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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON FIFTY-NINE The Holy City

    1. The promise to Abraham was gradually enlarged and interpreted until it came to mean to him the whole earth transformed, with the holy city of God, the New Jerusalem, as its capital. Genesis 12:7; Romans 4:13; Hebrews 11:13-16, 9, 10; Revelation 21:2; Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 13:14.TDOC 163.1

    2. The apostle John saw the heavenly Jerusalem and has given us a full description of it. Revelation 21:9-21.TDOC 163.2

    3. The New Jerusalem, brought down to earth, will be in a special sense the dwelling place of God, in which his glory will be manifested, where the family of God will reside, the capital city in which his throne will be located, and in which will center that dominion in which his saints will share. Revelation 21:3, 23; Hebrews 12:22, 23; Revelation 22:3-5.TDOC 163.3

    4. The children of promise who have overcome the world, who have been cleansed from sin, who have been delivered from the idolatry of Babylon, that great city, and whose names have been recorded as citizens of heaven, will be admitted to the heavenly Jerusalem. Galatians 4:26-28; Revelation 3:12; 21:27; 22:14, ARV; Luke 10:20.TDOC 163.4

    5. To be deprived of a place in this holy city means eternal death. Revelation 22:19, 1, 2.TDOC 163.5

    6. The god of this world, the invisible king of ancient Babylon, sought to establish a rival city as his capital of the world, and to bring all peoples under his dominion, in his effort to prevent the establishment of the kingdom of God upon this earth. Genesis 11:1-4, 9; Isaiah 14:4, 12-14, 22; Daniel 4:29, 30; Revelation 13:8.TDOC 163.6

    7. When this scheme first began to be developed, God called Abraham (and all the children of Abraham in him Galatians 3:7) out of Babylon, and he has sought during all these centuries to keep them out of Babylon, and the last call of the gospel is for his people to come out of Babylon to escape her destruction. Genesis 12:1-3; 15:7; 2 Chronicles 36:15-18; Jeremiah 51:6; Revelation 18:1-5.TDOC 163.7

    8. The utter overthrow of Babylon is one of the steps in preparing the way for the deliverance of God’s people and the appearance of the holy city. Jeremiah 51:61-64; Revelation 18:21-24; 19:6, 7; 21:9, 10.TDOC 164.1

    NOTES
    Heirs to the heavenly estate

    “The over comers are Abraham’s seed; and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29. The promise embraces the world (Romans 4:13); and the saints will go forth upon the new earth, not as servants or aliens, but as lawful heirs to the heavenly estate and proprietors of the soil.”—“Daniel and the Revelation,” p. 843.TDOC 164.2

    The mansions In the Father’s house

    “A fear of making the future inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon it as our home. Christ assured his disciples that he went to prepare mansions for them in the Father’s house. Those who accept the teachings of God’s word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. And yet, ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’ Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God.”-The Great Controversy, 674, 675.TDOC 164.3

    The holy city

    “In connection with the view which John has of the holy city coming down from God out of heaven, a voice is heard, saying, ‘The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them.’ The conclusion naturally follows that the tabernacle here mentioned is the city. This same city is called in John 14 the Father’s house in which are many mansions. If an objection should arise in any mind that this is too permanent a place to be called a tabernacle, we reply that the word ‘tabernacle’ sometimes has the signification of a permanent dwelling place. The great God takes up his abode on this earth; but we do not suppose that God is confined to this, or any other one of the worlds of his creation. He here has a throne, and the earth enjoys so much of his presence that it may be said that he dwells among men. And why should this be thought a strange thing? God’s only begotten Son is here as ruler of his special kingdom; the holy city, which is called the Father’s house, and which it is natural to suppose will be the most beautiful and glorious object in the universe, will be here; and the heavenly hosts take an interest in this world probably above what they feel in any other; yea, reasoning from one of the Savior’s parables, there will be more joy in heaven over one world redeemed than over ninety and nine which have needed no redemption.”—“Daniel and the Revelation,” pp. 839, 840.TDOC 164.4

    The New Jerusalem

    “There is the New Jerusalem, the metropolis of the glorified new earth, ‘a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.’ ‘Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even ‘like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.’ ‘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 honor into it.’ Said the Lord, ‘I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people.’ ‘The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God him self shall be with them, and be their God.’TDOC 165.1

    “In the city of God ‘there shall be no night.’ None will need or desire repose. There will be no weariness in doing the will of God and offering praise to his name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning, and shall ever be far from its close. ‘And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light.’ The light of the sun will be superseded by a radiance which is not painfully dazzling, yet which immeasurably surpasses the brightness of our noontide. The glory of God and the Lamb floods the holy city with unfading light. The redeemed walk in the sunless glory of perpetual day.”-The Great Controversy, 676.TDOC 165.2

    Our eternal home

    “If we consider this description exclusively metaphorical, as is done by the great mass of those who profess to be Bible teachers, and spiritualize away this city into aerial nothingness, how unmeaning, yea, even bordering upon folly, do these minute descriptions appear; but if we take it, as it is evidently designed to be understood, in its natural and obvious signification, and look upon the city as the Revelator evidently designed we should look upon it, as a literal and tangible abode, our glorious inheritance, the beauties of which we are to look upon with our own eyes, how is the glory of the scene enhanced!TDOC 165.3

    “It is in this light-though it is not for mortal man, of himself, to conceive of the grandeur of those things which God has prepared for those that love him, that men may delight to contemplate the glories of their future abode. We love to dwell upon those descriptions which convey to our minds, as well as language can do it, an idea of the loveliness and beauty which shall characterize our eternal home. And as we become absorbed in the contemplation of an inheritance tangible and sure, courage springs up anew, hope revives, faith plumes her wings; and with feelings of thanksgiving to God that he has placed it within our power to gain an entrance to the mansions of the redeemed, we resolve anew, despite the world and all its obstacles, that we will be among the sharers in the proffered joy.”—“Daniel and the Revelation,” pp. 848-851.TDOC 165.4

    The city of God

    “Ever since Cain went forth and built the first city the long experiment has continued. and he who surveys the results, in the communities which have filled, and now fill, the habitable world, will return from his inspection wearied and disheartened, and little able to anticipate the perfection of man from the progress of society and the education of the world.TDOC 166.1

    “And yet human nature is to find the realization of its tendencies and the fulfillment of its hopes. The Bible opens the prospect of which history had led us to despair. It is one long account of the preparation of the city of God. That is one distinct point of view from which the Bible ought to be regarded, and one from which its contents will appear in clearer light. We axe accustomed in the present day to read it too exclusively from the individual point of view, as the record for each man of that will of God and that way of salvation with which he is personally concerned. This it is, but it is more than this. It places before us the restoration, not only of the personal, but of the social life; the creation, not only of the man of God, but of the city of God; and it presents the society or city, not as a mere name f or the congregation of individuals, but as having a being and life of its own, in which the Lord finds his satisfaction and man his perfection. The ‘Jerusalem which is above’ is, in relation to the Lord, ‘the bride, the Lamb’s wife,’ and in relation to man, it is ‘the mother of us all,’ Revelation 21:9; Galatians 4:26. In its appearance the revealed course of redemption culminates, and the history of man is closed: and thus the last chapters of the Bible declare the unity of the whole book, by completing the design which has been developed in its pages, and disclosing the result to which all preceding steps have tended.TDOC 166.2

    “Take from the Bible the final vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, and what will have been lost! Not merely a single passage, a sublime description, an important revelation; but a conclusion by which all that went before is interpreted and justified. We shall have an unfinished plan, in which human capacities have not found their full realization, or divine preparations their adequate result. To the mind that looks beyond individual life, or that understands what is necessary to the perfection of individual life, a Bible that did not end by building for us a city of God would appear to leave much in man unprovided for, and much in itself unaccounted for. But as it is, neither of these deficiencies exists. The great consummation is there, and we axe instructed to observe, that, from the first, the desires of men and the preparations of God have been alike directed towards it.TDOC 166.3

    “At the beginning of the sacred story, the father of the faithful comes forth into view, followed by those who are heirs with him of the same promise; and they separate themselves to the life of strangers because they are ‘looking for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.’ Hebrews 11:10. In due time solid pledges of the divine purpose follow. We behold a peculiar people, a divinely framed polity, a holy city, a house of God.TDOC 166.4

    “It is a wonderful spectacle-this system of earthly types, thus consecrated and glorified by miraculous interventions and inspired panegyrics. Do we look on the fulfillment of patriarchal hopes, or on the types of their fulfillment on the final form of human society, or on the figures of the true? The answer was given by prophets and psalmists, and then by the word of the gospel, finally by the hand of God, which swept the whole system from the earth. It was gone when the words of the text [Revelation 21:2] were written, and when the closing scene of the Bible presented the New Jerusalem, not as the restoration, but as the antitype of the old.TDOC 167.1

    “This vision teaches us, that the drama of the world must be finished and its dispensation closed, that the Lord must have come, the dead have been raised, the judgment have sat, the heavens and the Earth which are now have passed away, and the new creation have appeared, before the chosen people shall see the city of their habitation.”TDOC 167.2

    The call out of Babylon

    “This scripture [Revelation 18:1, 2] points forward to a time when the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel of Revelation 14, is to be repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the various organizations that constitute Babylon, since that message was first given, in the summer of 1844. A terrible condition of the religious world is here described. With every rejection of truth, the minds of the people will become darker, their hearts more stubborn, until they are entrenched in an infidel hardihood. In defiance of the warnings which God has given, they will continue to trample upon one of the precepts of the Ten Commandments, until they are led to persecute those who hold it sacred. Christ is set at naught in the contempt placed upon his word and his people. As the teachings of Spiritualism are accepted by the churches, the restraint imposed upon the carnal heart is removed, and the profession of religion will become a cloak to conceal the basest iniquity. A belief in spiritual manifestations opens the door to seducing spirits, and doctrine~ of devils, and thus the influence of evil angels will be felt in the churches.TDOC 167.3

    “Of Babylon, at the time brought to view in this prophecy, it is declared, ‘Her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ She has filled up the measure of her guilt, and destruction is about to fall upon her. But God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of his judgments, these faithful one’s must be called out, that they ‘partake not of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.’ Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coining down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory, and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard, ‘Come out of her, my people.’ These announcements, uniting with the third angel’s message, constitute the final warning to be given to the inhabitants of the earth.”-The Great Controversy, 603, 604.TDOC 167.4

    The New Babylon

    “Throughout the extent of Bible history, from Genesis to Revelation, one city remains, which in fact and symbol is execrated as the enemy of God and the stronghold of evil. In Genesis we are called to see its foundation, as of the first city that wandering men established, and the quick ruin which fell upon its impious builders. By the prophets we hear it cursed as the oppressor of God’s people, the temptress of the nations, full of cruelty and wantonness. And in the book of Revelation its character and curse are transferred to Rome, and the New Babylon stands over against the New Jerusalem.TDOC 168.1

    “The tradition and infection, which have made the name of Babylon as abhorred in Scripture as Satan’s own, are represented as the tradition and infection of pride! The pride, which, in the audacity of Youth, proposes to attempt to be equal with God: ‘Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may touch heaven, and let us make us a name; ‘the pride, which, amid the success and wealth of later years, forgets that there is a God at all: ‘Thou said in your heart, I am, and there is none beside me.’ Babylon is the Atheist of the Old Testament, as she is the Antichrist of the New.”TDOC 168.2

    “The shell of Babylon, the gorgeous city which rose by the Euphrates, has indeed sunk into heaps; but Babylon herself is not dead. Babylon never dies. To the conscience of Christ’s seer, this mother of harlots, though dead and desert in the East, came to life again in the West. To the city of Rome, in his day, John transferred word by word the phrases of our prophet and of the prophet who wrote the fifty-first chapter of the book of Jeremiah. Rome was Babylon, in so far as Romans were filled with cruelty, with arrogance, with trust in riches, with credulity in divination, with that waste of mental and moral power which Juvenal exposed in her.”TDOC 168.3

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