Friday, January 9, 2009

The heavenly city

Ezekiel ends with a river gushing forth from the threshold of the temple, going forth to water the land, and getting deeper as it goes. Johns' revelation, too, ends with a river, clear as crystal, of the water of life. It proceeds from Heaven's Throneroom, and goes forth to bring life to the City of God. Both banks have trees, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. Twelve kinds of trees, simultaneously and continuously blooming and bearing fruit. As my beloved mentor R. J. Rushdoony explained, creative people prove in their experience that -- the closer they get to their muse, the more prolific and productive they become. Potential, as a wag once said, means "not any good, yet." As we "stir up" the gift within us, as we act upon our calling, equipping, and destiny, we enjoy seasons of great achievement.

The Heavenly Jerusalem, as we have seen, is God's mobile home on earth, the people among whom He lives and moves, speaks and acts. His Spirit pours forth from His throne, permeates the city, and incidently makes things right for the nations of the world.

Let's look at one more time passage. The angel is leaving John with some parting words, about the words he's just been entrusted with:
Sonra bana dedi ki, "Bu kitabın peygamberlik sözlerini mühürleme. Çünkü beklenen zaman yakındır.
And now, a few words:
  • mühürlemek -- to seal up. In this case, the verb is in the negative imperative -- "Hey, YOU. Do NOT seal this up."
  • beklemek -- to wait for
  • zaman -- the time
  • yakındır -- is near
This command is in stark contrast to the command Daniel received at the end of his prophetic career. The aged prophet Daniel, who'd served as vizier for four successive emperors, was curious about how things would turn out. He was told that it was none of his business. The book was "sealed," inexplicable until the appointed time. Daniel was told to live out his life patiently, and look for the resurrection, when his questions would finally be answered.[1]

Daniel's message was "sealed," until the time of our Lord Jesus Christ, who made things explicit. John's message, on the other hand, was not sealed. The time was near, and his Revelation was meant to be understood by, and to benefit, the people he was writing to at that time. There is, alas, in American folk Protestant culture, a diseased notion afloat that John was actually writing to us, rather than to those whom he said he was addressing! Talk about vanity!

Still, it is edifying to read of God's mercies lavished, and promises kept, and prophecies fulfilled, in the past. Since He is "the same, yesterday, today, and forever," we, too, can receive strength for our trials, and expect a victorious conclusion to our life's quest.


[1] My favorite G. K. Chesterton short story, found in The Club of Queer Trades, tells of a Major Brown who accidently blundered into the middle of someone else's story. Major Brown's task, at the end of the story, was to let mysteries alone, and wait til the next life for the answers. Some questions, such as how things turned out for old romantic interests, are best left alone.

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