Saturday, August 27, 2016

THE TREE OF LIFE

(I am currently writing a series on the last two chapters of the Bible. These chapters are the only two in the entire Bible that are dedicated exclusively to telling us what eternity will be like for the believers in Christ)
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In the previous chapter we saw the River of Life, clear as crystal and springing from the very throne of God and of the Lamb. As the river continued to flow, it ran down the center the major street of the city, a wide boulevard. It is called a street, but as in some other words that we read concerning the New Jerusalem, we should not think of a street in the common sense of the word as we think of it in our daily lives.[1]

This is not a thoroughfare designed for office workers to make quick commute times to their work places. The word street in this case simply means a broad place, and that is what this is. It is a broad area that probably would look more like a long and narrowish park than it does a street. I think of the Washington Mall in Washington D.C. as a similar concept. It is down the middle of this great street where the River of Life flows.

At this point in my reading of this account, it is what is growing along the banks of that river that is intriguing me. However, to begin to talk about what grows there, we need first to go back in time to the very dawn of history. This is because what will be growing on the banks of the River of Life has not appeared on earth since that time.

Here is part of the account of the creation: “The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden” (Genesis 2:8-9a NAS).

It is this specific tree, the tree of life, which also will be growing along the River of Life in the New Jerusalem. 

The Trees of Eden

In the Garden of Eden, among all the other types of trees found there, you will also remember that a second named tree was also planted in the garden at that time. That one was called the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This is the tree we usually hear about, because this is the tree that was used by the devil to entice Adam and Eve to rebel against God. The tree of knowledge is a different tree and a completely different subject from what I am writing at this time. I have written in other places concerning the question why having access to knowledge of good and evil represented a rebellious act against God at that time, so I will not do that now.[2]

Today’s subject is a happier one than what happened on that day in the Garden of Eden. The tree of today’s subject is the tree that gives life.
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Saturday, August 20, 2016

THE RIVER OF LIVING WATERS

(I am currently writing a series on the last two chapters of the Bible. These chapters are the only two in the entire Bible that are dedicated exclusively to telling us what eternity will be like for the believers in Christ)
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We come now to some of the most beautiful words written in the Scriptures. At least this is my opinion. Up until this point in the last chapters of the Revelation, John’s description of the city of God was from an external view. He was standing on the mountain and watching the city as it descended from heaven. Now however, just as the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel was shown the temple first from the outside, and after that entered into the very sanctuary, John also now enters the New Jerusalem. He now begins to describe what he saw on the inside of the city of God. It is probably my favorite passage in the entire Bible: 

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, and flowing down the middle of the great street. On either side of the river grew the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
There will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it. His bond-servants will serve Him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
And there will no longer be any night. They will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them, and they will reign forever and ever.
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.”
The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show to his bond-servants the things which must soon take place. (Revelation 22:1-6 my own paraphrase). 

The Water of Life

The subject of the water of life is a common one in Scripture. Jesus used it often in his teaching. My mind immediately goes to the account told to us of one hot day when Jesus sat in the shade of a tree near a well of Samaria. The well was outside of the city of Sychar. The disciples had gone into town to get some food, but Jesus chose to remain at the well to rest and to wait for them to return.(to continue reading, please press the READ MORE link below)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

OF NATIONS AND KINGS

(I am currently writing a series on the last two chapters of the Bible. These chapters are the only two in the entire Bible that are dedicated exclusively to telling us what eternity will be like for the believers in Christ)

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The Nations

As we continue on in the passage, we read this: “The nations will walk by its light [speaking of the light of the New Jerusalem], and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed” (Revelation 21:23-25 NAS).

We learned earlier that the gates are made of a single pearl, but apparently the pearls are for adornment only, since they are never rolled in front of the gate entrance (or whatever other method would be used for closing the gates). The fear of thieves or lack of security is never in question in the New Jerusalem, so the gates remain open always. 

With this sentence, John brings up another subject about not only the New Jerusalem, but the entire New Earth. He speaks here of the nations. Who are these people and are they inhabitants of the New Jerusalem? Of course, we have no answers that are certain, but does not the existence of these people of the nations bring up several interesting questions?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

NO MORE NIGHT

(I am currently writing a series on the last two chapters of the Bible. These chapters are the only two in the entire Bible that are dedicated exclusively to telling us what eternity will be like for the believers in Christ)****************************
NO MORE NIGHT

The very first thing that John said about the city the New Jerusalem when he first saw it was that it shown with a great brilliance. Then, after writing about some of the other aspects of the city as we have read, he now returns to that theme of the light of New Jerusalem. John writes, “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23 NAS).

The verses in this section have led to a few people teaching some misconceptions about eternity. The first of these misunderstanding concerns questions about the sun and the moon. Because of what John said, some people teach that there will be no sun or moon at all in the new creation. I will get to that point in a moment.

First however, I would like to mention another misunderstanding that some people have about this section. This misconception is that John is speaking merely in a figurative manner, and that the subject at hand is not actually speaking of a physical light at all. The thinking concerning this is that since John was living in the day before artificial lighting for the streets of cities, when darkness came, people usually went nowhere. In those days and in those places, with darkness came insecurity. That is why the cities of his time had walls with gates that they closed at night. The people did not want invaders to have the chance to enter their cities under the cloak of darkness. Families also closed themselves inside their own homes.

In those types of environments, there is a special feeling of sequestering and even shielding oneself in protection. About forty-five years ago, I lived in a village such as this in a rural area of India. It was not such a small village. If I recall correctly, it had a population of about 50,000 people. We did have electricity in the village, but it came on only occasionally during the day. Usually, shortly after dark, it was always shut off. There were no streetlights, so the village lay in complete darkness at night except for whatever light might be coming from the moon and the stars and from the oil lamps inside of the dwellings.

When darkness began to fall, everyone knew that they should be getting home because soon the electricity would be off, and no one wanted to be out in the streets at night. It was not that it was particularly dangerous in that village. Certainly, I never felt insecure there, but it was just very disorientating to be out wandering the little pathways in the darkness. After it became dark, everybody just stayed in their homes, or perhaps visited in a neighbor’s house.
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Friday, August 5, 2016

NEW BOOK - HE BUILT WITH STONES


A Story of the Swedish Emigration Years Of the Late Nineteenth Century

Anders Johansson was on a journey in the late 1800s. Anders was a young stonecutter from Sweden, a stone mason. Coming from a childhood of sorrow and of uncertainty, he picked up the craft of stonecutting and worked to perfect it so that he could become secure in his life. His journey to achieve security led him to various parts of Sweden, and finally overseas. At the end of his travels, however, Anders discovers something even more satisfying than the security that he had worked so hard to achieve. He also discovers something about himself, and comes to realize an entirely unexpected goal.

Unfortunately, this book is out of print. The publisher who first published this book went out of business.
However, I still do have a good number of books in stock. If you write to me at: donaldrhody@gmail.com, I will tell you how you can get one.

Eventually, I will republish this with Spirit†Hill Publishing