Revelation 21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Isaiah 65:17-19 17 For behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem and take delight in My people. The sounds of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her.
Isaiah 51:11 So the redeemed of the LORD will return and enter Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.
To review, in our study, we are now at the far right of this timeline. We currently live during the Church Age. There is the rapture of the church, the Tribulation, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, The Great White Throne judgment and finally the old heaven and earth have dissolved and God makes a new heaven and earth which will last for eternity.
Psalm 102:25-28 25 In earlier times you established the earth;
the skies are your handiwork.
26 They will perish,
but you will endure.
They will wear out like a garment;
like clothes you will remove them and they will disappear.
27 But you remain;
your years do not come to an end.
28 The children of your servants will settle down here,
and their descendants will live securely in your presence.”
2 Peter 3:3-13 3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Luke 21:33 (Jesus speaking) Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
a new - καινὸν (kainon) - Adjective - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Greek 2537: Fresh, new, unused, novel. Of uncertain affinity; new
Thayer's Greek Lexicon says, of this verse, new means new, superior to what it succeeds.
heaven - οὐρανὸν (ouranon) - Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Greek 3772: Perhaps from the same as oros; the sky; by extension, heaven; by implication, happiness, power, eternity; specially, the Gospel.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon says, of this verse, heaven means better heavens which will take the place of the present after the renovation of all things.
earth - γῆν (gēn) - Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Greek 1093: Contracted from a primary word; soil; by extension a region, or the solid part or the whole of the terrene globe.
first - πρῶτος (prōtos) - Adjective - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Greek 4413: First, before, principal, most important. Contracted superlative of pro; foremost.
had passed away - ἀπῆλθαν (apēlthan) - Verb - Aorist Indicative Active - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Greek 565: From apo and erchomai; to go off, aside or behind, literally or figuratively.
I looked all this up to prove that what this verse says is exactly what it said in the original language.
Revelation 21:1 in different translations:
New Living Translation
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.
Contemporary English Version
I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed.
GOD'S WORD® Translation
I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and earth had disappeared, and the sea was gone.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more.
There were two words that are translated as "new" in the English Bible; néos, "new in time," and kainós means "new in nature". In this verse, kainós is used. There is another verse where Apostle Paul uses kainós.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (King James Version - KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Paul did not intend to convey the idea that this is a completely different individual. There is continuity between the old person and the new person to such an extent that it remains the same person, but renovated. The person is the same, but the quality of that person has been transformed. In the same way, the biblical concept of the New Earth is one of renovation and restoration. Either on this current earth or on a rebuilt new planet. - Wikipedia
So, do these verses mean that the old heaven and the old earth will be completely gone, obliterated, disappeared? Or do they mean that they will be made new as in restored to their original splendor? Replacement or renewal? Is it a purging of the old heaven and earth then forming it into the new or a complete replacement? Does it mean just a new planet and atmosphere or does it mean the entire universe is new? The Old Testament has no term that directly translates as "universe"; the phrase "heavens and earth" was the Hebrew way of referring to the universe they knew. Our abode may be similar to our current earth, or even a re-creation of our current earth, but without the curse of sin. And looks like the universe gets a re-boot as well. Sky, outerspace, planets and stars may all be included in the new "heavens and earth"!
We read Isaiah 65:17-19 and the word translated as "create" is bara and is the same word used in Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.". The Hebrew word means to create and form and shape. When I look at the scriptures above, I'm getting that the old heavens and earth are gone and God creates new.
In the long run, does it matter? Whatever happens, God is preparing a new abode for us that will be utterly, absolutely perfect, complete and finished with everything we need. So, for believers, this is what we live for.
Psalm 102:25-26 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.
Did you think we would be transparent angels sitting on clouds playing a harp in some kind of ethereal heaven? Many people do and it's often portrayed that way in the media (even as a joke). It seems that couldn't be further from the truth. We are not ghosts or transparent angels or spirits. Our spirit and soul will re-unite with our bodies, raised by Christ as immortal and incorruptible. Then we will be living in a real place. Not castles made of clouds, but a real place. God will be living in this place and be it's source in all things. He will forever live with us and have relationship with us. We will have homes, we will eat, we will have jobs and responsibilities. But it will be a perfect world and there will be no more curse on us or on our habitation. Therefore there will be no more death, no more pain, no more sorrow, no futility, no hate, no sickness or disease, no tears, no resistance from our environment. Just think, no poison ivy, fire ants, mold/mildew, drought, no weeds or anything else that would make our jobs hard, back breaking, resistant, futile, unproductive, etc!!! Everything we put our hands to will be productive and perfect. We won't be just surviving but flourishing, prospering, blessed and living in abundance. We won't be resisting and working against each other but rather working in such harmony that we can accomplish and finish anything we set our hands to.
There will be no sea. Is that symbolically or literally? In our study of Revelation we've seen where the mentions of a sea more than likely meant the rolling, roiling, up and down mass of humanity. And it was from this mass of humanity that the dragon came, the anti-Christ, the False Prophet and the Beast. So, possibly, this mention in Revelation 21:1 is also referring to the unsaved mass of humanity. Or does it mean a literal ocean? There will literally not be any huge bodies of water called seas, oceans! It could also be both symbolic and literal. Maybe because the sea did represent unsaved and sinful humanity, with it's nations and violence, and because from it came the Dragon, the anti-Christ, the False Prophet, and the Beast, that God will not create a sea on the new earth because of it's symbolism. As a sign that there will no longer be that kind of massive evil like the rainbow is a sign that God promised not to send a flood over the entire world again. A rainbow is real but is a sign to remind us of God's promise. We will see later that there is water on the new earth, but a pure, fresh water.
"The sea has played an important part in the symbolism of the book: out of the sea rose the wild beast (Revelation 13:1); the purple-clad Babylon sat enthroned upon many waters (Revelation 17:1); the restless, tumultuous ocean, now discordant with its clamorous waves, now flooding the earth in confederate force; the troubled sea of evil, which cannot rest, and casts up but mire and dirt (Isaiah 57:21), is no more to be found on the face of that earth, or near that city whose peace is as a river, and whose righteousness as the waves of the sea (Isaiah 48:18), and whose inhabitants are delivered from 'the waves of this troublesome world.'" - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
"Some interpret the sea symbolically of the restless, unstable, wicked nations of the earth, which now exist no longer; others understand the absence of sea to typify the absence of instability and wickedness in the New Jerusalem." - Pulpit Commentary
We will have to wait and see. Whatever, the result will be perfect!
Revelation 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
Hebrews 11: 8-10,13-16 8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God... 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
John 14:1-3 (New International Version, Berean Study Bible) (Jesus speaking) 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. 2 In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.
Berean Literal Bible, Young's Literal Translation, King James Version, English Revised Version, American Standard Version, American King James Version, - "In My Father's house there are many mansions."
New American Standard Bible, Jubilee Bible 2000, New American Standard 1977, New Heart English Bible, NET Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New American Standard - "In My Father's house are many dwelling places."
Weymouth New Testament - "In my Father's house there are many resting-places."
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
house - οἰκίᾳ (oikia) - Noun - Dative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3614: From oikos; properly, residence, but usually an abode; by implication, a family.
rooms - μοναὶ (monai) - Noun - Nominative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 3438: Lodging, dwelling-place, room, abode, mansion. From meno; a staying, i.e. residence.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon says it's an abiding place, a place where you stay, a dwelling place, an abode.
This Jerusalem is described here as "holy city, the new Jerusalem". It is "holy" (hagios) and "new" (kainos). Above we studied the word kainos. The Greek word hagios means pure, blameless, sacred, consecrated. In our world, the more people, the more sin. A village will have sin because the people in the village are sinners but as more people are added, sin abounds. So a city is usually a dark place. Underneath the lights, glitz, and flash is the dark underground and the seamy underbelly. But this city will be entirely the opposite. This city will be a perfect community because there will be no sin. This city is holy, pure. People won't have to lock their doors. This city is not, and never can be, the achievement of man.
We all know what it's like to be homesick. We desire what makes us comfortable, feel secure, our routines and feeling like we belong and are loved. As a Christian, we are no longer at home in this world. We have been born again (spiritually) and are new creatures in Christ. We now begin to realize we don't really belong here and this world and it's unsaved inhabitants don't love us or want us. Just like they didn't love or want Jesus. We get this feeling of homesickness because Jesus showed us something different. The Holy Spirit within us has shown us glimpses of a better life, a better place, a better existence. The Bible describes our true homeland and our faithful ruler. I've likened it to movies where you are shown glimmers of a parallel universe. It's like our spirit catches these glimmers and glimpses of what our real home will be and it's so wonderful that we long for it. I'm looking forward to studying it.
The Bible to me is almost like one of my scrapbooks. In my scrapbooks I like to include photos using my own creativity and artwork. But I also like to include maps, historical background, recipes, poems, newspaper articles, stories, jokes, song lyrics, hard time stories, feelings, etc. It is literally a scrapbook of life. The Bible is a written scrapbook of God and the relationship He has had, (has and will have) with human beings including you and me. He wants a relationship with each human being He created. Only a vast number refuse and reject God no matter what He does to reach out to them. But for those who accept Jesus Christ, we will be blessed beyond measure in eternity. And the Bible shows us who our God is and what life in eternity will be like (at least as far as our limited human minds can currently grasp) with Him.
When someone goes on "vacation" to a third world country, they begin to appreciate "home" and can't wait to get back "home", to the places and people you love. That's the way I feel. Like my life here is a temporary trip to a really bad country and I can't wait to get home! I look forward to joining my loved ones and being with Jesus! I'm saved through Jesus Christ so when something happens to me, please know that I'm HOME and I'm overjoyed to be where I'm meant to be. You may be sad for awhile because you didn't get to come home with me, but, if you know Jesus, you will be joining me soon enough and we will never be parted again!
Revelation 21:3-3 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man,
and He will dwell with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them as their God.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain,
for the former things have passed away.”
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
dwelling place - σκηνὴ (skēnē) - Noun - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 4633: A tent, booth, tabernacle, abode, dwelling, mansion, habitation. Apparently akin to skeuos and skia; a tent or cloth hut.
He will live - σκηνώσει (skēnōsei) - Verb - Future Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 4637: To dwell as in a tent, encamp, have my tabernacle. From skenos; to tent or encamp, i.e. to occupy or, to reside.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 14:23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him."
Zechariah 8:8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.
The root of the Greek word translated as "dwelling place" is ska meaning 'to cover'. That's why Strong's Greek says "a tent, a booth, tabernacle..." This reminds me of how people lived in tents during the great Exodus from Egypt.
The family of Jacob/Israel had moved to Egypt during the Famine and re-connected with Joseph whom the older brothers had sold into slavery. Joseph went from being a slave in Egypt to being second only to Pharoah. That's a whole other story. Joseph's father, his brothers and all their family came to Egypt. While in Egypt they were so blessed that their descendants were growing exponentially! The Egyptians eventually became afraid of them and enslaved them to keep them in control. For over 400 years they lived in Egypt as, first, privileged people, and then as slaves. But God sent Moses and Aaron to lead them out of Egypt and back to the land that God had promised to their forefather, Abraham, would be their land.
Millions of Israelites were led out of Egypt by God, using Moses. And, because of their fear and doubt in God, they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. The whole generation, who had been adults when they left Egypt, died in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land because of their doubt and unbelief that God could overcome those who lived in Canaan at the time. All the while, the Israelites lived in tents. The tents were arranged by tribes. I.e. families and extended families, descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob (later renamed Israel by God).
At some point in their journey, God spoke to Moses and gave him not only the Ten Commandments (a summary of God's Law which He gave in more detail later) but a very detailed work order. Moses and the Israelites were to build a Tabernacle that could be moved as the people moved. It was basically a very elaborate and beautiful "tent". Once the people actually took the Promised Land and got settled, King David began to plan for a more permanent Temple and King Solomon actually built King Solomon's Temple. Later the Temple was destroyed, rebuilt, remodeled and elaborated by Herod (called Herod's Temple) and then destroyed for the last time about 70 years after Jesus Christ's death on the cross and His resurrection. So far it has never been rebuilt and currently, on the site of the Temple in Jerusalem, is the Dome of the Rock, a muslim mosque.
I have studied the Tabernacle and the Tabernacle "furniture" (altar, laver, candlestick, table of shewbread, incense altar, ark of the covenant) in detail. You can see all posts about the Tabernacle HERE. There was an outer court surrounded by curtained walls and the Tabernacle sat in the outer court. Within the Tabernacle tent were two rooms, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies separated by a curtain. Each detail of the Tabernacle and it's furniture has meaning. It was not a cookie cutter worship center. The details had meaning and was a preview of Jesus Christ and even of the coming New Jerusalem.
Tabernacle, Hebrew Mishkan, (“dwelling”), in Jewish history, the portable sanctuary constructed by Moses as a place of worship for the Hebrew tribes during the period of wandering that preceded their arrival in the Promised Land. - Britannica.com
But the Tabernacle was extremely meaningful and God actually gave Moses every detail for making it. What was the purpose of this Tabernacle? The Tabernacle, and, later, the Temple, were not primarily gathering places for the Israelites. And, although it was a place where the people brought sacrifices to be made by the Priests on their behalf, that wasn't it's primary purpose. It signified the presence of God with Israel. It was to be God's dwelling place with His people. Not that any human-made habitation could contain God but rather that God was enthroned amongst His people. It was a place of relationship. Where the people could learn about God, worship God, hear from God and God could speak to His people, show His Presence to His people, engage with His people. God was their covering, so to speak. Anyone who had a view of the huge camp of the Israelites would have seen the Tabernacle in the center and all the people's tents ranged around the Tabernacle. God was their Source, their Protector, their Provider, their Father, their Savior. Like a bird will use it's wings to cover it's young in protection, so God exhibited His love for His people by covering them with His wings. The chicks huddle around the feet of their parent, their protector and provider. They depend on that parent completely.
In the new Heaven and new Earth, the new Jerusalem descends from Heaven as a HUGE dwelling place where God's people will be with their God and He with His people. I think this will be home base. God will be in our midst, God with us!
"God was spoken of as tabernacling over them; here He tabernacles with them. He not only stretches His cloud-shelter over them, but He is with them. They shall be His people, and He shall be God with them, their God." - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
John 1:14: “So the Word became human and made his home among us.”
The original Greek would say, “so the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us.” Jesus is the new Tabernacle. He is called Emmanuel which means "God with us".
Hebrews 8 (NIV) 1 Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. 2 There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.
3 And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. 4 If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. 5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”
6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. 8 But when God found fault with the people, he said:
“The day is coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and Judah.
9 This covenant will not be like the one
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
so I turned my back on them, says the LORD.
10 But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day, says the LORD:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 And they will not need to teach their neighbors,
nor will they need to teach their relatives,
saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’
For everyone, from the least to the greatest,
will know me already.
12 And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.”
13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.
When we are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. We become miniature Tabernacles because God dwells in us.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations."
1 Corinthians 3:19-20 19“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
John 14:15-27 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (Amplified) 13 In Him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit [the One promised by Christ] as owned and protected [by God]. 14 The Spirit is the guarantee [the first installment, the pledge, a foretaste] of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own [purchased] possession [His believers], to the praise of His glory.
Acts 2:38-39 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
2 Corinthians 1:22 He also put his seal on us. And he has given us his Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
2 Timothy 1:14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
Titus 3:4-6 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 He poured out the Spirit on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Dispensationalists believe in a literal New Jerusalem that will come down out of Heaven, which will be an entirely new city of incredible dimensions. When God creates the new heaven and new earth, a new Jerusalem will come down from heaven. The old Jerusalem will have gone the way of the old earth and old heavens. The New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 is 1,000 times bigger than dimensions of the city in Ezekiel 48 (and in Revelation 20:9). That city was the capital of Christ's Millennial Kingdom. But this New Jerusalem has been made in Heaven and will descend to the new heaven and new earth.
Galatians 4:22-26 (NIV) 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. 24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Hebrews 12:18-24 (NLT) 18 You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 13:14 (NIV) For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Look at this again,
Hebrews 13:14 (NLT) For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
The Father and the Lamb are there (Revelation 21:22). Angels are at the gates (Revelation 21:12). But the city will be filled with God’s redeemed children!
Isaiah 65:17-19 17 “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
The Greek word translated as "trustworthy" is pistoi and means trustworthy, faithful, believable. The Greek word translated "true" is alēthinoi and means ture, made of truth, real, genuine.
John is making sure we know that the description of the new heaven, new earth and New Jerusalem is coming straight from Him who sits on the throne! And we can trust what He says about it. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers says, "It is the Throned one, the One who rules over all things from the beginning, and who has presided over all the changing scenes of earth's history, who speaks." This new creation will rise out of the chaos of the old. If you remember, Genesis 1 talks about the original creation of the Universe, and, most particularly, about the creation of the planet we call Earth.
Genesis 1:1-2 (KJV) 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Genesis 1:1-2 (ISV) 1 In the beginning, God created the universe. 2 When the earth was as yet unformed and desolate, with the surface of the ocean depths shrouded in darkness, and while the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters,
Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV) 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Genesis 1:1-2 (GWT) 1 In the beginning God created heaven and earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water.
Then God began to make order and create. If you read all of Genesis 1, you see He speaks order and creation and everything comes together. Man is the only creation that God did something different. He not only planned us, but He formed us with His Hands and then breathed His life into Adam and Eve.
Revelation 21:6 (KJV) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Revelation 21:6 (NIV) He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life."
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
of life - ζωῆς (zōēs) - Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2222: Life, both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence. From zao; life.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon describes this as water which serves to maintain eternal life.
"It is done." All that God has promised, all that He has described in such great detail throughout the Word will be done! You can bank on it! When the only God, the God of the Universe, says, "It is done" you can believe it.
He describes Himself as "the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End." In the Greek alphabet, alpha is the first letter and omega is the last. It would be like saying, "I am the A and the Z".
Isaiah 44:6 This is what the LORD says-- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: "I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God."
There was no "before Him." For trillions of unending years God existed and never had a beginning. There never was a time when He was not. He always existed and always will exist. It speaks of the eternality of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). He was here before the earth and before mankind and He will be here after the old earth has gone and the new earth comes. He will always be here so our future is secure in Him.
There was a time when I didn't exist. then the Godhead planned me. for some reason I see in my mind a conference room table with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost sitting and planning ME. My name, when and where I would be born and to whom I would be born. Every cell and hair on my head was planned. My DNA was charted in every detail. My days (life's experiences) were planned. All of these plans were gathered together in a project box. My DNA was placed in a sealed jar and placed in the project box. A label on the outside had my full name and dates of birth and death on it. Then the Father, Son and Holy Ghost blessed it and put it on a library shelf along with all the other billions of people. When the day of my birth approached. The box was taken off the shelf by the Godhead and they formed me in my Mother's womb using the DNA. Then they quickened me by breathing their life into me and I began to grow and my days began.
Of course, all this uses my imagination and God's probably chuckling at my mind picture. But, my point is every human being had a beginning with God. We are not the be all and end all. We make ourselves so self important and think we can be mini-gods in our world but there is only one God and He is the only one who has always existed. Even being the President of the United States (the most important person in our world) doesn't make us anywhere near God.
The Alpha and Omega also indicates wholeness and perfection. There is nothing you can add to God to make Him any more perfect. There is nothing missing in God.
Let's say you buy your "dream home". At the time you think it couldn't be more perfect. But soon you will a find few things missing or something you wish it had. I love our current house and it was my "dream home". But once we moved in there were things we did to it. We put in new insulated tilt-in windows so I could clean them easily. Then we decided to scrape the popcorn ceilings in some of the rooms. We changed the floor coverings and painted the rooms. We added here, completed there, polished it this way and that. We never seem to be through with it. And there are 2 things about our house that we cannot change. We have a large kitchen but a very small space for sitting in the kitchen. I would like to comfortably sit 4 people in our kitchen as we tend to cook as a group. For instance my husband may be cooking and I'll be making a salad and our friends sitting and talking to us while we work. Or I'm cooking and my husband sits in the kitchen talking and watching TV while I work (and vice versa). We have just enough room to put 2 small chairs in the kitchen but when our friends come, we end up dragging 2 dining room chairs and squashing in the kitchen sitting area. The other thing is my bathroom is a little smaller than I would like. There is no way to add on to the kitchen and bathroom so we live with it. My point is that our "dream home" wasn't perfect, complete, whole, move-in ready, turn key, etc. And it probably never will be. I don't believe there is anything in this world, as we know it, that is going to be perfect, complete, whole, turn key. So it's hard for us to understand that God is PERFECT! I can't make him any more perfect than He is. I can't think of anything that would make God better. I can't paint Him, polish Him, expand Him, remodel Him or cover Him with gold to make Him any better or more perfect. And if I could, I would be God and not Him. Who am I to think such thoughts? "Why doesn't God do such and such? Why isn't God this or that? If I were God I would (wouldn't) do so and so."
We are created beings and NOT God. Who are we to question our Creator? Who are we to question what He creates? God says, in our verse, that He is the be all and end all, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. He has always existed and will always exist. He is perfect, complete and nothing lacking. He is truly our God and we were made by Him so, in Him, we have our being. Not one cell of Sharon Harris would exist without God having made it. Not one breath would I have taken if He had not created me and breathed life into me. Not one day would I have if He didn't give them to me. If it weren't for Him, there would be no suitable place for me to even draw breath. He had to create an earth with an atmosphere that provided me with the oxygen I needed, the gravity I have to have, the food and water supply to give me nutrients and strength. I am totally dependent on Him for my existence! And not only did He plan, create and provide for me, but He is a God of love and His first and foremost thoughts concerning all He creates, and particularly mankind, are of love. He has provided a way to save us from eternal hell. He didn't have to do it and it cost Him dearly. But He did because He loves us and wants to save us. Praise and glory, honor and power to my God!!!
Fresh water (not the salt water of the sea) is necessary for life. Nothing alive can live without water. In the Middle East, water was a scarce commodity and was that much more precious. Springs and wells were often fought over. For thousands of years, the Gihon spring down in the Kidron Valley at the foot of the Temple Mount remained Jerusalem´s main source of fresh water but it couldn't be enclosed within the city wall. The early Jebusites dug a shaft to reach the water. It was through this shaft King David and his men secretly entered the town around 1000 B.C., and conquered it. An underground tunnel was built by King Hezekiah 3,000 years ago and it was what helped Jerusalem to hold out against a siege by the Assyrian King Sennacherib in 701 B.C. It was a steep set of stairs to go up and down in order to get water. They used cisterns to capture rainwater and those cisterns were gathering places where people came to get water. Jerusalem has a short rainy season where they get an average of 19" of water. There were other springs around Jerusalem and water carriers would use sheep skins to carry water. These water carriers would sell the water. Even in modern times, water for Jerusalem has been precious. They had modern pipelines but they ran through Arab territory and, in 1948, the Arabs destroyed the pipelines. Fortunately, Israel had anticipated such and had re-used the old cisterns in the city to collect water before that happened. The Arabs did not succeed in capturing Jerusalem.
The Israelites saw rain as a blessing from God and droughts as punishment from God. There is nothing man can do to bring rain or to stop rain. It is totally in God's hands.
Joel 2:23 Be glad, O children of Zion,
and rejoice in the LORD your God,
for He has given you the autumn rains
for your vindication.
He sends you showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
Pure, fresh water is used to represent the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the living water in John 7.
John 7:37b-39 37 Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’” 39 He was speaking about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. For the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
The external influence of the Holy Spirit in our world is who prepares the hearts of men for the gospel, the good news of salvation available through Jesus Christ. Once we are saved, the Holy Spirit moves in and dwells in us. So the work of the Holy Spirit is to lead men to conversion and the second work is indwelling in the believer to enable the work of sanctification. While Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, ever interceding for us, the Holy Spirit is working around us, in us and through us. He is the living water that flows from within. "It is the ministry of the Spirit, flowing out of a heart redeemed by God, that blesses believers and, through them, brings life and light to the world." - GotQuestions.com
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
Looking at Isaiah 44:3, it's easy to see the analogy. First, I'm not just interpreting this verse by my lonesome. This verse specifically says, "I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring". So what is the "thirsty land" and "dry ground"? Notice the land is "thirsty". The water is poured out on a land that thirsts for it, a land that is dry and needful of water. Have you come to the place where you realize you need God? Are you thirsty for Him? Do you desire Him? Are you desperate enough to seek Him? Have you realized God is a necessity for you to live? Have you come to the conclusion that nothing you do will save you or satisfy that aching hole in your soul? If you have, then you know what Isaiah means by the descriptive word, "thirsty". And there is an answer - Jesus Christ! If you are spiritually thirsty, it means the Holy Spirit has made you aware of your need. If you have heard the gospel, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, it means the Holy Spirit is knocking at the door of your heart and asking you to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. He is doing His work.
Isaiah 12:3 With joy you will drink deeply
from the fountain of salvation!
Many people think they can save themselves. They think if they do enough good works, are nice people, give enough money they will be saved. But this is an attempt to get into Heaven based on your works and the Bible tells us that our "righteousness" is as filthy rags. In Jeremiah, God likens our attempt at salvation through our good deeds as digging cisterns to try to hold water. It's man's attempt to save himself ("they have dug for themselves) but these cisterns are cracked and won't hold water. We can't work harder and try harder. The results are the same - cracked cisterns. We can make them bigger and try any kind of engineering feats but the results are the same, cracked cisterns. And even if you are able to hold some water, the water would grow stale, brackish and poisonous. We cannot save ourselves! We have to trust in Jesus. He cleanses and He provides the living water that refreshes, renews through the Holy Spirit within us.
Jeremiah 2:1 3 “For my people have done two evil things:
They have abandoned me—
the fountain of living water.
And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns
that can hold no water at all!
Only Jesus can save us. Only His work on the cross saves. He did what we cannot and He offers all of us forgiveness and His righteousness. Are you searching for meaning, satisfaction, fulfillment, purpose? Are you trying to fulfill yourself with things, people, events, drugs, alcohol? It won't work. It's just a cracked cistern. You may feel full for a moment but it leaks out and poisons. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only source of living water.
Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
John 4:4-26 (NLT) 4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”
21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”
Isaiah 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Isaiah 12 1 In that day you will sing:
“I will praise you, O LORD!
You were angry with me, but not anymore.
Now you comfort me.
2 See, God has come to save me.
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The LORD God is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.”
3 With joy you will drink deeply
from the fountain of salvation!
4 In that wonderful day you will sing:
“Thank the LORD! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done.
Let them know how mighty he is!
5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done wonderful things.
Make known his praise around the world.
6 Let all the people of Jerusalema shout his praise with joy!
For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”
Psalm 36:5-9 5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.
7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
9 For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.
Joel 3:17-18 17 “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God,
live in Zion, my holy mountain.
Jerusalem will be holy forever,
and foreign armies will never conquer her again.
18 In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine,
and the hills will flow with milk.
Water will fill the streambeds of Judah,
and a fountain will burst forth from the LORD’s Temple,
watering the arid valley of acacias.
Water is cleansing. Jesus, by His forgiveness, cleanses us from our sins. He gives us His righteousness. The Holy Spirit within us aids in cleansing us by leading us with conviction to repentance and asking forgiveness when we sin. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to bring us life too. The Holy Spirit makes the Word alive to us and helps us to apply it to our lives which leads to conviction, repentance and walking a different way. The Word applied is lifegiving. The Word has deep and eternal truths from God in it and it can refresh and renew us, satisfy us and teach us, and always reveals God to us. The more of the Word we get, the deeper our relationship with God gets. The Holy Spirit within us and the Word of God, work together to cleanse, empower, change and deepen our relationship with God.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.
James 1:18 By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
Jesus says in John 6:63, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." This statement clarifies matters: The water, the Word, and the Holy Spirit must be considered together—as one element—that precipitate the new birth, all being given from above. Considering them as one makes Jesus' declaration stronger. - Forerunner Commentary, John W. Ritenbaug, Born Again or Begotten? (Part Two)
Ephesians 5:25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, 27 so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.
God is the source of the "living water". From Him flows salvation, cleansing, refreshing, eternal life, total provision. Our redemption came at such a high price that only God could pay it. The price was the death of God in the person of the Son of God, Jesus. And, thus, God provided the Lamb. He paid the price to rescue us. He is the source of salvation and He offers it freely.
Revelation 21:7 (KJV) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Revelation 21:7 (NIV) Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
This promise was first made to David concerning Solomon (2 Samuel 7:14), received its fulfilment in Christ (Hebrews 1:5), and is now extended in the members of Christ.
John 16:33 (Jesus speaking) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
1 John 5:4-5 (NIV) 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Those who overcome do so by trusting in Christ and His sacrifice, remaining unwavering in their faith.
Romans 8:15-17 (NLT) 15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
All the wonderful things in Heaven and then in this new heaven, new earth and New Jerusalem are worth all that we go through here on earth. But the true treasure will be God, Himself. Where He is, is where I want to be. In Him I have my being and apart from Him I am nothing. So, of all the wonderful things to anticipate, the first and foremost is God. To live in communion with Him, no separation, is the ultimate reward. The gates of pearl, the foundations of precious stones, the golden streets, the mansions, the sacred city, the new heaven and earth... these are wonderful, but it's the relationship with my Father God that I most anticipate.
Psalm 42:1-2 1 As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God. 2 I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him?
I was made for Him and in Him will I find all that I need to satisfy my every longing. God once revealed to me that this relationship with Him is what opens up all the rest to us. As human beings we tend to desire silver, gold, precious stones, worldly things. What hasn't been done by greedy people to attain stuff? We will do the unimaginable for a $5 bill! But if we could only see and understand that all these things will only decay, rot, and be of no value but our God is of infinite value! Once we ever have our priorities straight and He is our highest treasure, all the other things will be released. While we yet worship the things of this earth, we are slaves to them. When we worship Him who is forever, these things take on their proper perspective.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
When I get to that New Jerusalem I will walk the streets of gold. But my thoughts won't be on how I can dig up chunks of the golden streets in order to hoard them in my closet and make myself rich. I will be walking the streets of gold to get to my God! Gold will mean nothing to me compared to being with God! It will be as interesting as granite gravel is now. It will just be a means to get to God or to do whatever God tells me to do. I won't be going down to the foundations of the city at night to mine precious stones in order to hoard them in a safe in my home. I won't be sneaking into my neighbor's home in order to steal something they have that I want. I won't be knocking a saint on the head in order to grab their purse. Because I won't be giving THINGS a second thought. My one thought will be my relationship with God who is the source of all things. No THING will come between God and I. No THING will tempt me away from my relationship with Him. When all these things come into proper perspective, and are as nothing to me, then God can safely give me anything I could imagine. Which is why the streets are gold, the gates are pearl, etc. When He is my proper focus and there is no separation between us, He can give pressed down, shaken together and overflowing.
It's that Father/child relationship. A baby doesn't concern itself with getting a job, making money, going to the grocery store, making a menu, cooking the food, cleaning the dishes. A baby looks to his parents when he's hungry and trusts that they will provide. The parents know when the baby is hungry. And they have prepared the supplies and cooked the food. When they hear that cry, they will bring the food to the baby and feed it. The baby sees that parent as the source and loves the parent above all else. Another person can come into the room but the baby won't pay particular attention other than as an amusement. But when baby needs something, he looks at his parents. The parents can tell by the look, the sound of the cry or the body language that baby needs something and they fulfill the need. They do it because they love the baby. And the baby responds to that love and trusts them. It doesn't mean a thing to the child if his parents have money in the bank or only a quarter in their pocket. It doesn't mean a thing to the child if his parents have provided him a nursery in a huge mansion or a pillow in a drawer by their bed in a tiny shack. It doesn't mean a thing to the child if he is driven in a Mercedes SUV or pushed in a folding stroller down the sidewalk. The only thing a baby loves is his parents.
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
Let's look back at each word again and study it from various angles.
This verse is for the unredeemed, the lost. They refused Christ who forgives all sin and clothes us with His righteousness. This verse doesn't mean that a true believer in Jesus Christ, who still struggle with their sins, is kept out. Those who are born-again are saved through Jesus Christ.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
to [the] cowardly - δειλοῖς (deilois) - Adjective - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 1169: Cowardly, timid, fearful. From deos; timid, i.e. faithless.
The word is used to describe lack of faith. I'm usually a cowardly person, a fearful person, and I'm ashamed that I have suffered with so much fear in my life. Fear is basically not trusting God to take care of you and whatever you are afraid of. That's why I'm ashamed. But God knows me and knows why I am the way I am and His Spirit, in me, is working on it. I'm a naturally fearful person but that doesn't mean I should give in and live in fear. I'm a Christian and the Holy Spirit lives in me and He is working on me to get rid of fear. I'm trying to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this area of my life because I don't want to live in fear but in faith! Fear is the result of a lack of faith, not believing in God's power and especially His love and willingness to act on my behalf.
During the Tribulation, those who took the mark of the Beast, did so because they feared losing their lives (Revelation 13:15). They were among those who, because of fear, saved their lives, but ultimately lost both their soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).
Luke 12:8-9 8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.
Others prefer the status and social structure they enjoy and are afraid to lose it. They like being accepted as one of a group and have some esteem with men. They would rather reject Christ than lose the esteem of a group they belong to. It could be like many of the Jewish Sanhedrin who may have believed Jesus was the Messiah but were too afraid to lose their position and status by declaring themselves. Or it may be a criminal who has a gang that he feels comfortable with and he would rather feel included and accepted in that group than to accept Jesus Christ and risk losing his familiar friends and co-conspirators. Or it may be a mill hand who has found a place amongst other mill workers. He has a sense of community, some friendships, some buddies and he would rather reject Jesus than to risk losing his relationships and friendships with his buddies, co-workers or neighbors. Or it may be a bank president who is a member of the country club and networks through fraternal orders or civic and service clubs. He likes to be a big man and pounder of shoulders. He likes wheeling and dealing with the big dogs and feeling like one of them. He would rather reject Christ than to risk being seen as a "Bible thumper" and avoided by his former colleagues. He prefers the good opinion of men and the respect he gets from his status and position. It may be a teenager who has a small posse of friends and he fears peer pressure and being isolated so he rejects Christ to keep his cadre of buddies. It can be at any age, level of society, financial status, gender, etc. This fear of losing something that isn't worth keeping in the first place. You are at risk of losing your soul to fear because you prefer men more than God.
John 12:43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
1 Peter 4:2-5 (CEV) 2 It means you have turned from your own desires and want to obey God for the rest of your life. 3 You have already lived long enough like people who don't know God. You were immoral and followed your evil desires. You went around drinking and partying and carrying on. In fact, you even worshiped disgusting idols. 4 Now your former friends wonder why you have stopped running around with them, and they curse you for it. 5 But they will have to answer to God, who judges the living and the dead.
As Christians, we should remember:
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Fear is a big thing with me so I'm going to read this verse in several translations to cement it in my mind. This is also a verse that is easily memorized and can be used when you feel those panic attacks and worries start coming on.
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance - 1167: δειλία (deilias) - Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 1167: Cowardice, timidity. From deilos; timidity.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon
δειλία, δειλίας, ἡ (δειλός), timidity, fearfulness, cowardice: 2 Timothy 1:7.
of power - δυνάμεως (dynameōs) - Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 1411: From dunamai; force; specially, miraculous power.
This word does not mean human strength. It is descriptive of miracles and signs, healing supernatural power. God has an inherent, essential and supernatural power that is available to us, as His children. God gives us this power to live holy lives and do all that He asks us to do. Through Jesus Christ, we have been given God's dunamis power to overcome fear, in this case.
love - ἀγάπης (agapēs) - Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 26: From agapao; love, i.e. Affection or benevolence; specially a love-feast.
Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: éros (romantic sexual love), philía (close friendship love), and storgē (familial love and affection). Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. Agape love is the highest form of love as in the love of God for man and of man for God. Agape love is considered to be the love of God for mankind. The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. 1 Corinthians 13 defines this kind of love.
self-control - σωφρονισμοῦ (sōphronismou) - Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 4995: Self-control, self-discipline, prudence, wise discretion. From sophronizo; discipline, i.e. Self-control.
Vine's Greek New Testament Dictionary
sophronismos from sophron, lit., "saving the mind,"
from saos, "contracted to" + sos, "safe" (cp. sozo, "to save") + phren, "the mind," primarily
"an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, or to self-control," is used in 2 Timothy 1:7
How it was translated in different Bible translations: AV, "a sound mind;" RV, "discipline."
Cp. sophroneo ("to be of sound mind"), sophronizo ("to admonish"), sophronos ("soberly"), and sophron ("of sound mind.")
If you are prone to panic attacks, then you will usually get them in your teens and/or your mid to late twenties. I've started having them again in my late 50's. If you've never had one, it's hard to describe what happens. It can happen out of the clear blue sky. All of a sudden your heart begins beating 90 miles a minute, you break out into a sweat, you begin gulping air but can't seem to get oxygen, you feel like you are going to pass out and, if it's your first one, you don't know what is happening which makes it worse. It's not like you began working yourself up into a tizzy. It just happens and you're in a tizzy before you know it. Then all the awful thoughts come and you can't seem to control them. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! People who have them just have them. It's not because of any particular thing. They do subside and one day you will realize you aren't having them any more. They may come back at times in your life but you can survive them. When I was in my teens and mid to late twenties I had them and I didn't have any medication to get me through them. I didn't know there was medication that helped. So I learned to pray and focus on verses such as 2 Timothy 1:7. It's very hard to control your mind in the midst of a panic attack but try your best to practise it and it will get easier. If you have to, go into a quiet place, lay down, practise deep breathing and chanting the memorized scripture over and over. There are medications that can at least slow down your thoughts so you can capture them for Christ. When I feel one coming on, it's best for me to take a nerve pill, and then lay down and begin breathing and chanting. I tell myself, "It's OK, you will make it. God did not give you a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. God loves me. I'm His child. He can take care of things while I'm incapacitated. He did not give me a spirit of fear. I rebuke satan in Jesus' Name. I will feel God's love, have the help of His power, and have a sound mind." It's not going to go away immediately, so give yourself some time. Don't panic worse by thinking it should be over by now, just take your time. Once the crisis part is over, be easy on yourself the rest of the day because it is exhausting. Please, if you suffer from panic attacks, go to your doctor and rule out any physical problems (you sometimes feel like you are having a heart attack or a nervous breakdown). If the doctor can safely prescribe you medication (i.e. you don't have a history of abusing prescription meds), by all means take it. If you need help in talking in out, then follow through with a mental health specialist. My husband has learned how to talk me down. Be sure you are taking vitamins and getting good rest and some physical activity. But the most important thing is to go to God. Let's face it, everything else is helpful but won't really change things. I can talk to a counselor til I'm blue in the face and that can help marshal my thoughts but the counselor can't change my situation, circumstances or my reactions to them. I can take medication which can slow my thoughts or even sedate me but they don't change what's really wrong. I can go to the doctor and take all kinds of tests but that won't heal me. The only one who has the power to change me, my circumstance, my reactions, my future... is God! For some reason we have such a hard time trusting in His love for us. I'm not judging you and I hope you aren't judging me, because all human beings have this same problem. No matter what our weaknesses are, we tend to look for any other kind of solution rather than trust in God. That's our kryptonite (Superman's failing). So do whatever you can to focus on God and increase your faith because He's the only real solution. I remember to take my medication and vitamins every day because if I don't, I get in trouble physically and mentally. The consequences are enough to make me remember. My spirit desperately needs connection with my Father God. The consequences should be enough to make me remember to seek Him daily. And, while we do seek, we tend to seek anything and everything else instead of God. I'm really trying to put Him first and in my daily routine because I've learned the consequences is a weakened faith and I need my faith built up, not weakened. God doesn't make me come to Him. But I'm learning that I want to come to Him because I need Him and I need the strength He imparts into my faith journey. I need His cleansing when I mess up. I need the constant reminding that He loves me because I tend to forget and get scared again. So I try to take spiritual vitamins or nourishment throughout the day. It may be my Bible study (that I post on my blog), devotional books, listening to the Bible, praise and worship songs, journaling, going to church, attending a Bible study, talking about God (saying things outloud really does help cement faith thoughts); memorizing scripture, chanting scripture; praying silently, outloud, singing prayers, prayer walks, etc. Any, and every, way you can make contact with your Father God throughout the day strengthens YOU.
Another thing to think about concerning fear. Fear can be contagious. Your fear can bring fear into other's hearts. An example, when I was a small child, my Dad was a TVA Engineer. We lived all over Tennessee until we moved to Spartanburg in 1967. He was an engineer in the days before you had cell phones and GPS. Many times he had to find places, instruments, take readings, etc and it meant having to go in the backwood mountains, I mean the real boondocks! Sometimes, on a weekend, he would take Mom and his 3 little girls on road trips to find his way. I remember that he would go places with no paved road, rutted paths in the middle of nowhere. My Mother would get so scared of being lost or having car trouble or of meeting people that didn't appreciate strangers. I can hear her fearful cry, "Avery, turn around! Take us back! We're going to get stuck out here. Do you even know where we are? What would we do if we got stuck with the 3 girls?!?" She had good reason to fear. A flat tire, falling into a ditch, getting stuck in mud, would have meant 2 adults and 3 very small girls being stranded and who would know where to look for us? Dad would have had to decide whether to stay with us to protect us or trek out for help and leave us. To this day, I have a fear of being lost. I'm now 60 years old and when I get in unfamiliar places I can feel the childish fear rising up. I clutch my cell phone with it's GPS like it's a lifeline. You couldn't tear it from my fingers. My Mother's fear transferred to us. May God forgive me for when I've passed fear on to someone else. I should be passing on faith, not fear.
Deuteronomy 20:8 (NLT) Then the officers will also say, ‘Is anyone here afraid or worried? If you are, you may go home before you frighten anyone else.
unbelieving - ἀπίστοις (apistois) - Adjective - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 571: (passively) untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing).
Thayer's Greek lexicon says of this verse that apistois means without faith or trust; unfaithful, faithless (not to be trusted, perfidious): Luke 12:46; Revelation 21:8.
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
1 John 5:5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
All believers sin and sin repeatedly. We are saved only by our faith in the work of Jesus Christ. He died for our sins and we are saved by believing and trusting in this. The unbelievers here are those who are lost, not born again. They chose to reject Christ's offer of salvation and if they die in that state they are unregenerate and lost in sin forever. Revelation 21 is describing the eternal kingdom and the lost, the unbelievers, the unregenerate will not be enjoying God's kingdom but will be suffering in the Lake of Fire.
Although this is talking about those who have rejected Christ even to their last breath (the unsaved), we would be wise to take a minute to talk about unbelief as we just did with fear. Fear and unbelief often are hand-in-hand. Faith in God is actually the opposite of fear and unbelief. As Christians, we often experience fear and doubt, we are faithless at times. If we are true Christians, then this should be a temporary setback. We should cooperate with the Holy Spirit within us and fight fear and doubt. The Holy Spirit can be relied on to work out the fears and doubts each time they beset us but we must cooperate and be willing to be taught. We can't give in and live in fear; or give in and turn our backs on God; or give in and commit suicide. We WORK with the Holy Spirit. I don't mean we grin and bear it, grit our teeth and try to push out faith like a bowel movement (excuse my graphics but I believe it does produce the picture doesn't it?). That may be too much US trying to produce faith and we can't produce what we don't have. But the Holy Spirit lives within us and He can produce faith if we cooperate with Him and do our best to do what we know to do. For instance, I thoroughly believe (as I stated earlier) in practising some spiritual disciplines daily in order to keep my spirit healthy, strong and growing. Like taking the spiritual vitamin analogy I gave earlier. And if we are feeling particularly weak, fearful, faithless, it's all the more reason to take our spiritual vitamins. That may mean turning off the TV and pulling out your Bible. The discipline is turning off the TV and getting your Bible out and putting your eyes on the page and focusing as you read. That's your part. The Holy Spirit then can take what you read and make it alive to you and before you know it the Spirit has applied it to some area in your life, you are thinking and meditating on it and that leads to repentance, prayer, praise, worship, or obedience concerning some command. It may mean you need to set some time aside, quiet and alone, to read a devotion and then to pray. The discipline is setting that time aside, abiding by your scheduled time, secluding yourself away from all distraction and then reading your devotion and praying. The Holy Spirit then enters the picture and He begins to lead your prayers, teach you how to pray, show you how to commune with God, etc. Before you know it you are in a dialogue with God, communing with Him and receiving the strength and nourishment you need. Sometimes our prayer life seems to dry up and our prayers hit a brass ceiling. If you have some major sin going on, it's time to repent. But sometimes it's God's way of drawing you deeper. He hasn't moved and it takes faith to trust that when you aren't "feeling it". But He wants to draw you deeper and do something new in your life and He's allowing you to feel that way so you will become more desperate and seek Him harder. It's His way of leading you farther down the path. Like a child on a path in the park. The father is still on the path but has turned a corner. The child loses sight of his father and stops a moment looking everywhere, seeking his father. Finally he gets scared enough to run on down the path and turn the corner and there the father is waiting on his son to catch up. The child is in no danger and is actually in constant view by the father, but that little bit of fear goaded him on up the path and he was once again in visual contact.
There are many other ways to practise spiritual disciplines. Prayer, Bible reading, meditating on the Word, obedience when you feel led to do something by God, fasting, praise and worship, attending church, studying the Bible indepth (I make it my only New Year's Resolution each year, to attend at least one indepth Bible study class every year, not counting my own private studies at home), attending a retreat (or creating your own spiritual retreat), reading devotional or non-fiction Christian books (I read extensively and I try to include Christian books amongst my other genres throughout the year), listening to the Bible on your cell phone or tablet or laptop, etc.
Like fear, unbelief, doubt and faithlessness, can be contagious. If you are expressing your unbelief to others, it may damage their own faith so be careful. If you are going through a hard time believing God loves you, loves others, is in control, etc. talk first to God about it and cooperate with the Holy Spirit by exercising your spiritual disciplines. Then only talk to someone who is mature in Christ about it. Someone who can point you to Jesus and mentor you in your faith walk. But please don't voice your worries, fears and doubts in front of the unsaved, or the immature in Christ (the baby Christians). You are adding to your sins of fear and doubt, the sin of hindering the faith of an immature Christian or giving the unsaved reasons to reject Jesus Christ. May God forgive me if my fears and doubts have hurt others.
Last week I read about a famous pastor who has decided to quit Christianity. He made his pronouncement via Twitter to all who follow him and knowing it would get out to a much broader audience when the news re-posts his shocking statements. The man claimed that he was losing his faith and it didn't bother him. He said he is "struggling with many parts of the belief system that seem so incoherent with common human morality." He joins some other famous "Christian" pastors, and authors who have renounced their "faith" and gone public about it.
Romans 14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions.
I cannot judge each individual who has done this and done untold damage with their public renouncements. They may have never been true believers to start with, I don't know. If they are true believers, and children of God, then they may be going through a time of fear and unbelief like we all can go through, only, in their arrogance, they went public with their struggle because of their feelings of self-importance. It would have been better if they quietly quit their "Christian" jobs, got secular employment and carried on their personal struggle, in private, with the Holy Spirit. You can privately journal your struggle if it helps you but you don't have to publicize. Whether they were ever really saved, or are just "backsliding" at the current moment, they need our prayer support. God loves them and is grieving over them. I don't want to gossip, slander or play God in judgment. But I do want to warn others. So what warnings can I give using their public struggle as an example? (Remember, I did not make their struggle public and fodder for gossip, they did that themselves.)
First warning is do not damage someone else's faith or hinder someone from coming to faith in Jesus Christ. These very public tweets-to-followers and "press statements" are arrogant and selfish. They meant to damage others by making it public. They are trying to spread doubt and that's dangerous.
Luke 17:1-3 (NIV, Jesus speaking) 1 Jesus said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 Watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him."
Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop judging one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.
Second warning, you are not unique. Even a true believer will have doubts at times because we are human. As I said before, that's when you practise your spiritual disciplines and seek God all the harder. These people are no different than every other believer, their struggle is not unique. We all ask questions of God. Maybe they haven't read the book of Job? Did you know the book of Job is considered the oldest book in the Bible, pre-dating Genesis, etc?!? So the struggle of Job and his friends is not new. In our arrogance we tend to think we are the only ones to ever have these questions and we are so smart and so above the average Joe Blow. We think we've come up with new thoughts and arguments against God as though man hasn't struggled with the same issues since time. What do you think satan did? Before man was even created?!? He questioned God and wanted to be God. He set himself up as god and began questioning the Almighty as though God would be cowed and would begin stuttering and backpedaling. Satan managed to conceive doubt in God's supremacy and sovereignty, and he did it out of his own pride! And 1/3 of the angels fell for it and became part of the rebellion against God. What did they gain from their pride and rejection of God? They were thrown out of heaven and will end up suffering eternity in the Lake of Fire. They became demons and will suffer eternal consequences. No, doubts and questions are not unique to you. The whole subject of Christian apologetics should have remedied that arrogant argument a long time ago.
Apologetics - The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used of a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). It is reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, to make a defense. The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case. It is a branch of theology devoted to the defense of Christian doctrines and beliefs. Apologists are those who defend their faith, doctrines and beliefs against critics and to lead the unsaved to faith in God.
If you are having questions, there are plenty who went before you. They studied the matter and have offered a defense of the faith. But it's up to you to study apologetics and read. That's a discipline. It does you no good to arrogantly question God and then smugly (and lazily) walk away. You are so smart you can question God and refuse any further dialogue or instruction? You know it all? When I was a kid, someone like that was often called a know-it-all. I don't mean to call anyone a name because haven't we all been know-it-alls at some time? But it is always born of self-deification and pride, just like satan.
When I was 16 years old, I went through a crisis of faith. I was raised in Christian home and was saved at 8 years old, really saved (it wasn't just a peer pressure thing or a desire to please someone else, I realized my need of Christ and salvation). So I can honestly say that I never have known a time in my life when I didn't believe in Jesus Christ. I consider myself a life-long Christian. I don't say that in pride but as a fact. Honestly, you would think I would be much further along in my Christian walk considering I'm a life-long Christian. I should be a titan of faith or something. But, back to my point, at 16, I began to have the same questions everyone else has at one time or another. If God is good why do bad things exist? Why do people go to hell? etc. I was a child thinking like a child. If you've ever talked to someone about things like this it can get into circular arguments and it's such a waste of time. But my future mother-in-law, Peggy, sat down in her tiny kitchen with me one day and listened to me. She didn't come up with deep apologetic arguments and scholarly essays. She listened, she pronounced her own faith and she held my hand and prayed for me. That humility, humble faith and ministry to me helped me over a hump in my faith walk. I re-dedicated my life and never looked back. Not that I didn't still go through questioning times, fears and doubts, but I decided faith in Christ is the only way for me. The Holy Spirit has taught me along the way and my faith has slowly grown during the life-long sanctification process. I eventually learned about the spiritual disciplines and how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. My parents, sisters, mother-in-law, sisters and brother-in-laws, aunts and uncles, grandparents, preachers, Bible study teachers, fellow Christians, have all been instrumental in teaching me and helping me sustain a faith walk. We do need each other. But it's really simple faith and cooperating with the Holy Spirit in order to mature in your faith. I confess I have not arrived at perfection and still struggle with my weaknesses. But I try very hard to struggle in cooperation with the Holy Spirit and not in antagonism against the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 11:6 No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him.
You start from a base of faith in Jesus Christ and then the Holy Spirit will begin to show you all things to support that faith. The devil will try to show you all manner of things to destroy your faith. I refuse to go there. I will not waste my time studying all the questioners and their arguments against God. I will not rehearse and practise doubt until I get it perfect. Heaven forbid! I will study apologetics and the Word with my mind fastened by my faith in Jesus Christ.
The pastor I mentioned above said, "This is a soapbox moment so here I go … How many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it."
(By the way, "soap box" is a term that originated when people would go to a public gathering place such as a town square, a park, a roadside junction. They would lay down a literal soap box and stand on it to be above the crowd. This put them in a position to be seen by the crowd and they would then begin pontificating on a subject. They had an audience. Sometimes it was street preaching to lead others to Christ. Sometimes it was political. Sometimes it was addressing social issues. Whatever the subject, someone on a soap box was trying to get their point across in public. Other ways of doing this was nailing informative posters in public places or walking the streets with a sandwich board sign that declared the message. Today, there are similar ways of publicly making your views known such as "tweets", social media rants, blogs, etc.)
Yes, sir, people do talk about it. Many (apologists) have gone to the trouble and hard work to study it and write about it. Many pastors and teachers, all over the world, have gone to the trouble to study these questions and present teaching on it to their congregants. Maybe not enough do and that's how many slip into such lazy, flat thinking with the result of falling through the cracks. But it's not a lack of "talking about it" as it is a lack of putting in the work to study it for yourself and practising the spiritual disciplines in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
In obedience, let's dissect this verse:
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
study - Σπούδασον (Spoudason) - Verb - Aorist Imperative Active - 2nd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 4704: To hasten, be eager, be zealous. From spoude; to use speed, i.e. To make effort, be prompt or earnest.
workman - ἐργάτην (ergatēn) - Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2040: A field-laborer; then: a laborer, workman in general. From ergon; a toiler; figuratively, a teacher.
rightly dividing - ὀρθοτομοῦντα (orthotomounta) - Verb - Present Participle Active - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3718: From a compound of orthos and the base of tomoteros, to make a straight cut, i.e. to dissect correctly.
Verse 15. - Give diligence to present for study to show, A.V.; handling aright for rightly dividing,... Zeal, earnest desire, effort, and haste, are all implied in it...
Correctly handling the Bible involves study, meditation, and prayer based on faith. You are to diligently, earnestly and with effort, study the Word. "rightly dividing the Word of truth" means to dissect it carefully, cut in straight lines so that what you learn today pieces together with what you learned yesterday and will learn tomorrow. You don't want a crazy quilt of thoughts. Only then are you a workman approved by God to share, teach and preach.
Let's look at this verse in context:
2 Timothy 2:14-17a (KJV) 14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker:...
Let's read it again in a different translation:
2 Timothy 2:14-17a (NIV) 14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene.
abominable - ἐβδελυγμένοις (ebdelygmenois) - Verb - Perfect Participle Middle or Passive - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 948: To abhor, detest, loathe. From a derivative of bdeo; to be disgusted, i.e. detest.
Different translations used different words to describe "abominable":
(NLT) the corrupt
(NIV) the vile
(ESV) the detestable
An abomination, in English, is that which is exceptionally loathsome, hateful, sinful, wicked, or vile. The English word, "abomination", comes from the Old French word abomination, meaning "horror, repugnance, disgust." It is something, or someone, regarded with disgust, hatred, loathing, aversion, abhorrence, detestation, antipathy. It can be used to denote idolatry in the Bible or something that is inherently evil. It is that which is especially deplorable, repugnant, sinful, corrupt, or depraved.
These people are abominable because they have participated in activities that are loathsome to God. they are considered unclean, unacceptable, filthy. For a comprehensive list of what actions and thoughts are considered abominable you can read the Law in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Doing abominable things makes you unfit to live in God's kingdom. But remember, Jesus Christ cleanses us and forgives us if we repent and turn to Him. His righteousness then becomes our righteousness. No matter what abominable thing you may have done, God still loves you and will forgive you if you turn to Christ. But if you refuse Christ, you won't enter the Kingdom of God.
All sin is an abomination to God. But there are passages that list "abominations".
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.
Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
Proverbs 11:1 (KJV, concerning cheating) A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight.
Proverbs 11:1 (NIV) The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.
Deuteronomy 25:13-16 You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just measure, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
Proverbs 20:10 Differing weights and differing measures, Both of them are abominable to the LORD.
Isaiah 1:2,11-16 (NIV, parenthesis mine) 2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me."...
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable (an abomination) to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say, 'Amen.'
Deuteronomy 7:25 The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.
Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 (parenthesis mine) If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act (an abomination); they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
Deuteronomy 22:5 A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 23:18 (KJV) You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God for any votive offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 23:18 (NLT) When you are bringing an offering to fulfill a vow, you must not bring to the house of the LORD your God any offering from the earnings of a prostitute, whether a man or a woman, for both are detestable to the LORD your God.
1 Kings 14:24 There were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel.
There are more. To study it further, look up "abomination" and "abominations" in Nave's Topical Index or in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. The word is sometimes translated as "detestable" so you can look it up as well. All sin is an abomination. A con man who tries to cheat little old ladies out of their retirement money is just as bad as a male prostitute. A person who makes an idol of Elvis Presley is just as bad as a liar and a cheat. We are all sinners and we all are in need of a Savior. But let us not call sin anything less than sin and an abomination. It is to our benefit to know, understand, realize that sin is sin and we need the forgiveness and cleansing of Jesus Christ. We can be forgiven any and all sin, but only when we repent, ask for forgiveness and ask Jesus to be our Savior.
murderers - φονεῦσιν (phoneusin) - Noun - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 5406: A murderer.
Those who take away the life of another human being for any cause but the murder of another, and those who hate a brother in their heart. Giving someone the death penalty and killing him for a capital crime is permitted because God commanded that those who commit certain capital crimes be put to death. He allowed for this as a safeguard for the innocent. He also, at times, commanded the Israelites to go to war and to kill in war. This also was as a safeguard for society and innocent people. Going to war to conquer and subjugate another nation and it's innocent civilians is not a reason for war and therefore becomes murder. But going to war to protect and defend innocent people and civilian populations who have no other protections is permitted. But for these two exceptions, killing another human being is a grievous sin. God commands, "Thou shalt not kill", in His summary of His Law called the Ten Commandments. Murder is killing someone because you want to remove someone, or because you like killing, or because their death enriches you in some way. You are taking on the role of God and deciding who shall live and who shall die. This is making yourself into an idol. You don't have to right to decide who lives and dies. God created each human being and therefore they are His, not yours. God has wisdom, knowledge of the future and the power to make the correct decisions as to when someone's time begins or is up. We don't have that kind of wisdom and can't tell the future so we are in no position to make such a decision about someone else's life. Abortion is murder for the convenience, pride or enrichment of the parents who conceived that child. Abortionists commit murder when they kill innocent babies day after day by the millions. Euthanasia is committing murder for convenience and the enrichment of those who have decided the person no longer has value and is a drain on resources. If someone would die of natural causes under the circumstance but someone deliberately keeps them alive artificially for whatever reason, to let them go is not euthanasia. In fact we may be playing God by keeping someone alive artificially. After a time it's OK to submit to God's natural order and let Him take them home. But euthanasia is when someone is still naturally alive but for whatever reason, others think they have no quality of life or no value to life and therefore should be killed such as someone with a handicap, a Down Syndrome person, an aging person, a homeless person, genocide (Hitler killing Jews because he deemed them unfit to live), etc. Suicide is self murder. Playing God with a life that only He owns.
Matthew 5:21-22 21 (LB, Jesus speaking) “Under the laws of Moses the rule was, ‘If you murder, you must die.’ 22 But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home (with your brother), you are in danger of judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse him, you are in danger of the fires of hell."
Jesus said we have created murder in our hearts when we hate someone. Yesterday my husband and I were in our car and slowly making the turn into a fast food restaurant. I saw 3 women and 2 children on the sidewalk as they came out of the restaurant. I could plainly see their faces and they saw me pulling in. One of the women went ahead and stepped off the curb as though she were going to step in front of my car. I applied the brakes but then she stopped so I continued on. As I drove by, she began screaming obscenities and gave me the finger as though I had done something wrong. Nobody's life was in danger. She stopped and was held up for 2 seconds. Neither she, nor I, had done anything wrong, immoral, unethical or with bad judgment. But the moment she went into that tirade in her mind, and then in action, she murdered me with her hate. Hate against an innocent person. And, even if I hadn't been innocent and had caromed into the parking lot, really putting her life in danger, it's not worth hating, and therefore being full of murderous thoughts. The hate in her face, her body language and screaming over 2 secs on a sidewalk was so out of proportion and absurd that it shocked and scared me. We didn't stop at the restaurant needless to say. Then there is our response to such behavior. If I respond with the same level of hate, I'm murdering her in MY thoughts, whether I feel like it's justified or not. If I start responding in my mind and actions by yelling back at her, calling her names, giving her the finger, slamming on the brakes, jumping out of the car, etc. I have fallen into the same sin of murder and hate that she did. And what is the outcome of two people with murderous thoughts, hate and the desire to kill? It can literally lead to murder, the actual physical murder of one or both of us, or, heaven forbid, the death of an innocent person on the sidelines.
sexually immoral - πόρνοις (pornois) - Noun - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 4205: A fornicator, man who prostitutes himself. From pernemi; a prostitute, i.e. a debauchee.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon for this verse says a man who prostitutes his body to another's lust for hire, a male prostitute; universally, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator.
The "sexually immoral" in the verse includes those who fornicate, commit adultery, have sex with prostitutes (male or female), practises sexual perversions, and homosexuality.
1 Corinthians 6:9 (KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1 Corinthians 6:9 (BSB) Or do you not know that the unrighteous ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
Let's define some terms:
Fornication - sexual intercourse between people not married to each other.
Adultery - sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.
Debauchee - a man who leads a life of reckless drinking, promiscuity, and self-indulgence; a libertine (one devoid of most moral principles, a sense of responsibility, or sexual restraints).
Effeminate - a man who behaves, acts and sounds like a woman. This includes those who think and present themselves as women (transvestites) and those men who deny God's wisdom and creation by attempting to transition into a woman. I would say it goes for women who behave, act and present themselves as men or who attempt to transition into men also. In the usage in 1 Corinthians 6:9, it refers to men who are catamites. Catamite - the term catamite refers to a boy as the passive or receiving partner in anal intercourse with a man.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9
men who submit to - μαλακοὶ (malakoi) - Adjective - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3120: (a) soft, (b) of persons: soft, delicate, effeminate. Of uncertain affinity; soft, i.e. Fine; figuratively, a catamite.
perform homosexual acts - ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai) - Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 733: A male engaging in same-gender sexual activity; a sodomite, pederast. From arrhen and koite; a sodomite.
Pederast - a man who desires or engages in sexual activity with a boy.
Sodomite - a person who has anal sex with another person.
sorcerers - φαρμάκοις (pharmakois) - Noun - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 5333: A magician, sorcerer. The same as pharmakeus.
pharmakeús – a person using drug-based incantations or drugging religious enchantments; a pharmakeus-practitioner who "mixes up distorted religious potions" like a sorcerer-magician. They try to "work their magic" by performing pseudo "supernatural" stunts, weaving illusions about the Christian life to use "powerful" religious formulas ("incantations") that manipulate the Lord into granting more temporal gifts (especially "invincible health and wealth"). This has a "drugging" effect on the aspiring religious zealot, inducing them to think they have "special spiritual powers" (that do not operate in keeping with Scripture).
NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin: from pharmakon (a drug)
Definition: a poisoner, sorcerer, magician
Isaiah 8:19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?"
Leviticus 19:31 “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God."
Exodus 22:18 “You shall not permit a sorceress to live."
Leviticus 20:6 “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people."
Leviticus 20:27 “A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”
2 Kings 21:6 And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger
Sorcery is an attempt to bypass God’s wisdom and power. There is a wisdom that is “earthly, unspiritual, of the devil”
James 3:15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
Sorcery is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. Our wisdom comes from God (James 3:17), not from deceiving spirits. Sorcery is used by people in order to gain control. They want to control the outcome. Either they want to harm someone or they want something (good fortune, love, wealth, power, fame, healing) so they use their magic arts to try to make it happen, to control their reality. People who get into real sorcery do it to exercise power over other people, to influence them to do something they wouldn't do otherwise. In other words, they want to play god. They don't want God, they want to be God. The same age-old sin of pride and the desire to be God. the desire to take control and make things happen our way runs deep in us.
The reality of occult powers is acknowledged, but magic and sorcery are consistently forbidden. It's forbidden because it's demonic. The Bible specifically tells us what happens to our spirits when we die. The saved go to a place in Hades (the Place of the Dead) called Paradise to be with our Lord. We remain there with Him until it's time to resurrect our bodies. Our immortal bodies will join our spirits and we go on to be with Christ in His kingdom and finally to the New Heaven and New Earth. The unsaved spirits go to a place in Hades called Torment. They wait in torment until their bodies are resurrected. Then they are judged and sent to the Lake of Fire. There is an uncrossable chasm between Paradise and Torment. And Jesus told the story of the rich man and the poor man who died and went to Hades in Luke 16:19–31. In that story, the rich man begs Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers so they won't end up in Torment but Abraham tells him that even if God sent someone back from the dead to warn them, they wouldn't believe him (referring to Jesus Christ). This tells me that the dead are not allowed to go back to earth, There are no such things as ghosts! I'm not saying that people don't see "ghosts" or hear them, etc. But they aren't the spirits of the dead. They are demonic spirits deceiving people who are open and gullible to them. These spirits want you to believe in ghosts. They masquerade as ghosts to deceive people. There may be physical manifestations (words, sounds of footsteps, moving of objects, apparitions) but it is demons playing with people in order to deceive them. It is amazing how many people will believe in ghosts but reject Jesus Christ! They will believe in aliens, fairies, Native American spirits, demons, but they reject Jesus?!?
Acts 13:6-12 6 Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing.
9 Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10 Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11 Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him.
12 When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.
Acts 16:16-24 16 One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl with a spirit of clairvoyance, who earned a large income for her masters by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”
18 She continued this for many days. Eventually Paul grew so aggravated that he turned and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” And the spirit left her at that very moment.
19 When the girl’s owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the marketplace. 20 They brought them to the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews and are throwing our city into turmoil 21 by promoting customs that are unlawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered that they be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 And after striking them with many blows, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to guard them securely. 24 On receiving this order, he placed them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Although what the girl was saying wasn't wrong, it was continuous and therefore distracting those from hearing the full message of the gospel. It was a demoniac spirit that was trying to distract and keep others from the salvation message. She wasn't make her masters money by following behind the apostles quacking like a duck. And when her demon spirit was cast out of her, she sure wouldn't be making them money so they had the apostles arrested and beaten!
The Bible translates pharmakois as "sorcery". The root of this word is pharmakon from which we get "pharmacy". This word encompasses the making of distorted magic potions or drugs. This does not mean making of drugs to help, or heal, diseases. These drugs were for seeing visions (hallucinogenic) or for controlling someone (such as poison or love potions, etc). So those who manufacture illegal drugs, distribute/sell illegal drugs and take illegal drugs are included as sorcerers.
We are opening ourselves up to spirits that are not the Holy Spirit. We are not trusting and relying on our source, God. We are trying to control things because we don't have faith in God and in His love for us. We think we know better and try to assume control. But in practising dark arts, people are opening themselves up to satan and his deceiving spirits. He is the father of lies. There is no truth in him. So to dabble, or dive, into the occult opens you up to satan and his lies and deceptions. It is dangerous and God says it is evil.
"Dabbling in or practicing activities that step into the spiritual world without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is condemned and is dangerous." - CompellingTruth.org
"Rebellion is an attempt to bypass God’s supernatural power and might and do things one’s own way. When one practices witchcraft, he or she uses alternative means for the supernatural instead of coming to God and requesting His supernatural strength for life’s circumstances." - Bible-knowledge.com
idolaters - εἰδωλολάτραις (eidōlolatrais) - Noun - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 1496: A server (worshipper) of an image (an idol). From eidolon and the base of latreuo; an image- worshipper.
Worshippers of false gods are idolaters. You may not have a gold Buddha statue in your home, but do you worship money? Do you worship power? Do you worship another person? Idolatry means giving someone, or something, else the place of God in your life. The first four of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship to God. He is our God and there is none other. He should be first in our lives.
I have seen people get so out-of-balance and they don't even realize it! If you've ever watched the TV reality show called "Hoarders" you will see people who worship things (even trash) over and above anything else. They are so selfish that they don't seem to care how it's affecting their loved ones. Their spouse and children having to live in misery and filth because of their hoarding. They scream at people who try to "take their things". They have to control everything and micromanage their hoard. It's pure selfishness, idolatry, meanness, laziness and greed. None of these are fruits of the Spirit. They are fruits of satan's influence. Have you ever seen someone who "collects" and their home is filled, every nook and cranny, of their collection? Let's say they collect pigs and everything that has a pig on it is bought. Money spent, time spent, effort spent maintaining it, square footage in their home spent... on pigs! Or Star Wars memorabilia! Or salt and pepper pairs! Or football team souvenirs! Or old cars! Or junk! Ever watch American Pickers? They go to these people who have land and buildings chock full of worthless stuff and they can barely get them to sell them something. I mean, when it's all said and done, how valuable is a dusty, old toy or car part? It doesn't bring any lasting help to mankind but someone will pay big money for it?!? They will spend $800 on a rusty bicycle that can't be ridden. Aren't there enough needy people in the world that you could send $800 to? It might give them books to go to college with or food money for a family for a couple of weeks but we use the money to buy a rusty bicycle and hang it on the wall? Someone would pay $15,000 for a "classic" car that you are afraid to drive so you keep it "safely" in your garage, covered with a tarp. That money might could have bought medicine for an elderly person or a downpayment on a home for a young couple. But it's sitting in your garage, not being used or touched. You spend $2,500 on annual season tickets to a football game and that's not counting the cost of gas, parking, food. You spend every Saturday going to the games and are too tired the next day to go to church. I'm not trying to guilt you. I'm guilty too. I confess, I've wasted a lot of time and money on things that don't have any eternal value and that's a form of idolatry. God forgive me!
Leviticus 19:4 “Do not put your trust in idols or make metal images of gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God."
liars - ψευδέσιν (pseudesin) - Adjective - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 5571: False, deceitful, lying, untrue. From pseudomai; untrue, i.e. Erroneous, deceitful, wicked.
Leviticus 19:11-12 (KJV) 11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. 12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
Proverbs 12:22 (NIV) he LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Colossians 3:5-10 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”
lie - A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. Something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture. An inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood. (Dictionary.com)
Causing someone to believe something that is not true, and doing it intentionally is lying. Maybe you don't speak the lie outloud. Have you ever given a nod of the head or a little smile that leads to someone believing a lie? Body language can be deceptive.
We tend to classify lies.
It's OK to tell a white lie? Not according to God.
"Don't you look beautiful this morning!" (while thinking, "Good gracious, she looks like death warmed over.")
It's OK to embellish and over-exaggerate to deceive? Not according to God.
"Officer, that car has been tailgating me for miles and I decided to speed up to get away from him!"
It's OK to lie to conceal a surprise? Not according to God.
"No, I don't know anything about a surprise birthday party."
It's OK to lie to protect yourself? Not according to God.
"Whoever is calling, tell them I'm not at home!" "Tell the boss I'm sick and can't come in today."
We can all agree that "big" lies are bad. A man having an affair and lying to his wife is a big betrayal and we all agree that his lies, deceptions and adultery is a big deal and very destructive. But we tend to classify "small" lies as inoffensive and harmless. But God doesn't classify lies as "big" and "small". You don't get a "pass" for "white lies".
Most of us have felt the betrayal of lies and the broken trust it creates. If they can lie so easily about this, what else would they lie about? Lying is like an eroding cancer in a relationship whether it be between parent/child, husband/wife, brother/sister, friend/friend. You realize this person would lie to protect themselves with no thought about what it does to you. That's about as selfish as it gets. Self preservation trumps love of others. They would much rather have their cake and lie about it so they can continue having their cake. This is proof enough to most of us that we aren't as important to them as we thought we were. They paid lip service to you, but they lie like a dog when it comes to something they want which is far above your relationship in their priorities. You've just been downgraded to the floor mat under their feet.
God doesn't want any of us to suffer from those kind of betrayed feelings. Having the rug jerked out from under your feet is devastating and God knows it and would save you from that. He is very particular and specific when He tells us how we should deal with each other in relationships. Look at the Ten Commandments above. I told you that the first 4 commandments concerned our right relationship with God. The next 6 commandments concern our right relationship with other people. If everyone followed those 6 commandments, there would be a LOT less pain, betrayal and heartache in this world. When we are in relationships with other people we shouldn't disrespect them, lie to them, steal from them, kill them, commit adultery and covet what they have. Unfortunately, we can't seem to even keep these 10 commandments. Which is why we need a Savior! We all have broken the commandments, we've all sinned. If we say we have not sinned, we are liars.
1 John 1:8-9 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Now, I remind you, this verse is for the unredeemed, the lost. They refused Christ who forgives all sin and clothes us with His righteousness. This verse doesn't mean that a true believer in Jesus Christ, who still struggle with their sins, is kept out. Those who are born-again are saved through Jesus Christ. But it is good for us to remember how easily sin besets us and our need for a Savior.
Revelation 21:9-10 9 Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
These angels carried out God's judgments upon the ungodly but now picture the wonders awaiting the faithful.
Revelation 15:1 Then I saw another great and marvelous sign in heaven: seven angels with the seven final plagues, with which the wrath of God will be completed.
Revelation 17:1 Then one of the seven angels with the seven bowls came and told me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters.
Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.
"The Bride of Christ or the bride, the Lamb's wife is a term used in reference to a group of related verses in the Bible, in the Gospels, Revelation, the Epistles and related verses in the Old Testament. Sometimes, the bride is implied by calling Jesus a bridegroom. For over 1500 years, the Church was identified as the bride betrothed to Christ." - Wikipedia
Ephesians 5:22-33 (NRSV) 22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. 24 Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27 so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. 33 Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
So if the Church is the "bride of Christ", why is the New Jerusalem called the "bride, the wife of the Lamb"? Because those who inhabit the New Jerusalem are those who are believers and therefore the Church. The city is not the Bride. Christ died for human beings, not a city. But the city is now the homebase of all believers and therefore encompasses the Bride.
Jesus is the Bridegroom and all true believers make up the Church, the Bride. The betrothal period where the Bride waits for the Bridegroom to come for her is this time we live in now. We are to be faithful to our Bridegroom as we wait, knowing He will come.
"The glimpse of God's coming glories is best gained from the consecrated heights of self-surrender and prayer. On a mountain apart--the mountain of supplication and separation from the world--is the light and glory of God best seen. There are Beulah heights and transfiguration heights from which we may gain glimpses of the city and the glory of the Lord of the city." - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Revelation 21:11 It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal.
The glory of God filled the Tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) when it was finished.
Exodus 40:33-38 33 Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and the altar, and he hung the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard. So Moses finished the work.
34 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was unable to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
36 Whenever the cloud was lifted from above the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out through all the stages of their journey. 37 If the cloud was not lifted, they would not set out until the day it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel through all their journeys.
The New Jerusalem will be filled with the glory of God.
Isaiah 60:1-3,19-21 1 Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
2 For behold, darkness covers the earth,
and thick darkness is over the peoples;
but the LORD will rise upon you,
and His glory will appear over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn...
19 No longer will the sun be your light by day,
nor the brightness of the moon shine on your night;
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your splendor.
20 Your sun will no longer set,
and your moon will not wane;
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and the days of your sorrow will cease.
21 Then all your people will be righteous;
they will possess the land forever;
Isaiah 4:4-6 4 when the Lord has washed away
the filth of the daughters of Zion
and cleansed the bloodstains from the heart of Jerusalem
by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.
5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion
and over her assemblies
a cloud of smoke by day
and a glowing flame of fire by night.
For over all the glory
there will be a canopy,
6 a shelter to give shade
from the heat by day,
and a refuge and hiding place
from the storm and the rain.
The New Jerusalem (the Tabernacle of God, the Holy City, the City of God, the Celestial City, the City Foursquare, and Heavenly Jerusalem) is the place where God will dwell with His people forever. God is building a dwelling place for himself among humans. The New Jerusalem is the righteous counter to the evil Babylon (Revelation 17), destroyed by God’s judgment (Revelation 18). The wicked had their city, and God has His. Jesus is already creating the New Jerusalem in Heaven for out of Heaven it comes.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
a jasper - ἰάσπιδι (iaspidi) - Noun - Dative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2393: Jasper; a precious stone. Probably of foreign origin; 'jasper', a gem.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon
iaspis (ἰάσπις, ἰασπιδος, ἡ (from Plato down)), jasper; a precious stone of divers colors (for some are purple, others blue, others green, and others of the color of brass; Pliny, h. n. 37, 37 (8)): Revelation 4:3; Revelation 21:11, 18f. (But many think (questionably) the diamond to be meant here; others the precious opal; see Riehm, HWB, under the word Edelsteine, 8 and 10; B. D. under the word ; cf. 'Bible Educator' 2:352.)
The original word is translated as "jasper" but, as you can see, no one is sure what stone is really meant. We know it to be a brilliant stone, clear and radiating colors due to the context descriptions surrounding the use of the word.
Revelation 4:2-3 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne standing in heaven, with someone seated on it. 3 The One seated there looked like jasper and ruby, and a rainbow that gleamed like an emerald encircled the throne.
"On the meaning and appearance of this stone, see Note on Revelation 4:3. It is in all probability a stone transparent and clear as the crystal, but retaining the greenish hue belonging to the jasper. The general brightness of the city was lustrous as the diamond but shot with the green tint of the emerald bow which swept the throne." - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Revelation 21:12-13 12 The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. 13 There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west.
Twelve is the number of perfect symmetry and completeness: 12 gates, 12 angels, 12 tribes, 12 pearls.
Tribe Leader Number
Judah Nahshon son of Amminadab 74,600
Issachar Nethanel son of Zuar 54,400
Zebulun Eliab son of Helon 57,400
9 So the total of all the troops on Judah’s side of the camp is 186,400. These three tribes are to lead the way whenever the Israelites travel to a new campsite.
10-15 “The divisions of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad are to camp on the south side of the Tabernacle, beneath their family banners. These are the names of the tribes, their leaders, and the numbers of their registered troops:
Tribe Leader Number
Reuben Elizur son of Shedeur 46,500
Simeon Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai 59,300
Gad Eliasaph son of Deuel 45,650
16 So the total of all the troops on Reuben’s side of the camp is 151,450. These three tribes will be second in line whenever the Israelites travel.
17 “Then the Tabernacle, carried by the Levites, will set out from the middle of the camp. All the tribes are to travel in the same order that they camp, each in position under the appropriate family banner.
18-23 “The divisions of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin are to camp on the west side of the Tabernacle, beneath their family banners. These are the names of the tribes, their leaders, and the numbers of their registered troops:
Tribe Leader Number
Ephraim Elishama son of Ammihud 40,500
Manasseh Gamaliel son of Pedahzur 32,200
Benjamin Abidan son of Gideoni 35,400
24 So the total of all the troops on Ephraim’s side of the camp is 108,100. These three tribes will be third in line whenever the Israelites travel.
25-30 “The divisions of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali are to camp on the north side of the Tabernacle, beneath their family banners. These are the names of the tribes, their leaders, and the numbers of their registered troops:
Tribe Leader Number
Dan Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai 62,700
Asher Pagiel son of Ocran 41,500
Naphtali Ahira son of Enan 53,400
31 So the total of all the troops on Dan’s side of the camp is 157,600. These three tribes will be last, marching under their banners whenever the Israelites travel.”
32 In summary, the troops of Israel listed by their families totaled 603,550. 33 But as the LORD had commanded, the Levites were not included in this registration. 34 So the people of Israel did everything as the LORD had commanded Moses. Each clan and family set up camp and marched under their banners exactly as the LORD had instructed them.
In the book of Joshua, the Israelites conquered the land and divided it by tribe as such:
Ezekiel 48 (NLT) 1 “Here is the list of the tribes of Israel and the territory each is to receive. The territory of Dan is in the extreme north. Its boundary line follows the Hethlon road to Lebo-hamath and then runs on to Hazar-enan on the border of Damascus, with Hamath to the north. Dan’s territory extends all the way across the land of Israel from east to west.
8 “South of Judah is the land set aside for a special purpose. It will be 8 1/3 miles wide and will extend as far east and west as the tribal territories, with the Temple at the center.
9 “The area set aside for the LORD’s Temple will be 8 1/3 miles long and 6 2/3 miles wide. 10 For the priests there will be a strip of land measuring 8 1/3 miles long by 3 1/3 miles wide, with the LORD’s Temple at the center. 11 This area is set aside for the ordained priests, the descendants of Zadok who served me faithfully and did not go astray with the people of Israel and the rest of the Levites. 12 It will be their special portion when the land is distributed, the most sacred land of all. Next to the priests’ territory will lie the land where the other Levites will live.
13 “The land allotted to the Levites will be the same size and shape as that belonging to the priests—8 1/3 miles long and 3 1/3 miles wide. Together these portions of land will measure 8 1/3 miles long by 6 2/3 miles wide. 14 None of this special land may ever be sold or traded or used by others, for it belongs to the LORD; it is set apart as holy.
15 “An additional strip of land 8 1/3 miles long by 1 2/3 miles wide, south of the sacred Temple area, will be allotted for public use—homes, pasturelands, and common lands, with a city at the center. 16 The city will measure 1 1/2 miles on each side—north, south, east, and west. 17 Open lands will surround the city for 150 yards in every direction. 18 Outside the city there will be a farming area that stretches 3 1/3 miles to the east and 3 1/3 miles to the west along the border of the sacred area. This farmland will produce food for the people working in the city. 19 Those who come from the various tribes to work in the city may farm it. 20 This entire area—including the sacred lands and the city—is a square that measures 8 1/3 milesi on each side.
21“The areas that remain, to the east and to the west of the sacred lands and the city, will belong to the prince. Each of these areas will be 8 1/3 miles wide, extending in opposite directions to the eastern and western borders of Israel, with the sacred lands and the sanctuary of the Temple in the center. 22 So the prince’s land will include everything between the territories allotted to Judah and Benjamin, except for the areas set aside for the sacred lands and the city.
23 “These are the territories allotted to the rest of the tribes. Benjamin’s territory lies just south of the prince’s lands, and it extends across the entire land of Israel from east to west. 24 South of Benjamin’s territory lies that of Simeon, also extending across the land from east to west. 25 Next is the territory of Issachar with the same eastern and western boundaries.
26 “Then comes the territory of Zebulun, which also extends across the land from east to west. 27 The territory of Gad is just south of Zebulun with the same borders to the east and west. 28 The southern border of Gad runs from Tamar to the waters of Meribah at Kadesh and then follows the Brook of Egypt to the Mediterranean.
29 “These are the allotments that will be set aside for each tribe’s exclusive possession. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!
30 “These will be the exits to the city: On the north wall, which is 1 1/2 miles long, 31 there will be three gates, each one named after a tribe of Israel. The first will be named for Reuben, the second for Judah, and the third for Levi. 32 On the east wall, also 1 1/2 miles long, the gates will be named for Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan. 33 The south wall, also 1 1/2 miles long, will have gates named for Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun. 34 And on the west wall, also 1 1/2 miles long, the gates will be named for Gad, Asher, and Naphtali.
35 “The distance around the entire city will be 6 miles. And from that day the name of the city will be ‘The LORD Is There.’”
Revelation 21 doesn't specify which gates have which names. However the book of Ezekiel may provide the answer. The city Ezekiel describes is most likely Jerusalem during the Millennial reign of Christ and it also has 12 gates named after the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel's Millennium Jerusalem could very well mirror the New Jerusalem albeit on a smaller scale.
Why are the gates engraved with the Twelve Tribes of Israel? God chose the Israelites to be His chosen people. He made covenants with them and He will never abandon them. Israel was chosen by God to be a light to all nations. Their rejection of Jesus Christ opened the door to the Gentiles who receive salvation through faith and become descendents of Abraham because of their faith. There was always a remnant of the Israelites who believed in God and trusted Him; always a remnant who believed Jesus Christ was the Messiah (all the Disciples/Apostles were Jewish); always a remnant who will be rescued.
Romans 10:1-4 (NLT, Apostle Paul speaking) 1 Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
Romans 11:1-7,11-12,15-32 (NLT) 1 I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
2 No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, 3 “LORD, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
4 And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!”
5 It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. 6 And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.
7 So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened... 11 Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. 12 Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it... 15 For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! 16 And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.
17 But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. 18 But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.
19 “Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” 20 Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. 21 For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either.
22 Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. 23 And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. 24 You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.
25 I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. 26 And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say,
“The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem,
and he will turn Israeli away from ungodliness.
27 And this is my covenant with them,
that I will take away their sins.”
28 Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29 For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. 30 Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. 31 Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will sharek in God’s mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.
Not all Gentiles accept Jesus Christ and not all Jews accept Jesus Christ. They are lost. Those who have faith in Christ are accounted the spiritual seed of Abraham.
Galatian 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
So, as a Gentile or Jewish believer, we enter into our inheritance as promised to Abraham. Thus the gates, the entryway, the portal, the doorway into the New Jerusalem is via the chosen Jewish patriarch who believed by faith.
Natural Pearls are form when an irritant gets into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called 'nacre', is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed. Once a pearl is formed, there is nothing a man can do to enhance it. With other precious stones, man can cut them to enhance their beauty and brilliance. But nothing can be done to the pearl. It's a handsfree product, it needs no polishing or cutting by man. It takes a long time for the oyster to make a pearl. God is preparing the New Jerusalem. He is building it in great beauty and splendor and taking His time to make it perfect. It will be worth waiting for. It will be worth the temporary pain we experience in this life.
Matthew 13:44-46 44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46 When he found one very precious pearl, he went away and sold all he had and bought it.
There are two ways of looking at this. First, Jesus Christ is the Pearl of great price. What we seek, we find in Him. Whatever we sacrifice in order to gain more of Him, is rewarded with riches untold. All else is worthless! Mankind is willing to do anything for worldly riches. They sell their soul, murder another human being, work in horrible conditions, expend every last dime and energy to attain some bit of gold, precious stone or paper money. But it's for worldly riches which will rot, decay, and be picked over by the vultures. There is a treasure that will never tarnish, rot, decay, burn up, be lost... Jesus Christ and His kingdom!
Proverbs 2:1-6 1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Many years ago, my sister and her husband tried to help an elderly person. She was quite wealthy but lived in a hovel of a house. She had fallen amongst her hoard and broken her hip and was incapacitated. She had money in banks all over town. She owned property all over town and even houses and business buildings. None of those properties were being used and were making her no money but rather had become places where she stored more hoard. But not having heat/ac in those buildings, the stuff was rotting, decaying, mildewing, falling into pieces. My sister tried to talk her into consolidating her money and investing. She tried to interest her in having auctions at her buildings to sell the stuff and get whatever she could get for what was left. She tried to set her up with a realtor to see about selling the properties and moving into a safe, assisted living situation (either a safe home with assisted living homehealth care or into an assisted living apartment). She even took her to see some. She offered to help her do it for nothing. But the woman refused to do anything. The end result was the woman was left alone in her unsafe hovel, surrounded by trash. She had enough money to do anything she wanted but she wanted to sit on it and watch it moulder into nothing evidently. True hoarding is a sin sickness, a mental illness (isn't all sin a mental illness of one type of another?). It rarely makes sense to anyone but the hoarder. I know of another situation where the lady has a huge house in a nice neighborhood and has the opportunity to sell it for a nice amount that would take her into her elder years. She has filled it with her hoard to where she can no longer live in her house. So she has bought a used camper and lives in the camper outside the huge home. She is so poor now that she can't pay the taxes on the home and owes tens of thousands in back taxes. But she refuses to do anything. She just continues to sit in her cramped camper beside her big luxury home and she's going to lose it all anyway. When they take her house for back taxes, she won't have the option to sell it and therefore will lose any profit on the home and she will be living homeless and destitute. But if she would call in an auction company and sell everything in the house and put the house up for sale, she would make enough to live on.
Why are people like that? Greed, selfishness, the desire to control is usually the beginning. I'm not saying that there aren't circumstances that can lead a person into hoarding. Certainly depression, anxiety, childhood fears, loss, PTSD can push someone in that direction but it's greed, selfishness and control that are the sins which grabs them by the throat and won't let go. Eventually it drives them insane. They no longer have control of themselves; have no commonsense any more; and are soon gibbering idiots totally lost in their mental prison. I don't mean to be hard on hoarders. All sin is an abomination and all sin can lead us into a mess. All of us can lose all sense of perspective, all commonsense and become gibbering idiots lost in our mental prisons. We all have sin weakness and if not for Jesus Christ, we can all become lost in misery. But my subject is what is true treasure, so I'm sitting on the hoarding for now.
When you go through someone's hoard, it's shocking and makes you realize how temporal and worthless "things" are! You pull out clothes that are mildewed, dusty, irreparable, soaked in rat pee or feces and know they are good for nothing but a fire. You pull out stuff that still has price tags on it because they paid good money for something never used and will now be thrown away. You realize how much money is represented in stuff never used. How much of their life earnings and savings has been wasted? With that money they could have lived a better life and done so many things. Even if they didn't want to live in better surroundings, couldn't they have given that money to loved ones to help them in their lives? What about children and grandchildren who could have used an inheritance or gifts during their lives? If they had no family to give it to, what about putting it in a bank, letting it grow and leaving it to your favorite charity or church in your will? That way you have the money if you need it but it goes to good use when you pass on? But, we are talking about people who no longer have the mental capacity to think logically. When I watch these hoarding shows, they have all these mental health experts, organizers and hoarding experts on board but they all cater to the hoarder! It's like letting a child run the household! They are not mentally capable. They cannot make decisions, they cannot be logical, they cannot use commonsense because it's all gone. They lost it a long time ago or they wouldn't be in that state. All they know how to do is throw infant tantrums and react as a child. For people like that, it's best to forcibly auction, clear out, bulldoze the house to the bare lot, sell it for them, put the money in a controlled account to be used for their care and move them into mental health facility. Do I want them destitute, abused or mistreated? NO! But they lost the ability to make logical and healthy decisions a long time ago. It's by their own actions that they find themselves in such unhealthy, dangerous and ludicrous situations. And it's better for them to live in a controlled environment because they couldn't control their own environment when they had years of chances. If the government can do it without stealing their money (actually putting it in an account used for their care) and provide small, safe apartments kept under control (no hoarding allowed, kept in good condition, functioning utilities and pest control) with mental health treatment, then it would solve a lot of problems. Unfortunately, we haven't seen good government oversight and control in past programs so....
What is your treasure? What do you find yourself going overboard about? Are you wasting time on something temporal? Are you wasting money on something here today and gone tomorrow? Are you wasting energy to acquire and maintain stuff that will be worthless when you die?
Let's look at some examples and see if anything hits home:
Sports. Do you spend a lot of time, energy, money on a sport? Trips that cost money for a sport? Inordinate amount of money spent on sports equipment? Season tickets? A camper, truck to pull it, for a sport? Do you spend hours of every day on a sport? Is your reading and TV watching focused on a sport? Do you surround yourself with sports collectibles such as a man cave with sports memorabilia, a huge TV for watching a ballgame, wearing team colors during the season, etc? Or maybe your daughter is into dance but instead of just encouraging her and paying for dance lessons, it's become the family obsession and you purchase a camper and truck and trail after dance competitions around the country. Or maybe it's dog shows and you spend all your time and money buying dogs, breeding dogs, showing dogs, grooming dogs, researching dogs?
Hobbies. Do you spend a lot of time, energy and money on a hobby? Maybe your hobby is stamp collecting and you take trips to attend stamp collecting conventions. You use all your money to purchase rare bits of paper. You organize and re-organize your collection. It's all you read about or talk about. Or maybe it's art. You love to do art or collect art. You spend all your time and money on art or art supplies. Your house becomes filled with artwork to exclusion of anything else but a chair so you can stare and admire your own art or collection. Or maybe it's classic cars. You spend your money on building heat/ac controlled garages to house your collection of expensive cars that you will not drive. They are basically useless because driving them endangers them or adds miles and maintenance costs to your expense. So they sit in your garage, covered with tarps to keep the dust down. You next purchase trucks, trailers and campers to haul your expensive, non-driveable car around to car shows where you sit and watch others admire your car. You don't allow them to touch, get in or crank up the car. Just look and admire. You watch classic car shows, car restoration shows, car auctions for hours. You read exclusively about classic cars. Your whole family has to accommodate your classic car obsession.
Talents. Do you spend a lot of time, energy, and money on your talent? Most sports are only good while you are young. So by the time you hit 30, you are beginning to peter out. Someone with sports talents in dance, gymnastics, football, basketball, baseball, etc. will begin to lose their natural abilities as they age. Have you spent all your time and money focusing on something that you will begin to lose at the young age of 30? So many parents push their kids into sports with the hope that they will get college scholarships and even "make it big" in the "big leagues" one day. So day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, the whole family is focused on their kids' sports. Money for uniforms, for equipment, for sports tutors, for sports camps, for sports classes, for sports coaches. Did you move so your child could go to a school where they stand a better chance of making it in a sport? Does the whole family go to all the sports events to cheer them on? Is there no room for anything else in their life but sports? In reality, many kids sustain sports related injuries that incapacitate them in their sport and affect them the rest of their lives. Knees blown out in high school football. Shoulders blown out in college baseball. Head injuries that cause brain injuries that show up much later in life. Constant inflammation that causes arthritis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, and many other health problems. Ruined feet and back injuries. Is it worth it for a sport? Maybe you are the adult that had sports talent, maybe even made it big. Do you live in past glory? Do you hang out in gyms and locker rooms? Is your whole life still wrapped up in that sport, one way or another? Do you constantly watch your sport on TV, playing games over and over again, dissecting each play? Is it all you read about, talk about? Are you totally out of balance? Or maybe it's the little girl's pageant trail. Maybe you spend all your money on pageant dresses, pageant coaches, makeup and hair, singing lessons, dancing lessons, charm school, following the pageant trails all over the country every weekend? Or maybe it's music. You are a musical family (or single) talented in music and you spend all your time and money taking lessons, purchasing instruments and music, going to concerts, playing in bands weekend after weekend. Staying up all night to play in smoky bars? You are absorbed with music and have no other interests? Do you dream about making it big in whatever musical venue you are talented in. Giving up everything else to pursue a fleeting moment of fame?
Collectibles. Do you spend all your time, energy and money collecting? Maybe it's collecting Barbie dolls, salt and pepper shakers, Star Wars memorabilia, sports cards, Sci Fi stuff, movie star autographs, Civil War collectibles, etc. If your home is filled with stuff that is getting in the way of your life, you've gone overboard. Have you ever seen a TV show where you walk in someone's house and into a dizzying display of their collectible? They have so much they can't keep it dusted and it's dusty and cramped and cluttered to the max. They spend their days pouring over ebay and etsy looking for "rare" pieces. They are willing to spend inordinate amounts of money to add a "missing piece" to their collection. But the real value of most collections are a lot less than they paid for it. If you were to take someone's salt and pepper collection to auction in the real world, it might bring $500 but they probably spent $5,000 acquiring all their little bits and pieces. You've seen American Pickers that go to out-of-the-way hoards of rusty stuff. They find one or two pieces that they pay a good price for. But, in all the acres and buildings, crammed with junk that someone paid money for, you only get a few pieces that have any retail value. And a lot of those owners refuse to sell at even a decent price because they think it's worth more?!? How many people in this world have the expendable income and desire for a rusty, unusable typewriter or plow implement? But it's rare! It's still rusty, unusable, dirty, and worthless except maybe to a museum. Are you out of balance with collections? I know I've inherited stuff that I have a hard time letting go. It's worthless to anyone but me and it was because my great grandfather made it or my aunt loved it, etc. Am I spending money, time, energy to store, maintain and care for worthless things? I'm really having to ask myself these questions at this time in my life. Who will want it when I'm gone? Who will know the stories and memories it represents to me? No one. Then why am I buying fancy boxes to store it in, taking up valuable house space to keep it, worrying over a scratch here or the expense of re-upholstering there?
House. Do you spend all your time, energy and money on a house? Are you constantly running yourself ragged to maintain a home? Cleaning, organizing, doing yard work, putting in new windows, painting a room, fixing a leak, buying new curtains, redecorating, etc. Do you dream of a bigger or better house? Are you working all the time to pay for household expenses? Do you love your house so much that the thought of losing it keeps you up at night? You insure, over-insure, keep a universal policy, buy every kind of insurance because you are so afraid of losing it in a fire, earthquake, tornado, flood? Do you fuss and fume about what this or that neighbor is doing or not doing and how it affects your property value? One time I saw a lady go outside, pick up a single leaf and waltz it to her fence where she dropped it into her neighbor's yard. It seems the neighbor's tree was offensively dropping leaves in her yard. It had been a bone of contention between them. She wanted the tree removed so leaves wouldn't fall in HER yard! Maybe you are constantly irritated because you hate the color your neighbor chose to paint their house. Maybe you stew over the dog barking next door. You'd much rather start an argument, complain and make everyone in the neighborhood miserable than buy a noisemaker or simple fan and run it at night to drown out the barking. It's the principle of the thing, right? Maybe you are in a lifelong fight to keep your yard perfect. You become a master gardener and you plant this rare tree and that rare bush and you trim and re-seed and design and keep meticulous records on your yard.
These are just a few things I thought about, where people get out-of-balance on temporal, worldly, here-today-gone-tomorrow things! Is it bringing anything to your mind?
Please don't think I'm saying your interests and enjoyments in life are wrong. But God is in the balance. It's when we get out of balance that we are opening up a problem and letting satan in. If we don't reign it in and get back in perspective, we can let sin grab us by the throat, control us and take away our sanity in the end. We need to constantly set our priorities and keep a godly perspective in this life. It's a battle.
God teaches us in His Word there is only ONE thing worth all our time, effort, money and concentration... Jesus Christ and His kingdom. We can spend all our time, effort, money and concentration on Him and find more wealth than we could ever imagine waiting for us in Heaven! It is where it cannot rust, cannot grow mildewy and dusty, cannot rot and decay, cannot be lost. He is our treasure and He will never fail! Whatever time, effort, money we spend on Him is never wasted and never lost.
To us, He is the treasure. To Him, we are His treasure! Let us be ever thankful for His desire for us and His acquisition of us. Let us ever desire Him above all things! Amen
Revelation 21:14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations bearing the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Ephesians 2:19-22 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Walls around a city were for protection. Here, the walls are only a reminder that nothing was allowed in New Jerusalem that was unworthy. Only the redeemed, true believers in Jesus Christ, saved by His blood and atonement, are allowed in the city. The gates are never shut, but the walls remind us we were once excluded due to sin but are now welcomed due to Christ's work on the cross. It also symbolizes that our salvation and eternal life with Him are protected and secure. We are forever safe!
The foundation of the wall are precious stones engraved with the names of the Twelve Apostles. God made a new covenant through Jesus Christ with the Church (believers) and the foundation of that church were the first twelve, the disciples. The disciples were the first believers in Jesus Christ as Messiah, Son of God (less Judas). Once they received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost they became the founders of the Church. Paul became one of the Apostles in place of Judas.
Revelation 21:15-17 (NIV) 15 The angel who spoke with me had a golden measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and its walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, with its width the same as its length. And he measured the city with the rod, and all its dimensions were equal—12,000 stadiad in length and width and height. 17 And he measured its wall to be 144 cubits, by the human measure the angel was using.
Stadia as a measurement is defined as a method of surveying in which distances are read by noting the interval on a graduated rod intercepted by two parallel cross hairs (stadia hairs or stadia wires) mounted in the telescope of a surveying instrument, the rod being placed at one end of the distance to be measured and the surveying instrument at the other. The term stadia comes from the plural of the Greek stadion, the word for a distance of 185 to 192 metres (607-630 ft).
Cubits - The cubit is the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger. It is difficult to determine the exact length of this measure. It is usually equal to about 18 inches.
Furlong - A furlong is a measure of distance in imperial units and U.S. customary units equal to one eighth of a mile, equivalent to 660 feet, 220 yards, 40 rods, or 10 chains. The name furlong derives from the Old English words furh (furrow) and lang (long). Dating back at least to early Anglo-Saxon times, it originally referred to the length of the furrow in one acre of a ploughed open field (a medieval communal field which was divided into strips). The furlong (meaning furrow length) was the distance a team of oxen could plough without resting. The system of long furrows arose because turning a team of oxen pulling a heavy plough was difficult. Among the early Anglo-Saxons, the rod was the fundamental unit of land measurement. A furlong was 40 rods; an acre 4 by 40 rods, or 4 rods by 1 furlong, and thus 160 square rods. The furlong was historically viewed as being equivalent to the Roman stade (stadium), which in turn derived from the Greek system. For example, the King James Bible uses the term "furlong" in place of the Greek stadion. In the Roman system, there were 625 feet to the stadium, eight stadia to the mile, and three miles to the league. A league was considered to be the distance a man could walk in one hour, and the mile (from mille, "meaning thousand") consisted of 1,000 passus (paces, five feet, or double-step). Around the year 1300, by royal decree England standardized a long list of measures. Among the important units of distance and length at the time were the foot, yard, rod (or pole), furlong, and the mile. The rod was defined as 5 1⁄2 yards or 16 1⁄2 feet, and the mile was eight furlongs, so the definition of the furlong became 40 rods and that of the mile became 5,280 feet (eight furlongs/mile times 40 rods/furlong times 16 1⁄2 feet/rod). (Wikipedia)
Revelation 21:16 (KJV) And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
Revelation 21:16 (NLT) When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles.
The verses state that New Jerusalem is "foursquare" and the length, width and height are the same. This makes the city a perfect cube shape. But a city that is 1,380-1,500 miles long (depending on the measurements used), wide and high is HUGE! Putting it into some perspective to our world today, some have shown it like this:
Pretty big, huh?!? And it's just as tall!!!! Streets in layers? Or buildings that tall? Who knows? It's height would be in the exosphere of our Earth of today. The exosphere is a thin, atmosphere-like volume surrounding a planet or natural satellite where molecules are gravitationally bound to that body, but where the density is too low for them to behave as a gas by colliding with each other. In Earth's atmosphere, the exosphere is the uppermost layer, where the atmosphere thins out and merges with interplanetary space. It is located directly above the thermosphere.
The ground level of the city will be nearly two million square miles. Given the dimensions of a 1,400-mile cube, if the city consisted of different levels, and if each story were a generous 12' high, the city could have over 600,000 stories. Wonder how long it would take an elevator to go 600,000 stories? LOL! "Penthouse please."
Revelation 21:18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city itself of pure gold, as pure as glass.
I read an interesting study about it HERE. Two different Hebrew words are translated as jasper in the bible, yashĕpheh and iaspis. Yashĕpheh is used in Exodus 28:20 and 39:13 for the 12th jewel in the Breastplate of the High Priest. Literally translated, yashĕpheh means "to polish" and was a precious stone of different colors. Iaspis is a derivative of yashĕpheh, albeit the feminine form. It is a Phoenican word signifying a translucent stone of various colors, especially that of fire, as in the appearance of the Lamb of God sitting on His throne in Revelation 4:3. It is used in Revelation 21:19-20 (NIV), Revelation 21:11 (NIV), and Revelation 21:18 (NIV). Because of the description being "clear as glass" some believe it actually means a diamond clear quartz which is a cryptocrystalline jasper.
Revelation 4:2-3 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne standing in heaven, with someone seated on it. 3 The One seated there looked like jasper and carnelian, and a rainbow that gleamed like an emerald encircled the throne.
The rainbow here on earth is a reflection of the colors shining brilliantly around God and His throne. Where His presence is, there is brilliant color and light. Maybe we should remember that all God's promises and covenants are faithful and true, reliable and trustworthy. When we see this excellent city, we should be reminded of how all God said and promised has come about and it will be. His Word does not go forth and come back void.
Isaiah 55:10-11 10 For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it bud and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, 11 so My word that proceeds from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper where I send it.
Revelation 21:18-21 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city itself of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were adorned with every kind of precious stone: The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
Exodus 28 1 “Next, have your brother Aaron brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, to serve Me as priests. 2 Make holy garments for your brother Aaron, to give him glory and splendor.
3 You are to instruct all the skilled craftsmen, whom I have filled with a spirit of wisdom, to make garments for Aaron’s consecration, so that he may serve Me as priest. 4 These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are to make these holy garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so that they may serve Me as priests. 5 They shall use gold, along with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.
6 They are to make the ephod of finely spun linen embroidered with gold, and with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn. 7 It shall have two shoulder pieces attached at two of its corners, so it can be fastened. 8 And the skillfully woven waistband of the ephod must be of one piece, of the same workmanship—with gold, with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and with finely spun linen.
9 Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: 10 six of their names on one stone and the remaining six on the other, in the order of their birth. 11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings. 12 Fasten both stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear their names on his two shoulders as a memorial before the LORD.
13 Fashion gold filigree settings 14 and two chains of pure gold, made of braided cord work; and attach these chains to the settings.
15 You are also to make a breastpiece of judgment with the same workmanship as the ephod. Construct it with gold, with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and with finely spun linen. 16 It must be square when folded over double, a span long and a span wide.
17 And mount on it a setting of gemstones, four rows of stones:
In the first row there shall be a ruby, a topaz, and an emerald;
18 in the second row a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond;
19 in the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
20 and in the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper.
Mount these stones in gold filigree settings. 21 The twelve stones are to correspond to the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.
22 For the breastpiece make braided chains like cords of pure gold. 23 Make two gold rings and fasten them to the two corners of the breastpiece. 24 Then fasten the two gold chains to the two gold rings at the corners of the breastpiece, 25 and fasten the other ends of the two chains to the two filigree settings, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front.
26 Make two more gold rings and attach them to the other two corners of the breastpiece, on the inside edge next to the ephod.
27 Make two additional gold rings and attach them to the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, on its front, near its seam just above its woven waistband. 28 The rings of the breastpiece shall be tied to the rings of the ephod with a cord of blue yarn, so that the breastpiece is above the waistband of the ephod and does not swing out from the ephod.
29 Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he shall bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of judgment, as a continual reminder before the LORD.
30 And place the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece of judgment, so that they will also be over Aaron’s heart whenever he comes before the LORD. Aaron will continually carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD.
Now let's look at a chart based on how different Bible translations see the stones:
If the stones are in birth order, the stones and tribes correlate like this and you see the different Bible translations.
The same complication occurs with the stones in the foundation of New Jerusalem. Some stones don't translate well into today's languages and, thus, different translations handle them differently. Also, which stones go with which Apostle? Are the stones listed in order of their births? In order of when they were born-again in salvation? In order of their being called by Jesus to become His disciples? Is there any correlation with the stones of the Twelve Tribes on the breastplate?
"Thus, attempts to connect the foundation stones with the stones of the breastplate have generally been unproductive:
Eight of the stones are the same as in the breastplate, with the four remaining ones being words that are unused in the LXX: χαλκηδῶν [chalkēdōn] , χρυσόπρασος [chrysoprasos] , ὑάκινθος [huakinthos] , σαρδόνυξ [sardonyx] (Swete). The symbolism is rich in meaning. The old covenant confined the privilege of direct fellowship with God to the high priest, but in the new city the privilege will belong to all the people of God (cf. Rev. Rev. 21:22+) (Moffatt)." - A Testimony of Jesus Christ Commentary on Revelation 21
Under the Old Covenant with the Israelites, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle/Temple. He represented the people to God and represented God to the people. But, in New Jerusalem, everyone will have access to the Father! The whole city of inhabitants, every citizen in the New Heaven and New Earth, have access directly to the Father. No need for an intermediary. Jesus is our High Priest who sits at the right hand of the Father. Because of what He did on the cross for us, we now are welcomed into the Holy of Holies.
In the Tent of Meeting (Tabernacle), the tent was divided into three areas. The outer court where sacrifices were made. The inner court, or Holy Place, where only priests could go to minister to the Lord. And the Holy of Holies where only the High Priest could go once a year. You see, God dwelt among His people, but due to their sin, they could not enter the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was a cube shaped room like New Jerusalem is a cubed shaped city. There was only one thing in that room, the Ark of the Covenant with it's Mercy Seat lid. It was the throne room of God in the Tabernacle. Now imagine the New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem as the true Tabernacle/Temple of God!!!! The New Heaven (or the New Universe) is the outer court. The New Earth is the inner court, or Holy Place. The New Jerusalem is the Holy of Holies. And this will be our home base!!!!! We will live with our God, dwell with Him! The God who created the Universe and has all power wants us to live with Him!!!
God may give us assignments and we may go here and there as He wills, busy about His business to His glory. But our home base is New Jerusalem. Our home is with God in His New Jerusalem. Jesus told us that He has gone to prepare a place for us that where He is, we may be also.
And this place is stunning, brilliant, magnificent, and filled with His Presence and glory!!!!!!! Hallelujah and Amen!!!
Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, with each gate consisting of a single pearl. The main street of the city was pure gold, as pure as transparent glass.
This verse adds to the magnificence of New Jerusalem. We have no idea how large the gates are but they must be able to easily accommodate us in our new glorified and immortal bodies. How tall will my glorified body be? I'm 5'11" tall in this earthly body. Will I be 5'11" tall in my glorified body? Maybe, or maybe I'm bigger? But lets' say that we have the same height in New Jerusalem as we do here on old earth. The gates would have to be able to accomodate an average person and let's say that it would be 6'6" tall. Even with this rough idea, you understand it must be pretty big pearls to be the gates. It specifically says each gate was a SINGLE pearl. Not a pearl studded gate but a SINGLE pearl! We are used to small pearls strung together to be worn as a necklace! Imagine pearls big enough to be gates to this humongous city!!!
It says the main street will be pure gold "as transparent as glass". When humans process gold, they melt it under high heat. The impurities rise to the suffer and are skimmed off. The result is what we term 24 kt gold. It's as pure as we humans can get it. But 24 kt gold is a little soft for normal wear. So we add other metals to strengthen the gold. The different levels are 18 kt, 14 kt, 10 kt gold. Each of these has less pure gold and more strengthening metals. Most of us like 14 kt gold for durability which still has enough gold to be highly recognizable as gold. But if you've ever noticed, an old 14 kt gold ring that is worn a lot, becomes thin. Each time you wear it, you are probably wearing some of the gold off. Some men and women wear their wedding rings 24/7 so it can wear thin. My engagement ring is 18 kt gold with a platinum setting for the diamond. Platinum is a rare metal and it's much harder than gold so it's expensive but very durable for holding a diamond. I keep my wedding rings carefully in my jewelry box when I'm at home. I only put them on before I go out. That way I'm not wearing down the gold as fast and I certainly don't want harsh chemicals on them such as dishwashing soap, cleaners, etc. Diamonds and settings can get pretty dirty with the hard wear they recieve. I get mine cleaned about once a year to keep the diamond clear and bright. But I don't want to do it too often as I worry that cleaning chemicals could wear the gold down.
All of this for a tiny ring I wear on my left ring finger! Now think of gold so pure that it shines brilliantly and it's the streets of the tremendously huge New Jerusalem!?! We will be walking on it! I mentioned earlier in this study that God can give us everything as long as we don't idolize the creation. With God as our highest treasure, our deepest desire and the point of our focused love... we can be walking on something so valuable as streets of gold! Our problem is, our greed and selfishness will cause us to worship stuff. That's right, junk! Gold is really just sand, grit and little rock chunks in a pretty yellow color isn't it? It's humans who have determined it's so valuable that they'll do anything to acquire it. We become fixated on bits of rock and sand! It becomes more important to us than the God who created it. But that will not be the case in New Jerusalem. We will have the right focus and the right priorities. We will appreciate things as created by an awesome God and give Him the glory. We will enjoy all things because they reveal the love, creativity and power of the Father! It is Him we will worship, not the things He makes.
Different people see these gold streets different ways. Because my gold wedding band is NOT transparent and clear as glass, we think the gold of the streets can't be transparent, clear as glass. How can gold be transparent? Some have offered ideas:
- This is a New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem. Maybe it's not the same gold that we have on earth today. It may have looked like gold in it's color and brilliance but isn't the same.
- John is trying to describe a vision with words he knew and communicated with. Maybe this was as close as he could come in describing something indescribable.
But, did you know that an astronaut's helmet is coated with transparent gold to protect the astronaut from the harmful sun's rays? "The bubble is covered by the Extravehicular Visor Assembly. The visor is coated with a thin layer of gold that filters out the sun's harmful rays. The visor also protects the spacewalker from extreme temperatures and small objects that may hit the spacewalker." - NASA.gov
If you are very scientifically educated and knowledgeable, this LINK might help you also.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
temple - ναὸς (naos) - Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3485: A temple, a shrine, that part of the temple where God himself resides. From a primary naio; a fane, shrine, temple.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon
ναός, ναοῦ, ὁ (ναίω to dwell), the Sept. for הֵיכָל, used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the sacred edifice (or sanctuary) itself, consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies.
The whole city is now the ναός. The presence of God pervades the entire city and the saved are now priests. We are welcomed in the sanctuary and have unfettered access to God.
Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; the LORD gives grace and glory; He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.
Isaiah 60:19-20 No longer will the sun be your light by day, and the brightness of the moon will not shine on you; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor. Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will be over.
John 1:4-5 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:14,17-18 14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son... 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
In the original Tabernacle (and the later permanent Temple), you had the open air courtyard called the outer court. It was illuminated by the sun, a natural light. Once you went into the inner court, or Holy Place, it would have been dark except for the Golden Lampstand. This seven branched lampstand was kept filled with oil and lighted in order to provide light for the Priests. This symbolically represents Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, and the Word. Jesus was the Word of God embodied.
John 8:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 1:1-5 1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
What powered the golden lampstand? Specially prepared oil. Oil represents the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit illumines the Word so that we may understand it. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to accomplish His Work.
But as you go past the outer court and into the Holy Place, you go into the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies. In there is no other illumination but God Himself! No natural light of the sun. The illumination by the Golden Lampstand, only God's glory lights the Holy of Holies.
In the New Jerusalem, God's glory is so bright that it illuminates the entire huge city. We shall see Him as He is! Jesus Christ, the Golden Lampstand, shines forth God's glory in such a brilliant manner that it lights the New Jerusalem, as huge as it is! It's blaze is not a natural, physical light (as from the sun and moon). It's not kept alive by an earthly oil. It is Jesus Christ filled with the Holy Spirit who is the Golden Lampstand! And this light is constant and forever. There is no shadow of turning. No rising and setting. No dimness. It is a constant and pure light that is forever.
In our description of the city, we saw that it is made of gold so pure, it's transparent. Nothing hinders the light of God. There is no hiding place, no shadow, no places of darkness. It is an all pervading light. It is a light of joy, life and love!!!
As the redeemed people come and go from their home base, the New Jerusalem, the light follows them. All is done in honor of God. Coming or going, the glory of God is with us.
26 And into the city will be brought the glory and honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who practices an abomination or a lie, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Isaiah 60:11 Your gates will always stand open; they will never be shut, day or night, so that the wealth of the nations may be brought into you, with their kings being led in procession.
The glory of God lightens that city, and the Lamb is the Light thereof. God in Christ will be an everlasting Fountain of knowledge and joy to the saints in heaven. There is no night, therefore no need of shutting the gates; all is at peace and secure. The whole shows us that we should be more and more led to think of heaven as filled with the glory of God, and enlightened by the presence of the Lord Jesus. Nothing sinful or unclean, idolatrous, or false and deceitful, can enter. All the inhabitants are made perfect in holiness. - Matthew Henry Commentary
2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with God's promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Ezekiel 44:9 This is what the Lord GOD says: 'No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh may enter My sanctuary--not even a foreigner who lives among the Israelites.
Isaiah 52:1 Awaken, awaken, clothe yourself with strength, O Zion! Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, Holy City! For the uncircumcised and unclean will not again enter you.
Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!"
An "uncircumcised heart" is one that is closed and impervious to God's attempts to affect it. "Uncircumcised ears" are ears that are deaf to God's voice.
Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.
Jewish circumcision was to be an outward sign of being set apart to God. But if the heart is uncircumcised, then physical circumcision is useless and means nothing. Circumcision was supposed to be an external sign of a circumcised heart, set apart and devoted to God. But the Jews had made circumcision a sign of being born a Jew and nothing to do with a heart change. The Apostle Paul says,
Romans 2:28-29 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
This coincides with what God said in Deuteronomy:
Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
A circumcised heart is performed by the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 2:11-14 11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
The only ones in the new heaven, new earth and New Jerusalem will be those whose hearts were circumcised by the Holy Spirit, who believe by faith in Jesus Christ and who had a change of heart.