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A Cleansing Fire - The Book of Revelation
Week 44, 2018
Revelation is the only book in the Bible that we are promised a blessing just for reading. As it would be too lengthy to go into the meaning of all the details about the New Jerusalem described, let us read it and ask The Lord for insight. This is not just to understand it, but to take our place in it as one of the great souls who lived by faith in God and gave all to be a part of what He is building.
The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.
The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.
And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.
The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;
the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;
and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;
and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life (Revelation 21:15-27).
This is what the church, the bride of Christ, will be in the age to come. Like the stones on the High Priest’s breastplate that represented the tribes of Israel, these stones are a revelation of the character of those who become a part of this city of “living stones.”
After the flood, The Lord promised to never again destroy the earth with water. As we have previously discussed, the earth was not actually destroyed by the flood, but all of the works of man were. The words often translated “earth” or “world” are not implying terra firma, but the arrangement on the earth, or what man built. These will never again be destroyed by a world-wide flood, but as we see in II Peter 3:7:
“But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
A revelation of what this fire that the present heavens and earth are being kept for is in I Corinthians 3:10-17:
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
We have in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians the gold, silver, and precious stones being related to the church, just as we see the New Jerusalem built out of them. Then Paul explains how any man’s work will be tested by fire to be sure he built out of these, or wood, hay, and straw. This fire to test the quality of everyone’s work will come upon the church first, as we are told in I Peter 4:17: “judgment begins with the household of God.” It begins with the household of God, but it will come upon the whole earth.
This fire is not literal fire. As fire is often used in biblical prophecy as a metaphor for trials or tribulation, this is a prophecy of how the tribulation at the end of the age will test the quality of everyone’s work. All not built upon the only Foundation that will remain, Christ, will be consumed in it.
The city of God is built out of living stones, those who built with Him instead of trying to build without Him. How much of what we have built in our own lives has been with Him or without Him will be an ultimate question at the end. We cannot run this world without Him, and we cannot build anything that will last without Him. As we are told in Ecclesiastes 3:14:
“I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.”
next week 45