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March 24, 2022 12:01 am
The book of Revelation provides assurance that a glorious future awaits all those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Today, W. Robert Godfrey guides us through the marvelous description of the New Jerusalem.
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The book of Revelation provides assurance that something better is coming. The city is holding nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life that last job purity at last piece of glass joy. Here is the picture of this city.
God is building for us in Revelation, the apostle John describes Christ ultimate victory over mysterious creatures Dragon, the beast, as well as rebellious humanity.
Then in chapter 21 John turns his attention to the glorious future that awaits all those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Robert Guthrie continues his study of the book of Revelation with the description of heaven and the source of our hope only begun to look at the seventh episode of the seventh cycle. It means we really are drawing close to the end and what a glorious and it is that is given to us here. This is the first of all, the arrival of the heavenly city is being described for us coming down from heaven talked about how it brings heaven and earth together for us how God himself is in the midst, and then that beautiful description of what God will do for us when he is in our midst.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, or the former things have passed away and know what what a thing to look forward to one of the Psalms talks about how God has collected all of our tears in his bottle he doesn't forget a single tear but how glorious hope that one day the agent tears will be over the age of dying will be over.
You know how when we talk about the effect of the fall theologians very helpfully say there are three great effects of the fall we become guilty before God we become corrupt before God and we live in misery bound world before God. So the first two effects of the fall are very personal and individual. I am guilty personally before God and Christ pays the penalty for my guilt on the cross and I'm personally corrupt, so that I don't live as I ought to live before God and the Holy Spirit to send in your hearts to regenerate us and begin to sanctify us, but it's not till the end that that corruption is fully taken away, but also we live in a world of misery where there is pain that is not one the one related to my sin, so I may be healthier than I deserve.
In light of my sin or I may be sicker than I deserve. In light of my sin. But as for the misery of this world and that's what's being talked about here particularly hope finally take the misery away.
He's taken the guilt away. He will take the corruption away, but it also take the misery away so we won't suffer as we have suffered and them are going to read, and he who was seated on the throne said, behold, I am making all things new. And he said, write this down for these words are trustworthy and true. And he said to me, it is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end to the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death and and here is Christ presenting himself as the Lord of history. He's the Alpha and the Omega, he's the beginning and the end.
He's the one who gives to the thirsty, the water of life, and that's a beautiful picture because of the thirsty know their thirsty and they're looking for the water of life.
In the tragedy of this world is so many people want to know their thirsty and don't know their thirst. Don't know they ought to be first, and the beautiful picture here is of Christ, the one who provides the water of life, and then returning really to the thing that we saw over and over again in the first cycle, the one who conquers the one who overcomes the one who faithfully perseveres, is the one who will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. So here's the here's the really positive side, the beautiful picture but then Christ goes on to list the disqualifying sins. This book always balances the really positive with the terribly negative doesn't let us off the hook and it's very interesting this list of sins. What is it begin with a view to make a list of the worst sins, where would you start, I bet if you have just read this verse, you wouldn't start with cowards quite cowards because it's cowards who can never conquer cowards run away from the about cowards don't persevere. And so he's really drawing a contrast between those who will overcome with the Savior, and those who will run away from the Savior. And out of that cowardice then comes all of these other problems. Faithlessness being detestable murderers, sexually immoral sorcerers idolaters liars and and what you have here presented is a summary don't we have the two tables of the law. A summary of the two loves were called to a love for God and love for the neighbor, the one who is a sorcerer and an idolater is not a lover of God, and one who is a murderer or an adult for or a liar is not a lover of the neighbor and so here are Christ is pressing the claims of all on his people, not so that we will try to justify ourselves, but we can see what do we love more to be love God more. We love our idol more.
Do we love God more and we love our hatred of the neighbor more. Here is a test as to determine who we really are as people, and that he calls us again implicitly to come to the water supply from drink and find that life in him. So here's another beautiful picture of what God is doing for us and among us and this list in verse eight of sins are all sins found in the churches in the letters to the seven churches.
These are not things entirely outside of Christian experience but as we see in the letters.
When those sins are listed immediately follows a call to repentance, one doesn't have to be trapped in those sins when doesn't have to be defined by those sins.
One doesn't have to be kept out of the heavenly Jerusalem by those sins but we have to recognize sin for sin and repent of it and then we drink from the water of life. So this picture of the new Jerusalem come down out of heaven continues here and we are told something about the character of this city.
In what follows, so this is a longish section of describing the city. Let me read it to you. Versus nine through 27 in chapter 21 then came one of the angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and he spoke to me saying come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great high mountain and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a great high wall with 12 gates, and at the gates 12 angels and on the gates the names of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed on the east three gates on the north three gates on the south three gates and on the west three gates and the wall of the city had 12 foundations, and on them were the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb and the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and its walls.
The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He measured its wall hundred and 44 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of drool. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate in the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh, Christ the light the eighth. Burrell, the ninth Topaz the 10th Chrysler phrase, and the 11th jacket and the 12th amethyst. Of the 12 gates were 12 pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl in the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass and I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb and the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it for the glory of God gives it light and its lamp is the Lamb, by its light will the nations walk in the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it and its gates will never be shut by day and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations but nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life of beautiful description of this heavenly city remarkable in so many ways remarkable for the. The jewels that characterize each of the foundations.
Whenever I read that I have to smile because I remember once being at a Philadelphia conference of reformed theology sponsored by 10th Presbyterian Church and organized by James Montgomery voice they had arranged to have one of the sessions of the theology conference in the Philadelphia Academy of music, and that was the, the opera Hall and the Symphony Hall in the Philadelphia and so this is was very exciting large group of people had gathered in RC schools going to be the preacher and he drawn many people there voice was going to host the evening and he asked if I'd read Scripture so RC had chosen this so 21st chapter of Revelation and so we started with a hymn, which enables me to say to this day that I have some on the stage of the Academy of music in Philadelphia which aptly amazes anyone who has heard me sing and so just before we went out.
I have looked at the passage and it was then and NIV and as you notice, I stumbled a little bit on this reading. There were several of the jewels described in words I'd never seen before and had no idea how to pronounce the and so RC and and Jim Boyce were standing there and I said I'm not sure I'm pronouncing some of these words can I just skip that description and RC said that some material to the point I'm making. So I went out in read the Scripture and then RC went to the stage and began his address by saying something snarky to Jim Boyce about the conference and then he said and then alerted Dr. Godfrey doesn't even know how to pronounce his words are just skip that without Jim and I got out of our seats behind them and went after him. You know, so here it was a really charming meeting because the three of us so enjoyed one another's company and have such fun together but I was get a sort of cold chills when I think of these words that I'm still not exactly sure how to pronounce and remember that wonderful occasion when here it. The bottom line of this description, whether we know exactly the color of each of these jewels are exactly how to pronounce them. Is it is a glorious picture right this. This is the main thing. This is a glorious picture and it's a symbolic picture. It's a symbolic picture of pearl large enough to be a gate that's very likely I a symbolic picture. It's not the God couldn't make a pearl that big he'd have to make a big oyster first, but this is a symbol of the glory of splendor and sure goal as clear as crystal.
That's clearly symbolic pride. I meet your mixing two different things. Gold is not clear in the matter how pure the gold is it still looks golden done look like glass but this is an effort to say this is this is a transcendent glory. This is something we've never seen before. This is this is a splendor so great and so wonderful that we can hardly begin to realize what it is. So were being called peer to an appreciation of the how how really splendid this is and when we when we begin to look at the details here of this city, at least when I look at them I end up with 12 details. Now I don't know whether I wanted to end up with 12 details are weathered 12 details really there but let me let me go back over this to sort of see how God I think is giving us 12 different angles and visions of what this glorious city is going to be like what is the nature of its glory. First of all, in verse 10 of chapter 21. The angel carried me away in the Spirit to a great high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. So what's the first thing we see this Jerusalem is a gift of God is not something we built inside a city. We built into city that God built since coming down out of heaven as God's gift to us so that's the first thing we see.
Secondly, verse 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like Jasper, clear as crystal. Here is a city that is glorious manifesting something of the very glory of God's glory coming into the world its visible line and really striking. Then the third. What we see here in verse 11 is that the city is precious and valuable. All of these jewels are mentioned to make the point that God has lavished the most valuable of things upon this city to show that it is his treasure. It is his rare jewel, his people or his treasure this essay, and fourthly, the city is beautiful. Verse 11.
These jewels are not only glorious and not only valuable, but their beautiful God likes variety. We've talked about how he shows that in Psalm 104 and so he he delights to decorate his world with things of beauty and then fifth verses 12 through 21 that I will not read again to show that the city is safe. It's protected by walls and gates that will shut nothing can can harm it and again, we might say, will the new heaven and new earth. What could harm it. Why do we have to worry about harmful this a picture this is a picture of the safety of God's people, and that it is a beautiful picture.
Indeed, for most of the history of mankind. A walls and gates were critical to protection and so that's pictured for us here. Sixth, the city is a place for all the people of God. We see that in verses 12 and 14, the 24 elders seem to stand symbolically.
We've said for the old and new covenant, and so here we have explicitly stated the names of the 12 tribes of the names of the 12 apostles are on the store showing the unity of the covenant of grace here in the eternal city. Israel and church are not forever separated some kinds of eschatology seem to want to teach but they're united.
They're all part of one city and they share as one people in the in the beauty and the protection of what God has provided for his city and the city is huge. That's number seven received at verses 15 through 17. The city is huge.
It's described as a fast cube 1400 miles wide and 1400 miles deep 1400 miles high. I guess in his father's house there are many mansions. I mean, there's space for.
This is huge again. Of course this is a symbol but it's a symbol of the perfect symmetry.
The perfect balance. The hugeness of the size of the city of there's plenty of room for all who come it's again a really beautiful image in verses 18 through 21 he returns. I think eighth lead to the value and beauty of the city together.
He wants to stress that ninth verse 22. He says this city has no temple, the city has no temple.
And that's because a temple is always first of all, symbolic. We don't need symbols anymore.
But a temple also always architecturally is a place that separates the worshiper from God that was particularly true of the old covenant temple right there were a whole series of separations. If you are a Gentile, even a convert to Israel.
The closest you can get to the temple was the court of the Gentiles and then the next court was court of the women in the next court was a court of the men of Israel, and then was a holy place where only the priests could go and then the most holy place where only the high priest could go once a year so the whole vision of the temple, in part, is forcing mankind to recognize how separated they are from God, how much distance there must be between the holy God and sinful mankind. And now there's no temple because is no separation because there's no distance because the holy God has surrounded himself with a holy people whom he has made holy tent. The city will not have any sun, moon, or not it's and hear this too is symbolic and it symbolic that God himself will be the light in the midst of his people, but he doesn't need to be using intermediates to provide light for his people. He'll do that directly and immediately and again this is symbolic language. We don't want to overly stress that all of this will be Woodley literally true. But what's what's being said is God will be present, God will be our lights. We will look at the sun and sale beautiful as the sun will look at our God and say he's present with us illumines everything for us. 11th, the nations and the kings will bring their glory and honor to serve the Lord.
This is certainly reflective of Old Testament language, but it means all the powers of the earth that know the Lord will come to serve him, they won't establish separate kingdoms apart from him, but they will acknowledge him, they will honor him they will glory in him. As Psalm 138 said all the kings of the earth shall give you thanks award for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord for great is the glory of God. This is a picture of those kings coming singing praising him and alleging him and then 12 verse 27.
In particular, the city is holy. The city is holy. Verse 27 nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life at last to purity at last piece of glass joy.
Here is the picture of this city. God is building for us holy, beautiful, valuable huge protected holy. It's almost as if you can't say it enough ways enough times and express fully what that glory and that vision will be. What a contrast with his sad dying world. What a contrast with everything that passes away.
What a contrast with even the best and the most glorious of things in this world. Yet subject to decay. But here's a city of life and light that will be forever and be the holy presence of God's people. So next time will come back and will look at this last little section of the seven cycle and then look at the conclusion of the book and what he calls us to service you know there's no question that that has we read the final chapters of Revelation we are introduced to otherworldly imagery. The apostle John describes things we cannot yet understand, but we still see the clear and beautiful hope of our future with God, Dr. Robert Godfrey is our teacher this week on Renewing Your Mind as we focus on his series blessed hope. The book of Revelation. Revelation is filled with mystery to be sure, but also practical insight and you're welcome to contact us today and request all 24 messages from the series. We will send you the three DVD set when you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries. You can find us email@example.com or you can simply call us. Our number is 800-435-4343. If you are new to our program like to make you aware of another resource that look at your ministries provides for 45 years. Table talk magazine is how Christians around the world grow in their knowledge of Christ that would like to give you the opportunity to join more than 260,000 readers worldwide with a risk-free three month trial subscription you will receive three print issues each containing daily in-depth Bible studies, thought-provoking articles, and a one year Bible reading plan. You will also have access to our online firstname.lastname@example.org featuring more than 15,000 studies and articles. Start your trial today when you go to try table talk.com but I hope you join us again tomorrow as we wrap up our study of Revelation. So here we have this glorious picture of final judgment and final glory of final ending tall. It is wicked and in opposition to God. And the final provision for God's people of a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. I hope you'll join us Friday for Renewing Your Mind