“The wall of the city had twelve foundations,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The wall of the city had twelve foundations.” – Revelation 21:14

Readings

Isaiah 54 · Revelation 21 · Psalm 122

Sermon

The Bible is a book of prophecy. Men have turned to it to find out what the future holds in respect to the spiritual state of the world. For the Word itself shows that during all the time of its formation one of the chief things held before the people was the state of the church about to follow.

Some think that those times have gone by. There have always been some who would not believe. There were those among the Israelites who did not believe that Moses could lead them out of Egypt. There were those who did not believe that the Promised Land could ever be secured. And when Jerusalem was in its glory, powerful in wisdom and wealth, there were some that did not believe that sin could undermine her massive walls and fell her towers. When her gates had given way to the triumphant armies of Babylon and the captive train looked back to the plundered city and smoking embers, they believed that its glory had gone out forever.

When again Jerusalem was rebuilt, its people were deaf to the warnings of the prophets and again would not believe that its walls would crumble before the Roman battering rams, that their sons would make glad a Roman holiday in the arena, and the glory of the sacred city come to an end. This they did not believe because they did not receive the prophecies of the Word.

But at the time when our text was given, the old Jerusalem as a dwelling place of Jehovah, where God was known in her palaces and His voice heard in her sanctuary, had passed away forever. The old Jerusalem had served its purpose as a representative character. John’s eyes were opened in vision and he “saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” And in place of the old there was revealed that which the old Jerusalem represented. “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.”

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“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them,” by Louis A. Dole

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“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.” – Revelation 21:3

Readings

Jeremiah 31:31-40 · Revelation 21:1-14 · Psalm 46

Sermon

I suppose that all of us have at some time imagined a city attractively laid out, with noble buildings, broad streets, spacious parks, and beautiful homes. In it there would be no slums, no unsightly manufacturing districts with unsanitary dwellings for the working people. And indeed today there is going on much city planning and a remodeling of cities, the removal of unsightly buildings and the placing of manufacturing districts outside of the city limits. Such a city Plato dreamed of, and since his time others have tried to envision the perfect city. It would be an ideal place in which to live. It would have the peace and quiet of the forest and the beauty of nature’s gardens.

This concept, however, is concerned wholly with material things. Its visions and hopes are of material attainments.

The Word of God also has its dream city. The apostle John, his spiritual eyes opened in vision, saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And the Christian Church has accepted with gladness this vision. But it has regarded it as a prophecy of the splendor of heaven, and looks forward to it as something that the righteous will inherit when they pass beyond the veil.

Yet the Word of God speaks of this city as something to be realized on earth – something “coming down from God out of heaven.”

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“The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there.” – Ezekiel 48:35

Readings

Ezekiel 48:19-35 · Matthew 10:1-15 · Psalm 16

Sermon

These words are spoken of the city seen in vision by Ezekiel. We may recognize it as the same city as the New Jerusalem seen by John. And the New Jerusalem, called the bride the Lamb’s wife, we know to be the New Church.

The term city is a fitting name for the church. A city has streets along which we walk. So has the church. Its principles of right conduct are paths in which the affections move. The Lord said of His thoughts and affections, “I am the Way.” And when our thoughts and affections are pure and holy, when they are the expression of love from the Lord, “the streets of the city are pure gold.”

A city provides conditions for business, social intercourse, education, and training. It contains dwelling places of many kinds where individuals live, gather, and rest, and at firesides enjoy companionship, love, and happiness.

So of the church. There our Heavenly Father’s business is centered, and the church provides for association, spiritual education, and the training of the higher faculties. The church has dwelling places, general truths and particular truths, differing in kind and quality. Each one in the church chooses some kind of general truth in which he abides, and in it, as at a fireplace, he gathers spiritual warmth. He meets others in like principles, and from things in common they find companionship and pleasure.

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“We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks,” by Louis A. Dole

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“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” – Isaiah 26:1

Readings

Isaiah 26:1-11 · Revelation 21:10-27 · Psalm 48

Sermon

We are living in the day prophesied by our text. As we read this prophecy of Isaiah, we are impressed with his fearlessness, his confidence, and his hopefulness. He felt assured that God, though working secretly, could not be thwarted, and that, however clouded the present skies, the future was full of promise and of joy.

The Book of Revelation closes with the vision of the Holy City New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven, in which men would dwell in light, safety, and peace. It is the picture of the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom on the earth, and the doing here of His will as it is done in heaven. It is needless to say that this state has not yet been reached. But we believe that the truths and instrumentalities and spiritual forces adequate to the task of effecting this vast revolution in human thought and life have been revealed to men and are now operating in human society. If we could know the future as we know the past, it would bring us confidence.

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“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you,” by Louis A. Dole

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“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” – Isaiah 66:13

Readings

Isaiah 66:5-13 · Revelation 21 · Psalm 113

Sermon

Quite generally throughout our land the second Sunday in May has come to be observed as Mothers’ Day. In the book of Revelation the church is pictured as the bride, the Lamb’s wife, the spiritual mother by whom we are born again. All who are regenerated are born of the church as their spiritual mother. The word “church” has several meanings. It may mean the church building, or it may mean the teachings for which the church stands, or it may be used of the people who accept and seek to live according to these teachings.

In the twenty-first chapter of Revelation we read, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The church as the holy city is the church as to its system of truth, and as the bride the Lamb’s wife it is the carrying out of this body of truth in life.

In this latter sense the church is our spiritual mother, the means by which the truths of the Word are brought forth and handed down from generation to generation. It is this function that gives it permanence, as it is the means by which the human race is drawn into unity. The church has outlived many vanished nations and empires, and through it comes nourishment and healing for the world, as it is faithful to the Lord who is the Word. There has always been a church, for it underlies every orderly form of society among men.

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