Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Believer's Future - Part 1

Have you ever wondered what your future holds for you? If you are like me, I am sure you have dreamed countless times and asked the question, what does my future look like? Some people inquire in the cards, Tarot cards, and others gamble at the tables in hopes of insuring a better future. I was inspired to dwell on this subject for a while because it is evident we all live in a hard environment and it takes a severe toll on a lot of us, especially those who are suffering with some kind of disease or physical impairment. I consider myself very blessed because I personally do not suffer with disease outside of the everyday mild aggravation of arthritis, which came from broken bones. I find myself once again, sitting here at my desk, and writing at 3:30 in the morning because my aching bones have awakened me once more. So in my case there is nothing else to do but get up, put on a pot of coffee, and start writing what the LORD wants me to write.

Many times I find myself bogged down with the day-to-day cares of this life and sometimes I might go through a day having no meaning of life. This is when I find myself focusing too much on myself and my tunnel vision will not allow any vision at all to enhance my life. This is when I find myself turning to the Word of God for encouragement and answers to all life’s questions. I have been asking the LORD questions all my life and have relentlessly pursued the truth of matters for all intensive purposes. Mostly out of pure curiosity, but unintentionally, drawing from the source of all knowledge and understanding of all living things of this universe. The LORD is known as the God of wonders, and no wonder, He is the creator of all things known and unknown. Therefore, I am most assured the only wise choice is to go back to the source of all existence and continue to search for more knowledge and understanding to the very best of our God given abilities. Personally, I believe it pleases the LORD for us to ask about things. The best reason I know for this statement is for the fact that all these questions bring about a better relationship and understanding of the very Person from which planned for me a space in time to exist, flourish, and experience the life the LORD had planned for me all along. There is one important thing I have learned about this life I live. No matter what, it is not over until the LORD says it is over. I have faced death only to be averted and taken as a warning; life is short, do not waste it. Even when I find myself discouraged to the point of wanting to go home, my heavenly home, then unexpectedly, the LORD has something different for me to discover for myself and for my continued purpose of life.

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6

Many people have asked the question, is there life after death? I am convinced without a shadow of doubt there is life after death. I can come to this conclusion based on the fact that the Holy Spirit of God resides in my body and I possess the spiritual conviction that it is He, God’s spirit, which is my guiding force and protector in this life. I also base my faith in the written Word of God, which is by declaration, forever settled in Heaven. Therefore, there is life after death for the simple fact that God gives many truths from His Word that there is and that is enough for me. The verse above gives us ample proof that there is something more to this life because God has plans for us to continue in the next phase of life after death, as we know it.

With this thought settled in my heart and mind, this leads me to the subject I have desired to write about for some time. It is on the subject of the “New Jerusalem,” and what it consists of in the most explicit detail possible. Of course, that means we will have to take God’s Word, as His Word is the only source available to disclose such information about something as unimaginable as a city coming down from the heavens to be our new home for the rest of eternity. Only unbelievers will scoff at this notion, but nonetheless, it is the truth of the matter. We can see our future through the Scripture and we can understand that we will have a continued purpose, a position, and a place to call home.

God gave the revelation of the New Jerusalem to the Apostle John while exiled on the Island of Patmos about 96 A.D. Patmos was at that time a penal colony of Rome and not many survived it. However, God had a plan for John as He does for all His children. The Roman Emperor Domitian had John placed in a boiling vat of oil, but by the grace of God, he survived to tell the story unfolding. As I stated earlier, life is not over until God says it is. John ascribed, “And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2

John continues with his vision but in detail. This adds to the evidence that only God has this knowledge and is willing to share it with those who will believe in His Word. God is not going to waste His time disclosing a joyous occasion with those who would not believe Him to begin with. This vision is for those who have given their heart, mind, body, and soul to God. This vision is for those who have suffered so long and more than willing to exit this world. They have discovered for themselves that there is nothing here for them. This detailed account of our future is for us as born-again believers to enjoy and daydream about while we walk in the valley of shadows. I find myself many times longing for something I have never seen with my eyes, this New Jerusalem, but also find myself weeping for it to happen. What a precious promise, God has given to those who trust Him for their daily bread and to able to see the Promised Land only by faith.

“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” Revelation 21:9-18

It is quite amazing that the writer would mention that the “building of the wall of it was of jasper”. It would pay us great dividends to look closer to this building material as to get a better spiritual understanding of what it is that God wishes for us to see and experience. I admit I am no designer, architect, or tradesman of any sorts, but, I am intrigued of what this city delves to the eyes and mind of the beholder. To begin with, the jasper stone is a very small stone ranging in size from small, the size of a pea, to extra large, about the size of a walnut. This stone is the color of warm red blood. We have to keep in mind that all these building materials are transparent. We can see right through any of it because this typifies that God’s city is a pure and unadulterated city with absolutely no contamination whatsoever. As John stated, “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” I imagined what this would look like and could vision a warm red wall encasing a transparent gold city. What a magnificent sight it must be to behold! The red stone is a visual reminder there was a price paid for this extravagant building, as is everything about this brilliant gleaming city.  The price was paid in full by the very blood of our Redeemer, the LORD Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our salvation. Therefore, when we get our first glimpse of the wonderful city, all of us approaching this city from a distance, it will be an instant reminder of our Redeemer and what He did to secure our destiny.

“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 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?” Hebrews 9:11-14

To look closer at this magnificent wall of jasper we will discover more of what it represents. Like all minerals, stones, and gems, these are building material from an earthly origin destined for an out of this world destination. I do not know where God acquired His building materials but a little food for thought is that all these gems can be found in this earth. Those of us consider jasper stone on earth to be a power stone, a sort of grounding stone, a stone of warmth.  It also gives protection from adversity. Can we grasp a better understanding as to why God chose this particular stone to wall in this city? It represents the source from whence we get our strength and protection from, Almighty God. Jasper considered by gemologists, coined as “solid as a rock”.

“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; we have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26:1-4

Spiritually speaking, we know Christ is our Rock. It is amazing that our future home would reflect this attribute. The jasper stone is also known as a healing stone and a nurturing stone for those who were hurt for various reasons. This gem speaks of justice to those who need it, for those who were shown injustice on earth.  Here on earth in ancient times the jasper stone was known as the warrior’s stone for courage and steadfastness. There will be no turning back now, it represents loyalty, and it represents justice and fairplay for all those who fell victim of oppression. I find it quite amazing that this gem represents all the attributes of Christ Jesus. When we lay eyes on this glorious city walled with jasper it radiates a beacon to the beholder, with arms outstretched, this city speaks to our hearts, welcome home my child.