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Tuesday: The New Jerusalem — 8 Comments

  1. When cities are mentioned I think of our modern cities like Sydney - a giant sprawling metropolis that takes about 3 hours and 2 heart attacks to drive through. People living in boxes like sardine tins, sandwiched between concrete and electrical conduit, Huge international planes rumbling overhead as they come in to land at the airport. The never-ending rumble of traffic snarled between traffic lights and hedged in by double-B semi-trailers. The squeal of steel on steel as a commuter train slides in and out of the station. The dodging and weaving of pedestrian traffic as people move between shopping and business in the CBD.

    I go to Sydney a couple of times a year. It is in many respects a beautiful city, but I am glad to get back home again.

    I never really understood the concept of the Holy City until I visited Europe and saw the hill cities of Italy appearing above the mist in the valley early in the morning. Each of the cities occupied a hill, often with steep cliffs. They stood above the vineyards of the valley and they glowed golden in the early morning sun. It was peaceful and quiet and they had withstood the ravages of time and battle. I think this is the sort of city John was familiar with. These cities were built on hills because they provided a safe refuge.

    The Holy City may be a physical reality but it is also a symbolic representation of safety at last from the destructive results of sin. While we await the materialization of the Holy City, citizenship is available now.

  2. Today's lesson concludes by asking the question as to which sin cannot be forgiven by Jesus. Answer: the sin that I deliberately hold on to (see Proverbs 28:13).

    This aligns with the notion of "unpardonable sin"*. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, I have two options. I can either respond to that conviction and confess and renounce my sin (1 John 1:9), or I can resist the Spirit's conviction and instead cherish and indulge my sin/sinning. As my habitual tendency, the former will reflect a heart-state of self-renouncing, the latter a terminal heart-state of self-seeking/indulging. That is the real issue (1 Samuel 16:7; Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:10).

    * "Unpardonable sin" is a concept derived from Mark 3:28-30 and possibly 1 John 5:16-18.

    • How do I advise an individual with addictions who feel they don't love God enough to overcome their addiction and who doesn't truly see God's love as a reality? They want to see it, but are worn down by their addiction, and feel they don't love enough.

      • Perhaps share some of David’s Psalms where he is lamenting his actions and tell the stories of his misdeeds, ie, Bathsheba.

        Or the stories of Saul who warred against the early Christian church until Jesus accosted him on the road to Damascus. Salvation was given to him when he repented and he went on to do a great work for the Lord.

        He became known as Paul! Maybe taking a new name at conversion is a constructive idea. Symbolic of leaving the past behind!

      • An alternative to advising an individual is co-exploring their experience with them - to the extent they are open to that. This assists with identification of what the foundational issue/s is/are for them - and which issues are downstream consequences of that. Hypothetically in the scenario you mentioned, whatever contributes to them not presently being able to see God's love as a reality (Romans 5:8) may potentially be a foundational issue that is exacerbated by their worn-downness. Feeling that they don't love God enough may reflect a perception that unless we love God enough, then God can't/won't love us. This unfortunately reflects how things can be in human relationships - but it's not how things operate with God (Isaiah 55:8-9).

        Just some hypothetical thoughts as I am not giving advice...

  3. No more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. No more pain. The concept of a world without pain, death, or sadness is difficult for us humans to fully comprehend. A sense of comfort and relief that seems too good to be true.

  4. The answer to the question posed in today’s lesson is simple.

    1 John 5:11-13

    „And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.“

    We read about the concept of the „remnant“ throughout the Scriptures, of those who keep the commandments of God not as a means of salvation, but as demonstration of their love to their Savior.

    The difference to those who will not be saved is that the remnant people refuse to compromise with the enemy, depending wholly on the Lord:

    Isaiah 10:20-22

    “The remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the Lord, the Holy one of Israel, in truth. The remnant will return to the Mighty God.“

    See also Romans 9:27 and Joel 2:28-32.

    We know that Satan hates God‘s law and hates all those who keep the law and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev.12:17); that‘s why he‘s waging war against them. So true end-time followers of the Lamb are those who remain faithful amidst widespread apostasy and persecution.

    The good news is that God‘s grace is still available to everyone and keeping in mind, not to prejudge anyone.

    Matthew 20:16

    „So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.“

  5. The difference between the group of people who will be saved and the other, which will experience the second death, is in the acceptance! To accept Christ is to embrace Him, and learning to love Him, because He is Love.


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