WE HAVE NOT PRINTED THIS MESSAGE SINCE IT WAS PREACHED, IN APRIL OF 1990, BUT SINCE IT IS ONE OF THE SEVEN THAT BROTHER JACKSON SPOKE OF IN HIS TESTIMONY, WE ARE EDITING IT JUST FOR THE INTERNET WEB PAGE.
We have sketches here, of pictures that portray two settings in the Bible. One is of the garden that we read about in Genesis. The other is a city that is different than any other city you have ever heard of. I am sure there is not an artist in the world that could ever portray either one in the true reality that God manifests’ them in. There is no way we could put a city in a drawing, of the description we read about in the book of Revelation, and give it the color description, so that we could put it on video. It just simply would never take. Therefore we have to use some natural profile for a point of illustration. We are giving this message the title, “The City of Paradise,” or you could think of it as “The New City,” because it will be just that, spiritually speaking. I am going to ask you to open your Bible’s to our text, found in Revelation, chapter 21. This gives us a picture in time, and the Millennium, the thousand years reign of Jesus Christ with His bride, will then be in the past. Satan has been loosed at the closing of the Millennium, after the thousand years has run its course, just for a little season. The Bible does not tell us how many years or months that may be. It is just a little season for a specific purpose. That is for the purpose of testing that great mass of people that will have been born on the earth during the reign of Christ and His immortal saints. Those who reigned with Him already had glorified bodies like His. When that testing is over, we then see another picture. We see, as the 20th chapter closes out, that there is a great white throne judgment set up. This is portraying the great, supreme court of heaven. Christ is the Judge in this case. The Eternal Spirit, the Father, has delegated unto Him this great judgment role. This is also a part of redemption; because we are dealing not only with the earth, but with people that will have lived during the Millennium when Satan was bound and they have not been tested until the hour when he is loosed for a little season. Now that they have been tested, and they have reacted, those that have done things that must be judged are seen here along with all the others that must face this judgment, and we find the apostle Paul speaking in the Corinthian letter, that the saints shall judge the world. Saints will also judge angels. Therefore we have to realize that you take what Paul says in the Corinthian letter, and place that right over here in that great white throne judgment; because we will see the angelic family all present, and this is the final judgment. You will see all the saints of God present, from the Old Testament Age as well as the new, along with the tribulation saints, and they are all present to represent and speak out and bear witness against things that Satan and the evil element of the angelic family have done in their particular periods of time. Then, it says the dead were cast alive into the lake of fire, where the beast and the false prophet are, and of course that refers to the spirit of those two systems. That episode ends all phases of redemption. We will now read our text, where we find that John has seen this great, very beautiful scene manifest.
NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH
Let us now start reading our text for this message. (Revelation 21:1) “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Now I beg of you, as we read this, do not let your mind’s drift off into some fantasy, thinking, Well, that is a new planet somewhere beyond this one, and that is a new realm of atmosphere. No, it is no such thing. If we are dealing with redemption, then we have to be looking at the same global planet that God has been dealing with for eons of time. We are looking at the same span of space; but we see it in its redeemed state. What is made new about it, is those evil spirits that have been allowed to fill certain dimensions of that atmosphere called heaven, are no longer present to intervene, or to tempt or do anything against the plan and purpose of God. God now gives us a view of the earth as it has been made new through His process of redemption. When redemption, as it refers to salvation, is applicable to you and I, yes, it says we are new creatures. However, in reality we must realize that God did not destroy the old you. He did not do away with you, and make another in your likeness. God is not in the cloning business. He is in the saving business. He does not make one, then take a cell from that and make another just like you. That is what scientists would do, if they were ever given a free hand to manifest their own designs for this planet. It is interesting to note, that they have to have something God has already created in order to be able to make for themselves anything in the likeness of a creation. We just have to realize, God has made new creatures out of His family through the process of redemption. The earth is new because it has been redeemed. That is what the Millennium is for. It is God’s plan for renewing the earth, redeeming the earth, bringing it back into a relationship where He, the eternal Spirit, can place Himself back in it, and through it, to fulfill His eternal purpose, and that final state will go on for endless ages. It is also referred to as world without end. Now as we read, notice, “For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away,” what does it mean by that? It means the earth and the heavens as you and I, mankind has known it through our life span’s, while sin was present, and this is not dealing with the planet back in the prehistoric age: It is only dealing with how the planet is to be looked upon as it has been brought through the era of man. “For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” This also lets us know that through the thousand year reign, something has taken place to change that picture, because as far as we can read, the earth is covered with two thirds water, and it is going to be that way right on to when the Millennium begins. Since Satan is only going to be loosed for a little season, we must realize that between the ending of the Millennium and the beginning of what the picture is, In chapter 21, even though it says he is only loosed for a short span of time, he has opportunity to draw away a great host of people that take a stand against the people of God, and God has to destroy them from among the living. Then when we do read that there was no more sea, this causes us realize that something has happened to the planet during that thousand year reign of Christ as King of kings. As redemption is fully completed in the plan of God, and is executed in and through the reign of Christ, we are made to believe that through that thousand year reign, the oceans, those vast expanses of water that now cover so much of this planet, are slowly going to be dissipated and drawn back out into space where the water came from. No doubt, people will be saying throughout the Millennium, The ocean is drying up: We need a rain. The oceans, the huge spans of water that we now see covering so much of the planet, is no doubt evidence of the curse and judgments that fell upon wicked mankind, as we read about in Genesis, where the flood of water covered the then known world. Because of that very thing, our calendar is out of balance. We now have 365 and 1/4 days to a year, and the moon is out of balance with the earth: therefore since we know a perfect circle has 360 degrees, if our calendar is to ever be balanced, it will not be by man’s technology: it will be God balancing it, by putting the earth, the moon, and sun back in proper relationship to each other. That will be brought about also, by redemption, as God draws that water back out into the atmosphere surrounding the earth, to correct the off-balance state that water has caused. “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Well, has God put something in the book of Revelation for confusion? Not at all. Because when I turn back to the 19th chapter, I read something that sounds almost exactly like that. Turn to the 19th chapter of Revelation. We are looking at a picture here, that is describable as a heavenly scene, while tribulation is going on, here on earth. Let us start reading in the 6th verse. “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.” We have talked much on this subject. When we read the 19th chapter, it speaks here, that His wife hath made herself ready, so we automatically see a picture of the Church of the living God, do we not? We see an element of people in heaven. How did they get there? John did not see a picture of how they got there: He just saw them there. It is the apostle Paul, who tells us how they got there. That is learned when you read 1st Thessalonians, the 4th chapter, where he speaks of what we call the rapture of the bride saints, which is accomplished in the secret coming of the Lord before the great tribulation strikes the earth. Will the world see Christ when that happens? No. Christ is not revealed to the world in that event: That is a secret thing, only for the prepared bride. The saints leave this world mysteriously. That is why they are seen in heaven. “And to her (the wife, which is the true Church) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen.” Now let us open up our minds to the fact there is no sewing machines in heaven. Do you understand what I am saying? There is no textile industry in heaven rolling out bolts of material to make bridal gowns out of. Where in the world did this fine linen come from? It is not anything that is produced by any human effort. This has got to be understood that it is the way the Lord robes the immortal saints with His glory, which is referred to as His righteousness, because of the revelation they have, that has been given to them while down here on earth. It is true, the saints are coming back riding white horses, and robed in fine white linen, but that is speaking spiritually: It is not because they are literal, tangible, materialistic robes, that have been sewn through the ages of time. I have to bring this in like that to open up the human mind. People get so naturally caught up in looking at what appears to be so literal, they start to literalize it. They forget to realize that this is God’s way of speaking of robing you and me with His glory, simply because of what He imparted to us while we were here on earth. As long as you are here, you will wear the kind of clothing you have access to, whether it is made of polyester, cotton, wool, or what-have-you. However when you leave here, you will leave those rags behind. You will be clothed in something far more pure and clean than anything that is produced by mortals down here. Let us continue reading. “And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” The reason I read that, is just to bring in the fact that we are reading about the Lamb’s wife, just before the Millennium begins. Then when we read those two verses in chapter 21 of Revelation, where it refers to the Lamb’s wife, the point is, that is called a city. I want to ask you, and all religious thinking people, Is Jesus Christ a polygamist? If you literalize that city and say it is a city made up of natural mineral substance, as it is described in chapters 21 and 22, you will have to settle as fact, that you believe in polygamy. That city we read about there, while it has been naturalized and literalized by so many theologians, because they will take St. John 14:2, where Jesus said, In my Father’s house are many mansions, and think of it as a great building program, and over here, it is spiritually referred to as a city. In the Beshetta text it says, There are many rooms. In another it says, many resting places, (and then) if it were not so I would have told you. He indeed said, I go to prepare a place for you. 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. Where did He go, to prepare that place for you and me? He went to that old rugged cross at Calvary, to prepare a place for us, simply because, until then we were alienated from the provisions of heaven. Nevertheless the Methodists, as well as many others, really get caught up in that part where He has gone to prepare a place for us, and it becomes a riddle to them, simply because they do not know where in the world it really leads to. As we look further into what this city of paradise actually is, you are going to have to follow me, because I am not going to read any more of Revelation 21 or 22, until we have built up the picture we are looking at. Man was first placed in a beautiful garden, and now that same setting is referred to as a city, so let us open our Bible’s to Genesis for our next reading. We are in chapter 2, verse 8. “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom He had formed.” Immediately man pictures God with a sack of seed of every description, out there planting a garden. Maybe with a hoe, like old timers used to plant a garden, going along and pulling back a little dirt, then dropping seed in and covering it back up. That may be a natural way you or I would portray God planting a garden, but I assure you, this is not the picture we need to see here. Keep in mind, Eden, as we read in Genesis, is not the garden itself. Eden, is the name given to a geographical spot of ground there where man had his beginning. It is still called Eden, the beginning of God, or the paradise of God. It simply means, where paradise was put. In the natural, it tells you here about the geographical terrain of Eden. It had all the natural landscape, rivers and everything we are prone to think of, but the garden referred to here, had nothing to do with how God planted trees, flowers, ferns or anything else like that: It is how He displayed Himself, His glory, His presence in a majestic fashion over that area of the geographical earth. I have always expressed it as, It was a little bit of heaven, a little bit of the spirit world placed here with man in this natural world. This was God’s beginning for the man that He had created out of the dust of the earth, speaking of the body of clay of course. The spirit of that man God created in His image and likeness, came from Him that is totally Spirit because He has never had a body of flesh like man has. What did Jesus say about God in John 4:24? “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” God created a spirit being in the very image of Himself, meaning that He was of the same makeup as his Creator which was Spirit. He was of the same Spirit that God is. That makes the Creator his Father. That makes His created offspring His son. When He placed that Spirit in a vessel of clay, then He placed it in this beautiful garden, (so called) and man had the opportunity to live in two realms, a natural realm and a spiritual realm. Think about it for a moment. He was living on a natural, earthly planet, but he was not limited only to his natural surroundings. Out of the ground grew trees of every description. Every tree you and I have here today, began to grow in that geographical area of God’s beginning of this creation. Furthermore, this majestic realm that God placed there, wherein angels could be seen as easily as birds sitting in a tree, was the equivalent of heaven on earth. This was the opportunity given to the first man God created in His own image and likeness. In other words, man, in the beginning, had everything he needed. In that kind of environment, he never would have needed air conditioning. He would never have needed a stove. There was no need for electricity, there was no need for any of these natural things we depend so greatly upon today. I want to express it like this, Artists, down through time, have painted their sketches of what they could envision this garden to have been like; but none have ever even come close to expressing it the way it really was. Some would call it the dream world, man imagining that somewhere there is a world where there is no evil and everything is peaceful. There are no clouds to fill the sky. The sky is always clear blue. The sun is always shining. They paint it with beautiful butterflies, little humming birds, all the beautiful things, even with angels moving about. Years ago, I saw a painting of two children walking through a garden. There was a little brook, a stream. There was a bridge over the stream. Right above these two children was an angel looking down upon them, as though he was supervising their traveling through this place. That is as close as the human mind can imagine what a world like that would be like. Then in the secular realm, they call it the fairy world. Those who portray it like that, usually portray it like with Cinderella and those kinds of things. All this goes to show, that deep inside of man, because he lost that beautiful paradise realm, the garden he was first placed in, there is a longing to reach out for that unseen world he can never seem to touch. Somehow or other he has a feeling that it is out there; but he just cannot touch it. When God drove Adam and Eve from that beautiful place called the garden, as I have said many times, They never walked even one foot away from where they were. They never went out between two gate posts and God shut a gate to keep them out. They were driven out of the presence and glory of God; or it might be better expressed, That God lifted His presence from them. When God drew the curtain on that little bit of heaven, the beautiful rays of God’s glory could no longer be seen. The angelic beings that at one time were easily seen standing there, watching, observing, were no where to be seen. From that point on, everything has just been natural, just trees and natural birds. Man lost his dream. He has been traveling through a world of time, where evil is ever present. As man has been traveling through time since he left a garden, did it ever occur to anyone that redeemed mankind is going right back to the same place? You are not leaving this planet earth to go to a garden: That garden is coming back to earth again. Let us take a look and see what the Bible says about this. How did the patriarchs of old look upon this?. For centuries of time man has journeyed, and his journey has all been on this planet. Time has come and gone and every day that mankind has lived, has been a struggle. He has seen his natural world become filled with evil, misfortune, sorrow, heartache and anything else you can think of.
ABRAHAM SEARCHED FOR A CITY
Open your Bible’s to the book of Hebrews. Since Abraham is our father by faith, and we are the seed of Abraham by faith, as we read in Hebrews 11:8, what comes to your mind? “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” This was the apostle Paul writing these words. Paul sees something, and if we can see what he saw when he put it in writing, it will help us better understand, when we read all of Revelation 21 and 22. “By faith he (Abraham) sojourned in the land of promise, (That land was a natural land: Many of you have been there, and you know that in many places it is just arid desert. Some of it is really not beautiful to look at; but remember, the land that he was to sojourn in may not have looked that way before the flood.) As in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” In another translation it says, whose designer and architect is God. So when we envision that, we do not picture God up in heaven with a great big draftsman’s table in front of Him, with rulers and pencils drawing lines. No. It is how God in His great omnipotence and omnisciency, has designed something according to His own thinking. When we can see Abraham, as he is written of by Paul, come into this land of promise where he lived with his seed, and yet he was constantly looking for a city whose founder, or designer and architect is God, then that lets us know that God, at some time, had shown him something else. This lets us know he was not only looking at the natural terrain and natural ground he was to receive for an inheritance, but he was looking at another realm which far exceeds that natural realm of ground. That is exactly what he was looking for. We can say this, He had a revelation of what all of that other was about. When I say a revelation, we have to realize that it takes a revelation to really understand spiritual things. By a revelation, God imparts to you and me a thought, or the picture of how to understand something that is written or described in the written structure of His word. We can see how that is better described by Paul as we go on in another chapter: Therefore let us turn to the 12th chapter: where Paul is describing, or writing to the believer in this dispensation of time, so as we read this, starting with the 18th verse, let us read it as though Paul is speaking to each one of us who are present here today. “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched.” When we see those words, our mind immediately goes back to Exodus, the 19th and 20th chapters, where we envision how the children of Israel were camped at the foot of a natural, geographical mountain, a giant rock formation rising out of the desert floor. Moses had gone up into that mountain to talk with God. The children of Israel, encamped at the foot of the mountain, were able to look up and see God come down on the top of that mountain in a terrible black looking cloud. We know it did not rain. There was no tornado in that cloud, but it thundered, and lightening was flashing, and there was the sound of a trumpet blowing. All of that is a description of how God manifested Himself to draw attention to His presence, because He is going to convey a message and talk to someone. Moses was caught up in that manifestation. It was scary looking to the children of Israel down below. They turned away and said, Let Him speak to Moses. As for us, this sight is too scary. Moses’ own testimony was, while he was caught up in it, he exceedingly feared and quaked. That is a description of the children of Israel as they were being brought from Egyptian bondage, which is a type of man being brought out from the bondage of sin and service to the devil. We were all born with an inherited nature that made us slaves to the devil. However instead of God saving us from bondage under such terrifying conditions, look what the apostle Paul says, “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more.” What a terrifying hour that must have been, for God to manifest Himself in a way with such a description, so that human mind’s were terrified even to look upon it. “For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, (Because God is so holy, while He was on that mountain, no earthly beast that He had created for earthly purposes could touch that mountain, lest it be killed.) it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake: (Meaning he trembled all over, but here, the word speaks to you and me.) But ye are come unto mount Zion, (Now Mt. Zion in the natural, is where Jerusalem is built. There is a natural mountain terrain in the land of promise, called Mt. Zion. It is on top of the mountain that the city of Jerusalem, God’s city where He chose to place His name, is built. But ye are come unto mount Zion,) and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.” This is a description of the spirit world, that somehow or other is around us, but in the natural sense of seeing, with our sense of sight, we cannot see it. “To the general assembly and Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” When you and I were saved, we did not go to Mt. Sinai in the desert, in the natural, to receive our salvation. Neither did you go to Mt. Zion in the land of Palestine, in the natural. We have come to a spiritual mount and a spiritual city. For what purpose? For God’s gift of salvation, which is eternal life. We realize we have been introduced to a heavenly city, the new Jerusalem. Of course in the natural, you have not seen one piece of stone or anything else that resembles a city. By faith though, we have come to one. The reason I am taking this route, is to give you a description of how the patriarchs searched for what we are all looking for. The apostle Paul did not write the book of Revelation, but what he sees and understands he is writing, how saints of old were used as types, (and it was from those types that Paul saw what we are now being brought to). It is all so beautiful. Open your Bible’s now, to the book of Galatians. The apostle Paul is again going back to Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, as he writes to the Galatian Assembly. As he writes to them, it is obvious he is seeking to get a point established with them. Someone has come along and taught them something from the law, which has them all confused, so let us notice how he wrote. We will start in the 19th verse of the 4th chapter. “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. (In other words, he stands in doubt of their stability, because it is evident they have let someone come along and teach something that has disturbed their understanding.) Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, (This is what lets us know it was something about the Law, probably circumcision. That was one of the first things those Jews would always try to get a Gentile caught up in.) do ye not hear the law? (Paul is going back to the realm of the Law, but as he does so, he goes to Abraham.) For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. (The freewoman was Sarah, his wife.) But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; (When Paul says that, he wants you and I to understand, that everything we read about Hagar, and Ishmael, over in Genesis, typed everything of the natural, fleshly, carnal concept of world Christianity. Everything is carnal and visualized in the natural realm.) but he of the freewoman (Sarah) was by promise. (This types the things of the Spirit.) Which things are an allegory: (or illustrative types) for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth (corresponds) to bondage, which is Agar. (Or Hagar, typed all in that of the flesh) For this Agar (or Hagar) is mount Sinai in Arabia, (That is where the natural Law was received.) and answereth to Jerusalem (the natural city which is built on top of Mt. Zion) which now is, and is in bondage with her children. (All of that is typing the flesh. He is using the Law to illustrate this picture.) But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.” Now brothers and sisters, we have to realize, if Paul can go back to the Old Testament to get the basic groundwork to lay the thought in the mind of New Testament Christians, how we are to look at this new city of Jerusalem, which we find in Revelation 21 and 22, then it had to be spoken of in the Old Testament, so go with me to Isaiah 54. Here the prophet Isaiah speaks of this new city, yet it is typed and projected from the old city, the natural Jerusalem. We are starting in the 11th verse, “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.” The natural city of Jerusalem does not have such a substance for its foundation. How many understand what I mean? It is natural limestone. “And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. (The 13th verse is the primary focal point.) And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; (It literally means all they that dwell inside that city shall be taught of the Lord, but in what way? By spiritual revelation. We will see how Jesus used this.) and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” The Bible has something for every mind to feed upon, but the true children of God are only interested in spiritual revelation. All of those food-for-thought ideas are for carnal minded mankind. Let us go to St. John, chapter 6, and see what Jesus had to say as He spoke to a crowd of people. As Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees and the multitudes in His hour, we take this setting here where He has fed the five thousand the day before. He turned the five loaves and two fishes into a great amount of food to feed the five thousand people. They have come to seek Him the next day; and when He is found, it led to a great controversy and argument. I want to start in verse 35. Jesus had a very unique way of getting religionists all upset. You can do it the same way today, if you want to. Just speak something against a doctor of divinity, or something that a system has been established on for so long. In their natural concept, they cherish the thing, and you know the whole thing is carnal, just a tradition. People have lived so long on a traditional thought, yet when the truth of it comes along and makes known the real point, spiritual people will leave the natural and follow the spiritual. In other words, they that are taught of the Lord will leave the natural realm to follow the spiritual, because they find great joy in doing so, but all the rest will just sit and ridicule and fight against it, so let us notice this scene here. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” We have to realize, Jesus is talking to an audience of people. They are standing there, critical in their spirit toward Him, but He knows that the ones that have a heart and life that is being taught by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of the Father that is doing the drawing, no matter what He says, they will come and see who He really is. Therefore if these natural Jews are standing looking at a man they perceive to be very natural in all His makeup, there are some that are going to see Him for a spiritual reason. That is just how life is. Those that perceive it in the natural are going to get angry at Him and be ready to throw stones at Him. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; (They will see who He really is.) and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (Or run them away) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” Those natural minded Pharisees could not see one thing: they only saw a man standing there, saying things that sounded completely contrary to what they thought His words ought to be. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me (That is predestination, by the foreknowledge of God: He foreknew who would and who would not believe unto salvation, therefore God knows ahead of time exactly how to direct His Spirit.) I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” The reason I read that scripture back in Isaiah, was because Jesus is going to point you back to that very verse of scripture, where it says, And thy children shall all be taught and learned of the Lord. “The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.” Just imagine this scene, and put yourself there on that morning. If you thought like them and fed strictly on the natural realm of human reasoning, and you have been observing the Law in all its natural observances and rituals, ceremonies, and feasts, you would have said, just like I would have said, That man sounds like an idiot. Who in the world talks like that? But if it was the Holy Ghost that was drawing us, wanting you and I to really see this man, and who He really was, and is, we would have looked beyond our natural concept of how we have been trained from childhood on up and would have allowed the Spirit of truth to take control of our mind’s. We would have seen something about this man, that no matter what He would have said, there was something about this man drawing us to Him. The natural man always perceives, like, I know where He came from, He came from Nazareth: I know his father and mother, so who does he think he is? It is still the same way today. “And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He saith, I come down from heaven?” Oh, this is nonsense! That is what they would say today. Now I know He is stupid. “Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. (He knew what they were saying. Now He quotes the prophet.) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” That lets us know the prophecy of Isaiah, not only pertains to your salvation, and my salvation, it pertains to our spiritual growth also, as we walk on with God. The things written in the word of God, that pertains to our growth, and our understanding His plan for us, and everything that is written in here, is written for our edification, our learning, our spiritual growth, our encouragement, how we should live in this world, and how we should look toward certain things that are to be in the world to come. Keep in mind, We read Revelation 21, where John said he saw that new city Jerusalem descending as the Lamb’s wife. Did he not? But we read in Revelation 19, as John saw the Lamb’s wife in heaven, because she had already made herself ready in a prior time, she was ready to descend back to earth with the King. Yet we are reading of two different scenes that are at least over a thousand years apart in time. How do we reconcile the two scriptures, when one is talking about a Church, and the other, people literalize it and naturalize it strictly to a city? If we look at it in the natural sense, I want to say right here, What we are reading in Revelation 21 and 22, is a picture of how God’s glory is manifested as the Millennium has come to a close and the great white throne judgment is over. All wickedness, all graves, dead bodies, and everything is removed from the planet earth. Everything now finds its distinguished place in the plan of redemption. The earth no longer has any trace of sin. This is how God portrays His Spirit coming back to earth to dwell with His redeemed family. It is how God displays Himself or manifests His glory to that same people that is described in Revelation 19, because that is going to be their eternal relationship, or abiding realm within the Spirit of God in the eternal age.
THE APOSTLE PAUL WRITING TO THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS
Now we will go to Ephesians, chapter 2, for a better description of this thing we are looking at. This is again, the apostle Paul speaking, or writing. As Paul is writing here, to the Ephesian saints, he is writing to the first church of this group of seven churches that we read about in Revelation, chapters 1-3. This is where Paul stood. This is where he ministered over a period of two and one half to three years. All the other churches were established from the great revival that was burning in the hearts of those people during the time he was in this city. Now, years later, he is writing to this church. In the 2nd chapter, he approaches a spiritual condition that is to be understood in the mind of the believers. To understand these verses we must understand that the first converts in this church were Jewish saints, from a synagogue. His first converts were Ephesian, Jewish citizens that were converted and baptized. This, later opened the door for Paul to come back, and that is when the great revival took place, and Gentiles, as well as Jews, were established in the faith and sitting together in the same local congregation of Ephesus. Starting in verse 13, we read this, “For now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off (That pertained to Gentiles.) are made nigh (brought close) by the blood of Christ. (You are brought into the relationship through the blood of Christ, to a plan and purpose of God.) For He (Christ) is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” The natural, carnal attitudes we Gentiles have had through past centuries toward the Jew, as well as the Jew toward the Gentile, which was the wall of partition that Paul referred to, that fleshly, racial attitude and attitude. Go back a few thousand years, to a city where there would be several hundred Jews living. The Gentiles that lived in Ephesus were pagans, worshiping all kinds of deities. The Jews who have lived there, had their belief in the one true God. Well it is very obvious, that under those conditions, when those Gentiles would observe the Jews, from their religious and racial standpoint, there would naturally be an expression of enmity, or hatred, or difference, because there was just no way they could be compatible, and be friendly toward each other under those circumstances. It was totally the opposite of that. We know this for sure, When Jesus Christ has died on the cross at Calvary, God, through that death of His Son Jesus, the Christ, did something that changed everything. He provided a way that the old racial hatred, that enmity, the difference between the two, could all be resolved through the great plan of salvation that was perfected. Let me say this, It does not matter how much civil rights, racial this and that you hear expressed in the news media, as long as man is a sinner, there is going to be racial hatred and enmity for as long as he is on this planet. It is the spirit of the devil in him. You cannot educate the devil out of people who are sold out to him. When they think they can force a thing like this, it is a fact, they only cause it to break out somewhere else in other ways. Take for instance, this Nazi thing. In the news lately, right there in Germany, is that same old spirit of Nazism among that young bunch of kids that were present in earlier years of this century. It is even in this country. You can make laws, you can put them in jail, you can put them before firing squads and shoot them, but you are not going to rid this earth of such evils. That is not the way God planned it. I am not teaching that you should go on and hate them. If you are a Christian, you do not hate anyone. Why? Because in Jesus Christ, God has provided you and me with something better: so that we do not have to look upon the black, the red, the brown, the yellow, with attitudes like that. It is all applied right here. Notice, “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself (Christ) of twain (Jew and Gentile) one new man.” A man and woman that in the eyes of God are all seen alike, and no longer look at each other from the standpoint of their Jewish flesh or Gentile flesh, but are viewed from the standpoint that they are all children of God, that He has made new creatures out of, because they now bear the image and likeness of the one who took their place at Calvary. God provided the total means for such a transition. Verse 16, “And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” I have to say this, If you and I have been truly born of the Spirit according to the word of God, just like it says, and you are dead to yourself, you do not see the other race like you may have looked upon them before. You begin to see others as God sees them. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He did not change colors just to suit races. I hope all of you understand that. In Him, was represented the grace of God that is applicable to every race alike, to destroy the enmity between them. If we grew up with a lot of animosity in our lives and cultivated hatred against people just because of their racial background, it is hard many times, for people to die to themselves. They grow up with pride, and the kind of pride is abominable to God; but we realize this, He provided something for the cure of that abominable attitude. “And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, (the Gentiles) and to them that were nigh. (the Jews) For through Him (Christ) we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit (the Holy Ghost) unto the Father.” The One that is doing the redeeming and the saving, is the One that designed the whole thing before the foundation of the world. Here is the spiritual part: Here is how we have to spiritualize what Paul is talking about. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers (When he said that, it was applicable to the Jewish saints sitting there in that Ephesian church, because as the Gentiles are actually the citizens of that local area, they would look upon Jews, no matter how long they lived there, that they were strangers. They are strangers out of their land of heritage, living in a city that is ours, was the attitude of Gentiles. Paul uses this approach to clarify his teaching.) and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. And are built upon the foundation (If we are built upon a foundation, are we going to literalize this foundation? Are we going to turn this into some kind of concrete mixed up, bringing in materials of gravel, stone, and all that? No. Paul is using natural language to convey a thought.) of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; (He is the beginning point.) In whom all the building, fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” It says we are a building, but how can we be a building? Actually we are a building of God: Though we may not look like a house we are familiar with, did you know that it is written in the book of Revelation, To him that overcometh will I make him to be a pillar in the temple of my God. What is a pillar? Do you see those posts over there? That is what a pillar is. It is something that holds up a covering of some sort. In the spiritual sense, it is something that holds up a responsibility God has given you. Again in the scripture, Paul used it in Timothy, that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth. So as we get the groundwork laid for all of this, then we can take what we have this far and go further with it, to get a better picture of it in our mind’s. Let me finish reading this verse while we are here. If the Church, which is actually the true children of God, is built upon a foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, then we do not literalize the foundation and make it into a natural, earthly substance. We look at it as a type, that you and I, as we are brought into the family of God, are built upon something that is spiritually solid and valuable, it is precious, it is treasured. We lay our whole faith, our whole spiritual existence upon that foundation. “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” That is all applicable in this life. We are not only a people referred to as a Church; and we are not only a people referred to as the Lamb’s wife; but we are a people to be built up into a spiritual house, so that God Himself can dwell in this holy temple. (In us) We are a temple of God. We understand that He is not dwelling in this house, in the fulness of all His eternal glory and attributes; but He is dwelling in this house in that sufficient measure of all that He is, to enable us to fulfill His purpose in each of us. That is applicable in this age of salvation and redemption, speaking of what this temple is to be built of in this age. Whether we are talking about the city we will get into a little later, the city that is in eternity, a period of time far beyond the realm that you and I live in right now, or the temple that we are at present, it is all to be thought of in the spiritual sense. Do not try to visualize a literal city, with literal mansions for each of us to dwell in. That is a totally carnal way of looking at it. I feel that we are ready to take a look at the description of the material this NEW CITY what is made up of.
A SPIRITUAL EXAMINATION OF A CITY
We want to bring out exactly what kind of city we have been looking at, when we read its description in the Bible. Through the ages, the various Gentile, religious, denominational churches have read these scriptures and interpreted them as though they pertain to a literal, tangible city of material objects put together. Other people have seen this only described as heaven itself. To them, when they die, they are going to heaven, and heaven is just like that. It is alright for us to have our fantasies, our traditions up to a certain point, but there comes a time in our spiritual maturity when we have to turn loose of them and allow a spiritual revelation to take their place. The one point I want us to realize as we study this picture, is that we are not reading about a traditional fantasy, but a reality that is ahead of us. As we brought out earlier, in the various other scriptures, this thing was talked about by the apostle Paul, and we can see what he was looking at. He spoke of Abraham, our father, that is the father of faith, how he sojourned in a strange land, looking for a city whose founder and builder is God, eternal in the heavens. Now we read here, that this city many have thought is heaven, in reality, is coming down to earth from heaven. Many times the same people have said the earth is going to be burned up, because, they say, the Bible says so. Well it may sound exactly like that when we read certain scriptures, but when you study the other scriptures related to that same thing, God’s redeeming process for this planet cleanses it by fire, but does not destroy the planet itself. Some constantly proclaim, We are going to go to heaven when we leave here; and we are forever going to be with the Lord. That is the way tradition has always presented it; but that is not the picture I get when I read the Bible. It just goes to show some people take a little bit here, a little bit there, and put that together and build their own so-called revelation. They make a picture out of that, a picture that pleases them and then just ignore everything else. If you do the Bible that way, you just as well bring a Sears Roebuck catalog with you when you come to church. It has a lot of pretty pictures in it. You do not treat the Bible like a catalogue; and order your salvation and pay for it on a budget plan. However it almost seems like that is what some people think they can do: just pick out certain verses and say, Lord, I want that, that, and this, but the rest I feel that I can do without. This is a book that was written over many centuries of time. The entire book contains a picture from beginning to end. It reveals God’s plan of redemption all the way back to the time when man was driven from that beautiful garden of paradise. That is what it was. It was that, because of how God related the spirit world to that area of the earth, to start man’s beginning in his earthly journey. The man fell from that special relationship between the heavenly realm and the earthly realm before he even got started on the business of fulfilling God’s command to him.. God just drove him from that beautiful realm of paradise, or God just lifted the spirit world, and left the Man standing on a planet with all the natural trees still around him, and all the animals still right there, but without the benefit of being able to move from one realm to the other. All of the natural rivers were still there, and everything he would need to earn his food by the sweat of his face, but from that point on, he would have to do his own hard labor: He lost his servant, the serpent, when God cursed him. A servant without any arms or legs would not be able to do much farming. They were all still right there in Eden, but circumstances were different. When you actually say to denominational people, Eden is still here: you can go see it: They will look at you like they think you are crazy. In reality though, Eden is where we look to as the Middle East today. That is where the history of mankind started: That is where the Bible was written. Do not ever think God drove Adam and Eve out of that geographical spot of the earth. If He had done that, that area of the earth would still be a forbidden area. Just think of that for a moment: There is no place on the earth today, that God has set as a no man’s land. Therefore when you read where God drove them out of the Garden just remember, The garden was not a natural spot of ground somewhere upon the earth: it was just a situation where God lifted His presence from them; and they were left standing there to realize that they would have to face every day from then on, associating only with the natural things of this earth. Therefore as we read here in the Bible we must realize that many people start reading these same scriptures, and as they read they visualize a natural, tangible city, just like Louisville, Kentucky is a natural, tangible city. They see that city being built up there in the spirit world. Well when we get finished with this message, I expect all of you to see this city in an entirely different way altogether, than what man in his traditional, natural, human way of thinking has always imagined it to be. I am going to read the same scriptures to you again, because I want you to take a good look at them. When this scene becomes a fulfilled reality the Millennium is over, and God is ready to enact the next phase of what He has allowed us to understand from His written word. Where is the Millennium going to be spent, as far as those who will be allowed to live during that time? Right here on earth: That is what this whole story is about, human beings, and the earth that God has placed mankind upon. Naturally when we speak of a Millennium, we are talking about one thousand years: That is what a Millennium is. During that thousand years, the earth will go through a redemption process, whereby it will be cleansed from the results of man’s evil ways. That is going to be followed by a little season of time: The Bible does not say how long the little season is. What is it for? Satan is going to be turned loose long enough to test all of those natural subjects that have been born during the thousand years while he has been chained up. Where has he been all this time? In the bottomless pit, which is hell. He is going to be chained there for one thousand years, while God’s redemption plan is being completed. During that Millennium era of time there will be no evil present. The realm of natural, mortal people that are left to pass into that age, to repopulate the earth, from them, is going to come multitudes, even billions of new subject people born on this planet. You cannot get that in our denominational churches. They see everybody in an immortal body, living somewhere in the heavenly realm in the sky. Do you mean to tell me Jesus is going to rule over immortal people with a rod of iron? Is the same Jesus that died to save you, going to turn right around and whip you with a stick? Is that the picture the Bible is painting for us? No, that is not the way we are to see it: You have to realize, all these things have a picture that is to be portrayed. Your immortal people that are changed from what they are now, to an immortal status, He is not going to rule over them with a rod of iron: they are going to rule with Him. It is the subject people that He rules over, those who passed from this life into the Millennium to repopulate the earth and their offspring. When that period is over, and Satan has finished testing those mortal subjects, he is then taken and judged; and that is when he is cast, NOT back into the bottomless pit, but into the lake of fire. That is the end of all of his evil influence upon earth. Then there is a resurrection to take place. We will bring all of that in a little later, as we go on into the message. As we look back at our text now, let us realize that when all this we have been looking at is finished, and the final judgment is over, and the planet earth has been completely renovated, renewed and all traces of previous sin has been literally done away with, it means there is no more graveyards, there are no more dead bodies in the crust of the earth. Neither are there any more fallen spirits in the bowels of the earth. The planet earth is then completely redeemed. That is why John saw it as a new earth. It has been made new through God’s plan of redemption, as well as the new heaven.
JOHN SEES THE EARTH AFTER REDEMPTION
Let us start in verse 1, here in Revelation 21, and read this again. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (We explained this earlier: how all of that is going to be done away with.) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down (It is not going up: you are not going to it: it is coming down. From where?) from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, (We are going to find out what that word tabernacle is implying. Is it talking about God sending a particular building down to earth? No. It means God is coming down to dwell with man.) and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” In other words, when God becomes your God here, and you become His people here, you then have something really going. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. (All things being made new is through God’s plan of redemption.) And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Now let us go back through the New Testament, to where we begin to see little glimpses of how the early Christian people were taught things that would cause them to begin to look forward to this wonderful thing man has sang about, preached about and longed to see, even before the book of Revelation was ever written. Always remember, Revelation is not an epistle. It is not a letter to a church. It is a prophecy sent out, to be read and observed by seven churches in Asia Minor. Why just those seven, when there were already other Gentile churches that had been established and were in existence long before these churches were started? It is because those seven churches were all lit from the same Holy Ghost fire, or established out of the great revival you read about in the 19th and 20th chapters of Acts, when the apostle Paul was led by God to the city of Ephesus. There, he stayed for a period of two and one half or three years. He did not go from city to city preaching the gospel to all Asia. He stayed in that one city and preached the gospel for that period of time, and people from all over that region of Asia Minor came during that period of time and heard the gospel preached. It plainly tells us that all Asia heard the gospel. Paul was not running all over Asia like men do today: It was people coming from all over Asia to Paul, there at Ephesus. Those churches were all lit from the one great revival fire that was burning there at Ephesus. Therefore they were all established on the same teachings by one little man, who was the apostle to the Gentile Church Age period of time. In that first Age, there was no such thing as Baptist, Methodist, Church of God and all these brands we find on churches in this day and hour: They were all just called Christians. Before they began to be called Christians, they were just known to each other as believers. Go with me now, for the sake of getting a glimpse of certain things we want to establish, over to the book of Ephesians, chapter 3, which was written by the apostle Paul. Many times the language of the Bible leaves the reader just hanging on a limb, or sitting on a shelf, because they do not understand the terminology used, to know what the writer was actually talking about. Here in the 3rd chapter of Ephesians, Paul is writing to this Assembly, enlightening them on various things. We are going to start in the 14th verse. Paul is writing this to the Christians at Ephesus. Let us try to imagine ourselves being there when this letter was received and read. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (That is why the name Jesus is the family name God gave to His people. That is what God, among His family, wants to be known by. The Bible says there is none other name given among men, whereby we must be saved, other than Jesus Christ. Whatever we do in word or deed, it is to be done in that name.) That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.” Now the inner man is the spiritual you, that part of you that God is seeking to redeem and change into something else, something that would eventually be likened unto His only begotten Son, as we grow in spiritual stature and take on His mind in every situation. It is very strange, when you and I become saved, redeemed children of God, He does not remove our freckles, change the color of our hair or color of our eyes. If we are born with a crooked nose, it remains a crooked nose. He is not interested in changing this fleshly body you live in. It is that crooked character inside of this body that He has purposed to change. He may look ten times worse than the body does. He may be ten times more mean and stubborn. That is the fellow God is really after. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (Here is the verses I want us to look at) may be able to comprehend (Get a dictionary and see what it means. I will read it the way the dictionary would apply the word. May be able to understand,) with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height: And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Now we know this, While in this present life, you and I are referred to in Peter’s epistle as being lively stones built upon a holy foundation, to become a habitation of God in the Spirit. Do we all understand that? As we read in Ephesians earlier, when you take Ephesians and the epistle of Peter and put the two together, we are literally built up a spiritual house, in other words, a temple in which the Spirit of God dwells. That is where God has purposed to dwell, in His redeemed children. W can see this, that dwelling is made up of human beings. As it says in 1st Peter 2:5, speaking of lively stones, we can see that the language is figurative. We are lively stones, being put together into a temple, a house for God, which is Spirit and referred to as the Holy Ghost, to dwell in now, while we are still here on earth. God does not dwell in us in the fullness of Himself, like He dwells in His only begotten Son Jesus, the Christ, but He is in us so that the Church, which is a people called out from the world, becomes a people put together in a true, harmonious, unified structure, so that we are truly living stones. Jesus Christ Himself, is the chief cornerstone of all of that. Take that back to the Old Testament and what do you find? As Jesus referred to it in St. John’s writing, in the Old Testament there was the natural temple that was built on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. That place was a place for God’s glory to come down and dwell in, that natural building. The Jews looked at that building as the holy temple where the presence of God dwelt. They never saw the type, so they could know what it really meant, but we see it. Then when that was torn down by the Babylonians, and rebuilt in 500 and something, getting things ready for the first coming of Christ, it was a small building. You read about it in Haggai and Zechariah, how the people grieved because it was so small. Then, about forty some years before Jesus was born, King Herod, in order to please the Jews, knowing many were looking for their promised Messiah, fell upon the idea, If I will just get things together and get a new temple built, which will look like I am doing this for their coming Messiah, it will pacify them, and quiet them down. He set about to renovate that little temple that had been built by the returning Jews coming out of Babylonian exile. As this temple was completely renovated, enlarged, decorated, beautified, that was the beautiful temple that the disciples which grew up in that dispensation, had learned to look at and observe in all its beauty and glory. When Jesus first came there and made His appearance, as you read in St. John’s writing, He drove out the money changers, turned over the pigeon coops, drove out the goats and sheep and declared that His Father’s house was not to be a house of merchandise. My, what bedlam! Then finally the disciples fell on the idea, look at the temple, look at the building, isn’t it beautiful? What did Jesus say to that? Tear it down, and I will raise it up in three days. That just simply cut that bunch of religious Jews to pieces. What do you mean, raise it up in three days? Forty and six years we were in building this temple and you talk like that. If you and I had lived then, we probably would have heard them say, Now we know He is a stupid imposter; for only an idiot would talk like that, knowing this is a sacred, holy place. The truth is, Jesus knew more about what the building was symbolizing, and pointing to, than they did. This spake He of the temple of His body; but they did not understand it. The disciples did understand later, after He arose from the dead. Then when the Holy Ghost descended upon them, on the day of Pentecost, it was then, that the disciples could see what that natural building that still stood there actually symbolized, because the God of heaven is not pleased to dwell in buildings of wood and stone. God does not need a roof over His head. He does not get cold; and rain has no effect on Him. He is a Spirit. He is not related to those things as you and I are. It is you and I, in our physical makeup, that these things have an effect upon. Therefore when the apostle Paul comes along and uses words like we have just read, he is actually saying things in a spiritual way, that when we begin to see our relationship to God through Christ Jesus, and realize that as He is putting a building together, only then do we begin to realize God deals with us to enlarge us, to probe every area of our being, so as to establish His purpose in every person that He has called to this great salvation. I am fully persuaded, that in the first century of Christianity, there were people that were wise, and they well understood the things of God. We can see by the scriptures, that God again wants to have the same kind of people that Christianity started out with, a people that sees the same things alike; and naturally the world out there despises the very ground such people walk on. This nation that was once a nation of people that recognized God, and knew that this nation depended utterly upon God, today it has an element of people in key places that literally deplore the thought of Christianity. While they are trying to rid our nation of racism and hatred, they are wiping the slate clean, of the knowledge of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me ask you this, When the apostle Paul spoke of length, breadth, depth, and height in our understanding, how do you apply that to your understanding? You have got to realize that you have these four areas, depth, height, breadth, and length, so you are actually dealing with a cube. God does not deal in triangles: He deals in cubes. Do all of you understand what a cube is? In mathematical measurement, it is an object that is precisely the same on all six sides. We have all studied arithmetic in school; so I just want to refresh your mind on what a cube is. When you cube anything, what do you do? You complete it. When you un-cube something, what do you do? You take something away from it. Is that right? Well, when God completes His purpose in us, it literally means He has cubed it. When you take away or add to, something that is cubed you distort the cube. If you take away, it is no longer a cube. It is either a triangle or a rectangle. I hope all of you understand what I mean by that. A rectangle can look square, but upon closer examination you find that somewhere it has one side longer than the other. A triangle has only three sided; but God is not a trinity. He is not three persons. He is manifested in three offices, but God is not three persons. In order to begin to see the length, the breadth, the height, and the depth, it means you have to have a spiritual mind that can go to God’s school and begin to understand spiritual things that relate to how you walk and grow with Him.
WHAT IS A PILLAR?
Let us now go to the 3rd chapter of the book of Revelation. In the 3rd chapter, speaking to the church in Philadelphia, a city where there was an assembly of believers in the days of this prophecy, we find another term mentioned in connection with believers. That city no longer exists; but there were conditions present in that assembly there, that set a type of conditions that would be recognized in a certain Church Age during the span of the entire grace age. Each of those seven churches of Asia Minor set a particular type of a particular span of time on out in future time, and that particular church within that city set a type related to an age within the overall dispensation of Grace, wherein the things that went on, that were observed and understood about how the people lived and walked with God, those things would be applicable in a period of time later on. The Philadelphia church age was how God dealt with the people in the age of Methodism. But the promise referred to here, was not only to those people back then who would overcome, but it is to every one that overcomes, that is in the true Church of the living God. Let us read verse 11. “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar (We are going to talk on spiritual terms, so here is where we are talking in a language related to breadth, length, height, and depth.) in the temple of my God.” Who is He talking about? Human beings that have been redeemed, saved, brought out of sin, brought into God’s plan of salvation. What did He mean, I will make him a pillar? How many know that Peter, James and John are referred to in the book of Acts as pillars in the church at Jerusalem? How many realize that? What is a pillar? Look at that post over there: In the natural, that is a pillar, a column. What it is for? It is not there for decoration: It holds up its part of this building. It is a support. Ancient buildings were dependent on the column or pillar of work within them. Go to the old world and look at some of those ancient buildings, how they were put together. Every column, if you watch the arch work that goes over, you see how everything was built so that all that tremendous weight is channeled through stone upon stone, according to the way the arch is laid out. All that pressure goes right down through those columns called pillars. When you transfer the meaning from the natural to a spiritual, then we have to understand that Peter, James and John were looked upon as men who were spiritually qualified and recognized in spiritual position, not only as leadership, but God laid upon them a responsibility, an obligation to uphold a truth. This religious world does not even know what pillars are anymore. They really have it dressed up, educated and yet do not know anything at all about the spiritual significance of this terminology. No they just put on robes, put collars on backwards, and the world looks upon it as if that represents God. Let us read on here. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God.” He is not talking about a natural building of stone or mortar or brick. He is talking about a temple, which is His Church, put together by the working of the Spirit of God, in order that God Himself might inhabit such a temple as He relates Himself in and through His spiritual temple, in this dispensation of time called the age of Grace. Therefore according to this scripture, if we are overcomers, we have the promise that we will be made pillars, supporters of responsibility, having obligation to uphold something of spiritual value. Uphold what? Truth. When God gives you an opportunity to recognize what truth is, and you let it become a part of your life, of your belief, and you love it, you cherish it in your soul, you rejoice in it day and night, you are a candidate. You say, Thank God for truth: I wouldn’t sell it for anything in the world. Did you know, there is a price you will have to pay? It will always cost you something to uphold truth. No, not dollars and cents, but many times something in recognition, how your friends you have known in the past will treat you when you take such a stand. Oh I see you went and joined that bunch of crazy fanatics down there on the other side of the tracks. Did you know, true Christianity down through the ages of time, has always been looked upon as a minority bunch of misfits? It is when they become dressed up, educated, ritualized, that the world is ready to embrace them: Now you are one of us. When you begin to reach a place where you are no longer offensive to the world, and the world can look at you and say, Dr. So and So, we are so glad to have you with us, you have bypassed the true Church the apostles spoke of. Oh how wonderful it is to have a lawyer sitting in our midst tonight. We are so glad to have you Sir. The chief of police is here, and the Mayor of this great city is here: What a gathering we have! Billy Graham will go to those people the first thing. Saints, listen to me: You do not read of any such carrying on when the apostle Paul held a meeting. Nine times out of ten, they were the ones who put him in jail. Let us go a little further here, and see what true saints have promised to them. He not only promised He would make them a pillar, but something else stands out here in verse 12, so notice, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” And he shall go no more out, out of what? When you know you are in God’s true Church, in His spiritual temple, you are not looking for anything anywhere anymore. There is nowhere else to go, because there is not another building like it. You know God is there. You know what He is dwelling in. He is dwelling in you. Like I have said before, Do not look at this building: It is nothing. Jesus is not going to take this literal building to glory with Him. No. When He is done with this building we gather in for worship you can rest assured of one thing, the trucking firms may take it over, but that will make no difference to God, because this is not His temple. This is just a natural building where His true temples gather into for worship and fellowship. That is how we must look at these scriptures that refer to us as temples and pillars. His temple is His Church, made up of many individuals, and every single one of them are a temple God is pleased to abide in. The natural world will say, We have got to refine this building. We have to make it a little more attractive to the kind of people we desire to reach. (The elite of society, celebrities and movie stars and so forth.) When you try to buy them, rest assured, God is not in any of your effort. If God does not draw them by the wooing of His Spirit, all the beautiful things you would decorate a building with, would mean nothing to Him. God will not even look at it. On the other hand, When that doctor or lawyer finds himself in need of something money and fame cannot produce, and gets so restless and miserable that he begins to realize, There is something out there somewhere that only God can give to me: I have traveled the world over and found nothing that can satisfy the feelings within me, he is approaching a place where he will meet God. I remember how it was, trying to find satisfaction in natural things when the Spirit of God was dealing with me. Get up at two or three o’clock in the morning, go out and look at the moon and say, God, I can’t rest: I know there is something for me somewhere. That is why the apostle Paul would say, Have you noticed in your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty men, not many noble men are called. Does that mean you hate them? You know better than that. Does that mean you don’t want them? You know better than that too. That is Paul talking, not me. It means this, Professional people, elite people who like a place in society, they who like those places of recognition, God, many times, has to tear their image all to pieces and make them realize that all of that status in society is not worth two cents, before they will ever humble themselves to receive His word. They have got to become as miserable as you and I were, before they are ever willing to become part of anything that God has to offer. When we are truly in, we go no more out. You do not want to go out. “And I will write upon him the name of my God.” How wonderful!
UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL TERMINOLOGY
When it comes to having a name written upon us, we have to realize that this deals with a revelation. God is not coming down the road like a man with a pencil, I want to write something on you. No, that is spiritual language, just like He did not walk through the garden of Eden planting trees. It was how He related Himself and the spirit world to that area of geographical earth where Adam and Eve were. A little bit of heaven, came together with those there in that spot of the earth for fellowship. He put man inside that beautiful paradise realm. Man was driven from it when he sinned. He is going back to it some day, when God’s plan of redemption here on earth is completed. We are going to find out by the time this message is finished, that this is what John saw coming down from heaven, from the external observation as you read in chapter 21, and it has the profile of a city. When you come to chapter 22 and you are inside of it, now tell me, did he describe even one ivory palace? No. Because there is no ivory palaces therein. What did John see when he went inside? All he saw was the throne of God, and out of that throne of God proceeded the river of life. That is how the Holy Ghost is portrayed in that eternal age. It will always be activated. Keep in mind saints, when Jesus cried out in the temple that day, concerning the Spirit, What did He say? Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living, what? He said water. How many know what He was talking about? The ever present flowing of the Holy Ghost. Now I beg of you, Do not try to picture God as a running fountain. All of that is figurative language, describing the anointing of the Holy Ghost, as He flows from a man or woman that is really full of Him, full of the joy that His presence brings, and feasting upon the truth He enables you to receive. All of this figurative language speaks of the structure the Holy Ghost dwells in, When He takes up habitation inside of a believer. He flows out from you, to reach out and help others that are weak and weary, those that are lost and undone, to help them find the way to that flow, that stream of eternal life, to the same source and origin you got what you have, from. “And I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” There is only one way God writes anything on you. That is when He puts a revelation in your mind and spirit. He will never write it upon your forehead or your hand, to be seen with the natural eye. That is why, if you remember when we preached the message of the sealing of the144,000, and you read about being saved and sealed, in the 7th chapter of Revelation, and then you see the 144,000 over in the 14th chapter commissioned with the everlasting gospel, you must always relate this terminology to something done in the Spirit. On their forehead’s was written the Lamb’s Father’s name. That means they have the revelation of who Jesus Christ really is, and who their ancestors crucified. Therefore when we read this, how He will write upon them the name of the city of His God, you have to understand that it is how God gives you the revelation to understand what that city really is, and also what it definitely is not. I will ask that you open your Bible’s to 1st Corinthians 15, at this time. When the apostle Paul wrote the 15th chapter, which was not a chapter when he wrote it, (because the translators divided the Bible into chapters and verses) it was just a continuation of his writing in this epistle, as he wrote to the Corinthian church. He has been talking about the resurrection and those in Christ that are resurrected at His coming. We will start in verse 24. Let us get an analysis of how to apply these verses to our understanding. It was the apostle Paul writing this, so let us analyze the knowledge he has of how to look into the future. He has just said, “But ever man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s, at his coming. (We covered all that in the first resurrection message.) Then cometh the end.” What is the end Paul has in mind when he says that? I explained it when we started our message. The Millennium is over and the wicked dead are raised. Everything in the bottomless pit, which is hell, is brought up. All the saints, all the angelic beings are now gathered around the great white throne. This is the supreme court of heaven. The dead are judged according to those things written in the books, plural, because they contain a record of the deeds done in the fleshly body. The book of life is only opened to see the names of those that were born in the Millennium, those that have lived faithful, obedient, trustworthy to the cause and law and word of Christ in the Millennium. Therefore the book of life is opened there, only to reveal those names: Every believer from prior ages already has that part settled. Those that lived during the Millennium, if they have not been deceived by Satan in that little season, if they have not yielded to the temptation and things Satan offered during that season of temptation, where he is loosed at the end of that thousand years, there is one thing sure, they are going to pass on into the great Eternal Age, which will be that period when heaven is new, and earth is new, described as world without end. They will remain to be people of lesser relationship in stature, pertaining to position as compared to the bride saints, but nevertheless, they will have eternal life. This judgment rids the planet of death. It rids the planet of all the traces of sin, evil and all that is contrary to the perfect will and purpose of God. Now speaking of the end, let us see where it leads to. “Then cometh the end, when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (25) For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under his feet.” The spiritual kingdom that He has established on the planet earth during that Millennial period will be delivered to the Father. It is in that Millennial period that He, Christ, through His immortal Bride and saintly people, will set about renewing the earth, renovating the earth, and cleansing the earth of every trace of man’s alienation from his Creator. I have to say, as I pause at this time, More and more every day as you turn on the News, you hear the environmentalists crying, We have got to do something about this pollution! The water is polluted. The air is polluted. They are trying to pass all kinds of laws to correct the problem. They are standing at a brink of seriousness, because corporations, big industries know that if they try to smother or choke down on the putting out of all these pollutants, somewhere down the line it is going to get so costly that they could all go broke.
HOW MAN HAS POLLUTED THE ENTIRE EARTH
I noticed in today’s paper, In Romania, which was one of the Communist states that withdrew and changed back to democracy, that in the forty some years of Communistic rule, two plants that have produced rubber type chemicals and things for the production of rubber products, were mentioned, telling of their pollutants. One woman was shown wearing a gas mask. One city where one of these factories was located, it was known by the population of that city that it was a deadly place to live, simply because of the pollutants those factories put out. What does this tell us? Man, in his greed for that almighty dollar, not realizing or not caring, that one day ,as this gradual expanding of what man has done in his expansion of industrializing the planet, he will have harnessed it to an uncontrollable state. What will he say when he is beginning to cough and choke and knows not what to do about it? What a tragedy! That is why in Isaiah 13, and Isaiah 24, God said He will burn the earth. He will destroy this element of sinful, wicked, greedy and covetous mankind. Why? Because he has corrupted the earth with his ways. In many areas of the earth today, they are saying that the marine life, whales and all kinds of fish are showing up with terrible cancerous growths on them. They are exposed to the waste man has put into the oceans, making it a cesspool of poisonous chemicals. Of course we do realize that man may be trying to wake up, but he is not waking up soon enough. Our leadership knows they cannot just give in to the environmentalists demands, because they are saying, Cut it all off right now! The environmentalists are looking at the whole thing as though the rest can live any way. Anyone ought to know, that if you shut all the plants down to clean up the air, everybody is out of work and cannot buy food, so you have nothing but anarchy. Therefore it all adds up to this, that mortal mankind without the Spirit of God, having no understanding of the love of Christ, not seeking to know Him, and not even caring what his actions lead to, is destroying his own means of existing here on this planet. He is bringing an end to himself. We have other environmentalists crying, Don’t cut down any more redwoods, the spotted owls need a place to live! That sounds funny, when you look at the whole picture. All God needs in the Millennium is two spotted owls. That is all He had in the boat of Noah’s day. How many do you think He needs for the Millennium? Does He need more than that? All of this just lets us see, man without God is running wild, screaming his head off about saving the endangered species, when if given his way, would destroy everything anyway. Well we need to be assured that God has the whole thing in His hand. He is just letting the crazy run crazy, but it is Jesus that is going to bring the whole thing to an end. That is why we have to realize, man in his own greedy, political, selfish way, will never end this thing. It is the reign of Christ that does it. “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the father; when He (Christ) shall have put down all rule.” Now I ask you plainly, When the Millennium is going on, what is it for? We must realize, that when you go to the 19th chapter of Revelation and you see heaven opened as it is portrayed there, and Jesus is seen coming back to earth riding a white horse, He is coming to wrap up the last phase of ridding the earth of all that is contrary to true righteousness. He is dressed as a King, robed with a vesture dipped in blood. God has invested in Him the authority to come to earth, take over all the reigns of human government, and to destroy all wicked, evil and sinful men and their systems of evil. Coming with Him is a righteous, saintly, godly people clothed in fine linen. As I said earlier, All that go with Him in the rapture are coming back with Him, clothed in fine linen, and there is not a sewing machine in heaven, making your garments to have them ready. Think of it, it is how the power of God is manifested to you in your immortal state, because of the truth you have cherished in your soul while in a mortal state. They were all clothed in fine linen. In the category of God’s economy there is no better, no more righteous type of material than fine linen. Cotton has always been here, and so has linen; but linen throughout the centuries of time, before polyester ever came into existence, was always the choice material preferred by women. Sure, it was more costly: the best always is. It goes to show, it is the true Church that is robed in fine linen. They are the ones that have paid the extra price. This walk in truth will always cost you something extra. All other saints just have white robes, but neither the garments of fine linen, nor the white robes were made out of natural material sewn together in heaven with a sewing machine: All of that is figurative language, speaking according to the spiritual growth and obedience of the believers. Jesus rules on earth, for how long? A thousand years. Doing what? Putting down all rule and all authority and power of mankind. Take that right back to Isaiah, where that Old Testament prophet said the word of the Lord shall go from Jerusalem in those days and the law from Zion. That lets us know that there is going to be something taught to the Millennial subject people. No, it is not going to be the gospel message that we have known: But it is going to be something related to how man in that thousand years of His rule shall respond, as His government of righteousness is in power. It will pertain to how mankind is to conduct themselves during this time. It is how man is to treat the earth, how he is to treat vegetation and nature, as well as each other. You can rest assured of one thing, there will be no greedy nor rich crawling all over each other. In righteousness and equality He will rule. The meek of the earth will enjoy the peace, because they will inherit the earth. When the Millennium is over and He has established all of that, the final judgment will finish up the process. “For He (Christ) must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” That means, when the Millennium is over and He has established all authority and knowledge, it tells us in the Psalms that in that Millennium age the glory and knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters that cover the sea. That is what the Millennium is for. It is a furtherance of His plan of redemption, not only to the people and through the people, but it is to be to the planet earth itself also, which God intends for them to live on. As that Millennium age comes to its close, everything Paul says here will have been fulfilled. The last thing, He has resurrected all bodies. That is why you read there in the last verses of the 20th chapter of Revelation, and the sea gave up the dead. Death and hell give up the dead. They all stand before the great white throne. There is where the dead are judged out of the things written in the books of deeds. I want you to notice, the righteous saints of all the ages that lived prior to the Millennium, they are not judged out of any of those books because their judgement is already past. In fact, they are standing there partaking in that judgment process, represented in that (we could say) as the great jury. That is when the saints will judge fallen angels. They will judge the world as the world comes in review. When all of that is over, death is destroyed. Then we see a planet that is clean again. There are no more graveyards. There is no more hell, or bottomless pit. Everything that has been there is now cast into the lake of fire where God finishes up His destruction of all that wicked mankind has polluted the earth with. We can begin to see and understand what John was looking at when we have read the first three verses of the 21st chapter. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. Why is it a new heaven? There is no more wicked spirits to roam the atmosphere. As the apostle Paul wrote, speaking of how we fight against principalities, against spiritual wickedness in high places. That is where our conflict comes from. That is how the battleground is related, because in the spirit world, in the immediate atmosphere around the earth, your adversary and all his helpers roam, just prowling around looking for children of God to oppress. When that is all cleaned up and out of the picture, there is no devil in hell, no demons in hell, and no more fallen spirits to roam the atmosphere you then have a new heaven, because that is how God has cleaned it up. He has judged it. He has bound them and destroyed them. That is why John could see a new heaven. I am going to take this a traditional route. You and I know, if God is an eternal Spirit, which He most certainly is, He fills the whole universe. Is that not right? Well how could a new heaven be another universe somewhere? It is not another universe somewhere. It is just that God, through redeeming things that are related to what He has been doing here on this planet earth and its immediate atmosphere, has brought it to a point where it caused John to see a new heaven. He was looking at the atmosphere in and around the earth, because right from that same realm is where that new city is coming from. The reason it is described as a city is because it is that eternal presence of God coming back to earth again, not only as the paradise that He effected here in Adam’s day, but in a way that the whole scope takes on the likeness of a city. Ever since man was driven out from the garden of paradise, to live in a natural, earthly environment, he has had one thing in mind: What was the first thing you begin to read about in Genesis a little later on? Who built the firs city? Cain, and named it after his son. (Gen. 4:16-17) “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. 17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.” Think of it. What is a city, in an earthly language structure? It is a place where mankind sets up communication, trade, habitation. Why habitation? Because many times that is how he groups himself together for the protection of himself and his family. You do not have to live in a city to keep snowflakes from falling on you. That is not why a city was built in ancient times. It was because as man was driven from the beautiful realm of peace and rest, which was God”s presence, he has become a victim, and enemy of his own doings. Therefore he would begin to dwell together for protection. This is what causes him to start building his villages. They later become large cities. Around that, he builds walls for fortification. Walls are not where he stored food or water. Walls are what he builds to defend himself against his enemy. His enemy was not the devil. You have to understand that man, in his sinful journey through time on this earth, has built himself into these environments because of the evil that was present, and the state of conditions this has brought upon him. His city life has been the product of how he groups himself together for protection. Think of it, in an eternal age when it will no longer be cold or hot, the air conditioning people will go out of business. All the oil companies will go out of business because there are no gas furnaces. Such things are not needed, not even thought about. Listen to this: “For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest (or evident) that He is excepted, (That is the Father) which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him (meaning God, the great Eternal Spirit, the Father) that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” Yes saints, when the Millennium is over, this is a picture how God, the great Eternal Spirit, the Father, the Creator of all things, looks upon His earth. He can see that everything man has done from the time he was driven out of paradise, all the way to the end, has been in one way or another associated with sin and evil. God drove man from that paradise presence, and man has lived for six thousand years on this earth, dominated by evil and sin, because he was born with the traits of it in him, that caused him to always be wrestling with a spiritual conflict somewhere about him. The devil constantly stalks his pathway. Deep inside, he has always longed for the realm of paradise that was present there in the garden. I will never forget, back in 1974, when we were coming back from Norway. I had always wanted to see Spain: I wondered why all the Spanish people, when the new world was discovered, went to the great southwest? As we left Norway, we come through Germany, and caught the Spanish airlines and went on into Madrid. You know, Madrid is a big beautiful city. Just about three blocks down the street from the hotel where we were staying, they had a beautiful park, like a garden. Every evening the TV’s went off. (They should here in America..) Not a thing on them for two solid hours. Do you know what they did? That let the workers come home and eat supper with their families. They did not have to hear that thing blasting in their ears while they enjoyed their evening meal. Then when supper was over, you would see the people out walking with their children, and sometimes even the old people. One evening we took a walk, following the crowd. You did not see smart aleck’s walking the streets like you do in Chicago, New York City and just about every town in America today. There were soldiers riding the streets in jeeps, with their weapons. They did not tolerate anything like that. As we walked around, we entered this most beautiful garden. As you walked through there you had a feeling of security. I have to give them credit, even though it is a Catholic country, I give them credit for the fact they at least respected the dignity of what man was put here for. Old people going in that beautiful park, sitting, talking, walking, and there were little ducks coming from little pools, walking around, everything so peaceful. Everything you observed was a peaceful atmosphere. You did not have the feeling that anyone would come through there and knock you in the head, stab you, or rob you. The place was looked after by security people. I use that only as a description in order to say this, The fact that man would build such a thing inside of a large city tells you something. What does it tell you? That deep inside, there is always a longing in man to look back to something somewhere when he had an eternal peace and tranquility. It was in the cool of the day, as it says in Genesis, that God came on the scene for fellowship with the man He had created. It has been six thousand years since man was driven out of paradise, but Jesus delivers the kingdom back up to the Father, and we see this city coming down, we must understand, This is that paradise. This is how God relates heaven, the spirit world, in that kind of makeup. His presence is what makes it what it is described as.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY JOHN SAW
We are going to start reading about these stones mentioned here. Think of it, as John describes this city he says its walls were of jasper, clear as crystal. Do you know what that tells you? You can see through it. How many know what crystal is? You women ought to know what crystal is. You go down to the department store, walk in there, especially at Service Merchandise and those places and what do you see? You get a crystal dish, you are dealing with glass. It is made of sand, but you must understand this. It is how that crystal has been produced, the process it has been put through in refining it, that makes it what it is. Crystal is clear. It is so clear, yet many times when a light strikes it, it sparkles. So the walls of that city are spiritual walls, and they have to be related to something that your salvation is made up of. It has no earthly material in it whatsoever. We read about the street, only one street is described by John. What does he say it is made of? Gold, pure as glass. That lets me know that gold is clear. So, if the walls are of a clear substance, and the street is pure gold, clear as glass, what kind of material are we looking at? We are looking at a spiritual material that is related to God and God alone, and it is how He hasput Himself, through His anointing, inside of each of us