Promise of Eternity II

revelation-21

 “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Revelation 21:2

The goal in our Christian life is to be apart from sin-not to allow ourselves to be influenced to compromise our faith and life in Christ.

When we choose to mix or add in evil and try to rationalize evil away, we become the evil people Revelation talks about and the fools that the Proverbs talk about.  We must be above reproach and open to inspection when we claim Christ as Lord.  Our faith matters, because what we do and say does indeed echo into and throughout eternity.  Our spiritual growth affects our moral success and failures (2 Cor. 5:10).  We will give an account and Christ our Lord will wipe away our tears!

Take a careful read of Revelation 21 without any preconceived notions, take in God’s marvelous Word.

New Jerusalem means God comes to us.  Jerusalem refers to the city where God reigns and where He is among His people. It represents the holiness and eminence, as Jerusalem is a place of gathering, community, and worship in Jewish culture and faith.  It was also a place for Israel to be a blessing and evangelist to the world. Where the world came to Israel to see a magnificent Temple and then they would hear about a One True God who takes cares for His people. Their gods they worshiped were petty, conniving, hateful and had no care. So, all people groups of the earth would send their tradesmen, diplomats, war, spies, and travelers too, though the hub, where The Temple sat, of the world’s trade routes.

For Now, this is reversed, as Christ in us, we go to the world. Then, we may have a further fulfillment at Christ’s return.

The contrast is, then, in the Old Jerusalem, where they journeyed to meet Him.  Now, the New Jerusalem is God who journeys to meet them. In ancient Judaism, this theme also meant “hope.” It is also a position and representation of the people of God, “His people,” as a bride of God. Here, it is pointing to Christ as Messiah and our hope. Christ and His Kingdom are the New Jerusalem.  Faithfulness is the key that opens to us the door to life in the New Jerusalem (Gen. 12:1-3; Neh. 11:1-18; Psalm 87:5-6; Is. 48:2; 52:1; 54:11-12; 62:12; 65:17-18; John 1:14; 13:34; 16:33; Gal. 4:26; Phil. 1; Heb. 11-10; 12:22; 1 John 4:20; 5:4-5; Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5-13, 12, 21; 19:7; 21:1-22:5).

This is further set in by this key word, Bride.  This is an identification of His people and an image of our Redeemer’s intimacy and the community between God and His children (Eph. 5:31-32; Rev. 19:7).

The key word, Throne… dwelling of God, means, “God is among us!” It refers to the Tabernacle-how God resides among His people, and the theme of “Immanuel.”   Tabernacle and Sanctuary are images of the Old Testament Tabernacle tent that was God’s heavenly dwelling. As a throne, this refers to the inner sanctum of God’s most holy of holies where the Ark, with the two tablets of the Testimony Moses brought from Mount Sinai dwelt.  This represented God’s home on earth as a “copy” of God’s Throne Room, made for His presence in the inner chamber of Jewish Temples and the Tabernacle, a tent used before the Temple was built by Solomon.  Now, John sees the real heavenly version has been brought down to us. This is very significant in Christian redemption (Ex. 24:9-11; 25:8-9, 40; 29:45; 32:15; 37: 24-28; 43:7-10; Lev. 26:11-12; Deut 10:5; 1 Kings 6:12-13; 22:19; Is. 8:8-10; 51:16; Ezek. 37: 24-28; Zech. 2:11; Dan. 7:9-10; Matt. 1:22-23; 13:38; John 8:42-45; 2 Cor. 6:16; Heb. 8:1-6; 9:1-14; Rev. 3:12; 4:1; 7:15; 11:19; 14:15-17; 15:5-16:1, 16:17; 21:22).

Jesus tells us in John 14:1-4 that we have an Eternity waiting for us! 

Father’s house, means Heaven where God’s presence dwells with us, as opposed to Hell where God’s presence is absent. This is our ultimate future hope and residence, our future reward and our current motivation to pursue righteousness.  Classically, in Judaism, this meant the Temple, God’s dwelling on earth, where God dwelt amongst His people. Here, this refers to our heavenly dwelling place that God prepares for us that no mere human words could ever describe (Ezek. 43:7-9; 44:9-16; 48:11, 35; Luke 16:9; John 8:35; 14:28; Acts 1:10-11; Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:16-19; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1).

 

Promise of Eternity PI

eternity b

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.” Revelation 21:1

John 14:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 21:1-4

What to expect? Total renovation!  God will be making all things new, and we have hope beyond wonder as a new heaven and a new earth will be formed.  We can take comfort that God will remove evil from humanity, separating out the good. The old earth and heaven will be restored prior to sin; even fear will be gone.  In Revelation, everyone is celebrating, shouting that the presence of God is now among us all, as God Himself now lives with us and within us for eternity.

Then, the greatest comfort is given; God wipes away all of our sorrows and fears so there is no more death, suffering, or pain as evil is wiped away for good.

God’s Word is true and trustworthy.  He reveals one of His names, the first and last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  He promises refreshment to quench the thirst of all who are victorious in Christ, who will inherit everlasting life.  Christ gives us springs of water without charging us what is owed, and thus, His grace continues.  But, God will also keep His promise of judgment; all those who are evil will be removed from those who are good, and all those evil people will be sent to hell for all eternity.

New, in context, means “rejuvenated.”  God is changing the “old order of things,” but that does not necessarily mean He is replacing it.  As Paul states, we are being reconditioned in Christ by our “new” covenant of grace, as the “old” is passed away (Gen 3:17; Is. 51:15-16; 65:17; 66:22; Rom. 8:18-23; 2 Cor. 5:17).

New heaven and a new earth. This theme comes from Isaiah 65, teaching that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe.  As Christians, we will be “transfigured” so we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil.  An “extreme makeover” where the entire creation is restored to its original parameters-before sin corrupted everything-and we receive our new bodies (Gen. 1:1; Is. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57).

This IS God the Creator, Redeemer, and Consummator communing with us and making a total transformation and renovation of His creation!

He will bring all things to fruition. He will bring peace and a future to those in Christ!  As magnificent as this is, it is only the backdrop of what will be going on; the far more spectacular “center stage” is that God IS among us.  He is our Lord, Protector, and Sustainer.  He will remove the evil; so those who are in Him will never hear, “depart from me.” Rather, we will hear “come to me and I will give you rest.” He has saved us, but here is how He continues to save us as His grace is continually at work, involved, and shepherding us now and for eternity. He promises us all things new, and for those who reject Him, all things of judgment.  In the meantime, we have Christ in us now, empowering us-a preview, and a real, effectual presence and hope for us now. This is to inspire us for faith, reliability, and steadfastness in our Christian life (Ex. 33:14; Matt. 7:23; 11:28-30; 25:41; John 5:22).

Our lives here on earth, whether joyful or in suffering, is not the end of the story!  God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings!

Christ will “wipe away every tear.” This must resound in us not just for our personal hope and comfort, but also to enable us to trust in Christ for all things and situations.  Those in Christ are His and His for all time; there is no fear or dread when we are with our Lord King.  He IS the Alpha and Omega.  He will bring all things new to those who know and love Him, and judgment to those who fight Him. We can be encouraged, as we have hope, reason, and purpose, to be faithful because of our confidence in Him, producing active faith that glorifies Christ and builds His kingdom (Eph 1:14; Heb. 12: 18-29)!

 

 

 

 

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PV

How would you express the importance of our connectivity to Christ to produce faith and fruit? How can you do this more even in times of harassment and/or doubt?

Now, let’s look at some of the key words in this passage. Remember, Biblical Eschatology has more to do with our faith ecology than misguided theories!

“Do whatever you ask.” Meaning to identity with His purpose, plan, and call. The call here is to expand one’s faith and thinking so Christ is all and working in and through us. In Jewish teachings, God provided a call to His pious people and provided for all who serve God because of the intimate relationship they and we have. But this is always in context to God’s will and providence and never an excuse for us to abuse or some kind of magic formula for success (Luke 11:1-13; John 15:16; 1 John 5:14).

Name” Refers to expressing the consistent name of God with reverence in prayer without uttering His Holy Name Yahweh, to seek His glory and not one’s own. For a person, it means to defend the honor and give respect to that person as you represent them and as you pass on their traditions. This also means to address them in person and when away from them, continue with respect and reverence and act accordingly to their authority.

Here, it is the same to Christ to honor Him and act in accordance to His call and commands, because we reflect His reputation. In contrast, the pagans used the names of their gods to manipulate them to get what they wanted for their own desires and power and control which was considered the utmost of wickedness, because only God is to be in control and honored (Ex. 5:23; Deut. 18:5-7, 19-22; 1 Kings 18:24-32; 2 Kings 2:24; Psalm 9:2; 18:49; 118:10-11; Prov. 18:10; Jer. 14:14-15; John 2:23).

Glory to the Father.” Meaning what we do in prayer echoes into eternity. To praise God for all He is doing and can do in my life. To be conformed to His likeness, to perceive before we receive. The key to a successful Christian life, ministry, and church is prayer. There is no way around it (Psalm 2:7; John 12:41; Philip. 2:11).

I will do it.” This is perhaps one of the most abused passages in the Bible; taken out of context, it is to satisfy one’s lust for power and control.

What does it mean to you what Christ wants us to do with the preparedness of His Second Coming?

What does it mean to you to Trust in God? How do you respond when someone says, do not be afraid or troubled?

What do you need more of to be comforted and empowered in Him?

What do you need to do to have peace and contentment, even when your situation does not offer or have it?

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PIV

What is the point of  John 14 and the Second coming? We are to be prepared by our faith not by our wayward theories!

“I am the way and the truth and the life!”

Meaning Jesus is the way to the Father. Jesus is exclusive, the only living Temple, Beacon, and Gate to God! The “way” in the Hebrew writings, refers to the pursuit of righteousness as one journeys through the wilderness of the tough times of waiting and confusion-even suffering. It is a beacon and we are to focus on Christ.

Truth in this context means He fulfills the Law and teachings of the Old Testament. Life means there is no existence without Him and there is no salvation without His atonement, redemption, and grace. Christians were first called “the Way” (Ex. 16:33; Lev. 10:2; 16; Num. 17:5; Matt. 7:14; John 1:1-4, 14; 3:16-18; 5:26, 33; 11:25-26; 18:37; Acts 4:12; 9:2; 19:9, 23; Rom. 10:14-15; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 10:19-20;1 John 5:12).

This question is far more important to our spiritual formation than any the ones of the false teacher crowd or the prideful teacher bergade:

How do you feel about your personal Christianity and that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe?

No one comes.” There is only one True God and only One right way and Jesus is that Only way and path to God, Heaven, and real righteousness!

Philip asked an impossible act, an appearance that even Moses was not allowed to see. This would have been a ridiculous question for a Jew to ask on one hand and yet a beginning to a statement of faith that Philip did not quite understand, but was starting to realize-that Jesus is God (Ex. 24:10; 33:18; Isa. 6:1; Ezek. 1:26-28; John 1:18; 14:21-22).

“I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me.” This is a dynamic and dramatic expression of the Divinity of Jesus, that there is One True God, yet distinct personalities, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each sharing the same mutual, united, reciprocal indwelling essence. This is also an emphatic  statement for the Trinity, for the Whole of Godhood expressed in this one passage (John 10:38; 17:21; 2 Cor. 13:14).

Faith in me.” This is not just knowledge of God, rather an intimate connection that He first offers to use unity with us in His work for our redemption. All the blessings and wonder that we have and can have are locked up in Christ and He gives us the key of faith turned by our faith, commitment, and obedience.

“Greater things” or “works.” Works here do not mean miracles; rather, this refers to righteous deeds and a greater number of them in amounts, cultures, and regions of people transformed.

Consider that Jesus was limited to Palestine as he walked this earth; we have had the whole world to go at with the full force of the Church for many centuries, over twenty thus far. Thus, when Jesus went to the Father and sent us the Holy Spirit, the work began at Pentecost. This “works” (Greek ergon) does not mean miracles like signs and wonders, that is a different word rendering; rather, here it is a call that the Disciples through us today will have a greater Kingdom impact and expansion than when Jesus walked the earth.

How and why?

Mainly because Christ work is multiplied through His Disciples and then their Disciples and so on. Also, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the exponential increase of followers and opportunities are included (1 Kings 17:22; Matt. 28:18-19; John 2:11; 5:17; 7:21, 39; 8:39; 10:32; 14:16-17, 26; 15:13, 26; 16:7; 19:30; Acts 1-2).

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PIII

Is there an immanency in this passage? A rapture here?

A paraphrase, Then Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, still not quite getting it. Jesus responds, you do not know Who I am after all this time? If you have seen Me, then you have seen the Father! So, why do you ask? I am in the Father and the Father is in Me and lives and works through Me. All you have to do is believe in Me because I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. The Truth is, anyone who believes in Me will carry on my work and even on a greater scale because I will be with the Father helping you. You can ask anything of me in my Name and I will provide for you in this great work; ask in my name for radical faith and I will give it!

What is going on? Jesus not only reveals to us the Father, He takes us to the Father. In this way, Jesus comforts, encourages, admonishes, and coaches while He gives testimony to His role and the events of His upcoming Passion.

So what does “Take you” mean? Here it is referring that Jesus is our only way, He is taking us to the Father in a personal impacting and transforming relationship! He is the gate and stairway to Heaven; there is no other way to God except through Him.
“Take you” is about Who and what Jesus did and does, the resurrection of the dead that leads to a new life, our life after death that Jesus is able to provide by His death and resurrection.

This can also refer to the Second Coming or the new age of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. It has nothing to do with a so called ‘rapture!’ Look at the word meanings, the context….

But, moreover, more importantly, this is about Jesus as our Rescuer and Redeemer; He took on our human nature but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay the debt for our sins.

In the process, His human nature voluntarily became lower than the angels, but as Fully God He is superior to them in essence, power, purpose, and distinction (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 2: 7, 14-15).

Let’s look at the next key word for context, Know the way…to Who He is and where He went so we know where we are to go. In simpler terms, we need to ask what would Jesus have me do and then do it.

What does this mean? By knowing Christ and His Word we can know Truth and the path of God’s will that we are to follow. This is what we do on earth that echoes into eternity where we receive our rewards. We do this by Christ alone by faith alone. No other aspect of what we can do such as “works,” can give us merit; rather, our salvation is the result of His working in us (John 1:23; Rom. 1:16; 10:4-17; James 2:14-26).

This passage has been greatly abused by many so-called pastors who read it out of context and inserted their own feelings as truth. This is not about a rapture or a guarantee or a give to get scheme or a get because you believe. Rather, this is an invitation to radical faith.

We often get more than we want and have more than we need and do better in His will than ours. We are limited in thinking and power and He is not. God is not promoting Himself as a vending machine or a flying trip. Rather, He is saying we can trust in Him totally and completely with all we have now and for our future.

What is more relevant and important which is usually not taught in this passage? The perpetration of our spiritual formation. Because, He is not just preparing a place for us in eternity, He is preparing us for eternity too! What we go through is not just about sin in an unfair world, it is the building up of faith and being that display a beacon to a dimly lit world that needs His Light. Isn’t that far more important than arguing dates, strategies and raptures?

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PII

Is there an immanency in this passage? Yes, one that demands our faith development and deployment!

How would a glimpse of what Heaven will be like give you hope? What else gives you hope?

This passage starts what is called Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” where He gives His most passionate and important instructions to His Disciples and us. Here, Jesus is not consumed with His own coming agony, but rather turns His attention to His Disciples and their needs.

Let look at a key word about Heaven, Father’s house. This words means that Heaven where God’s presence dwells with us, as opposed to Hell where God’s presence is absent. This is our ultimate future hope and residence, our future reward and our current motivation to pursue righteousness. Classically in Judaism, this meant the Temple, God’s dwelling on earth, where God dwelt amongst His people. Here, this refers to our heavenly dwelling place that God prepares for us that no mere human words could ever describe (Ezek. 43:7-9; 44:9-16; 48:11, 35; Luke 16:9; John 8:35; 14:28; Acts 1:10-11; Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:16-19; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1).

Now let’s look what is waiting for us, Many rooms / mansions. Meaning to dwell and remain in God. This is figurative language because this “non-corporeal” (not a normal flesh and blood human existence) or metaphysical wonder can’t be explained in human language. In addition, “small” does not mean “limiting” here. This is also a fulfillment of the celebration of the “Feast of Booths” that acted in converse to God dwelling in the Temple as people lived in tents to dwell with God (John 2:21; 14:16-23; 15:1-7; 1 Cor. 2:9; 4:5; Col. 3:18-4-1; Rev. 22:12).

And what is He doing? Prepare a place.  Jesus is preparing for us, those He chooses, an eternal home; Heaven.

This is not just a residence; rather proof that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe. He will bring all things to fruition. He brings peace and a future to those in Him. Thus, God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings and we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil. Jesus is not just preparing a place for us in Heaven; He is preparing us by our journey of faith in the here and now too (Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8)!

What is this all about? What is waiting for being in Christ and exercising our faithfulness!

This is the greatest carrot on a stick for us, Heaven, is that inheritance God is promising us beyond our scope of understanding. How incredibly wondrous this must be; our place and security is in Heaven to come and our joy can then be declared and lived out. This is also what we receive, our reward for all that we have done and endured for Christ and His children and the opportunities He gave us. This is what we look forward to, our dwelling with Christ, and what can also motivate us in the here and now.

Did you know that Jesus is not just preparing a place for you in Heaven; He is preparing you first by your journey of faith now too? How can this help you overcome fears and doubts?

John 14:1-14 and the Second Coming! PI

Do you have the ultimate hope and assurance that you are not made for this world, that your true home is heaven? How do you feel about this?

Read the passage and do not read into it what you want; rather just read it. Now look what is going on. First off the point of this passage is simple, it is as what it says, Jesus is the Only Way!”

The context is that Jesus is facing betrayal. He warns them not only of His impending death, but also of the trials they will face in building the Kingdom. He shows us that He is the way, the role of the Holy Spirit, the importance of our connectivity to Him to produce faith and fruit, and that even in persecution, we will always be comforted as we remain in Him He turns to His Disciples to comfort them and says; do not be afraid or troubled! Trust in God; trust in Me. He then gives them a picture of hope by showing them a glimpse of what Heaven will be like (John 14:1-16:33)..

A paraphrase, In Heaven there will be many rooms in My Father’s Home, one made up especially for each of you! I will prepare it personally and at the right time, I will come and get you and you will always be with Me. You will know all about it and how to get there. But, Thomas jumps in and says no Lord; we do not know how or where to go! Jesus comforts him with this startling revelation,

I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life! No one can come to the Father except through Me!

Jesus wants to get our attention of what is important, to not be afraid. “Do not fear!” This was often a response of an Angel to those who were awe struck and also one that God gave His Prophets when they were in dire times.

He tells us to not let our Hearts be troubled. The significance of this is to not fear or fret, but have a transcending peace and contentment even when the situation does not offer or give it. This is a depiction of the supreme comfort that we get from our Lord in a world filled with sin-bad choices surrounded by treachery, deceit, failures, and sacrifice.

And the primary point of all this that is often missed? To Trust as in to believe in God. This is a call to a personal relationship-unity with conviction with Christ, and it is a command to step up to faith, our response to the call of God with trust in Him through times of danger and fear. This is a depiction of a righteous person’s proper dependence upon Jesus as He is exemplified.

Jesus is our Sanctuary; He is the Eternal God on whom we can rely and not only give our life to, but also live our life for (2 Sam. 2:3; Isa. 8:17; 28:16; Psalm 118:22; Isa. 8:14-18; 28:16; John 13:36; Heb. 2:13)

What do you lack to have more wholehearted commitment to faith? What gets in your way of follow-through and obedience?