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The Church and All Her Glory - 60

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2024 1:00 am

The Church and All Her Glory - 60

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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January 15, 2024 1:00 am

Pastor Mike Karns continues his exposition in Revelation, explaining the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy in the second chapter of Zechariah.

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Well, I do want to connect this Old Testament passage in Zechariah with Revelation, and in order to do that, we need to turn to Revelation and hear the words that are being considered tonight in the exposition, and so turn to Revelation 21. Revelation chapter 21, we are studying in this chapter, and in verse number 15, we're going to pick up a discussion and a description of the measuring of the city, the new city of Jerusalem, the church, the bride of Christ, that dwelling place where God will dwell with His people on the new earth in that future day.

So let me read beginning at verse 15. And he who walked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square. Its length is as great as its breadth, and he measured the city with the reed. Twelve thousand furlongs, its length, breadth, and height are equal.

Then he measured its wall, one hundred and forty-four cubits according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper, and the city was pure gold like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedon, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sargus, the seventh crystallite, the eighth burl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrystophreous, the eleventh jasith, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls.

Each individual gate was of one pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold like transparent glass. Now those are the verses that we are tying Zechariah chapter 2 with. So let's go back to Zechariah 2. Zechariah chapter 2. The title of my message tonight is The Church in All Her Glory.

The Church in All Her Glory, and what's under consideration is the measurement of the city. And the closest Old Testament passage that ties us to that passage in Revelation is this passage in Zechariah. So let me again read this and try and connect it to you by just inserting a few words in between some of the verses. Zechariah says this, then I raised my eyes and looked and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Same measuring that's going on in Revelation chapter 21 in verse 15. So I said, where are you going? And he said to me to measure Jerusalem to see what is its width and what is its length.

And there was the angel who talked with me going out and another angel was coming out to meet him. Who said to him, run, speak to this young man saying Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. In other words, Jerusalem is going to be so big it will be impossible to contain it within literal walls.

What do we have in heaven? Well, Revelation chapter 5 in verse 9 tells us that there is a multitude which no man can number of every kindred, tongue, tribe, and nation. Try building a wall around that number. Verse 5 says, for I say, for I says the Lord will be a wall of fire all around her and I will be the glory in her midst. We looked at that last Sunday night that the wall of protection for the people of God is the salvation that God has provided. It's not a literal wall of protection.

Salvation is that protection. Up, up, flee from the land of the north, says the Lord, for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven, says the Lord. Up Zion, escape you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.

And here we have two cities. We have Jerusalem mentioned and we have Babylon. Babylon will be destroyed. The only enduring city is Jerusalem. The church will endure and we are to flee from Babylon and receive and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why it says up Zion escape you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. This world is coming to an end. It's going to be burned up by fire and you don't want to be here. You want to escape.

You want to be like Christian in Pilgrim's Progress fleeing the city of destruction. For thus says the Lord of hosts, he sent me after glory to the nations which plunder you for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye. God says that the new Jerusalem is the apple of his eye.

The church, his bride is the apple of his eye. Therefore, he will protect it. He will be a wall of fire around it and he will guard it as closely as men would protect their very eye.

Verse nine, for surely I will shake my hand against them and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst says the Lord. God is going to dwell in the midst of the new Jerusalem.

He will be with us. He will be our God and we will be his people. Many nations, verse 11, shall be joined to the Lord in that day and they shall become my people and I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you and the Lord will take possession of Judah as his inheritance in the Holy Land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent all flesh before the Lord for he is aroused from his holy habitation. Now, let's go back to Revelation chapter 21.

We are dealing with a symbolic description of the new Jerusalem, the church, the bride of Christ that will dwell upon this new earth. And this is a bit tedious. This is a bit challenging, I think, to rightly understand.

But again, apocalyptic literature is given to us in symbolic language and we must, perhaps more here than in any other genre, depend upon other scripture to interpret scripture so we can rightly understand what is being conveyed to us. So again, this is a bit tedious, but as I approached this, I thought, what am I going to do with this? What is being communicated?

What am I going to understand? And when I got to the end of my study, I was like, Lord, just call me away. I'm done.

I'm finished. This has thrilled my heart and my soul. So I trust that my study will be rewarded and that you will share in the joy that we find in our understanding of what's before us here. Symbolic language, what is being symbolized here is glory and blessing and privilege that the church is going to enjoy in the new earth. So the measurement of the city, notice, let's begin. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gate, its gates and its wall. Verse 16, 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 and height are equal. Well, here we are told that the city is a perfect cube. Now we don't want to get lost in all these details and think that what is being described here is literal measurements of the city, because if you actually were to extrapolate that, we're talking about a landmass that would cover 70% of the United States of America.

It would reach from Canada all the way to the Mexican border. That's not what's being described here, a literal city. This is, again, symbolic language. But the city is being described to us as a perfect cube. Why is that important? What are we to learn from that?

Again, notice the language. Now the wall of the city had 12 foundations. I'm sorry, verse 16. 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 in length, breadth and height are equal. Well, when we go back to our Old Testament and we begin to understand the measurements that were given for the Holy of Holies, we learn that it is a perfect cube. So the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle is a perfect cube, the place where God manifested his glory, where God met with his people, where God's presence was manifested. And here in the new city, a perfect cube.

I believe the reason the city is pictured as a perfect cube is that the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament, where that glory and presence of God dwelt, is being set before us because God is going to be in our midst. No longer are we going to be dependent upon a high priest. God will dwell with his people. Now we will reflect glory because we will be fully transformed. The image that was lost by Adam in the garden will be restored and there will be glory being reflected by those who have been redeemed. But that glory pales in comparison to the fact that God in all of his glory will be in the midst of his people.

Amazing, rich, rich symbolism here. So the significance here of the church being pictured as a perfect cube is that God is going to dwell in our midst. The word furlongs, notice that word in verse 16, he measured the city with the reed, 12,000 furlongs in length, breadth, and height are equal. The word furlong in Greek is stadia, from which we get our word stadium. And a stadia is about an eighth of a mile. So again, that's how I've extrapolated this literal, if we were thinking about a literal city.

But that's not what is being conveyed here. What's being conveyed here is the vastness of the size of the church in the new earth. Revelation 7, 9 says the church is made up of a great multitude which no man can number of all nations, all kindreds and people in tongues. Verse 17 tells us that this city is surrounded by a wall. Then he measured its wall, 144 cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The city is surrounded by a wall. And we've already seen that this wall is salvation. That's what Zechariah chapter 2 told us. That's what we learned from chapter 14 of this revelation, chapter 21, where it tells us now the wall of the city had 12 foundations and on them was the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb, that salvation is the wall that protects the people of God. So again, and then also in verse 12, also she had a great and high wall with 12 gates and 12 angels at the gates and names written on them, which are the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. So again, we won't revisit that, but if you were here last Sunday night, we expounded that to you that we're talking about the salvation is the walls, the protection that God has provided for his church.

We've come across this number of 144,000 previously. We've seen it in Revelation 7.4. We saw it in Revelation chapter 14 and verses 1 through 3. And what did we make of that? We did not interpret that literally.

Again, this is symbolic language. This is a perfect number. It is representative of all the saints of all the ages, both the Old Testament saints and New Testament saints. All the saints of all the ages are represented in this number of 144,000.

All of God's people without exception. Now, I want you to notice the construction material of this city. Verse 18, the construction of its wall. So we're going to get detail about the construction material of the wall and of other things here, but the construction material of the city. Building materials.

And again, what's the purpose of this? The purpose of this list is, again, symbolic construction materials used to build this city is to convey four things, is to convey a message about the value of the church, the beauty of the church, the permanence of the church, and the purity of the church. Gold and precious stones are items of great value. They are items of intense beauty. They are items of endless longevity, and they are items of flawless purity. Verse 18 tells us the wall was made of jasper.

We've saw that word jasper before. I think better understood, at least in our mind's eye, of a diamond that reflects, that is pure. You can see through it.

That's what I think is before us here. And again, that wall represents salvation. Salvation that's valuable and beautiful and durable as a diamond. The construction of its wall was of jasper, and the city was pure gold like clear glass. Now we don't think of gold as something that you can see through like clear glass, but I think what is being conveyed here, it's not that the gold is clear like glass, but the gold is pure like clear glass is pure.

I think that's what's being conveyed here. And just as imperfection in glass is easy to see, so any imperfection in the church would be easily seen, but here there is no imperfection to be seen in the church, in the new earth. The construction of its wall was of jasper, and the city was pure gold like clear glass. Now in verse 19 and 20, we are further told that the 12 foundation stones, which represent the 12 apostles, are actually made up of precious gemstones. Notice again, the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones, and there are 12 of them, 12 on purpose because they're representative of the 12 apostles who laid the foundation for the church, again as we looked at last week.

It is possible to assign numerous significances to these 12 stones from the Old Testament. So let's turn to Isaiah chapter 54. Isaiah 54, this passage probably as close as any, is reflecting the language that we're seeing here. Isaiah 54, Isaiah chapter 54 verse 10, the prophet says, for the mountains shall depart. This is Isaiah 54 verse 10, for the mountain shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you. O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest and not comforted, behold I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.

I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established, you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear and from terror, for it shall not come near you.

When are the mountains going to depart and the hills be removed according to this passage? Well when this old heaven and this old earth are burned up, verse 10 continues and speaks about a covenant, nor shall my covenant of peace be removed. And that covenant of peace is the new covenant that we are members of if we are in Christ. This new covenant, this covenant of peace will not be removed. It's never going away. Even the heavens and the earth are going to pass away, but the new covenant remains. It is eternal. Hebrews chapter 13 and verse 20 tells us that it is an everlasting covenant. And listen to what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 26.

Don't turn there, just listen. This is on the night where He instituted the Lord's Supper and it says in Matthew 26 verse 26, and as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, take, eat, this is my body. Then He took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Now notice verse 28, but I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. We are going to share in a communion with our Lord in that day that pales in comparison to what we're going to be doing here tonight.

Jesus said, I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. So this covenant is an everlasting covenant and the blessings that have been secured by it are everlasting as well. What was the condition of Isaiah's time? People were tossed, people were afflicted, they were tempted, they were lacking in comfort and that is a description I think of our day and if you're here tonight and that's your condition, your tempest tossed, you're afflicted, come to Christ. Come and embrace this Savior.

Come and be a member of the new covenant people of God and enjoy blessing that will go on for all eternity. Well the symbolism in Isaiah of God rebuilding Israel with precious stones, it was an indication that she would experience peace and righteousness and protection, the three things that were currently lacking and it was the apostles through the preaching of the new covenant that brought peace with God, who brought righteousness and who brought protection. Go back here to Revelation chapter 21. So we are reminded of the significant involvement of the apostles and how they are honored in this imagery, this symbolic picture. The point of the message of the apostles was exceedingly valuable, as valuable as gemstones, righteousness, peace, protection. They preached the gospel. They provided the foundation of the church. The apostles built the church as 1 Corinthians chapter 3 and verse 12 says, with gold and silver and precious stones. This is the meaning of the foundation of the new Jerusalem being garnished with gemstones.

This is symbolic language. The gates of the wall of salvation are said to be, notice with me, 12 pearls. We are looking at verse 21. The 12 gates were 12 pearls. Each individual gate was of one pearl. Again, the gates in the wall of salvation are said to be 12 pearls and these 12 pearls represent whom? Jesus said that he was the pearl of great price.

That's who's being represented here symbolically. Jesus said in John chapter 10 and verse 9, I am the door. I am the gate by me.

If any man enter in, he shall be saved. Jesus is said to be the pearl of great price and these gates are made out of pearls of great price. Notice there in verse 21 that every gate is exactly the same. The 12 gates were 12 pearls. Each individual gate was of one pearl.

Every gate is exactly the same. What are we to learn from that? Well that tells us that there is only one way of salvation and that is through Jesus Christ who is the pearl of great price. No matter where you come from, from the north, the south, the east, or the west, you will have to enter through the exact same gate, the gate, the door of Jesus Christ.

Now think of the contrast here. The apostles differed from one another in gifts and that is why they differ from one another in their gemstone designations. Twelve different gemstones that make up the foundation representative of the apostles. The apostles differed from one another, but Christ never differs from himself and salvation is the same for everyone and that is why every gate is the same. Every gate is a pearl. And having seen the gates and the wall in verse 21, notice also in verse 21 the street of the city. The street of the city and the street of the city was pure gold like transparent glass.

Like transparent glass. Again we're dealing here with symbolic language. Jesus said in John 14 6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. And that verse I think we can bring to bear on this passage because the Greek word for way is the word hodos, which means a road or a street. In other words, Jesus says, I am the street, I am the road, you must walk on if you would come to God.

There is no other way. Jesus is the only way and therefore the gates, think with me how this exalts Christ, therefore the gates are Christ, the streets are Christ because he is the pearl of great price and he is the door into salvation and he is the way upon which we must walk if we are to arrive at the destination of the father and of heaven. So each aspect of the city symbolizes some truth about the church. It's a passage that's dense with symbolic imagery.

The New Jerusalem symbolizes the glory and the blessing and the privilege that the church will enjoy in the new earth. It is our final destination that's being described here for us. Oh, what a description.

What a description. Perfect without sin, without any enemies, all of Christ's enemies been put under his feet. He rules and reigns supreme and we are with him and he is with us and no longer is his glory veiled. We are in the presence of his matchless glory to enjoy forever and ever and ever. I'm astounded as I think about what awaits us that has been secured for us by our savior. So in summary this evening, the New Jerusalem, this church, the bride of Christ, it's made up of all the saved of all the ages of both the Old and the New Testament. They constitute the bride of Christ. The glory and the presence of God dwells in his church.

He's in his church, he's with his church, and he's in the midst of his people. These elements are before us and they are communion elements. They remind us of the koinonia, the fellowship, the communion that we have. And this communion, this fellowship we have, has both a horizontal dimension to it and it has a vertical dimension to it.

These elements are to be observed when you come together. It's an ordinance for the church. That's why it's only observed when the church gathers because it's a reminder of our koinonia, our shared communion, our shared fellowship that we have one with the other that's rooted in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are members of the new covenant and we celebrate that, we rejoice in that, we think upon those blessings that have been secured for us when we come to the table. But it's not just a horizontal koinonia and a horizontal communion and fellowship.

It is a vertical koinonia and fellowship that we are in union with Jesus Christ. We have communion with him. We have fellowship with him.

That which hindered fellowship with him has been removed. Sin has been dealt with finally on the cross of Calvary and we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And these elements remind us of him and remind us of what he did for us that has secured these blessings. So as we come to the table tonight, we are thankful for his presence among us, but oh for that sense of communion and fellowship that we are enjoying and can enjoy in this life as we walk with him, it will come to full consummation. It will have an expression beyond our wildest imagination when we enter in that time with him in that new heaven and that new earth that's being described here in Revelation chapter 21.

I can't imagine, can you, living on a perfect earth in the presence of the perfect Trinity for all eternity? Glory, glory, hallelujah, we must say. Let's bow and pray. Father, thank you for what has been secured for us by the work of your son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for making us members of the New Covenant community. Thank you for the koinonia, the fellowship that we enjoy one with another, that has been secured for us by Jesus, but all the communion and fellowship that we have because our sins have been removed. We have been brought into living vibrant union with Jesus Christ, and we have tasted of the good things to come. Thank you for this picture that's before us tonight of the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the bride of Christ, the church in that day. Father, as we come and commune around these elements, fix in our minds the price that was paid that says secured these blessings for us, the price that was paid that we might know peace with God, that we might know fellowship with God, that we might know that our sins have been put away from us as far as the east is from the west, and that we stand before you as justified, declared righteous, because of an alien righteousness that has been credited to our account. Thank you for Jehovah Seteinu, the Lord our righteousness. That's our time around the table tonight now, I pray we ask in Jesus' name, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-16 21:34:21 / 2024-01-16 21:44:45 / 10

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