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, as it were a
jasper stone, clear as crystal: having a wall great and
high; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve
angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of
the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east
were three gates, and on the north three gates; and on
the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And
the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them
twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb... And he
measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four
cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an
angel. And the building of the wall thereof was
jasper" (Revelation 21:10-14,17,18).
remember that this city, and all connected with it, is a
symbolic representation of Jesus Christ and His redeemed
Church. Everything here is a representation of the
spiritual characteristics of Jesus Christ, and of those
characteristics to be expressed in the Church; and here
we are in the presence of the foreshadowed fullness of
the realization of that.
WHY A WALL?
come to the wall of the city: "Having a wall great
and high." The measurement of the wall is given -
one hundred and forty-four cubits, or twelve by twelve.
Just keep that in mind for a minute. I suppose one
hundred and forty-four cubits does not mean much to you,
but if I tell you that the height of this wall is
seventy-two metres (216 feet), you will realize that it
is a pretty high wall, and the fact that this city should
require such a high wall has a very real meaning. I said
that it was twelve multiplied by twelve, and in the Bible
symbolism of numbers twelve represents government. We are
going to come upon the number twelve quite a lot of times
in this connection.
we contemplate this wall we are contemplating that which
governs everything. It is what this wall represents that
governs what can come inside and be a part of the city.
Why do you put up a wall? Why do you have walls to your
houses and around your ground?
answer is that a wall represents a boundary. It
demarcates an area. People may come toward your house,
but your wall will limit their progress. The wall says
'So far, and no farther. What is outside may be yours,
but what is inside is mine.' So it is with the wall of
this city. It determines what is of God and what is not
of God. Presently you will be told what is outside the
city, and if you look at those things you will see that
they are all things which are not at all acceptable to
God. In our last chapter we spoke about the lie, and it
is said that that which makes a lie cannot come into the
city. So, in the first place, the wall is a boundary
between what is of God and what is not of God; and when
you examine this wall and see what its foundations are -
"all manner of precious stones" - then you are
seeing, in a symbolic way, the character of God in its
wall is a testimony of God; firstly, the testimony to
what God is like, and then the testimony that only that
which is like God can come into this Church.
PROTECTION FROM EVIL
wall is "great and high". Like the city, it is
very substantial, and you are not going to get through,
or over, this very easily. If you try to get into THIS
Church of God in a way that is contrary to Him, you are
going to meet God. We are told in this connection that
this is where God dwells. The tabernacle of God is here,
and it says: "He shall dwell with them" (21:3).
Therefore, anything that tries to get in where God is has
to meet God.
we are too careless in our language about going to
heaven. If you ask anyone if he, or she, is going to
heaven, they will say: 'Well, yes, I hope so.' You all
hope to get to heaven, but there is a great and high wall
round heaven and we have to get through that wall to get
in where God is in order to dwell with Him. Again I say:
it is a "great and HIGH wall". This wall
is not an easy thing to negotiate.
is nothing other than the nature of God. That is why I
mentioned twelve times twelve. It is government twelve
times repeated, and it is the government of the very
nature of God.
come to the second thing about a wall: A wall is for
protection, to keep out all things that are harmful and
dangerous. That is what the nature of God is - a defence
and protection against everything evil.
HOW DO WE GET THROUGH?
Now I am
coming to something very practical in this. You know, men
put up walls around the Church. They have put up
thousands of walls around it. There is the wall of
denominationalism, which men have put up, and the wall of
certain men's names, such as Lutheranism and Wesleyism,
and I could go on with a lot of other names that you
know, and if you want to come into the Church you have to
come in under one of these names. Sometimes it is the
wall of a particular kind of teaching, and if you do not
accept that teaching you cannot come into the Church.
Sometimes it is a technical system of 'how it is done',
and if you do not conform to this particular way of doing
things, you cannot come into the Church. Well, I could go
on like that. The walls that men have put up are so many,
but I have studied these verses about the wall and I
don't think I have made a mistake - I cannot find what is
of man as defining this boundary.
I find on this wall? All I can find is the nature of God
manifested in Jesus Christ, and that is the only
exclusiveness that God recognizes. You will get in here
without any trouble if the nature of Jesus Christ is in
you. There are twelve angels at the twelve gates, and
when you come to a gate no angel will ask you: 'What
denomination do you belong to? What particular line of
teaching do you hold?' The angel will look at you and at
me, and everyone who wants to get in, and angels do not
have to ask questions. They know at once without asking
any questions, for the only thing they want to know is:
'Is Jesus Christ in your life? How much are you like Him?
How much of Jesus Christ is there in you?' That is the
only standard of judgment for being where God is. Have
you received the Lord Jesus Christ into your life? Since
you did that have you been allowing Him to possess you
more and more fully? Has there been a continual increase
of Christ in your life? That is the basis of Judgment,
and that is the thing which determines whether we can
come in or whether we stay out.
think that that is mystical and abstract? Well, let us be
very practical. When you travel about this world, as I
do, you meet many people. Then one day you meet a certain
person. It may be that he or she gets into a train where
you are, or it may be in some other place. There are
other people there, but there is something about this
person that makes you say to yourself: 'He is a
Christian, I am sure', or 'I am quite sure that she is a
Christian.' No word has been spoken, and up to that point
you have not said anything, but presently you begin to
ask questions, and it is not long before you discover
that you are right. This is another child of God! You
say: 'I knew you were!' 'Oh, how did you know I was a
Christian? I never told you I was.' 'You did not have to
tell me. There is something about you that tells me that
you belong to the Lord, something quite different from
the other people.'
is very simple, but is it true? Why, you can tell in a
meeting like this who are really the Lord's people, and
anyone who is not the Lord's. That will be what the
angels look for at the gates.
course, that is only an illustrative way of putting it.
We are speaking about dwelling with God in time and in
eternity, but it is only possible to dwell with Him if
His nature is in us.
want to repeat one sentence: That is the only
exclusiveness that God recognizes. We are in, or we are
out, according to the measure of Christ in us.
VALUING JESUS CHRIST AS THE LAMB
leads us to one other thing before we close. We are told
that this wall rests upon the foundation of the twelve
apostles of the Lamb. It does not say that the twelve
apostles are the foundation, but the foundation is the
foundation of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The
apostles were the 'sent ones' by the Lord, and when they
were sent out into the world what did they preach? What
was the foundation of all their preaching? It is all
gathered into this one word: the Lamb. You know that when
the Apostle John, who wrote this book, wrote his Gospel
he very soon wrote: "Behold the Lamb of God, which
taketh away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29), and
in different ways all the Apostles who preached Jesus
Christ preached the Gospel of the Lamb of God. In this
book of the Revelation the words 'the Lamb' occur
with, the Lamb means the taking away of sin. That is the
very beginning of everything which is going to come into
God's presence - the taking away of our sin. That is the
foundation of this wall.
not only the Lamb of God which takes away sin, but in
this book another phrase is used: The marriage of the
Lamb. Of course, that is strange language, but what does
it mean? What is a marriage? It is a covenant made
between two parties, a covenant of love, and the marriage
of the Lamb just means that, by the blood of the Lamb, a
covenant is made which unites us with the Lord Jesus. It
is the covenant of His eternal love for us, and our
covenant with Him, because of His sacrifice, to love Him
for ever. The marriage of the Lamb is a covenant of love
between Christ and His Church for ever, and it is only
those who have entered into that covenant who will be
found abiding in God for ever.
you come to the end of this book it is: The Lamb's book
of life. What is that? Again it is only a figure. I do
not think that when we get to heaven they are going to
open a literal book. Of course, we have hymns which say
that, such as our little children's hymn:
"Is my name written there
In the book grand and fair?"
First World War I was out in the Mediterranean with the
troops, and on Sunday nights we had a great gathering of
soldiers for a service. There were twelve hundred men who
had come back, wounded or sick. We used to say: 'Now,
boys, what shall we sing?' Do you know what they chose
every time as the first hymn? "When the Roll is
called up yonder, I'll be there"! Well, the idea is
all right, but the Lamb's Book of Life just means the
record of those who have received that eternal life by
faith in Jesus Christ.
again is very practical. There was a day, when the Lord
Jesus was here on earth, that a great crowd gathered
around Him, and in it was a poor woman who had had an
infirmity for twelve years. She had spent all her living
on physicians and no one had been able to help her. She
stood on the outside of this great crowd and began to
wedge her way through the people. She was pushing this
way and that way, and the man who wrote the Gospel tells
us that she was saying to herself: "If I do but
touch his garment, I shall be made whole" (Matthew
9:21). At last, after a lot of trouble she got behind
Him, reached out her hand and just touched the edge of
His garment. Immediately she was made whole. But Jesus
turned round and said: "Who touched Me?" The
disciples said: "Thou seest the multitude thronging
thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?" But Jesus
said: "Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that
virtue is gone out of me" (Luke 8:46, A.V.).
'Virtue' is another word for 'life', and life had gone
out of Him into that woman. The woman saw that she could
not hide herself, indeed, this new life meant so much to
her that she came forward and fell on her face before the
Lord and confessed. Jesus said: "Daughter, thy faith
hath saved thee; go in peace" (R.V. margin).
Being in the Lamb's Book of Life just
means that life has come out from Him into us by faith in
Him. You know, the Lord Jesus knows when life has gone
out from Himself into someone else. He knows when anyone
has touched Him in faith and received His Divine life. He
said: 'I came that they might have life" (John
10:10). And when, by faith in Him, we reach out to Him
and receive His life, that is recorded in heaven.
When the disciples came back to the Lord
Jesus from a mission they said: "Master, even the
demons are subject unto us." But He said: 'Don't
rejoice in that. Rejoice that your names are written in
heaven.' The greatest thing is to have our names written
in heaven, and that depends upon our having received the
life of the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God who gave His
life for us. I hope that everybody here has his or her
name written in the Lamb's Book of Life! There are no
physicians who can heal you of the disease of sin. but
the gesture of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can do it,
and it is those who have made it who are in the Lamb's
Book of Life.
This is what determines whether we belong
to the Church and to Jesus Christ, and, in this pictorial
language, it is this that decides whether we can enter
through those gates and into the city - it is just how
much we value Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. That is
why we sang:
"Tis the Church triumphant
Worthy the Lamb!"