HOUSMAIL HM#055 - THE HOLY CITY 30 March 2000
In the last two chapters of the Bible, the Apostle John describes his vision of the New Jerusalem, the holy city of the Kingdom of God. The language he uses to describe what he saw is very graphic - a city with the radiance of a rare jewel, built of transparent gold, with walls of jasper, built on foundations adorned with precious stones, and with twelve gates, each formed of one single huge pearl! All of this indicates to us that what John saw must have been almost beyond human comprehension; and it certainly leaves us struggling with our own imagination, to form a mental picture of the city’s glory and appearance.
What a wonderful place it will be. Its gates will never close. (Rev 21:25) The throne of God will be there! Jesus will reign from there! (Rev 21:3; 22:3) The kings of the earth who share the throne with Jesus, will bring their glory into it. The nations of the earth will walk in the light which emanates from it. (Rev 21:24) The tree of life will be there, for those who have the right to eat of it. (Rev 22:14) From that time forth, there will be no more curse on the earth; no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. (Rev 21:4) And for those who love righteousness, there is the marvellous news that nothing unclean will ever be able to enter it. (Rev 21:27)
THIS IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
IT IS WHAT JESUS OFFERS TO THOSE
WHO WILL REPENT OF THEIR SINS, LOVE HIM,
AND OBEY HIM.
IT LIES BEYOND THE NARROW GATE,
AND AT THE END OF THE NARROW WAY, WHICH ALONE
LEADS TO LIFE.
IT IS THE END POINT OF GRACE.
IT IS THE GOAL OF FAITH.
IT IS THE HOPE OF THE RIGHTEOUS!
But we must not allow ourselves to be dazzled by all those glorious externals! If we look beyond those, we will quickly discover that John’s description is far more concerned with telling us how to become citizens, than it is with the number of the city’s gates!
Very close to its beginning, we learn that, for some, this vision isn’t good news at all! One of John’s main concerns, is to leave us a list of those who will never be able to enter the city. (Rev 21:8, 27; 22:15) And that list is accompanied by a solemn warning that all who are rejected at the judgement, will be destroyed in the second death. Don’t fail to read it again, in conjunction with this short paper! But let us read carefully. The primary purpose of John’s warning is NOT to condemn sinners, but to save them!
For all of us who want to share in the great privileges of entry to the city, this list is the Bible’s final call to repentance! Forget for a moment, all the ear tickling things you might have heard, which cloud the vital issues of life or death at the final judgement. Forget all the fanciful theology offering FALSE HOPE through COUNTERFEIT grace and faith!
This is a serious practical list which draws a sharp line between those who will be there to share eternity with Jesus, and those who won’t! It is there so that sinners can examine themselves, be convicted of their need for change, and heed the Gospel call to repentance! It is there to describe the changes which sinners must make, in order to walk in the way of life, into which Grace and Faith will surely lead them.
It is there so that when the Bad News of “death for sinners” has been exchanged for the personal GOOD NEWS of “eternal life for the righteous”, the truly repentant can use it to remind themselves of the things they have covenanted with God to leave behind.
And finally, it is there to encourage the Children of God with the Good News that there really is an AGE TO COME on this earth, in which righteousness will dwell, just as it does in Heaven, ..... FOR EVER! (2 Pet 3:13)
"Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and MAKE HOLINESS PERFECT in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1)