The Three Gifts
In Genesis 2:10-12 it says, a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it encompasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; bdellium and the onyx stone are there. M199
Where is this gold, bdellium and onyx stone?
In the land of Havilah, which is encompassed by the first river Pishon. The word encompass in Merriam-Webster is defined as:
- to include (something) as a part
- to cover or surround (an area)
- to form a circle about
- to go completely around MW34
Havilah is covered and surrounded by the river Pishon. The whole land is included, and the river of living waters is completely around it.
What’s interesting is that if you read Genesis 2:10-14 you will find that the second river encompasses the whole land of Cush.
A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it encompasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it encompasses the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. M200
The land of Havilah, which I believe to be Saudi Arabia is as the scripture says, “where there is gold.” It also says that the gold of that land is good. In Merriam-Webster the word good is defined as follows:
- of high quality
- of somewhat high but not excellent quality
- correct or proper MW35
Havilah, which is the land of Saudi Arabia, has gold which is good, of high quality and it is correct and proper.
Excellent quality would be that which is 100% pure or maybe even that which is transparent like that spoken about in Revelation 21:15-18.
He who talked with me had a golden rod to measure the city and its gates and wall. The city lies as a square, its length as long as its width. He measured the city with the rod: one thousand four hundred miles. Its length and breadth and height are equal. He then measured its wall: two hundred feet by the measurement of a man, that is, of an angel. The wall was built of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. M201
In my research about gold, I came across this one interesting fact.
Gold is the most malleable element which means it can be hammered into extremely, extremley thin sheets. A single ounce of gold it says can be hammered into a sheet that is about 300 square feet, and a sheet of gold can be made thin enough to be transparent.
If we look at Revelation 21:15-18 (NIV) we see another word used which gives us insight to the measuring rod.
The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates, and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. N12
The word used in this translation for the measurement was stadia. When we look at the word stadia in Merriam-Webster, it is defined as:
- A surveying method for determination of distances and differences of elevation by means of a telescopic instrument having two horizontal lines through which the marks on a graduated rod are observed. MW36
This would mean that the angel was a surveyor. A surveyor in Merriam-Webster is defined as:
- someone whose job is to measure and examine an area of land
- someone whose job is to examine buildings
- a person whose occupation is determining the size, shape, or boundaries of pieces of land MW37
This angel that surveyed the city measured the area of the land, the building, and the walls. The angel helped us understand the New Jerusalem by determining the size, shape and boundaries of the city. The angel was able to survey this using a golden rod.
Now the rod that surveyors use is called a stadia rod. In Merriam-Webster a stadia rod is defined as follows:
- a graduated rod used with an instrument having stadia hairs to measure the distance from the observation point to the place where the rod is positioned by observation of the length of rod subtended by the distance between the stadia hairs when these are fixed or of the space between the stadia hairs when they are adjusted to cover a certain definite interval on the rod. MW38
This angel used a golden stadia rod to measure the city. In Revelation 21:1-7 John says, then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. M202
In this passage, we see that John saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, which was prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. This is where the words from Ephesians 1 comes to life. Let’s start first with Ephesians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: M203
To the saints who are at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus, these selected words by the apostle Paul have amazing insight; which I will cover in a moment.
Now let’s read the entire passage of Ephesians 1:1-23 so we can see the revelation of these words.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love; He predestined us to adoption as sons to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace which He graciously bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, which are in heaven and on earth.
In Him also we have received an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him, who works all things according to the counsel of His own will, that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, should live for the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and after believing in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Therefore I also, after hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, mentioning you in my prayers, so that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He performed in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principalities, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet and made Him the head over all things for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, who fills all things in all ways. M204
How beautiful are these words? The insight of this is beyond amazing, for example, let’s look again at Ephesians 1:1 where it states:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: M205
Why did Paul write this to the saints who are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus?
To understand this, we first need to understand who the saints at Ephesus are. The answer to this question is in Revelation 2:1-7.
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write:
“He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, says these things: I know your works, your labor, and your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles, but are not, and have found them to be liars. You have endured, and have been patient, and for My name’s sake have labored and have not grown weary.
“But I have something against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your candlestick from its place, unless you repent. But this you have: You hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give permission to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.M206
The saints of Ephesus are those that are being ministered to by the angel of the church of Ephesus.
There is a lot being said in this passage but for now, let us keep to the question at hand. Who are the saints of Ephesus?
We have to remember what the meaning of the word saint is as defined in Merriam-Webster:
- one officially recognized especially through canonization as preeminent for holiness
- one of the spirits of the departed in heaven
- one of God’s chosen and usually Christian people
- one eminent for piety or virtue MW39
In Ephesians, Paul wrote to the saints, God’s chosen and the faithful in Christ Jesus.
We see this explained in Ephesians 1:3-6.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love; He predestined us to adoption as sons to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace which He graciously bestowed on us in the Beloved. M207
Here Paul explains that God’s chosen were selected before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love. They were chosen to be made blind so they would be without sin.
This is why in the message to Ephesus written in Revelation 2:4 it states:
“But I have something against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. M208
The chosen were selected before the foundation of the world in love, but they have abandoned the love that they had at first, and they are called in Revelation 2:5 to remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your candlestick from its place, unless you repent. M209
The chosen have fallen from that which is spoken about in Revelation 21:1-3
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. M210
If the chosen, do not repent the candlestick will be removed from its place. What is a candlestick?
In Merriam-Webster, a candlestick is defined as:
- an object with a small hole in the middle for holding a candle MW40
Therefore, the holder of the light will be removed.
In Revelation 2:5 Jesus tells us to remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your candlestick from its place, unless you repent. M211
Jesus tells us to repent and to do the works we did at first, He spoke about this also in Matthew 5:14-16.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a basket, but on a candlestick. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven. M212
Before we can understand the promise of God to the chosen we first need to remember what Jesus said in John 8:12.
Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” M213
Jesus is the light of the world, He is the candle that is placed in the candlestick that brings light to the world, so the men may see the works of Jesus and glorify the Father, who is in heaven.
In the first book of this series, I talked about the Bible being a book of love. In Revelation 2:4-5 Jesus says,
“But I have something against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your candlestick from its place, unless you repent. M214
What are we to repent for?
For not loving Him, for if we loved Him, we would have kept his commandments. What are His commandments?
His commandments are spoken about in Matthew 22:37-40.
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” M215
Our first love and our first commandment is to love Jesus our Lord and God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.
The second commandment is that which brings us back into repentance. The second spoken by Jesus in Matthew 22:39
And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ M216
This commandment brings us back into repentance and saves the church of Ephesus for if those that belong to the church of Ephesus does this, they will get another (someone else) to minister to them. We see this spoken about by Jesus in John 14:15-21.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever: the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it does not see Him, neither does it know Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you fatherless. I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more. But you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. On that day, you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father. And I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” M217
Jesus said He will reveal Himself to those that love Him. Something amazing also happens to those that love Him, and we see that spoken about in Ephesians 1:5-6.
He predestined us to adoption as sons to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace which He graciously bestowed on us in the Beloved. M218
The chosen of God have been predestined to adoption as sons. Sons through Jesus Christ. It is God’s grace which He bestowed to us in the Beloved.
In Merriam-Webster beloved means:
- dearly loved
- dear to the heart MW41
The Beloved, the One dearly loved by God, the One dear to the heart of God, is the One through which He predestined the chosen to adoption as sons to Himself.
This is why in Matthew 3:17 it says:
And a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” M219
And in Mark 1:11 it says:
And a voice came from heaven, saying, “You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” M220
It is in Luke 9:35 (NIV) that we get a clue.
A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” N13
God has chosen His Son, and the others have been predestined to adoption as sons through His Son Jesus Christ.
Now with this understanding, we can read the rest of Ephesians 1 with greater insight, but now we have the key required to open what is written in Daniel 12:9.
And he said, “Go your way, Daniel. For these words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. M221
We cannot deny we are at the time of the end, and the words that are closed are starting to open.
It is now when we read Daniel 12:10-13 we will begin to understand what is being said.
Many shall be purified and made white and tried. But the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
“From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate setup, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
“But as for you, go your way until the end. Then you shall rest and rise again for your lot at the end of the age.” M222
What are the words in Daniel 12:9 that have been closed up and sealed until the time of the end?
The words in Daniel 12:11-12. Words that have been closed and sealed until the time of the end.
From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate setup, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. M223
From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate set up there shall be 1,290 days.
Before we begin to open up the words in Daniel that have been sealed until the time of the end, we need to understand the meaning of the word “set up” as defined by Merriam-Webster.
- to raise to and place in a high position
- to place in view
- to place upright
- to assemble the parts of and erect in position
- to erect (a perpendicular or a figure) on a base in a drawing MW42
What Daniel the prophet is speaking about is the time the daily sacrifices will be taken away, something will be set up. Raised to and placed in a high position, in view of everyone, it will be upright and assembled from parts and erected in position. Something that will be set up erected on a base from a drawing, and it will be 1,290 days from the moment the sacrifices will be taken away.
There are many ways to interpret the days mentioned in Daniel. The first is just as it says, each day is a day, the second each day representing a thousand years and the third each day represents a year.
Let’s first start where each day is just a day.
1,290 (days) / 365 (days) = 3.5 (years)
Three and a half years is a very short time and several of those years have passed since Jesus came.
Now let’s try where each day equals a thousand years.
1,290 (days) X 1,000 (years) = 1,290,000 (years)
Using that calculation method, it would a very, very, very, long time. One million two hundred and ninety thousand years give or take a few years, before we can expect the end that was spoken about.
The next possible option is where each day is equal to one year. If we use that we get some interesting events that fall within those time frames spoken about by Daniel.
1,290 (days) X 1 (year) = 1,290 (years)
Now let’s use 1,290 days with what was said in Scripture.
From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate setup, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days (years).
In about 587 BC the first temple in Jerusalem was destroyed taking away the ability for the high priests to offer the daily sacrifice.
Now that we have a base line, let us do our first addition.
587 BC + 1290 Years = 703 AD
With this addition, we get to about 703 AD.
I say about because I don’t believe there is a way to say with absolute 100% certainty the years of the temple because the way we calculate a year varies by not only which calendar we use but which historian provides the date, which organization provides a date, which scientist provides a date.
I would like to use a degree of accuracy +/- 45 years. I got 45 years from these words in Daniel. There shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
1,335 (days) – 1,290 (days) = 45 (days) X 1 (year) = 45 years
With this degree of accuracy +/- 45 years, we can be more open to what could be. Otherwise, we would become like the Pharisees that missed seeing who Jesus is because everything didn’t line up exactly.
In about 587 BC the first temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and the daily sacrifices were taken away from the people.
When we add 1,290 years, we get to the year 703 AD. We have gone from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate setup.
Now that we know what it means to “set up,” we need to look at what was set up that according to Daniel would be an abomination that makes desolate around 703 AD.
What I was able to find, which was setup at the base of the first temple that was destroyed and took away the daily sacrifice is the dome of the rock completed (set up) in 691 AD.
587 BC + 691 AD = 1,278 years
1,290 years – 1,278 years = 12 years
With a margin of error of 12 years, we get an idea of what Daniel could be speaking about in Daniel 12:11
From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate setup, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. M224
Now that we have understood the 1,290 days / years that was spoken about in Daniel from the time the sacrifice was taken away which is the first temple destruction in 587 BC till the abomination that makes the temple mount desolate of sacrifice in 691 AD; we come to the next part in Daniel 12:12 which is really exciting to me.
Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. M225
In this verse, Daniel is giving the total number of days a person will need to wait. He would need to wait 1,335 days from the time of the abomination spoken about by Daniel.
The person who waits and comes to 1,335 days / years will be blessed. So this would mean to me that the person would have to wait between 1,290 days and 1,335 days. Converted to years that would be between 1,290 years to 1,335 years.
Now if we do the following calculations we sort of get a time frame of what Daniel could be speaking about.
691 AD + 1,290 years = 1981 AD
691 AD + 1,325 years = 2016 AD (current year)
691 AD + 1,335 years = 2026 AD
2016 is the current year when this book was authored.
Currently, we are ten years away from the above calculated time, where he who waits and comes to 1,335 days / years (2026 AD) will be blessed.
Now that the abomination spoken about by Daniel has been set up, it opens the window to the abomination of desolation spoken about in Matthew 24:15-22 to take place.
“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. Let him who is in the field not return to take his clothes. Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse in those days! Pray that your escape will not be in the winter or on the Sabbath. For then will be great tribulation, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be.
“Unless those days were shortened, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened. M226
What days or years need to be shortened?
The 1,335 days or years that were spoken about by Daniel the prophet.
Why do these days or years need to be shortened?
For the sake of the elect, those days or years will be shortened.
Why are the days being shortened for the elect?
To answer that question, we first need to look at how the word elect is defined in Merriam-Webster.
- having been elected
- carefully selected
- chosen for salvation through divine mercy
- chosen for marriage at some future time
- chosen for office or position but not yet installed MW43
The elect is a group of people that have been carefully selected before the foundations of this world. Chosen for salvation through Jesus Christ, those that have been chosen for marriage and chosen for a position of office but not yet installed or put in place.
Before we look at which position of office the elect hold, we first need to know their positions. 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 provides some great insight.
And he said, “Pay attention all Judah, and those dwelling in Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear, nor be dismayed because of this great army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, go down against them. They will travel up by the Ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the back of the valley, before the Wilderness of Jeruel. It will not be necessary for you to fight in this conflict. Take your positions, stand, and observe the deliverance of the Lord for you, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be filled with terror. Tomorrow, go out before them, and the Lord will be with you.”M227
It is here where the FOG (fullness of Gentiles) army is reminded that this battle is not ours but God’s. We are reminded that it will not be necessary for us to fight. We are asked to take our positions, stand and observe.
Each one of us in the army is given an area of the battle ground, and all we are asked to do is stand, there is no need to fight for this is not our battle.
It would be wise to remember what Jehoshaphat said in 2 Chronicles 20:20.
So they rose up early in the morning and went out to the Wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and those dwelling in Jerusalem. Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be supported. Believe His prophets, and you will succeed.” M228
We are to believe in Jesus our Lord, and we will be supported. We are also instructed to believe His prophets like Daniel if we are to succeed.
For the days that Daniel spoke about will be shortened for the benefit of the elect, and the angel that measured the city, the new Jerusalem gave a clue about the elect the bride in Revelation 21:9-14.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came to me and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, her light like a most precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were written: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. M229
What’s amazing to me is that everything about this city is clear and transparent. Another interesting part of Revelation 21:15-16 is what the angel did.
He who talked with me had a golden rod to measure the city and its gates and wall. The city lies as a square, its length as long as its width. M230
Earlier we talked about how this angel was a surveyor and someone who provided the measurements. This was done so we can understand the size of the city. We see the parallel to this in Numbers 13:1-16
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men that they may explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel. Of every tribe of their fathers, you will send a man, each one a chief among them.”
And Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the Lord. All those men were heads of the children of Israel. These were their names:
of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua, the son of Zakkur;
of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat, the son of Hori;
of the tribe of Judah, Caleb, the son of Jephunneh;
of the tribe of Issachar, Igal, the son of Joseph;
of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea, the son of Nun;
of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti, the son of Raphu;
of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel, the son of Sodi;
of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi, the son of Susi;
of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel, the son of Gemalli;
of the tribe of Asher, Sethur, the son of Michael;
of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi, the son of Vophsi;
of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Maki.
These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to explore the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua. M231
Twelve men one from each tribe were sent to explore and survey the land of Canaan, which the Lord was giving to the children of Israel. Of every tribe of their fathers, Moses sent a man, each one a chief among them.
The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb and in Ephesians 2:20 we see another piece that will help us understand this picture.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the entire building, tightly framed together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God through the Spirit. M232
This is the key to understanding the new Jerusalem. But now let us look a little deeper at the foundation wall spoken about in Revelation 2:17-20
He then measured its wall: two hundred feet by the measurement of a man, that is, of an angel. The wall was built of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all kinds of precious jewels. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst. M233
The fifth foundation is sardonyx and in Merriam-Webster, it is defined as:
- an onyx having parallel layers of sard MW44
Basically, what this means is that onyx that has layers of sard is called sardonyx.
Not only was the city built of pure gold but the foundations of the wall had a layer of onyx. We will see this when we read different translations of the Bible.
This covers two of the things spoken about in Genesis 2:12
The gold of that land is good; bdellium and the onyx stone are there. M234
These two things are found in the new Jerusalem. Now let us learn about the third; bdellium.
In Merriam-Webster bdellium is defined as:
- a gum resin similar to myrrh obtained from various trees (genus Commiphora) of the East Indies and Africa MW45
When we do some research into genus Commiphora, we can find that in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology “the resinous exudates of the Commiphora species, is known as ‘myrrh’” OR2
Further research will reveal the following information.
The genus of the myrrhs, Commiphora, is the most species-rich genus of flowering plants in the frankincense and myrrh family, Burseraceae. The genus contains approximately 190 species of shrubs and trees, which are distributed throughout the (sub-) tropical regions of Africa, the western Indian Ocean islands, the Arabian Peninsula, India, and Vietnam. OR3
This brings us to Matthew 2:1-12.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod, the king, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are no longer least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come a Governor, who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, carefully inquired of them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, so that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed. And the star which they saw in the east went before them until it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great excitement. And when they came into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary, His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But being warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.M235
This chapter has many interesting stories to tell, the first is that the wise men came from the east and said in Matthew 2:2.
“Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” M236
These men had to be wise, because their simple question got king Herod to setup a task force to answer this one question. A task force that comprised of chief priests and scribes of the people.
Why were these men called wise?
James 3:13-18 provides some insight.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show his works by his good life in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, do not boast and do not lie against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. For where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. M237
And in Proverbs 21:20 something very interesting is also said about the wise.
There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it. M238
In Merriam-Webster the word dwelling means:
- a place where a person lives MW46
If we were to look at the wise men, in their dwelling was treasure and oil. The wise men brought with them gold (treasure), frankincense and myrrh (oil).
Given the fact that they brought gold, it might be fair to assume that they brought the oil of frankincense and myrrh which is more expensive and difficult to obtain; gifts fitting for a King. The King of the Jews, of which they have seen His star in the east and came to worship Him.
Now Herod and all Jerusalem were afraid because the chief priests and scribes did not know about this. It took the wise men to ask for them to search and find what the prophet Micah wrote in Micah 5:1-5.
Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; he has laid siege against us.
With a rod, they will strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, although you are small among the tribes of Judah, from you will come forth for Me one who will be ruler over Israel.
His origins are from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore, He will give them up, until the time when she who is in labor has given birth, and the rest of his brothers will return to the children of Israel.
He will stand and shepherd in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; then they will live securely, because now He will be great until the ends of the earth; and He will be their peace. M239
The prophet Micha says something really amazing and revealing about the heart of God in Micah 5:3.
Therefore, He will give them up, until the time when she who is in labor has given birth, and the rest of his brothers will return to the children of Israel. M240
What is He going to give up?
His origins which are from old and from ancient days. We see this spoken about in Philippians 2:5-11.
Let this mind be in you all, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.
But He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
And being found in the form of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Therefore, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. M241
He emptied Himself and gave up His form to be born in the form of a servant. He did this so that the rest of the children of Israel can be returned for they are lost. Jesus tells us this in Matthew 15:24 when He answered the woman of Canaan with these words, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”M242
This was very important to Jesus, and this is the very same thing He commanded His disciples in Matthew 10:5-15 to seek out.
These twelve Jesus sent out, and commanded them, saying, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
“Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper for your purses, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor shoes, nor even staffs. For the workman is worthy of his keep.
“In whatever city or town you enter, inquire in it who is worthy. And live there until you leave. When you come into a house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the Day of Judgment than for that town. M243
It is the lost sheep of the house of Israel that is important to Jesus for this is also why He came and why He said, in Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. M244
For the house of Israel is spread among the nations. The house of Israel contains the elect, and we see this spoken about in Romans 11:7-8.
What then? Israel has not obtained what it was seeking. But the elect obtained it, and the rest were hardened. As it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of slumber, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, to this very day.”
And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they may not see, and always bow down their backs.” M245
If the house of Israel is not Israel, for clearly from the above passage we learn that the elect has obtained that which Israel was seeking, the question that remains, what is Israel?
By answering this question, the question on who the elect are is also answered. It is when we understand who the elect are that we can begin to understand who Israel is. So let us first read Romans 11:25 and understand who the elect are.
For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, lest you be wise in your own estimation, for a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. M246
We now need to understand what fullness means. In Merriam-Webster fullness is defined as:
- the quality or state of being full MW47
This would mean that the quality or the state of being full for the Gentiles is going to come. But what is the quality that is being spoken about here?
Daniel 12:5-10 helps us answer the question of quality.
Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. One said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the water of the river, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?”
And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was over the water of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time. And when they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
As for me, I heard, but I could not understand. So I said, “My lord, what shall be the result of these things?”
And he said, “Go your way, Daniel. For these words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified and made white and tried. But the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. M247
The quality of the Gentiles spoken about are those that need to be purified and made white. The state of being full is when the required number is reached. That is why many shall be purified and made white. When the full number of Gentiles comes in, then those that are tried can overcome. This is what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 25:1-13.
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps, but took no oil with them. But the wise took jars of oil with their lamps. While the bridegroom delayed, they all rested and slept.
“But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out.’
“The wise answered, ‘No, lest there not be enough for us and you. Go rather to those who sell it, and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they went to buy some, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Afterward, the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us.’
“But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
“Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. M248
As Proverbs 21:20 reminds us.
There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it. M249
The wise virgins had the knowledge and the oil in their dwelling place. It’s important to understand that some of the wise virgins in this story are the elect, which are the chosen ones.
The chosen one are from the Gentiles that make up the house of Israel. It is equally important that we understand that once the fullness of Gentiles is reached and the house of Israel which are the lost sheep have been reunited that the rest of Israel and the other tribes with the hardened hearts will cease to be. This is so that which is spoken about in Romans 11:26-27 can be fulfilled.
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will remove ungodliness from Jacob”; “for this is My covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins.” M250
Ungodliness from Jacob refers to the root of Israel and all Jacob’s descendants and the various houses that make up Jacob (Israel).
There is a reason why in Mark 13:10 Jesus said,
And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. M251
The gospel has to be preached to all nations for the Gentiles that form the house of Israel and also for the tribes of Jacob that together form all Israel.
What we need to realize is that it isn’t just the house of Israel that is among many nations but also the tribes of Jacob. We see that spoken about in Micah 5:7-9
Then the remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples, like dew from the Lord, like showers upon the grass, which do not wait for a man and do not linger for the sons of men.
The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which when it passes through, tramples and mauls, without rescuer.
Your hand will be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies will be cut off. M252
Gentiles have to remember these words in Romans 11:11-24.
I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid! But through their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression means riches for the world, and their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fullness mean?
For I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I may make my kinsmen jealous and may save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the first portion of the dough is holy, the batch is also holy. And if the root is holy, so are the branches.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and became a partaker with them of the root and richness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. If you boast, remember you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you. You will say then, “The branches were broken off, so that I might be grafted in.” This is correct. They were broken off because of unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you.
Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God—severity toward those who fell, but goodness toward you, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And these also, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? M253
There is nothing greater between any of the tribes and houses of Jacob (Israel), it’s like being on either side of the river of the same land. In Romans 11:29-36 are some beautiful words that explain why the Gentiles got this wonderful opportunity to be part of the elect.
For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but have now received mercy through their disobedience, so these also have now been disobedient, that they also may receive mercy by the mercy shown to you. For God has imprisoned them all in disobedience, so that He might be merciful to all.
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be repaid to him?”
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be glory forever! Amen. M254