Saturday, March 16, 2024

Morning Message: All Things Are New

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "All Things Are New"
Written by:  Pastor Bob Lawrenz

From Roman Catholicism we have the legend of the Irish Saint driving the snakes out of Ireland. Born in 385 AD, St. Patrick was never actually declared a Saint by the Church. Neither was he actually Irish. Born in Britain to two Roman citizens, Maewyn Succat was most likely Scottish, or Welch.

As a teenager, Maewyn was kidnapped in a pirate raid, and sold into slavery in Ireland! He found himself herding and watching over sheep in his young life, but eventually escaped to a monastery in England. While finding refuge there, he became a devout Christian, and later became a missionary to Ireland in order to bring Christianity to the Irish. Besides being a missionary and ordained as a Priest (at which time he took the name of Patrick [its Latin root meaning “father.”]), he eventually became a Bishop in Ireland, and was deemed its Patron Saint. He was also dubbed the Patron Saint of Engineers because of the many churches he caused to be built around that island country.

There are several parallels between Patrick’s life and King David’s, as well as both their lives sharing in the Life of Jesus Himself. All three share in the life of a shepherd, Jesus being the Shepherd of our Souls

Next week for Palm Sunday, we will read of Jesus leading His “flock” into Jerusalem and fulfilling prophecy during the final week of His life on Earth.

During Patrick’s life, as lore would have us believe, he drove the serpents out of Ireland. But given the climate there, I wonder if it was not the serpent of evil.

The snakes and serpents of this world have taken over the whole Earth and Satan, that old serpent has defiled it thoroughly. When Jesus calls from heaven, He will call His flock to His side in the Rapture. His Church will be brought out of the defiled world and from that point, we will always be with Him. The snakes on Earth will be brought even lower than they already are and cast into the Lake of Fire.

1 Peter 2:25 -
“For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd, and Bishop of your souls.”
Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning Audio Message:
Revelation 21:9-27 - "All Things Are New"

Summary/Additional Bible Notes:  

John attempts to describe the New Jerusalem in terms others can understand. In doing so, he mentions precious materials such as gold and jasper, but associates them with properties those materials don't normally have. Gold, for instance, is not normally "clear," and neither is jasper. This is John's struggle in explaining what he sees; a modern person might say they saw smoke that looked like "transparent lead," and those hearing it would understand the mixture of two separate ideas. Here, John does something similar in his effort to describe the indescribable (Revelation 21:9–21). Describing the effect of God's glory radiating from the New Jerusalem, the city appeared to the apostle like one gigantic precious stone. It was crystal-clear and unblemished.  Heaven's capital city is thus pictured as a huge, flawless diamond, refracting the brilliant, blazing glory of God throughout the new heaven and the new earth.

John also points out that there is no temple in this new city, since there is no need for a temple. Temples, priests, and rituals are all necessary when man is somehow separated from God. Two people speaking face-to-face don't need telephones or letters; those living in direct communion with God won't need a temple. This description also re-emphasizes the perfect holiness of this New Jerusalem, and the fact that only those who put their faith in Christ will be found there (Revelation 21:22–27). Revelation 22 is the final chapter of the New Testament. There, John will complete his description of the New Jerusalem and give some final words to those who read this text.

The most distinguishing characteristic of the capital city of eternity is that it is the throne of the eternal, Almighty One, and therefore had the glory of God in it.  Radiating from the New Jerusalem will be the brilliance of the full manifestation of God's glory, so much so that "the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

The chapter concludes revealing that this great glory, security, and fellowship are available for all people. The nations walk by its light and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. They will bring the glory and the honor of the nations (21:26). Isaiah also prophesied of this moment.

Those who do not submit to God will not be allowed to enter through the gates. Only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter into this glorious fellowship with God and receive the eternal blessings and rewards. These images portray the glory and blessings we will enjoy in full fellowship with God in the age to come after Christ returns.

Key Words and Definitions with Reference:

The Lamb's Wife (21:9) - The New Jerusalem takes on the character of its inhabitants, the redeemed (see verse 2; 19:7-9).

Jasper (21:11) - This is a transliteration, not a translation, of the Greek word.  Rather than the modern opaque jasper, the term actually refers to a completely clear diamond, a perfect gem with the brilliant light of god's glory shining out of it and streaming over the new heaven and the new earth (see 4:3).

Twelve Gates (21:12)The description of the New Jerusalem is a literal city on a literal earth with dimensions and descriptions exactly as recorded. In order to understand the significance of the twelve gates being inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes, we must look to the beginning of the Old Testament, when God promised a new land and a great nation to Abraham, whose descendants would spread blessing upon all other nations (Genesis 12:1–3). To Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, whom God later named “Israel” (Genesis 32:28), twelve sons were born to establish the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 49). Those twelve tribes escaped slavery in Egypt, inherited the Promised Land (Exodus 6:14; 24:4), received the Law (Exodus 20), and were chosen by God to be His covenant people (Exodus 19:5–6).

During the reign of David, out of all the territories of the tribes of Israel, God chose the city of Jerusalem in Judah as the place where God’s name would rest (2 Chronicles 12:13). Revelation speaks of the New Jerusalem that has been prepared for the reign of the Lamb (Revelation 21:1–3). This New Jerusalem sits on twelve foundations, representing the twelve apostles who would reign over the twelve tribes of Israel (verse 14; cf. Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:30). The gates of the city are symmetrically arranged: “There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west” (Revelation 21:13). Each gate of the New Jerusalem bears the inscription of one of the tribes of Israel, and each gate is guarded by an angel (Revelation 21:12). These angels are there to let in “only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (verse 27).

It is through the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem that the true tribal people—believers of Jewish descent as well as Gentiles who have been “grafted in” with God’s people (Romans 11:17–25)—will enter the joy of the Lord (see Matthew 25:21).

Twelve Names (21:12) - Celebrating for all eternity God's covenant relationship with Israel. The gates of the New Jerusalem are inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel was chosen by God to be a light to all nations (Isaiah 49:5–7; Romans 9:23–25), and God will never revoke Israel’s status as His chosen people (see Romans 11:29). The New Jerusalem thus contains a tribute to the patriarchs of Israel. It also contains a tribute to the apostles (Revelation 21:14), so both Old Testament and New Testament are represented in the city—the New Jerusalem is filled with the elect of God from all eras. 

Twelve Tribes (21:12) - The twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the Lamb (21:14) are inscribed on the city's foundational structures, and this indicates that "the bride, the Lamb's wife" (21:9) is composed of believers from both old and new covenants, both before and after the first coming of Christ, Israel and the church.  Compare also Ephesians 2:14, 19-21.

Twelve Foundation Stones (21:14) - These stones commemorate God's covenant relationship with the church, with the apostles as the foundation (Ephesians 2:20).  At the top of each gate was the name of one of the apostles.  The layout of the city's gates pictures God's favor on all His redeemed people, both those under the old and new covenants. 

Gold Reed (21:15) - The reed was about ten feet long, which was a standard of measurement.

Measure the City (21:15) - The angel is with a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates, and its walls. These vast measurements of the city are to show that the people of God are secure and safe. This city with its perfect dimensions in equal length, width, and height represents God’s presence with his people who have been made perfect (Hebrews 12:22-24). This action indicates that the capital of heaven belongs to God and He is measuring what is His (see 11:1).

Length, Breadth, and Height (21:16) - The city has the symmetrical dimensions of a perfect cube, which parallels its closest earthly counterpart, the inner sanctuary in the tabernacle and temple.

Twelve Thousand Furlongs (21:16) - This would be nearly fourteen hundred miles cubed or over two million square miles, offering plenty of room for all the glorified saints to live.

One Hundred and Forty-Four Cubits (21:17) - Seventy-two yards or two hundred sixteen feet; likely the width of the wall.

Jasper (21:18) - See verse 11. This is the material of the thick wall-diamond.

Pure Gold, Like Clear Glass (21:18) - Unlike earth's gold, this gold will be transparent so the over-powering radiance of God's glory can refract and glisten through the entire city.

Chalcedony (21:19) - This name derives from Chalcedon, an ancient name for a city in modern Turkey.  The gem is a sky-blue agate stone with translucent, colored stripes.

Sardonyx (21:20) - A gem with a transparent gold or yellowish tone.

Sardius (21:20) - A common stone from the quartz family, which ranged in color from orange-red to brownish-red to blood-red (4:3).

Chrysolite (21:20) - A gem with transparent gold or yellowish tone.

Beryl (21:20) - A mineral with several varieties of gems, ranging from the green emerald to the golden yellow beryl to the light blue aquamarine.

Topaz (21:20) - Ancient topaz was a softer stone with a yellow or yellow-green color.

Chrysoprase (21:20) - The modern form of this jewel is an apple-green variety of quartz.  The Greek name suggests a gold-tinted, green gemstone.

Jacinth (21:20) - Today this stone is a transparent zircon, usually red or reddish-brown.  The one John saw was blue or shining violet in color.

Amethyst (21:20) - A clear quartz crystal that ranges in color from a faint purple to an intense purple.

Twelve Pearls (21:21) - The pearly gates are never closed (21:25), thus providing access to the city at every level throughout its great height. Each gate is composed of 1, 380 miles of solid pearl.

One Pearl (21:21) - Each of the gates of the city is a single, fifteen-hundred-mile-high pearl.  Even as earthly pearls are formed in response to the wounding of oyster flesh, so these gigantic, supernatural pearls will remind saints throughout eternity of the magnitude of Christ's suffering and its eternal benefit. 

No Temple (21:22) - Several passages affirm that there is a temple in heaven (3:12; 7:15; 11:19; 15:5).  Here, it is clear there is none in eternity.  How can this be?  The temple is not a building; it is the Lord God Himself.  Verse 23 continues the thought of no temple, except God and the Lamb.  The glory of God that illuminates all heaven defines it as His temple.  There is no need for a temple in the eternal state since God Himself will be the temple in which everything exists.  The presence of God literally fills the entire new heaven and new earth (see verse 3).  Going to heaven will be entering the limitless presence of the Lord. 

The Nations (21:24) - Literally "the peoples," this means that the redeemed people from every nation and ethnic group will dwell in heaven's light.  In the eternal city, there will be no more divisions, barriers, or exclusions because of race or politics.  All kinds of peoples in eternity dissolve into the people of God, and they will move freely in and about the city.

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