"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“DEFINING NEW JERUSALEM” JUNE 2017 PART 6
“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 the Lord did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Rev.21: 22,23.
We began this series under the title of defining the new Jerusalem, and will continue under the same title or caption. However, as we proceed, it becomes necessary to bring into focus, many other aspects that serve as additional truths that help broaden our perspective and open to us vast new areas to consider. As I stated before, I am approaching this series mainly from the context of world events, since the natural comes first followed by the spiritual. World history or church history brings world events directly to our fingertips, and allows us to get a panoramic view of things past, things present, and things to come. It is by understanding what has already happened that we can better determine where we are today, and what is likely to transpire in the future.
In the ranks of Christendom, there are those who are called “Futurists” who place the bulk of “time prophecies” in the future. For instance, they teach a futuristic view of the rapture, the antichrist, the great tribulation, and the millennium (Christ’s supposed earthly reign of a thousand years upon David’s throne in Jerusalem) in the future. These teachers, preachers, and scholars of the bible, perhaps unwittingly, have failed to identify the bulk of prophecies that have been fulfilled down through the ages. So, in continuing our study of the new Jerusalem, it is necessary for us to glean through the Old Testament narrative and determine what prophecies have already been fulfilled.
Some of the mistakes made by the futurists is a simple misuse or misapplication of the written word. Just about every dispensationalist refer to this as their master clue. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” Matt.24:15. The reasoning behind this, is that antichrist will enter the city, walk into the temple and as an abomination offer pagan sacrifices upon the altar. Then it’s time to flee the city and head to the mountains.
But common sense will tell us that if antichrist has entered the temple to pollute it, he must have already conquered the city—too late to flee. But the truth of the matter is that Daniel said nothing about the antichrist. Another author recorded the same event in terms that are more understandable. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains. Etc. Luke 21: 20,21. This is exactly how it happened! The Roman armies camped around the city of Jerusalem laying siege to it. Without any resistance coming from within, they pulled up stakes and left. Upon seeing this, and remembering what Jesus had said, the Christian Jews fled the city, and as history states, not one of God’s people died, except an old man, who for days walked along the city’s wall saying: “Woe unto Jerusalem, woe unto Jerusalem.”
It is clear that Daniel, (rather Gabriel) did not foretell of a mad man named antichrist, entering the city and making his way to the temple. The holy place in Daniel’s prophecy did not necessarily mean the temple, for even today people are touring “the holy land” meaning all of Palestine, even though there is no longer that ancient temple. As it is with this, so it is in discussing the new Jerusalem. The two main players in Revelation 12 are the sun clothed woman and the red dragon. Throughout Revelation, the red dragon, or simply “the dragon” alludes to paganism. The seven heads and ten horns immediately turn our attention to Rome. In the description, Rome has seven heads, while the woman has a single head decorated with a crown and twelve stars. This brings to mind what Christ had said: “Ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matt. 12: 28.
Since we are talking about the new Jerusalem, which is without question, the Church, the Bride of Christ, we will do well to observe how this mighty entity came into being. We can understand God’s thinking and his ultimate intentions as expressed when there were only two people in the garden. The Lord God said: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3: 15. What we have just read, is God preaching the first gospel message.
We stand amazed and completely enthralled by the glories on display within the structure and every other feature of the Great City, heavenly Jerusalem. But by noting the first message that we just mentioned, it becomes clear that God’s creative actions down through the ages were not predicated upon the actions of human-kind. Before the world began, God had already drawn his blueprint for his creation, and had already looked upon the glorious church that was within himself, that we see elevated and unveiled in marvelous wonders that even the angels looked on in amazement. Let us observe two of three references made by the Apostle Paul that underscore the truth about the actual timing of our redemption.
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” Ephesians 1: 4. So it was, that before God said “Let there be” and there was, we were already chosen in him.
I would dare to say that the greater percentage of Christian teachers and preachers trace our salvation from, or back to when we walk down the aisle and gave our hearts to Christ at the invitation of the preacher. I often say from the pulpit that you need not come to Jesus and introduce yourself by giving him all of your personal information. That is because God knew you before you were born.
God spoke to me by prophecy in Birmingham, England about the year 1959 saying: “Before your mother knew what she would have, I have set my mark upon you and ordained you to this ministry. Etc.” Those words will shake the very foundation of your innermost being. We may want to look at the glories of the new Jerusalem and marvel at the grandeur that glamorize her. But that is the grand finale—the absolute coming to fruition of what God orchestrated in himself before time began.
Paul’s second statement that we will quote was addressed to his son (in the gospel) Timothy. Speaking of our salvation, he wrote: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2nd Timothy 1: 9. Therefore we must conclude that the salvation process that we are engaged in, was not designed merely to create a few good people who will eventually become worthy to ascend in glory to share heaven with the Creator.
The glory of the new Jerusalem was almost beyond description in so much that John was mesmerized and just about being transformed by what he saw. But as we just said, that is the grand finale and the arriving point of what God started in himself before time began. Let us recap some of the main points that serve as “waymarks” designed to point us to the ultimate truth that was hidden in Christ to us-ward before the worlds began.
Going back to the first man Adam: although he was created in the image of God and in his likeness, the profound truth is that this man was not representative of himself, but rather of a man who would walk the shores of Galilee some four thousand years after Adam himself walked the earth. Paul made it clear that Adam was only “a figure” a “type” of him who was to come, meaning Christ. Romans 5: 14. God personally spoke with Abraham and promised a son to be born and to be named Isaac. “And I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” Genesis 17: 19. Paul, who lived thousands of years after Abraham, explained that God used the word seed and seeds; meaning Christ. Gal.3: 16.
Even when we factor in the man Moses, we are told explicitly by the man himself: “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.” Deut.18: 15. Thus, we can conclude that God’s dealings and his interaction with humankind from the Garden forward to this day, is a gradual unfolding and out workings of his master plan that was birthed in the mind of his that calls things that are not as though they were, and tells the end from the beginning.
As a major part of this Divine Plan our salvation becomes another factor in the process of God indwelling humans, who, in the process become clothed upon and within the very image of the unseen God. Peter assures us that through God’s exceeding great and gracious promises: “We are made partakers of the divine nature.” 2nd Peter 1: 4. Instead of designating certain continents to be his personal domain to be populated by his saints, God constructed a spiritual realm that he called Zion; the holy city; the heavenly Jerusalem. He put in place certain dimensions, certain conditions, and published to the world those who will be welcomed to enter, and to dwell in that city.
John left for us, a clear list of requirements and the distinction between those who will enter that city and who would be barred from entering through those gates.
“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. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:24-27.
The language used in this passage seems to suggest that the city is no small thing. After all it lies fifteen hundred miles square—or fifteen hundred miles on each of the four sides. But let us not revert to the carnal way of thinking. These measurements, these gates, these walls, these foundations do not relate to a literal city. The “heavenly Jerusalem” means that it is a city totally immersed in spiritual realities. The church-world in their constant sermons, literature, and bible studies present these truths on the level of the “natural mind.” Therefore, song writers and movie makers who copy from the church, continue to present these heavenly and deeply spiritual realities on the level of the natural mind—and the natural man cannot receive the things of the spirit because they are foolishness to him. It stands to reason that there is a universe of people living outside of the city, new Jerusalem. Jesus mentioned that the overcomers will join him in ruling the nations with a rod of iron.
We must look closer at these important factors. Jesus said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12: 32. “For all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” Revelation
15: 4. “Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nation shall serve him.” Psalm 72: 11. So we must conclude that new Jerusalem is highlighted in scripture as a sort of capital city. But more pronounced, it is the church, the bride of Christ; and Paul alluded to the fact that as his members, we are actually members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Ephesians 5: 30. As we said before, God himself preached the first gospel message in the Garden; and from thence we can trace the origin and formation of the church down through history to this our day. Since we are told that as his body, the church is in reality, the fullness of him that fills all in all, we must conclude that the Creator’s intention is to become visible and completely embodied in his people. Whereas he used to visit the Garden in the cool of the day, and whereas he used to communicate with mankind through angels, he has so designed the church (his body) that he now lives in the midst of a people through whom his glory shines.
To that end and for the purpose of unveiling himself to the world in a people, we read: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed (to be made or fashioned like unto) the image of his Son, that he (the Son) the firstborn among many brethren (among a family of many brothers.) But the process has more dynamics to it! Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Romans 8: 29, 30. Thus, the song writer chimed in with the favorite song: “It’s a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, washed in the blood of the Lamb.”
As we trace the church from its origin in the mind of God, constantly taking shape and meaning through the lives of the patriarchs, and the prophets of old, we see the ever unfolding of her reality. Many preachers embrace and propagate the idea that the church as we know her today, began on the day of Pentecost. But according to my story, she began away back in the Garden, with God serving as her first preacher. While many have varied ideas of natural Israel dressed with all sorts of fancy ideas, Stephen told us who they represented down through time.
“This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai.” Acts 7: 38. Jesus came on the scene in his majesty and splendor and gave John commission to send a letter to each of the seven churches in Asia Minor. This occurred about 96 or so years after Christ’s death and at the time of this writing, Christians were already under going severe persecution by Rome. Much of Revelation was directed to the suffering church featured in the sun-clothed woman in chapter 12. The conflict between the true and the false churches culminated in the grand showing of the new Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven and God himself dwelling on earth among his people. Thus, John outlined the times of trouble, the struggles and pain of the church. But he also showed the final conquest and victory of the true church. His vision offered hope and victory to the suffering churches in his day, and to us who yearn for the victorious end.
Royce O. Kennedy
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