The Holy City
Today much confusion reigns as to who we are in Christ. Some proclaim they are sons, others prescribe they are the bride of Christ. Many declare they are Israel, the Holy City, Jerusalem, God's called, His chosen, or His elect. Still others use the designation, Spiritual Jew. We all believe we are part of the body of Christ, so how do we deal with all this confusion? In reality, there is truth in all these statements, but are they taught in truth? There is only one way to know. We must go to God's Word and seek Spiritual understanding as to who we are, as Christ sees us. This confusion in the body of Christ was prophesied in the Old Testament:
"One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with His hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel." Isaiah 44:5
Paul also witnessed this confusion as he wrote to the church at Corinth:
"Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" I Corinthians 1:12-13
Today we hear those who say, "I follow this or that ministry," or, "I follow the teachings of this man or that group." Others swear they are right because they follow this philosophy or that doctrine. Then we wonder why the world is turned off to what is called "modern Christianity."
God's promises are so wonderful and beautiful. It becomes hard to understand why man cannot receive what God has for His people as simple truth, without man-made theologies and religious doctrines. As we begin to understand who we are in Christ, probably the most misunderstood statement we hear people make is "I am the bride of Christ." As we begin to open the Scriptures to discover who the bride of Christ is, we are drawn to the book of Revelation:
"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." Revelation 21:9
The angel revealed to John that he was going to show him the bride, the Lamb's wife. This is where the phrase "bride of Christ comes from, although the term "bride of Christ" appears no where in the Scriptures. The angel then showed John who the bride, the Lamb's wife is:
"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," Revelation 21:10
The bride John was shown was the Great City, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. The angel had already revealed the Holy City, New Jerusalem to John in Revelation 21:2
"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
The Great City is the Holy City, and Holy Jerusalem is the New Jerusalem. This Holy City is to be prepared as a bride. [see "Preparing the Bride" by G. Kirkpatrick] She is to be beautiful. Every preparation is to be sure. She is to be without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish, Ephesians 5:27. As we check further into the Holy City, New Jerusalem, we discover what the angel showed John:
"And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." Revelation 21:21
John was shown the Holy City with the pearly gates and the streets of pure gold. We may ask, "Is not this what has always been taught as being heaven?" But John records this Holy City, New Jerusalem, is descending (coming down) out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride. We need not only question what we have been taught about heaven, we need to discard it as erroneous. All religions have their place of eternal security, rest, and peace. Heaven has become the Christian utopia. There is not one Scripture in the Bible which states, "those who are good are going to heaven." This teaching began because the Bible states, "God's throne is in heaven."
The throne always means "a place of authority." We all know God is omnipresent which means He is everywhere. So the question we need to ask is, "Where is God when He is not in complete authority?" He is in authority wherever He is. So then, where is His throne? The answer is, "Wherever He is." So then where is heaven? It is wherever God is, and He is omnipresent, or everywhere. Once we come to the understanding that heaven is the "Spiritual realm of God," the realm over the earthly, flesh realm, then the teaching of a Christian utopia becomes no longer valid. We need to begin to look beyond what we have been taught for the truths in God's Word.
Searching further into what John recorded about the Holy City, we begin to understand what the voice of God spoke to John:
"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." Revelation 21:3
Many teach we are going to make our abode with God, or we are going to heaven to live with God. It was revealed to John, in the above scripture, that the tabernacle (the habitation) of God is with men. We are not going to heaven to live with God, He is coming here to live in us. As the angel stated, "He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God."
But what about the Scripture that promises us mansions in the sky? Let us look again at this promise Jesus made us:
"In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:2
Jesus stated, ". . . in My Father's house are many mansions." The word mansion is the Greek word mone. This word does not mean grand, palatial houses. It means "abodes or dwelling places."Once we understand the Father's house is the Spiritual realm of God, then we know in the Spirit, that God has many dwelling places which we can inhabit. Paul revealed to Timothy:
"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour." II Timothy 2:20
There are two places we can dwell in God. We can be purified vessels of gold or silver, or we can remain in our vessels of wood and earth. Those who are vessels of gold and silver are walking and living in the Spirit. Those who are vessels of wood and earth walk and live in the flesh. The vessels of gold and silver are vessels of honor before God. Those who remain in vessels of wood and earth are vessels of dishonor. As Jesus stated, "There are many dwelling places in His Father's house." And as John writes:
"And If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3
The place God is preparing for us is a place in His Kingdom to rule and reign with Him. He has promised to return and receive us unto Himself. Jesus did not say, make reference to or indicate He would be leaving again. He is coming to make His abode with His people who reside in the place He has prepared for them. As the beloved John declared:
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." I John 3:2
John asked a question, "Now are we the sons of God?" This cannot be read without making it a question. Then he continues, " . . . we do not know what we shall be, but this we know, that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, and we shall see Him as He is." If we have not become vessels of gold and silver, then we will not see Him because we will not be like Him. Paul explained to the Thessalonians:
"When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." II Thessalonians 1:10
Jesus' second coming will be when He comes to be glorified in His saints, His vessels of honor. These are those who have overcome their vessels of wood and earth. Jesus made a promise to the overcomers:
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and he shall be My son." Revelation 21:7
Only the overcomers will have an inheritance in God. If the overcomers inherit all things, there can be no inheritance for those who remain in their vessels of wood and earth. As the Scriptures proclaim, our hope is not heaven, but Christ in us is our hope of glory, Colossians 1:27. What then is the inheritance God has promised His people? The Psalmist David revealed God's promised inheritance:
"But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Psalm 37:11
Jesus made the same promise in the Beatitudes.
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5
The only inheritance God Has promised is to the meek, who will inherit the earth. Only the overcomers who have become like our example, Jesus, have any promise of inheritance. Isaiah recorded God's promise to those who are vessels of gold and silver:
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isaiah 57:15
God is going to inhabit eternity with those who have come into His high and holy place, who have a contrite (crushed) and humble spirit. God will revive those who have been crushed and humbled by the Spirit of God.
The angel who appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos declared the Holy City would be prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. As we search out this adorning of the bride, we are directed to Revelation 19:
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Revelation 19:7-8
The adorning of the bride, the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, is the righteousness of the saints of God. Those who clothe the Holy City will be clothed in the righteousness of God. Paul warns the church at Rome their shortcomings concerning righteousness.
"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Romans 10:3
Today self-righteousness is the order of the day in many churches because they follow man's dictates and man-made doctrines and religions. They are made to believe they are righteous in the sight of God. Self righteousness, self rule, and selfishness will not inhabit the Holy City. Only the righteousness of God is suitable clothing for the bride of the Lamb. John continues:
"And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." Revelation 19:9
Those who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb are those who are blessed and have been clothed in the righteousness of God. Jesus spoke of those who are invited to this great Marriage Supper in a parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage." Matthew 22:2-4
Jesus is speaking of ancient Israel (the Jews) who were called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, but they would not come. In this parable, the king told them the oxen and fatlings were killed and all things were ready. For centuries Israel had made their daily sacrifices. The oxen and fatlings were their sin offerings. But when they were called . . .
". . .they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city." Matthew 22:5-7
When Jesus was taken off the earth, those who preached the gospel were beaten, thrown into prisons, and multitudes were killed. When the King (God the Father) heard about the misuse of His servants, He set forth the Roman army to destroy those murderers, and burn their city. He did this in 70 A.D. Jesus prophesied this destruction to His disciples when they wanted to show Jesus the beautiful temple:
"And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 24:2
The Jews had rejected their Messiah and tormented and killed those who served the living God, and because of this, Jerusalem, the Jews" holy city, was totally destroyed, and the Jews were killed or taken into captivity.
Jesus continued His plan for the ages:
"Then saith He to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests." Matthew 22:8-10
God had opened His plan of salvation to the Gentiles, the "whosoever will." As Matthew recorded, the wedding feast was furnished with guests. We must note here that the wedding feast was not furnished with brides, but with guests. There was no bride at this wedding. As we will see later the guests at the wedding will make up the bride:
"And when the king came in to see the guests, He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And He saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless." Matthew 22:11-12
When the king came to visit the guests, one did not have his wedding garment --- he was not clothed with the righteousness of God. When the King asked him why he came to the wedding feast without his robe of righteousness, the man had no excuse. The one at the feast who was not properly dressed represents those who have failed to put off their vessels of wood and earth. These are those who believe God accepts us as we are, and they need not change to enter into His presence. These will not be part of the guests at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
"Then said the King to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called but few are chosen." Matthew 22:13-14
The place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth is the wrath of God. Those who come to the Marriage Supper not properly clad will be purified in the wrath of God. As Jesus stated, "Many are called, but only few will be chosen." Through the ages, God has called many to be part of His Marriage Supper. Those who have put off the old man and have been clothed upon with the new man will make up the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Only those who have been clothed upon with God's righteousness will inhabit the Holy City, New Jerusalem.
As we search further for truth about the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, we are directed to Paul's writings to the Hebrews:
"But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels," Hebrews 12:22
The Holy City which is the heavenly Jerusalem, or New Jerusalem, is also referred to as Mount Sion (Zion). This opens a whole new vista to our insight as to who and what the Holy City, the bride of the Lamb, is all about. Mount Zion is called the "city of the living God." The Psalmist writes:
"For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation." Psalm 132:13
The Lord has chosen Zion for His habitation. As we begin to understand Zion, we must look at the natural city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is in the country of Judah. Judah means "praise," or "a people of praise." Jerusalem is the city of peace. Salem or Shalom means "peace." There are two mountains in Jerusalem: Mount Moriah and Mount Zion. Mount Moriah is where Solomon's temple was built. It was the sight of Ornan's threshing floor which David bought, to offer sacrifices unto the Lord to stay the plague God had brought because David had numbered the people. Mount Moriah was the mount on which Abraham was to offer Isaac as a sacrifice unto God. Mount Zion was the place of David's throne.
As we understand that God teaches us through types, shadows, and similitudes, we begin to see a picture God is showing us as to who we are and what is our destination. When we come to Christ we enter into our country of praise. This is our initial place in God. As we grow and are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we begin to enter the city of peace. The third fruit of the Spirit is peace. Peace only comes after love and joy enter into our life.
By this time we have learned we are to become the temple of the Holy Spirit, so we begin to build our temple as the Lord designs it for us. This is when we come to Mount Moriah. The temple mount is where the work is done without the sound of hammer or axe, or any tool, I Kings 6:7. God is building His temple by changing the heart, molding the soul, and cleansing the body. But our journey is not complete. We have one more mountain to climb to become the habitation of God. The prophet Isaiah revealed, those who climb their final mountain to become the habitation of God will . . .
"Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken." Isaiah 33:20
Mount Zion is the city of our solemnities. The word solemnities means "our appointed place." Our appointed place is to rule and reign with God for 1000 years upon this earth. It is a place of quiet habitation where satan will be bound for one thousand years. Our tabernacle or temple will never be taken down or destroyed. We will have eternal life dwelling in us. Eternal life is not a place. It is a condition. This condition exists in all those who have allowed the Holy Spirit to have preeminence in their lives. Isaiah made a profound statement we all should understand:
"And I have put My words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art My people." Isaiah 51:16
What does God call His people? Zion! The word Zion means "sunny heights." Those who have come all the way up to inhabit eternity with the High and Lofty One are those who will inhabit the sunny heights. Paul spoke of these in his letter to the Ephesians:
"And hath raised us up together, and made us to sit in heavenly places in Christ." Ephesians 2:6
Paul called this the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, Philippians 3:14. God has put His words in our mouths, a river of living water which flows from our innermost being. He has covered us with the shadow of His hand. Those who have come to Mount Zion are in God's total care. And as He revealed to Isaiah, those who have come all the way up to Mount Zion, these are His people.
As we discover who we are, then we can understand the goal God has set before us to accomplish in Him. After Isaiah proclaimed Zion as the people of God, he continued:
"Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the Holy City: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." Isaiah 52:1-2
It is time for those who call themselves by God's name to awake. What are they to awake from? Their Adam sleep. Paul wrote to the Romans:
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." Romans 13:11
Truly it is high time to awake out of our sleep. Our salvation is getting closer and closer. To the Corinthians Paul wrote:
"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." I Corinthians 15:34
Awake to righteousness and put on our beautiful garments which clothe the Holy City. Paul admonished the Corinthians for not having the knowledge of God, proclaiming this was to their shame. Many call themselves Christian, yet they have no knowledge of God. Therefore God's Word is not producing life. It has only become a dry morsel. In reality all the Word of God they get is once or twice a week from the pulpit. These remain babies because they are unskilled in the Word of righteousness, Hebrews 5:13. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul declared:
"Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Ephesians 5:14
The Ephesians were still in their Adam sleep. As long as man remains in His Adam sleep, he will never come to the light of the knowledge of God in his life. Isaiah exhorts us to . . .
". . . put on thy strength, O Zion. . . ;" Isaiah 52:1
We need to ask, "What is our strength?" The prophet Nehemiah proclaimed " . . .the joy of the Lord is your strength," Nehemiah 8:10. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. If the Spirit of God is not given complete access to our lives, there can be no fruit in our lives. Paul made a profound statement to the church at Rome:
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Romans 8:9
Those who have not given the Spirit complete and total access in their lives, who are still dwelling in their fleshly condition, are none of His. They will not dwell in the sunny heights with Him who sits on the throne of David which is Christ Jesus our Lord. As we further check the words of Isaiah, he states:
". . . put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the Holy City. . .:"
What are the beautiful garments that will clothe the Holy City? Again it is the righteousness of the saints of God, those who have come all the way up to the sunny heights in God. When we conclude that the only important thing in our life is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, then the words of Isaiah will become a reality in our lives. As Isaiah revealed:
". . . for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. . ."
The desire for the things of this life which hinder our walk with God will no longer have an appeal to us. This is when we will . . .
"Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." Isaiah 52:2
Man was created from the dust of the earth. Dust exemplifies our flesh condition. We are to shake ourselves from the dust. When we shake we move violently to loose ourselves from something. This is what we are to do to rid ourselves from the dust nature. This is called overcoming the old flesh nature. [see "Dust" by G. Kirkpatrick] We are to arise and sit down, come to a place of complete rest in Christ Jesus. Paul wrote to the Hebrews concerning the rest God has planned for His people:
"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." Hebrews 4:9-11
We cannot enter into God's rest until we have ceased from our own labors, trying to build our own kingdom instead of God's Kingdom. As Paul declared, ". . . let us labor to enter into His rest." This is not an easy thing, to lay down our life that we may live the life of Christ. But Paul declared, if we do not enter into His rest we will follow our example of ancient Israel who entered not in because of unbelief, Hebrews 3:17-19. Paul gave the Hebrews assurance:
"For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." Hebrews 4:3
God finished all His works from the foundation of the world. All we need to do is enter into His finished work in us. God entered into His rest when He finished His creation. He is waiting for us to cease from our own labors, and enter into the rest He established from the beginning. Isaiah declared:
"O Jerusalem, loose thyself from the bands of thy neck . . ."
The word bands means "bondage". We glibly say: "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36, and yet we allow the government, the religious system, debt and strong-willed people to hold us in bondage. We are directed by God to loose these bondages that we have around our neck so we can proceed on into the things of God.
Isaiah called these "captive daughters of Zion." One truth we know, when the Old Testament speaks of "daughters," it is referring to God's people who make up His church in the New Testament. God's people are held captive to the things of this world and this life. If we are to proceed to the sunny heights, then we must shake ourselves loose from our dust existence and enter into God's rest. Only then can we truly say we belong to Him.
As we search for further truth concerning the Holy City, New Jerusalem, we need to look at the words Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia:
"For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." Galatians 4:22-26
The word allegory means "to lay along side to compare one with another." Paul spoke of the two Jerusalems. First he spoke of the Jerusalem which "now is." This is Jerusalem, the capitol of ancient Israel. This is the ancient city which has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. Paul states this Jerusalem is in bondage with her children. This city is held in bondage because of its religious affiliations. Three religions claim Jerusalem as their holy city: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. All are held in bondage trying to please God with their religious traditions.
Paul declared, "The Jerusalem which is above. . ." This is the New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven which is free and the mother of us all. We all recognize God as being our heavenly Father. Heaven is the Spiritual realm of God. Paul revealed, the Jerusalem from above is our heavenly or spiritual mother which is the bride, the Lamb's wife. The mother represents the true church, the woman who, as Jesus described, was clothed with the sun, the true righteousness of God.
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne." Revelation 12:1-2, & 5
This woman clothed with the sun had the moon (judgment) under her feet and a crown of twelve stars. The word crown means "authority." The number twelve is the number of "God's government." This woman (the true church) is about to bring forth the Man Child company who will rule and reign with Christ for one thousand years.
This man child (sons) was caught up unto God and His throne. These are those who have come all the way up to the sunny heights in God. These are Mount Zion, the people of God. As we continue with Paul's letter to the Galatians we read:
"For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband." Galatians 4:27
Paul is writing to let the churches at Galatia know who we are in Christ. Spiritually speaking, God's people are brought forth from the barren womb. We are brought forth not from man or man's religion. Our life comes directly from God. We no longer have life in ourselves. The only life we have is the life of Christ. Paul recognized this fact when he wrote:
"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." Galatians 2:20
Once we come to the Holy City, the life we live is no longer our life, but we begin to live the life of Christ. This is why Paul informed us the desolate (those without Christ) have many more children than she who has a husband. The Holy City, New Jerusalem has a husband, Christ Jesus our Lord.
The allegory Paul gave us was the two sons born to Abraham: the son of Hagar and the son of Sarah. Paul stated the son of Hagar represents the old covenant God made with His people. Those who ascribe to the old covenant remain under the law, and are in bondage to that which has been done away with in Christ. Paul continues:
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." Romans 10:4
"Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." Galatians 4:28
We are the children of promise. Today many still labor under the delusion the Jews are God's chosen people. Paul dispelled this idea in his letter to the Romans:
"That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." Romans 9:8
The children of the flesh are those who, as the son of Hagar, are still claiming ancient Jerusalem as their capitol, and who are still in bondage under the law. These are desolate because they have rejected Christ. As Paul responded: "These are not the children of God." Only those who are as Isaac are the children of promise; these are counted for the seed. Paul clarified this in his letter to the Romans:
"Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called." Romans 9:7
For further understanding of this we must look at the revelation Paul gave to the churches in Galatia:
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Galatians 3:16
Abraham has only one seed and that seed is Christ. So Isaac is a type of Christ. [see "The Seed Of Abraham" by G. Kirkpatrick] When Paul wrote ". . . in Isaac shall thy seed be called", we come to the understanding God's promised seed are those who have been crucified with Christ, and the life they are now living is not in the flesh, but is being lived in Christ. These have made Christ their all in all. These are the children of promise. Those who are still dwelling without Christ are desolate and have no hope, no promise, and no life in Christ. Paul continued his letter to the Galatians:
"But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." Galatians 4:29
This is true today. Those who walk and live after the Spirit are not understood, nor is their way of life accepted by the organized, religious world. They are talked about, put down, and rejected as some kind of moral freaks. But Paul gave us direction:
"Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free." Galatians 4:30-31
If we are to walk with, and be pleasing in the sight of God, we need to cast out the bondwoman and her son. Those who are still in bondage, claiming ancient Jerusalem as their capitol, who are trying to keep Moses" law or the law of man will not inherit with the children of promise. As Paul explained very clearly, those who are part of the Jerusalem which is above are free. We are not children of the bondwoman. We are children of the free, or we are children of the New Jerusalem which is the mother of us all.
As we search diligently into God's Word as to who we are, and what God expects us to be, and as understanding comes, we realize there are many today who proclaim themselves to be the bride of Christ without understanding what they are saying. To declare themselves to be the bride, they are really saying, "I am the Holy City, the New Jerusalem." This would be the same as someone from a large city, saying I am the city, instead of declaring, "I am a resident of the city." We realize a city is nothing without people, but people make up the city. The same is true with the New Jerusalem. Those who answer the high calling of God in Christ Jesus make up the city. These are the guests who will clothe the city with righteousness. The New Jerusalem is a spiritual city, and those who make up the city have put off their vessels of wood and earth, and have become God's gold and silver. By the Spirit, the prophet Haggai proclaimed:
"The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts." Haggai 2:8
Only those who dwell in vessels of silver and gold will make up the Holy City, New Jerusalem, the Mount Zion. Malachi informs us:
"And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." Malachi 3:3
God is going to purify those who are yielded to His Spirit. He will turn up the heat in their lives, until all the dross comes to the surface to be dealt with. Only these can offer the Lord an offering in righteousness. Only these will clothe the Holy City in righteousness. When the cloven tongues of fire has completed its work, then these words of Haggai will be fulfilled:
"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." Haggai 2:9
The latter house will be greater than the former house. What former house was Haggai referring to? The book of Haggai was written at the time of the rebuilding of Solomon's temple. The latter house Haggai was speaking of was not the rebuilding of Solomon's temple. He was speaking about the latter house God is building in the earth today. This building is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Many today are expecting a temple to be built in Jerusalem on what is called the Temple Mount, Mount Moriah. If they built another physical temple, what would they do with it? Would they offer sacrifices again to keep Moses" law? We know there is only one sacrifice for sin, and that is the shed blood of Jesus. The only temple God is concerned about building is the temple Paul spoke of in his letter to the Corinthians and Ephesians:
"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?" I Corinthians 6:19
"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." Ephesians 2:21
Only when we allow God's refining fire to sanctify and wash us thoroughly as with fuller soap will we become the temple He will fill with His glory. Paul warns us:
"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." I Corinthians 3:17
The word defile means "to corrupt or destroy." God is building His holy temple by the refining process. The Holy Spirit is the purifying fire in our lives. Only those who have gone through this purifying, purging process will enter into the Holy City, New Jerusalem, the Zion of God.
Paul wrote to Timothy about the army of God:
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." II Timothy 2:3-4
Those who are going to be soldiers in God's army must not entangle themselves with the affairs of this life. They must become spiritual warriors. Jesus revealed this army to John on the Isle of Patmos:
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." Revelation 19:11-14
It should be obvious that this is not a physical army. This army is made up of those who are clothed in fine linen, white and clean. This army is clothed with the righteousness of God. The prophet Joel saw this army in a vision:
"And the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His Word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?" Joel 2:11
God's spiritual army is very great and strong because they execute God's Word. The word execute means "to do, or to act upon." Those who are in God's army have made the Word of God their life and their way of life. Joel speaks much of this army. He begins by exclaiming:
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;" Joel 2:1
We know Zion and God's holy mountain are made up of His purified holy people. Today God is truly blowing the trumpet in Zion to wake up His holy people. Joel describes the day of God's army:
"A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations." Joel 2:2
This day is rapidly approaching, but God is preparing His people to stand in the Day of Darkness.
"A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them." Joel 2:3
Many believe they will escape God's wrath. By Joel's prophetic word we see God's army in the midst of the fire. The land before them is as the garden of Eden. This is the vision all God's people should have, a vision of a renewed earth. As Jesus promised John:
"And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." Revelation 21:5
God is not only going to renew the earth to make it again as the garden of Eden, He is going to renew man to his created condition. Those who have caught this vision are dealing with their old vessels of wood and earth, so they can enter into the Holy City to stand in the presence of the one who created them, and gave them this promise. Jesus gave John a wonderful promise to share with His people, but He also gave a stern warning. Speaking of the Holy City, New Jerusalem, John recorded:
"And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 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." Revelation 21:22-27
When John was shown the Holy City, there was no temple visible because the Lord God Almighty was the temple of it. This is a strange statement. Normally, you would say the Lord God Almighty was the temple in it. One small word makes the difference. The Holy Ghost is the Lord God Almighty and the Holy Ghost is the temple of the Holy City. When we become the temple of the Holy Spirit we become one with Him. This is why John saw no temple in the Holy City because those who make up the Holy City are one with the Lord God Almighty. Jesus explained this through the pen of John, the beloved:
"That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me." John 17:21-23
It is God's desire we become one with Him, and one with each other through His Son Jesus. This is why Jesus related to John He saw no temple, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. The elect of God who make up the Holy City have become one with the Father and the Son. They also will have become one with each other; or they will have become one temple, one true place of worship before the Father.
As Jesus revealed, the glory the Father had given Him, He has given us. This righteousness will clothe the Holy City because we will have put on the righteousness of God.
As we realize God's people make up and inhabit the Holy City, New Jerusalem, then we can understand why the Holy City had no need of the sun or the moon. Speaking of John the Baptist, the beloved John recorded:
"He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:" John 1:8-12
Jesus is the true light that lighteth every man who comes into the world. And as many as receive Him, He gives the power (the Holy Spirit) to become the sons of God. This has become a misnomer because many who have asked for the forgiveness of sin are told they have received Christ and are heaven bound. This has led many into a false sense of security. They need to study out the word receive. It is the Greek word lambano and means "to lay hold of, to seize, to take possession of, to appropriate, to receive what is offered."
Many who have gone to the altar have gone no further. They have not laid hold of God's truth. They have not seized upon His Word. They have not taken possession of His promises. They have not appropriated His life into their being. They also do not utilize the power He has given to become the sons of God, and they will not receive what He has offered.
The Holy Spirit is the light of those who make up the city of God. As John revealed, "The glory of God did lighten the city." And As Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica:
"When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day." II Thessalonians 1:10
It is the glory of God, shining in His saints, that will be the glorious light of the city. With John's promise he brings a warning:
"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abominations, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." Revelation 21:27
Nothing that defiles our life, or that is an abomination to God will become part of His glorious city. Those things must be dealt with now in our lives. The promise is there, but we need to know God's Word is true. God cannot lie. So if we believe God is going to accept us now with all our spots and wrinkles, we are only fooling ourselves.
The promise of our making up God's Holy City has been God's promise from the beginning. Many of the ancient people were given insight into this promise of God. A Psalm of Korah states:
"Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah." Psalm 87:3
God truly has spoken glorious things about His Holy City. God has promised:
"I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city." Isaiah 1:26
Those who make up the Holy City will be called the City of Righteousness and Faithfulness because they have obtained unto the righteousness of God and are faithful in all their ways. The sons of Korah wrote:
"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High." Psalm 46:4
The great voice revealed to John:
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men .. ." Revelation 21:3
God is going to tabernacle with those who make up the city of God. The Psalmist Asaph wrote:
"Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined." Psalm 50:2
Those who make up God's Holy City will be the perfection of beauty. Not only will they be without spot or wrinkle, they will be holy and without blemish, Ephesians 5:27. The glory of God will exude from them. Moses witnessed this glory after his encounter with God's glory. He had to put a napkin over his face when he spoke to the people. An unknown Psalmist also caught the vision of God's Holy City, His Mount Zion:
"When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory." Psalm 102:16
God is going to appear in all His glory, just as He appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration. The prophet Zechariah was given insight into the Holy City of God:
"Thus saith the Lord: I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain." Zechariah 8:3
Those who make up the Holy City will be called the City of Truth. The Holy Spirit revealed to Timothy:
"Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." I Timothy 2:4
This is God's will, that all men be saved and come into His glorious truths. But we know only those who catch the vision of God's eternal plan will continue, until they come fully into the knowledge of the truth as revealed by the Holy Spirit. The prophet Isaiah gave hope to all the overcomers:
"The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 60:14
The sons of those who afflicted us shall come, bowing unto us. The sons will come because God will have already dealt with those who choose to cause us harm. These have failed to heed the Word of the Psalmist who warned:
"Saying, Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm." Psalm 105:15
We have God's promise that the sons of those who afflict us will bow to the soles of our feet and recognize us as the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. God has given us a promise:
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and He shall go no more out: and I will write upon Him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name." Revelation 3:12
The overcomers are those who have the promise of inhabiting the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. But God also gives us a warning:
"And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book." Revelation 22:19
If we add or subtract from God's Word, then our name will be removed from the book of life, and we will be no part of His Holy City, nor will we be partakers of the promises written in His glorious book. Abraham is the Father of our faith in Christ Jesus. Paul wrote of Abraham's vision:
"For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:10
We need to constantly strive to discover the same city not only in ourselves, but in those who also will make up the Holy City, New Jerusalem, the Mount Zion of God. The gates are never closed. All we need to do is draw near unto our God, so we will be first in line in the day of entering in. Praise God!
Editor's note: This book may not line up with your theology; but we must make sure our theology lines up with the Word of God. May God bless you in your search. George Kirkpatrick
For Further Discussion
The Bride, the Lamb's Wife
Heaven, the Spiritual Realm of God
Vessels of Wood and Earth
Vessels of Gold and Silver
The Overcomers Will Inherit
The Wedding Feast
Mount Zion, The Sunny Heights
The Captive Daughter's of Zion
The Jerusalem From Above
The Woman Clothed With The Sun
Christ, The Promised Seed
God's Refining Fire
God's Renewed Earth
1.How do we know we are being taught the pure truth? page 1
2.Who is the Bride of Christ? Revelation 21:2 page 3
3.Where is heaven really at? page 4
4.If we aren't going to heaven to live with God, then how are we going to live with Him? page 5
5.There are two places we can dwell in. What are they? page 6
6.What are the differences between the vessels of gold and silver and the vessels of wood and earth? page 6
7.If we remain vessels of wood and earth, what will happen? page 7
8.Who will have an inheritance in God? page 7
9.What is the only suitable clothing for the bride of the Lamb? page 9
10.Those at the Wedding Feast who aren't properly dressed represent who? page 12
11.How is God building His temple? page 14
12.Those who call themselves by God's name are to awake from what? page 16
13.What are some of the things we allow, that hold us in bondage? page 20
14.Who are the children of promise? page 25
15.Who will make up the Holy City, New Jerusalem, the Mount Zion? page 27
16.What is the only sacrifice for sin? page 28
17.How will God's army become great and strong? page 30-31
18.Many who have gone to the altar have gone no further. Why? page 35
19.Those who make up God's Holy City will be the of beauty, without , or , holy and without . Ephesians 5:27 page 37
20.What happens if we add or subtract from God's Word? Revelation 22:19 page 39