October 22, 2015

Basics, Incredible Visions, and my Inheritance

Ezekiel 43:1–44:31, Revelation 21:9–27, Job 39:1–10, 1 Peter 1:3–4, Malachi 3:17

Job is suffering and questions if God hears, or cares, or can do anything about it. I’ve been there, and God just does the same thing with me as He did with Job. He takes him to some basics about Himself. He asks questions about nature and confirms His control over every living thing. He also asks questions that confirm Job’s lack of power, such as: “Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your manger? Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you?” (Job 39:9–10)

Obviously Job cannot expect a wild animal to meekly plow his fields. However, the point is that God is in charge and Job is not. The Lord is challenging Job to trust His wisdom and power. He is loving, wise, and able to do the impossible.

God’s perfections are also seen in the directions He gives Ezekiel for the construction and use of the perfect temple. He describes how the priests will not be like other people. They cannot own land or be involved in normal commerce. Instead, God Himself will provide for them.

He says, “This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession. They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering, and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs. And the first of all the firstfruits of all kinds, and every offering of all kinds from all your offerings, shall belong to the priests. You shall also give to the priests the first of your dough, that a blessing may rest on your house.” (Ezekiel 44:28–30)

An easy interpretation is considering what this meant to Israel. For them, this was about their priests and that is all. However, this devotional book called “Connect the Testaments” has me thinking about the relationship between the OT temple and what God says in the NT about Christians being the temple of God with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. For that, as I read Ezekiel, I’m seeing more parallels between what he writes and what comes later.

The NT talks of my inheritance also. It says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3–4)

Ephesians says that the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of my inheritance until I acquire possession of it. (Ephesians 1:11–14) and Hebrews 9 clarifies that because Jesus died (and His death redeems me), this inheritance is given to me and all “those who are called” to receive it.

I understand this to mean that heaven may be a lot of things, but for me it is about being with God forever. He is my eternal reward, the inheritance with my name on it!

Revelation’s visions given to John seem to be saying the same thing. First, he is invited to see “the Bride, the wife of the Lamb” which throughout the NT refers to the church, or the body of people God has redeemed. However, John does not see a mass of people. He sees something that has puzzled me . . .

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:9–11)

How can the Bride be the holy city? Why does this vision point to jewels and incredible beauty? A verse from the OT in the King James Version comes to mind: “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” (Malachi 3:17, KJV)

God uses poetic language to speak of His “treasured possession” as those who put their faith in Him for eternal life. When that inheritance is received in its fullness, He will bring us together in heaven and we will be like a city made of precious stones.

Where does the temple come into this picture? It doesn’t and yet it does! The Word of God gives John’s comment on the vision he saw of the holy city: “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:22)

Right now, Christ is in me and I am a temple of the Holy Spirit. In glory, I will be in Christ and He will be my Temple and my eternal place of worship.

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