WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT THE DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY JOHN SAW COMING DOWN FROM GOD OUT OF HEAVEN, SO LET US GO TO VERSE 9, OF REVELATION, CHAPTER 21 AND CONTINUE ON, AS WE CONSIDER THE DESCRIPTION OF THIS CITY OF PARADISE.
We are going to move down to verse 9, since we have sufficiently covered the first 8 verses. We want to consider all of what John wrote about this city as we go along. Before I begin reading again let me say this, The little drawing you see up here behind me is just an illustrative drawing of how John no doubt looked upon this city as he saw it coming down from God out of heaven. It has to have certain characteristics and identities that make him see it as a city, looking at it from an external view. He is not inside the city, since he is standing looking at it descend to earth, therefore we understand that he sees it in an external profile. As we read our text earlier, I was reminded of how religionists have looked upon this description through the centuries, always looking at it as a literal city. Only God Himself knows how many times we have heard people say, I am going to walk on streets of gold. Well saints, when we really read it and consider it, you are going to find out that this is a different kind of gold than what you would wear on a watch that has been plated with gold to keep it from tarnishing. This drawing is to illustrate something that we will go back into the book of 1st Kings, in the 6th chapter, to look at, where we read about the temple that King Solomon built. This is a rough drawing of it, just to give you the dimensions of that temple. This one colored part is to distinguish between what was called the oracle and the other parts. It was a room placed in the far end of the structure which was the temple. It was called the oracle. This is a cut away view looking into this room face on, how it would be seen by the high priest as he would enter into it. This is the overall outer dimensions of the temple King Solomon built, as you would read in 1st Kings 6. It was sixty cubits long. That is equivalent to ninety feet. It was twenty cubits wide. That is equivalent to thirty feet. That is one third of its overall length. It is thirty cubits in height, which is one and one half times its width. Then we see that in this room, it measures twenty cubits by twenty cubits by twenty cubits, meaning it is a cube. It is a perfectly square room. That was a type. This is as you would see it looking into that particular room, as you would walk facing into it. We realize that room in the temple King Solomon built was a type of this city John saw coming down from God out of heaven. In all the years of my study, I had never really seen this in 1st Kings. I saw it of course, but I just looked upon it as something irrelevant to any other application in the New Testament, because all those measurements seemed to be just so much arithmetic that had little bearing on any future meaning or subject. When I got to studying for this message, I realized it is all so beautifully portrayed in the overall picture. Let us now go ahead and read some more about this city John saw coming down. Follow me now, as I read. “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 show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” We have read that same thing in the 19th chapter of Revelation. We know it says in the 19th chapter that the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife hath made herself ready. We know that is referring to the true Church in this hour, a people on the earth that are true Christians, called by the Spirit of God, saved by His grace, purified, sanctified, filled with the Holy Ghost, and made ready for the coming of Jesus the Christ in that event we look upon as the rapture, and the marriage will be taking place in heaven. Right here though, we see that the Lamb’s wife is looked at again. We have to realize that His wife has already made herself ready prior to the time of Revelation 19, which actually shows the true Church that He comes for prior to that time, so this has got to be interpreted that this which is seen coming down, which is also called His wife, has got to be one and the self same thing. The main difference is, there is a thousand years of time that have elapsed between what we read in Revelation 19 and what we read in Revelation 21. How could that be? Is there a discrepancy in the word of God? Not at all. Does this mean that Christ has two Brides? Not at all. He is not a polygamist. We are going to find out that what we see in the 19th chapter is the Church in its glorified state, all with immortal bodies, robed in His righteousness, coming back to earth to rule and reign in a Millennium of kingly, earthly rule, and what we see here is a picture of the final anointing of Jehovah God Himself, coming to settle upon the people that were already His wife. It is a picture of the wife, the Lamb’s wife, in her eternal state of relationship with God for the eternal age. Let us read further. (This is an external description of the CITY OF PARADISE, John’s description as he views it from an external viewpoint.) “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone (Like unto a stone, simply means the light of the city reflected like the light would off of a precious stone.) most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; (As John saw this object descending, the light reflecting off of it had a glitter, a reflection like it was coming off of a jasper stone. He describes it as being clear as crystal. I happen to know this is not an earthly crystal, nor an earthly jasper stone. That description is just to convey an identity, something to help the reader understand that it is something glorious. It is something marvelous to behold. There is nothing in the earth that could be used other than something like a jasper, the way it reflects when light strikes it. The fact that it is clear as crystal lets you and I see that this is not an earthly mineral, not an earthly substance of any kind. It has to be a symbolic likeness just for comparison. Let us go on here.) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, (so the gates were in the wall) and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” Now we see then that the wall itself which surrounds the city, gives us an understanding that it is a city that has a wall like in ancient times, especially old Jerusalem. Cities in ancient times, had walls built for fortification. They were for the defense and preservation and safety of the city and its inhabitants. We might ask this, If this is a city for eternity, why have a wall? There are going to be no cannons there. There will be no armies attacking. There is going to be no more earthly wars. Why have a wall? We do not bother to build walls around cities today because modern warfare would blow a hole through them first thing. It would not last as long as it would take to build it. We have to realize, it is not a literal wall like we might imagined it to be: It is symbolic of something that was taken from an old setting and used as a type, since God worked His program through the ages corresponding to the natural example, so it would correspond to old Jerusalem, which was always the Jews delight to build a strong, fortified wall. That is why as we read Nehemiah, we read how he came back to build the defensive portions to the city. What else is this wall symbolizing, if it is not a literal wall built merely for protection? It symbolizes the fact that within the wall itself there were twelve gates representing the twelve tribes of Israel that God’s plan of redemption was given to. As this Jewish nation was coming out of bondage in Egypt, God began to set these types in motion. These types being literal examples characterized in observances, ceremonies, festivities and so forth, all pointed forward to something much better, something that would be real to them one day when God has completed His plan of salvation for the human race. The fact that the walls are set up first, and the gates within the walls, is because through the gates you must enter in behind the walls, which even though they are no longer a military defensive, they still have significance, because they are the walls of salvation. God’s plan of salvation was established in the nation of Israel, which was composed of twelve tribes. Therefore God, by this means, shows that the plan of salvation was established by types and shadows, as it was give to the Jewish nation while they were under the Law. That is why the walls were established first, to constitute the means of protection of the soul of the redeemed one. It says in Isaiah, In that day thy walls shall be called salvation, thy gates shall be called praise, and all thy children, meaning the inhabitants that dwell within that spiritual city, shall be taught and learned of the Lord. “On the east three gates; on the north three gates; (This was typed as the children of Israel came through the wilderness journey and as they set up the outer court and the tabernacle of badger skins and goat skins. There were so many tribes camped on each side on this square or rectangle complex.) on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, (As we describe the foundations, we realize that a wall is that portion that protrudes upward above ground level. That is the part that must serve as the defense and protection of the inhabitants, as well as those seeking refuge behind it. What is the foundations? That has to be the system, the terrain or substance upon which the wall are built, because a massive wall in ancient time, if it was not built upon a good footing, and the enemy ever found out there were weak points in the footing, rest assured they would dig until they found it. Then they would soon have that wall torn down. The fact that in the twelve foundations the names of the twelve apostles of Jesus are written, has to have some significance, so the question is, What would they have reference to?) and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” That would have reference to the fact that God’s Church is built upon the teachings and revelation of the twelve apostles. Does it not say that in Ephesians? We are built upon a holy foundation. Our faith that puts us in God’s church, is built upon the teachings and revelations of the apostles and the prophets. It starts with the apostles first, because that means that the Church, which is made up of believers of this age of Grace, according to what the prophets of old spoke and prophesied in their prophecies as types and promises, but it could never be made known until the dispensation came for them to be fulfilled in. Therefore it took the revelation of the apostles, to make us understand what was written in the Old Testament, so that the apostle Paul, who was the apostle sent to the Gentiles, could say we are built upon the teaching and the prophecies of the apostles, going back to the prophecies of the prophets of old. Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Again, as it says in the epistle of Peter, We are lively stones built upon a holy foundation, Jesus Christ Himself is that chief cornerstone. In fact it says He was the stone disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, precious and elect. Therefore as we see this wall, we are not looking at brick, mortar, and stuff like that. It is a spiritual wall. It speaks of God’s salvation that He has provided for the redeemed of the ages. They are all in that city. They are behind this wall, so they are all secure. The wall is not for any military protection whatsoever. “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 (That means the profile of this which is behind the wall.) lieth foursquare.” Naturally we have illustrated it with a profile of roofs and such like, because that is what people relate to, but we know that as John actually saw the inner thing referred to as the city, the city lay foursquare, it was not roof tops he saw. What does foursquare have reference to? That is language that means it is just the same one way as it is the other. Foursquare refers to a measurement that has been squared: it is a cube, and that which is cubed cannot have anything added to nor anything taken away, lest is cease to be a cube. To a lot of people that is just like Dutch to their mind. They say, Oh, I’m not interested in all that stuff. Well, we may think that. I too, at one time, thought like that. However if you ever really purpose to walk with God and understand His word, there are some things you are left completely on the outside of if you say, I’m not interested in that. Sometimes that very thing becomes a key that opens up a lot of other things in the scriptures; so if we shut out one thing, it could mean that we have shut out a whole lot of other things we will never understand, because we refuse to allow God to teach us something we need to know. We would rather take our little briefcase of a mind, with our folders of theology and sit somewhere going through our rituals of worship. I am not interested in that. That is not interesting to me any more. None of that theology concerns me. People who major on theology are not people who are walking with God. People that walk with God are people that hunger and thirst after His righteousness, and they want to grow and progress in His knowledge and grace. As we read on it gets very interesting, “And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.” The measurement of this city and the fact that John speaks of a reed, or a stick, gives this an ancient setting, because in ancient times they used certain things, especially when they were going to measure large areas, and that stick was equivalent to an established system of measurement that they used back then. We are going to find out that as that squared city had a dimensional measurement, so did this room have a dimensional measurement. I used to think it was irrelevant as to what sixty, thirty, and twenty and all of that meant. I thought, It is just a building. Well, it was God that gave the dimensions to Solomon. Just as He told Noah how big to build the boat, the length, the wide, and the height, and it was to have three levels with only one door and one window, so did He give specific instructions on all these other things. This was not a boat of Noah’s choice: it was what God told him to build. Noah did not know what all was to go into that boat, but God did. When the day came that Noah was finally told to get in the boat, there was no other person ready to get in it except his own family, even though all the rest had heard that man preach and warn them all the time he was building the boat. They had laughed at him, scorned him, ridiculed him and said, You old fogey, we have never seen rain! But oh when the day came that God told Noah to go inside the boat the whole picture changed. God brought the animal kingdom two by two for Noah to take with him. God knew how many animals would respond to His call, so the boat, or ark was built to accommodate just that number. Animals today, have more sense, and are more receptive to the leading of the Lord than the human race. When those animals were all loaded, that boat was exactly the size for its occupants. This city that lies foursquare and is measured by John, in the spirit, with this reed, is exactly the size of all the redeemed God saw coming to His great plan of salvation. The measurement, as far as the measurement itself, can only have one meaning, and that is this, that the anointing of God is big enough to cover all the redeemed from every Age, for that eternal Age. The fact that it is square, or cubed, signifies that it is complete. Nothing else can be added, and nothing can be taken away. All are there, that are supposed to be there and none of them can ever be taken away: All are secured forever as the wall signifies. This is a building of God Himself. He was the One that did the selecting according to His foreknowledge. It was God Himself, that knew by foreknowledge who would be there, and also all of those who would be damned forever because of rejecting His plan for their redemption. “And the city lieth foursquare, 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. (So it is a cube, not a rectangle, and the cube signifies perfection.) And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits.” An hundred and forty four is 12 squared, and since the measurement of the wall is in reference to the type established by Israel, and she has twelve tribes, it all fits into the picture. When you square twelve, what do you get? 12 times 12 = 144. Is that not correct? Do not forget how the Church got its start. The gospel message was to the Jew first, and because they rejected it in that hour, it was given over to the Gentiles and the Gentiles have been the guardians of it for almost two thousand years, but it will very soon be given back to the Jews. Hallelujah! I am looking forward to that time! Did not the apostle Paul write in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek?” Therefore the gospel was to the Jew first. They knew the Law. They were the ones who were given the lively oracles, spoken of in the Bible, the promises. They had the prophets. They had all the types. That is why Christianity in this age of Grace started with the Jews first. The first converts, the first portion of that redeemed Bride of Christ, started with the Jewish people. Do not just think of how many at Jerusalem were saved, because when Paul left there and went to Asia, who were the first converts? They were always Jews first. We do not limit anything by how many of those Jews there were in those first assemblies that were established, but we do see that in most every city where Paul preached, he went to the synagogue and preached to the Jews first. He always sought out the nucleus of Jews to start with. That was according to the plan of God. We must never forget that God is not going to be surprised at anything, because He saw the completed picture before He ever set anything in motion. “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” People have always looked upon this city as a city of literal gold and they do not want their preconception of it to be altered. They will say, Now Bro. Jackson, it says in the Bible that this is a city of pure gold, and you cannot take that away from me. Yes, but it is not gold like you have on your watch or wedding ring. You cannot see through that gold, like the gold that is described here. Well if the jasper is as clear as crystal and you can see through it, and the gold is clear so you can see through it, what kind of city is this? How are you going to make it tangible? How are you going to make it something you can touch? Can you make it something literal? When Jesus went to heaven from the Mount of Olives almost 1900 years ago, He had just told His disciples in St. John 14, “I go away to prepare a place for you, and if I go away to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” When Jesus went up in those clouds and was received out of their sight, He did not take a wheelbarrow full of earthly gold with Him. He did not take any earthly minerals with Him. Neither is He up there taking all of that off of another planet in space, putting together a natural city for you to have your eternal abode in. What is He doing? He is a High Priest. That is why we see Him in Revelation, chapters 4, 5, and 6, in the position that He is seen in. He does not have a hammer, a saw, nor anything like that, making us a place to dwell in. We need to realize that all of this is speaking of a spiritual realm where none of these natural things have any significance. It is just characterized in this fashion to help us grasp some of the splendor that is associated with this realm. God used things we are somewhat familiar with to allow us to see just how glorious this realm will be. That is why we titled this subject, “The City of Paradise.” In the beginning, as we read about Eden, God used a garden setting. It is referred to in Revelation as paradise, a place of bliss, glory, the presence of God. We just have to realize that this is how God the great Eternal Spirit, relates himself to redeemed man, giving him certain expressions that he, as man, can identify with, so we can begin to realize how marvelous, glorious and wonderful God is, and how He will again identify Himself with His entire family. If He is a Spirit, and we know He is, we also know He does not dwell in an object form. However if He can manifest Himself in object likenesses, taking on similarities, then that is how man in his earthly senses can understand as he looks at an invisible being that does not permanently dwell in some object you can touch. We will finish reading here, and notice that it says the city was pure gold like unto clear glass. Do not bother to argue with me that this is a natural substance of gold. “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones.” Since we know, that in the foundation was the name of each one of the apostles, these stones bring out the spiritual characteristic and likeness of the life of that apostle, related to his revelation as he was used by God in the beginning of the Church, which in reality was the beginning of this Age. If you take the natural stones mentioned here and study them in the earth formation where they are formed, every last one of them are formed under some kind of terrific heat and pressure. The fact that we now begin to realize that this planet earth is not just six thousand years old, but that it is many billions of years in age, helps us understand many things a lot better. Just remember that these different mineral stone likenesses are characteristic of how Jehovah has dealt with the earth through the different centuries of time that have elapsed while the earth has passed through different volcanic and earthquake eruptions, all of which had an effect on the earth as it was taking on a form to eventually be used in the different centuries of time that would follow. Those particular minerals that man uses, and puts them in various stone likenesses, are not something you can cook up in a laboratory by putting a few chemicals together and sticking it in the oven and baking it, and then say, Here, we have a ruby, here we have a pearl. When you begin to study the life of those twelve apostles and the lives they lived, the persecution they suffered, and the pressure they went through, it helps you understand these likenesses we see here. What were they doing, that brought them such persecution? They were preserving the revelation that God had instilled in their mind and life. Every last one of them as far as we know, except for John, died a martyr’s death of some sort, torture, persecution and so forth. Why? Because the revelation and the understanding that God had put in every one of them meant more to them than natural life itself. They were dedicated to the task of teaching it and keeping it pure and undefiled, rather than give in to all the religious and political pressures they faced everywhere they went. That is why our faith is not in the pope today: They suffered what they had cast upon them, that our faith could be built upon and anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ who was the ROCK of our salvation, as was taught by the apostles. Even though Roman Catholicism teaches it that way, the pope is not the successor of the apostle Peter. First of all, he teaches things Peter would not have touched with a ten foot pole, so to speak. Peter was a married man, but I challenge you, Try to get the pope to become a married man and see what answer you get. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street (It mentions one street, and that is all there is, not streets.) of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” Too often people, in reading this, they literalize every little description that the apostle has written here. They give it an earthly understanding in their mind. They read the gold, they see the gold just as that. They pay no attention to the words that describe that gold, that it was clear, as glass. They see the gold, they see the jasper, they see the sardine stone, they see all the different colors, some green, some purple, some red: They see all of that, but never pay any attention to the words that describe these various things. If you read the entire description, you will not see everything as something literal, something you can touch with your hands. They are describing the spiritual things that make up the heavenly setting here on earth.
INTERNAL DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY
When we get to Revelation 22, we are finishing with the description of the city from an external view, so remember what we have seen already, as we come to the description of the inside. Once we enter the gate on the street that leads to the throne of God, we no longer see John describing the outside view; He is inside the city now, and as he looks around, he saw only one street. Where did it lead to? Right straight to the throne of God. Then, right out from under that throne of God proceeded the river of life. It was not the Mississippi River, nor the Ohio River, nor the River of Jordan: This is that spiritual city that speaks of the eternal flow and presence of the spirit of God as He relates Himself in the eternal age to His redeemed family. Let us read about three verses. (22:1) “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) 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. (3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.” You can visualize that we are looking at a setting sort of like a plaza, as John describes the inside of this city. Here, is one huge broad way, and in the midst of it we see the description of a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life. On either side of this river there was the tree of life; and it speaks of this tree of life in its feminine gender. She yielded her twelve manner of fruits every month of the year. We know this, when paradise was on earth in Adam’s beginning, as we read back in Genesis 2 and 3, of the garden God planted eastward in the land of Eden, there was only one tree referred to as the tree of life. It was in the singular, as well as in the masculine gender. It typed, and was characteristic of how God was going to fill this planet with human life brought forth by the law of reproduction according to the law of the tree of life. Adam and Eve got off on the wrong foot when Eve was deceived by the devil, through the cunningness of the serpent, therefore they were cut away from that tree. That is how we come to realize that the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil were not trees of plant life, but were spiritual laws by which the world would be repopulated. Therefore when we go to Revelation 2, for a further understanding of the tree of life, we find that Jesus spoke to the Ephesian age, there at the beginning of Christendom, in the first Church Age and said, (Let us read verse 7.) “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” In that sense it is pointing to the new birth, because the new birth is to mankind, life off of the tree of life, the life he should have had if paradise had never been separated from him. Therefore inside this city, you are back in paradise, the garden of God’s eternal presence. What does all of this add up to? It adds up to this, The Millennial reign of Christ Jesus is over. The great white throne judgment has been set up, as we read in the last verses of the 20th chapter. The planet earth has now been completely redeemed through the kingly work of Jesus Christ, who is no longer High Priest, He was King of kings and Lord of lords of all the earth throughout the Millennial reign. When He was still in heaven He was High Priest interceding for lost mankind. He was not seen as King during that time. When He leaves that role, He will never be Priest anymore. You will not see Him as a Priest when He is back on earth. When He comes with His wife, (the bride Church) He is coming as King of all kings, to take over all the governments and the reigns of human governmental systems of this earth. He will sit in Jerusalem, from which He will rule and reign over this earth for one thousand years, being as the scripture says, King of kings and Lord of lords. Will there be priests in the Millennium? Yes, but remember this, the priest, the people that are referred to as priests, will be that only for a ceremonial work, not for salvation, but pointing people born in the Millennium back to something that has already been accomplished, something that provided for them the benefits they have received. Jesus does not have to keep on repeating His priestly work on into and through the Millennium: All of that will have already been accomplished. When this city is seen coming down, this is how we relate Paul’s teaching in 1st Corinthians 15, where he speaks of Jesus, that He must rule and reign until He has put down all rule, authority, and power. So the Millennium age is for that one purpose, that as Jesus, with His Bride Church, rules and reigns on earth, it is to restore back to earth, to a mortal realm of people left here to repopulate the earth, the divine laws, the divine knowledge and things of God, and there will be no more pollution and perversion then. The knowledge of the Lord and the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters that cover the sea. There will never be any more environmentalists, because there will be a people here that know how to live and keep the environment clean, and use the substance of the earth the way it should be used. Everything will be to please God the Creator, getting the earth ready, so that He can come back and dwell in it with His family, as He did in the beginning when He placed His presence here as a garden, a garden of paradise. In 1st Corinthians 15, Paul speaks of how Jesus will rule and reign until He has restored all authority and power, then shall the kingdom be delivered back up to God the Father, the great Eternal Spirit, that God may be all in all. Therefore we see God coming down to earth in the manifestation of His power and glory and majesty, and it is described in that likeness we have been reading in chapters 21 and 22 of the book of Revelation.
A LOOK AT THE OLD TESTAMENT
Let us now go back to 1st Kings, the 6th chapter where we will look at some instructions God gave, just in case someone wants to argue with me, that the measurements of the city has got to mean something that is applicable to an earthly purpose. Right here, we get the type, so let us see what we can learn from the type. We will read from the 15th verse, but to give us a background, time wise, we are roughly around 1000 B.C., and King Solomon is a young man. He is the son of David. He has been on the throne of his father for four years. It tells us in the beginning of this 6th chapter that 480 years has just transpired of the children of Israel having come out of Egyptian bondage. We know when we go back and read in Exodus and Deuteronomy and the book of Numbers, all of that is the history of that departure, the wanderings, bringing them to the Jordan, ready to cross over and so forth, as well as the book of Leviticus. We find, that as God took Moses up on Mt. Sinai, and gave him the commandments which were written on two tables of stone, God then spoke to him and gave to him instructions. He gave him statutes, and other basic laws on how this society of Israelite people were to be governed in their social, moral, and spiritual state of condition as they traveled. God then gave to Moses instructions on how to build a tabernacle. The word tabernacle as we would read about it in Exodus chapters 36, 37, 38, and 39 along through there, we are talking about a tent. This tent was made of badger skins and goat skins. What was this tent for? God wanted a place among the people where the box that is called the ark of the covenant could be placed, a box of wood, roughly forty some inches long, twenty some inches wide and twenty some inches deep, a small box. Inside that box was laid the two tables of stone on which the ten commandments was written. This box was overlaid with gold. Then there was a lid made of solid gold, of the same dimensions, that went over this. On each end of this box was two golden winged cherubims. We know, when we read in Exodus, as they left Egypt, there was a pillar of fire by night. In other words they saw a manifestation of God, like a swirling light above them. In the day time it would turn to something like a pillar of smoke. It was a manifestation of God’s presence, reminding the children of Israel, I am your Lord, I am with you, to lead you in all the ways wherein I would have you go. This we will call the Shekinah glory in later instances. When the tabernacle was built, then there was a place inside this tent, in the far end, partitioned off from the rest. It was called the holy place, or the holy of holies. When the children of Israel were camped for a period of time and the Lord had not said to move, then the ark of the covenant was placed inside that place. That tabernacle symbolized and typed God among a people, dwelling with them while they are in transit, or traveling. They are moving from time to time, according to His leadership. When that pillar of fire would show itself, (I will illustrate it to the best to my knowledge.) or when that pillar of fire would start swirling, it was ready to move, so that was a sign to the priests and Moses, Notify the people, it is time to break camp. When they were not on the move the tabernacle was set up, and God’s presence was in that place we just described to you, where it would make its dwelling until the next point of moving on. This sets a type of God with His Church, in this Age of Grace, because His Church in this period of time, which we believe will cover approximately two thousand years from the crucifixion of Christ, which was the beginning of God’s new covenant, which the old typed, so Christ will come again, around about the time the two thousand years are ended, but it will be according to God’s method of keeping time. Keep in mind, the Church is not made up of one generation of people out of one particular locality: It is made up of many people, of races, of nations all around the world. As time moves on, God moves from year to year, from century to century, from generation to generation dealing with human souls that will help make up the true Church. Therefore the Church of the living God is constantly looked upon as a mobile thing. How many understand my point? That is why the apostle could refer to it as lively stones. Please pay attention to how I say what I am going to say next. Only in the spiritual house of God do you have a permanently fixed place. That does not mean that as long as you live on this earth God has fixed you permanently in Clark County, in Jeffersonville, Indiana. It simply means that in His Church there is a designated place for you to fit into in His spiritual house. The children of Israel were given the Law, and then God gave the description of the tabernacle and told Moses to build it according to the pattern of the heavenlies, so that natural tabernacle did have within it, in its measurements and total makeup, certain things that were applicable to a spiritual relationship pointing to the plan of God in salvation. They were types and shadows God was using to speak to the people. Sometimes when you communicate with people, you use words to talk to them and communicate to them a meaning or picture of something, and they just simply cannot get it, but if you can just use something illustrative, they can understand your words better. That is why we are going this route with this message. A revelation, is God, by His Spirit, giving you an understanding, but the understanding of it in your mind becomes a picture you can see with your spiritual eyes. That is what makes it so beautiful. You just have to realize that the wilderness tabernacle was the means by how God tabernacled Himself with the people. When they came into the land we now know as the land of Israel, they took that land from the Canaanite tribes that were dwelling there and divided it among the twelve tribes. God spoke in Numbers, while they were back in the wilderness wandering, how it will come to pass after you come into the land wherein I will give you, there you will divide the land among your tribes, and according to inheritance. God also promised them, I will, from one of the tribes, choose a place to put my name. He never said back then, where that place would be. He only gave them a promise that it would come about somewhere in their future. Under the leadership of Joshua, they crossed over the Jordan, and took Jericho first of all. From then on they had conflicts, wars, and all such like over the centuries of three or four hundred years, and they also went through a period of apostasy. The priesthood went into apostate conditions. We read about it in Samuel, under Eli. Then there came a time when God raised up a prophet, when Eli was an old man, by the name of Samuel. God used this prophet Samuel to function in two kinds of offices, because the priesthood was so apostate that they had lost out with God. For that reason, God used Samuel to restore leadership and spirituality to them and bring them out of that long period they went through in the period of the Judges. Then we find King David coming on the scene. God used Samuel to anoint him. As King David came on the scene and was anointed by Samuel, even while Saul was still king, Saul himself disobeyed God and did everything contrary to what God wanted. Therefore God took the kingdom from him and gave it to David and David became the first anointed, appointed king who was to establish a genealogy of seed to be recognized as such. He was of the tribe of Judah; the tribe we have heard much of. King David warred with the Philistines and many other tribes, constantly wrestling to get certain things established. There was a place inside this land of Canaan, a place known as the ancient city of the Jebusites. This city of the Jebusites was a strong hold. In fact it was referred to as Salem back in Genesis and in Psalms 76. It was near this ancient city of the Jebusites that Abraham met Melchizedek, as he was coming back from conquering the Chaldeans and rescuing Lot and his family, and taking back the spoil they had gotten from Sodom and so forth. As Abraham journeyed back towards Hebron taking back all the property these Chaldeans had stolen ,and taking Lot and his household back home, he met Melchizedek in the road. God used the occasion to come on the scene and intercept Abraham in his journey back to Hebron, to set a type of something yet in the far future at that time. When the king of Sodom went out to meet Abraham in this certain valley, (You can read it in Genesis 14.) Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine, and the Bible says he was the priest of the most high God. Verse19, says, “And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: (20) And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.” This is when Abraham paid tithes to Him of all he owned. All of that took place near the spot where this ancient city of the Jebusites stood. The Jebusites were Canaanites, pagan people. They were not believing people concerning the God that Abraham served. However as Abraham was approached by this man referred to as Melchizedek, (Melchizedek is a name that holds two meaning, King Priest of the Most High God.) and Abraham recognized that he was standing in the presence of a greater One than himself. As Abraham was conversing with this man, a man we now know was God Himself in theophany form, Abraham suddenly realized he was being blessed by the most high God and that is when he paid tithes to Him. God Jehovah, manifested Himself in this theophany form, giving Himself a name that characterized and expressed the meaning of what would be fulfilled in Jesus the Christ centuries later, when God, in Jerusalem, near this same spot, would do something for the redemption of mankind. The Jews can assemble in their synagogue and read all the Genesis story, and when they have read it they are still as ignorant as ignorant can be, as far as knowing what it is pointing to. Little do they realize that when their father Abraham was told to come out of the land of the Chaldeans, which was Mesopotamia, and come on down into a land He would show him, and that He would give to him, he was receiving a promise that would be in effect until the end of time, and that they would inherit according to that promise. God said to him, In thee and thy seed after thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. From the call of Abraham, God, at various intervals of time, either intercepts Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, to renew that promise and finally their seed is found down in Egypt as captives, and here, God directs, speaks, leads, works and shows Himself through this people that are the seed of Abraham, various laws and covenants. In all of this, there are types that were pointing to something God was going to do for you and me. Now we have had it for nineteen hundred years and the Gentile church world with all their theological learning have played with it, misinterpreted it, thrown it away, and even denied that God even made such a provision. Today, they have a book they use, a book that is just a book of religion, but they have lost its meaning, simply because they never did see the picture portrayed in it.
DAVID CAPTURES THE CITY OF SALEM
Let me go on with this story of the events that came to pass as David took the lead. After four hundred and some years of the struggle of the children of Israel, David was able to conquer that city. It was not David struggling that long, but we are using this four hundred and some years to get to Solomon’s hour, because it covers the period of the different men that God used and spoke to in types and shadows. David, in taking this ancient city from the pagan Jebusites, was led by God to do that, because God had a foreordained purpose to be fulfilled in it. God had in mind that the time is approaching, when from one of the tribes of the children of Israel that had established themselves in the land, He would designate a place where He would place His name. Once He does that, then it is at that point that all Israel will be required to pray and worship at that spot. As long as they had the tabernacle of badger skins and goat skins, it was not so stated, but no doubt it was very proper for the Israelites to want to see the tabernacle once in awhile. It was not stated that they had to pray looking toward the tabernacle: they only knew that as a place where God tabernacled with the people and it was special to them. When David took this Jebusite city, and things begin to quiet down, the wars having let up, King David then got the thought that he would number Israel. You can read about this thing, the thing that God said never to do, but David wanted to do it, and did, so he had to suffer the consequences of going against the will and purpose of God. I will not take the time to bring all of that into the message right now, but you can read it in 2nd Samuel, chapter 24. Something from the human feelings in David, after fighting Philistines and all the others, made him so tired and aggravated, he just told his commanding officers, I make a decree that all Israel be counted. His own commanding officers said, You ought not do that my lord: you know how God hates that. David commanded him to go ahead and number all of Israel. It is always a mistake to go contrary to what God makes known to be His will, because no sooner was the census brought in, that tragedy struck. A plague hit the people. As the dying began to appear, David realized what a terrible thing He had done. In this city of the Jebusites, which was called Salem, and was going to be called Jerusalem, king David selected a spot for his palace. All of this was the beginning of a spot being chosen, where God was going to place His name for future centuries of time. David was in the place he had designated to be the place of his palace. As he is so bothered about this terrible thing he has done in numbering the people, finally the Lord sends his prophet to him and said, I give you three choices, so which will it be? 2nd Samuel 24:12 “Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. 13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me. 14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man. 15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.” David knew God is a merciful God: That is why he said Let me fall into the hand of a merciful God rather than into the hands of man. As he said that, he looked out and saw an angel standing with a sword drawn. That was the angel that God had sent to carry out the chastening. As David looked out there and saw that angel, where he was standing, he knew it was all already in the hands of a merciful God. You can read it in 1st Chronicles 21, which gives you a greater background. As he said, Let us fall into the hands of a merciful God, then God said to David through the prophet, Prepare to offer a sacrifice. The fact that he saw the angel and the place where he was standing, when you read it from Kings and Chronicles, he saw the angel standing on Mt. Moriah. That was the same place that Abraham, back in Genesis, was instructed by God to take his son, Isaac, and offer him up as a sacrifice. As David looks at that place and sees that angel standing there, David goes to see where the actual spot was. It was Ornan’s threshing floor, a man of the Jebusites. He approaches the man and says to him, I want to buy this place to build an altar unto the Lord; to offer sacrifice unto Him, that He might stay the plague. The man offered to give the ground and even the oxen, but David would not take it without paying for it. 24 “And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. 25 So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.” This transaction was all in the natural, nothing spiritual about it. As David is moving from the circumstance of having numbered Israel, little did David even realize what this set of circumstances was leading to. However as he purchased the ground and offered the sacrifice, the plague of God was stayed. Later, as things calmed down, King David desired, and you read that in Chronicles, how he wanted to build a house for the Lord, but God spoke to King David saying, Because you are a man that has shed much blood, you will not build me the house, but of your loins I will raise up a son who will build me a house. That is where we are right now. This house that was King Solomon’s temple, when you read in Chronicles, King Solomon was told by God what the dimensions of this building was to be, what the dimensions of this room was to be, and what this room was to look like as you look at it from an inlay. This is called the oracle. A lot of people do not really know what the word oracle is implying. Take the Webster’s dictionary and check it out. It is a place for one to pray, or a place wherein you approach or communicate with deity. That is exactly what the room became in the following centuries. It was not only a room where a high priest went to pray once each year, but it is where the high priest went once each year to communicate with God Jehovah. That room was the most splendid room that probably has ever been built on the face of this earth. That room, in its miniature dimensions of twenty, twenty, and twenty also set a type. That means it was thirty feet each way. It was a complete cube. It is where God came and manifested Himself. The fact that inside that room the walls were of cedar overlaid with gold, with cherubims, palm trees, flowers, knobs all covered with engraved gold had a signifance. The ark of the covenant, that is what it symbolized, sitting on a little altar base that used to be in the tabernacle, was setting there. These huge cherubims which represent the divine presence of angels that exist in the royal realm of where God’s habitation is, were ten cubits tall. Their wings were five cubits in length. In the finished state, from one tip to the other, they touched across. Their faces were to look inward. Right there is where that Shekinah glory, that flickering fire, hovered over that ark of the covenant. That is the only light that was in that room. When the high priest went in once each year on the day of atonement, just imagine all that gold. The ceiling, the walls, what a magnificent place that must have been. It all typed and pointed ahead to this eternal city of paradise we are speaking of. When that city comes, and God manifests Himself on earth in the eternal age, you and I will be living in the divine presence of God’s manifested glory, and right there is where it was typed.
We are working toward the completion of this message. As you see here on the chart, we have four different pictures in an effort to give you visual understanding of what we are dealing with. This of course, takes us back to Genesis, where Adam and Eve are being driven from the beautiful paradise of God, out into the earthly realm away from the spirit world presence they have been accustomed to, to start their journey through time. For six thousand years man has struggled in his earthly journey, endeavoring to find the way back to that most sacred place where man once lived, a place which was called the paradise of Eden. Keep in mind, the average church goer today thinks man was driven out of a certain geographical spot on earth. If that is your view, then please tell me where you think that place is. If he was driven out of a geographical area somewhere, then that area still has to be forbidden territory for unregenerate mankind. I personally, do not know of any such place on the face of this earth. How many understand that? When he was driven out, there were angels with flaming swords placed at the east of Eden to guard the way of the tree of life, (Gen. 3:24), “So He (God) drove out the man; and He (God) placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way (not guard a gate) of the tree of life,” so that man could never enter back into that beautiful paradise as he had been able to do before. In other words, God just simply removed that heavenly setting from their midst and left them with those things that pertain only to earthly activity. As far as the geographical spot of earth, all of that was still right there in the middle east. That is the place called Eden. That is the geographical area where all of the history of mankind originated. There, is where the Bible was written. There, is where your and my progenitors all sprang from. Secular history refers to it as the Fertile Crescent, or the cradle of civilization. We can trace our origin back to the Middle East, but certainly not back to the monkeys swinging in the trees, like some want to believe. Neither do we trace our beginning back to the Neanderthal man, or any of the rest of those ideas that this modern generation of mankind has tried to shove down our throats. That is all a lot of nonsense concocted by scientists and archaeologists that have nothing better to do. We have a complete record of our beginning, so why beat the bushes looking for something that is not there? We trace our beginning all the way back to the Adam and Eve we read about right here in the word of God, and this city we are reading about is a spiritual city. John is allowed to see a heavenly setting coming down to earth and what we are reading is his description of it.
THE NEW JERUSALEM JOHN SAW COMING DOWN
This is picturing the city as John saw it coming down, in Revelation 21. (Speaking of the chart used, which we do not have available.) Then in the 22nd chapter, he describes the inside of what he is seeing, and we must notice that it is no longer the description of a city, but it is more like the description of a beautiful park, one like you would enter into through a great entrance and then see it as a massive park. In there, you are walking down a huge avenue, or broad way. This street is split. One side approaches the throne of God. The other side is the return from it. In the middle of that, flows the river of life. On each side of the river of life there stood the tree of life spoken of in plural terminology. It is spoken of in the feminine gender. What a beautiful place it must be! Let us see if time would add up to anything. Man was driven from a beautiful garden, and the next thing man begins to do is seek to build a city. Why build a city? Because sin began to make man his own enemy. He needed protection. He found out he could not live alone and feel safe, so they began to group together in small cities, but in time they grew, and eventually they had to build walls around their cities. You can see then, that as man in his earthly journey, after he is driven from the beautiful garden of paradise, which was a place where he needed no house, needed no roof for shelter, nor stove, nor any of those things we depend upon today, something in him made him start seeking all those things. In the beginning, God was his habitation. As far as the natural earth and natural vegetation, that was the thing he was placed here to dress and care for, in order to beautify the earth, all with God’s supervision, but using man and his hands to refill the earth with life and beautify it all over. Sin kept him from doing that according to God’s plan, so for six thousand years now, man has corrupted the earth, defiled it with his own ways and made it an unsafe place to dwell. Well man today, builds his large cities for whatever reason, but looking at this scripture, if man is eventually going back to the original state of relationship with his Creator, then it has got to be understood that this is why John saw all of this that looks like a city, looking at it from the exterior view. However when you get inside of it you do not see a city of massive, high rise buildings, where you need elevators to go to the top. It is a beautiful garden. Why is it so huge? Because it is how God relates His divine presence back to earth. It is God bringing paradise, the spirit world, back where the earth and it become as one. Man, in his redeemed state, will live for eternity in the presence and shelter of that divine manifestation of God’s own being overshadowing him. It portrays also the anointing of God, how God will relate Himself to His entire creation that has now been purified and made clean through redemption. As we read these scriptures about all the material that this city is described as being made up of, please keep in mind that all of this is spiritual, not literal. Its walls are of jasper, pure, and the city appears in sight as pure gold. The city is of pure gold, like unto transparent glass. The street is of pure gold, like unto transparent glass. That tells me that none of this entire habitation has any earthly minerals in its makeup, no earthly substance, nothing tangible about it whatsoever. It is all spiritual, because that gold is not what you see on a wristwatch or wedding ring. It is not an earthly mineral. It is a heavenly substance speaking of the very nature of God Himself. If you wonder what it is, the Bible tells us. In the book of Revelation, the 3rd chapter, Jesus is speaking to the age that you and I live in, the Age of Laodicea and saying, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.” Was Jesus selling Natural gold? Of course not: He was speaking of the very nature of God that we are to take on as we crucify this old flesh and become like Jesus, but we take on that nature only as we overcome the fires of trials, tests and persecution. What does the street signify? It actually speaks of the fact that one only gains entrance to this place by traveling through this present life exercising the measure of faith that God has invested in each and every one of us. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. We take a certain street to make our way to a certain place. This street is of pure gold, thereby signifying that we arrive at this beautiful setting by faith, according to God’s foreordained plan.
ABOUT THE CHURCH AGES
Let me take a moment to clarify what we mean when we speak of the Church Ages. We are living in the seventh Church Age, which is the Age of Laodicea. What do you mean by the seventh Church Age, Bro. Jackson? I thought we were living in the age of Grace. That is true, but what is the age of Grace? It is a dispensation of time. It started with the advent of Christ almost two thousand years ago, in His first appearance on earth, to bring about the fulfillment of the Law, and to give Himself as the sacrifice, God’s only means of atonement for the sins of man. From the ascension of Christ and the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Grace Age was set in motion. For almost two thousand years now, we have been living in the age of Grace. However within that period of time, which is a dispensation, God has represented it to mankind in the characteristics and spiritual likenesses of the seven churches of Asia. Since God mentioned them all in the order that He wanted to use to type those periods that this age of Grace would be represented in, we are now living in the last one, the Church Age called Laodicea. What is it about Laodicea that is different than the others? Laodicea, in the natural, was a city of great commerce and trade. It lay on the ancient trade routes. That would make it a city wherein the standard of living would be a little better than some of the other cities which lay off the trade routes and may not have as much opportunity to gain economic prosperity within them. That made quite a difference in the standard of living and in the attitude of the people. Abundance of riches can lead to a haughty attitude, greed, self sufficiency and carelessness and thereby affect us in our daily walk with our Creator. When that happens, He has to take us aside and rebuke us. He does not cast us away, He just admonishes us to shake ourselves and examine our priorities, and to learn to walk with Him by faith, instead of our earthly security we become so proud of. We find here in the book of Revelation, in the 3rd chapter, that in 96 A.D., after this church has been in existence about forty years, it had gone further into a spiritual decline, into apostasy, than any of the others. We can see this very thing exemplified in America today. This is the day of TV evangelism. They come on with all kinds of materialistic programs, every kind of manipulation under the sun. Laodicea speaks of a type of people who measure religion in terms of materialism, dollars and cents. Drive up and down the city, look on the bulletin boards in the church yards, and what do you see? Attendance today was such and such. Go inside and you see on the bulletin board, Our offering today was so much. Do you think God is interested in any of that? You do not find one bulletin board mentioned in the book of Acts, which is the history of the early Church. That is what God means for His Church on earth to function like. Some ask though, Why are you approaching this message in this manner? Because we are the age where our lives are affected by that kind of materialistic spirit. That is why He speaks to us in this age, in Revelation 3, and says this, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” What kind of gold is that? It is faith. True faith in God, because, when God saves you by His grace, He imparts the measure of faith that is necessary to turn you and me around and get us started living for Him and believing in Him, after we have lived so long with our life taken up with the things in the world. It has to come from God. He imparts it. Once He imparts that faith, God intends for you and me, as we walk with Him, to gain an increase of that faith by investing it properly in the things that lift us up and make us more and more into the image of what Jesus, His only begotten Son, was. He intends for you and me, as we walk with Him, to increase that faith more and more by properly using it. If that gold is going to increase, what must come first? Jesus covered it in the parable of the talents. Proper stewardship of this valuable gift is what is going to bring an increase that will glorify God. It is going to be like this, Out of the depths of His word, He is going to open up the storehouse of His valuables, His treasures, the things that God puts value on, and we will understand spiritual things, things the world of denominational religion cannot see. You see it because you have eyes to see and it is right there in His word. What He imparts to us makes the picture crystal clear. It helps you understand His word in such a simple way, you just cannot hardly help but laugh about what a mystery it used to be, as you would try to understand it. When you begin to realize you do not have to go to Bible School to learn what the scriptures mean, and that it is a gift from God that costs you nothing but faithfulness to Him, you almost get beside yourself. You do not have to go to school and take instructions in order to get saved; so Who in the world ever told you, you had to go to school to learn to be a preacher? Only a spirit from the devil would tell you that. Schools, seminaries, Bible schools, have had their place in days gone by, especially in the Reformation period, but God has never, at any time, ever laid down any such requirements. We are living just before the coming of Christ for the bride Church. Therefore God is dealing with the end time people the same way He started out dealing with individuals in the beginning of Christianity. What we are talking about, is how God relates Himself by His Spirit to every man, or person that is in His plan of redemption. That is why I say, When you see church-going people today, that fuss and argue about how the building ought to be built, what color everything should be painted, what kind of roof and all like that, That is not the Church Jesus is coming for in the first place. You who have found the true meaning of the word of God and hold it precious, you are the Church. You are the lively stones. The natural world of religion does not see these scriptures the way they are revealed to us. They argue and fuss, therefore the only thing they can do is build a larger building, have more programs, open the doors wide and proclaim, We want to win the world for Jesus. I am sorry to tell you, but you will never win the world for Jesus. Well I believe we could. You can believe whatever you choose to believe, but that is one thing you are not going to do. Regardless of how many may say, Well I believe we can win the world for Jesus, it is just not scriptural. God saves all those who are foreordained for salvation from before the foundation of the world, according to His foreknowledge. You may say, Well I certainly do not believe in that, but I will say to you, The apostle Peter believed it. God knew who would and who would not receive His provision for salvation, even before He ever set any of His creation into motion. Therefore He can run his business to suit His foreordained plan, and does not have to get permission from anyone. I have no way of knowing who will accept this great plan of salvation and who will not; therefore I have no business trying to predict who is a predestined seed of God. Only God Himself knows that, and because He does, everything else He does can be associated with the foreknowledge He exercised before the foundation of the world.
GOLD, TRIED IN THE FIRE
We are going to examine some of these things we see here in the book of Revelation, especially in chapter 22, but let us keep in mind what Jesus said to the Church at Laodicea which represented the Church Age we are living in. He said, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” As we go through this chapter we are going to find out what that cube signifies in the overall scriptural analysis, because we know that when you see something that the length, the breadth and the height are all equal, you are looking at a cube. That has significance. Let me say also, that the faith we are talking about is that measure of faith He has imparted to every one of us. He has given us something that is very valuable. It is an understanding of how you, or me, or whoever, as the worst sinner that ever walked, can again have fellowship with the eternal, sovereign God that created all things, and how we can begin to walk with Him in sweet fellowship. That faith can increase. That gold He gives you can increase. As it is to be increased, He is going to try it in various ways. That is why in 1st Peter, chapter 1, it says, (6) “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (or tests) (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” The apostle Peter was using a natural illustration. How do you make gold pure after it is taken out of the earth? It is an element, a mineral of the earth, but many times you find it has absorbed other minerals, so to make it shine, to make it pure, they put it in the fire. That is exactly what God does with you and me, so to speak. As we live down here on earth, this mortal flesh that is so susceptible to sin and temptation has to be subjected to various pressures from time to time. The faith God puts inside you and me to turn us around, to start us walking with Him, every once in awhile has to be put to a test, so God will bring you through a trial and test. It is not because God is disgusted with you. It is not because He does not like you anymore: It is because He wants to refine that faith which is likened unto gold. As you prove yourself loyal to that, and you show yourself faithful to God in the test, that is what causes God to reach down and hand you a little more of that valuable substance, more faith. He does not give us more faith just because we ask Him to: We get more faith as a result of using the faith we already have. One thing sure, when He brings you through a certain kind of trial, though you did not understand all about it when it started, once you reach the other side and get the victory, you can look back and say, Praise God! He has been with me all along! Nine times out of ten your next trial will not be like that one, because you are fully aware of it. As you live in this mortal flesh, He is going to try you, in order to make that faith, that gold, shine that much more. Therefore when we see the city of pure gold, clear as glass, transparent as glass, that lets us know the dwellers in that city have to be the Bride of Jesus Christ, made up of the redeemed of the ages. That is the anointing of God settling on her to begin that eternal age, world without end. We enter into an endless span of time. Man, finally back in the very presence of God, and God dwelling with man. Man living in God’s delight, living in the spirit world, yet living on a natural planet, which is what all of this points to. We will be able to see angels going about their business, and enjoy watching and really observing the whole, beautiful, panoramic view of how God has related Himself to the spirit world, as well as to the natural world He has redeemed and cleansed, and also be able to see everything on the planet earth as it moves about in its proper function the way the Creator ordained it to be. The Millennium, which is a little in front of us, is just a little foretaste of what eternity will be like. Remember, the Millennium is not the final picture. The Millennium is the seventh day, the seventh dispensational day that fulfills the whole week of time allotted to total redemption, because it covers seven dispensational days. Then we must remember that eternity is the first day all over again, which will never end. That is going to be wonderful, living in the eighth day. When the Lord looked upon this age of Laodicea and observed its people, He saw that the people of this Laodicean hour were people that were lukewarm, increased with worldly things, and feeling that they had need of nothing. As you drive from coast to coast, or from border to border, you see new church buildings everywhere, cathedrals that cost millions of dollars, but you do not find any real dedication on the part of the people, to search for the truth of God’s word. The National Cathedral in Washington D.C., which they just showed in the News this week, was eighty some years in the making, and I do not even remember what they said it cost, but it was some huge church building that finally got finished after eighty some years. It is finished just in time for God to tear it all to pieces pretty soon. Can you tell the world at large anything like that? Don’t talk like that, Bro. Jackson, especially around politicians, or you will be breaking the law. Nevertheless, Jesus is not coming for a church that looks like that thing: He is coming for a Church that is built with lively stones. He said to the Laodiceans, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” Because the Laodicean church people have said, We are rich, we are increased with goods. We have need of nothing. You everyone know that is the Christian people of Laodicea, which basically, are those that live in America and the areas of the world we call industrialized nations. Look at western Europe, and look at America today, and you will see that very picture. It is not so much in places like Africa, India, the Philippines and those like that, but you can sure discern that spirit where it does apply. Those poor people in many areas of the world today can hardly find a bamboo curtain big enough to give them shelter. That is like religion in America today. They do not have enough of anything to cover their spiritual nakedness. That is why I said, Denominational churches are always in a rat race, trying to compete with their neighbors, building a larger church house, putting in stained glass windows, plush seats, sports programs and all of that, but they have no revelation or understanding of what it is all about. They can quote the scriptures right and left, but are totally ignorant of what the Creator is really after. The faith His Church will possess is that imparted faith He has given her to start her earthly journey, but it has increased as it was used in life. Then, when she is there in that chapter 22 setting, she is enjoying God’s final gift to her which is He Himself dwelling with her in immortality. Everything inside that city is not only immortal, but God is dwelling there also. Too long now people have said, The Bible says we are going to go to heaven and live there forever with Jesus. That is not the way the Bible presents this picture and you everyone know it. I have never seen anything like that in the Bible. Well Bro. Jackson, that is the way they have always read the Bible in the Methodists church, also the Nazarene, the Church of God and most all the rest. It is true, the Bride Church is going to heaven for a little while when the rapture takes place, but that will only be for a little while, for the marriage supper, but the Bible does not tell you that you will spend three million years at the marriage supper. We are coming back with Jesus, according to the picture you see in Revelation 19, and what is going to happen then? Jesus and His Bride Saints will carry on a warfare for a short period of time, and of course there will always be some that will say, Well I don’t want to do that. Then you do not want to be in His true Church, because that is what is up ahead. He is coming back to execute wrath and judgment upon the wicked of this earth, because God is not going to allow any of this wicked, worldly element of mankind to pass into the Millennium. When Jesus finishes separating the sheep-like people from the goat-like people, that gets the rest of those who will not be allowed to pass on into the Millennium.
GOD’S CHOSEN PLACE TO PLACE HIS NAME
I want to go to the Old Testament at this time and deal with something I started on earlier. We covered how David took the Jebusite city, which was called Salem at the time he took it. Later on, it was called Jerusalem. Circumstances came about that caused King David to purchase Ornan’s threshing floor, for a place to offer up sacrifice to the Lord. When it was all over, King David realized, Right here is the place God will meet with the children of Israel, and right here, is where God will place His name, (the place Deuteronomy 12:11 speaks of). Now having said that, let me get quickly to the point. We dealt with this a little, just to give a background for the approach to it. The time is 480 years after the children of Israel have come into the land and possessed it. Each tribe is now in its position, in its allotted territory. King David has brought the ark to Jerusalem. He made a tent for it, but he knew that tent could not be a permanent dwelling place for that ark. The ark is signified as this little box sitting on a little altar, and 480 years brings us approximately to the time 1000 B.C. If you notice, as we read from 1st Kings 6, it does not tell you anything about God telling Solomon how big to build the building, but when you go to 2nd Chronicles, which relates the same thing, it tells you there, that God told Solomon how big the building was to be, its complete dimensions, and everything. The reason I use this description here, it deals more with how the building was finished, and the decorated inside. This temple, as we read the description here, was sixty cubits long. That is the equivalent of ninety feet in length. The building was twenty cubits wide. That is equivalent to thirty feet in breadth. Its height was thirty cubits, equivalent to forty-five feet. That is half of its total length, and the breadth of the building, is one third of its total length. If you think God is not concerned about mathematics, do not kid yourself: He is, He has a reason for things being like this. All of this carries certain types. As we read here, I am going to read all the verses related to the building. We are starting in the 15th verse of the 6th chapter of 1st Kings. “And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, (I thought the house was made of stone? It was, but this is telling us he finished inside the walls with cedar plank.) both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.” In other words, from the backside forward there were twenty cubits, and the breadth was twenty cubits, and the height was twenty cubits. That is an entire cube. You cannot take away from it and you cannot add to it. We know this, that since twenty cubits would be approximately thirty feet, then that means it is taking up one third of the total length, but since it is forty-five feet in height, that lets us know there would have to be an attic above that ceiling. Maybe they used it for storage; I do not know, but God is keeping this room a precise size. It has got to type something. When we read all of this, we find that this entire room is sealed with cedar plank. We will continue to read. “And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long. (That is what is left, that is sixty feet.) And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen. (So it lets us know the actual wall of the building that made it such a strong piece of work, was the stone walls. But within, the walls were covered with cedar plank.) And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. (That is what we see right here. This is an open end view looking into that room.) And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar. So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.” There was a huge curtain hung up there on golden chains, but as it dropped down before this, then that is what separated this measurement from this other. That was called a veil. When you read in the New Testament, that when Jesus died on the cross and there was a great earthquake, what did it say? The veil in the temple was rent in twain. When the apostle Paul, with his understanding of what all that room signified, explains it in the Hebrew letter, he said that the renting of the veil signified that the way into the holy of holies has been made, as Jesus fulfilled all requirements. God’s sacrifice on earth has now been fulfilled through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which signifies that He is bringing an end to the old covenant, as far as its spiritual application goes. Jesus then rose from the dead and ascended right into heaven, and was seated on the right hand of God the Father, the Majesty, entering into His eternal glory, which no other priest could ever do. When you read that in the epistle to Timothy, it tells us how he has ascended on high, and he dwells in that light whom no man could approach, nor could see, nor can see. It means this, God the Eternal Spirit, does not live in a fixed form. That is not His habitation. He has manifested through the ages, in various similarities, taking on different forms, sometimes in an angelic way, and other times in theophany form appearing as a man. None of those forms were ever represented as His eternal abode, simply because He is a Spirit, which is invisible. He cannot be seen. He never has been seen by any natural eye, and never will be. Well I thought the Bible said Moses saw Him? That goes to show how much people really know about the Bible. They will just read one verse of scripture and will lock that up in their minds as the final say, and will go the rest of their life thinking, now I understand it all. Well I just have to say, One day, they will be going down the road of life, and will trip over a rock, so to speak, and say, now I don’t know what I believe. How can people ignore what the Bible says? They will say, Moses saw God; the Bible says so. Then you come to 1st John 4:12, which was written by another Jew, what did he say? He said, “No man hath seen God at any time.” Are we reading riddles? No. We have to know what the writers, the patriarchs and the prophets were talking about when they were speaking of these various similarities or figures back in time, those that God manifested Himself in. You will notice, He never repeated His manifestations at any other time. John, 1:18 says also, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” Do not expect to ever see God walking around as a person: His only begotten Son is the only person in the Godhead, and the only one that has ever been seen with the natural eye. It is the same with this city we are reading about: It is symbolic of something, and not something that can be seen with the natural eye. We read all about it, we read of its size and so forth, but you have to keep these things in proper prospective. However, when it comes to the temple Solomon built, and also the temple that will be built a little later on, you are talking about something that can be seen with the natural eye. Therefore as we were talking about that temple Solomon built, and that one room, you see it looking as you would walk in right here, looking there, to see this. That is the ark of the covenant, which used to dwell in that tent of badger skins and goat skins. There it is in there. When we read here, all of these cedar planks the walls were lined with, in those cedar planks, think of it, it says professional craftsmen carved flowers, angelic beings, winged creatures, palm trees and so on. After they got all those carvings into the planks of cedarwood, then all those planks were overlaid with fine gold. Then the planks were used to line the wall, the ceiling, everything, so that as you walk in you would see nothing but all the walls about you, with all those flowers, those impression of whatever had been cut into the wood, reflecting through all that shining gold. As you imagine how that room would look, remember, it was perfectly square. We have to understand that the dimension of it, all those figures, are setting a type for us, that once God’s plan of salvation for man has run its full time factor, God will have redeemed everything He had purposed to redeem. When the plan of salvation, and total redemption is completed you cannot add one thing to it, nor take one thing away from it. Brothers and Sisters: I believe you will have to say, God has been good to us, to give to us a written word describing what He is doing. In that written word He has given you and me equal opportunity to get the picture of what He wants us to become. He gives us an opportunity to understand how He wants man to approach Him. He gives us an opportunity to know exactly how He wants man to serve Him. In the New Testament, He has given us every doctrine that our faith is to be supported by. God forbid that man should change anything about it, but man has had his day of changing the word of God to suit his own purpose. His true bride people do not do that.
THE MANY SYSTEMS OF MAN’S RELIGION
When we look at the religious world about us, we can hear every kind of belief that man can imagine, being called the Christian belief, and it is more confusion than it is anything that can ever help anyone take on the mind of Christ. Ninety percent of present day Christendom does not even realize why there is a Lutheran system of religion, or why there is an Episcopalian system, or a Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Church of God, or Pilgrim Holiness. Why is there an Assemblies of God, or a Oneness? Ask them, Why do we have all these denominations? and see what you hear. The majority of all those people who go to those places every week do not realize that for almost five hundred years, the Spirit of God was slowly beginning to shine light back upon His word that the Catholic Church, through that long period of time from about 500 A.D. to 1500, had cast into darkness. The old world, Europe, went through the darkest hour of secular history spiritually and materially. From the advent of Christ and on for a number of years, God shined light upon His word, and even on over to around 500 A.D. the Church still had some light, but by the time 500 A.D. had rolled around that light was very dim. Then for the next 1000 years, everything was almost total darkness. The Catholic Church had changed every doctrine and ordinance into some kind of money-making gimmick. When you study history from then on, the system had become just a mass of people with creeds, dogmas, rituals and faith in the system of man, rather than faith in a living God. What do we mean? Just this, Man had taken away from the word of God the true meaning, and added his own interpretation. He had done exactly what the serpent did in the garden of Eden when talking to Eve, No God did not mean that; He meant this; and he added what he thought was supposed to be said. God allowed that condition to go on for a thousand years; and then He began to reveal a certain truth to certain chosen men, and for almost 500 years now, God has been giving man an opportunity to come back out from that dark period, back into the light. That is why today, the church world will never walk where you and I walk. They just take a certain truth God revealed to their founder and major on that, not even caring that God has continued to reveal more truth right on through the years, truth that the first century Church walked by. Therefore because they do not see what you see, they just look upon us as a bunch of fanatical people, claiming to be Christians. They say we are uncooperative, disagreeable and that we think we are the only ones God cares about. They think we have no love; simply because we do not come and sit with them as they go through their weekly rituals. The apostle Paul said, How can light dwell with darkness? How can truth and error be in agreement? How can Christianity and Baal worship be in agreement? How can true Christianity take the faith that was once given to the first Church, and try to be in agreement with those who are bound and determined to carry on in their old traditions, not having any thoughts about ever changing? True saints of God are always subject to change, as the Lord sheds more light upon His word. We do not change into the very image of Christ the moment we receive the Holy Ghost: He changes us day by day as we are given more light to walk in. That is how our former traditions are purged out of us. All of those men of the Reformation had some truth revealed to them, but none of them ever endeavored to put all of the truth that had been revealed to the various ones, all into one package and present it to the Church. God had to send a prophet to this very age, in order to accomplish that. That is what Bro. William Branham did, take all of the truth that had been restored little by little as various men would be moved upon by the Spirit of God to take a stand for some particular revelation, and present it all together as the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Let us look some more at this cube we were talking about. It has two types projected. We know this, in its earthly representation, there was only one priest of the Jewish people of the Levite tribe, which was the high priest. In the fall of the year, which was approaching the end of the Jews’ secular year, which usually takes place between the middle of September and the middle of October, on the day of atonement, he had a certain function to perform. That is the month that ends their secular year, because their months are controlled by the lunar months. They do not go by the solar year like you and I. Their years are by the lunar system. Therefore as we see then, in the fall of the year, on the day of atonement, when the sacrifice for national sins for the people was made on the altar outside of the temple itself, that high priest took the blood of that sacrifice and made his way into the temple, because in here was the menorah, the seven golden candlesticks that typed the seven church ages of the Gentile dispensation. That seven branched menorah, or candle holder, pointed to the Grace Age, a time when the Grace Age would be exemplified in those seven churches you read about in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. In chapter 1, when John turned to see the One that spoke to him, he saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the seven candlesticks One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. He recognized it to be Jesus he was looking at. He was clothed in this priestly robe. He looked like a High Priest. When we take that back to the Old Testament, this high priest of Israel would go through here into this place, once each year, to come into the presence of this and there he would sprinkle that blood on the altar. Now we are told that if God accepts it for the forgiveness of the sins of the people, and takes pleasure in the acceptance of this blood, all is well, because the priest wore bells on his robe that could be heard. In that place, he did not just go in there and stand around: He went in there and walked back and forth. This was to make a noise, letting those outside know he was still alive. I am glad you and I do not have to approach God like that, walking back and forth in that place. It would probably scare you, if you could see what he saw. Nevertheless, in there he communicated the affect of that atonement. All of that was a particular type of something that would be accomplished by a perfect sacrifice later on. The high priest was the only one that could go that far in there, and that lets us know that when Jesus hung on the cross of Calvary two thousand years ago, as God’s perfect sacrifice for the sins of man, He gave His life, shedding His blood, and when He arose again the third day, that is what this day of atonement signified; the day that Jesus rose from the dead. He was seen for the space of forty days after His resurrection, among the body of disciples, In 1st Corinthians 15:6, the apostle Paul wrote that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once. I was asked the other night, Did the world see Him? No saints, the worldly minded people did not see Him. It was those that were His disciples, along with the apostles. He appeared to various ones periodically, during that interval of time before He ascended. What was His purpose in doing that? To prove to them His resurrection. Then at the end of that period of time, He went out to the Mt. of Olives, and after speaking to them there, He ascended into heaven. As He ascended into heaven, He went right straight into the presence of that eternal Spirit, into that manifested glory. That is what you read about in Revelation 4 and 5. When you read the Bible, you will never read anywhere that there are three persons sitting on three thrones in heaven. There is no such thing as a three persons God. That is a counterfeit teaching brought to this Gentile world by Catholicism. The sad part of it is, Gentile religions have swallowed it hook, line and sinker, so to speak. Do you remember the letter we read, from the Netherlands? He told how he wrestled with the fact he had been baptized according to the trinity titles, using Matthew 28:19, but the church world today does not even know what Matthew 28:19 really implies. Jesus said, Baptizing them in the name, not names, just name. You can say father all you want to; and you can say son all you want to, and Holy Ghost all you want to, but be sure of this one thing; none of those titles are a name. Nothing Jesus ever said at any time, ever gave the slightest hint that He was one of three persons in the Godhead. Three offices yes, but not three persons. Father is not a name; and never was a name. Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all titles pertaining to the three office works of the ONE GOD. They are titles that God has given the various offices through time, seeking to bring about the total plan of redemption. After all is said and done, there is only one name in the entire New Testament, given among men, whereby man is to be saved. That is in and through and by the name Jesus, who is the Christ. That is the family name that God reveals Himself through, as He set about to redeem us. That is why I say, When you go to the book of Acts, where on the day of Pentecost the first three thousand souls were baptized in water, How did Peter tell them to be baptized? (Acts 2:38) “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Some of the modernists of our day will say, Well I would rather take what Jesus said than what Peter said. If you are going to take what Jesus said, you had better listen to Peter; because he had the revelation of what Jesus meant. Peter was right there to hear Him say what He said, and you were not there, so maybe you had better rethink your position. You are just reading about it; and according to the scriptures, Peter was the disciple that had the key to know how, and what to say on the day of Pentecost, when this dispensation of the kingdom of heaven was set in motion, and three thousand souls stood there hearing those disciples coming out of the upper room, speaking in various languages and glorifying God. Then when the home bunch began to criticize, thinking they were drunk, Peter began to preach. When he ended his sermon there were devout Jews gathered out of every nation under heaven, rushing around those disciples, asking, Men and brethren, what must we do? They all knew what to say, but Peter spoke and said, Repent every one of you and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins. Why? Because that is the formula the new birth is applied in. Well Bro. Jackson, I have been a Nazarene all my life, and I know God saved me when I asked Him to. Let us look at it this way, We will all testify to the fact that God first dealt with us when we were in denominations, (I am referring to the older folks in the congregation.) but there is one thing sure, He did not do it just to make a better Catholic of you, nor a better Baptist, or whatever: He did it because He loved you. I was ignorant of that truth when I was in the Methodist Church, so He saved me because He loved me, not because I was right in what I believed. He saved me because He loved me and He knew that later on down the road He would deal with me and I would come out from among them, to walk in truth. He sure knows how to work with those who desire to be Christlike, and are willing to let Him lead them. Sometimes when you drag your feet He will let you get by with dragging your feet for a little while, but after a while He will let you stumble and bruise yourself up pretty badly, and when you get up you are ready to pick up those feet and follow His leading. Did not the apostle Paul write, in Romans 8:28, That all things work together for good to those that love the Lord? That is because they are the called, according to His purpose. I am saying these things because we are living at the end of the Age, and when He has been so gracious to so many of us and given us an opportunity to come back to the light, back to the light of revealed truth, ought not we purpose in our hearts to let Him lead us from here on out to the end? When Jesus ascended into heaven, He ascended into the very presence of the eternal God of glory. That throne you read about in Revelation 4, is the only throne that can be seen in heaven, and Jesus is sitting upon it. It is a throne position that the Eternal Spirit has provided for His only begotten Son, the Son He had begotten into the earth, the Son who met all the conditions of being a perfect sacrifice while living among sinful mankind, and being tempted and tested in every way that you and I are tempted, yet He kept His life free from all sin. He went further than you and I could go: He was willing to take your place, and my place at Calvary, die for us as our total sacrifice for sins. He went further into the bowels of this earth than any other mortal creature could have ever gone, but He did not stay there: The third day, He came forth out of that tomb, and He is alive forever, now in immortality. Keep in mind, if Jesus had not been crucified as He was, He would have lived and lived and lived forever, because He had no sin in Him. He had no inherited death in Him. How many understand that? When I make that statement, I make it in order to point to the flesh, because He was foreordained to die for you and me; not because He had tuberculosis, or heart disease, but because there was no other sacrifice worthy to be offered for man’s sins, so when He obediently went to that old cross and laid down His life, He was raised in immortality, never to die any more. That is why He is seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father. He is our High Priest. What that little room typified here, that only one can go into that place, Jesus is there today, and has been there in that position for almost two thousand years now. That is what Paul is describing in Hebrews. Now He is in that place and that Lamb’s book of life, you have got to realize, every man, every woman, every boy and girl, that in the end will have their place in that city, it is because their name was in the Lamb’s book of life from before the foundation of the world. Your name was not written in the book of life the day you joined a church somewhere. If you ever open your heart, and your mind gets straightened out with God and you begin to walk with God, you are going to realize that He knew you before you were ever even born. He knew what generation you would be born in and how long it would take you to respond to His convicting presence. Think of that. Did you know that? Not until after you surrendered to Him. Did you have anything to do with you getting here? Not much, but He sure did. He knew exactly just how to deal with you to bring you to His plan of salvation.
WHAT IS PREDESTINATION?
There are a lot of people that cannot understand predestination, but those who do, consider it to be a beautiful doctrine of the scriptures. The minute you mention predestination, those who do not understand it will say, I don’t believe that: It is a doctrine right out of the pit of hell. It is very strange though, that it is in the Bible and they still feel that way about it. How can it be out of the pit of hell if it is in the teachings of the Bible? Some people just close their mind to reality, simply because their Grandpa and Grandma did not know anything about it. Keep in mind, the apostle Paul, in Ephesians 1, wrote that we were predestined according to the foreknowledge of God. What does foreknowledge mean? God knew before there was ever a star, moon, or anything else, who the heirs of salvation would be. He knew how many would be born on this planet, once this planet itself was in existence. Well I just simply cannot see that, some will say. Then stop calling God omnipotent or omniscient. Why use such terms if you do not believe He knew everything about everything He would create. Why tell the world He is a God that can do anything, then turn right around and limit His ability? Let me illustrate predestination. The apostle Paul says this, He would that men might pray for everybody, for kings and magistrates, governors and so forth. Why? Because God is not willing, or did not will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God sends out a universal call, Come, whosoever will. That is His universal invitation. When Jesus died on the cross, every lost sinner was represented. Every sinner is invited to take a look at the goodness of God and His willingness to save all that will believe. Behind the whole plan is a master mind that knew exactly how to look at it. Let me use an earthly illustration. Let us just say a man and his wife have a daughter that has reached the age of marriage. They live in a community that is closely knit in the social structure. They are planning a beautiful church wedding. Let us just say for the sake of illustration, that the father and mother of this daughter, if they have the mind of God, would know exactly how many people are going to come to the wedding, and also to the reception, and they would know exactly how much of everything to prepare. Therefore in order that nobody be left without an invitation, they have a great number of invitation cards printed and distributed. You are cordially invited to attend the wedding of our daughter on such and such a date, at such and such a place, and to the reception which will follow the wedding ceremony. That invitation reads the same to each person it goes to. Just imagine though, as those invitations are received by the public, conversations strike up. Some say, We are planning to go to that wedding. On and on it goes all over the community for weeks, Yes we are planning on going, but the father and mother having the mind of God, as time goes on they are impressed that out of three hundred invitations they sent out, only two hundred and twenty six people will actually attend, so that is how many they prepare for. Bro. Jackson, you are making me uneasy. Well I just say this, Don’t forget that verse in Romans 8, which plainly tells you this, (28) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. (29) For whom He did foreknow, (What did He do?) He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” He justified us. If He justified us, what else did He do? He glorified us. It does not matter how wicked you have been, He sees you, once you have reached that point, how you are cleaned up. That lets you see how the mind of God works, so getting back to the natural wedding, when that day comes that the wedding is fulfilled, there will be two hundred and twenty six people come to the door. They made provision for two hundred and twenty six guests. That little example lets you know, that when the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife hath made herself ready according to Revelation 19, the rapture takes place and the dead in Christ are raised first, then we which remain alive at that time, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. There is not going to be any fussing when we get to the marriage supper. There is not going to be any vacant place where so and so did not make it. God does not set a table, then have someone fail to show up. Was the dimensions of the ark out of line? How many know what I am talking about now? It was God Himself that told Noah how big to build the ark. God knew there would only be eight human beings that would go aboard to escape what was coming, and that the rest would be animals. All the animals in there had sense enough to know, We better get in that boat if we want to escape what is coming. They did. There was no rodeo. God kept that door open until all that would go in were in. Then as the last creature walked up that gangplank and into the ark, the wind started blowing, and after a while a gust of wind caught that door, Bang! It was shut. Noah knew he was shut in with God. Genesis 7:16, tells us the Lord shut him (Noah) in. The old boat sat there. The critics mocked, but when the rain started falling they did not mock any more. I can see them crying. I can hear them screaming, trying to hold on to the side of that ark. They all had their chance to go in, but now that judgment is falling, it is too late. There were no ropes hanging down for anyone to grab on to. Why do you talk like that Bro. Jackson? God has a sense of humor, but the sad part is people do not know it. We are looking at things in the type structure. When that priestly office work of Christ is fulfilled, as we read in the 5th and 6th chapters of Revelation, Jesus does then reach the point in time that He leaves that place where He has sat ever since He ascended into heaven, and this high priest function here in the holy of holies was the type of that. He sits in heaven on that throne interceding for all of us, but once He leaves that throne position, He will never return to that position again. He is then crowned as King of all kings. His wife (the bride Church) is now with Him. She has been married to Him according to the hope the true Church has had all these past centuries of time since the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, when the Church was born. The scene portrayed in Revelation 19, is Christ Jesus and the bride saints of all ages, coming from heaven with power to speak judgment on all wicked mankind. You can turn to Revelation 19, and read the last verses, and here comes Jesus with His Church, back to earth, to rule and reign. Then when the battle of Armageddon is concluded and His judgment is poured out, and He sets about to bring all the national subjects before Him, to judge their worthiness to enter into the next era, which is the Millennium, then is when Jesus will take the ancient throne of David and will sit in Jerusalem Himself, while His bride looks to the other nations. By the time all of that has come about, there will again have been built on the old temple grounds in Jerusalem, a temple for Him to rule from. If that temple is going to be built again in Jerusalem, getting it ready for the second coming of the Jewish Messiah, which is our Bridegroom, the King of kings and Lord of lords, that temple will again have a room like the one we have been describing to you. The difference between this one and the other ones, will be that this temple will no longer have a veil like the others had. That room will no longer have that ark in it, but it will have a throne where King Jesus will rule from. It tells us in the prophet Jeremiah, that in that day, pointing to the time when the Jews will again be regathered in Jerusalem, and in the land of Israel, to get ready to bind the ten tribes and two tribes back together, to sit them up under the Messianic kingdom, it will no longer be said concerning the ark of the covenant, but it will be said something concerning the glory of the Lord and His presence with us. In other words King Jesus will be sitting in that oracle place. That is what this typed. The ark here, was pointing to the person of Jesus Christ in all of His saving work. We realize that the dimensions of that room in its second fold meaning, as God would only dwell in such a cube, the total cubicle of it in its measurements was pointing to this, because this will not come about until this which types Jesus the man has been fulfilled and He has reigned in the Millennium. Then redemption has been completed in the earth and everything has been renewed, the resurrection of the dead is over, the wicked spirits out of hell are cast into the lake of fire, all demons and devils are in the lake of fire, there is no more graveyards, there is no more hell in the heart of the earth, so everything is pure and clean. There is no more trace of sin anywhere. There is no more dead bodies around to remind God that sin is still present. Hallelujah! All that is left is pure and clean. Then the last and foremost type of this whole picture is fulfilled; because God then places Himself back in and among His creation in the fullness of His manifested glory, to take up His eternal abode with man. That is why it says in Revelation 21, as John saw that city, He heard that angel proclaiming, Behold the tabernacle of God is with man to dwell with man and man with God. Now where will that beautiful place sit, since it has a certain dimension to it? Do not forget; there will be no more oceans, or large bodies of water in that day. How many realize that? There will be no Pacific Ocean. There will be no more Atlantic Ocean. Will there not still be lakes and rivers? There sure will, but there will no longer be two thirds of this planet covered with water. Where will this glorious place settle at? It will settle right back down on this earth, right where He started it. God Himself then becomes the temple. When you read in Revelation 21, it talks about how the glory and honor of the nations will be brought; let me just read a few verses, starting in verse 21. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (The city) And 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. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” That great anointing presence of God, this manifestation of God’s divine presence, becomes the abode of the Bride and the redeemed of the Lord. Keep in mind though, that through the Millennium there will be people born on the face of this earth. At the end of the Millennium, because there will be millions of people born to natural parents on this planet, Satan will be turned loose again for a little while, that they also may be tested and tried like we have been. They are going to be tested as to their allegiance to God . That is why Satan must be loosed for a little season. Keep in mind though, those that take sides with Satan will never again be allowed to bring about the manifestation of sin, the works of it, as you see it in the earth today. When those that are deceived by Satan reach a certain point, they are going to encamp around Jerusalem for an evil purpose, around the place which is actually the beloved city, the camp of the saints. That is when divine fire out of heaven destroys the entire mass of them. Yes saints, when there is no more presence of evil on earth, God will absolutely come and settle right back down in the same place where His presence was before Adam and Eve sinned, right back in Eden, which is where it all started. What about those people, Bro. Jackson, will they be immortal? They will be people that you can say are in an immortal state, because they will never die, but they will not be in the same relationship with the Creator as the people that are represented in the bride. How many understand that now? When you talk like that, the first thing people begin to say, Well, now you are telling me God is a respecter of persons. No. You just have to keep in mind, God created angels and He created them in three orders. What do you mean by that? We read of winged creatures. Then we read of angels like Gabriel and Michael. They are not spoken of as winged creatures. Then there are lesser angels whose names are not even mentioned in the Bible. They are the ministering spirits sent forth to watch over the people of God. Keep in mind, if you study the whole universe, you will study the whole category of things the God of creation has manifested Himself in, and there are three areas. Let us look at it this way, what is creation made up of? Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Will you agree with that? Then there has been three offices among man that He worked through, first to the Jewish people. First a prophet, when Jesus was here on earth, was He not a prophet for 3 and ½ years? He does not live and exist in two offices at the same time. He was first a prophet, then He laid that robe aside and He died for the sins of lost mankind, as a sacrifice. When He arose, He ascended into glory; and all power and authority was invested in Him by God, and He has been a Priest through all these centuries and He is to be King. He has been Priest for almost two thousand years. He will soon finish that work of intercession; and when He leaves that office He will come to earth with His Bride. His Bride is robed in fine linen, clean and white. That means that is the highest calling that a human being can attain unto, being called into God’s plan of salvation. You read about all these other saints in the 7th chapter of Revelation. They are given white robes. It does not say they are of fine linen. They are just white robes. It means they are saved and they are going to be glorified. It also tells us in Revelation 20, as we read the first four verses, blessed and holy is he who hath part of the first resurrection, for over such the second death hath no power. They are going to be given white robes. All of that signifies that they too will be resurrected in a glorified state. They too will have a white robe, in the sense of salvation. Keep in mind though, that the fine linen is the one that is called the highest. Now those national people here in the Millennium, which we just spoke of, they are actually a servant people, but not in the sense that they will be mistreated. That is another three. How many understand my point of illustration? We have got to realize, that when redemption is over, God will have those three types of people. I will say this, As we get into the Millennium, there will be a lot of things that will come to light that we will see and understand then, better then we do now. As far as this city, when you read about it, and the throne we read about in Revelation 4, when God comes down, in that city, and in that likeness, again, there is that throne setting. Who is sitting on it? Nobody but your elder brother, which is Jesus the Christ. As we just read in Revelation 21, There is no need for the light of the sun nor the moon, for the Lord God and the Lamb thereof are the light of that city. Does that mean there is going to be no sun nor moon anymore? No. When you go to Isaiah 30:26, it tells us that in that day, what day? When God has made everything new; like He said in Revelation 21, Behold I make all things new. Therefore when He makes all things new, it says the sun shall shine seven times brighter than it had before, and the moon will be as bright as the noonday sun. Just imagine, if that sun actually shined that bright in the day time, then the moon that shines at night was as bright as the noonday sun, there would be no night. Why is there still a sun? Because it takes that for the natural earth planet you live on. It is from that, that all the plant life has to survive. How many realize that? It means that the light that your inner being must have, the Lord God Himself is the light. It says this, In that city there is no temple. No temple, which means there is no natural building, because the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple thereof. What does that tell you? If the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple of it, that lets me know you are not living inside the immortal body of Jesus. You are living in the presence of the eternal glory of the Creator of all things, the same one that saved you. He did it through His begotten Son Jesus, who is the Christ, the anointed one. Jesus, as the head of the family, is your elder brother. He is the first of the new family. He is the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the beginning of redemption and the end of redemption. That is the city Abraham was looking for, a city whose founder and builder is God, because God designed it in the heavens. We have a lot to look forward to, so let us be faithful. Amen