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Official Service
Title
   Revelation Lectures(89) - Revelation Lectures (89)    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   Revelation21:15-18
Date
   2009-02-06



Scripture

Revelation 21:15-18 (NASB)
[15] The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.
[16] The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.
[17] And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.
[18] The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

Revelation 21:15-18 (NKJV)
[15] And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.
[16] 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.
[17] Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
[18] The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is the 89th Lecture on Revelation.
Apostle John made record of the city of New Jerusalem that he saw in Revelation Chapter 21.
Revelation 21:15 (NKJV) says, "And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall."
"A gold reed" is a measuring tool in heaven.
If you want to know why a gold reed is used to measure things, you should know its spiritual meaning.
First of all, the spiritual meaning of "gold" is unchanging faith.
Gold doesn't change over time.
Even if it is reduced to small pieces, it still has the same value as it is in a nugget or ingot.
When you refine low purity gold ore by fire, the gold doesn't burn off, but it changes into high purity gold.
Likewise, spiritual faith doesn't change.
From time to time, God refines you through the means of trials, and the process is to make you have unchanging spiritual faith.
To measure New Jerusalem with a reed of gold which is unchanging is to mean that the measurement of God is precise and unchanging.
It means, in other words, that the judgment is made according to God's word of promise without the slightest error.
Now, what kind of meaning does 'a reed' have?
Before think about its spiritual meaning, let's take look at its characteristics.
Reeds are tall plants that grow in shallow water or on wetlands. There are reeds which are 3 meters tall.
Reed beds become a hiding place because when people hide themselves in reed beds, it's hard to find them.
Its stem has knots, its leaves are elegant but sharp, and its flowers at full bloom are pinkish and look like a wad of cotton.
When reeds stir in the wind, they look weak, but their roots are deep under the ground.
Now, let's think about the spiritual meaning related to these physical characteristics.
First, the stem of a reed has knots at regular intervals.
Since it has knots like notch marks on a scale, it can be used a measuring stick.
A reed with knots like this symbolizes the justice of God who pays back according to what has been done.
Revelation 22:12 (NASB) says, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done."
Revelation 2:23 (NASV) also says, "I will give to each one of you according to your deeds."
Just as knots are added when a reed grows up, a dwelling place in heaven and rewards are decided as the faith grows up and deeds are piled up.
Only when the amount reaches a proper level, can an individual enter New Jerusalem.
God doesn't measure the faith and deeds roughly. There is a rigid standard according to the strict justice.
I already told you that a gold reed that God's measurement is precise and unchanging like the unchanging gold.
Similarly, the knots on the reed mean that word of promise written in the Bible is unchanging and correct.
The word in the Bible is precisely fulfilled without the slightest error.
For example, the Lord said in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter."
This word will be surely fulfilled.
No matter how regularly people go to church, if they don't live by the word of God, they will not go to heaven.
It's useless to call on to the Lord if they befriend the world and live in unrighteousness and lawlessness.
The Lord also said in Matthew 18:3, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."
In a physical sense, a mature adult cannot go back to become a 3 or 4-year old child.
However, since the Bible says so, you should become a child to receive salvation.
Therefore, in order to go to heaven, you should understand the spiritual meaning of this verse, and become a spiritual child.
Likewise, God measures your faith and deeds with the unchanging word. If a man is found to be proper when measured with a gold reed he will then enter New Jerusalem.
Second, a reed takes deep root in the ground, and thus it cannot be easily pulled out.
Reeds grow up straight, and stir softly in the wind, and thus it may look weak.
Since they are found in wetlands or damp ground, they seem to be easily pulled out.
However, even though they softly stir in the wind, they don't easily break off. Moreover, because they take deep root in the ground, they aren't easily pulled out.
Plants like rice are easily blown down when a strong storm sweeps them over.
Reeds always sway in the wind by waterside, but they remain even after a typhoon sweeps everything else away.
People of the world compare the heart of a person without principles and who easily changes with the reed just by looking at its soft side.
However, God values the good characteristics of the reed which is soft yet not easily broken-off, having its deep root in the ground and not easily uprooted.
These characteristics of a reed are similar to the characteristics of the Nation of Israel.
Israel has a small area of land, poor natural resources, and little rain.
It has a small population, and it is under a constant threat and surrounded by hostile countries.
It seems that this country would easily collapse when the neighboring countries become allies to invade it, but the reality is not so.
The reason can be found in its strong root of faith.
Since Abraham, through the forefathers of faith such as Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David, they have taken deep root in God.
Those of you who have read "The Message of the Cross" may recall the meaning contained in the Lord's garments and tunic.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, His garments were divided into four shares by soldiers, but they cast lots for His tunic without tearing it.
I explained that it contains God's providence toward Israel.
Just as the soldiers divided the garments of the Lord, the nation of Israel was destroyed by Roman Empire and its people scattered.
However, just like the tunic of the Lord which was woven in one piece, the heart of the Israelis which has lasted since the days of Abraham has still remained.
In this way the nation of Israel could be established again when the time came.
Likewise, since Israel has its deep root of faith in God, and since it was established in the providence of God, no matter how weak it looks, it doesn't cease to exist.
Like this gold reed, you should also take deep root in the Lord who is the rock.
Those who have taken deep root in the Lord will never collapse in the typhoon or hurricane of trials and afflictions.
Moreover, those who will enter New Jerusalem will never give up in any kind of trials and afflictions, but they will overcome.
Third, a reed is so soft.
It sways softly as the wind blows, and its flower is like soft cotton.
Likewise, those who will enter New Jerusalem have strength powerful enough to overcome trials, but at the same time, they have soft and gentle hearts.
You can find characteristics like these in the Lord Jesus.
Jesus performed miracles and signs with His great power, and He even revived the dead.
Winds and waves obeyed Jesus, and the enemy devil and Satan trembled in fear.
Even though He had such dignity and power, how soft and gentle He was!
When persecuted, He didn't argue or stand against opposition. He avoided the position or situation.
Even the lowly, the poor and the despised could find comfort and respite in the Lord, and those who were suffering could rest in the Lord.
Isaiah 53:2 says that Jesus is like "a tender shoot."
And Matthew 12:19 says, "He (Jesus) will not quarrel, nor cry out; Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets."
Those who come into New Jerusalem are those who have soft and gentle hearts like Jesus.
Their hearts are strong and firm, yet as soft as cotton.
When a man is physically strong and vigorous, it doesn't mean he is spiritually strong and powerful.
Those who take deep root like reeds, in other words those who take deep root in the truth; their hearts are always gentle and tender.
And thus they don't lose peace in their hearts or sway back and forth in any situations.
Those whose hearts are not cultivated but like a road-side field, or a rocky place have strong and unyielding hearts.
It's the same with the thorny field.
However, if you cultivate their heart into a good land, their hearts become as soft as cotton.
Their hearts will be soft and good and don't conflict with anything.
Even if you don't break peace, you may check your heart if it tumbles even a little bit in a small matter.
What are you going to do if someone draws attention to your faults and chastises you before many people?
Since you know the truth, you may smile outwardly, and say, "Thank you for pointing it out to me. I will change."
But, doesn't your joy or peace disappear in the depths of your heart?
Do you humbly think about why you received reprimand and try to change?
Or, do you lose heart or feel you've been treated unfairly, thinking, "I didn't do that. He must be mistaken about me"?
Or do you feel mistreated or unjustly accused, while thinking, "How could he embarrass me before the eyes of so many people?"
To the extent you lose peace in your heart, your heart is not soft and humble enough; your heart is still rough with self-righteousness.
Only when you have a heart as soft and gentle as cotton without any SELF, can you come into New Jerusalem.
Fourth, the leaves of a reed grow up straight and upright yet elegant.
It is truly graceful and elegant in appearance.
This graceful and upright look of a reed symbolizes the life of a saint who stands on the rock of faith, giving out the fragrance of the Lord Christ Jesus.
In its elegant appearance is found its delicate yet sharp characteristics.
In other words, along with its softness, it also has blade-like sharpness and strength.
Those of you who long for New Jerusalem should run toward the gates of heaven straight and upright like the reed leaves.
Like this graceful reed, you should also give out the fragrance of Christ Jesus wherever you may go.
And, just like its finger-cutting sharp leaves, you should have a firm heart which is like a sharp blade.
I don't mean that you can hurt and wound others with the sharp and strong blade like heart.
It should be a heart that is firm enough to keep the commandments of God, and solid enough not to compromise.
Like Daniel's three friends who didn't bow down to idols even though they knew otherwise they would be thrown into a furnace, you should not compromise with sin, but live in righteousness.
When you don't compromise even with trivial unrighteousness, people may think of you foolish, and they may say you are not likely to be successful.
For example, those who work in financial business field have many chances to entertain their clients.
But, our members neither drink nor smoke.
Instead of building strong personal networking on weekends, we come to church and spend time in church.
From the perspective of the worldly people, how strictly uncompromising we seem to be
In addition, since we don't stand against evil with evil, we may look so weak.
However, when you keep the truth with such integrity, God is with you and you are never weak.
Instead of falling or losing, just like those three who survived in the furnace, you can live a life giving great glory to God.
You receive blessing when you come in or when you go out. You become the head, not the tail. You lend, not borrow.
From time to time, however, these are those who are accused by the enemy devil and Satan to live a tough life even though they say they believe.
In this case, they should look back whether they stood against the truth and compromised with the unrighteousness.
Sometimes, they undergo trials because they lived in their own self-righteousness and self-frameworks, and didn't live by the true will of God even though they thought they lived in the truth.
If you keep the truth and manage a good believing life in the works of the Holy Spirit, you are never weak, but give glory to God in everything.
Due to these characteristics of a reed as we have examined, God measures New Jerusalem with the gold reed.

Now Revelation 21:16-17 (NKJV) says, "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 whole look of New Jerusalem is a shape of a cube which has the same width, height, and length.
When it says, "the city is laid out as a square," it refers to the order and precision of heaven.
It also refers to fairness and impartiality.
There are 12 gates in New Jerusalem; three gates on each of its 4 walls.
It means that whoever is proper according to the measurement of a gold reed may fairly enter New Jerusalem from anywhere in the world.
Even though the city is laid out as a square, it doesn't mean everything inside the city is rectilinear.
They have various shapes of curves, and they are beautifully decorated.
Since each individual has different taste and favor, they may decorate their house different from others.
Some may like straight and upright look, but others may like round and curved look.
Therefore, God decorates the houses according to the taste of their owners.
Now, the scripture says that the length, width, and height of its wall is 12,000 furlongs.
It means the length, the width, and the height is about 1,500 miles or 2,400 kilometers.
You should notice that not only the width and length, but its height is the same.
Let's say you build a city which is laid out as a square, and you build a wall which is the same as its width and length. How huge may it look?
If people live in a city surrounded by such a high wall, they may feel constrained.
However, no matter how high the wall is, you will never feel closed-in in heaven.
That's because the wall is transparent like glass.
You may see things the other side of the wall from inside the city, but people outside the city can't see into the city.
The area of New Jerusalem will be 58 times larger than that of South Korea.
However, since New Jerusalem has such a high wall, its usage of the space is different from this fleshly world.
Not only the surface on the ground is used, but also the space in high area can be used by the power of God.
Therefore, it may have the more usage of space than this world with the same area.
Its usage of the space is more than thousands of times than this world.
Since the city is so high, its wall should be also thick.
The scripture says the wall is 144 cubits.
Since a cubit is 45 centimeters, 144 cubit means the wall is 65 meters thick.
How huge is the city?
Of course, the measuring unit in heaven is not the same as in this world.
However, to make the bible-readers imagine the size of the city, the bible records these numbers.
Revelation 21:17 says that this measure is "according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel." It means according to the result of cultivation, in other words, according to the measure of each individual's faith, angels will prepare their dwelling places in the city.
Revelation 21:18 (NKJV) says, "The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass."
A similar expression is found in Revelation 21:11 (NKJV).
It says, "Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal."
The city of New Jerusalem has a dual structure with an inner city and an outer city.
The inner city and outer city are not separated from each other, but they are situated as if pieces of paper that are overlapping.
When seen from the outside of the city, the wall is made of jasper, but when seen inside the city, it is made of pure gold.
Jasper and pure gold are not piled up flatly. They are decorated with beautiful sculptures and patterns.
Every jewel of heaven has its own spiritual meaning that God has endowed upon it.
The lights and names of jewels are combined together to present their own dignity.
The spiritual meaning of jasper is faith.
It means that it is jasper of heaven that shines the light of faith.
Since New Jerusalem can be entered only by those with spiritual faith, its wall is made of jasper.
Gold also spiritually means faith. However, the pure gold in tonight's scripture contains the meaning of 'hope.'
Since you have faith, you can have hope for heaven, and diligently manage your believing life on earth.
Thanks to this 'hope,' you can pile up all the spiritual deeds while managing your believing life, and they all become your dwelling place and rewards in heaven.
In the next lecture, we will take a look into the foundation stones which are made of 12 jewels, and the pearl gate.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Even though the space in New Jerusalem is so huge, the number of those who enter the city is too small compared to the number of those saved.
There are not many people who could enter New Jerusalem in the Old Testament; there are just Elijah, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Daniel, Daniel's three friends, Esther, and Ruth.
More people in the New Testament enter New Jerusalem thanks to the help of the Holy Spirit. Still, the number is so extremely small compared to those saved.
Therefore, how huge is a dwelling place that is given to each individual in New Jerusalem?
God has made such a huge and glorious New Jerusalem, and is earnestly waiting for His children who will come in.
He searches over and over again among the souls in this earth, and when He finds proper hearts, He is so pleased with them, and He refines them to turn them into pure gold.
God causes them give glory to God to the fullest extent and He prepares a house and rewards for them according to what they have done.
God leads them to live unimaginably euphoric lives in such beautiful and splendid homes, and wipes away their tears and comforts them.
God looks forward to the joy of that day counting on His fingers, and even at this moment He prepares New Jerusalem with the best materials.
I hope that you will be able to comfort the heart of God who has endured the long years of human cultivation with burning heart.
May you wisely spend the rest days on this earth building a beautiful house in the huge space of New Jerusalem, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!

[Amen]

 
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