Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Holy City is Measured


   The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
   And he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 
   The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
   The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
   the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
   The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
21:16-21

Four Very Large Walls


 twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.  Mr. Smith** offers this view concerning the size of the city.  In ancient times, when the size of the city was given, the number referred to the circumference of the city and not to the length of one side.  If that is the way this is to be interpreted, the New Jerusalem will be only three hundred and seventy five miles on any one side. 

   The reference to the word equal concerning the height would not be the actual height but rather it would mean that the height was proportionate to the size of the wall.  This way of reckoning would, of course, make the Holy City much smaller.

He measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, that is, about 216 feet (65 meters).  This, obviously, does not refer to the length of the wall if the length of the city is 1500 miles each way.  So, was he measuring the thickness or the height of the wall? 

 Here are two answers:  

  1. Then he measured the thickness of the walls and found them to be two hundred and sixteen feet across. Living Bible.  
  2. He measured its wall, two hundred and sixteen feet (in height). Wuest#  

According to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.  Wuest# clarifies this by writing, using the measuring system of mankind, which is that used by the angel.  The Living Bible is even more up to date in its translation; the angel called out the measurements to me, using standard units.  

We must notice that the writer very carefully says the wall was of jasper not that it was “like jasper”.  The city was of gold and not like gold, but then he continues to say that the gold was like clear glass.

   The foundations of the wall of the city, not the foundations of the city, were garnished with all manner of precious stones.  There are twelve foundations,
21:14, each foundation had its own gem.  Foster*** points out that these twelve gems very closely compare to the twelve gems worn by the high priest on his breastplate.

   In the statement, the street of the city was pure gold, we see that the word, street, is singular.
 The broad avenue of the city was pure gold. Wuest#    The main street of the city was pure gold. Berean Study Bible.  Is it possible that only one and not all the streets of heaven are paved with gold (as we so glibly say)?

   Even though it is impossible for us to imagine a city this large with only one street, is it possible that heaven has only one street, as the Bible says?  Dr. McGee* suggests that it is one continuous street weaving throughout the city to provide access to any part of the city; from the bottom tier of the city to the very top level.
_________________
__________________
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.
**Daniel and The Revelation, Uriah Smith
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Holy City Comes Down


Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
   And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
   “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
   Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
   And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
21:2-6 


The Holy City Comes Down


   Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven. It is unfortunate that throughout the New Testament only one word is used for the word heaven.  The word in Greek is Ouranos and it means any of the following:
  • the air, 
  • the home of the heavenly orbs, 
  • the sky, 
  • the sphere in which the evil powers do their work 
  • the eternal dwelling place of God. Vine+++
   Naturally, our upbringing and our education flavor our understanding of the word heaven, and we subconsciously hold on to our idea, whether or not that is what the Scriptures means to portray.

   It seems logical to believe that this city of God did not proceed out of the place that Vine+++ calls the eternal dwelling place of God, The Akashic Field, but perhaps, rather was fashioned (built) among the home of the heavenly orbs, that is, among the stars.  In fact, The Living Bible in 21:10 says, Descending out of the skies.  

  As we saw in the last post, its dimensions are very limited, not at all comparing in size to the earth and sky that we just read of as having been changed.  Regardless of its origin, it is a spectacular sight to behold.  The Living Bible describes it this way; It was a glorious sight, beautiful as a bride at her wedding. 20:2

   We cannot believe that our eternal home has always been the same as it will be when we get there, because Christ said, In My Father’s house are many mansions; ... I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2.  Whatever it is that Christ is doing to our future home, we can only believe that they are improvements, fit for His bride.

   Dr. McGee* writes, Is anything incongruous about a civilization out yonder in space on a new planet?  The New Jerusalem will either become another satellite to the earth or, what is more probable and what I think is true, the earth will become a satellite to the New Jerusalem as well as the rest of the new creation. This chapter indicates that the city will be the center of all things. 

   It seems unlikely that the earth will become a satellite of the New Jerusalem, because of the limited size of the New City.  Isn't a satellite always smaller than its home planet?


Our New Home


   The Living Bible and American Standard have changed, I heard a loud voice from heaven, to, I heard a loud shout from the throne.  The voice said, The tabernacle of God is with man.  The word tabernacle means a temporary dwelling place.  The LB has put it this way, the home of God is now among men, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. Whereas Wuest# has confused the issue by inserting, the glorified body of the Lord Jesus in which he lives in place of tabernacle. 

   He that sat on the throne is God, the Father. 4:3.  The one sitting there, in this scene, is not an angel, for he calls himself, the Beginning and the End. 21:6.

   Then the temple of God was opened in heaven. 11:19  That is exactly the place in The Apocalypse where the Rapture of the Church is recorded.  That thought is repeated in 21:2 with these words, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 

I make all things new. So far, in chapter 21, there is
  • a new sky, a new earth, v.1
  • a New Jerusalem, v.2
  • a new tabernacle (as far as man is concerned), v.3 
  • a new manner of life. v.4

   It has also been suggested that the New Heaven refers to the atmosphere around the new earth.  I also read that the old heaven needed cleansing because that is where Satan used to be, for more on this see Eph. 6.  All traces of Satan's influence needed to be eradicated from it before it was fit to contain the Holy City!


   In 16:17 we also had the words, It is done!  In that post I wrote, The words, it is done, certainly include the completion of The Church of Christ, and her rapture.  That same thought is repeated here.  If modern day Bible prophets are right, The Church took about 2000 years to "construct" and it is not at all surprising that it would be mentioned several times that it is finished.  

   It is an important feat, afterall, she is the Bride of Christ!  In place of the words, Write, for these words are true and faithful...It is done!  Wuest# has These words are trustworthy and dependable ... they have come to pass and stand accomplished.

   According to Wuest, included in the word, write, is the meaning of, Do not be hesitant to write what you have seen and heard, because my words are trustworthy.  What I have said will happen, must happen, because I started this program and I know how it ends.

________________________________
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Holy City

He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 
having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.    
Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 
three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 
And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 
The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth.    And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 21:10-16 

The Glorious City


   In 16:20 we learned that when the seventh angel poured out his bowl of wrath the mountains of earth were not found.  Here in v. 10 the writer was "beamed up" to a great and high mountain; I suppose we must assume that this mountain is on the new earth, it was from that mountain that he saw heaven, the holy Jerusalem, our eternal abode.

  In its meaning 21:10 is a repeat of verse 21:2; 21:3-8 are simply an interruption in the major thought.  In 21:2 the city was noted as being as beautiful as a bride; starting in 21:10 it is described in the same way again. This fact indicates that the two verses are in the same time frame.

   This holy city is bathed in the glory of God. It's splendour and radiance as a luminary, a light giving body, was like a stone which is most precious, like a stone of crystal clear jasper. Wuest#.  The basic color of jasper is that of fire. Vine+++.  In fact, it is so bright that the people, living on the new earth, live in the light of this holy city. 21:24

   On each of the twelve gates is the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and each gate has a guardian angel attending it.  The city wall has twelve foundations and on each one of them is the name of one of the twelve apostles of Christ.  You…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Eph.2:20

  This phrase about the names of the twelve apostles, being on the twelve foundations, has caused some to suggest that, it was not John, the Apostle, who wrote The Apocalypse.  For, they say, it would be an unprecedented display of egotism for the writer, an apostle, to claim that his name is on one of the gates of the holy city.

   On each side of the city are three gates, and we imagine them all on the same level, but a city that is as high as it is long may well have the gates staggered at different levels.  This would be very practical, if those who came to visit the new city came in spaceships.  For anyone who has watched Si Fi movies of this type, this is easy to imagine and certainly easy to believe. 


The Size of the City


   He who talked with me, is the angel, which we met in 20:9.  He has a measuring reed made of gold.  The length of a reed is given in Eze. 40:5, as being six times a cubit plus six handbreadths or almost eleven feet long. Unger++

   The city is square; in fact, it is a cube. In each direction, it is 12,000 furlongs or 1500 miles.  Measuring in a straight line, West to East, that is the distance from Victoria, Canada to the western tip of Lake Superior, Canada and North to South from Tuktayaktuk straight south to the Canada-US border.

   A rather large city when one considers that it stands as high as it is wide.  Yet we cannot think of it as a small planet because planets, by their very nature are round, but this city is laid out as a square.  


Dr. McGee* explains how this could be possible.  He admits that the city is a cube but that a translucent sphere surrounds the cube.  He says that the people living in heaven would live inside the sphere, not on the surface of the sphere, as dwellers on earth do.

   Foster
*** has given the calculation for the capacity of the Holy City.  It is 3,375,000,000 cubic miles.  Then he continues by saying, multiply that figure by 64 and you have the number of allotments equaling one quarter of a cubic mile the city would provide.  That gives a total of 216,000,000,000...segments.

One gets the idea that he is implying that each "block" in heaven will have a cubic area of one-quarter mile and that there will be room for 216,000,000,000 "blocks" in heaven.  Christ said, There are many rooms in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together. John 14:2-3 CEV 

The present population of the earth is less than 7,000,000,000.  It has been estimated that the total number of people that have ever lived in the word is 107,602,707,791.  Playing around with all this wild speculation would allow for a population of about 15 people per one quarter cubic mile.  If, by some weird coincidence, these numbers happened to be true, and if all the people that have ever lived on our world, would be in heaven, heaven would still not be crowded.

   More about the physical structure of heaven in the next post.

________________________________

# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine
++ Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Great Multitude


All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
   saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
   Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
   
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb7:11-14 


The Wedding Day Has Arrived



   This is all just too wonderful for words; the bride and the bridegroom are finally together.  After all these years of separation and longing for closer fellowship, it has happened.  Now The Church is there where Jehovah Himself will be with them.  


   It is so fitting that All the angels stood around the throne ... saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”  Would we expect less than that the elders and the four living creatures, would fall on their faces before the throne and say: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

   The writer is asked by one of the twenty-four elders, who are these that are dressed in white robes, and where do they come from.  The answer given is; I do not know, but you do.  The elder answered, These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 

  These are the saints, which throughout the ages have overcome torture in a time of great tribulation and are now worshipping at the throne of God.   But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 20:5

   Why do modern Christians think that Christians of other ages should undergo torture and persecution, but, we, the modern generation will bypass the tribulation at the end of time?  The Bible distinctly says that we will not.

    These are the ones who...washed their robes implies a certain element of responsibility for each individual to have his robes washed.   Even though Christ does the cleansing, the onus lies with each person individually to ask for it.  It sounds like a good argument against the teaching of absolute predestination. Jehovah will not force people to repent, neither did He decide beforehand who would and who would not believe.  This is always the choice of the human.



The Blessings of Heaven

   Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
   “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 
   “for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." 7:15-17

  There, those who are dressed in white with the Lamb as the Shepherd (AS) will have ultimate comfort.  No more hunger, no more thirst, no more tears and no more working in the burning sun. 


   All those whose names are in the Book of Life, on the day of judgment, will be before the throne of God.  Christians will serve Him 24/7; I wonder, though, if we will have eight hours shifts.   In any case, temple service to Jehovah will be continuous.  The benefits are out of this world:

  • Those who serve shall never hunger anymore. This promise is the antitheses of the great famine that will be coming at the end of time. See 6:6, http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-black-horse-pale-horse.html 
  • They shall never thirst anymore. This promise obliterates the curse of the third bowl of wrath. see:16:4-7. http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-third-trumpet-and-third-bowl.html 
  • the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat. This promise cancels the curse of the fourth bowl of wrath. See 16:8-9. Extreme heat and worse sunburns will become more prevalent in the last days due to the thinning of the ozone layer.         http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-fourth-trumpet-and-fourth-bowl.html

   for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  This is when the first part of the 23rd Psalm really takes on meaning. 

   And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  Babylon, that great city which we studied about, has killed so many saints throughout history, and the ones left behind have shed oceans of tears.  Terminal illness has torn families apart and what can the ones who are left behind do, but weep?  Praise Jehovah, there is a promise, given by One who cannot lie, and that promise is, God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.