04 April 2014

Your Name Written in Heaven

If the light hits a thunderhead just right, and the colors start bouncing off the sky-water so that it seems to glow with its own light, I start to think I'm getting a glimpse--the palest of glimpses--of what it will be like to see the new Jerusalem, the holy city, descending out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, having the glory of God, aglow with light like a precious stone.

I reviewed my memory of Revelation chapter 21 again tonight, and as usual, there were more amazing things standing out from the familiar words than I could ever manage to tell about in one post--because the more you digest the Word of God, the more you see its infinite depth of detail and beauty.

Tonight I pictured John, standing there with the angel tour guide, taking it all in, trying to find words to tell me what it was like to see that city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  

He sees it all, the lighted glory, the massive size, the huge wall, the gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written into pearls giant enough to be gates for a wall that measures one hundred forty-four cubits high.

He sees twelve foundations of the city, noticing names written on them, too, names of the twelve apostles....

...of whom he is one.

The tears linger close to the surface.  Imagine with me what it would be like to be John in that moment, realizing for the first time that his own name is on one of the glorious expanses of precious stone under-girding the very city of God.  

Because when Jesus chose twelve apostles?  John was one.  

And down to the very day of this vision, while he was imprisoned on a lonely island for his Lord, he was faithful to his call.  Imperfect?  Yes.  Growing daily?  Yes.  Slow to realize he had a lot to learn?  Yes.  Yet surrendered to the firm and gentle hand of One who could shape him for higher service?  Yes.

But though John must have seen his name right there, somewhere in that list of beautiful foundations written large, he doesn't say a word about it.  Not here.  Not to us.  He's completely focused on something greater.

"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, nor of the moon, to shine in it:  for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."  Revelation 21:22, 23

The Lamb, Jesus, the Cornerstone, is the light that makes the whole city of God, including its streets, its wall, and its foundation, shine with the light of a precious stone.  And the city itself with all those jewels?  Perhaps simply a visual and physical glimpse of the spiritual beauty God desires His church to have.

"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."  1 Peter 2:5 

And right now, should you and I so choose, we are being built into the city, into that spiritual temple, and our names can be just as surely written in the book of life of the Lamb as the apostles' names are written in the foundations of the city.


"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." Acts 16:31

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