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The Father's House, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
February 27, 2023 12:00 am

The Father's House, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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February 27, 2023 12:00 am

If you're one of those people who thinks heaven will be a dull, boring place of same old, same old, the Apostle John's vision in Revelation 21:9-21 will make you think again.


For the names of the twelve apostles carved into the foundation stones, and the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, make an eternal distinction, even though we are one rejoicing before God. God intends to remind the inhabitants, then, of heaven, of his beloved people drawn to him from the old covenant and the new covenant, the one through Israel and the promised seed and the one birthed at Pentecost through the apostles of the church.

One has not voided the other. In fact, it's interesting, God doesn't erase any of it. He says, look, remember the twelve sons of Jacob. Remember the twelve apostles. In this series entitled, Heaven on Earth, Stephen has been taking us on an in-depth study of John's vision of heaven. It comes from Revelation 21.

If you're one of those people who thinks that heaven will be a dull, boring place, this message will make you think again. Jesus promised that he would go to the Father's house and there he would prepare a place for you. There's much that we don't know about the Father's house, but in Revelation 21, we find a description of some aspects of it.

Stephen opens God's word to that passage in today's message called the Father's house. A young man by the name of George Vanderbilt, the youngest son of William, was born, grew up, inherited around seven million dollars, much of it earned by his grandfather, a man nicknamed the Commodore because he, for the most part, owned the railroad business. George would grow up the third generation, which is usually the generation that spends the money the parents and the grandparents earned. He would end up spending more money on his house than he made, which makes him a lot like us, right?

But he died in debt at the age of 51. One million people a year visit the home he built, a home that we refer to as the Biltmore Estate. How many of you have been there to see that?

Just about everybody. It's an interesting house, isn't it? Designed and patterned after a French chateau, a really big French chateau. It ended up in the neighborhood of about 175,000 square feet and 250 rooms, although he didn't have enough money to finish all of the rooms.

George Vanderbilt called this multimillion dollar extravaganza as it seems that he and his siblings competed to build the biggest homes, most of them built along the Hudson River. He called this home his little mountain escape. My family and I have toured this little mountain escape, and it's rather amazing. It's not what I would call a little mountain escape. My idea of a little mountain escape is driving for an hour or two on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopping at a Dairy Queen for some ice cream.

That's a little mountain escape, according to my budget. Vanderbilt's home was designed by a famous architect. It was opulent, elaborate, so that they would live as if they were European royalty. Even the chairs in the dining room were patterned after royal thrones. Private bedrooms and sitting rooms were outfitted for kings, even down to the table and the chess set and one sitting room that had once been owned by Napoleon. Then you have that two-story library, which is my favorite.

I've often thought if I could stay after hours and they didn't know I was there, what fun that would be. Two-story library, an indoor swimming pool, inconceivable to most people in the 1800s. Then, of course, you have the lavish settings with tapestries and art canvases from Europe by the masters hanging on the walls. It's all stunning. Rare conveniences are built into this home as well, like an elevator, an intercom system, hot and cold running water. Even the stables had plumbing in them.

It's all amazing. Of course, you got the bowling lanes down there in the basement, right? Equipped by Brunswick, no less. You talk about a house. I mean, that's a house. You walk around with your jaw to the ground. Maybe you paid a little extra, so you got the headphones set and a little receiver.

You could walk along in your own pace to listen to more details to be told as to what you happen to be looking at at the moment. They've just recently opened a number of the quarters where dozens of servants stayed. They did everything to operate the estate. The Vanderbilts hosted one holiday retreat after another. In fact, if you live in the 1800s, the late 1800s, to receive an invitation to the Vanderbilt home for a vacation was really something special. Now, in comparison to your home and mine, the Biltmore at 175,000 square feet would make ours just a tad smaller. In comparison to our driveways, his was three miles long.

Compared to ours, it's not quite as long as we thought. But you know what I want to do today? I want to talk to you about another house. In fact, it happens to be your future house.

You're in the family and you've already inherited it, and it is beyond your wildest imaginations. In fact, it's going to make the Biltmore and every other mansion on earth today look like a shed, a little lean to. This house has as its architect and builder God himself.

Hebrews 11, verse 10. John records the promise where Jesus Christ said to his disciples and to us, I'm going to go away, and I'm going to go prepare a place for you, and then I'm going to come back and get you, and you're going to live in the Father's house. You talk about a house. This is a house. And by virtue of the gospel and those who have accepted Christ by faith alone have received an invitation not only to spend a weekend there or a holiday retreat, to spend forever. And in fact, to move in as one of the family. You've got a room there, a dwelling place, a Monet.

You could translate that apartment. Turn to John's revelation. And in chapter 21, as some of the house is described to us. And I've got to tell you at the very outset, much of it after our study today will still be a mystery to us.

God is the architect and builder, and I've really come to think that that's another way of saying he's kept it all to himself or just about all to himself. We're literally going to have to wait and see. I'm going to describe your future house. You will never wash a dish again. You'll never have to vacuum.

You will never dust again. Amen. I heard some guys say, amen.

What's with that? Ladies, you will never have to vacuum dust and clean the kitchen again. Amen. That's better.

That was the truth. I know some of you guys help, especially today. You ought to, if you're half awake, help out around the house. Now, if you were buying a house today, you might want to see certain things about it. In fact, one of the things you might want to do is get an aerial view, which you can now do with Google Earth.

You can actually focus in on your house and that yard of weeds around your house and focus in real clearly on that. And that's exactly what happens first with John the apostle. Look at verse nine. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here and I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb. This is the same angel, by the way, who had appeared in Chapter 17, who told John, Hey, come here and I'm going to show you the harlot. I'm going to show you Babylon, the unfaithful city who gave its love to the false Messiah.

It's interesting that that same angel says, Come here. I want to show you the bride. I want to show you the faithful wife of the true Messiah.

Verse 10. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain. And he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal clear jasper.

Now, as John sees it from above an aerial view here, the thing that strikes him is the glory of God's light permeating throughout and literally sparkling throughout the city, the city which is encompassed in what we call one house. The word translated jasper here in verse 11 is is understood as referring to what we would commonly think of today as a diamond and a very costly one, too, because John writes it was crystal clear. That is, it was without blemish. It was it was a flawless diamond. It's the only time that phrase crystal clear ever appears in the New Testament.

And we use that phrase today in our language. So you have heaven's capital city, the father's house, descending as if it is a huge, flawless diamond, refracting and reflecting the brilliant blazing light of the glory of God. If you look down at verse 18, John tells us that the wall of the city was jasper. And now, as we'll see in a moment, other costly gems are going to be used as materials to construct this city so that this city is literally going to reflect this amazing rainbow of color. The thing that strikes John that we often don't think about is when he sees heaven, so to speak, the heavenly city, he's struck by the brilliant light emanating from and through it.

Everything is transparent. The light will refract like like it's coming off of a diamond and through these gems, as we'll see, literally people who enter this city will be immersed, as it were, in an amazing rainbow display of color, all the colors of the rainbow. You know, I remember as a kid a couple of times chasing a rainbow.

Did you ever do that? You'd see one nearby in the neighborhood. My friends and I got on our bicycles and we thought we could catch up to it, pedaling as fast as we could and as fast as we pedaled, it seemed it would move away.

And after four or five blocks, exhausted, we would give up. And we never got to see the leprechaun or any of those other truths about the rainbow. Here in the Father's house, you know what? It's going to seem like you're literally walking into a rainbow. You're going to be immersed in a waterfall of color. He goes on in verse 18 to tell us that the city was pure gold like clear glass. Again, he has trouble describing it. And so he says, well, it's like this. It's like that, like pure gold.

The problem we have with this is we've never seen this before. We've never seen gold so pure it's transparent. But gold, that hue of gold is going to add to the warmth and the wealth of the city. Gold is literally the substance throughout this city, which is designed to magnify and display the glory of God. And so what John is seeing here at the very outset is the full and open disclosure of the glory of God, the kind of glory the shepherds saw briefly as the light filled the sky, the kind of light that Jesus Christ allowed to peek through his human flesh on the Mount of Transfiguration that was blinding and glorious.

Those were little slivers. Now you come to its fullest and eternal expression, a city of gold sparkling like a flawless diamond. This is the father says, this is your house. This is your house. Now John moves in after taking this aerial view for a closer inspection and he inspects the front exterior of the father's house.

This is what we call curb appeal. Verse 12, look there. It had a great and high wall with 12 gates and at the gates 12 angels. Now that informs us that there really are gates into heaven, 12 of them. Angels are posted at each gate. So would you notice that Peter is not standing in any of them?

Poor Peter, he's been forever relegated to standing at the gates with a clipboard in his hand. No, he's not a gatekeeper, he's an inhabitant. And God is a sign though at these gates, these greeters, these welcomers like we have here at Colonial who smile and they don't keep people out, at least they're not supposed to here at Colonial, and they're not going to keep people out of heaven.

They're greeting, they're welcoming people home as it were. Now notice further in verse 12, names were written on them, that is the gates, which are the names of the 12 tribes of the son of Israel. So each of these 12 gates have one of the names of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, the sons of Jacob engraved upon it.

Look down at verse 14, notice these aren't the only names John writes about. And the wall of the city had 12 foundation stones, we'll look at those closely in a moment. And on them, these foundation stones were the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. So you have on the city gates, the names of the 12 sons of Israel, and on the 12 foundation stones, you have inscribed the names of the 12 apostles. Now I know after every service, somebody's going to come up and ask me, who was the 12th apostle? What name is there? I thought about it long and hard and I'm now convinced, I can tell you without any shadow of a doubt that it isn't me.

Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine, okay? It could be Matthias, he met the qualifications as he was selected, and thereby the community of apostles. In Acts chapter 1 verse 26, it could be the great apostle to the Gentiles, the apostle Paul. But if it isn't Paul, he isn't going to be going around heaven muttering under his breath that he got ripped off, that his name should have been there. No, not at all.

He won't care. The significance of their names is the fact that God is referencing and he is distinguishing Israel and the church. In fact, this text is the last nail in the coffin of replacement theology, which believes that the church has replaced Israel. Now the names of the 12 apostles carved into the foundation stones and the names of the 12 tribes of Israel make an eternal distinction, even though we are one rejoicing before God. God intends to remind the inhabitants that of heaven, of his beloved people drawn to him from the old covenant and the new covenant, the one through Israel and the promised seed and the one birthed at Pentecost through the apostles and the church.

One has not voided the other. In fact, it's interesting, God doesn't erase any of it. He says, look, remember. Remember the 12 sons of Jacob. Remember the 12 apostles. I find it fascinating, too, by the way, and we'll leave this for now, that God does not engrave verses of scripture.

I would expect that. Instead, he engraves the names of people redeemed and all they represent, the hosts of heaven. Now notice as verse 13 informs us, there were three gates. You notice that three gates on each side of this four square city, this house, three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, three gates on the west. So there are 12 of them, three on each side, north, south, east, west.

Don't follow which way I'm pointing. I have no idea which is east, west, north or south. I'm from the south, which means I don't know that kind of thing. You're from the north. How many of you know exactly how to give directions by points of the compass? You know, you northerners will say, go three blocks and turn east. We're lost now.

We have no idea. We don't have a compass with us. In the south, you go three blocks and turn next to the Dairy Queen. That's what we say, right? Get you an ice cream cone while you're out there. And then whether you find it or not, you're going to enjoy your ice cream. Everything will be just fine. That's us. I love navigation systems, by the way, because people like me really need them. My wife and I were going to the dean of the seminary's home for dinner with the other faculty on Friday night.

And it's only a mile or two away from our home. I've already been there once and I'm lost. I went way beyond. And, you know, Marsha said, honey, you know, maybe, maybe, maybe we're lost. And I said, I can't be.

I'm the president of the seminary. I ought to know what I'm doing. Well, I pulled out my navigation system, typed in the address and I was lost. But the neat thing is, it talks to me.

It's a woman's voice, which is just perfect. And it tells me, you know, I turn that thing on and I hear things like, you are now off course. Make a legal U-turn, right? What are you thinking, you idiot? No, she doesn't say that.

She wants to, but she doesn't. I'm off track, actually. Let me get back to my notes here. Gates on all four sides of the city are not just for decoration, right? Gates are designed as entrances and exits. We have every reason to believe that the redeemed were going to have, as Christ promised, a place in the Father's house, an apartment, a room, as the Lord said. But we're going to be able to leave the city to enjoy the new earth, perhaps travel to distant planets or even galaxies through God's recreated universe. We're going to repeatedly enter through those gates, perhaps for unique experiences of worship, maybe we'll assemble.

Jonathan Edwards, the Father of the Great Awakening, believed that each local church would have a unique assembly before God the Father, which is kind of an interesting concept. So get along, because this may last forever. You're thinking, oh, I was hoping it wouldn't.

Well, it will, perhaps, if Jonathan Edwards is right. There's going to be a unique demonstration. We're going to know each other. We worshiped with each other. We won't forget.

I'll remember your face, and you'll remember mine, and we'll be pleasant and talk and hug and say hello. But we're going to enter and have these unique opportunities, maybe as a local assembly. Who knows? Maybe Jonathan Edwards is right. There are going to be seasons, no doubt, of corporate worship, maybe the entire body of redeemed ones. And then we're going to ask it to go on some assigned task or journey or to do something.

We're not told. But if you're interested in a house, you might look at it aerially, that is from above. You might look at it from the air. You're certainly going to inspect it from the curb. You're going to want to know if it has that curb appeal. You want to know what kind of material it's made out of. You're going to want to have an inspector then.

Check out the foundation. My wife and I bought our first home in Cary, and the foundation had slipped. And we didn't know it and didn't have it inspected. And that's a major, major problem to have.

So you're going to want to do that. Well, that's exactly what John is shown next. Look at verse 14. And the wall of the city had 12 foundation stones. And on them, as we've learned, the 12 apostles' names are inscribed. Now, if you look down at verses 19 and 20, you'll see a description of each foundation stone. John writes in verse 19, the foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone.

Now, stop for a moment. You might think from reading that in the English language that what this means is that these stones are decorated with all kinds of gems. And the language John is using is actually better understood to mean that each one of these foundation stones was, each of them, a unique gem. And he's going to give us the list.

The first one he mentions is jasper. And because he seemed to describe it as crystal clear, even though for us it has a reddish hue, we'll say it's clear. Keep in mind, though, that when you look at these, all we've ever seen are little pieces of these precious stones. A big piece would be about that size. I've never seen a diamond on anybody's finger that big around.

They're usually this big around or this big around with a big setting, right? We see little specks of these gems. These are going to be foundation stones.

You can imagine how massive this will be. In fact, to give you a little bit of an idea, when Herod rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem, we're told by Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, that the foundation stones of that building were 70 feet long, nine feet tall, and eight feet wide. Now, just think of a gemstone. Think of a diamond. Think of a topaz, as we're going to see, that large. Just stunning when you consider the fact that the light of God is going to reflect into and around and away from this display of beauty with these absolutely gigantic foundation stones.

Now, you might take a pencil out if you're in the habit of writing in your Bible. I think it'll be good because you won't have to look into the cross-references to find out what color we're talking about. I'll give you the color of each gemstone as we go through these. The first is jasper. That's simply a clear stone according to John's description. The second foundation stone in verse 19 is a sapphire that's deep blue. Next comes a Greek word pronounced chalcedon, chalcedony.

It's a word only found in the New Testament in this text. And we have to depend on some archaeologists and some findings and other descriptions to help us understand exactly some of these colors. But this particular gemstone, I have learned, has a greenish-blue color. The fourth foundation stone is an emerald. That's deep green. In verse 20, John mentions the sardonyx.

This is going to take a little more room to write if you want to write all the details. This is a white stone with bands of brownish-red streaks going around it. A white stone with reddish-brown streaks.

Next comes the sardius, which is deep red. The seventh foundation stone is the chrysolite. This is a gold-colored gemstone, gold-colored. The eighth gemstone mentioned is the beryl. It's a word that appears, again, only here in the New Testament, referring most believed to a gemstone that was teal, maybe teal, a little toward the blue side. The ninth gemstone is a topaz. That's golden greenish color, golden greenish.

Do you have any more space left? I'll keep going. The tenth is chrysoprase. I hope I'm pronouncing that right.

I had Wikipedia Audio Dictionary help me with these English words and the Greek word is a bit different. Chrysoprase, that's a pale green gemstone. The jessinth is the eleventh.

Again, think of these as gigantic. If Herod's was this big, imagine the city of God. This is the eleventh gigantic foundation stone and this is pale violet, pale violet. The final foundation stone is the amethyst. This is rich purple. You talk about interior design. Think of it.

Don't just read the list and think, well, that's nice. The brilliant light of God's throne and glory is going to pass through these different colored stones. The whole city is see-through, so to speak, translucent and breathtaking. God is revealing to us that while we know little specks and chips, he's taking these precious gems and he is going to lavishly decorate with beauty and color the eternal home of his beloved you. This is your house.

Well, friend, there's more to this description of the lavish beauty of the father's house, which happens to be our inheritance. However, because of time, we're going to pause right here. Stephen will do a little bit of review and then conclude this message on our next broadcast.

This is Wisdom for the Heart. Our Bible teacher, Stephen Davey, is the founding pastor of the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. If you'd like to learn more about Stephen or our ministry, visit us online at In addition to the information you'll find, you're also able to access our many resources. Stephen has books, commentaries, devotionals, and Bible study guides. You'll find all of those on our website.

As soon as you get to our home page, you're going to see a button that will offer you a free resource. Stephen has preached a series of messages through the book of Revelation. We've taken a small portion of that content and turned it into a booklet to help you understand one of the most confusing prophecies. Stephen's booklet is called The Coming Tribulation. Visit today and join us next time for more Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-27 00:11:25 / 2023-02-27 00:21:43 / 10

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