the earlier chapters we have seen some of the characteristics of the "City of
1. A spiritual people with
a heavenly nature. "According to the Eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ
Jesus our Lord." - Eph. 3:11.
2. The glory of God in the people of God; the
revelation and realisation of His own nature in a people; "He hath granted unto
us His precious and exceeding
great promises; that through these ye may become
partakers of the Divine nature." - 2 Peter 1:4.
3. Elevation and holiness; ascendancy
a feature of
the people of God after His
heart; "His foundation is in
His holy mountains." - Ps. 87:1. "Like as He who called you is holy, be ye
yourselves holy in all
of living, because
for I am holy." - 1 Peter 1:4.
Babylon is of the earth; Zion of the heights.
4. Life. The "River of Life," clear as crystal.
This denotes transparency. The "Tree of Life,"
twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every
month, Rev. 22:2 A.R.V. (Marg.)
leaves of the tree for the maintenance of health
in the nations; a life triumphant over death.
conquered death; this "Life" within to be a feature of His people, beginning
now and increasing day by day. To that we are called and in that "life" we
should be moving.
5. The fullness
and greatness of the city, "he measured the city, twelve thousand furlongs...
the city lieth foursquare... the length and the
breadth... and the height thereof are equal." -
Rev. 21. You could not find land space for twelve thousand furlongs each way in the Western Hemisphhere
place the city: we turn to the Ephesian letter, 3:17,19, and read again the prayer of
the Apostle Paul, "that ye may be strengthened with
power through the Spirit... that ye being rooted and
grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all
the saints what is the breadth and length and height and
depth and to know the love of Christ which passeth
knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God," the fulness and greatness of this City of God - a
people filled unto the fulness of God; here we find the realisation of the Apostle's prayer; and unto that we are
6. The feature of transparency; everything that makes
up this city is said to be clear as crystal, transparent. So
the people of God are to approximate to this thought of
God, and transparency is to characterise their spiritual life
We now come to consider the characteristics of
Strength, Stability, Light, Sovereignty.
The foundations of this city, this people of God, are very
solid; the foundations are tried stones, and the wall is
great and high. All this speaks of strength and stability.
The throne is central, and is the manifestation of the might of God in weakness
- the "Little Lamb" in the midst of the throne is greater than all the might of
hell and sin; the Lamb hath conquered, and the Lamb in the midst of the
throne is the LIFE that hath triumphed over death in all its range and depth, in
a strength out of weakness, a strength that endures from
eternity to eternity. And the people of God, who are the
called according to
Eternal purpose are a people
possessing this eternal life in Christ Jesus.
As God's people, ours is an eternal calling, unto an
eternal purpose possessing an eternal life; a life that lasts
out and triumphs in all and over all; "They overcame...
by the Blood of the Lamb." - Rev. 12:11.
"God has given unto us eternal life and this life is in
his Son, he that hath the Son hath the Life." - 1 John 5:11,12, A.R.V. John
"The Holy City, New
Jerusalem, coming down out of
heaven from God, having the glory of God; her light was
like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone
clear as crystal." - Rev. 21:10,11.
"The city hath no need of the sun... for the
glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light
thereof." - Rev. 21:23.
Her light as
stone most precious, no need of the
sun - the light was over all in its sovereign power.
These features all blend and are all related to one
another, strength and stability are related to light and all
three lead to sovereignty; thus we are given to
understand the nature of sovereignty.
"His foundation is in the holy mountains, Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion... glorious things are spoken of
thee O city of God... the Most High Himself shall
establish it." - Ps.
This - in relation to the City of God - is a key to a
tremendous unfolding of the strength, stability and
sovereignty of this city.
See the significance of the Name of God which the
Holy Spirit chooses to use here "Ey-Elyon" the Most
High God Possessor of heaven and earth.
Turn to Isa. 14:12-14. - "How thou art fallen from
heaven, O Lucifer Son of the Morning... for thou hast
said in thy heart,
exalt my throne above the stars
of God... I will be like the most High." Yes, it was the
Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth whom
Lucifer challenged; it was his aspiration to possess
heaven and earth.
The Lord Jesus, when on earth, referred to Satan as
the Prince of this world; and in Eph. 6 the church of
God is shown her warfare is in the heavenlies.
The establishment of the city of God is by El-Elyon,
the Most High God and is unto the casting down to hell
of all the powers of Satan;
Satan and his sovereignty cast down for ever.
Trace the word "to establish," through the Scriptures. "The Most High Himself shall establish her."
- Ps. 87:5.
"He brought me out of a horrible pit, (Heb.
a pit of destruction). He set my feet upon a rock and
established my goings." - Ps. 40:2.
"Beautiful for situation - (beautiful in elevation,
A.R.V.) a joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion... the
city of the great King... God will establish it for ever." - Ps.
"He shall build a house for my Name and he shall
be my son... and I will establish the throne of his
kingdom... for ever." - 1 Chron. 22:10.
"I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have
sworn unto David my servant, thy seed
will I establish for ever and build up thy throne to all
generations." - Ps. 89:3,4.
"He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was
established upon better promises." - Heb. 8:6.
"Sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings
and offerings for sin Thou wouldst not... lo, I come
to do Thy will O God; He taketh away the first
that he may establish the second." - Heb. 10:8,9.
"Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God even
our Father... establish you in every good word and
work." - 2 Thess. 2:17.
"It is good that the heart be established by grace." - Heb. 13:9. A.R.V.
"Now to Him that is able to establish you." - Rom. 16:25. A.R.V.
"Rooted and built up IN HIM and established in your
faith." - Col. 3:7.
"Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in
the work of the Lord." - 1 Cor. 15:58.
"Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling
and to present you faultless before the presence of His
glory with exceeding joy, to Him be glory, majesty,
dominion and power both now and for ever, Amen." - Jude 24,25.
All these passages and many others teach us that this
work of establishing is a working principle. Today the
Lord's people need establishing, for on every hand there
is going on a great falling away because of the pressure
of the enemy. This could not be if the people were
properly established in the Lord. Lack of assurance on
the part of the people of God generally is the devil's
weapon in his great campaign of error, false teaching,
counterfeit, suspicion, etc.
Uncertainty, a Master-stroke of Satan.
To prevent assurance of faith is the devil's own work,
it is his aim to get the Lord's people unsettled; and
doubt is one of his most subtle means of working. It was
so in the beginning, "hath God said?" - Gen. 3:1, and it is still his method.
The way, and the only way, to frustrate this is by being
established in the faith,
Acts 16:5; Col. 2:7. "Stand fast in the faith." - 1 Cor.
"A true heart in full assurance of faith." Heb. 10:22.
"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the
devil, as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he
may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith." - 1
"I know... where thou dwellest even where Satan's
seat (throne, A.R.V.) is... and thou
holdest fast my name and hast not denied my faith." - Rev. 2:13.
The great need of God's people is to be established in
the faith, not just established in doctrine, in an orthodox
gospel, or by acquiring knowledge of fundamental truth,
but established by an inward knowledge of our
standing in the Lord Jesus on the ground of His
finished work and complete triumph over the devil and
his works. So many of the Lord's children lack this
assurance of their position in the Lord; yet it is written: "God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world... in love having foreordained us unto adoption
through Jesus Christ unto Himself." Eph. 1:4,5.
"There is no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus." - Rom. 8:1.
"He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." Eph. 1:6. This acceptance has to do with warfare, all things in
our "so great salvation" are related to God's Eternal
purpose in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Eph. 3:11.
"Thanks be to God who leadeth us from place to
place in the train of His triumph to celebrate His victory
over the enemies of Christ." 2 Cor. 2:14.
The people of God are robbed of their fighting power
when the enemy has got them to doubt and question their standing in Christ. God
must build His city in certainty, and we must stand in the full assurance of
"The foundations of the wall of the city were
furnished with all manner of precious stones." -
"The trial of your faith
being much more precious
than gold... though it be tried by fire, might be found
unto praise and honour and
glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." - 1 Peter 1:7.
Get the internal troubles settled, then you can get on with the work. To be
established in the
faith with full assurance enables us to strike a
blow at Principalities and Powers; but the devil
and his hosts have much power where there is
uncertainty, doubt, question. When the believer
knows the power of the personal "I know" because of full assurance in the Word of God, then
that very knowledge is a weapon of defence
against the enemy; hence he desires to prevent
assurance by inserting doubt whenever he gets a chance.
Stand on God's facts and not on the quicksands of your own feelings. Some are doubting
simply because of feelings! Salvation is not a matter of feeling, it is
God's fact - "It is written" - God hath said. The word of God is "no
condemnation". "There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." -
We are perfect in Christ the day we are born anew,
that is as to our standing, we have good reason to be sorry for our
state; but the word is "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus
Christ" - 2 Peter 3:18. "My little children of whom I am again in travail until
Christ be formed in you" - Gal. 4:19 A.R.V. Yes it is to be a day by day
growing in grace.
Salvation seems for so many of God's children to be a matter of feelings,
therefore there is no fighting force that counts against the enemy; (they have
not put on the whole armour of God so as to be "able to stand against the wiles
of the enemy"). "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great
recompense of reward" - Heb. 10:35. Your great reward! - that ye might be filled
into all the fulness God." - Eph. 3:19.
There is an assurance of faith which sets us free
from all the power of the enemy and self as well; enabling us to endure and be
strong in the Lord. Having the ground of our salvation settled, we now have
ground from which we can wield sovereignty in the Lord.
Here we are passing through trial, adversity, sorrow, suffering, and we are
tempted to think the Lord has given us up; the enemy presses in on every side
with accusation, condemnation, question, doubts, fears. "Be ye steadfast,
unmovable," for beloved, this is the establishing principle at work, our faith
is being exercised. We know anguish, travail. Remember the establishing work is
done while our eyes are unto Him; when things are against us, seeking to press
us down, then we look off unto Jesus now in the presence of God for us,
having all authority in heaven and on earth, and a NAME that is above every
other name, a title of Sovereignty above every other title of sovereignty.
"The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give unto you a Spirit
of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your heart
enlightened (full of light), that ye may know HIM... and what the
exceeding greatness of HIS power to usward who believe according to that working
(in-energising) of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ when He
raised Him from the dead, and made Him to sit at His right hand in the
heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power, and dominion, and every
name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and
He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all
things to the Church, which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in
all." - Eph. 1:17-23.
This is the ONE unto whom
our eyes are. Faith is thus exercised and enables us in the very midst of
pressure and contradictory circumstances to rise upward and stand in Christ
Jesus in the position He has given us, "seated together with Him in the
heavenlies." "Ye are made full in Him in Whom dwelleth all the fulness of the
Godhead in bodily form." - Col. 2:9.
So through trial, the
establishing work is done; it is the manifestation of His Victory over
all the power and pressure of the enemy, "God who giveth us The Victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Cor. 15:57. Yes, it is HIS victory, a life
that has conquered death - 1 Cor. 15:54.
The City of God is being built,
and its very nature is Eternal life, indestructible life, this holds when we
break down. He abides faithful. He still holds on because He is Eternal,
unchangeable. There is that with us that persists, that goes through, "in
all these things things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" -
Rom. 8:37. It is the same with service; the conflict so great, the experiences
through which we pass so strange and weird, so inexplicable, everything seems
upside down, promises do not seem to be taking effect.
Abraham in the land... yet the
very promises given him of God seeming to be denied. Was Abraham mistaken? Are
we not sometimes bewildered with the Lord, and are not His ways past finding
out? It all looks such a muddle, but as faith holds on, one day we shall praise
Him, as we see the reason for it all afterwards; "the path of the just...
shineth more and more unto the perfect day." - Prov. 4:18. Note "PATH" not
things! These mysteries of the way contain some secret mystery of God; and are
they not another opportunity to show forth His wisdom and power? When all seems
gone, the conflict so great, the experience so strange and there is no key to
the situation; we are tempted to question whether the promises were even of God;
everything is so contrary to what we expected, we begin to wonder if we are all
wrong! Just then, is the time for us to stand fast in the Lord and
maintain that stand in faith.
After all, our experiences are
very much alike. There is perplexity, there is apparent contradiction, there is
conflict; the forms of experience may vary, but it comes to all of us in some
way or another - still "He abideth faithful".
How does this establish us? By
the very helplessness of the situation, and ourselves, which causes us to cast
ourselves upon Him, and it is then we prove Him. You are coming to the place
where you know the mystery of God, and it is a glorious opportunity for Him to
show His wisdom and so you are established. It is all a matter of endurance.