anxiously to have opened up to us. When? After the Millennium. All of the old prophets have been given little glimpses into that heavenly realm, and they wrote about it, without ever having very much understanding as far as God’s complete plan of redemption and restoration goes. Every little preview that God has allowed man to have down through the ages, has caused him to grope for more of the reality of his creator. That is why there were so many ways, and places, where man had tried to contact God, while he continued to drift farther and farther away from the kind of communion that Adam and Eve had with Him. That inner man kept crying out, longing, searching for something to satisfy while four thousand years rolled by, then God moved upon the scene with His plan of redemption.
JESUS – THE GOD MAN
At a time when man, with his own carnal ways, had so corrupted every ordinance and law that was designed to give him a certain relationship with his creator, that creator veiled himself in human flesh and began working out His plan of redemption, that He had settled in His own mind before the world was ever created. The little baby that was born to the young virgin, Mary, who was espoused to a man named Joseph, was the means by which God would work out His beautiful plan to restore to man that which Adam forfeited. The little baby, which was given the name, Jesus, through a dream Joseph had before he was born, looked just like any other little baby. He grew up much like all the other little boys in that day, but Mary detected, and hid in her heart many things that she observed, which made Him stand out from the other little boys around their neighborhood. Then one day, when He had reached the age of thirty, he appeared on the banks of the Jordan river where John was baptizing, and asked to be baptized. John forbade him saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” Jesus answered by saying, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” (Baptized him.) When Jesus went up out of the water, the heavens were opened unto Him, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove, lighting upon Him. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Now some of you may say, “Why was it necessary for Him to be baptized, since He never committed any sin? His baptism served a two-fold purpose. He was ready to enter into a ministry, whereby He would be in the capacity of High Priest, for He is referred to as the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. He also was the Lamb of God, to be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of all people, of all ages; therefore since He was to be the sin offering, as well as the Priest who would offer up the sacrifice to God, His baptism served a two-fold purpose in fulfilling the righteousness of the law of washing. (Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.) He was washed by John, to fulfill the law of washing for the priest, as well as to fulfill the law of washing for the sacrifice that was offered. (They were still under the law of Moses.) When the washing was completed, and the voice from heaven put His approval on it, Jesus was led up into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. There, as He fasted forty days and became weak and hungry, was where He was tempted in every area that you and I are tempted in, but He overcame the tempter by that which was written in the word of God, truly setting an example for us who would be tempted later.
INNER MAN SINNED
Some have tried to dramatize the occasion of Jesus’ baptism, pointing out that many who stood by, actually saw a dove come down and light on His shoulder, and heard a voice thunder out of heaven that caused many to fall prostrate, trembling, and afraid, for they thought all heaven had suddenly fell upon them. Brother, I want you to know, just beyond the five senses of this human flesh there is a presence of God that would scare the outer man out of his skin, but the inner man, at the same time, realizes that if he is to ever have security, comfort and protection for his soul, he must find his way back into that presence. No natural city will ever be sufficient to give sanctuary to the soul that cries out for that which is beyond this mortal realm. Therefore, the city which John saw coming down out of heaven, was in reality, the glory and presence of the Eternal God, Elohim, coming down to earth, resting on His redeemed people. It is the glory and presence of God, being joined back with his sons and daughters on earth, forming an inseparable union that shall not be broken by sin and rebellion as before, for all these will have been tested, and will have overcome. It was the inner man that sinned; not the outer man, but the outer man had to pay, or suffer the penalty of physical death because of it.
LET DEAD BURY DEAD
I was asked by a young man some time ago, ‘What did Jesus mean when He said, let the dead bury their dead,” Luke 9:60. This was spoken at a time when various ones were making excuses for not following Him. One particular person came to Him and said, “Lord, I will follow thee; but first let me go and bury my father.” In other words he wanted to stay around home as long as his father was still living, but Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Meaning let those who are spiritually dead, knowing nothing about eternal life, nor the power of God, take care of those matters, but you go on and preach the gospel. Brothers and sisters, there are ever so many excuses why this one, or that one is not serving God, but be assured of this one thing, those who make up the holy city that John saw, are those who put all those excuses behind them and run the race to win the prize. They will never have to be concerned for any of those chores again, when the glory of God is resting upon them. There will never be another icicle, snow flake, nor another winter like we have had here for the past 2 years. There will never be another need for a gas stove, nor for a 40 or 50 thousand dollar house to pay taxes on. Everything will be new, the heavens, the earth, the atmosphere, and the purpose and motive of the people. In that city there will be no need for the sun, nor the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God will lighten it, and the Lamb will be the light thereof. (Rev. 21:23.) This very verse has caused some to say there will be no sun nor moon, in that age. That is not what it says at all; it says there is no need for the sun nor the moon to lighten that holy city. Why? That city is people, and the glory of God is their light, but please remember, there was a sun, and a moon, in the days before Adam sinned, so why would God wipe them out in restoration? Besides that, the prophet Isaiah said, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven times brighter, in that day. Hallelujah! No wonder there will be no more night, with the moon shining brighter than the sun we are used to seeing. Do not ever try to put one verse, or passage of scripture against another one, when it looks like there could be a contradiction. Just remember, this is the inspired word of God, and what we need is a revelation of what it means. Since we are endeavoring to look beyond the veil of our five senses, and view this new city with John, we naturally, must depend upon the Holy Ghost to open up the spiritual significance of these things to us. If they could have been understood with the natural mind they would not have been a mystery to natural man for so many centuries. We are looking ahead to a time when man’s relationship to God is exactly as full and complete as the relationship Adam and Eve had with Him before the fall. In this age up ahead God will have many full-fledged sons and daughters thru the second Adam, the redeeming Adam, as he would have had thru the first Adam if he had not fell from his created place. Christ, who is the first begotten among many brethren, and who is our Lord and Savior, will in that day, be our elder brother in the full sense of its meaning. Having the full rights of heirship, as the first born, He willingly makes us joint heirs with him, of God. He shares His inheritance with us.
TREE OF LIFE PLURAL
To every person who will hear this message on tape, or read it in the paper, let me say this, John first viewed the holy city, New Jerusalem, seeing it in its external profile as it descended from God out of heaven, but when he was allowed to look within, there was everything that was in the original garden of Eden, and we do not hear him say, “I saw streets lined with houses and palaces, nor mansions,” but what did he say? He saw a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river was there the tree of life. The tree of life is now referred to in the plural, and also in the feminine gender instead of the masculine. Now I want to leave that right there and come back to the 21st chapter, verse 1, where John saw a new heaven and a new earth, the first being passed away. 2, “And I saw the holy city new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” It speaks of a bride, right? The city is prepared as a bride adorned, decked, clothed, robed for her husband. That was John’s observation, but now let us drop down to verse 9, “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee THE BRIDE, THE LAMB’S WIFE.” Think seriously now saints. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God will never have but one bride, wife, and that is the church, the people He has purchased with His own blood. Isn’t it wonderful how these various scripture writers were all led to write with such compatibility, using words to describe the church as being a building, a habitation of God. In this grace age, God is dwelling in us, but not in the fullness of His glory and presence, as it will be in the eternal age. What we have now, (as I said before) is the earnest, (the first installment, or down payment) of what we will, one day have in its fullness. In the day when our bodies are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, then they become immortal, for a greater indwelling of the presence of God, to fulfill the purpose of the Millennium. I am sure most of you know the word millennium is not found in the scriptures, but one thousand is found in there, and millennium is a word that is used for one thousand. Christ will rule with his immortal wife, the Gentile church redeemed by His own blood, for one thousand years, on earth, restoring divine law, divine authority, divine knowledge back to the earth, conquering the effects of all the devil’s devises, propagated through man for 6000 years. So we see that the New Jerusalem, the city itself, is the redeemed church from the Gentile age of grace, and not a city of material matter. But Bro. Jackson, what about the walls of that city, and why were walls necessary in such an age when all traces of evil have been abolished? All of God’s dealing with mankind must be represented and accounted for in the eternal age. Since the city itself only pertains to the Gentile bride, that still leaves a great host of other people to account for. You have heard me say before, the church of the living God is the highest calling a mortal being can ever be lifted to. Then some have said, “Bro. Jackson, aren’t we all going to be equal in that day?” Listen carefully! All will be equal, only from the standpoint of God’s love, but not from the standpoint of position and authority. To feel that God is unfair in making a difference in such, only goes to reveal jealousy and carnality on your part. God made some of us to have blue eyes, other brown eyes, green, grey, black; some 5 feet 2 inches tall, others 6 feet 7 inches, etc., but His love for us is not measured by that. Regardless of our race, color, height, or station in life, if we could just be thankful and grateful unto God, realizing that we are not all equal or alike in any way except our opportunity to walk with God, we would realize that those things are not important. The only thing that is important, is that we are acceptable with God.
THREE REALMS OF MANKIND
I have said many times, God does things in threes. If you will try to follow what I am saying, I want to show you that (in the eternal age) there will be 3 realms of mankind, the bride of Christ, (his wife) being the highest of the 3 realms. Next will be those saints from the pre-flood days along with all the rest of the Old Testament saints, and those tribulation saints from the closing of this age. Then, in the 3rd realm, or category, you have the realm of people from all nations who were carried into, or were born in the millennium. This will be those who were not deceived by Satan when he is loosed for a little season to tempt and test them at the end of the one thousand years. They are the National subjects who will bring their glory and honor unto the city of the living God. In the Millennium, the church sits as kings and priest, ruling and reigning with Christ as His bride until everything, and everyone is brought under subjection, or destroyed, but in the eternal age the picture will be quite different. No longer will there be a need for a rod of iron rule; therefore the picture takes on a much more beautiful brilliance. Christ will no longer be looked upon as the conquering king sitting upon a gigantic throne, yet we do see that there will be a throne there. This throne is more to symbolize a place where worship is offered, rather than a place where authority is delegated from. Jesus will still be the central head of the whole family of God, and I know this cannot be grasped with the natural mind, but I say again and again, this is not a literal, tangible city. I can hear some of you saying, but does the Bible not say in John 14:2, In my Father’s house are many mansions? Yes, it does say that, but have you ever thought that the word mansion, or mansions, comes from a Greek word that could have just as well be translated, ABODES, or RESTING PLACES? Look it up for yourselves if you like, then you will see that every true son of God is an abode of His. He dwells there. The house of God is no more a tangible building than the house of Jacob, or the house of Abraham, or the house of David. The house terminology is the same; the only difference is that God is Spirit, and therefore able to take up residence in every member of His house. In other words, the house of God is the family of God. Anyone who has a revelation that Roman Catholicism, the false church which is described in chapters 17 and 18, of Revelation, is referred to as a woman, then as we read on we find that the woman is a system made up of people and referred to later, as a city, ought to be able to see that the city of the living God is people also. The Devil has a city, and God has a city. Satan has his city decked with natural gold, silver, and precious stones which have material value, but the city of God is decked with His Shekinah glory, and the stones of it are not carnal, but spiritual stones. We are talking about God’s spiritual city now, not the Jerusalem in the land of Israel.
GATES – TRIBES
Let us take a look at the other description of the city as John sees it, 21:11. He sees it coming down, “Having the glory of God; and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” (Bro. Jackson: I thought it was a city of Gold.) It is gold, but it is not the kind you and I are associated with; its beauty, its light, its glory was like unto a jasper stone, clear as crystal. That means you could see through it. It reflects something. In verse 12, we see it taking on dimensional form, “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” Now, if that is not a natural city, with a natural wall, then what does all that mean? It simply signifies that the way into that city was set forth in types and shadows in the age when God dwelt with the children of Israel, which was a nation with twelve tribes. We all know that the way into any city is through its gates, and the way into this age of grace, and the church of the living God was all typed out, or set forth in types and shadows in the law age. Let us take that back to what Paul said in Hebrews, concerning the tabernacle Moses was commanded to build in the wilderness. God said, “See that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the mount,” the pattern of the heavenly tabernacle which was pitched by the Lord. Think of this Saints, if there was a heavenly tabernacle, it has to be the blueprint of the church of the living God. That earthly tabernacle, in its natural structure and dimensions, was to type what the church would be in its redeemed state, and relationship with God. Alright now, there were three gates on the east three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations.” The foundation of a wall (in building terms) is called a footing. That which holds up the wall giving it a solid foundation, is called a footing, and I have never yet heard of a wall having more than one footing, regardless of how thick or how high it may be, but here, in this spiritual wall, we have 12 foundations. Why? Why have 12 foundations? Praise the Lord, this takes on real significance here; for in those foundations were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. John saw his name there as his eyes passed over those layers of the foundations. Can you imagine how his old heart must have leaped within him? Probably, there was a big teardrop run down his face about that time, as his head jerked back to take another look.
APOSTLES – FOUNDATIONS
Let me ask you a question now. Did the apostle Paul carry any earthly material up there while he was alive? Did Peter, James, or John carry anything up there to lay in the foundations of the wall of that city? We all know better than that; therefore those foundational layers portray the life and ministry of those apostles, and the revelation that they held in their bosom as they went forth under the leadership of the Holy Ghost, being inspired of Him to preach the gospel to every creature. Of course it all began with the Jews, and it is true that the apostle Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but according to church history, each and every one of those apostles ministered, at times, to the Gentile congregations as time moved on. It was all in the plan of God for them to be instruments, by which, He would lay a sure foundation for his church. We will talk about this more, as we come to verse 19, but now, let us look at the dimensions of this city. Verse 15, “And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth four square, (we are getting in to the mathematical language of it now) and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” I am a poor mathematician, and know very little about it, but I do know when you start talking about foursquare in mathematical terms, you are talking about a cube. I know this also; you cannot add to, or take away from a cube. If you have twelve thousand this way, twelve thousand this way, and twelve thousand this way, you have a cube. If you only had 11,900 on one side it would not be a cube, would it? I see that God used mathematical language here to show the climax, or completeness of something that would be of the total plan of redemption for the whole human race. It is all symbolized right here so beautifully. To the natural mind it looks like such a natural setting, but to the spiritual mind that already has that question settled, it presents a beautiful picture of completeness. If you try to change its form, you automatically uncube it, and it becomes an incomplete revelation. Any time you change the dimensions of a cube, you lose your cube, and the only way you can get it back is to put back what you took away. Is that not what we read in the last few verses of Revelation? It tells us what will happen to anyone who adds to, or takes from the words that are written in the prophecy of this book. We must accept it just like it is, for what it says, no more, and no less. Verse 17, “And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 18, And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: (John evidently used the word jasper in an attempt to describe something that was too beautiful to be described with human words) and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” The peculiarity of the description of this gold should tell us something. We all know that pure gold, in the natural, is not clear as glass, no matter how refined it is. We know that gold is either white or yellow; therefore we are made to understand that this is a spiritual term applied to pure, undefiled faith. This symbolizes the fact that the souls of the redeemed church are abiding in perfect faith, the faith they had in this earthly life, which was tested and tried by fire. What did Jesus say to the church at Laodicea? “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” Surely we do not think He is going to give us natural gold; what spiritual good would natural gold be to a people that were lukewarm spiritually? If we can see then, that the gold referred to is faith, we can easily see that the city of gold symbolizes the perfected state of that faith. Some will say, I did not know that the Lord Jesus would give us faith; and others are continuously praying for more faith. In each situation there needs to be some direction. The scriptures teach us that to every man is given a measure of faith. If that faith is exercised in believing God’s word, it brings an increase in faith back to us according to God’s law of sowing, and reaping with increase. Faith and revelation go hand in hand. We are given a measure of faith; then through that faith we receive a revelation of who Jesus Christ is (the incarnate God, Himself) and that revelation increases our faith sufficiently to believe the other things that are set forth in the Bible, but not without trials and tests along the way. Every revelation we receive has to be tested by the fires of ridicule and persecution; that is what determines whether it was a revelation or just an idea. A genuine revelation becomes a part of you that no amount of persecution can cancel out. Turn to 1 Peter 1:3-9, for just a few minutes, and we will see what the apostle Peter added to the subject of faith, gold and fire. 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an INHERITANCE incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are KEPT by the POWER OF GOD THROUGH FAITH unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness THROUGH MANIFOLD TEMPTATIONS: (why?) THAT THE TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH, being much more precious than of GOLD that perisheth, though it be tried with FIRE (why did Peter use such an illustration if he was not making a comparison between our faith, – GOLD – and natural – GOLD – ?) Might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet BELIEVING, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your FAITH, even the salvation of your souls.” I believe these words of Peter more than establish the fact that our Faith is likened unto pure GOLD, and the reason John described it as being like clear glass is because the bride (the city) is pure and clean with nothing left to defile or corrupt her. In this verse the CITY is pure GOLD, and in verse 21 he said the STREET of that city was pure GOLD. Brothers and sisters, I would rather have this kind of gold to cherish in my soul than all the other you could load on a burro’s back. This gold isn’t heavy. It will not get you all humped over, carrying it. As a matter of fact, it will have a reverse effect on you; it will make you stand up straight and hold your head high. It will cause you to look up to heaven and say, THANK you, Lord, as you realize just how blessed you are. The devil has worked hard at his task of getting people to look at these scriptures from the standpoint of natural reasoning, and he has had a tremendous amount of success in his program, but bride saints must be able to look beyond the natural realm, and see the beautiful plan of God unfolding in those last days.
Let us continue on now with verse 19, “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was JASPER; the second, SAPPHIRE; the third, a CHALCEDONY; the fourth, an EMERALD; the fifth, SARDONYX; the sixth, SARDIUS; the seventh, CHRYSOLITE; the eighth, BERYL; the ninth, a TOPAZ; the tenth, a CHRYSOPRASUS; the eleventh, a JACINTH; and the twelfth, an AMETHYST.” Each stone is to typify the beauty and splendor of the life of that apostle, as he went forth carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth. His ministry and relationship to the people, reflected as the beauty of these stones as he went forth planting seed of revelation in their souls. Those apostles were pointing the way through the gates of that city where people could find rest and refuge for their weary souls, an eternal rest from their adversary, which is the devil. Watch this next verse now, 21, “And the twelve GATES were twelve pearls; (signifying something pure, which is exactly what was portrayed through the age of the law, in types) every several GATE was of one pearl: and the STREET (SINGULAR) of the CITY was pure GOLD, as it were transparent glass.” As you walk down the STREET of that CITY, you are walking in the eternal realm of perfect faith, faith that has been made pure and clean through redemption which God worked through Jesus Christ. Think of it, the CITY, and its STREET was of the same substance. A city is not just a street, but the street certainly IS part of the city. It goes to show that this city, with all of its splendor, referred to as the Lamb’s wife, the bride of Christ, is completely, and wholly, in every aspect of its makeup, souls that have been redeemed and made perfect through faith which is in Jesus Christ. Speaking of the gates of pearl in the wall of that city, and for whatever it may be worth, it is interesting to note, that the Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1963 edition, lists 12 colors, or shades of pearl. Then as we consider how a pearl is formed, by calcareous concretion, built layer upon layer, to protect the pearl oyster from whatever irritant caused the process to begin in the first place, we can see how this parallels with the lives of the people who made up the twelve tribes of Israel. The substance which forms into a beautiful pearl is already present in the oyster shell, in the oyster, but of little or no value gem-wise, until an intruder enters the picture. Reaction to the intruder forms the substance into beautiful pearls. Is that not how it was with the children of Israel? Their character, and stature was molded as they reacted to the intrusions of their enemies, which were enemies of God, who is the source of all substance. God does not need protection for Himself, but it was His enemies that brought out the best, of the children of Israel.
TEAR THIS TEMPLE DOWN
As we come to verse 22, it calls our attention back to verse 3, which we spoke of already, where a voice from heaven spoke saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.” When John heard those words he was viewing the city from an outside position, but as we come to verse 22, John is seeing within the city, and that is when he said, “And I saw no TEMPLE therein.” What does that mean? It means he did not see any kind of a building within the city where a person could go to and say, This is where God is. In the natural Jerusalem which is built on top of Mount Zion, there stood a temple, the place where God chose to place His presence, His Shekinah glory. That city also had a wall around it, and gates in the wall, and buildings within; many buildings, but God only chose to place His presence in one of those buildings, the temple, which was a type, to foreshadow the very thing that God has given to you and I. Anything that was to foreshadow the bride of Christ, in her perfected state would, of necessity, have to be a thing of beauty for the eyes to behold. It was the beauty of it that the disciples of Jesus were taken with. They came to Him one day just to call his attention to the beauty and splendor of the temple, but Jesus surprised them by saying, Matt. 24:2, “See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” That was a surprise to the, but they were even more surprised the day He said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” That is when the Jews became indignant saying, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” Every Jew standing there thought He was blaspheming against their most sacred holy place, but naturally, He was speaking of the temple of His body, the place where God has always desired to place His eternal presence, (in the body of His true people) since the day He created Adam. With such a revelation as this, it is no wonder the apostle Peter referred to believers as lively stones, built up into a spiritual house, and Paul referred to that house as a holy temple in the Lord. For a parallel thought let us consider a natural setting, using the temple in the natural city, (Jerusalem) where God place His presence. Like we said already; there were many buildings in the city, but only one where God had chosen to place His presence. Just suppose that while God’s presence was in that natural temple, all the other buildings of the city had been erased from the picture, leaving the wall around the city, but nothing inside the wall except the temple of God: you may consider this to be a poor example of illustration, but inside the wall of that new city, the spiritual Jerusalem, there will be nothing except the bride of Christ, the Lamb’s wife. Even though there will be many, separate, individuals making up the bride, they are all referred to as one body, one building which is the house of God. The whole city inside the wall is one building of God, one building, but with many individual abodes within that one building. That is why John had to say, “I saw no temple therein: because God’s eternal presence was in every building (immortal body) of that city.” It may sound like the picture gets a little twisted when John says, “For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it,” but remember what Jesus prayed for in John 17:20-23, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: That they ALL may be ONE; (one body) as thou, Father, art IN ME, (Father-eternal Spirit-in the Word-the Son) and I IN THEE, (Son-the Word-in the Spirit) that they also may be ONE IN US: (one body in God who is Word and Spirit) that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that THEY MAY BE ONE, (one body) EVEN AS WE ARE ONE: (Spirit and Word-one God) I IN THEM, (the Word in the body) and THOU IN ME, (the Spirit in the Word which is in the body) that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Now you can see that, even though we are the temple of God, and He is in us, we also are in Him; therefore it is not strange for John to say that God is the temple of the new city. Verse 3, The tabernacle of God is with men, (He is in us) and verse 22, The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it, (we are in Him) go together to show complete oneness between God and His redeemed family. With Him in us, and us in Him, it becomes a beautiful picture. That is exactly as it was in the garden, in the beginning. Adam’s natural body was made to give him contact with the earthly realm, but his spiritual body (the inner man) which was made in the image and likeness of God, enable him to move freely in fellowshipping God at any moment. He had free access to both worlds, or realms of habitation. With redemption and restoration fully completed, it will be God in His people, and His people in Him, a perfect union.
NO SUN – NO MOON
Now we will take a closer look at verse 23, “And the city had no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine IN IT: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” My, what a beautiful picture that is: a city that has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, the glory of God being the light of it. Remember what I said earlier though, do not run off and say there will be no more sun or moon in the eternal age, for that is not what it says at all. It only says that the CITY (the bride) had no need of the sun and moon to lighten it; the natural world will have the same need for the light of the sun and moon that it has always had. The big difference will be in the fact that the sun will be seven times brighter than before, and therefore the moon reflecting such brightness will cancel out all darkness; there will be no more night. Just as there will be no night, or darkness in the city, (the redeemed church) there will be no darkness over the whole face of the earth. There will be light everywhere. Now some of you are sure to say, But how could men stand for the sun to be 7 times brighter? Would it not scorch them to death? No, you are thinking in terms of the way it is now. I assure you of this: if everything else stayed the same, and the sun was made 7 times brighter, we would not last ten minutes in it, but when God has completed His redemption process, He will have a perfect climate all the time. It will never be too hot, nor too cold again. The earth will be back in its perfect orbit again, and all the water will be back in its original place, much of it forming a protective belt around the earth. I realize it is hard for us, because of our present environment, to visualize a perfect environment, but we must remember that every unpleasant thing that we know anything about is a result of sin. It was not like that in the beginning, and therefore will not be like that when redemption is completed.
Let us read these last four verses now to complete chapter 21, “And the nations of them which are saved (as we said earlier, this will be the mortal realm of people that pass from the millennium into the eternal age after their testing by the devil who is loosed for a little season) shall walk in the light of it: (the light of the bride) and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there, (the gates of the natural city, Jerusalem, were closed at night to keep out intruders, vandals, bandits, murderers, and such like, but there will be no need for any such in the eternal age) 26, And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Do you get the picture here? It is a picture of the large host of saved, (yes they are saved) natural people from all nations bringing their glory and honour to the BRIDE realm of God’s redeemed people. All these had their names written in the Lamb’s book of life from before the foundation of the world, because of the foreknowledge of God. He knew who would accept His offer of eternal life, and also who would reject it, before He ever created the first man, Adam. Election, predestination, and foreknowledge of God have been bo-gey subjects among denominational church people, all down through the ages, chiefly because of carnal reasoning. People who reject teaching on these subjects, say, “If God knew ahead of time that man would sin, why did He go ahead and create him in the first place?” Or they will say, “Why did He not create a man that would not sin? Could He not have done that?” Yes, He could have done that, but then, He would have had a family of robots. Where would He have received His honour, His praise, His worship? He is a God of many attributes, or abilities which He chose to express through His creation, many of which could never have been expressed if man had not sinned, such as forgiveness, mercy, longsuffering, patience, redeemer, and an endless list of other things. Some even say, “That sounds cruel,” but remember, God did not force man to sin; He created him with a will of his own, so that he could choose what he would do, (he was in the image of God) but God knew what choices he (the man) would make. Then, through this process, as the redemption process comes to a climax, God has a family of people that have counted their fellowship and communion with Him to be more precious than all of what Satan has to offer; therefore they worship Him by their own choice, after having known about all of Satan’s enticing offers. These are they whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life through the foreknowledge of God.
LET ME EXPLAIN
There are some things in chapter 22, for us to consider, as John continues his description of what he sees inside the new city, but first I want to say something to you, of a little different nature. When a preacher stands in the pulpit telling people what he is looking at, and declaring it to be truth, then he should be allowed to do his utmost to prove by the scriptures, to all interested parties, that what he is seeing is not just mere assumption, even if it requires repeating certain things over and over again. I have found that most people do not catch all of what is said, the first time they hear it anyhow. Therefore; as we go on into chapter 22, I will be repeating some of what has been said already, and I pray that it will be helpful and meaningful to each of you. I have never been a person that enjoyed probing around in things unless I felt like, when I got through, something worthwhile had come out of it. I do not like to poke around in something, and then have to back out of it, feeling that all my efforts have been in vain, still just as mystified as before I started. I realize that certain things in the scriptures have been shut up to man’s understanding until a certain time, and those things were to be left alone until we felt like we had something concrete to start with, establishing what we are talking about. I realize also, that because of our traditional teaching, in denominations, many times, when we start touching on certain subjects which tear down traditional ideas, it is sort of like a wrecking crew going out to tear down certain old landmarks of a particular area; all kinds of reasoning is brought to bear upon the subject. You hear statements like this, “It is a shame to tear down something that required so much effort to build, or, why tear it down, it isn’t hurting anything?” As you start tearing off the fancy trim, revealing the skeleton, hearts are saddened; then when those last 2×4’s are torn down you have nothing but a pile of rubbish, which, if left like that would be a distasteful situation, but when the rubbish is cleared away, and something more beautiful is built in its place, those same hearts are made to rejoice. That is what we desire to do with this message; tear down tradition which we have carried around with us, and build in its place, something of revelation truth that will help us in these last days. In approaching this subject, my purpose has been to try and give each of you something that would cause you to question your own mind, could it really be like this, or should it be, or can it be? In other words I want you to be thoroughly convinced when we have finished, that what we are talking about is right. Up to this point we have tried our best to show you, by the scriptures, that this city John saw coming down out of heaven is not to be looked upon as a tangible city of literal stones and such like, but rather, it is to be seen as the redeemed body of Christ, the church, and now as we come to chapter 22, where we find John giving a description of the internal setting of the city, we cannot help but notice that it is a description of a garden setting. That lets us know that this is God’s way of bringing us back to what we (in Adam) were driven out of in Genesis, chapter 3, six thousand years ago. There was no way we could look back through the scriptures, and even begin to get a proper picture of what the garden of Eden was like, for we have been walking away from it ever since that day, but here in the end of the Bible, at the end of the account of all God’s dealing with mankind, we find a description of what the garden of Eden was like in the day when man was first placed there.
RIVERS – WELLS – SPRINGS – FOUNTAINS
Let us consider John’s description of what he saw in the new city, chapter 22, verse 1. “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” This is a picture of God placing His throne, his eternal presence, right in the hearts of mankind. Let me say this, all the natural water this planet will ever have is cycled right here on earth today, and there is not one ounce of eternal life within any of it. Do you catch the picture? Every natural tree that will ever be here, is here already, but not one of them is the tree of life. This should speak to some of you who are still not quite convinced that the tree of life in the garden of Eden was not a natural tree of plant life. Remember, John saw this city coming down from God out of heaven. It was descending to earth, for the voice said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,” then he looked inside and saw this river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God. It grant you; it does sound like John was seeing a natural river, but be assured, it is not a natural river of water flowing there; rather, it is something that typifies the ever present flowing of the Spirit of God to the souls of His redeemed people. Even in this age Jesus spoke of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of eternal life, in terms of water. We read it in John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, AS THE SCRIPTURE HATH SAID, (your believing must be according to revelation of the scripture, instead of denominational ideas) out of his belly shall flow RIVERS OF LIVING WATER.” (This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Various translations render it differently. Some have it rivers of living water, others, fountains, springs, or wells of living water, but regardless of what words the translators may have used, they all pertain to the Spirit of eternal life, the very presence of God in a measure, which He has placed in every true believer since the day of Pentecost. That LIVING WATER is not for the flesh to live on; it is for the soul to feed upon. He doesn’t take up, or make His abode in us only after we are perfect; He comes in when we truly believe and surrender our lives to Him. Then, from within, He bubbles up like a well, or fountain of water, leading us to perfection. That is the only thing our soul has to feed from, it cannot survive from natural water alone. Now, what are we saying? Simply this, God, who is Spirit, (John 4:24) and not matter, (material substance that occupies space and has weight) is that tree of life which was in the garden of Eden. There are many ways to express it, none of which are sufficient for the soul which is able to receive revelation of the scriptures. The cherubim, and flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life, in simple terms, were set between God and Adam, to keep Adam, who was created in the image and likeness of God, with free access into the spirit world, into the very presence of God, from being able to enter back into His eternal presence, as he (Adam) had been able to do before he sinned. Before man could have access into God’s eternal presence again, as Adam had the privilege of before the fall, all traces of sin and rebellion had to be blotted out. That is what God has been working out through His redemptive process for the past 6,000 years, but saints, be assured, the fulfillment of Revelation 21, doesn’t have very much more than the Millennium and the 70th week of Daniel, standing between then and now, if you get what I mean. Please do not say that I have declared the grace age to be closed out already; I did not say that. I will leave that in the hands of God, but I will say this to you, “Please do not try to push it way off in the future somewhere, for it is definitely a time for the bride of Christ to be watching the scriptures being fulfilled, almost daily. Jesus said, Matt. 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the END come.”
STREET – TREES – FRUIT
Alright, we were talking about a river of water of life, clear as crystal, which John saw proceeding out of the throne of God, in that new city, the holy Jerusalem, “And in the MIDST (same word as Gen. 2:9) of the STREET of it, and on either side of the RIVER, was there the TREE OF LIFE.” You will notice the wording of this verse 2; it speaks of the tree of life in plural terms (on EITHER SIDE of the river was there the tree of life) and to the natural mind, it says there will be two trees of life in that city, but the spiritual mind that is capable of taking on the mind of Christ, sees only one tree of life, which is the very presence of God (OMNIPRESENT) in the whole area of that city. The natural type setting, the river, the tree of life, and the street, are to typify the believer’s walk, and approach to God. We mortals must have a description of heavenly things in terms that we are able to relate to, then God, by revelation, can take that natural setting, and allow us to make a spiritual application of what we see. In other words, if the tree of life back there in the garden of Eden was not a natural tree, (and we know it was not) then the tree of life in the new city is not going to be a natural tree either; but let us consider the remainder of verse 2, which takes on a feminine gender. Take it right from the beginning now, and read straight through. “In the MIDST of the STREET of it, and on EITHER SIDE of THE RIVER, was there the TREE OF LIFE, which BARE TWELVE MANNER OF FRUITS, and yielded her FRUIT every month: and the LEAVES of the TREE were for the HEALING of the NATIONS.” The feminine gender here speaks of the church, which is always spoken of in the feminine, rather than the masculine, being the bride of Christ. The church is referred to as a woman all through the scriptures. She has been redeemed back to God, purchased with His own blood, and as a glorious result of that redemption, she has inherited that eternal life which is in Christ, which is in God. In this life the church is to bear 9 fruits of the Spirit, LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, and TEMPERANCE, but the, after immortality has been swallowed up by mortality and carnality, to those nine will be added three more, in the eternal age, WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, and VIRTUE, which we have not possessed in this life, but only tasted of, as God permitted from time to time. Now, we see through a glass darkly, (or faintly) but then, face to face. When we are able to see face to face, then we will know, perfectly, also, for wisdom and knowledge are kinward; they go together. If you can just keep in mind that this whole message is built around the new city, holy Jerusalem, and remember that everything in that city is something that speaks of the church and its relationship to God, it will be easier to make spiritual application as we continue on here.
TREE LEAVES – HEALING – THREES
Since John only saw one street in such a city, it ought to be easy to see that it is to have spiritual application, even if there was nothing else to look at, for such a city in the natural would have many streets. Think of this also; since the city is four square, (the height, the length, and the width all equal) it would be necessary to have levels or layers with streets on each level, if it were a natural city, Right? Some of you who have no trouble reconciling the fact that it is a spiritual city may wonder why we go into so much detail in establishing our point on the subject. To you I will say this, if you could hear some of the questions people ask about this city, you would understand why we want to give them everything we possibly can, to look at, as they study the subject. Getting back to the subject of the 12 manner of fruits the tree of life is to bare in that age, it says she yielded her fruit every month, and like I said earlier, I believe God will have this old planet back on its perfect 360 day to the year orbit by then, so that each month will start at the rising of the new moon. We do not have the time to go into every detail of it, but the Hebrew calendar runs like that. Remembering what the 12 fruits are, we know it will be continuous bliss, especially when we consider what the last part of that verse pertains to. “The leaves of the tree (catch that, THE TREE, singular) were for the healing of the nations.” Bro. Jackson, what does that mean? Will they use them to make medicine for the natural people? No, that is not what it means at all. Think of a park or garden setting. The leaves of those trees are mainly for shade and shelter. Try to catch my thought now; they shelter you from the heat of the sun and provide a more comfortable atmosphere. But Bro. Jackson: I thought you said we would have a perfect climate then. That is right. We will, but remember, we are not talking about a natural tree; we are only using natural trees to help us make a spiritual application here. The leaves of a tree cast a shadow, a covering, and under the covering of that tree is where men like to sit and talk. You do not see men going out into an open field to sit and talk. No, they go sit under the shade, or shadow of a tree someplace. There is something about it that creates a desirable environment. Where did Abraham talk with God? Or if you prefer; where did God talk to Abraham? Under the oak tree. That is where men have had some of heir closest fellowship. Therefore the leaves of this tree are to symbolize the casting of a shadow of fellowship among all nations of people. Remember, these are natural people who repopulated the earth during the Millennium, and in times past, (like in our age) there were many nations that did not fellowship, or have friendly relationships with each other. Not so in the eternal age, for then all breaches will be healed. Verse 3 says, “And there shall be no more curse.” Every curse that has been added through the ages will have been removed, done away with, so that there will be nothing to hinder or prevent people in that age from having perfect fellowship with each other. The people of the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city, presenting themselves to the bride, the bride being the highest calling of God, that men can attain to. There will be nothing of any defiling nature present in that day. All will be clean and pure in that city. “But the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” We have already covered the part about the sun, and also the moon, in dealing with verse 23, in chapter 21; therefore I feel it should be sufficient just to say, it could not possibly be dark at night with the moon shining as bright as the noon day sun, Isa. 30:26. Then we have the verse, “His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” You just heard me say, the bride church is the highest calling of God in His redemptive work, but I hope you can see that God completes certain works in the number 3. Just for a few examples, we know that there are three office works (not three persons) of the one God, FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST. There are three phases of the first resurrection, WHEN CHRIST AND OTHERS AROSE, WHEN THE BRIDE IS RESURRECTED AND CAUGHT UP WITH THE LIVING ELEMENT BEFORE THE GREAT TRIBULATION, and third, WHEN THE TRIBULATION SAINTS ARE RESURRECTED, AFTER THE TRIBULATION HAS CLIMAXED. Then for another example we can look at God’s angelic family. He has CHERUBIM, ARCH ANGELS, and the LESSER ANGELS who are referred to as MINISTERING SPIRITS for the HEIRS OF SALVATION, (that is, for you and I) making 3 realms of angels. There are many other illustrations we could use, but I believe this should be enough to establish the fact, and say that, in the eternal age there will be three realms of sainthood. But there will not be one bit of envy nor jealousy from any of the least of the redeemed. Just as there is no striving among God’s angelic family, neither will there be any among God’s family of redeemed mankind. This does not leave any room for argument as to whether all men are equal or not. It is obvious that in the whole scope of God’s redeemed people, they are not, but they are all equally loved by God, their creator. We ought to be thankful to God for what He has revealed to us, and for the privilege we have; He could have let us be born in the Millennium, you know.
Now we have just about covered the verses which deal with the new city, holy Jerusalem, so let us review a little in the hope that we can collect it all together in our memory. After all, our mind is the doorway to our spirit; therefore every revelation we receive comes in through the mind where it must pass the scrutiny of the five senses. When it gets past there, into our spirit, we have a revelation which is then a part of our makeup. The devil cannot get it away from us after it becomes a revelation. Alright, 21:1, John saw a new heaven and a new earth which in reality are the same one we know, made new through redemption. 2, Then he saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. We carry that over to verses 9 and 10, and we are told that this city is the Lamb’s wife. The Lamb only has one wife, and that is His Gentile bride, the church. Verse 3, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.” This shows us that in the eternal age God will place His full eternal presence back in the midst of His people, just as it was before the first man sinned. Verse 4 shows complete redemption, with all former things passed away. Verse 5, John’s attention is being directed to the fact that he is seeing things as they will be when God has finished His redeeming process. Verse 6 identifies the Eternal One, who is the beginning, and the end of all things, as the one who is doing the speaking up to this point, promising eternal life to all who are thirsting for it, (not all men are) and by revelation we know His name. His redemption name is Jesus, the Christ. Verse 7, shows us that there is some overcoming for us to work out in order to inherit all of what God has made available to us. Verse 8 gives us a look at who will be cast into the lake of fire, along with the devil, the beast, and the false prophet which are already in there, to completely cleanse the earth from everything that has defiled it since the garden of Eden affair. Verses 9 and 10 have already been covered, and verse 11, shows us that the city is saturated with the glory and presence of Elohim, the self existent one, the eternal God, which is her light that reflects as clear as crystal.
PRAISE – SALVATION – HOLINESS
When we come to verse 12, we find a great, high wall which is symbolic of perfect security and safety, the wall having twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel written on them, signifying that the way into this walled city was worked out in types and shadows through these Israelites in the law age. Verse 13, with three gates on each of the four sides of the wall, speak of the fact that the city is made up of redeemed saints that have come from every direction on the face of this old globe. Between verses 13 and 14, let me say this, Isaiah gives us another set of three’s, 60:18, violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shall call thy WALLS SALVATION, and thy GATES PRAISE. Then in 62:9 it speaks of the COURTS OF MY HOLINESS. Now when you connect PRAISE, SALVATION, and HOLINESS together, you see a threefold redemptive work accomplished in the saints of God. Alright now, we connect the praise with the children of Israel which pointed the way through the gates into that city of God’s redeemed. The wall of that city, verse 14, had 12 foundations with the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb in them. It was the apostles of the Lamb that laid the foundation for the faith of our salvation, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Remember, the wall, or walls of that city are called salvation. Why? They symbolize the fact that the bride, the church, has found the security, that place of safety and protection, in Christ in God, which men in the natural, in days of old, sought from the protective walls of natural cities. Walls, in our day of modern warfare, are of little significance, since they cannot protect anyone from a nuclear attack, but they are symbolized in the scriptures dealing with this spiritual city because of the salvation (deliverance from enemies) they furnished to men in days of old. The reason Ezekiel 38 refers to the people of God who dwell in safety in unwalled cities, is because it is referring to the people in this age that have been brought back to the land of Israel in fulfillment of the scriptures, and God Himself, is their wall, their protection, their defense, for the simple reason that a wall around the natural city of Jerusalem could not protect them against an attack from Russia and her allies when it comes. We see that verses 15, 16, and 17, all go together, for they pertain to the measurements of the city, the gates and the wall. The twelve thousand furlongs of the city, and the hundred and forty-four cubits of the wall seem to speak of the vastness of the city itself. One thing we do want to notice though is that the city is four square. In other words, equal in every direction (cubed) pointing to a finished work. When something is cubed, you cannot add to, or take from, without marring the picture. That is why it could not be pictured as a pyramid the way some people think; the language here rules out any such thought. Four square, the length, the breadth, and the height being equal, could not be represented in a pyramid. No, this foursquare terminology definitely represents the fact that God’s redemption process is a completed work, and that the bride, (which is the city itself) is made up of saints that are all perfected. There are three realms of sainthood in God’s redeemed family, but the bride saints themselves are all those who were perfected in this life. Verses 18, 19 and 20 go together in their description of the wall, its foundations, and the stones which garnished them with beauty. The city of God speaking of the perfect faith of the bride church, is explained in detail earlier in the message, and remember these stones are to represent the life and ministry of the various apostles they apply to. In other words the twelve apostles of the Lamb which carried the gospel to all nations, laying the foundation stones of the church of the living God. Some stones (we are told) are formed by tremendous pressure, others by tremendous heat and so forth; therefore God used these different stones to symbolize the life and ministry, and character of those apostles. Verse 21, speaking of the twelve gates being twelve pearls, each gate of one pearl, remember, these gates represent the 12 tribes of Israel, which speak of the way into the city, how God worked it out in types and shadows in the law age, and the pearl which has its formation perfected because of an intruder, (an enemy) lays perfectly in line with what the children of Israel suffered at the hands of their enemies. The street of pure gold, even as transparent glass speaks of the fact that the faith of the church, which is more precious than gold, tried in the fire, has come forth so pure that there is not a speck of anything left to mar that faith or keep her from approaching God. The way to perfect fellowship with God is faith, faith which has been tried in the fires of ridicule and persecution, and come forth pure and spotless. 22, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple of it.” In other words the city itself is made up of people. There are no natural buildings, and every immortal body there has the same measure of the presence of God; therefore there is no certain place designated as the place where the omnipresent God would place His presence. He will be in us, and we in Him; therefore He IS the temple of the CITY. 23, “The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” The city itself, (the people) had no need of these lights, but the planet will still have the sun and moon to shine on it. 24, The nations of natural people will walk in the light of that city; in other words, in the light of the revelation of the bride, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honour to the church, the bride which is the city. 25, The gates of the city shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. This simply means that since the moon will be as bright as the sun, there will be no darkness, and the fact that the gates are never closed, speaks of the fact that the natural people of the nations will have constant access into the presence of the church, the bride saints. It speaks also, symbolically, of the fact that there is no more evil present, no robbers, no murderers and therefore no necessity or reason to close the gates. Every reference here, furnishes us with many avenues of thought, once we get a glimpse of the fact that everything man has associated with in this life, is represented symbolically, in this city with its wall and 12 gates. Verse 26, goes with verse 24, and verse 27 shows that every defiling thing has been cut off, and only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life remain.
NO MORE CURSE
You remember now that the pure river of water of life represents, symbolically, the very life and presence of God that is in the midst of His redeemed family. The tree of life in the midst of the street and on either side of the river is that eternal presence of God that the cherubim have kept guard on, ever since the day man was driven from the garden. The tree of life will bear 12 manner of fruits. Wisdom, knowledge, and virtue will be added to the nine fruits of the spirit that the church has had through the age of grace. Yielding her fruit every month speaks of a continuous condition of bliss, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. In other words, this symbolizes the fellowship that men have as they sit in the shade of natural trees. In that day all breaches will be healed between the nations, and there will be perfect fellowship between all people, from all nations; so the leaves are symbolic of casting a shadow of fellowship, creating a peaceful environment. The curse will be removed and everything that has kept men of various cultures from fellowshipping each other will no longer exist. Verse 3 also speaks of the fact that the servants of God will serve Him. Those servants will be people in the natural realm, people who have passed through the Millennium. They shall see his face; (remember, men in that day will be as Adam was before the fall) and His name shall be in their foreheads. There will be no night, because of the brightness of the sun, and the moon, and they shall reign for ever and ever. (We are going to print a message very shortly, that will deal with this tern, for ever and ever, also the words eternal and everlasting.) Verse 7, promises a blessing to those who keep the words, or sayings of the prophecy of this book. We are reminded here of something we read in the very first chapter of the book, verse 3, “Blessed is he that READETH and THEY THAT HEAR the words of this prophecy, and keep those thinks which are written therein.”
BROTHER BRANHAM SAID
Now I realize that we could never say enough to convince some people that John was not seeing a literal city, but before I close, there is something else I want to say. Some of you believe it is a natural city, a city of material matter that is constructed according to the measurements in chapter 21, verse 16, twelve thousand furlongs, and foursquare. It is bad enough for people who are supposed to be revelated, to believe that, but at least you have some scripture to look at. What is really hard to digest is the fact that there are others who believe it will be a natural city of material matter, constructed in the shape of a pyramid, all because of something Brother Branham said. They do not have the first verse of scripture for that idea. Let me tell you something else that Brother Branham said; it will line up with the scriptures, and it will lay right alongside this message. I will quote Bro. Branham; these are his very words, “I have never believed that heaven was a place where there was a bunch of buildings, where there was a bunch of houses up there, made with mortar, doped up with paper, paint on the walls. I have never believed that a supernatural being would have to live in a literal house. I believe, when Jesus spoke, in John 14; saying, in my Father’s house are many mansions, He meant, a body, a dwelling place, for the scriptures verify the same thing and say; ‘If this earthly tabernacle be dissolved we have one already waiting.’ It meant, mortal beings are the only ones who live in mortal habitations; immortal beings live in immortal habitations.” I could go on and on, but I feel that this should be enough to cause those who desire to follow truth, to shake themselves, and find out if they are really in the faith. There is no salvational merit in anything that anyone says, unless that which is said lines up with scriptures; God does not contradict Himself. Let me say this also; if you are unable to get a picture in your mind of how it was on earth before the fall of man, then you will probably have difficulty visualizing the eternal age, when earth has been redeemed and returned to its former state. Remember, the first Adam, the beginning of the old creation, brought sin, death and corruption to the earth through his disobedience, but the second Adam, the Lord of glory, in the form of flesh, has perfected a complete redemption for all of God’s creation through His perfect obedience. He did not come to create another tree, another blade of grass, nor anything else. His work was to redeem and deliver back to God, that which has already been created.
We have read these verses already, but I want to conclude this message by reading them again, 1 Corinthians 15:21-26. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23, But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. 24, THEN COMETH THE END, (there is more than three thousand years of time covered in verse 23, for verse 24 brings us up to the beginning of the eternal age) when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, (eternal Spirit) even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” We await that glorious day, Amen.