PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART 107
The invisible world and the domain of God holds and sustains our world! The naked human eye cannot perceive, without some imagery and language, which is comprehensible to the earthly human mind. Jesus helped man grasp God’s domain through parables, the prophets used riddles, and the apocalyptics used imagery. It was the only way they could paint the glory that awaits the followers of Christ, after their resurrection. The Apostle Paul could only describe it thus, which is a lot more than anyone of us can do:
But it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart (mind) of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” God has revealed (it) to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit (I Corinthians 2:9-13).
Jesus used imagery to give an idea what his followers could expect. That expectation of the hereafter was like a paradise (Luke 23:43), like the bosom of Abraham (Luke 16:23), and a place and house of many rooms or mansions (John 14: 2). The house of many mansions was large enough to accommodate all who choose to be there. Now, place your mind in the spirit of John Zebedee and talk about the invisible and likely the impossible hereafter that is made possible through Jesus the Christ.
It is in Revelation that the “New Jerusalem” and its layout will be the only wonder in the universe. Nothing has ever been conceived with such glamour and splendor. Everything is massive and elaborate, with structures made out of gold, twelve different jewels, and twelve pearly gates. Everything is perfect, including the inhabitants. There is no resemblance to the Israel of Moses or of David, or of Jerusalem that was to be governed by the Ten Commandments. Israel shall receive the material glory and riches she always longed for.
HAVE A LOOK AT THE NEW JERUSALEM
And he who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its breadth; and he measured the city with his rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and breadth and height are equal. He also measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits by a man’s measure, that is, an angel’s. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass (Revelation 21:15-21).
IN THE NEW JERUSALEM, THERE WAS NO TEMPLE
Worshippers no longer need to go to a Temple, a Synagogue, or a Church to be with God and Christ, nor will there be any mediators. God and Christ have direct contact with everyone at all times. There is no need for the sun, moon, day, night, or fear; for God and the Lamb supply all the necessities:
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day—and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:22-27).
GOD IS THE SOURCE OF THE RIVER OF LIFE
Water is the most valuable and precious commodity for life to exist, but so is also the new spirit-birth Jesus preached. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Without water, life cannot exist! Jesus equated water with the Spirit that grants life that lasts forever. In fact, Jesus, Himself, had the Spirit that could quench the thirst for life and pass it onto others. Jesus offered the “Living Water” to a Samaritan woman and to the Jews before He died:
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water (from Jacob’s well). Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw” (John 4:7-15).
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).
The Jordan River made the valley prosperous and life possible, and it flowed down into the Red Sea and died. The River of God (or Spirit) flowed up and raised the dead. Those who enter the upward flow will never go down. That was and still is the message of “The Revelation of Jesus the Christ”:
Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life wih its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5).
WHAT IS THE REVELATION TO JOHN TELLING US?
Revelation is an answer to the questions why things did not and would not happen as the Jews and Christans had hoped. The conclusions, even with the Spirit’s help, good intended followers of Christ reached were not in God’s Purpose or God’s Will (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). Open the Book of Revelation and there is nothing about Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, even Europe — but only Asia. The message came to John at a time when there was no more Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and no news from Greece or Rome. But John’s beloved Asia, where he was for a time in charge over seven Churches, was in trouble. Judea had not been restored as was hoped; therefore, it no longer existed as a nation. And the kingdom of heaven was not gaining the advantage over the Romans, Jesus had not returned to take his followers out of the world, and many of the Christians lapsed under persecutions and in fear of death.
The influx of too many Christians into Jerusalem waiting for Christ to reappear and improve their lot did not happen. Instead, it alerted the authorities over sanitation and food supplies that King Herod began to persecute and execute the leaders. He killed John’s brother James and also had intended to execute Peter. But an angel freed Peter from jail and so he left Jerusalem. Herod’s persecution and executions scattered the Christians and their leaders (Acts 8-12). John Zebedee was dispatched with Peter to Samaria and they did return to Jerusalem from their first preaching tour (Acts 8:14-25). After that, John may have been present at the first council that decides the admission of the Gentiles in Acts 15:6). Only, Jogn is not mentioned except when Paul calls him a pillar in Galatians 2:9; and that was a reference to Paul’s first visit to Jerusalem. Then John, from the Island of Patmos, communicated this message:
I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island of Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on theLord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send kit to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laedicea.”
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like the Son of man, clothed with a long while robe and a golden girdle round his breast; his head and his hear were white as white as wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Now write what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches (Revelation 1:9-20).
JOHN WAS OUT OF TOUCH WITH HIS FELLOW APOSTLES AND THE WORLD
John had no knowledge of what happened in Jerusalem or Samaria, or about any other place where the gospel was preached, or what his fellow apostles were doing elsewhere. John was an aggressive and firm witness for the Lord as well with an intimate experience with Jesus (I John 1:1-4). John was close to Peter and did remember that Jesus had promised to build the Church against the resistance of the forces of hell (Matthew 16:18). But when the enemies dared to take John away, the Churches were devastated. John found a way to encourage the Churches with apocalyptic imagery and language. To John, it was Jesus, Himself, assuring and challenging the Churches to renew their faith and loyalty to Christ; for, He was about to come to their rescue or their punishment. Once more John insisted, “I John am he who heard and saw these things!”
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the Spirits of the prophets has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place. And behold I come soon.” Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.
I John am he who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of his book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and he idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood.
“I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let him who hears say, “Come.” And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.
I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:6-20).