Saturday, January 26, 2013

Romans Chapter 3 – Part Two

Chapter 3:vs.19-20 All Are Conscious Of Sin Paul concluded his discussion with a final statement to the Jews concerning the purpose and ministry of the Law. He included himself with his Jewish readers when he said, Now we know. The principle is obvious: the Law’s pronouncements are to those who are under the Law. This is speaking of every unredeemed human being. Just the fact the Jews had the law did not make them not guilty of sin. In fact, if anything, it made them guiltier, because they had the law and did not keep it. All have sinned. All have come short of the Glory of God. “Every mouth … stopped … guilty:” There is no defense against the guilty verdict God pronounces on the entire human race. The Law was not a special talisman that the Jews could obey or ignore as they wished; they were “under” it and accountable to God (cf. Jews and Gentiles being “under sin,” Rom_3:9). The Law’s ministry was so that every mouth may be silenced (lit., “stopped”), and the whole world held accountable (lit., “become answerable”) to God. The law just made it even more apparent that all have sinned and needed a Saviour. We will read in chapter 5 of Romans that Jesus died for the ungodly. We cannot be good enough to be saved. Jesus Christ is the only person that ever lived without sin. No one can argue in his own defense that he is not under sin. The Law points up God’s standards and illustrates people’s inability to live up to them. Finally, the Law is not a way for a person to be declared righteous (justified) in His sight (cf. Rom_3:28). That was not its purpose (Act_13:39; Gal_2:16; Gal_3:11). Instead, the Law was given so that through it we become conscious (lit., “through the Law is full knowledge”) of sin (cf. Rom_5:20; Rom_7:7-13). The Mosaic Law is an instrument not of justification but of condemnation. Romans 3:21 God’s Righteousness Revealed in Justification In God’s condemnation of the human race His own personal infinite righteousness was revealed along with the fact that not a single human being — the Lord Jesus Christ excepted — has ever or will ever be able to meet that standard and be accepted by God on his own merit. Now in this second major section of Romans Paul discussed God’s “provided righteousness” for people through Jesus in justification. Justification is a forensic declaration of righteousness as a result of God’s imputing to believers Christ’s righteousness, provided by God’s grace and appropriated through faith. Provided righteousness explained By the words but now Paul introduced a sharp contrast with what preceded. He had just affirmed, “No one will be declared righteous in His [God’s] sight by observing the Law” (Rom_3:20). This is now followed by the statement, Apart from Law (in the Gr. this phrase is in the emphatic first position) a righteousness from God… has been made known (i.e., made plain). This in essence repeats the words of Rom_1:17. But Paul added the fact that the Law and the Prophets testify to this fact. Paul, having shown the impossibility of gaining righteousness by human effort, he turns to explain the righteousness that God Himself has provided. This righteousness is unique: (1) God is its source (2) It fulfills both the penalty and precept of God’s law. Christ’s death as a substitute pays the penalty exacted on those who failed to keep God’s law, and His perfect obedience to every requirement of God’s law fulfills God’s demand for comprehensive righteousness, and (3) Because God’s righteousness is eternal, the one who receives it from Him enjoys it forever. Doing perfectly what God’s moral law required is impossible, so that every person is cursed by that inability. By the law is knowledge of sin, therefore the law only makes sin known, it cannot save. It is our schoolmaster. Galatians 3:24: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. What Paul was introducing about God’s righteousness was not foreign to the Old Testament. “The Law and the Prophets” was often used of the entire Old Testament (see references at Mat_5:17), the Law referring to the first five books and the Prophets, the other books. In Rom_4:1-25 Paul illustrated this truth from the Law (Abraham: Gen_15:6; Rom_4:1-3, Rom_4:9-23) and from the Prophets (David: Psa_32:1-2; Rom_4:4-8). Romans 3:22 The first part of this verse is not a new sentence in the Greek; it is an appositional clause, and could be rendered, “a righteousness from God through faith.” These words reminded Paul again of the Jewish insistence on their special position before God. As a result he added, There is no difference (cf. Rom_10:12), introduced in the Greek by the word “for” to tie it to what precedes. True saving faith is supernatural, a gracious gift of God that He produces in the heart and is the only means by which a person can appropriate true righteousness. Saving faith consists of 3 elements: (1) Mental: the mind understands the gospel and the truth about Christ (2) Emotional: one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joy over God’s mercy and grace; and (3) Volitional: the sinner submits his will to Christ and trusts in Him alone as the only hope of salvation. (4) Genuine faith will always produce authentic obedience. Our righteousness is but filthy rags in ourselves. Our righteousness that is acceptable to God is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we put on when we accept Jesus as our savior and Lord. Any prior privilege the Jews had is gone in this Age when God is offering a righteous standing before Him to all sinful people on the basis of faith in Christ alone. Since all are “under sin” (Rom_3:9), salvation is available “to all” on an equal basis. Romans 3:23 Paul explained that “no difference” existed among human beings because all have sinned. The Greek is literally, “all sinned” (pantes hēmarton). The same two Greek words are used in Rom_5:12. Since the entire human race was plunged into sin with Adam, all (whether Jews or Gentiles) are sinners. It is impossible to say there is a “difference,” that the Jews’ privileges (Rom_2:12-21; Rom_3:1) exclude them from God’s condemnation. Not only did all sin, but also all fall short. This single Greek verb is in the present tense, stressing continuing action. It can be translated “keep on falling short.” The simple fact is that as a sinner not a single human being by his own efforts is able to measure up to the glory of God. God’s glory is His splendor, the outward manifestation of His attributes. God desires that humans share that splendor, that they become like Him, that is, Christ like (cf. “glory” in Rom_5:2; 2Co_3:18; Col_1:27; 2Th_2:14). Yet their sin keeps them from sharing it. This is not just the heathen, but the Jew, as well. No one can live completely free of sin. Our justification in Jesus is (justification meaning: just as if we had never sinned). We have sinned, but we are not guilty, because we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). These last two verses contain a parenthetical comment explaining that God can bestow His righteousness on all who believe, Jew or Gentile, because all men, without distinction, fail miserably to live up to the divine decree. “All have sinned”: Paul has made this case beginning with 1:18 – 3:20. Romans 3:24 In view of man’s sin God has stepped in with His provided righteousness, because all who believe are justified (the pres. tense may be trans. “keep on being declared righteous,” i.e., each person as he believes is justified). “Justify” (dikaioō) is a legal term, meaning “declare righteous” (not “make righteous”; cf. Deu_25:1). God’s justification of those who believe is provided freely (dōrean, “as a free gift,” i.e., without charge) by His grace. God justifies by the instrument of His grace, His unmerited favor. Grace too is a favorite word of Paul’s, used by him in Romans 24 times (in the Gr.). But God would not declare a person righteous without an objective basis, without dealing with his sin. That basis is the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This verb (justified), and related words from the same Greek root (such as justification), occur some 30 times in Romans and are concentrated in 2:13 – 5:1. This legal or forensic term comes form the Greek word for “righteous” and means “to declare righteous.” This verdict includes: Pardon from the guilt and penalty of sin, and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer’s account, which provides for the positive righteousness man needs to be accepted by God. God declares a sinner righteous solely on the basis of the merits of Christ’s righteousness. God imputed a believer’s sin to Christ’s account in His sacrificial death. (Isaiah 53:4-5; 1 Peter 2:24), and He imputes Christ’s perfect obedience to God’s law to Christians. The sinner receives this gift of God’s grace by faith alone. Sanctification is the work of God by which He makes righteous those whom He has already justified and is distinct from justification but without exception, always follows it. “Freely by His grace”: Justification is a gracious gift God extends to the repentant, believing sinner, wholly apart from human merit or work. “Redemption”: The imagery behind this Greek word comes from the ancient slave market. It meant paying the necessary ransom to obtain the prisoner or slave’s release. The only adequate payment to redeem sinners from sin’s slavery and its deserved punishment was “in Christ Jesus”, and was paid to God to satisfy His justice. The Greek word for “redemption” is apolytrōsis, from lytron, “a ransom payment.” Apolytrōsis is used 10 times in the New Testament (Luk_21:28; Rom_3:24; Rom_8:23; 1Co_1:30; Eph_1:7, Eph_1:14; Eph_4:30; Col_1:14; Heb_9:15). The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary was the price of payment for human sin which secured release from the bondage of Satan and sin for every person who trusts God’s promise of forgiveness and salvation. Romans 3:25-26 God’s purpose in Christ’s death was to demonstrate His justice (i.e., God’s own judicial righteousness, dikaiosynēs; cf. comments on Rom_1:17) because in His forbearance (anochē, “holding back, delay”) He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished (cf. Act_17:30). This great sacrifice was not accomplished in secret, but God publicly displayed His Son on Calvary for all to see. “Propitiation”: Crucial to the significance of Christ’s sacrifice, this word carries the idea of appeasement or satisfaction; in this case Christ’s violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God against those for whom Christ died. The Hebrew equivalent of this word was used to describe the mercy seat – the cover to the Ark of the Covenant – where the High Priest sprinkled the blood of the slaughtered animal on the Day of Atonement to make atonement for the sins of the people. In pagan religions, it is the worshiper not the god who is responsible to appease the wrath of the offended deity. But in reality, man is incapable of satisfying God’s justice apart from Christ, except by spending eternity in hell. “Forbearance”: means to hold back. Rather than destroying every person the moment he or she sings, God graciously holds back His judgment. “Remission of sins”: This means neither indifference nor remission. God’s justice demands that every sin and sinner be punished. God would have been just, when Adam and Eve sinned, to destroy them, and with them, the entire human race. But in His goodness and forbearance, He withheld His judgment for a certain period of time. II Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Why did God not always punish sins in the past? Does this mean He is not righteous after all? Previously Paul said God was forbearing because He wanted to lead people to repent (Rom_2:4). Here God is said to be forbearing because He anticipated His provision for sins in the death of Jesus Christ. Such forbearance was an evidence of His grace (cf. Act_14:16; Act_17:30), not of His injustice. Paul was so insistent that God’s righteousness be recognized that (Rom_3:26) he repeated (from Rom_3:25) the words to demonstrate His justice (dikaiosynēs, “righteousness”). God’s purpose in the redemptive and propitiatory death of Jesus Christ was so that He could be seen to be just (dikaion, “righteous”) and the One who justifies (dikaiounta, “the One who declares righteous”) the man who has faith in Jesus. “To declare … His righteousness”: through the incarnation, sinless life, and substitutionary death of Christ. The wisdom of God’s plan allowed Him to punish Jesus in the place of sinners and thereby justify those who are guilty without compromising His justice. God’s divine dilemma was how to satisfy His own righteousness and its demands against sinful people, and at the same time how to demonstrate His grace, love, and mercy to restore rebellious, alienated creatures to Himself. The solution was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s incarnate Son, and the acceptance by faith of that provision by individual sinners. Christ’s death vindicated God’s own righteousness (He is just because sin was “paid for”) and enables God to declare every believing sinner righteous. Romans 3:27-28 After explaining God’s provided righteousness for sinners, Paul considered five questions (in Gr.) which he anticipated his readers might ask. Two are in Rom_3:27, two in Rom_3:29, and the other in Rom_3:31. The first is, Where, then is boasting? How can Jews have any boasting in their special position? (Rom_2:17-20, Rom_2:23) Paul’s response was abrupt: It is excluded (“completely shut out”). God disdained human wisdom, not only by disallowing it as a means to knowing Him, but also by choosing to save the lowly. He does not call to salvation many whom the world would call wise, mighty and noble. Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:" "Not of works, lest any man should boast." "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." God’s wisdom is revealed to the foolish, weak, and common, i.e., those considered nothing by the elite, who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. God clearly received all the credit and the glory for causing such lowly ones to know Him and the eternal truths of His heavenly kingdom. No saved sinner can boast that he has achieved salvation by his intellect. Since justification is by grace (Rom_3:24) through faith (Rom_3:22, Rom_3:25-26), boasting because of one’s accomplishments (works) is ruled out. This prompted a second question: On what principle? (“Law” here in the Gr. means “principle.”) On that of observing the Law? (lit., “through works”) Paul’s response was, No (lit., “not at all,” an intensive form), but on that of faith. Doing works (i.e., observing the Law) is no basis for boasting for the Law cannot justify. It was not given for that purpose (cf. Rom_3:20). The apostle then summarized, For we maintain (the verb logizometha, “to reckon,” here has the idea of coming to a settled conclusion) that a man is justified (“declared righteous”) by faith (cf. Rom_3:22, Rom_3:25-27) apart from observing the Law (lit., “apart from works of Law”). Keeping the ordinances of the law will not do away with sin and will not save anyone. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." To find out what faith can do for you and did do for many, read all of Hebrews chapter 11. Romans 3:29-30 The next two questions cover the same issue of Jewish distinctiveness from a different angle. Because the Gentiles worshiped false gods through idols, the Jews concluded that Yahweh, the true and living God (Jer_10:10), was the God of Jews only. That was true in the sense that the Jews were the only people who acknowledged and worshiped Yahweh (except for a few proselyte Gentiles who joined with Judaism). But in reality Yahweh, as the Creator and Sovereign of all people, is the God of all people. Before God called Abraham and his descendants in the nation Israel to be His Chosen People (Deu_7:6) God dealt equally with all people. And even after God’s choice of Israel to be His special people, God made it plain (e.g., in the Book of Jonah) that He is the God of everyone, Gentiles as well as Jews. God was the Creator of all mankind. Mankind both Jew and Gentile was made in the image of God. We are His workmanship. All He created was for the benefit of mankind. He prepared the world for man. God is God of all. We are all part of God's family. There is one God and Father of us all. Ephesians 4:6: "One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all." And now since there is “no difference” among people for all are sinners (Rom_3:23) and since the basis for salvation has been provided in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, God deals with everyone on the same basis. The circumcision are the Jews and the uncircumcision refers to the Gentile, and both can only be saved by faith in Jesus Christ. John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Thus there is only one God (or “God is one”). Paul no doubt had in mind here the “Shema” of Israel: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Yahweh] our God [’Ĕlōhı̂m], the LORD [Yahweh] is One” (Deu_6:4). This one God over both Jews and Gentiles will justify all who come to Him regardless of background (circumcised or uncircumcised) on the same human condition of faith. Romans 3:31 The final question is, Do we, then, nullify the Law by this faith? Paul responded in his characteristic expletive, Not at all! (mē genoito, “Let it not be”; cf. comments on Rom_3:4) and then explained, Rather, we uphold the Law. The purpose of the Mosaic Law is fulfilled and its place in God’s total plan is confirmed when it leads an individual to faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Rom_3:20; Gal_3:23-25). Paul repeatedly affirmed that faith, not works of the Law, is the way of salvation. He wrote the word “faith” eight times in Rom_3:22-31! (See Rom_3:22, Rom_3:25-28, Rom_3:30 [twice], and Rom_3:31.) Knowing he would be accused of antinomianism (being against the law) for arguing that a man was justified apart from keeping the law, Paul introduced here the defense he later developed in chapters 6 and 7. Salvation by grace through faith does not denigrate the law, but underscores its true importance: (1) By providing a payment for the penalty of death, which the law required for failing to keep it; (2) By fulfilling the law’s original purpose, which is to serve as a tutor to show mankind’s utter inability to obey God’s righteous demands and to drive people to Christ; and (3) By giving believers the capacity to obey it.

1 Corinthians Chapter 3

1 Cor. Chapter 3:1-4 However, this was not true of all at Corinth. When Paul came and preached Christ to them, they believed. By faith they were justified and granted peace with God (Rom_5:1-2). We see a reprimand from Paul to these Corinthians. He is saying, you have not grown in the Lord since you first began. You are still like a baby who has to be told everything to do. These people still had one foot in the world while proclaiming Christianity. The cause of problems in the church was more than external, worldly influence. It was also internal carnality. The pressures of the world were combined with the weakness of the flesh. Carnal meaning that although Corinthian believers were no longer “natural,” they were not “spiritual” or fully controlled by the Holy Spirit. In fact, they were “carnal or controlled by the fallen flesh. Though all believers have the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:9), they still battle the fallen flesh. Paul says the only message that he could bring them was the simple salvation message, because they were not ready to receive any weightier message. These people have not made their spirit rule over their flesh. They are still operating in the fleshly realm. “Babes in Christ”: The carnality of those believers was indicative of their immaturity. They had no excuse for not being mature, since Paul implied that he should have been able to write to them as mature, in light of all he had taught them. No doubt Paul taught them all the blessings that came to them as Christians, what Paul called milk. At that time their way of thinking and living was only beginning to be transformed (Rom_12:2). It seems as though they were criticizing the simple message that Paul has brought. He is saying, someone has to hold your hand in Christian matters. You have not fed your spirit with the Word that would have made you stronger. You still want someone else to do all the studying for you. You are like a little baby that needs to be fed milk and not meat. It seems that Paul is a little aggravated with them for not growing in the Lord. “Milk”: meaning not a reference to certain doctrines, but to the more easily digestible truths of doctrine that were given to new believers. “Solid food”: The deeper features of the doctrines of Scripture. The difference is not in kind of truth, but degree of depth. Spiritual immaturity makes one unable to receive the richest truths. They were still greatly influenced by worldly thinking and behavior — they were infants in Christ. But “the message of the Cross” (1Co_1:18) concerned more than justification. It also concerned sanctification. It called for a renewal of attitude and action in response to God’s revelation. It called for righteousness in thought and deed (Heb_5:11-14). And this part of the message of “Christ… crucified” (1Co_2:2), this solid food (1Co_3:2), the Corinthians had spurned. As a result they were still worldly (1Co_3:3). We see in this that they are still operating in the flesh. They are acting the same way they did before they got saved. Men in the verse above, is meant worldly men. Notice that envy, strife, and divisions are worldly. They should have no place in the church. “Envying, strife”: Carnality produces the attitude of envy, a severe form of selfishness, which produces the action of strife and the subsequent divisions. “Walk as men”: Apart from the will of the Spirit, hence carnal, not spiritual. Instead of mature behavior characterized by humility and concern for others — obedience to God — the Corinthian were infantile, self-centered, and therefore divisive (1Co_3:4; cf. 1Co_1:12). Paul says, that just the fact that they are saying they are of Paul and of Apollos shows him that they do not truly understand Christianity. Factionalism was the divisive product of carnality. They wanted lives of exaltation (1Co_4:8) without lives of humiliation (1Co_4:9-13) because they did not understand that “Christ… crucified” was a message concerned not only with justification but also with sanctification (cf. Php_2:1-8). This misunderstanding was at the root of their disunity (cf. 1Co_1:10; 1Co_3:4), which error Paul wanted to correct. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 A Misunderstanding Of The Ministry A second and related cause of division in their church concerned the ministry. The Corinthians had focused on men when in fact God alone was the source of blessing (1Co_3:5-9) and ministers were only servants accountable to Him (1Co_3:10-17). Since that was so, a minister needed to beware of cultivating the praise of men — as certain leaders in the Corinthian church apparently were doing (1Co_3:18-23), and needed instead to seek by faithful service to gain the praise of God (1Co_4:1-5). The problem, here, is their object of worship. They have their eyes on the people through whom they heard the gospel, rather than on the message that minister brought. The ministers should not be the object of worship. They are just a voice bringing the gospel message. Paul and Apollos are both servants of the Most High God themselves. “Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos” is a humble but accurate assessment of the roles that ministers play. “The Lord gave”: meaning that it is the Lord alone who can give the faith to the spiritually ignorant and dead. Salvation is God’s work of grace to whom He chooses to give it. Apollos and Paul were given their ministries by Christ (Eph_4:11). They were the means, not the cause, whereby the Corinthians believed (cf. 1Co_2:4-5). God alone produced results. God made the seed grow (1Co_3:6). Therefore God alone should get the credit (1Co_3:7). We see from this that it is not the one who brings the original message, or even the person who comes along and furthers the message, but God who quickens the message to their unbeliever’s heart. The destination is the kingdom. It really matters not too much who helped you get there. Simply put, Paul is saying that he planted the seeds when he told them about the gospel. Apollos watered that seed as he continued to teach them the word. But ultimately it is God Himself who draws the repentant sinner to Himself so it is He alone who gives the increase, not those spreading the Gospel. As servants, Paul and Apollos were not competing against each other but were complementing each other’s ministries (1Co_3:8). Their purpose was to bring the church to maturity, to Christ likeness (Eph_4:12-13). We see in this that the message carrier is not the important one. God is to be worshipped and He alone. He is the One who sent the messenger. When you get a telegram, the one who brings the message is not important. The message that he brings is the important thing. In accord with their faithfulness to that task would come their reward (cf. 1Co_4:2-5). God rewards the messenger that He sent, if the servant is obedient to take the message that God sent. God has rewards set up for all of His obedient servants. Your work may go unnoticed here on the earth, but if you do the exact job God sent you to do, there will be great rewards in heaven stored up for you, by God. “Are one”: All the human instruments God uses to produce salvation life are equally considered and rewarded for their willingness to be used by God. But all the glory goes to Him, who alone saves. For though a minister served the church he was basically responsible to God Paul and Apollos were fellow workers who belonged to God and worked for Him in His field, the church (1Co_3:9). Christians are the hands on this earth that carry out the tasks for God. The word husbandry, here, indicates that God has left us as overseers of His own. Husbandry normally means farmer, someone who cares for a crop which in this case, the Corinthians themselves. We are to water them, dig around them, and even trim them from time to time. God wants the Christian ministers to care for His crop of believers here on the earth. We know that we are building blocks in God's house. Jesus is the chief Cornerstone, and we are stones fitted together to build God's house. I Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:10 Paul then shifted metaphors for the church from a field to a building. Paul used in various ways the metaphor of Christians individually and collectively as a building in which God dwells, a temple. Jesus had referred to His physical body as a temple (Joh_2:19-22). In another letter Paul applied the same imagery to Christ’s spiritual body, the universal church (Eph_2:21). Paul also called the body of each individual Christian a temple (1Co_6:19). In this passage, however, it was the local church which he described as a building of God, a temple in which God’s Spirit lives (1Co_3:16). Paul now further developed the theme of a minister’s accountability for his labor (1Co_3:8). Though it was true that every Christian in the Corinthian church was given at least one gift, or ability to minister in some way to other church members (1Co_12:11), it was primarily the leading ministers Paul was concerned about, who functioned in a capacity like that of Apollos and himself (cf. 1Co_3:5, 1Co_3:21-22). Not every minister, however, labored to the same effect in this building process. Paul had laid a foundation in Corinth with the message of the Cross. Apollos too had labored beneficially in Corinth (Act_18:27-28). Apparently so also had Peter, whom Paul here called “Cephas” (1Co_1:12; 1Co_3:22). As we said above, the building is the spiritual house, which is also the priesthood. The High Priest is our Lord Jesus Christ and all believers in Christ are the priests. Jesus is the cornerstone of this building. In Paul's building the foundation, he is saying that he was the one who started this church in Corinth. God used Paul to establish the groundwork for churches in Asia Minnor, Macedonia and Greece. Then others such as Timothy and Apollos built the churches up from his foundations. He wants the followers who minister in this church to bring the same message that he had started. This is why he said "take heed how he buildeth". This is the very same thing said above about one planting the seed, another waters it, and God gets the increase. But as Paul wrote, someone else was ministering in Corinth, and Paul’s words to him and others like him were a warning. 1 Corinthians 3:11 Jesus Christ alone was the foundation, the basis of salvation (Act_4:12). But others had come to Corinth and preached a different gospel (2Co_11:4). Perhaps such a one was present in Corinth when Paul wrote this letter. Paul did not design the foundation, Christ did. He only laid it down by preaching Christ. This building is to be built upon Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul went on to say, in another place that if anyone brought another message, let him be accursed. 1 Corinthians 3:12 In 1Co_3:12-17 Paul described three kinds of builders or ministers: the expert (1Co_3:14; cf. 1Co_3:10), the unwise (1Co_3:15), and the destructive (1Co_3:17). “If any man build”: This is first of all, in reference to the evangelists and pastors mentioned in verse 9, and then to all believers who are called to build the church through faithful ministry. Gold, silver, precious stones, quality materials represent dedicated, spiritual service to build the church. These items become more pure when the fire is applied to them. This would be a lasting building built with these that symbolize the true church which could not be destroyed by the efforts of man. Wood, hay, stubble are inferior materials implying shallow activity with no eternal value. They do not refer to activities that are evil. These would burn up if any heat was applied and symbolize a shallow form of Christianity which would fail under persecution. The materials used in the building may be interpreted in at least four ways: (a) The gold, silver, costly stones refer to the enduring quality of the builder’s work; and the wood, hay, or straw suggest work that is temporary and valueless. This view is supported by “work” (1Co_3:13) and “what he has built” (1Co_3:14). (b) The three expensive materials suggest sound doctrine which the builder “builds” into people’s lives, and the three valueless materials are false doctrines. (c) The first three materials refer to the worker’s worthy motives, and the other three point to his unworthy motives (cf. 1Co_4:5). (d) The “gold, silver, costly stones” refer to believers who constitute the church (this is supported by similar uses of the metaphor in Eph_2:22; 2Ti_2:20; and 1Pe_2:5), and the “wood, hay, or straw” represent unregenerate people present in the church (chorton, rendered “hay” in 1Co_3:12, is used of unbelievers in Jas_1:10, where the NIV renders it “wild flower”). 1 Corinthians 3:13 The day of judgment is when Christ will judge the quality of His servants’ work (2Co_5:10). It is not a question of salvation which is a gift (Rom_6:23), or a matter of individual deeds (Eph_2:8-9), but of service which is judged on the basis of quality not quantity. Considerable apparent success can be had by dint of human effort and wisdom (cf. 1Co_2:4), but unless it is empowered by God in accordance with His plan it cannot last (Psa_127:1). The day, spoken of here, is speaking of that day when we stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at the Bema Judgment. This is the judgment for believers, not unbelievers. “Be revealed by Fire:” means the fire of God’s discerning judgment. Fire is figurative for judgment, more specifically, the absolutely righteous judgment of God. Fire is used here to denote, not enlightening power, but consuming power. Of the six types of material mentioned, three are combustible and three are incombustible. 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 The image of fire associated with the coming of Christ is used elsewhere in the New Testament (2Th_1:7; Rev_18:8). What the reward for the expert builder consists of was not detailed, though praise (1Co_4:5) is certainly a part. Most people who have done mighty tasks for the Lord never are rewarded on this earth. Some of the early founders of Christianity gave their lives for what they believed in. Most of the Old Testament prophets were killed for doing the task God had set before them. We are told by historians that Isaiah was sawed in two. We know that James, the brother of John, was killed. We know that Stephen was stoned to death for speaking boldly of God. We must continue in the face of death, if we are to be counted among the faithful. “If any man’s work abide”: All that which has been accomplished in His power and for His glory will survive. The “Reward” is not a judgment for sin. Christ has paid that price, so that no believer will ever be judged for sin. This is only to determine eternal reward. The inept builder will see the loss of his labor, but he himself will be saved, like a burning stick snatched from a fire (Amo_4:11; Jud_1:23). Before such judgment the various materials may coexist and appear indistinguishable (cf. Mat_13:30). The key to this is that this man did a work for God. This man thought that he was doing a good work for God. Even though the work could not stand the heat of trials, God saved the man, because of the effort he had put forth to do the work. The workman is saved here, even though the work is burned. God looked on the heart of this man. The man wanted to do something to please God, and God saved him for his effort. No matter how much is worthless, no believer will forfeit salvation. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 However, a local church (you here is pl.) might come to the point where its structure is so weak that it collapses entirely or exists in name only, that is, it is destroyed. Paul did not want this to happen in Corinth (2Co_11:3, 2Co_11:13). If it did, the false minister would be paid back in kind by God Himself (an application of the OT lex talionis [Gen_9:6; cf. 2Co_11:15]). The destroyer would be destroyed (Mat_13:41-42). The words don’t you know (1Co_3:16) are the first of 10 occurrences of the clause in this letter (cf. 1Co_5:6; 1Co_6:2-3, 1Co_6:9, 1Co_6:15-16, 1Co_6:19; 1Co_9:13, 1Co_9:24; each time it introduces an indisputable statement). We are actually the house that the Lord Jesus lives in upon this earth, if we are Christians. Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." I Corinthians 6:19: "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" Here is a severe warning to any who would try to interfere with or destroy the building of the church on the foundation of Christ. See Matthew 18:6-7. Anything that is done to the body of the believer is actually done to the Lord, as well. This should quiet some people who are constantly criticizing other Christians. You are attacking God, when you attack God's servant. 1 Corinthians 3:18-23 Those who defile the church and think they can succeed in destroying it by their human wisdom would be far better to reject that wisdom and accept the foolishness of Christ’s cross. This is speaking of being won over by the foolishness of preaching. The wisest thing a person can do is become as a foolish man and come to God. Luke 18:17 "Verily I say unto you whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." Since this was so, Paul gave a pointed warning to ministers (1Co_3:18-20) and to the congregation in Corinth (1Co_3:21-23). Ministers could avoid self-deception by evaluating their ministries and realizing that the wisdom of this world reflects the mind of Satan (Eph_2:2) and is foolishness in God’s sight (1Co_3:19). With quotations from Job 5:13 and Psalm 94:11, Paul reinforces his point from chapter 1:18-25 by reminding them that human wisdom which cannot save, also cannot either build a church or prevent its growth. A person must humble himself to receive God. Those who think themselves to be wise, do not know that they need a Savior. The wisdom of man is foolishness to God. The wisest man in the world is the one who seeks God and humbly receives Him as his Savior. The members needed to see that the practice of boasting (1Co_3:21) about ministers was similarly a self-centered spirit. Instead, they should boast in God (cf. 1Co_1:31) to whom they belonged (1Co_3:23; cf. 1Co_1:2, 1Co_15:28) and who was the source of their every blessing (cf. 1Co_1:30). “Glory in men”: Paul, Apollos, and all others receive no credit for the building of the church. “All things are yours”: All believers share equally in God’s most important and valuable provisions and glories; human boasting, therefore, is ludicrous as well as sinful. We should not elevate man up to a position that he does not belong in. Just because someone is wealthy or has great influence, is no reason to elevate him up higher than anyone else. We are all exactly what God has allowed us to be. Although the universe is now in Satan’s grip, it is still the God given and God made possession of Christians. In the millennial kingdom and throughout eternity, however, believers will possess both the recreated and eternal earth in an infinitely more complete and rich way. (Matt. 5:5 and Rev. 21) “Life”: Spiritual, eternal life. “Death”: Spiritual and eternal death. “Things present”: Everything the believer has or experiences in this life. “Things to come”: All the blessings of heaven. “All are yours”: In Christ, all good and holy things are for believers’ blessing and for God’s glory. (Eph. 1:3 and 2 Peter 1:3) Paul is telling them, here, not to choose one of these men out and elevate him up. God has promised all believers the same inheritance. Paul is saying in this, just because he led you to the Lord is no reason to feel obligated to him. Regardless of who led you to the Lord, You belong to Christ. This is showing the chain of command. We belong to Christ, and Christ is God the Father's. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all in total agreement. Knowing that we believers belong to Christ and therefore to each other is the greatest incentive for unity in the church for believers.

Revelation 21:1 The new heaven and the new earth The New Heaven And The New Earth Created The opening verses of Rev_21:1-27 describe the creation of the new heaven and the new earth, which chronologically follows the thousand-year reign of Christ described in Rev_20:1-15. Rev_21:1-27 begins with the familiar words I saw, an expression repeated in Rev_21:2 (cf. Rev_21:22, “I did not see”). This new creation is described as a new heaven and a new earth. That it is a totally new heaven and a new earth, and not the present heaven and earth renovated, is supported by the additional statement, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (also see comments on Rev_20:11). An amazingly small amount of information is given about the new heaven and the new earth. But one major fact is stated in this verse: there was no longer any sea. In contrast with the present earth, which has most of its surface covered by water, no large body of water will be on the new earth. The Bible is silent, however, on any features of the first heaven except the statement in Rev_21:23 that there will be no sun or moon and, by implication, no stars. The new heaven refers not to the abode of God, but to the earth’s atmosphere and planetary space. No landmarks whatever are given concerning the new earth, and nothing is known of its characteristics, vegetation, color, or form. The implication, however, is that it is round and is the residence of all who are saved. A few other references are found in Scripture in relation to the new earth, including Isa_65:17; Isa_66:22; and 2Pe_3:10-13. Because in some of these passages the Millennium is also discussed, expositors have often confused the eternal state with the Millennium. However, the principle is well established in Scripture that distant events are often telescoped together. Examples of this are Isa_61:1-2 (cf. Luk_4:17-19), which speaks of the first and second comings of Christ together, and Dan_12:2, which mentions the resurrection of the righteous and of the wicked together even though, according to Rev_20:5, they will be separated by a thousand years. Sometimes even the chronological order is reversed, as in Isa_65:17-25 (Isa_65:17-19 refer to the new heaven and new earth whereas Isa_65:20-25 clearly refer to the Millennium). End-time events are all also brought in close proximity in 2Pe_3:10-13, where the beginning and the end of the day of the Lord are mentioned in the same passage. Though expositors have differed on this point, the principle that clear passages should be used to explain obscure passages supports the conclusion that the second coming of Christ is followed by a thousand-year reign on earth, and this in turn is followed by a new heaven and new earth, the dwelling place of the saints for eternity. With the absence of any geographic identification and the absence of a sea, the new earth will obviously be entirely different. By contrast, the sea is mentioned many times in relation to the Millennium (e.g., Psa_72:8; Isa_11:9, Isa_11:11; Eze_47:8-20; Eze_48:28; Zec_9:10; Zec_14:8). The evidence is conclusive that the new heaven and new earth are not to be confused with the Millennium. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2 Pet. 3 v.10) "A new heaven and a new earth": The "new heaven" is the atmospheric heaven around and above the earth. This area has been the domain of Satan (see Eph. 2: verse 2) and must be purified before the heaven of God can come down to the new earth. This new earth will be a perfect environment similar to that of the Garden of Eden. A unique distinction of this new earth will be that the vast oceans of water that now cover three fourths of the world's surface will not be included, leaving much more inhabitable land for the population of the redeemed. This "new heaven and new earth" are actually a heavenly pattern of what the Garden of Eden was a miniature of on earth. We will see the Tree of Life restored with water that flows from the throne of God. It didn't rain in the Garden of Eden. Plants were watered from beneath the earth. The water in the Garden of Eden flowed out in four rivers (symbolic of enough for the whole world). This river that flows from the throne of God is the same water that Jesus told the woman at the well, if she drank it, she would never thirst again. Revelation 21:2 The New Jerusalem Described John’s attention was then directed to a specific feature of the new heaven and new earth, namely, the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. The New Jerusalem is called “the Holy City,” in contrast with the earthly Jerusalem (which spiritually was compared to Sodom in Rev_11:8). As early as Rev_3:12 the New Jerusalem was described as “the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God.” The fact that the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven and that it is not said to be created at this point has raised the question as to whether it has been in existence during the Millennium (see further discussion on this under Rev_21:9). Many expositors regard the promise of Christ in Joh_14:2, “I am going there to prepare a place for you,” as referring to this city. The suggestion has been made that if the New Jerusalem is in existence during the millennial reign of Christ, it may have been suspended in the heavens as a dwelling place for resurrected and translated saints, who nevertheless would have immediate access to the earth to carry on their functions of ruling with Christ. In the Millennium the New Jerusalem clearly does not rest on the earth, for there is an earthly Jerusalem and an earthly temple (Ezek. 40-48). Here, however, the New Jerusalem is described as it will be in the eternal state, and it is said to be “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Because the church is pictured in Scripture as a bride (2Co_11:2), some have tried to identify the New Jerusalem’s inhabitants as specifically the church saints, excluding saints of other dispensations. However, the use of marriage as an illustration is common in Scripture, not only to relate Christ to the church but also Yahweh to Israel. Though the city is compared to a beautifully dressed bride, it actually is a city, not a person or group of people. Now John sees the new holy city which is not heaven, but is called that since everyone who will be in it is holy. This is Christ's Kingdom. "Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection." (20 v.6) New Jerusalem will be coming down to the new heaven and new earth mentioned in verse 1. The old heaven and earth which was in chapter 20 verse 11 fled away and was no more. The city is illustrated as a bride because it contains the bride and takes on her character. John saw the bride adorned for her husband because the time for the consummation had arrived. The concept of the bride includes not only the church, but all the rest of the redeemed from all the ages who will live forever in that eternal city. 1 Cor. 15 v.28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Revelation 21:3-4 Following this initial revelation of the New Jerusalem John wrote, I heard a loud voice from the throne. This is the last of 20 times that the expression “a loud voice” is used in Revelation (first used in Rev_5:2). The final revelation from heaven states that God will then dwell with men, that the saints will be His people and He will be their God. In eternity saints will enjoy a new intimacy with God which is impossible in a world where sin and death are still present. The tabernacle of God is with men. The tabernacle was the original symbol of God dwelling with His people. In eternity, mankind will dwell with God. In that eternal state, we will not only enjoy fellowship with our redeemed loved ones but will also have actual fellowship with God Himself. "Tabernacle" here means dwelling place of God. No longer will he be far off. No longer will he be "veiled" in the human form of Jesus Christ, in a cloud, a pillar of fire or in a Holy of Holies. Just like God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, He will be in heaven with us continually. As Matthew 5 v.8 states: The pure in heart shall see God. Believers will see God as He is. The new order will be without sorrow. God will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death with its mourning, and pain with its crying will vanish, for the old order of things will have passed away. All tears, pain, sorrow, and death will be removed in that heavenly New Jerusalem where Christians will live. This is the exact opposite of the curse that resulted from Adam's sin (see Gen. 3: verses 16 to19). The effects of the curse are removed, and all things are made new. God does not merely repair the creation, He re-creates it for His children to enjoy for all eternity. Just as the disciples knew security when Jesus was there to take care of all their needs, we will know perfect peace and joy in heaven. Jesus is the king of peace. Jesus defeated death on the cross. The biggest fear of mankind is death. We just read where the Christians will not taste the second death. This fear is gone away. Death will no longer hang over the Christian. The Christian has eternal life (not death). There won't be any reason to cry for in heaven. The devil and all his problems he brought upon the Christians have been thrown into the lake of fire. Every negative thing has been done away with. Some have wondered if grief and sorrow will exist for a while in heaven and then be done away with here at the establishing of the new order. It is better to understand this passage as saying that heaven will have none of the features that so characterize the present earth. Revelation 21:5-6 The dramatic change to the new order is expressed in the words, I am making everything new! This revelation is trustworthy and true, and John was instructed to write down that fact. The One bringing about the change is Christ, who calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega (cf. Rev_1:8; Rev_22:13), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, interpreted by the phrase the Beginning and the End. "The One who sits on the throne said", is the same One "from whose presence earth and heaven fled away. (Rev 20 v.11) Here we see God sitting on the throne saying that He "makes all things new" when we are saved we become a new creature. We know this saying is true for the believer. Just as He did not throw us away and get a new person: He says here "I make all things new". He did not say He made new things. He just takes the old things and transforms them into new. Here we see that Jesus commanded John to write, because all the things He has been shown are true. Jesus is the truth. Those who are thirsty are promised that they will be able to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. Apparently this refers not to physical thirst but to a desire for spiritual blessings. It is done. These words mark the end of redemptive history. This is a statement ( Gr. gegonan) of divine finality. It represents God's promise that this new state will be forever. Alpha and Omega is the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Hence, this phrase represents the sum of all things. In Revelation 1: v.11 and 22: verses 12 to13 it is used of Christ. Here it is used of God the Father ("He that sat on the throne"), indicating the deity of both the Father and the Son. Just as Jesus said on the cross "It is finished" You see, Jesus is the way to get to the water of life. In fact, He is the water. He is life. He who hungers and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. There is nothing before Him and nothing after Him. A citizen of heaven is described as one who "thirsts" signifying those who recognize their desperate spiritual need, "hunger and thirst for righteousness", Matt. 5 v.6. Revelation 21:7-8 Christ explained that he who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be My son. This expresses the intimate relationship between the saints and God in the eternal state. An overcomer is one who exercises saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A person who in faith drinks the water of salvation freely offered by God. Each of the seven letters to the churches in Rev. 2 and 3 end in the promise of he that overcomes will inherit these things. Just as a bride is an equal inheritor of all that is her husband's, so the Church, the Bride of Christ, will inherit all that is His. He even promises that He will be our God and we shall be His son. These terms of endearment are experiences we as Christians shall enjoy forever. From this scripture, we see there is something we must overcome. If we are faithful to Him in the face of all odds, we will inherit eternal life. The New Testament is actually an inheritance to the believers. If we believe, we can collect on that inheritance. Who ever we are faithful to, is our God. If he is our God, He will claim us as His son. By contrast, those who practice the sins of the unbelieving world will be excluded from the New Jerusalem and will be destined for the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This judgment is a righteous punishment for their sins, eight of which are itemized here. He adds, This is the second death. The contrasts between verses seven and eight are graphic. They represent the age-old concept that there are only two kinds of people with God, believers and unbelievers. They experience two different lifestyles on earth and go to two different eternal destinies. Believers go to "eternal life" while unbelievers experience "the second death," which is the lake of fire. Fear is not of God. Fear is the opposite of faith. In fact, it is mentioned twice here by saying "fearful and unbelieving". Jesus cannot be someone's Savior, unless they believe they He is their Savior. Abomination, meaning vile, polluted, detestable, wholly caught up in wickedness and evil. Here, we see those who do abominable things taking part in the second death. Notice here this says "murderers" not accidental killing or killing in war. This is premeditated murder, or those who hate their neighbors. We see here "whoremongers" (this means not only in the physical but also in the spiritual). "Sorcerers" has to do with the occult and also drugs. "Idolaters" has to do with anything or anyone you put ahead of God. "Liars" can do more harm than you can imagine. Many have a tendency to tell little white lies, but any untruth is a lie. Those whose lives are characterized by such things give evidence that they are not saved and will not enter into the heavenly city. After we are forgiven of our sins and born again, we must practice salvation. We must not have the habit of sinning. We may slip and sin, but if we do, we have an advocate with the Father. Repent and ask forgiveness, and then as Jesus told the woman who the Pharisees had caught in the art of adultery, "Go and sin no more". Do not practice sin. The horror of it all if you do not change from these evils, is that you will be thrown into the lake of fire. It should be obvious that this passage is not affirming salvation by works, but rather is referring to works as indicative of whether one is saved or not. Obviously many will be in heaven who before their conversions were indeed guilty of these sins but who turned from them in the day of grace in trusting Christ as their Savior. Though works are the evidence of salvation or lack of it, they are never the basis or ground of it. Similar lists of sins are found elsewhere in Revelation (cf. Rev_21:27; Rev_22:15). Revelation 21:9-11 The New Jerusalem As The Bride One of the angels of Rev_16:1-21 who had poured out a bowl of wrath on the earth then invited John to see the New Jerusalem as a bride. Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. Carried by the Spirit to a high mountain, John saw the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, shining with the glory of God. From the past, at the beginning of the millennium, one of the seven angels who poured out a bowl or vial appeared to John. Now the angel was to show John the Lamb's bride, the Lamb's wife. New Jerusalem is likened to a bride because the redeemed are forever united to God and the Lamb. At this point, the marriage has already taken place in 19 v.7 and now is referred to as "The Lamb's Wife. Expositors have raised questions about the additional revelation of the New Jerusalem, beginning in Rev_21:9. Some believe that this section is a recapitulation and pictures the New Jerusalem as it will be suspended over the earth during the millennial reign of Christ. A preferred interpretation, however, is that the passage continues to describe the New Jerusalem as it will be in the eternal state. Obviously the city would be much the same in either case, but various indications seem to relate this to the eternal state rather than to the Millennium. The overall impression of the city as a gigantic brilliant jewel compared to jasper, clear as crystal indicates its great beauty. John was trying to describe what he saw and to relate it to what might be familiar to his readers. However, it is evident that his revelation transcends anything that can be experienced. The jasper stone known today is opaque and not clear (cf. Rev_4:3). It is found in various colors, and John apparently was referring to the beauty of the stone rather than to its particular characteristics. Today one might describe that city as a beautifully cut diamond, a stone not known as a jewel in the first century. As in the earlier references to the New Jerusalem as a bride, here again is a city, not a person or group of people. This is confirmed by the description of the city which follows. That great city, the holy Jerusalem. The Lamb's wife is described as the new city of Jerusalem. This magnificent city is where the bride of Christ (the Church) will live forever. The most dominant characteristic of the holy city is the presence of God's Glory, which personifies God's presence with His people. The Glory that departed from the Old Jerusalem (see Ezek. Chapters 8 to 11) is restored to the New Jerusalem of the future. John's incredible vision began when the angel carried him away in the Spirit in Rev. 1 where he received the visions that make up the book of Revelation. John's visions were not dreams, but spiritual realities, like the one's Paul saw when he was also caught up to the third heaven. From John's vantage point atop a great and high mountain, he repeats his observation of verse 2 that New Jerusalem came down out of heaven from God, emphasizing its divine origin. Note what is described here is not the creation of heaven, but the descent of what already existed from eternity past. Now it's being situated in the center of the new heaven and the new earth. "The Glory of God": The brilliance radiating from New Jerusalem caused by the full manifestation of God's glory will be so much, the city will have no need of the sun or the moon as the glory of God will illuminate it. Revelation 21:12-13 The New Jerusalem As A City John saw a gigantic city, “square” in shape (Rev_21:16), and surrounded by a great, high wall with 12 gates. The 12 gates bore the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. The inclusion of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles in the foundations and gates of the city (see 21 v.14), indicates that both Jewish and Gentile believers will all be part of the family of God and share eternity as one. Although it would seem that the Jews are distinct from the Church during the Millennium, they will all be one as children of the living God for eternity. If you have ever been to Jerusalem in Israel, you know the old city has a large wall around the city. The physical Jerusalem here has 12 gates. You see, this earthly Jerusalem is a replica of this heavenly Jerusalem. Here we see their names (twelve tribes), celebrating God's covenant relationship with Israel, the people of the promises, covenants, scriptures and the Messiah. These angels are stationed to attend to God's glory and to serve His people. The number 12 is prominent in the city with 12 gates and 12 angels (Rev_21:12), 12 tribes of Israel (Rev_21:12), 12 foundations (Rev_21:14), 12 apostles (Rev_21:14), 12 pearls (Rev_21:21), 12 kinds of fruit (Rev_22:2), with the wall 144 cubits — 12 times 12 (Rev_21:17), and the height, width, and length, 12,000 stadia, about 1,400 miles (Rev_21:16). The city has walls north, south, east, and west with three gates on each side (Rev_21:13) and with an angel standing guard at each gate (Rev_21:12). This is reminiscent of the way the twelve tribes camped around the tabernacle in numbers 2 and the allotment of tribal lands around the millennial temple. (Ezek. 48) This is an entirely different situation from the earthly Jerusalem in the Millennium. But if the names of the gates corresponded to the millennial Jerusalem described in Eze_48:31-34, the north side from east to west would have the gates named Levi, Judah, and Reuben. On the west side from north to south were Naphtali, Asher, and Gad; on the south side from east to west, Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun; and on the east side from north to south, Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan. In contrast to Rev_7:5-8, where Dan is omitted and Joseph and Manasseh are included, Ezekiel mentioned Dan but not Manasseh. Revelation 21:14-16 The 12 foundations to the city’s wall bore the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. The apostles were part of the church, the body of Christ. Thus both the church and Israel will be in the city; the former are represented by the apostles’ names on the foundations (Rev_21:14), and the latter by the names of Israel’s 12 tribes on the gates (Rev_21:12). The foundation of Christianity was established by Jesus through the twelve apostles. You can easily see, this is not only a city but stands for the Christians as well. These stones commemorate God's covenant relationship with the church of which the apostles are the foundation of. The layout of New Jerusalem's gates picture God's favor on all His redeemed people from both the old and new covenant. The distinction between Israel and the church is thus maintained. An angel measured the city with a measuring rod of gold, about 10 feet in length. The city is 12,000 stadia in length and width, approximately 1,400 miles on each side. Tremendous as is the dimension of the city, the amazing fact is that it is also 1,400 miles high. This is like Ezek. 40 v.3 and the measuring of the millennial temple. Also, the measuring of the Tribulation temple described in chapter 11 v.1. All three measurements is showing the significance that shows what belongs to God. The city lies foursquare. The size of this city indicates that each border is approximately fifteen hundred miles long. Thus the dimensions of the city would be equal to the area from the eastern seaboard of the United States to Colorado on one side and from the Canadian border to the southern tip of Florida on the other. In addition to the length and breadth, the city will be fifteen hundred miles high. This great size will afford sufficient space for the habitation of the saints from all ages of history. We see here that this city is a cube. Twelve thousand furlongs is 1500 miles. This city is 1500 miles square and 1500 miles high. Revelation 21:17-18 Surrounding this huge city is a wall 144 cubits or 216 feet thick. The reference to man’s measurement simply means that though an angel is using the rod, he is using human dimensions. A cubic is 18 inches or 1-1/2 feet. Times 144, the wall was 216 feet across. Just as in Babylon the walls, were wide enough for chariot races. This is even wider. To emphasize the city's dimensions are literal and not mystical, John tells us that the measurements are given according to human measurements. As John gazed at the wall, he saw that it was made of jasper, and that the city was made of pure gold, as pure as glass. The massive walls a material called jasper. This is the same diamond like stone that was mentioned in verse 11. (Clear as crystal) Next the city itself was pure gold, like clear glass. Imagine how God's glory will radiate throughout and light up the entire city. John was using the language of appearance, for apparently both the jasper and the gold differ from these metals as they are known today. In Rev_21:11 the jasper is translucent, and in Rev_21:18 and Rev_21:21 the gold is clear like glass. Revelation 21:19-21 The decorations of the foundations (with the apostles’ names inscribed on them) include 12 stones involving different colors. The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Every gate will be one pearl, each large enough to cover the gateway to this huge city. In addition, the street of the city will be "pure gold, like unto clear glass," indicating that believers will walk on golden streets. The holy city of God will be so magnificent that believers will literally walk on precious metals that today are used for costly adornments. There is no silver in the city. Silver means redemption and we have already been redeemed. These stones show us things that are important here on the earth are plentiful in heaven. You see, God owns all the wealth in the world. God has so many rare stones He even puts them in the wall. Each gate is made of just one pearl. And remember the height of the cube is 1500 miles. That makes for a very large pearl. The streets in New Jerusalem is made of the highest quality of pure gold which is like everything else, transparent. We are not familiar with transparent gold here on earth, but everything in heaven is transparent to let the light of God's glory blaze unrestricted. The color of the jasper is not indicated. The sapphire was probably blue; the chalcedony comes from Chalcedon, Turkey and is basically blue with stripes of other colors. The emerald is a bright green; the sardonyx is red and white; and the carnelian, called a “sardius” in the NASB, is usually ruby-red in color, though it sometimes has an amber or honey color. In Rev_4:3 the carnelian stone is coupled with the jasper to reflect the glory of God. The chrysolyte is a golden color, probably different from the modern chrysolyte stone which is pale green. The beryl is a sea green; the topaz is a transparent yellow-green; the chrysoprase is also green; the jacinth is violet in color; and the amethyst is purple. The stones together provide a brilliant array of beautiful colors. The gates resemble huge, single pearls, and the street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass (cf. Rev_21:18). While the beauty of the city may have symbolic meaning, no clue is given as to the precise interpretation. Since it is reasonable to assume that the saints will dwell in the city, it is best to take the city as a literal future dwelling place of the saints and angels. Revelation 21:22-27 John declared that he did not see a temple in the city because God the Father and the Lamb (God the Son) are its temple. There will be no need for light from the sun or moon because the glory of God will provide the light. As John explained, the Lamb is its lamp. From the fact that the nations (the Gentiles) will be in the city (Rev_21:24, Rev_21:26) — as well as Israel and the church — it is evident that the city is the dwelling place of the saints of all ages, the angels, and God Himself. The description of the heavenly Jerusalem in Heb_12:22-24 itemizes all those mentioned here and adds “the spirits of righteous men made perfect,” which would include all other saints not specifically mentioned. "No temple therein:" There will be no need for a temple in heaven to provide a means for a man to fellowship with God. Because of Jesus sacrificial death on the cross, sin will not exist there. God and the Lamb are the temple of the eternal city. This clearly emphasizes the deity of Christ as equal in essence to that of the father. There will be not need for anyone to go anywhere to worship God. Believers will constantly be in His presence. There will never be a minute when they are not in perfect, Holy Communion with the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. Therefore there will be no need for a temple, cathedral, church, chapel or any other house of worship. No more day and night but there will be one eternal day. The Glory of God will illuminate New Jerusalem and its lamp with be the Lamb Jesus, who is the Light, and does away with darkness. Believers will be the true worshipers God has always sought. The reference to "nations" reminds us that our national distinctions, like our personal appearances, are God-given. Revelation 7: v.9 refers to "a great multitude of all nations," and Revelation 5: v.10 refers to believers as "kings and priests" who reign with Christ. Not that any national identities will be preserved in the eternal state, but rather just the opposite. People from every tongue, tribe and nation whether Jews or Gentiles, will be united as God's people. Every believer will be fully equal in the eternal capital city. This just means that God doesn't care whether you are Chinese, African, or American. If you accept Jesus, you will be in heaven regardless of what country you're from. John learned that the gates of the city will never be shut, and because God’s glory will be present continually there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be in the city, and everything that is impure… shameful, or deceitful will be excluded (cf. Rev_21:8; Rev_22:15). Its gates will never be closed. This depicts the city's complete security and that there is no need to close them. New Jerusalem is a place of rest, safety and refreshment where God's people will "rest from their labors." Never again will anything have to be shut up for fear of loosing it by thieves and robbers. None of that will ever exist again. The inhabitants will be only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. It is interesting that in the six references to the book of life in Revelation only this one calls it “the Lamb’s” (cf. Rev_3:5; Rev_13:8; Rev_17:8; Rev_20:12, Rev_20:15). All who enter heaven will surrender their earthly prestige and glory when they enter. All who enter heaven "will cast their crowns before the throne" of God". (Chapter 4 v.10) This Scripture just means that this is a holy city (a place of true worship). There will be no evil of any kind in it. The residents are the redeemed, those washed in the blood of the lamb. Those who have been made righteous in Christ. Once again, we are confronted with the significance of having our names written in the Lamb's book of life assuring us that Christ knows each believer personally, by name. What a wonder this will be - to continually see God's face (Rev. 22 v.4) and to walk in the light of His presence (Rev 21 v.23 and 22 v.5) No wonder John tells us there is no temple in heaven (21: v.22) for as Paul wrote, "who hopes for what one already has" (Romans 8 v.24). What need could you have for a temple when everywhere you go is God? But a temple is not the only thing missing in heaven. What else does it lack? Consider the following short list: • No more sea (21 v.1) • No more tears, death, sorrow, crying or pain (21 v.4) • No more sinners (21 v.8) • No more fear (21 v.12) • No more sun or moon (21 v.23) • No more night (21 v.25) • No more sin or evil (21 v.27) • No more disease or injuries (22 v.2) • No more curse (22 v.3) It would be enough to call this place "heaven" just from that list of what it lacks. But that wouldn't tell half of the story! Now consider some of the remarkable features eternity will boast: • Unending fellowship with God (21 v.3, 7, 22) • Unending newness (21 v.5) • Unending water of life (21 v.6; 22 v.1) • Unimaginable beauty (21 v.11, 21) • Uncompromised security (21 v.12) • Unbroken unity between believers (21 v.12, 14) • Unlimited holiness (21 v.16) • Unparalleled size (21 v.16) • Untold wealth (21 v.18-21) • Unending light (21 v.23; 22 v.5) • Unrestricted access (21 v.25) • Unending fruit from the tree of life (22 v.2) • Unceasing service to God (22 v.3) • Unending reign (22 v.5) Beyond these thrilling descriptions from the book of Revelation, we know from other Bible texts that heaven will be a place of: • Rest (Heb. 4 v.1-11; Rev 14 v.13) • Full knowledge (1 Cor. 13 v.12) • Holiness (Heb. 12 v.14; Eph. 2 v.21) • Joy (1 Thess 2 v.19; Jude 1 v.24) • Glory (2 Cor. 4 v.17) • Worship (Rev. 7 v.9-12; 19 v.10) With all that heaven and eternity have to offer, it is hard to see why anyone would deliberately choose to miss it. Yet many will, according to Rev. 21 v.8, 27 and 22 v.11, 15. Make sure you're not one of them! Though the description of the city does not answer all questions concerning the eternal state, the revelation given to John describes a beautiful and glorious future for all who put their trust in the living God.