Christian Churches of God

No. 180

 

 

 

 

The City of God

(Edition 2.0 19961004-19991018-20071011)

 

The Book of Revelation tells of a time when the City of God will be established. This paper discusses this New Jerusalem, its symbolisms and significance.

 

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

 

 

(Copyright ã 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007  Wade Cox)

 

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher’s name and address and the copyright notice must be included.  No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies.  Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

 

This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 


 

 

The City of God

 


The last phase of the Earth’s activities is centred on the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20. This takes place at the end of the Millennium after the last war of the Rebellion.

Revelation 20:7-10  And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison  8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

 

This last war involves an attack on the camp of the saints at Jerusalem. Satan is able, even after the thousand years of just rule, to persuade the nations to march against Christ again. The inherent problem is self-righteousness among the people. Satan is released in order to deal with this major impediment to the ability of mankind to participate in the Kingdom of God. After this, Satan is removed and his spiritual power is harnessed and used as a memorial to the Rebellion. The Second Resurrection of the dead then takes place.

Revelation 20:11-15  Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; 15 and if any one's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (RSV)

 

We have seen the process of the resurrection and the judgment of the demons and of mankind. The next phase is the handover from Christ to God.

1Corinthians 15:20-28  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (KJV)

This process of subjection involves also that of the subjection of Jesus Christ. Christ is thus not co-equal or co-eternal, but rather is part of the process of God becoming all in all. So, there is one God and Father of all over all, and in all (see also Eph. 4:6).

 

This process involves the creation of a new Heaven and a new Earth where the former things are no longer remembered (Isa. 65:17). The seed of Israel will remain before God in this new system (Isa. 66:22) until all flesh is made obsolete after the resurrection at the end of the Millennium. Zion is the faithful city (Zech. 8:3). New Jerusalem comes out of Heaven (Rev. 3:12).

 

We await the new Heaven and the new Earth in which righteousness dwells (2Pet. 3:13). The City of God was awaited by the faithful from at least Abraham (Heb. 11:10). This was the vision of the patriarchs. We are put into the City (Eph. 2:6,18-22). Psalm 48 shows that the City of God is on the mountains of His holiness.

 

Hebrews 8:5 shows that the earthly Tabernacle was merely a model or shadow of the spiritual heavenly Tabernacle of the Mountain or Garden of God.

 

The Tabernacle of Israel was extended in Solomon’s Temple according to a blueprint (1Chr. 28:10ff.). This extension was to show that God was extending His heavenly Tabernacle and relocating this extended structure to include the human creation on Earth. This was done under peace and not war, but conditional to obedience and loyalty (1Chr. 28:10). God would then dwell there forever (Ezek. 43:1-9). This was done according to a pattern of the promise (Ezek. 43:10 to 44:31). Ezekiel 43:11 shows the form is a fashion according to Surahs, which are written ordinances concerning prophecy and law (this is understood better when we see that the Koran was written in Surahs; hence, instructions).

Ezekiel 43:11  And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. (KJV)

 

In Ezekiel 43:10 we see that the description of the Temple is given to Israel to make them ashamed of their iniquities. They themselves are asked to measure the pattern. The pattern (Heb. toknit; LXX diagraphes) is a gauge so as to evaluate by a standard.

 

Christ did not enter the holy places made with hands, which are copies (Greek: antitypos or representations) of the true, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24).

 

The City of God as the Garden and Paradise of God

 

Genesis 2:8 alludes to this situation. Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 deal with the fact that Satan was placed as and with an anointed Covering Cherub (text is ambiguous). In other words, there seems to be two of them. That is reinforced by the decoration of the Ark of the Covenant. The anointed guardian Cherub drove Satan out of the Mountain of God, as we see from Ezekiel 28:16 (cf. Ps. 45:6-7 for the anointed one).

 

A comparison of the oldest texts of verse 16 from the LXX and Origen with RSV, NRSV, NEB, TEV, Moffatt and the Amplified Bible show the text as given in Origen (De Principiis, Bk. 1.4):

In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from the midst of the stones of fire.

Satan was also a son of God in this Mountain or Paradise of God (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7; see also the paper The Government of God (No. 174) 1:2, section Sons of God).

 

The Heavenly City and the Mountain of God are equated with the Mount of the Congregation. This Garden of Eden or Paradise which is in Heaven (2Cor. 12:2-4) will descend to the Earth where a place is prepared for it. This area was also the earthly Eden. We know that Zion will be like Eden (Isa. 51:3).

 

Eden as the Garden of God

 

We know that God planted a garden (Gen. 2:8). The analogy in Genesis relates to the Church. The fall of Adam and Eve is given as a lesson relating to the Church and Christ in opposition to Satan (Gen. 3:8-19). The woman is the Church that longs for its husband (Gen. 3:15; Rev. 12; Ezek. 16). Her seed bruises Satan’s head and he bruises its heel (Gen. 3:15). The rebellion under Satan is to be crushed (cf. Rom. 16:20).

 

Our mother is the Church, which is the New Jerusalem, the Mother of us all (Gal. 4:26). Aside from the City of God, there is no mother apart from Eve, the mother of all, who is the prototype of the Church.

 

The Garden becomes the Church, from Song of Songs 4:12-16; 5:1 (cf. the paper Song of Songs (No. 145)). In the midst of Paradise or the Garden of God is the Tree of Life (Rev. 2:7). The elect have a right to this tree through Christ and the Law of God (Rev. 22:14).

Before the fall, Adam had access to God as does the Church after the redemption of baptism. The trees are spiritual entities (see the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36): the Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms; cf. Ezek. 28). They were all food for eating, but two were prominent. Satan appears to be likened to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Ezek. 28:12-13; 31:8-9). The other trees envied this tree. Satan was in the Garden. The concept of hiding among the trees indicates a desire to place blame on the instructors or intermediaries. Our relationship in the end is with God.

 

God's Dwelling

 

Mt. Zion, The Holy City, the Mountain of God and the Church of God are equivalent expressions of God’s dwelling. God is the builder of the City (Heb. 11:9). He is also the flint of circumcision (Josh. 5:2), the Rock of Israel on which the foundations and stones are laid (Deut. 32:15,18,30-31; 1Sam. 2:2; Isa. 26:4; Isa. 51:1-2) and from which Messiah is hewn (Dan. 2:34,45). The City is built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Christ being the Chief cornerstone as a dwelling for God (Eph. 2:19-22).

 

Psalm 68:15-16 shows that God chooses to live on Mount Bashan. This then is a transfer of dwelling for the Temple of God to this Earth. This relates to Psalm 48 as the designated City of God in the Mountain of His Holiness.

 

God will then come to the Earth and transfer the administration of the universe here. The world is then full of His glory (Isa. 6:3). God and the Lamb become the lights of this system.

Revelation 21:1-2  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Here the Holy City is also as a bride adorned for her husband. Yet the elect have already had their marriage supper with Christ. This last union refers to the final unification of the entire celestial Host under Jesus Christ.

 

Revelation 21:3-4  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

This distinction here is that God Himself shall be with men rather than Christ as the emissary of God and the Holy Spirit as the conferring of the essence of God. The new system is of immortality conferred by God on His creation. The Holy Spirit is the mortar that builds and binds the City of God together as an edifice.

 

Revelation 21:5-8  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

God here confers eternal life on those in the Second Resurrection also. Bearing in mind that the First Resurrection is already one thousand years in the past, we are talking here of the Second (or general) Resurrection which confers eternal life on the repentant also. God the Father is Alpha and Omega. Christ is allocated the position as protos and eschatos or first and last from the Father (see Rev. 1:8,17; not KJV). There is a distinction in these terms. The disqualification for eternal life in the Second Resurrection is listed here. Those who do not repent are simply allowed to die and are burnt as refuse.

 

Revelation 21:9-14  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had 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: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The Holy City is a spiritual edifice. It is comprised of the sons of God. The new Holy City of God is based on the same structure as given to Moses at Sinai. It is in four divisions of three, making twelve. The twelve tribes of Israel are the basis of the divisions. All Gentiles of every nation are allocated to these twelve groups. The twelve Apostles are the judges heading the twelve tribes (Mat. 19:28). The twelve Apostles are the twelve foundations of the City, and the twelve stones of Israel referred to in history and prophecy (Josh. 4:5). The 144,000 are allocated 12,000 to each tribe (Rev. 7:5-8). Here the notion of government is the reverse of hierarchy. It is one of support where the foundation is the Apostles, and the City rests on those foundations.

Revelation 21:15-16  And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

 

The elect of the Philadelphian system are made pillars in the Temple of God (Rev. 3:12). They perform a key function for the Millennium and thus become central to the City of God.

 

The measurement of the Temple had taken place at Revelation 11:1. That naos or Temple was in fact the elect. This City has no Temple, as we will see. This City is the entire Tabernacle as it extends the presence of God to every one of the individuals that comprise its walls and structure. This is a spiritual edifice of immortal beings.

 

This City is twelve thousand stadia (rendered furlongs) long, high and wide. The dimensions are also based on the concept of the twelve thousand to each tribe but here structured so as to render the City as a cube. The length of a stadion (plural stadia) was traditionally 600 Greek feet – i.e. 200 yards approximately (Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities). There were 400 cubits in a stadion – thus 215.5 yards (Interp. Dict. of the Bible, Vol. 4, p. 838).

 

Twelve thousand stadia equal to 2,586,000 yards, or 1,469 miles, or 2,364 kilometres. Thus each wall measures 2,158,896 square miles or 5,586,624 square kilometres. The City of God is then 1,728,000,000,000 cubic stadia. One cubic stadion is equivalent to 4003 or 64,000,000 cubic cubits, where a cubit is the measure of an angel and a man (see below). Thus 1,728,000,000,000 x 64,000,000 may be the total sum of the entities involved.

 

The City of God is based on the spiritual distribution of the priesthood of the 144,000.

 

The City is a perfect cube as the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Solomon was a perfect cube of twenty cubits. The altar of Ezekiel 43:16-17 is twelve cubits long and twelve cubits broad. The dimensions thus become an extension of the concept of the Holy of Holies and the altar. God is thus extending and replicating Himself. The structure of the City is based on the selection of the elect who form its structure and dimension.

 

Revelation 21:17  And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

There are one thousand of the angelic Host in the central administration; one of the thousand redeemed mankind (Job 33:23; RSV). This Angel of Redemption was elohim of Israel (Gen. 48:15-16).

 

The wall was 144 cubits and the measure of an angel here is synonymous with that of a man. Thus, mankind here has become as angels or brothers of and equal to the angelic realm as sons of God in accordance with the promises of Christ in Luke 20:36. If we assume from this text that it relates to the 144,000, there are 1,000 divisions of 144 forming the wall and the outer structure of the City of God. We can see that there are two councils of 72 (the hepdomekonta[duo] of Lk. 10:1,17) in the 144. However, there were 1,000 of the angelic Host. There were 2,000 times 72 in the 144,000. Thus there would be 2,000 dual systems (or 288,000 men and angels) in the new universal administration of Deuteronomy 4:19, governed from here on the Earth.

 

Revelation 21:18  And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

The entire system will be as gold refined in the fire. There will be no sin and it will be seen by all to be clear and perfect.

 

Revelation 21:19-21  And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

As mentioned, the foundations of the City were the twelve Apostles. Each of these foundations is allocated a precious stone as a symbol of their capacity to refract light. All precious stones are measured on a refractive index. The Light is God and the Lamb. Each of the twelve has intrinsic value.

 

The gates to the City were of a single pearl. This single pearl is the pearl of great price of the calling of God (Mat. 13:46). A pearl is formed from a seed planted in an oyster. The seed can be grit. The oyster forms the pearl by placing layer upon layer of nacre around the seed. This seed is the mustard seed of the calling as the Spirit of God. That is why each gate is a single pearl. Each must make his/her own pearl and enter the City of God through the narrow gate (Mat. 7:14). Thus the pearl is the calling of God, which is the means of entry to the City. Each pearl is made from the initial seed and built by the Holy Spirit as a product of the individual oyster or person. No person can give this entry or product to another. This is why the wise virgins could not give the oil of the lamps to the foolish virgins who did not have enough.

 

The gate to the City is in fact built on the Law and the Testimony (Isa. 8:20). It is built layer upon layer, precept upon precept and line upon line (Isa. 28:10). This forms a knowledge of the Mysteries of God (Mat. 13:11-23).

 

Revelation 21:22-26  And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

We have now progressed to the point where there is no Temple needed as God and Christ dwell in the entire structure. The Millennium was the testing vehicle for the new structure. The entire Host are converted and the entire Gentile structure has become associated with this City and, in fact, are part of it through the elect and the administration. Those led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom. 8:14). This Plan of God was laid out before the foundation of the Earth.

 

Revelation 22:1-5  And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

The Tree of Life is restored and the fruit is given for the healing of the nations under the twelve divisions, which are based on the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, each nation is grafted onto a tribe.

 

Immortal life has been granted to the nations and they have been healed. The structure of the rulership of the heavens is thus still within the allocations that God made under the seventy sons of God at the beginning (Deut. 32:8 RSV, LXX and DSS). The divisions of the universe take place along the lines of the twelve tribes in four quadrants, which we have seen was the original model but this time as a flawless system. The divisions are based on the three and the thirty, the seventy, and the 120 and so on down to the 12,000 in each tribe. The elect were given administration over the planet for the Millennium (Lk. 19:17-19), being like angels (Mat. 22:30). They are sons of God (Mat. 5:3-11). This position is extended to all the nations (Mat. 8:11), being the pleasure of God the Father (Lk. 12:32). The divisions act as kings and priests to the creation for the next phase of the development of the universe. The 1,000 divisions referred to above are based on the structure of the 144,000 that have an infrastructure themselves. These 1,000 divisions of the angelic Host are combined with the 1,000 of the human Host. This would make 2,000 dual councils of the 144 above, both human and angelic.

 

The name of God is placed on the forehead of the servants of God. Thus, the authority of God over the universe will rest in the administration under Christ. These beings will judge the universe. They are all elohim (Zech. 12:8). They rule both the Earth (Ps. 8:1-9; Dan. 2:44-45) and the newly-ordered universe (Dan. 7:27; 12:3; Deut. 4:19).

 

Revelation 22:6-9 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

Worship is due to God, or Eloah, alone (Deut. 32:17). The duty of the elect is to obey the Bible as the command of God. The elect are given understanding of prophecy such that it becomes a command of God in its own right. Thus, the prophecies of the Old Testament and the New Testament become orders that the elect must implement as it falls to their power. Thus the restoration is an order to the elect (see Isa. 66:19-24). We have placed our hand to the plough and we must not look back.

 

Revelation 22:10-14  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

The Commandments are thus the right to the Tree of Life but through grace in Christ – i.e. the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Thus baptism from the testimony of Messiah is the prerequisite to salvation and the proper execution of the Law. The concept of transgression of the Law has repeatedly made people fail. The concept of these people being outside of the City of God does not mean that they still exist when the City comes. It means that they failed to enter the City of God during its period of construction, which was from the patriarchs and prophets until 30 CE, and the Church from 30 CE to the Advent, and from the Advent until the final resurrection and judgment. Those who could not repent were left outside.

 

Revelation 22:15-21  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (KJV)

The understanding of the Book of Revelation is revealed at the Last Days. The capacity to act on truth is the determining factor. The understanding of the meaning of the Plan of Salvation is given in plain speaking. The message is given in the Last Days, but they do not repent. This last phase is a terrifying time. God has given Satan authority to see the end results of his system. The world is destroying itself and will continue to do so, yet they still do not repent. Soon the time will be shortened in which the Earth can be saved.

 

Christ is given the delegated authority of God. He is the beginning and the end. God has accomplished all things in him. Those things are freely given to mankind on obedience to God in the keeping of His Commandments. Christ enforces the Laws of God so that we might have eternal life. We are the City of God, being built upon the foundation of the Apostles in Jesus Christ.