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Heaven’s Capital City - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2024 6:00 am

Heaven’s Capital City - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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March 11, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip begins a message about the greatest city that will ever exist, and it’s being built by God Himself.

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You should also know that God has always desired such a city for His people from the beginning. In fact, this was Abraham's hope.

Did you know that? Did you know that Abraham had a hope for this city? There's a text in Hebrews chapter 11 which says that Abraham waited for a city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God.

Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip begins a message about the greatest city that will ever exist and it's being built by God Himself. But first, here's a timely new resource from Skip with biblical insight on the current war in Israel. Israel at War.

That's the title of a new book by Skip Heitzig. Modern Israel has been at war from its very first day of existence. As Skip points out, on the day after Israel became a nation, that was May 14, 1948. On May 15, virtually every Arab neighbor attacked Israel to destroy it. Israel had been a nation one day.

They didn't have an organized army. Israel at War is up to date concerning current events in the Mideast and includes Skip's comments during his December tour of the Gaza border and a video link to Skip's interview in Jerusalem. The new book, Israel at War, is our gift to you this month to anyone who encourages the growth of Connect with Skip with a gift of $50 or more.

Make your financial vote of support at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888. Israel at War will give you Skip's insight from over 40 trips to Israel and decades of Bible study. I know the Middle East seems like a very complex situation.

It's actually pretty basic. One side wants the other side dead. On one side you have a Jewish nation, a Jewish state called modern day Israel. Israel wishes to exist as a sovereign state living in peace.

Most Palestinians and other Arab nations, not all but many of them, deny the right of Israel to exist. Receive Israel at War by Skip Heintzig with your gift. Go to connectwithskip.com or call 1-800-922-1888. All right, let's get started. We're in Revelation 21 as Skip begins his teaching. After a long illness, a woman died. She arrived at the gates of heaven. Who was there at the gates of heaven?

Yeah, Peter was there. And Peter said, okay, so here you are. And she said, boy, this is a beautiful, beautiful place.

How do I get in? Peter said, well, you got to spell a word. And she said, okay, what word? And he said, spell the word love.

Well, that was pretty easy. L-O-V-E. Peter said, that's right, come on in. So she goes into heaven. She's there for like six months. And about the six-month mark, Peter finds her again and asks her to watch the gates of heaven just for the day because he's going to be occupied elsewhere. So she's there at the gates of heaven for Peter. Well, as she's guarding the gates, her husband arrived. And she said, boy, I'm surprised to see you.

How have you been? And he said, well, I've been doing pretty well since you died. He said, I married that beautiful young nurse who cared for you all the while that you were ill. And I won the lottery. And so I sold that little house that you and I were living in, bought this huge mansion for my new wife and new wife and myself. And we traveled the world. We saw everything. We had such a good time. And today I was out water skiing. I hit my head and here I am. He goes, it's a beautiful place.

What do I have to do to get in? She said, you got to spell one word. He goes, okay, what's the word?

She looked at him and she said, spell Czechoslovakia. Hey, aren't you glad we get into heaven, not by a spelling bee, but by the Savior's blood, not by any work we do, but by what He has done? Getting to heaven and getting others to heaven ought to be our primary goal for one simple reason. It's forever. And forever is a long time, understatement of the year. We're dealing with what is called, in Revelation 21 and 22, we're dealing with the eternal state, the eternal state. Essentially, in these two chapters, we shift dimensions, leaving time and moving into eternity.

If you recall verse 6, or if you look at verse 6, God makes a declaration. It is done. It's over. Pack it up, boys.

This is it. Time is done. Everything God wanted to do, He has done. Saving souls, done. Judging the world, done. Millennial kingdom, done. So time is over. Seven-year tribulation, over. Great white throne judgment, over.

Millennial kingdom, over. Now, eternity begins. So what will that be like? What will the eternal state be like? Simply put, new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem. The new heavens and the new earth were introduced at the beginning of chapter 21, as well as the new Jerusalem. But it is detailed in the rest of these chapters. Essentially, what we have is a walkthrough of this new capital city, looking at it from the outside and then looking at it from the inside.

And what we discover is the obvious truth. Heaven is a real place. It's not a figment of your imagination. It's not a state of mind. Interesting, there was a poll done recently where people were asked about heaven. 47 percent believe that heaven isn't a real place. It's just a state of mind, whatever that means.

Just a state of mind. 40 percent actually said it's a real place. 10 percent believe everybody will go to heaven no matter what. 25 percent said those who are good go to heaven, which is wrong.

You know, talk about all the fallacies of heaven. Biggest fallacy ever, good people go to heaven. Listen, if good people went to heaven, all y'all wouldn't be going there, including myself.

Am I right? It's not for good people. It's for saved people, for forgiven people. And if you've been forgiven, thus you are saved, you're going. If it's real to you, you've made it personal, you are going to this heaven.

So what I want to do is kind of highlight some things as we close out this series. And because we're dealing with heaven, I want to give you seven features of this capital city, heaven's capital city, New Jerusalem. First of all, I want you to notice that it is prepared.

It is prepared. I'm taking you back to Revelation 21 verse 2. We read it last week.

We read it this week. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down. By the way, it's New Jerusalem, not the New Jerusalem, just New Jerusalem.

Like you have Mexico and New Mexico. We don't say the New Mexico or the New York or the New Jersey. It's just New York, New Jersey. This is New Jerusalem.

It's New York, New Jersey. This is New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. Here's the word prepared.

It's prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Thought has gone into this city. Planning has gone into the city because, frankly, that's God's personality. God plans things. When He created this universe, planning, preparation went into it.

There were very definite planned sequential days of creative activity. Six creative days to make the heavens and the earth. So it tells us God is not haphazard. We're not surprised when we read this place is prepared.

Right? Jesus said, in my Father's house, there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you I go to prepare a place for you. Just as hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, Matthew 25, heaven is prepared for you. It's a place that has been prepared. Just a quick note, and I'll kind of expand on this this morning as we go through it.

It is quite possible that New Jerusalem exists right now, that it has been being prepared by God throughout time, and then it will be presented, as we will see. And it's a good thing to think about that, especially at funerals. Whenever I do a funeral, and I've done a bunch, is if that person is a believer, and that casket is at the front of this sanctuary, as it often is, I want to remind people that if this earth looks this good after six days of creation, can you imagine what heaven must look like, having been prepared all this time?

So that the first breath that this person has taken in heaven must not be something like, oh cool, but something like, wow, awesome! It's been prepared, and you're going to see what that unfolds. So that's the first thing to make a note of. This place is prepared. Second, it is pictured.

It is pictured. It is likened to something. Again, look at verse 2. New Jerusalem, coming out of heaven from God, prepared.

Here's what it's likened to. Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Now go down to verse 9. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, Come, I will show you the bride, the lamb's wife.

He carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. So it's pictured as a bride, which is a strange way to picture a city. I mean, have you ever looked at a city for the first time, like New York, and go, Man, that reminds me of a bride.

Probably not. This city is pictured as a bride. Now that plants a very particular image in our minds, because we've all gone to a wedding. We know what a bride looks like. So it plants an image in our mind. Bride, by the way, is a designation for what particular group of people?

Anybody know? The church. The church is called the Bride of Christ in the book of Ephesians. So the city is described as a bride because it takes its character from its occupants.

The church is living here. This is Bridesville. This is the Bride of Christ inhabiting the place prepared by God.

Not just the church New Testament, but all the redeemed Old Testament and New Testament saints combined together. Now the city is likened unto a bride. The city is like a bride.

It's pure, gleaming, bright, beautiful, graceful, breathtaking. And it's not just a bride, but notice the word after it, adorned for her husband. That means decorated, decked out. So I've done not just a lot of funerals, I've done a lot of weddings. And I've got to tell you, some of the gals that I know that get married at weddings, on their wedding day, they are really decked out. I mean, they're like next level adorned, right? And it's always amazing.

It's breathtaking. Some people want their weddings in the afternoon because it's going to take all day to get ready for that event. I mean, just everything, the hair, the makeup, the dress laid out. So it's a bride adorned for her husband. Now whenever I do a wedding, what I notice is, let's say I come out on this platform, and I'm with the groom. The groomsmen are here. Everybody's looking at the groom right now, and they're kind of snickering because he's nervous. And they just want to kind of look at him.

And everybody's focused on him until who shows up? The bride. When the bride shows up, all the necks turn in that direction as she comes down the aisle. And when she comes down the aisle, I always look at him because I want to see his reaction.

I have the best seat in the house. I'm looking at his eyes, seeing what he thinks as she comes down the aisle. And it's a good thing because on two weddings in my career of doing weddings, I've had two grooms faint during their wedding ceremony.

So it's a good thing I'm keeping an eye on them. Just, you know, hey, wake up, dude. This is it. That has nothing to do with the text. But New Jerusalem is pictured as a bride, not only because of the beauty, but because the bride and the groom relationship is the closest, most intimate of all human relationships. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11, I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, for I have betrothed you to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Here's my question. Is your relationship with Jesus Christ like a bride and groom? Is it that intimate? Or is it a little more distant? Do you speak of the Lord as, well, the man upstairs, the good Lord, you know, that kind of language?

Or is he my Lord? There's an intimacy. There's a close relationship with him. If not, that needs to change because this bride, this city, this group is like a bride adorned for her husband. So it's prepared. It's pictured. Third thing I want you to notice, it is presented. There comes a point after the preparation that God makes a presentation. Look again in verse 2. I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

Go down to verse 10. He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, showed me the great city, holy Jerusalem, descending, same idea, coming down, descending out of heaven from God. Now, John is looking at this, and this city coming down out of heaven would remind John of the city's divine origin. This is not a man-made city. This is a God-made city. He prepared it.

He presents it. The fact that it comes down indicates that it already exists. And that's why I say it's likely that New Jerusalem exists right now. Can't prove that.

It's just a hunch. But it's kept away from this present earth for one simple reason. This creation is tainted with what?

Sin. The new heaven, the new earth, won't be tainted by sin. That's when New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, down from God, to the new earth.

So, essentially, this city forms a bridge, a connection, a link, if you will, a link between the new heavens and the new earth. You should also know that God has always desired such a city for his people from the beginning. In fact, this was Abraham's hope. Did you know that? Did you know that Abraham had a hope for this city?

There's a text in Hebrews chapter 11 which says that Abraham waited for a city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God. This is it. This is that city. And I got to imagine that when John is seeing the vision, remember John is in his 90s. He's on the island of Patmos. He's been banished.

He's not going to live much longer. He has seen in a vision tragedy, travesty, judgment, tribulation on the earth. He has seen all this. But now he sees this. Now he sees his eternal dwelling place, his and yours. And I got to imagine that when he sees New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven to the new earth, there's got to be this big smile on John's face.

Don't you think? He must just look at it and go, awesome! This is where I'm going. This is where we're going. I've always loved the quote by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

He said this to his pastor's college. I'm going to throw this up on the screen. We'll read it together. When you speak of heaven, let your face light up. Let it beat you radiated by a heavenly gleam. Let your eyes shine with reflected glory. But when you speak of hell, your ordinary expression will do.

So some of you kind of have those expressions. You can keep those when you talk about hell. When you talk about heaven, you better get fired up.

And I think John was fired up. He was lit up by this because he sees a city that is lit up having the glory of God. So it's prepared. It's pictured. It is presented. Fourth thing I want you to notice about heaven's capital city is that it is proportioned.

Yeah, we're actually given the measurements, the proportions of this city. Look at verse 12. She, that is the New Jerusalem, she had a great and high wall with 12 gates, 12 angels at the gates. Names were written on them, the gates, which are the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. Three gates on the east, three on the north, three gates on the south, three gates on the west.

It's a little fuzzy, but I think we can picture that. Now the wall of the city had 12 foundations, and on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. So you have an Old Testament representation, the tribes, New Testament representation, the apostles. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city. A gold reed is like the ancient measuring tape, its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square.

Get this. The city is laid out as a square. Its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, 12,000 furlongs. Its length, its breadth, its height are equal. Then he measured its wall, 144 cubits according to the measure of a man that is of an angel. Its proportion. Now in just reading this, we can safely say that New Jerusalem looks nothing like old Jerusalem.

So let me give you a thumbnail sketch. When Jerusalem started, it started as a little enclave. It was a Jebusite city. David conquered it, and he conquered it by having one of his men scurry up a water shaft to break in.

By the way, when you go to Jerusalem today, you can still see the water shaft still there from the city of David. So the city of David, the city of David, when David first occupied it, it was pretty small. It was about 12 acres.

That's as big as the town was. The whole city of Jerusalem, 10 to 12 acres. 2,000 people were living in Jerusalem at that time, Old Testament Jerusalem.

Fast forward to the New Testament times, the time of Christ. It expanded. By that time, it was 40 acres in size, and the population of Jerusalem was 75,000 people. Fast forward to today, modern-day Jerusalem, present-day Jerusalem, is about 47 square miles with about 970,000 people living in it, almost a million people living in and around the city of Jerusalem. But this, this new Jerusalem, is the size of the moon. It's massive.

And I want to go through that. Look at the measurement again in verse 16. He measures it with a reed, 12,000 furlongs.

I'm getting a lot of blank stares because you're saying, that doesn't help me. Because I don't know what a furlong is or what fur. It's fur.

What is it? So a furlong is 600 feet, or one-eighth of a mile. 12,000 furlongs is about 1,500 miles.

1,500 miles. So, it says in verse 16, its length, its breadth, and its height are equal. In other words, we are dealing with a cube, a perfect cube, not a Rubik's cube, a holy cube, a 1,500-mile cube. That's Skip Hyten with a message from the series The End is Near, giving you a glimpse of the great city God is preparing in eternity. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series, at connectwithskip.com. Right now, listen as Skip shares how you can connect more people around the world with the timeless truth of God's Word. All believers are called to help others encounter the God who is seeking them out. And our goal is to come alongside friends like you to encourage you to help others connect with God through His Word.

That's why we share these messages with you and with others. And today, you can take action to ensure these teachings keep reaching you and so many others worldwide. You can help make that possible with your generosity.

Can I count on your support? Here's how you can give a gift today. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of Skip's message, Heaven's Capital City, and discover just how long you'll get to enjoy heaven. What is most noteworthy that I want to end on with you is the length of time that heaven's occupants will be enjoying this. Verse five, there shall be no night there, no need of lamp, nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light, and they shall reign, how long? Forever and ever. So, you know, if forever isn't long enough, then add and ever to it, to give you the idea that this is the eternal state. This is forever and ever without end. Connect with Skip Hyton is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-11 07:35:12 / 2024-03-11 07:44:17 / 9

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