Thursday, February 5, 2015

Introduction To The World To Come – Part 2

Dearly Beloved,

In great humility and sincerity, God once confessed his need for a resting place (Isa 66:1-2). He saw that the heavens (his “office”) and the earth (his footstool) were waxing old like a garment (Ps. 102:26) and knew he would one day have to fold it like a vesture (Isa. 51:6/Heb. 1:10-12). Neither glorious Seraphs of the second heaven nor Cherubs of the third heaven could capacitate his glory but there was something about the soul of man which kept his mind preoccupied, because it had been destined to give him rest.

But sometime in BC 30, the Father found such an abode for the first time in the Person of his Son and he descended from heaven and proclaimed He had been pleasured! Painfully, the Father has only found such a dwelling place in an unknown few who have dared to disobey disobedience and subscribed to meals of the throne of God - and you and I must not be left out!

There is a constitution of life that all who will be part of God’s dwelling place must have. The perimeter of this life can be culled from the glorious walk of His Son and the early apostles. The standard is nothing less than what was REVEALED IN THE MAN CHRIST JESUS (1Tim. 2:5/Heb. 1:8). The revelation of the life of CHRIST is the knowledge that we must all must possess and also walk by to be qualified as part of the City (overcoming believers); the New Jerusalem, the eternal abode of the Father. As we walk by the revelation of the Lord, we make ourselves worthy of the City of our God (Rev. 21:2-3), thereby expressing the new creation life of the City in the days of our flesh (Rom. 4:1).

Please find below, full-version of part 2 of this series.

Graceful Reading!

Introduction To The World To Come – Part 2

One of the things we must NOT let our soul slip into is despising prophesying.  Despising prophesying is not only when you refuse somebody prophesying in a meeting; NO - You despise prophesying when the emphasis of the Word of the Lord to us as a church is not taken to heart. (1 Thess.5:20/Rev 2:11)

The emphasis of the spirit for some time now has been around the subject of “The Great Light”. The manner in which such light is coming is likened to when the bible says, “the path of the just is like a shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day(Prov 4:18). The essence of light is for walking; for migration and journeying, and that is why we will get stuck without light.

The Lord brings light to us with consistency not because of what we do or don't do, but out of His mercy. Such light coming to us is also indicating that God wants us to walk in the light that is being shown to us at this time.

From Rev 21:22-27, we can see that the City of God (company of overcoming believers) already has its measurements, and its features show that the Builder and Maker is God. It is not a man-made City, but rather, one whose architect is God. (Heb. 11:10)

In architectural work, the details of the building is considered, even the finishing and the landscape is not ignored, so that when you see it on paper you can see what the house will look like. For an architect, the house is already finished in his mind; what remains is the accurate interpretation of what has been drawn and if those things are not accurately interpreted, the building will not meet up with what the architect has in mind.

In like manner, our heavenly Father is very precise and that is why He took time to give the details of this City of His in Rev 21:10-21. This shows truly that God is an Architect; He is the One that builds and makes (Heb 11:10)

What He is making is beyond man and that is why the layout (foundation) of the building was handed over to Apostles and Prophets (Eph. 2:20) who were raised by the Lord Himself. That is why the foundation of the City (little children of the kingdom – 1Jn. 2:12) is Jesus Christ and the walls of the City (young men/sons of the kingdom – 1Jn. 2:13e) is also Christ. What God had in mind was to meticulously raise a building so that at the end of the day, what will be standing is a building called Christ - and He gracefully did so.

The City lies four square; it is like a cuboid. I have never seen that kind of City, where the length and breadth is equal - that is Christ. Christ is equal i.e., He has the perfect measurement of the expression of God. There is no side that is not precisely the way God wants it. A perfect interpretation of that City is Christ.

The City in the mind of God is already existing, but what He did through the preaching of the gospel is that He gave an interpretation to it through apostles and prophets like Paul whom He gave the unsearchable riches of Christ. God delivered to Paul the materials for this building. That is why Paul says, "as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds; but no other foundation can be laid than that which is laid and the foundation is Christ" (1 Cor 3:10-11, paraphrased).

When I saw the revelation of the City, I began to have a glimpse of what the bible actually meant in the book of Hebrews when it says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever more” (Heb 13:8). Jesus Christ is the same; you cannot change the measurement or anything that is in that City. The City is to be interpreted according to God’s mind because that is the only City that will last forever. No other City has the capaCity to last like this City. IT IS AN EVERLASTING HABITATION WHERE GOD WANTS TO DWELL.

Every man has the description of where he wishes to dwell - how much more God! This City we are talking about is the abode of God. It was when this City descended from heaven that a proclamation was made, "Now is the tabernacle of God with men" (Rev 21:3). Prior to this time the tabernacle of God has been with angels, not man, showing that God has moved into His new house. God has moved from the midst of angels into the midst of a golden City.

Rev 4:6, 5:6/Ezekiel 1:5, 12

"Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went".

Look at the kind of Beings among whom God dwells. Those four living creatures are also four dimensional i.e., four square. They are four according to Prophet Ezekiel's description. They don’t turn because they are perfectly made like that. The One in their midst (God) has no shadow of turning. He made them in such a way that He can ride upon them and thereby He can mirror Himself.

The bible says in Him there is no shadow of turning (James 1:17). That is why that City in Revelation is also like that; the City will not turn. The City has 3 gates in the north, 3 on the south, 3 on the east, and 3 on the west. This means that when the City is in motion, it can move hither and thither like those living creatures.

This is the City God will indwell forever in ages to come. Eph 2:7 declares “That in the ages to come, He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus". So in the ages to come, He will make known the riches of His grace through the CityThere are still things that God is going to make manifest that He has not done yet because He has not found a house yet that can give Him the kind of expression that will bring forth some things that are in Him. So He is waiting until He moves to His new house. Imagine the excitement of a man moving into his new house! God declared, "I make all things new" because thereby, He will show forth his manifold grace through that City and in that City.

In the heart of God, He has already seen this City finished and the reason why He raised apostles and prophets was to interpret this City by the Holy Ghost. Just like when the architectural drawing of a building is finished, it is the builder that will interpret it, but what they are interpreting is what has already been written.

According to Rev. 21:27 “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”. That City has no guile (i.e it isn’t crooked but four-squared) and only those that are written in Lamb’s book of life shall enter therein. The architectural design is the Lamb’s book of life.

For your name to be written in the Lamb’s book of life means you have a place where you fit in that design; a stone cut to fit into the building. You are a living stone that has been called and is being prepared to fit into a place, in that masterpiece and plan. THIS MEANS AS WE ARE HEARING AND DOING THE REVEALED WORD OF GOD, WE ARE PREPARING TO FIT INTO OUR PLACE IN THAT CITY.

When the Apostles of the Lamb were following the Lord, they did not know that they were being designed or chiseled to fit into their various places. So also, via our hearing, taking heed and walking in the light of what we are hearing, we are being prepared to conform to that City.

If your name is not in the Lamb’s book of life, you cannot be a stone (1Pet. 2:4). Also, you cannot conform to the gate; neither can you conform to the wall nor to the golden City. YOUR NAME NOT FOUND IN THE LAMB'S BOOK OF LIFE MEANS THERE IS NO INTERPRETATION OF YOUR PLACE IN THAT CITY. What heaven is doing at this time is interpreting the City by the spirit of prophecy; because the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Christ. As you read, hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein, an interpretation of the blueprint of the City of God is being communicated to you.

By defilement in Rev. 21:27, John’s audience wasn’t unbelievers but believers who must not entertain defilement in their thoughts. That is why He has to present us as holy and unblamable before Him in love.

The bible says to him that is pure, everything is pure and to him that is defiled everything is defiled. We don’t even know thoughts that defile us except light shines to reveal such to us. There are some thoughts we take or fellowship with but we don’t know that they defile us and it will only take the Holy Ghost to help you to see that these thoughts defile. I found this out through the help of the Holy Ghost in my life. At times the Holy Ghost will warn me, "Don’t think like this; it is wrong to think like this".

It's just like the story of the blind man that Jesus healed in John 9:2. A man who was born blind was brought before Him, and His disciples asked Him if the cause of the blindness is from his parents or whether it was the man’s sin that was responsible for his blindness. What informed this question was a thought. His thought was that someone is to be blamed. That thought in some quarters might be allowed but it is defilement before the Lord, because it is aimed at looking for whom to blame. The Lord rather made them see that the reason for the blindness is so that the glory of God might be made manifest.

Can you think like that when you are going through trial or in tough time? Satan will want you to think that someone is responsible for your challenge in life. It is a higher thought not to blame others but to think that the glory of God is to be made manifest in every situation, whether good or bad. It is a higher thought than seeking whom to blame because it would neither bring a solution to the problem nor cause faith to rise.

One of the ways to know a thought that defiles is to check if it takes away faith. Carnal thoughts are no necessarily immoral thoughts. Rather, they are thoughts that will neither allow faith to thrive nor allow a step of faith to be taken. No matter how logical a thought is, as long as it promotes fear rather than faith, such a thought defiles. That is why we need light; because whatsoever defiles will not enter the City. This reveals that everything about us, including our thoughts, must be purged. I can tell you that if you think healthy, you will live well; for “As a man thinks in his heart so he is”.

Rev 21:27
     "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life".

Nothing that defiles or works abomination will enter into that City. That which is abominable is not talking about unbelievers because the book of Revelation was written to the church. If it were abomination common among the unbelievers, the spirit of God will not be addressing the letter to the church. These are the things that will be unveiled to us as light shines.

Whatsoever works abomination shows that there are some works we do that generate abomination. To yourself, you might feel holy but before God whose eyes all things are bare and Whom we have to do, the judgment is different. There are some actions that play out and look to be with good intent, but really there is something that is driving them.

For instance when one man came to Jesus Christ to tempt Him, the man said, "Good master" - and the question that He asked was that He wants to know which is the greatest of the commandment (Matt 22:36). This looks innocent but the person that asked the question has another intent; he maketh a lie! He is working something abominable.

Do you know that a wrong motive is an abomination? It is abominable before the altar and that is why they have to search your thoughts and your hearts thoroughly.

Rev 21:22 "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it".

There are two things that are mentioned in this passage: the temple and sunlight. A temple was not found in the City and the sunlight wasn’t found in the City because something else gives the City light. Temple and light were requirements for worship and for sacrifice in the Old Testament. In the City, the temple is God Himself and the Lamb. The City does not need sunlight. There is a place God has chosen to put His name. He has chosen to put His name in Jerusalem; that is why every worshiper would have to come to Jerusalem to perform sacrifice.

The temple of the City and the light of the City are the same. It is the glory of God that lightens the City and the Lamb is the Light of the City. God and the Lamb are the temple thereof because there is no temple in it. God began to institute a new order of worship and sacrifice (Rev. 21:22). There is no temple and there is no light in that City. The light of the City is the Lamb.

The temple which is God and the Lamb are also the light. That is why a priest who manages God’s altar, must understand Urim and Thummim i.e. light & perfection (Deu. 33:8/Exo. 28:30/ Jn. 1:4/Ps. 50:2). He has to be a man that has been raised by light. He has to understand the interplay of light; how to use light to judge and to divide portions for Israel. The temple of the City and the light of the City are the same. It is the glory of God that lightens the City and the Lamb is the light of the City.

This passage is telling us about another order of worship or service that is being instituted. One of the things that God is raising are servants of the world to come. They will serve at this temple as priests.

Rev. 22:3 "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him."

True servants are people who walk in the light of the City. These are the people the Bible calls, “Servants of the Most High God”. Having the testimony of Christ is having the light of the world to come and that is what makes you a servant.

Rev. 19:10 "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy".

You are not a servant if you do not have light. What makes you a servant is light; that is why the light that is shining on that City is God. The people that make up the City are servants of our God. They serve God day and light. They do not serve any other things or idols. If you want to check someone’s service, check the light he handles or uses. Your service cannot be better than the light you have accessed. Your walk in the light is your service or worship (Rom. 12:1). As you are walking, you are worshiping.

1 John 2:6 "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked".

There is a way the Lamb walks and that is how we ought to walk. The Lamb’s WALK is His service; that is how He does service. The Lamb serves God. In the gospels – Matthew to John, you will see Jesus going to the temple even though He was higher than the temple. To know that He was a temple (i.e. was inhabited by God), every other person gathers to Him when He gets there.

That was one of the reasons why the elders of Israel hated Him. They said, "See, everybody has gone after Him and we will lose this place of worship because the people will relocate with Him to the wilderness if He goes there, and forget that we have a temple in Jerusalem! So, if we want the continuity of our institution of worship, this man must be killed”.

Jesus inaugurated another type of worship. This worship is walking according to the book. Jesus walked according as it is written concerning Him. He is the first worshiper of God. The Bible called God, "The God of our Lord Jesus Christ". Jesus is the true Worshiper. He is the One that knows how to worship God. Men go to the temple to worship but He worships God with His legs (walk). He knows how to walk in light. As He walked in light, He was worshiping and serving God.

God will raise us to become such worshippers. If this worship is in Spirit and Truth, then it has to be by light because light is needed for worship. John 4:21-24

This worship is not a sacrifice of bulls and goats. Many believers have bulls and goats (sacrifices and offerings), but to walk according to the will of God is a problem. We shy away from God’s will. You can give sacrifice and offering which has a rightful place, but that is not the New Testament order of worship. THE OFFERING IS NOT THE COIN; THE OFFERING IS YOU.

Heb. 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

You can give offerings but not be selfless. You can give something to be recognized just as was the case for Ananias and his wife Sapphira (Act 5:1). Do not even seek to be known or recognized. The kind of sacrifice He is requiring from us is that we should lay down our lives for one another. That is how the Lamb is. “The reproach of them that were reproached came upon Me” (Romans 15:3). He took our place not for Himself, but for us and He is still living like that. He is still a Lamb of sacrifice. Everything He is doing, He is not doing it for Himself but for us. He has been made the head of all things not for Himself but for the Church (Eph.1:22)

The Lamb does not have a life of His own. He is a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world and we find Him in the book of Revelation still slain (Rev 5:6). For Apostle John to describe Him like that means He hasn’t changed from the state of being slain.  The Lamb is permanently slain. But it is not so with us; just the little slaying (Job 13:15) we receive from God, we hasten to recover from such dealing. The Lamb has instituted another kind of worship and order of sacrifice. The temple of the City is God and the Lamb, and the light of the City is the Lamb.

What informs the actions of the City is the Lamb. The City is not going to reflect any other kind of life except the life of the Lamb. The City is not going to worship in any other way except in the Lamb’s way. The City will not walk in any other light except the Lamb’s light. THE LAMB IS EVERYTHING FOR THE CITY. The Lamb is the measurement of the City. As the Lamb is shining light, He is giving you measurement. As He is giving you light to walk in, He is trimming you and fitly framing you so that you can find your place in that City.

One of the things we have to trust God to dawn on us while we are on earth is that it does not all end here. That is one realization that many of us have not come into.

Rev. 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

We need to think eternity; we need to understand that everything does not end here. What we do here can jeopardize our position and our placement eternally. In the same vein, what we do here can earn us a place in the world to come. What will qualify us for the City is walking in the footsteps of the light that the Lamb is shining. What will make us to be part of the City is how we are WALKING.

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”

Nobody wants to be cheated, but if you look at what Jesus taught in this scripture, you will discover that He wants us not to feel cheated even when cheated. He wants us to rejoice when they do it to us for His name’s sake. It is not easy to be glad and rejoice at such time because the situation will be painful. Some people can even take glory in persecution, but when they despitefully use you, it is not easy to rejoice (Mat. 5:44-45).

The selflessness of the Lamb is the light of the City. Everything the Lamb stands for, the way the Lamb lives is the light of the City. If it is the LIGHT of the City then it is the LIFE of the City. THEY ARE TELLING US TO BEGIN TO LIVE THE LIFE OF THE CITY NOW. How we attain unto the world to come is by living the life of the Lamb which is the light of the City, for “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). In Him is life and the life is the light of the City. The life of Lamb is the life that is in Him (John 1:1-5)

Darkness that is in men cannot comprehend the lifestyle of eternal life because it does not understand it (John 1:5). What we are supposed to be doing now is living the way the Lamb lives. Agreeing to be slain, agreeing to be selfless, agreeing to be nothing, agreeing to be used and agreeing to be sacrificed - that is the new order of worship. That is the temple of the City, the light of the City and the life of the City. That is the high life we must endure. It may look like you are being exhausted but you cannot be exhausted because you have switched into another life – The Lamb’s life. They have been slaying the Lamb from the foundation of the world and they have not finished slaying Him.

You cannot remove the Lamb. In the City, He is the light of the City. The Lamb is the One who remains forever (Isa. 9:7). That is the life that endures forever.

30th September, 2014
Ministering: Pst Emeka Egwuchukwu
Topic: The Life of the City
Text: Revelation 21