"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“DEFINING NEW JERUSALEM” MAY 2017 PART 5
It is worthwhile for me to explain that I am constantly approaching these lessons from a natural “world events” prospective. Much of the scriptures that we quote from Revelation have been interpreted mainly by son-ship groups from the perspective of a spiritual understanding. But when we spiritualize that which is meant to be understood in the natural, we either lose some of the realism which is intended in the first place. So even while I am expressing the views of world events and how they underscore the realities that God intended, the spiritual aspect and interpretation is not diluted or render of non-effect.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church said: “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” 1st Corinthians 15: 46. To better understand this principle, we need to go back to the early days of Israel soon after they began their wilderness sojourn. Pay keen attention to what God said to that people, and the decisive language he used, as if to express his very heart and soul. “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou (Moses) shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Exodus 19: 5, 6.
But as world history, and Jewish history assert, ancient Israel to whom God spoke so profoundly, never became a holy nation or a kingdom of priests. Watch what transpired when they came to Kadesh. Moses sent 12 men as spies who took 40 days to espy out the land. Caleb and Joshua were the only two who brought back a good report; while the other 10 caused the people to morn and to rebel against God, who would have killed them all in his anger, except for the intervention of Moses who pleaded for mercy and forgiveness on behalf of the rebellious people. God heard and responded kindly to Moses but he offered an ultimatum in judgment.
“As truly as I live saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you. Your carcasses shall fall in the wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me. Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But as for you, your carcasses, they shall fall in the wilderness.
Read the entire story in Numbers 13 and 14. Of all the multitudes that came up out of Egypt, and heard the great proclamation from God how they would become a people esteemed above all people on the earth, and will be unto him a nation of priests: When the final count was made, of those original number, only two, Caleb and Joshua survived the death traps in the wilderness. However, their failure did not mark the failure for God’s promises to be fulfilled; because although he spoke to Israel in the natural, the spiritual realities were meant for New Testament times, and for a people redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Stephen in his sermon referred to Israel and their wilderness years as being “The church in the wilderness.” Acts 7: 38. Addressing the status of all believers, we read: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1st Peter 2:5, 9. Let us remember that when God created Adam and set him in the garden, the full purpose, projected down the corridors of time, was the coming of Christ the Messiah. Paul wrote that Adam was only a figure of him who was to come. Romans 5: 14.
It is with this understanding that I am basing this study on natural factors that impacted natural people in a natural world: always remembering “first the natural, then the spiritual.” Thus, we can conclude that if I teach the natural, and you teach the spiritual, we are both correct; because both have their rightful place within the context of God’s ever unfolding truths. I personally think that to embrace one factor as the only truth, and ignore the other amounts to being a big mistake, and will likely produce a one-sided version of the lesson. As far as we have come in our study of the new Jerusalem, we must agree that John saw it coming down to earth. The city did not descend alone—God also came down to dwell among us: we did not go up to live with God in the heavens. Let us look again at two concise and self-explanatory verses that should settle all arguments to the contrary: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. Here is another thought that we’d do well to observe at this juncture.
In previous chapters of this series, we determined that the new Jerusalem represents Zion, The Bride, The church of the firstborn written in heaven. But notice something unusual about this city, or this tabernacle as noted by John. “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it:
And the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” Revelation 21: 3, 22-25. See Hebrews 12:22, 23. A close look at the entire book of Revelation will quickly show that along with types and symbols, an explanation is always given so that we are assured not to lose our way in our reading or study of the book. We have concluded the true meaning of the sun clothed woman, and we have observed the dynamic unveiling and acts of the sons of God, or the man-child company. However, some experts argue that the term man child is used instead of “a male child.” To those experts, to extol the emergence of a special group out of the church as we know her to be, is not to be taken seriously.
We also said that two women are featured in the book of Revelation—the true church and the false church. Over the many years of our exposure to Christian teachings, we have become familiar with the whore, and she was exposed with her name written upon her forehead. “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Once again, we are not left in the dark to grope and speculate. “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. These are seven kings: And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Imperial Rome consisted of kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, military tribunes with consular authority, Caesars, or emperors, dukes tributary to the Exarch of Ravenna. The term red dragon is significant because the color red or scarlet or purple , was the distinguishing color of the Roman emperors, consuls, and generals.
See what other symbols represent! “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Revelation 17: 7-18.
Here is another classic example of putting in perspective the concept of “first the natural, then the spiritual.” In a personal dialogue with Abraham it is recorded thus: “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with is seed after him.” Genesis 17: 19. There is no drama or complicated issues woven into what God said. This is an event that transpired in the life of two elderly people who had no visions or understanding of the mystique that surrounds the realm of spirit. For us in our current time frame, to read this ancient account and move on to the next topic of interest, there would not be much to talk about or write about. But the Apostle Paul came along and committed himself to uncovering the spiritual realities in what God said to Abraham. In his exhortation, is displayed the importance of considering, and understanding every word of what is written to access the importance of each word. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. (Watch what God did not say) He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3: 16. The thoughts and scriptures featured above are offered to bolster and consolidate the lingering concept that exists between the natural and the spiritual.
We repeat that Adam was only a figure of him who was to come; that is Christ. Now we are seeing that although the name Isaac is used by God himself to Abraham, the undeniable truth pointed to Christ who would grace the hills of Palestine, and walk the shores of Galilee, almost 2,000 years later. But there is much more to the concept of the natural coming first, followed by the spiritual. Paul placed Christ in the seat or the place of Isaac: but he went further in explaining: “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Verse 29. While we are sharing the story of Abraham and Sarah, whose lives projected so much truth in New Testament times, we will do well to mention the conflicts in Abraham’s household that began when Sarah gave her Egyptian maid to her husband hoping to have a son out of that relationship. That practice was acceptable in those days.
Of course, a son was born to them and named Ishmael that led to great consternation in the household. The maid, Hagar and her son Ishmael were cast out and they wandered in the wilderness where the young lad almost died. An angel came and provided them water, but told Hagar to return to Sarah’s house and to submit herself to Sarah. Down through many decades, preachers and exhorters have demonized Sarah; suggesting that she acted out of impatience and tried to lend God a helping hand; instead of waiting for the promise of her own son to be born. This real-life story was the natural enactment of a spiritual truth that would resonate through the corridors of time, and unfolded for our benefit in New Testament. By the time we get to the end of this discourse, we will see that nobody in Abraham’s household was at fault and should not be blamed. Speaking of Sarah and Hagar and Abraham’s two sons we read: “Abraham had two sons the one by a bond maid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Referring to the conflicts between the two boys we read: “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” Galatians 4: 22-29. The realities of both women and both sons are clearly explained as being God’s way of setting up natural scenarios that over time would reveal the Spiritual realities for our edification. (Again—first the natural, then the Spiritual.) Taken as a whole, the New Testament is in reality an unfolding—an unveiling of Old Testament events in which the people involved had no idea of the role they were chosen to play. Like us today, they were simply living their lives the best way they knew how: and all the time, God’s plans and predestinated will are being carried out.
Many times as we reminisce over our past years, and ponder the many mistakes we made, some of us conclude: “If I had it to all over again, I would do things differently.” I am not so sure that any of us could! It is no doubt a hard pill for us to swallow, and I am not declaring a new doctrine here: but many believe that our life’s pathway was already chosen for us before we were born. From our vantage point, looking in hindsight, we are often amazed at the lifestyle and accomplishments of many we can call “trail-blazers” “trend setters” and “pioneers”. But when we read life’s stories from the gallery of faith, we stand amazed. “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of aliens.” Hebrews 11:33, 34. These were not super-humans preprogrammed to be valiant: and even if they were preprogrammed to succeed it is doubtful that they knew it at the time. It seems to be like Esther who decided: “If I perish, I perish, but I must see the king.”
Some of us who were exposed to a prophetic ministry have had the luxury of being told about certain aspects of our lives, where we would be, what would transpire along the way, and how we will experience victory. Others less fortunate must go forward without having any specific guide or sign posts. We live with the understanding that the holy city has come down, and God himself is dwelling with us “right now” and as his set time approaches, there shall be no more death, no more sickness, no more tears, for the former things (that we have known and lived) shall have passed away: and there shall be no more sea (nothing to divide us as a nation.)
We have thus outlined the fact that the New Jerusalem is not heaven; for it came down to earth out of heaven. We need not go to heaven to get our reward for Jesus said he is bringing it. Rev.22: 12. As our doxology we can embrace this promise: “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10. This statement does not depend on the signature of the Board of Bishops, the Board of Deacons, or the Board of Trustees. As they said in the Ten Commandments movie: “So let it be written—so let it be done.” The most glorious time for God’s people is just ahead of us as the angels announce what time it is.
Royce O. Kennedy
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