there came one of the seven angels... and he spake with
me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the
wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to
a mountain great and high, and shewed me the holy city
Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the
glory of God: her light was like unto a stone most
precious, ...clear as crystal" (Revelation
are those people who think that I am wrongly
spiritualizing everything, and they say that I am wrong
when I say that this city is not a literal city, but
represents a spiritual people. But I hold to my position!
One would think that it only needs one phrase here to
justify that position. The angel said to John: "Come
hither, I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the
Lamb," and when he got John there, there was no wife
or bride at all: he showed him a city. And there is so
much more like that in this book. There was a time when
there was a book sealed without and within, and John wept
because there was no one who could open it. The angel
said: "Weep not: behold, the Lion that is of the
tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath overcome, to open
the book..." (Revelation 5:5). And when John turned
to see this Lion: "I saw... a Lamb" (verse 6).
Well, what is there in common between a lion and a lamb?
You can only explain it if you get the spiritual
principles. I think it is worth while taking just a few
minutes on this particular point, especially for the
Bible students, but, of course, for everybody.
essential that we really understand the particular form
that John's ministry took, and this was his method more
than of anyone else in the New Testament. John was most
concerned with the spiritual meaning which lay behind
material things. You know how true that was in his Gospel
- everybody will accept this principle in his Gospel! He
called all the miracles of Jesus 'signs', and did not
just say: 'Now this is something that Jesus DID' but:
'This is what Jesus MEANT when He did that.' When
Jesus turned the water into wine, John meant it to teach
us that Jesus can give us an altogether new kind of life.
When the old wine - or life - fails and disappoints us,
Jesus can give a new life. When Jesus raised a poor man
from his bed after he had been there, unable to walk, for
thirty-eight years, John says: 'That is a sign.' Jesus
can take a poor moral and spiritual cripple and put him
on his feet: He can give him the power to walk in a new
kind of life. When Jesus gave sight to the man who was
born blind, John says: 'That is a sign: a sign that Jesus
can give us a new sight so that we can see spiritual
things that we never saw before.' And so it is with all
the eight signs in the Gospel by John.
accept that in John's Gospel and say: 'Now these things
in the natural world are signs of something in the
spiritual world.' But if you accept that in his Gospel,
why will you not accept it in his book of the Revelation?
This city, the new Jerusalem, is a sign of something
else. Every part of it signifies something spiritual,
something in relation to the Lord Jesus.
accept that? If you do, we can go on.
again to this tenth verse of chapter twenty-one:
"And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain
great and high, and shewed me the holy city
"a mountain great and high", and "he
carried me away IN THE SPIRIT". In spiritual
terms that just means that John was alive in the spirit.
Do you think that this angel took hold of the Apostle
John when he was on the Isle of Patmos and lifted him
right away to some great high mountain? There would have
been trouble in Patmos if that had happened! The Roman
authorities would have been saying: 'John has escaped!'
Do you see what I mean? This was a spiritual experience.
It may have been a dream, or a vision. You know that in
our dreams we can travel a long way. I have sometimes
dreamt that I was in America, and then I have awakened a
few minutes afterward and found that I was still in
London, but I had been travelling a very long way. You
will accept that in the natural. Why will you not accept
it in the spiritual?
there are two things here, and you must remember that
these are fundamental laws of the New Testament, or of
the Christian life.
there is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a great
reality. You believe in the reality of the Holy Spirit as
a fact, but you cannot see Him, or hear Him with your
natural ears, and you cannot know the reality of the Holy
Spirit until something happens in you. Early in his
Gospel this same John speaks about being "born of
the Spirit". When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about
being born again, Nicodemus' mind was just working in the
natural realm and he said: 'Impossible!' Jesus said:
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that
which is born of the Spirit IS spirit"
(John 3:6). What is it that is born of the Spirit? It is
our human spirit. Because it has become separated from
God it is looked upon as dead, and death is just
separation from God, whether it be in time or in
being 'born again' means that our spirit is brought into
life union with God, and what the New Testament means
when it speaks of 'being alive in the spirit' is 'in
living union with God, the Holy Spirit', that is, our
spirit being alive unto God and unto Divine things. Here
John was only saying in principle that his spirit was
alive to the Holy Spirit at this time, and when that is
true, as it should be of every one of us, we see a new
world. "And (he) shewed me the holy city", and
the Holy Spirit will do that with every one of us, so
that we are able to say: 'I have seen something that God
has shown me.' Will you believe me when I say that that
ought to be true of every Christian? The Christian life
is not just a matter of reading the Bible, saying prayers
and going to church. Those things may be good and
necessary, but the Christian life really is a walk with
God in the light. It is a matter of being alive unto God
in the spirit and God being able to show us in our hearts
what is His will, so that the true Christian should be
able to say 'The Lord is showing me things'.
mature Christians, be very patient with this, because
there are some young Christians here, and we can never go
on very far until we have laid a proper foundation. What
I have just said, then, is fundamental to the Christian
life from its beginning.
can go on to the next step. You say: 'Well, that is very
wonderful and I want my life to be like that, but how can
it be?' We have our answer here, but in spiritual
principle. What the Lord shows to your heart will depend
upon how far up the mountain you are. Again you say: 'Oh,
Mr. Sparks, what do you mean?' Well, I am not talking
about climbing the Jungfrau or the Blümlisalp. What does this mountain
mean? What does it mean to go up any mountain? It just
means getting away from this world. When you get up the
mountain you have left the world behind; there is a great
separation between you and the world, and you will never
see heavenly, spiritual things until that has happened.
believe me: this is not a matter of age, or years. There
are multitudes of Christians who have been saved for many
years, and they are still down on the earth. They have
still got their interests in this world - this world, and
the things of this world, still have a large place in
their life. They are what are called 'worldly
Christians'. Of course, that is a contradiction in terms,
because it is not true Christianity. Listen to Jesus as
He is praying to His Father about His disciples:
"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the
world" (John 17:16). 'They are not of the world.
They do not belong here. They belong somewhere else. This
world is not their life; their life is above.' That is in
John's Gospel, and it is just clear, straight language,
is it not?
book of Revelation John puts it in this way of
illustration - of a great and high mountain - and he is
saying: 'The people who make this city are heavenly
people, not earthly people. They are people who are
separated in spirit from this world.' The Apostle Paul
put it in this way: "If then ye were raised together
with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ
is" (Colossians 3:1), and that only means: 'Get up
on the mountain. Leave this world in spirit, in heart,
and come up with the Lord Jesus.'
go back again to what I began to say. This life in the
spirit, in union with Christ, is not a matter of years or
of age. It is possible that you were only born again
yesterday and yet you are high up the mountain, and that
is because you have said 'good-bye' absolutely to this
world. You are very utter about this matter of new life
with the Lord.
move about this world we meet many people who call
themselves Christians, and the strange thing is that we
cannot talk to them about the things of the Lord. These
professing Christians open their eyes and their mouths
when you begin to talk about the things of the Lord. To
them it is as though you were talking the language of
another country, and the reason is that they have not yet
come right away from this world in spirit. Let me say to
the young Christians that this mountain is for you from
the day that you are born again.
want to say a very strong thing, and it may be difficult
for you to accept it. Do you realize that this world lies
under a curse? God has pronounced a curse upon this world
as it is, and what is the expression of a curse? The law
of frustration operates where a curse is. You just go so
far, and you can go no further. Human life just goes so
far, and that is the end. It does not go right through to
fullness and perfection. Everything is imperfect, and is
frustrated by death. A man spoken of by Jesus Christ
accumulated great stores in his lifetime, and then he
rubbed his hands together and talked to himself: 'Soul,
you can retire now. You have great stores laid up for
yourself, so just eat, drink and be merry.' But God said:
"Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required
of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose
shall they be?" (Luke 12:20).
curse and death mean the frustration of all the purposes
of man, and what is true of human life is true of the
world. Oh, what a lot man has done to try to break
through the sound barrier of frustration! What a long way
he has gone today! Why, if you had been told twenty-five
years ago how things would be today, you would never have
believed it. Yes, man has gone a very long way, even to
the moon - and then someone just puts his finger on a
button, the nuclear bombs begin to fall and all his work
is wiped out in a moment. Everybody knows of that
possibility, and the Word of God has told us quite
clearly that that is exactly how it will be. Because a
curse rests upon this world it can never go right through
am getting at is this: If you and I in spirit get bound
up with this world we shall come under spiritual death.
Any Christian who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit will
register something wrong when they touch this world and
their reaction will be: 'I have come down. I have touched
this cursed world and death is registered in my spirit.'
never see the things of God until you get above the fog
of this earth. If you come down into the self-life, then
it is frustration. If you touch the world's life it is
frustration, and you will never see the things of God
until you get above this world in spirit. The language is
very simple and very significant: 'I was in the Spirit,
and I was on a great, high mountain, and then I saw
something.' You see, these are spiritual laws of the
Christian life and they are very real. I hope we do know
something about this.
Lord explain to our hearts just what it means where we
individually are concerned!