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lwpray
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 Re: The Holy City



JUDGMENT ACCORDING TO THE JASPER STONE
We will come to another feature of the Divine nature to be produced, not in some imaginary thing called the Church, but in you and in me.
We have already seen that the all-inclusive character of the city is gold. Pure gold is the dominating presentation of this city, and we have seen that in the Bible gold is always the symbol of Divine character, especially love. We considered that last time. Now we are going to look at the first feature of that Divine nature. If you have read carefully those passages cited you will have noticed that there was one idea in all of them - that which is ”clear as crystal”. It says that the city is like ”a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Jasper, as a symbol of clearness, is mentioned in all the main connections of this book of the Revelation. Immediately the Lord has dealt with the seven churches in Asia, the second part of the book begins, and the Apostle John says that he saw ”a door opened in heaven... a throne set in heaven... and he that sat was to look upon like a jasper stone” (Revelation 4:1-3).

The churches have been judged, and now all the world, and everything else, is going to be judged, for the throne means judgment. It is the governing of everything from heaven, and everything is going to be judged in the light of the jasper stone, that is, according to that Divine nature which is absolutely clear. The churches have been judged in that light, and the world is to be judged in that light. It is judgment according to what is absolutely TRUE. Did you hear that word? Transparent - you can see right through it. There is nothing here that is not perfectly clear and true. There is no darkness whatever in the Divine nature - it is perfectly transparent. There is nothing false about God, nothing that is not real. There is no mixture of two contradictory things in the nature of God, nothing that is imitation or artificial. There is no hypocrisy in the nature of God and nothing that deceives or pretends to be what it is not. It takes all these words, and many more, to get to this characteristic of God, which is complete purity, clear as crystal.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/16 16:10Profile
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 Re: The Holy City



THE LIE AN ABOMINATION TO GOD
In this description of the city John says that nothing can enter in that makes a lie, and he calls the lie ”an abomination”. That which is not absolutely true is an abomination to God. In this way the Lord Jesus showed what God’s nature is like. The strongest and most terrible things that came through His lips were against hypocrisy. I would not like to have been there on that day when He looked at the Pharisees and said: ”Ye hypocrites!” ”Hypocrite” just means ”play actor” - he is on the stage of this world playing a part which is not real and true. In the face of the Lord Jesus there was anger against what was not genuine. We read those terrible words from John 8 when He said to those Pharisees: ’You are of your father, the devil, and the works of your father you will to do. He is a liar and the father of lies. When he speaks a lie he speaks of what he himself is.’



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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/17 0:52Profile
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 Re: The Holy City



THE ENTRY OF THE LIE INTO THIS WORLD
That brings us to an issue which has a very long and terrible history. Jesus was thinking of what happened right back at the beginning in the Garden, when Satan told a lie about God and Adam accepted it. The whole history of the terrible tragedy of this world came from that lie. There is a lie right at the heart of this universe, and there is no truth in this universe outside of God. The history of this fallen creation is the history of a lie.
Jesus said of Satan that he ”abode not in the truth”. Therefore he must have been in the truth at some time, and at some point he abode not in the truth. He departed from it and the terrible judgment of God fell upon him and all those who shared the lie with him. So he came to impart his own lie and nature to man, God’s creation, and the Apostle says: ”The whole world lieth in the evil one” (1 John 5:19). This is a very long and terrible history, but it is coming to its climax now. One of the most powerful influences in this world today is that which does not believe there is truth. It says with Pilate: ’What is truth? There is no such thing as truth. It is just as good to live by lies as it is to live by anything else.’ That ideology is spreading over all the world - cynicism as to truth. This world is a deceived world, and Christians know how artificial, unreal and empty this world is. Here we are face to face with one of the most solemn issues in the whole history of this world.


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Lars Widerberg

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 Re: The Holy City



GOD’S ANSWER TO THE LIE
It was in relation to this historic lie that the Son of God became incarnate in this world. Jesus said: ”I am the truth” (John 14:6), and ”To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37). Jesus is the embodiment of the great answer to the history of the lie. That is why the devil hated Him so much, and why those who were children of the devil, according to His word, hated Him so much. He tore the mask of their hypocrisy and their play-acting in religion off from them. He exposed their true nature and, driven by the devil, they took counsel to destroy Him. Truth with the Lord Jesus was not just some abstract thing. It was not just that He spoke the truth - He WAS the truth. He became a personal power in this universe, a mighty, effective witness against all that was not true. When Jesus came into this world the battle was on between the truth and the lie, and He was only just born into the world when that great hypocrite, that false man, Herod, sought to destroy Him.
Jesus is the truth. In Him there is no darkness at all, and that is why He could also say: ”I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/17 10:40Profile
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 Re: The Holy City



THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH
The Holy Spirit is called ”The Spirit of Truth” (John 16:13). Jesus said: ”When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth”, and: ”The Spirit of truth... for he abideth with you, AND SHALL BE IN YOU” (John 14:17). Jesus was saying: ’What I have been outside of you the Holy Spirit will be IN you.’ ”Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) - free from the lie. So John says: ”As His anointing teacheth you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie.”
Now you can see how we are coming to the city. Dear friends, do try and be patient with me, for I am dealing with something of very serious consequence and this is God’s solemn truth. If this city represents any great spiritual principle of the Divine nature, and if the One upon the throne of government is as a jasper stone, we are all going to be judged according to what is now being said.

A GLORIOUS CHURCH
Well, then, here in the symbolism of the city the Church, in relation to Jesus Christ, is presented. The Apostle Paul said that He is going to ”present the church to himself a glorious church” (Ephesians 5:27), and here it is at last, ”having the glory of God”. But then the Apostle defines what he means by ”a glorious church” - ”not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing.” That means not having any dark thing in it, or any of the marks of this deceived creation - in a word, nothing that is not absolutely true.
All this may sound very terrible to you, and I expect some of you are saying: ’Why is he talking to us like that?’ Well, I am talking to myself just as much as to you. What is the Holy Spirit seeking to do in you and in me? He is seeking, on the one side, to deliver us from that nature of ours which is so impure, and, on the other side, to bring into us the nature of the Lord. The Lord, the Spirit, is trying to purify the gold until it is like transparent glass, that is, a gold which is quite different from what is natural. Is there anyone who has seen transparent gold like glass? A piece of gold which you can look right through as you can look through a window? Well, I have seen a lot of gold in many parts of the world, but I have never seen any like that! This is something that is not natural: it is Divine. This is not what we are by nature, but it is what we are going to be by grace. To change the metaphor: ’Whiter than the snow’. That is why I chose that hymn this morning. I had been looking out of my window upon the Blümlisalp and I saw that perfectly white snow glistening in the sun. I said: ’Is there anything whiter than that snow?’, and then the Word of God came: ”Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Later on we shall have to see the place of the Lamb in the city and then we shall see why the city is transparent like pure gold.
You see, this book of the Revelation gives us a picture of the Church at last arrayed in white robes, clothed in that pure, righteous nature of God and “they shall walk with me in white” (Revelation 3:4).
The message of this book of the Revelation comes from one who says: “He that is true” (Revelation 3:7).
Dear friends, the Lord wants us to be people who are real, genuine and transparent. You know, fellowship is impossible unless there is absolute transparency. It says that the street (and there is only one street) of the city is PURE gold. It is going to be the fellowship of the Lord’s people in absolute transparency. You cannot have that fellowship while you are suspecting one another, while you are not sure about the motive of the other person, and while you have to say: ‘Now, I wonder what he - or she - is after! I wonder if he is trying to find something out! I wonder if he is trying to get hold of something that he can use against me! I don’t trust him. There is something about him that is not transparent.’ You see, that is the world. You cannot have fellowship when it is like that, and if you want to mingle on the golden piazza it will only be if all that is not true, real and genuine has been removed.
The Lord cleanse our hearts and our minds from all that is not true!



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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/17 15:55Profile
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 Re: The Holy City



THE HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM”
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter Seven
“A WALL GREAT AND HIGH”
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and shewed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal: having a wall great and high; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east were three gates, and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb... And he measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. And the building of the wall thereof was jasper” (Revelation 21:10-14,17,18).
We remember that this city, and all connected with it, is a symbolic representation of Jesus Christ and His redeemed Church. Everything here is a representation of the spiritual characteristics of Jesus Christ, and of those characteristics to be expressed in the Church; and here we are in the presence of the foreshadowed fullness of the realization of that.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/18 0:41Profile
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 Re: The Holy City



WHY A WALL?
We now come to the wall of the city: “Having a wall great and high.” The measurement of the wall is given - one hundred and forty-four cubits, or twelve by twelve. Just keep that in mind for a minute. I suppose one hundred and forty-four cubits does not mean much to you, but if I tell you that the height of this wall is seventy-two metres (216 feet), you will realize that it is a pretty high wall, and the fact that this city should require such a high wall has a very real meaning. I said that it was twelve multiplied by twelve, and in the Bible symbolism of numbers twelve represents government. We are going to come upon the number twelve quite a lot of times in this connection.
So when we contemplate this wall we are contemplating that which governs everything. It is what this wall represents that governs what can come inside and be a part of the city. Why do you put up a wall? Why do you have walls to your houses and around your ground?


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/18 0:44Profile
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 Re: The Holy City



A BOUNDARY
The answer is that a wall represents a boundary. It demarcates an area. People may come toward your house, but your wall will limit their progress. The wall says ‘So far, and no farther. What is outside may be yours, but what is inside is mine.’ So it is with the wall of this city. It determines what is of God and what is not of God. Presently you will be told what is outside the city, and if you look at those things you will see that they are all things which are not at all acceptable to God. In our last chapter we spoke about the lie, and it is said that that which makes a lie cannot come into the city. So, in the first place, the wall is a boundary between what is of God and what is not of God; and when you examine this wall and see what its foundations are - ”all manner of precious stones” - then you are seeing, in a symbolic way, the character of God in its many aspects.
So the wall is a testimony of God; firstly, the testimony to what God is like, and then the testimony that only that which is like God can come into this Church.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/19 2:20Profile
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 Re: The Holy City



PROTECTION FROM EVIL
Then the wall is ”great and high”. Like the city, it is very substantial, and you are not going to get through, or over, this very easily. If you try to get into THIS Church of God in a way that is contrary to Him, you are going to meet God. We are told in this connection that this is where God dwells. The tabernacle of God is here, and it says: ”He shall dwell with them” (21:3). Therefore, anything that tries to get in where God is has to meet God.
I think we are too careless in our language about going to heaven. If you ask anyone if he, or she, is going to heaven, they will say: ’Well, yes, I hope so.’ You all hope to get to heaven, but there is a great and high wall round heaven and we have to get through that wall to get in where God is in order to dwell with Him. Again I say: it is a ”great and HIGH wall”. This wall is not an easy thing to negotiate.
The wall is nothing other than the nature of God. That is why I mentioned twelve times twelve. It is government twelve times repeated, and it is the government of the very nature of God.
So we come to the second thing about a wall: A wall is for protection, to keep out all things that are harmful and dangerous. That is what the nature of God is - a defence and protection against everything evil.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/19 14:41Profile
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 Re: The Holy City



HOW DO WE GET THROUGH?
Now I am coming to something very practical in this. You know, men put up walls around the Church. They have put up thousands of walls around it. There is the wall of denominationalism, which men have put up, and the wall of certain men’s names, such as Lutheranism and Wesleyism, and I could go on with a lot of other names that you know, and if you want to come into the Church you have to come in under one of these names. Sometimes it is the wall of a particular kind of teaching, and if you do not accept that teaching you cannot come into the Church. Sometimes it is a technical system of ’how it is done’, and if you do not conform to this particular way of doing things, you cannot come into the Church. Well, I could go on like that. The walls that men have put up are so many, but I have studied these verses about the wall and I don’t think I have made a mistake - I cannot find what is of man as defining this boundary.

What can I find on this wall? All I can find is the nature of God manifested in Jesus Christ, and that is the only exclusiveness that God recognizes. You will get in here without any trouble if the nature of Jesus Christ is in you. There are twelve angels at the twelve gates, and when you come to a gate no angel will ask you: ’What denomination do you belong to? What particular line of teaching do you hold?’ The angel will look at you and at me, and everyone who wants to get in, and angels do not have to ask questions. They know at once without asking any questions, for the only thing they want to know is: ’Is Jesus Christ in your life? How much are you like Him? How much of Jesus Christ is there in you?’ That is the only standard of judgment for being where God is. Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ into your life? Since you did that have you been allowing Him to possess you more and more fully? Has there been a continual increase of Christ in your life? That is the basis of Judgment, and that is the thing which determines whether we can come in or whether we stay out.

Do you think that that is mystical and abstract? Well, let us be very practical. When you travel about this world, as I do, you meet many people. Then one day you meet a certain person. It may be that he or she gets into a train where you are, or it may be in some other place. There are other people there, but there is something about this person that makes you say to yourself: ’He is a Christian, I am sure’, or ’I am quite sure that she is a Christian.’ No word has been spoken, and up to that point you have not said anything, but presently you begin to ask questions, and it is not long before you discover that you are right. This is another child of God! You say: ’I knew you were!’ ’Oh, how did you know I was a Christian? I never told you I was.’ ’You did not have to tell me. There is something about you that tells me that you belong to the Lord, something quite different from the other people.’

Now that is very simple, but is it true? Why, you can tell in a meeting like this who are really the Lord’s people, and anyone who is not the Lord’s. That will be what the angels look for at the gates.
Of course, that is only an illustrative way of putting it. We are speaking about dwelling with God in time and in eternity, but it is only possible to dwell with Him if His nature is in us.
I just want to repeat one sentence: That is the only exclusiveness that God recognizes. We are in, or we are out, according to the measure of Christ in us.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/20 0:39Profile





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