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 Works versus Faith (Part 16) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 5)

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PostSubject: Works versus Faith (Part 16) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 5)   Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:05 pm

Works versus Faith (Part 16) –The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 5)

Picking up where we left off, Revelation 21:18 reads, “The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.”  Jasper comes in different colors.  I Googled “jasper images,” and found that it is typically a shiny red color.  Back in Revelation 4:3, we read, “And the one who sat there (on the throne) had the appearance of jasper and carnelian.”  So again, the wall of the city will have a similar radiance to that of God Himself.  Carnelian looks like jasper.  Upon Googling “carnelian images,” it is always a bright red color.  Apparently the wall will be a bright red color.  Perhaps it is bright red to always remind us of the blood Christ shed for us.  The city will be made of pure gold, pure as glass.  Someone might protest to this, saying, “Gold is not see-through, so it cannot be pure like glass.”  It is true that gold as we know it is not see-through, but on this New Earth, God is able to make a new type of gold that is see-through.  Remember in Revelation 21:5 God said, “I am making everything new!”  

Many of the following precious stones that are listed in Revelation 21:18-20 are also listed in Exodus 28:15-21 where it describes the breastpiece for the priest.  It says in Exodus 28:15 that God commanded them to make the breastpiece to be a square.  We know that the New Kingdom City will be a giant square.  All of the things of the Old Testament were fashioned to represent the future Messiah and His Kingdom.  The breastpiece of the priests represented the Kingdom City and its walls.  And there is a very interesting passage in Ezekiel 28, which speaks of Satan.  Actually it started off speaking of the king of Tyre, but since he was possessed by Satan, God started talking to/about Satan instead of the king of Tyre.  Regarding Satan, Ezekiel 28:12 says:

“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl.  Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.  You were anointed as guardian cherub, for so I ordained you...”  

Satan apparently had the ability to morph into whatever animal he desired while in the Garden of Eden.  Or, he merely possessed the animals, as Jesus made the Legion demon go into the pigs and they ran off the cliff and committed suicide.  According to this verse in Ezekiel, while in the garden of Eden, which it calls, “the garden of God,” Satan was adorned with every precious stone, including the ones we read in Revelation.  Satan was looking good while in the Garden.  Eden represents the New Jerusalem City because the same Tree of Life stands in both places.  In the past, the Tree of Life was in Eden; in the future, the Tree of Life will be in the New Jerusalem Holy City.  I personally believe from this passage in Ezekiel, that the Garden of Eden initially sat in Heaven before God put it on Earth.  Satan, according to other passages, rebelled while he was in Heaven.  Jesus said that he saw Lucifer fall from Heaven.  God did not change the look of the Serpent until after Satan deceived mankind into sinning.  At that point, God said that the Serpent will be without legs.  Before that, Satan “looked pleasing” or cordial to the eye.  There are different types of angels.  It should be interesting to note that Satan is and always will be a cherub, though a fallen one.  Satan was ordained with chrysolite and jasper, which, as we pointed out, resembled the glory of God.  God allowed Satan to imitate part of His glory; He allowed this because of Satan’s position.  Satan was Arch Angel until he fell and Michael (next in command) became the new Arch Angel.  

As we continue, I have to concede that regarding some of the precious stones we are covering, and even those mentioned in the Old Testament, the scholars are not certain of their real identities.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a list of the particular ones that they are uncertain about.  I just see a note in my Bible margin from the commentators saying that some of the stone identity names listed are uncertain.  We read that the walls were made of jasper.  Revelation 21:19-20 continues, “The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.  The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.”  Since these stones are numbered in a particular order (as opposed to each foundation containing a mix of all 12 precious stones) that means that each precious stone goes to a particular Apostle’s name, as each foundation has one of the 12 Apostles listed.  Perhaps more interesting is verse 21, which reads, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl...”  Recall that a pearl on this Earth is created by an oyster.  Either the New Earth will have gigantic oysters swimming around, or God is going to fashion these huge pearls Himself, just as He fashioned a special fish to swallow Jonah alive (a fish with enough room in its belly for a man and that also pumped in oxygen for the man to breathe for 3 days and 3 nights).  Verse 21 continues, “The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.”  We already mentioned that this is a special kind of new gold that is see-through.  Gold as we know it is not transparent.  

In verse 22, John says, “I did not see a temple in the city because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”  Sometimes when reading references of the Millennium Kingdom and the Eternal one throughout the Old Testament, it is difficult to tell which one the text is referring to, but one strong indicator is to realize that the Eternal Kingdom does not have a temple, whereas the Millennium Kingdom does.  The Lamb is going to be stationed, if you will, inside the New Jerusalem Kingdom City.  So the City itself will be the worship center for the entire new world.  Soon as one steps inside the Holy City, one experiences church everywhere.  We will worship God and His Son in person.  It should be noted that this verse is one that depicts the Deity of Jesus.  Worship will be ascribed to Jesus (and also to the Father).  We should also be reminded that throughout the Day of Grace, the period we are now living in, there is no physical temple, but rather, the Bible says that the body of the believer in Christ is God’s temple.  The Jewish temple will be rebuilt during the Tribulation and again during the Millennium.  A temple is where God expresses Himself and His glory in a magnified form and is a place where He connects with His people.  God is everywhere because He is omnipresent.  But He currently dwells in a magnified form in the body of Christians through the Holy Spirit.  

Verse 23: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”  It should be noted that this verse does not say that there will no longer be a sun or moon; it says only that the light from the sun and moon will no longer be necessary.  Yet, it likely means that the sun and moon will no longer be around.  If this Earth were any closer to its moon or any further away from it, it would disrupt life as we know it.  If the moon were closer, it would cause great tidal waves and tsunamis worse than any in history.  If the moon were further, it would weaken the Earth’s magnetic field and increase the solar radiation blasts on the Earth.  We already discovered that the New Earth will have a different atmosphere that extends well beyond this Earth’s.  I surmise that there will be no sun or moon from this verse in Revelation and other clues.  It seems, in fact, that the entire New Earth will be dark and that the only light it receives is the light that emanates from the Holy City.  Thereby, the Holy City will serve as the “sunlight” for the rest of the world.  I get this from verse 24, which reads, “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the Earth will bring their splendor into it.”  Note that the nations do not have a light of their own.  The nations receive their light from this City.  The nations of the Earth, that is, the New Earth, will walk by the light coming from the Holy City.  It goes on to say that the kings, that is rulers, or those who have overcome and who reign with Christ, will bring their splendor into it.  That word “splendor” is often translated as “glory”—even other translations use the word “glory” here.  “Glory” sometimes means or includes “light.”  Recall that when Moses came down from the Mountain of God and was in God’s presence, that he was glowing.  God’s glory was plastered on Moses.  Moses brought God’s splendor to the people when he came down from the mountain.  I think the same thing will be going on in the New Earth.  Those rulers who have access to go in and out of the gates of the Kingdom, will be glowing and serve as the light (mini-sunlights) to the nations they travel to.  Where light from the gates of the Kingdom does not reach a particular area, these glowing rulers will serve as sunlight for those places.  

Isaiah 60:19 mimics verse 23 in Revelation.  It reads, “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”  Again in this verse, “glory” or “splendor” here is equated with “light.”  We read in Revelation that the kings of the Earth will bring their splendor into the nations or wherever they travel to.  The verse in Isaiah likewise, does not say that there will not be a more sun or moon, but it does say that the brightness of the moon will no longer shine on you, as if the moon is no longer present.  Even that does not really mean that the moon will not be there.  If one is in a dark room with a small flashlight and shines it around the room, that light will be the light of the room.  However, if the person finds the light switch and turns on a very bright light to lighten up the room, the flashlight would be rendered useless.  It wouldn’t mean that the flashlight is no longer there, but if the person is still shinning the light around the room, the light from the flashlight is no longer the predominate source.  I am aware of Psalm 72:5, which is a Messianic passage, speaking of Jesus.  It reads, “He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.”  I read most passages like this literally.  If the context is not allegorical, most passages like this should be interpreted literally.  If it is literal, then it would mean that God will forever sustain the sun and the moon (despite scientists saying today that the sun will expire one day).  However, if these words are simply similes, then this passage would be saying that Jesus will endure forever, which is likened to the apparent endlessness of the sun and the moon.  This instance seems to me to be a simile rather than literal in regards to the sun and the moon.  I hold that the sun and moon will no longer be here, but I’ll leave it up to the reader to make his or her own conclusion.

Revelation 21:24 says, “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.”  Or better translated: “...will bring their glory into it.”  Only the NIV Translation uses the word “splendor.”  The rest say “glory.”  Some translations say “glory and honor.”  In addition to what we mentioned on this verse, we also should emphasize that there will be “kings” or rulers of the New Earth who reign with Jesus.  Isaiah 32:1 says, “See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.”  Note the plural on “rulers.”  To be a ruler with Jesus on the New Earth, which, incidentally means for an eternity, requires much more than just being a believer in Jesus; it requires much more than just being saved.  2 Timothy 2:12 says, “If we endure, we will also reign with Him.”  Revelation 2:26, Jesus says, “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.”  Revelation 3:21 says, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne.”  There will be many saved for eternal life, but not as many rulers with Christ.  There will be many who are being ruled over.  Everyone living on the New Earth are saved from the Lake of Fire, however, the rulers with Christ will be only those who are not only saved, but who were also overcomers by acting out their faith: that is, those who lived lives filled with righteous integrity in this lifetime on this current Earth.  Only those who lived godly lives and suffered for the name of Christ and who were not ashamed of Jesus will be those who will reign with Him for an eternity.  

Revelation 21:25 is an important verse that we will likely return to several times.  It says, “On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.”  It is important to keep in mind that the gates will always be opened and that there is an angel posted at each gate.  I used to wonder about the second clause of this sentence because upon first glance, it does not appear to connect with the first clause.  What does “for there will be no night there” have anything to do with “On no day will its gates ever be shut”?  The answer to me now seems obvious.  The open gates have something to do with light.  We were already told that Jesus, who resides in the Holy City will serve as the light for the New Earth, and therefore there will not be a need for a sun or moon anymore.  Jesus, the light (even in a literal sense), will reside mostly within His Kingdom City.  If you close the gates that would be creating nighttime or darkness (to the rest of the world).  So the gates are left open to give full light to the rest of the New Earth (and to allow those who are allowed to enter and leave freely).  And we saw that the kings of the New Earth will also go out into the rest of the New Earth and be light to the world.  I used to play with glow-in-the-dark toys as a child.  Glow-in-the-dark toys first required that they be saturated in a well-lit room before they were able to be light when the room gets dark.  Eventually the glow-in-the-dark toy would lose its light and would no longer be seen in the dark and would need the brightness of real light again to return its glow.  The kings of the New Earth will be like glow-in-the-dark toys: that is, they will get their light from the Kingdom City, specifically from Jesus Christ who dwells there, and since they will have free access to both the Kingdom and outside the gates, one of their functions will be to bring the light of the Lord into the shadowy dark places.  

It can be argued that verse 26 sounds backwards.  It reads, “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.”  The King James Version says, “And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.”  Tracing the pronoun “it” back up to the previous verses, we see that the word “it” designates the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.  This verse is saying that the glory and honor of the nations will be brought through the gates into the Holy City.  One could reason that it should logically say something like “The glory and honor of God in the City will be brought to the nations.”  This verse is similar to verse 24, which read, “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the Earth will bring their splendor into it.”  So glory and honor is being brought out to the nations by the kings of the New Earth, but glory and honor is being brought back into the Holy City by many who live outside the Kingdom.  God is going to glorify and honor many people from many different nations.  These particular people have access to enter and exit the Holy City.  But not everyone will be able to enter it.  The next verse says, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Now we are getting to the reason we are covering these chapters in a “Works versus Faith” series.  This verse is referring directly to one’s bad works and lack of good works.  We will pick up with this verse next time.  

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Works versus Faith (Part 16) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 5)
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