Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Revelation 21:9-14

Revelation 21:9-14
And one out of the seven angels who have the seven bowls that are full of the last seven plagues came and he called out with me while saying, “Come here, I will point out to you the bride – the woman of the lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit upon a great and high mountain.  And he pointed out to me the holy city Jerusalem while coming down out of heaven from God while having the glory of God.  Her cause of light is of a similar nature as precious stone – a jasper stone that is being clear as crystal – while having a great and high wall, while having twelve gateways – and upon the gateways are twelve angels and having names been written that are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel – three gateways from the east, three gateways from the north, three gateways from the south, and three gateways from the west.  And the wall of the city while having twelve foundations and upon the them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the lamb.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

As I pondered this passage today, I wondered why it is important to John to tells us that the angel from today is one of the same angels as brought the last of the plagues upon the earth in judgment.  Could it be just a passing story detail, one that John uses to make the vision feel continuous?  Sure, that is always a possibility.  But I think that there is more to learn here.  John is showing us that those who do the will of the Father do both pleasant tasks and unpleasant ones.  The same angel that gets to show John the glorious city in the life eternal is one of the angels who brought the last of the condemnations upon this earth.  Sometimes we get joy in what we do because the task is fun, pleasing, or productive.  Sometimes we get joy in what we do not because the task is pleasant but rather because we are doing the will of the Father.  What important is our obedience, not whether we are getting to do the pleasant or the unpleasant.

Do you prefer to do the pleasant or the unpleasant?  What human examples in the Word of God can you think about who get to do both the pleasant and the unpleasant tasks in God?

Second Thought:

We now turn our perspective to the city.  There is a good deal of debate about the cause of light in the city.  Purists, and traditionalists, argue that God is the source of the light.  Certainly that perspective is supported by other passages in the New Testament.  Jesus is the light of the world.  However, the passage actually reads more as though it is the shining has to do with the people dwelling within.  After all, the greater context of this passage is that the angel is showing John the bride of Christ, that is, His followers.  Could it be that the very glory of God is those who follow Him?  Isn’t that a great thought!  We are the very glory of God.  He is not glorious because of us.  But we are the glory through which He shines!

In what way is God the light of your life?  How is He the light of the world?  In what way does God’s glory radiate through you?

Third Thought:

Lastly, let’s begin to make an analysis of this city.  We’re going to begin by looking at the walls.  The walls are most certainly symbolic representations of faith.  Faith is our bastion.  Furthermore, look at the foundation of the walls.  We might be surprised to see that Christ is not labeled the foundation.  Actually, the twelve apostles are called the foundation of these walls.  If we think about it for a second, though, this should make sense.  After all, where was the origination of the faith that grew into the church of God?  Of course, it was in the apostles, who through the Spirit of God caused it to spread to others!  Naturally, this leads us back to Christ.  After all, where did those apostles get their faith?  Of course, they got it from Christ.  Therefore, Christ is actually the real foundation.  It is Christ who imparted faith into His apostles, who imitated His example and imparted faith into us.

Who has God used to impart His faith into you?  How does it feel to know that you quite literally are a part of His great city?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 21:15-21
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