When is a city NOT a city?
In the Book of Revelations, there is a section that it seems that everyone whose scholarship awards them to believe that New Jerusalem is a real city coming down from the eternal? The only problem is, these same folks only know English translations no matter the version, and simply accept this to be the case without paying attention to what the Scripture said. Want to jump in here with me? Want to see if what I am saying is God’s Word or just a novel speculation, ideology, doctrine, or some insane religious concept? I say let’s find out.
First off, why would I make such challenge? Simple, because being one of those people from when I used to believe it that way myself, and discovering Truth other than traditional mindset or thought, I am now set free from the religiosities of the traditional teaching.
There are a lot of things I used to believe, but don’t anymore. I used to think of so many things, and as a concept not onlt accepted them, but pushed them, even though now I see Truth for what it is. The problem is that believing thing we as a human being gets entangled with. So, allow me to unpack Scripture, and allow The Bible the capability to point it out. You’ll be surprised to know Truth and when you know it, you are free from the winds of doctrine that blows us to and fro.
First before I go there -allow me to set the stage.
Know that you must be teachable. You are either this or the opposite, meaning you are stubborn, stuck in religiosity, and overwhelmed with what religion as poured down your spiritual throats. It is ok, because it was poured down mine, and i took turn at pouring down others, myself. I was wrong!
The Bible says where Paul writes saying,
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, TOSSED TO AND FRO and CARRIED ABOUT BY EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Did you notice that doctrine that is being plotted out is coming from those tricks of the trade? The secondary result is being tossed to and fro. Let me tell you -there is not my truth and your truth. There is only ONE TRUTH! It just so happened to come from God!
Now to the city!
We have been told and i bought it, believed it, and preached it that one day God was going to deliver us a New Jerusalem, and it would fly down from Heaven. And there we are going to walk on streets of Gold. The only problem is, there is NO VERSE IN THE BIBLE THAT SAYS THAT WE WILL WALK ON STREETS OF GOLD! NOPE! NOT ONE!
Go ahead – get mad! It is not there! it is assumed! it is because of the first deceit that was engaged that caused the second to be wrong. Oh – Don’t worry – I too got mad, until I saw it for myself. Instead of trusting something that was said, maybe we should try to listen to what the Bible said, consider the context, and apply the reality of God’s Word doesn’t have different truths. It may have varying levels of Truth, but it will never have two things differently to believe. Here we go!
The passage in Revelation where the idea that it is a real city says,
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
From this passage we have come to the conclusion traditionally that this is a real place. Later on John writes saying,
“…And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” (verse 21b)
And this is where we ASSUME that we will get to walk on streets of pure gold. Now the problem is simply it doesn’t say that. Again, we assume it. The problem with assumption is, well you know.
So, how do you john say that it is not a real city? Simple, because in this passage is the real answer, and not the fable or tale that it is a real city. Understand that this it all types and shadows of something else. We do it all throughout the Book, depicting some things to be allegory, while others we take face value? Why and who gets to decide what is allegorical, and when is it truth, plainly spoken as to what it says.
The truth is both are true. Here is a allegory, and a truth at the same time. The problem is we were not paying attention to what it said, but rather who was it that was telling us. We listened to the person teaching us that it was a city and didn’t bother to read it for ourselves.
Let’s take a closer look at the Scripture. I will add emphasis to what we didn’t pay close enough attention to for your eyes to read it.
God – Father show the people Truth – Do not let them hear me, but le t them hear You!
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, SAW THE HOLY CITY, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared AS A BRIDE adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying,”
“Behold, THE TABERNACLE OF GOD (is = this word is not in original language – read w/o the word IS again) WITH MEN, and (Greek = kai = better translated NAMELY) He will dwell with them, and (NAMELY) they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and (NAMELY) be their God. And (NAMELY) God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Verse 9 says, VERY PLAINLY,
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I WILL SHOW YOU THE BRIDE, THE LAMB’S WIFE.”
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, AND (NAMELY) SHOWED ME THE GREAT CITY…”
When is a city NOT a city?
When we are talking about New Jerusalem. Why? Because that city is ALL OF US CALLED HIS OWN!
It was right there the whole time. The angel showed John the Bride, and it just so happened to also be called NEW JERUSALEM. In other words, a NEW CITY OF PEACE (that’s what Jerusalem means).
So, if we are not going to walk on streets of Gold, then what does that mean? That is again typology. Anything that has to deal with our feet is speaking of our journey. So what does this road of gold speak of? Let’s let God answer that for us in His Word, what do you say? Would that be OK?
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.” (Psalms 37:23)
In other word, the reason that its gold is because Gold represents Deity. Gold is a type and shadow and speaks to us of God. The streets of Gold is revealing how that our steps are ordered of God.
In fact, John continues writing saying,
“And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
Gold so pure it is absolutely transparent, not just that but transparent GLASS! When we see glass in Scripture it speaks of to symbolize something that is clear, pure, or transparent. In some cases, glass can symbolize the righteousness of God or the purity of Christ.
What were we commanded to seek after again? Oh yeah, RIGHTEOUSNESS! Matthew said, when quoting Jesus saying,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and (NAMELY) His righteousness, and (NAMELY) all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
How can you have two firsts You can’t one is first. There are not two first, then that would be a tie. It is not AND meaning this AND that. It is not accumulative, it is only ONE. It is the one and the same. NAMELY! The Kingdom of God is NAMELY His Righteousness.
Now back to that Gold Road that is LIKE transparent glass. It didn’t say it was, it said it was like. In other words, our roads are paved with His Righteousness, and we journey that out! In the New City of Peace, in our journey where God orders our steps, in the eternal, we are going to have our every step made way for God to God with God. In fact, the very next two verses in Revelation says
“But I saw NO TEMPLE IN IT, (why?) for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb ARE its temple (no building there). The city (You and Me) had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine IN IT, for the glory (Glory is the Greek word DOXA = meaning His Likeness) of God illuminated it. The Lamb IS its light.”
My friends, i pray that you are just illuminated with a victory song! I pray that God has revealed this to you that you can now rest more in Him for the eternal WITH Him. So, there will be no little cabin on the side of the banks of the river Jordan? Nope! I do not have time this go around to discuss that.
Grace & Peace
Dr John Roberts THD