Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Revelation 21:15-21

Revelation 21:15-21
And the one who calls out with me was having a golden measuring rod in order that he should measure the city, its gateways, and its walls.  And the city laid as a square and its length was as much as its breadth.  He measured the city by the rod upon 12,000 stadia.  The length and the breadth and its height was equal.  And he measured the wall itself: 144 cubits – a measure of a man, that is of the angel.  And the inside of its wall was jasper; the city was pure gold – of a similar nature to pure glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city were having been adorned by every precious stone.  The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 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.  And the twelve gateways were twelve pearls, through the midst of one each of the gateways were out of one pearl.  And the broad street of the city was pure gold as transparent as glass.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Life is really only worth living if we can have a little fun along the way, right?  I’m not saying that the fun should be the goal, but certainly God created a marvelous word for it to be enjoyed.  Keep this in mind as we look at this section.  John tells us that the length, breadth, and height of this city is all the same!  In other words, Jerusalem is a giant cube if we take this passage literally!  (I can’t help but think about a Borg Cube from the sci-fi show Star Trek: The Next Generation.)  I personally think that this is a huge symbolic point.  The city of Jerusalem has three dimension, all of which are equal.  God Himself has three persons, all of whom are equal in the same being.  I believe that John is trying to give us a symbol to understand that God permeates New Jerusalem, especially since we saw yesterday that this New Jerusalem is itself a symbol of the people of God.

Can you see the symbol as it is presented her by John?  What does a symbolic point such as this show us about the creativity of God?  What does it show us about His ability to conceptualize ideas on many different levels without hesitation?

Second Thought:

There is another possibility as to why the city could be presented as a cube.  If you look back into the Old Testament when the regulations were being given to Moses regarding the creation of the Tabernacle, you find that many of the implements were perfect cubes.  The altar of burnt offerings, the altar of incenses, and the high-priest’s breastplate are all cubes.  In fact, even the Holy of Holies in the Temple was a perfect cube!  What does this tell us?  Remember how important the altar was with respect to righteousness?  Remember how important and pure the Holy of Holies was?  God could easily be reminding us that Jerusalem is to be His ultimate holy place.  Jerusalem is forever to be to God what the Holy of Holies was to Him in the Old Testament.  Jerusalem is the place bought out of sacrifice where all of His priests can go and commune with Him.

What does this less symbolic passage teach you about God?  Do you think either of these interpretations is wrong?  Do they conflict with one another?

Third Thought:

As we look to the precious gemstones as they are relayed in this passage, there is something really neat and symbolic that comes out of this reading if we don’t take it too literally.  In the ancient world, the people believed very much in what we call the Zodiac today.  Here is how the ancient people conceived the Zodiac:
Aries (The Ram) is amethyst, the Taurus (The Bull) is jacinth, Gemini (The Twins) is chrysoprase, Cancer (The Crab) is topaz, Leo (The Lion) is beryl, Virgo (The Virgin) is chrysolite, Libra (The Scales) is carnelian, Scorpio (The Scorpion) is sardonyx, Sagittarius (The Centaur/Archer) is emerald, Capricorn (The Goat) is chalcedony, Aquarius (The Water Carrier) is sapphire, and Pisces (The Fish) is jasper.
No, I’m not arguing that God has intentionally connected Himself to the Zodiac.  In fact, I’m actually saying the exact opposite.  In the ancient world, people believed that the way that you undo mystical power is to perform the mystical power backwards.  Do you notice something about the Zodiac?  Not only are all of the stones the same, they are presented in the exact opposite order!  I believe that what we have here is another symbolic message.  God is telling us that He is far superior to the other gods of the people.  God is telling us that He can undo the power of the other things that people call gods.  He is supreme.  His power rules over everything, even the gods of other people.  These gemstones are a symbolic proclamation to the supremacy of God!

Do you live as though God is supreme?  Do you live believing that God can undo any evil in the world?  How can your life be a witness to the fact that God can undo anything that works against His power?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 21:22-27
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