Monday, May 04, 2009

Paradise Returned: Part 5



Guardians and Gates

* Please read the Introduction through Part 4 first.

So we now know what God designed in the Garden, what He established as a precursor to Jesus in the Tabernacle and we have seen the highway of holiness we travel in order to get there, with New Jerusalem as the highlight of it all. But what about the one common theme that all four of these areas share? Do you know what it is? They all are guarded in some manner. They all have gates and/or cherubim guarding them. I want to shed some light on several thought-provoking issues regarding this fact that represents the entrance to allow one’s fellowship with God. I’d like to use several Scriptures as my main Source of reference.


Eden - “So [the LORD God] drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24


Tabernacle - “The cherubim had their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces toward each other; the faces of the cherubim were toward the mercy seat.” Exodus 37:9

Highway - ”Go through, go through the gates, clear the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway, remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.” Isaiah 62:10 and 11
New Jerusalem – “The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.”
Revelation 21:15


“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14

Ezekiel even referenced the cherubim in the vision that he saw of the upcoming dwelling place of the LORD. “Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner court.” Ezekiel 10:3


So with all of these gates and guardian cherubs around, how does one get in? Only those who are in Christ, the Second Adam, will be allowed entrance to dwell with the LORD. He is the ONLY way in! Those who are in the flesh, the first Adam will not be allowed entrance in.

Here are some verses that establish this point:

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.” Hebrews 10:19 and 20

”This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever…” Hebrews 6:19 and 20

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
“So also it is written, ‘The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL’, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
1 Corinthians 15:45

“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” John 10:9

“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:24

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13 and 14

Again, I beg you to pay close attention to what is to follow.

There will come a day when the gates are closed and those who are in stay in and those who are outside, stay outside. This is not some scare tactic, but rather a simple biblical reality. A closer look at what will take place when the LORD shuts the door is found in Luke 13:22-27. What I’d like to point out is that the people who are left to stand outside reference Him as “Lord”. These on the outside are fully convinced that they should be allowed in. In the parable Jesus even says that they claim that they “ate and drank in [His] presence and taught in [their] streets”. In response, Jesus says, “I do not know where you are from.”

You see, they took the wrong path. These are those who are self-professed “Believers” that Jesus is talking to, not the world. They reference Him clearly as “Lord”. They followed the religious masses through the wide gate and traveled the broad path of conformity and disobedience. Yet these are strangers to the LORD and he tells them to “Depart from [Him], all you evildoers”. Our error is that we perceive evildoers as vile outcasts of society. The murderers, the thieves, the sexually perverse, the worst of the worst - whatever we personally define to be “evil”. God’s definition however is much different. The Greek word is “adikos” which is defined as an unrighteous one who ignores God’s laws. This drastically changes everything. Church attendance, good deeds, compassion, even good “Christian” works are all thrown out the window!

The same things that kept people from God throughout all of time – disobedience, idol worship, un-cleanliness, false teachings, flattering lips and distant hearts – these still keep mankind from entering the most holy place. These things still banish many from the garden of God. This will, in the future keep scores from entering into the New Jerusalem. Just as it has always been, there is one gate, one way. There is no magic password or shortcut to get in. No one else will be able to sneak you in nor will any coaxing or persuading do the trick.

Being intimately known by the Head of the House is your absolute only way in.

Unsure what to do once you get into the gates? That’s’ simple! “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4) Why? Because you have been granted access into His holy dwelling place! Through, Jesus, The Christ you have entered the most holy place!

So now that we've seen these three examples of God's dwelling place with men, examined that they are all guarded and how we can enter in, what is left to do? Well, next up we'll reflect and put some practical applications to this teaching. I have been astounded at the more I see in the Word, the more error I see in commonplace Christianity. It is my purpose, my calling, my charge to encourage you to allow the Word alone to define what you believe and why. Stay close, we have much to learn.

9 comments:

Harriet said...

>>Being intimately known by the Head of the House is your absolute only way in.<<

amen!

Now I am sure you will open eyes to how that is done..lol.

God bless you Joel!
You bring Glory to God!

Joel Spencer said...

Harriet: I don't really address the "how-to's" of intimacy with the LORD in this particluar study. I feel like I talk about that so much, I'd leave it out of this one to avoid too much more repition.

Harriet said...

ROFL!

ok..

if we don't have a clue by now we never will have.. ;)

I know I am laughing..but I also realize it is NOT funny..

the "church" has NO CLUE.

Valerie said...

”This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever…” Hebrews 6:19 and 20

Joel, I've been meditating on these verses for ages now. What a hope we have - anchored in the very Holy of Holies. Awesome.

"Unsure what to do once you get into the gates? That’s’ simple! “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4) Why? Because you have been granted access into His holy dwelling place! Through, Jesus, The Christ you have entered the most holy place!"

Hallelujah - what a privilege to be able to worship the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords - forever. Praise His Holy Name.

Thank you brother for your continued encouragement.

mark-main said...

Really enjoying this Joel. Good stuff. Keep tearing down religious belief and pointing others towards God. It's needed.

NINA said...

This is some good stuff! Awesome. Its funny how you can learn more and more each day. Just when I think I have a grip on the bible someone opens a new door of revelation. Even when I read certain parts that I already know, it opened the door to new things. You could go all over the place with this message because every point has a hook with a long line of revelation attached to it.Just to let you know, that if you keep going this route you will never complete this series. There will always be more and more to be added by the spirit. THIS should be enough to keep you busy until Christ returns. (smile)

Matt Williams said...

Joel: I have a few questions regarding this idea about the New Jerusalem. The common belief is that when humans die they go to Heaven if they have accepted Christ as savior, and Hell if they haven't. Since God did not create humans to die, death being the punishment for sin, is it feasible that humans were not made for Heaven? What I'm trying to say is that the common belief of humans going to Heaven may be in error, a the humans were made for Eden, so they shall return to the "New Eden"? If this is the case, would that mean that in this New Jerusalem that everything God promised to Adam will still be available, i.e., man will still have wife and family? This is one of the biggest issues that I have struggled with: that postmortem even the union of man and wife will be broken?

Joel Spencer said...

Harriet: Any avid reader of this blog had better know what intimacy with the Father is by now. ;)

Valerie: What a great verse. When we follow Jesus, The Christ, we follow Him right into the most holy place!

Mark: We are a voice in the wilderness my friend. What else is there for us to do?

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: This entire study was all done in just one day, so yes, we could literally spend the rest of our lives just looking into this one area. And people only look into the Word for an hour or two a week and think they are learning enough? Oh man! It surely has no end!

Matt: First of all, is great to see you here!

For the sake of being clear, New Jerusalem is not an “idea”, it is Scripture word for word (I assume you likely mean my viewpoint of it being our destination, after a cyclical return to “Eden”).

As I stated in Part 4, I don’t personally embrace the common view of our role in heaven. I believe I am created to dwell and rule as an Ambassador for Christ upon the earth. In the beginning, Adam and “Woman” were one. There was no separation until after sin entered and she was called Eve.

In Genesis 2, God creates "helpers" for Adam. He creates animals (vs. 18) and then He creates "woman" (vs. 20).

I personally don’t get into the “will we be married in eternity?” or “will my pet be there?” discussions. In my experience, it is almost always approached from a "how can I debunk the Bible" stance (I'm not insinuating you're doing that whatsoever).

In Matthew 22 Jesus said, “in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage”. While this does not state that those already married will not still be married, I think the point is pretty established.

The ultimate goal is to be told that I was a “good and faithful servant” that will forever live with my Creator. My marriage to Kristin here and now is for one thing, for me to understand my role as the Bride and my Husband, Christ. At the culmination of it all, my “metaphorical” marriage to Kristin (temporal/earthly) will no longer be necessary for I will be in the “real” marriage with the Lamb (eternal/”heavenly”).

This is how I see it, off the top of my head anyway. Great question Matt, but be careful not to get too hung up on minor details. The point is, when I arrive at New Jerusalem, I will surely not be disappointed with anything. There is so much in the here and now to prepare me for there, I choose to look nto these things first.

Great question!