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The New Jerusalem—A Pattern For Living—The Foundation
A Pattern for Life
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
— Revelation 21:10-21
The intentions of this study will show how this building in Revelation is a picture and pattern of the Christian life to be lived in the here and now and into eternity. How we live in the here and now is eternally consequential.
I would like to look at some of the details of this building and show how this was not just a structure that God wanted us to think was pretty so we would want to go to heaven. But the details are describing elements of patterns for living.
It is a structure that provides the imagery of God dwelling eternally with the man He created. It was made up of the individual lives of believers and It is also a picture and symbol of how God was able to take sinful humanity and bring forth a new and beautiful creation.
The details of this structure are symbolic of spiritual truths that we will be looking at in this study. Every foundation and gate we study will include people that were not perfect, but submitted themselves and surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus whose name means salvation, and the love of their father in heaven, and how in the end, the Lord was able to create a beautiful and suitable habitation with their lives.
So it is with us - Our individual lives may not seem to bear much beauty from the mistakes we have made and may even be marred by the sins committed against us. But as we place our faith, trust, and hope in the saving work of Jesus' death for our sins and the sins committed against us, and in His resurrection, we can believe to have our lives resurrected and transformed into a beautiful new and perfect creation.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
— Romans 8:28
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
— Ephesians 2:10
The building itself represents the church.
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
— Ephesians 2:18-22
Which is made up of individuals.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
— I Corinthians 3:9
you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
— I Peter 2:5
A Good Foundation
Every good building starts with its foundation.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
— Hebrews 11:8-10
Abraham was looking for a place his heart could dwell that had "foundations" Just as we are looking for that solid abiding love that we can count on and build our life upon something eternal and lasting that has a firm foundation.
Abraham dwelt in a foreign country and dwelt in tents. This is showing us that when we come to Christ we become citizens of a new existence and become foreigners to this world. We dwell in tents, our temporary earthly bodies, and wait in faith for an eternal existence that has "foundations".
If we don't have the foundation laid there is no point in building any further.
The Chief Cornerstone
The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. According to Wikipedia online encyclopedia. (*)
Ephesians 2:20 states that Jesus Christ Himself is the Chief Cornerstone. All other stones will be set in reference to Him. He determines the position of the entire structure.
There are two foundational truths Jesus came to establish.
- We are loved by the Father
- We can have access to that love through Him
We can go out and buy all the necessary materials we would need to build a house like lumber, nails, shingles, and windows and build for ourselves a fine looking structure in which to dwell, and might even be quite comfortable, but our house will not stand without a solid and dependable foundation.
Our house will inevitably be subject to external conditions such as weather and shifting soil, but it will not withstand the conditions that nature will produce without a proper base. Just as in our spiritual lives, there are atmospheric conditions of sin and consequence that will batter against our lives.
It might be our own choices creating hurricanes of troubles or maybe the tsunamis of other peoples choices that have come to wash us in its torrents of waves. If our trust for our salvation and deliverance from any of these things is based and founded upon anything other than the saving work of Jesus Christ it will fall.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
— I Corinthians 3:11
My husband and I built a house and discovered that the foundation is the most difficult part of the structure to build. From a spiritual perspective, the foundation is the place where we deal with our sin condition. We were sinners separated eternally from God. Jesus the Son of God came from eternity to the earth and became one of us and bore the penalty and paid the ransom to set us free from our sin by sacrificing His life on the cross in our place, and He was then resurrected and opened the door for man to be resurrected in His position with God that we may live eternally with Him.
There are many shortcuts in the world today that do not involve the confrontation of our sin state or a need of salvation from it. Strangely enough, the principles and laws that God established in the Bible might profit or benefit us in this life time, But without the true foundation of the forgiveness of sin through God's offered Son Jesus, those profits and benefits will not be supported eternally.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
— John 10:1
Many modern religious movements today use biblical principle for success in this life because they work but they deny that the real power of that provision was made available through the suffering and death of our Savior God and requires we confront the issue of sin in our lives. By shortcutting the difficult part of this process we are forfeiting the eternal benefits. We become thieves and robbers.
...having a form of godliness but denying its power...
— II Timothy 3:5
God shows us in Matthew how to build our house (life) on the "Rock"
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
— Matthew 7:24-27
Hearing Him and obeying Him sets the rest of the stones upon the corner stone of this structure.
Part 2 will look at the materials used to build a fit sanctuary for Him to dwell.
© 2010 Tamarajo