After God rebukes and demotes Shebna the steward (verses 15-19),
He then fills his office with His servant, Eliakim. Eliakim means
"whom God will
"the resurrection of God,”
both of which apply to
God gives Eliakim the substantial authority and responsibility that Shebna had. Verse 21 says he “shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah,” much as Joseph said,
God “has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:8).
For both Eliakim and Joseph,
their authority was exceeded by only one other person.
Take note of Isaiah 22:22, as
quotes it in the letter to the church at Philadelphia:
"The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.” Eliakim's authority to “open . . . and shut” results from “the key of the house of David” being put “on his shoulder.”
We can compare this with Isaiah 9:6-7, another
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end,
upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to order it and establish it with judgment and justice
from that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
(Emphasis ours throughout.)
The key of the house of David,
then, represents God's governance, specifically His governance over Israel.
The Bible even names the royal throne—the throne on which David and Solomon sat—as “the throne of the LORD”
(I Chronicles 29:23; see II Chronicles 9:8)!
God has sworn that David would always have
an heir to sit on that throne (Jeremiah 33:17).
Thus, the key on Eliakim's shoulder represents the power of the government that would ultimately rest on the Messiah's shoulder. It involves the royal line of David and all the authority that resulted from God's covenant and promises to him. The Messiah would come from that same line, and He will sit on that throne when He returns and establishes His Kingdom (Isaiah 9:7).
In his position as second-in-command,
Eliakim served as the ultimate gatekeeper,
granting or denying access to the house of David at his discretion.
He could open the door, and no one could shut it.
Having the door opened meant access to the king's presence,
and thus to the
God-given authority and blessings
of the royal line,
as well as to all the resources of the treasury and storehouse.
But if the steward shut the door,
he blocked all of that access, and no one could overrule his decision.
It was a significant position. It is no wonder that God would not tolerate the likes of Shebna in it, who was more interested in his legacy and earthly pomp than fulfilling his office with gravity and faithfulness.
God likens the role of a steward to a
securely fastened peg or nail.
At the time,
houses and other buildings commonly had durable spikes or large pins affixed to the walls during the building process. They were attached in places strong enough to bear the weight of whatever would be hung on them:
sorts of utensils and vessels.
God compares unfaithful Israel to a peg made of a flimsy vine branch
--utterly unfit for the
service He required
Both the Tabernacle and Temple featured such pegs
(Exodus 27:19; 38:20),
and Ezra, reflecting on God's graciousness, refers to being given
"a peg in His holy place” (Ezra 9:8).
However, unless Eliakim was a priest—and there is no indication that he was—he would not have been serving in the Temple,
so the “secure place” probably refers to something else.
The word translated as “secure” (“sure,”) is used to
describe something that is well-supported, stable, assured, certain,
and trustworthy—a thing in which a person
can put his faith.
Specifically, it is used to describe
the house or dynasty of David
(I Samuel 25:28; II Samuel 7:16; I Kings 11:38),
a house that is assured because
God continues to support it.
Thus, the meaning is that God fastened Eliakim
like a nail
into the “secure place” of the house of David,
and he would serve as a trustworthy implement in
supporting the many “vessels”—people—who
were part of that house.
Eliakim would be “a glorious throne to his father's house.”
The New English Translation renders this,
“he will bring honor and respect
to his father's family.”
This detail, too, is reminiscent of Joseph,
who brought great honor to his father, Jacob,
through the glory given to him
by God in Egypt
Both ideas of being “fastened in a secure place”
and bringing glory to the house of one's father are,
more applicable to Jesus Christ,
who is so steadfast and CERTAIN that
He does not merely support “
but is now
upholding all things
WORD of HIS POWER”
All of the members
of His Father's house--all His brothers and sisters--can
confidently look to Him for
stability and support,
yet one of His main purposes
has been to GLORIFYHis—our—Father
Because this prophecy
follows His calling Eliakim “a peg in a secure place,”
it seems to imply that Eliakim, too,
would become unfaithful and eventually be cut off
However, notice that it is prefaced with “in that day,” just as Shebna's demotion and Eliakim's promotion would happen “in that day”
This linking of the events to “that day” suggests that the “peg” that is removed and cut off in verse 25 represents Shebna, who would be
replaced with a peg that would become glorious, Eliakim.
quotes Isaiah 22:22 in the preamble of
His letter to the church at Philadelphia.
In identifying Himself to the
He quotes what He said through Isaiah concerning Eliakim.
If we want to understand the letter to Philadelphia,
we must begin with this reference. Jesus clarifies that Eliakim's role
was a type of the stewardship role that
He Himself now
In quoting Isaiah, Jesus declares that He is the
of Eliakim's position as steward of the house.
In verse 8,
Christ announces that
He has set an open door before this church
and tells them why
It is imperative to catch the way Jesus says this.
The reason they have an open door is because-they
have a little strength,
have kept His Word, and have not denied His name.
Thus, He mentions the open door in response
to their condition
coupled with their faithfulness.
We need to grasp this to recognize what the open door is.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible captures this aspect well:
“I know your works.
Because you have limited strength,
have kept My word,
and have not denied My name, look,
I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close.”
What is this open door?
The conventional interpretation among those who have come out of the Worldwide Church of God
is that Christ has given the Philadelphians an open door
to preach the gospel, an idea that is not without merit.
In three of Paul's epistles,
Christ promises to keep the Philadelphians from the
hour of trial,
boosting the importance of being a Philadelphian
because it involves protection during the Tribulation.
Consequently, it then becomes imperative to determine which church group appears to have the open door to preach the gospel, because--
the reasoning goes--God will protect that group.
a tremendous interest then arises in accumulating
“proof” of an open door,
since it will apparently establish that a group is Philadelphian and guaranteed protection. The “proof” is then held up as the reason all church members should join that group instead of another.
But when this is the primary approach, what people usually focus on
are not the things that truly matter but numbers--
like how many radio or television stations the group is on, how many new people are attending services, how many subscribers or website hits it receives, or what percentage of its income a group spends on preaching the gospel.
We can add to this heady mix the incongruity of boasting about
preaching the gospel with great strength.
Christ identifies the Philadelphians as having only “a little strength”!
It cannot be both ways.
The idea has been that, if we want to be protected and to
"escape all these things which will come to pass”
we have to be with the group whose door to preach the
gospel is open just a little wider than the rest.
Yet, if our motivation is nothing more than self-preservation, something is dreadfully wrong.
Christ specifically warns of this approach when He says that he who seeks to save his life will lose it (Luke 9:24; 17:33).
When the open door is interpreted to mean an
opportunity to preach the
has been exclusivity,
ourselves among ourselves
(II Corinthians 10:12),
division, competition, and a pitiful supply of love--
works of the flesh rather than fruit of the Spirit.
This occurs largely because people
keep pushing God
and all HE IS DOING
out of the picture
It is easy to focus on the
works of men
which harkens back to God's controversy with Shebna the scribe,
who was replaced by Eliakim because of ostentation and presumption, focusing on his own affairs and his place in history
rather than in simply doing his job
In three of Paul's epistles,
he uses an open door as a metaphor for an opportunity to preach
(I Corinthians 16:9; II Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3).
But this metaphor has no connection at all to Christ's quotation of Isaiah 22:22.
Moreover, the fruit of this interpretation
has been exclusivity,
comparing ourselves among ourselves, division, competition,
and a pitiful supply of love--works of the flesh
rather than fruit of the Spirit. This occurs largely because people
keep pushing God and all He is doing out of the picture and
focusing on the works of men.
When we understand Christ's reference to Eliakim,
that He is now fulfilling that role,
we can understand the open door without having to force anything.
Consider the access He grants, saying in John 14:6,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Through Christ's blood,
we have access to
the Almighty, the Most High God.
After the seven letters, in Revelation 4:1,
John is shown an open door in heaven
To see what is
behind the open door,
we must read and meditate on the rest of the chapter.
It is profound, describing where we
approach in spirit when we pray
Far from suggesting that the Philadelphians are going to heaven,
the chapter reiterates the fact of their
access to the One in heaven.
Through Christ, we have entrance into the Holy of Holies,
the dwelling place of the Great God,
which we may enter with boldness
Notice what Jesus says in
Luke 11:9-10, 13:
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and he
who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks it will be opened. . . .
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give the
to those who ask Him!
If we knock and keep knocking
(as the Greek indicates),
God opens the door
The Philadelphians have had to knock
because they have only a little strength, and they know it.
But they also know that the only way to endure courageously
is to seek the strength of God.
the One they seek responds,
giving more of His Spirit
The Holy Spirit
is the means by which the Father and the Son
the adopted sons of God. By giving the Spirit,
He gives more of Himself.
No one can shut that open door, though we can
certainly ignore it and “neglect
so great a salvation”
The letter to Philadelphia
is not about the mighty works of powerful men.
It begins with the tremendous help available to those who are weak,
but who keep God's Word,
who do not deny His name, and who persevere in faith.
Because they consistently knock, Christ reminds them of His pivotal position
as second-in-command to the Absolute Deity and that
through Him as Steward, they have access to the throne of God.
The Philadelphians' strength is small, but God's is without limit.
They are not those who seek after earthly glory, like Shebna,
but they are faithful in their responsibilities
to the Most High God,
like Eliakim—and like Jesus Christ.
After John sees a vision of the 144,000 redeemed ones who
"follow the Lamb wherever he goes”
he sees three angels flying in midair.
The first one “had the eternal gospel to proclaim
to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people”
This is the only place in the Bible where the gospel
is described as the “everlasting gospel” (KJV)
or the “eternal gospel” (NIV).
The Good News is that Jesus Christ is at the RIGHT HAND
and awaits His return in majesty to consummate God’s kingdom.
The fact that this
message is “everlasting” is significant.
The vision in Revelation 14 in which the
the everlasting gospel is a prediction
of something that will happen
in the tribulation.
Before the seven final judgments--the seven bowls of Revelation 15–16--
God will give all of mankind one last opportunity
to turn from their sin
and trust in Christ to receive His gift of eternal life.
The angel broadcasts the everlasting gospel to the whole earth,
“to every nation, tribe, language and people”
No one is left out.
The angel calls out in a loud voice,
"Fear God and give him glory,
because the hour of his judgment has come.
Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the
sea and the springs of water”
After proclaiming the everlasting gospel through an angel,
God will finish His work
of judgment upon a sinful world.
The angel who proclaims the everlasting gospel is flying “in midair” (Revelation 14:6).
The Greek word translated “midair” also means “zenith,” and that’s why other translations say the angel was flying “high overhead”
or “directly overhead”
And the angel shouts the message with “a loud voice” (verse 7).
The picture is of an angel in the highest possible place
using the loudest possible voice to reach the maximum number
of people with
the good news of God’s salvation
God is appealing to mankind one final time
to reject the lies of Satan
and respond to the eternal
TRUTH of God
The gospel is “everlasting” in that is an eternally unchanging message
False doctrines come and go,
and new teachings are like
wind and waves that toss
the unsuspecting every which way
Especially chaotic and dangerous
is the doctrine
of the Antichrist and his false prophet in Revelation 13.
Countering the lies and false teaching of the beast
is the everlasting gospel in Revelation 14.
The message of
salvation through faith in Christ
is eternal TRUTH
it is as solid and unchanging as God Himself,
and those who
believe the gospel will reap everlasting benefits
Can you imagine living in the times of Acts....
Acts of the Apostles is as relevant now as it was then...
as though we've come
full circle 2,000 years later.. Special Times No Doubt.
There is something almost utopian about the
early church covered in these passages.
Today’s opening reading, Acts 4:32-35,
paints a vivid
picture as to what the early church aspired.
More than some utopian dream, these verses should serve as a standard by which our churches today,
indeed our own practice of discipleship,
might be measured.
"Those who believed"
include several groups.
The apostles, Jesus' family, and other disciples who followed Him during His ministry received the Holy Spirit the morning of Pentecost (Acts 1:13–15; Acts 2:1–4).
About three thousand people joined them later that day
after Peter's sermon, and more came daily (Acts 2:41, 47).
At the time of this update, at least five thousand men,
plus women and kids, are part of
the church in Jerusalem
Luke says that thousands of people are of
"one heart and soul."
They join together in purpose,
thought, and action.
The Holy Spirit is in them and guiding
them as a group
Their commitment to the Holy Spirit's leading is so strong,
they even combine their possessions.
describes the unity possible when the
leads a group of believers.
The members display humility,
gentleness, patience, forbearance, and love.
They not only live in harmony,
they actively seek it.
They make up one body of Christ
(1 Corinthians 12:12–31)
because they are
united by one faith
in one God and Father.
The reason for their unity is their belief.
We don't know everything the apostles taught on a regular basis
but Peter's two recorded sermons share the same theme.
Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah.
The Jewish nation killed Him,
God raised Him from the dead.
who repents of their sins
receive forgiveness from God
(Acts 2:14–36; 3:11–26).
Acts 4:32–37 is similar to Acts 2:42–47. After Peter's first sermon
new believers from all over the Roman Empire
stayed in Jerusalem to learn from the apostles.
Those who had means donated what they had so that no one had need.
This system continues, but under slightly different circumstances.
The church is now known by the Sanhedrin who very much disapproves of the message that Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 4:1–22).
Still, the believers stay together,
supporting each other both physically
Acts 4 continues the story started in Acts 3.
Peter and John have healed a man born lame and preached that
Jesus has risen from the dead
The Sanhedrin orders their arrest for teaching the resurrection. The Jewish officials warn Peter and John to stop speaking in Jesus' name. Peter and John refuse, but, since they have committed no crime, the Sanhedrin releases them. Peter and John return to their friends, and the Jesus-followers pray for
boldness in the face of growing persecution.
The church continues to grow, sharing all their possessions
so that no one is in need.
Second Peter 1:10–11 says,
“Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:
for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly
into the everlasting kingdom of
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”
The clear command is to “make your calling and election sure,”
or, as the NIV puts it,
“make every effort to confirm your calling and election.”
A believer’s “calling” is God’s drawing him to salvation.
Peter alludes to this calling earlier in the same chapter
when he speaks of God “
who called us
by his own glory and goodness”
(2 Peter 1:3).
A believer’s “election” is God’s selection of him
to be saved
from before time began
The doctrine of election or predestination is taught elsewhere in the Bible,
too (see Romans 8:29–30; Ephesians 1:5, 11; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; and 2 Timothy 2:10).
God is the one who calls and elects,
so the believer’s calling and election are already “sure”
from God’s point of view;
therefore, the command for believers to diligently make their calling and election sure must refer to the believers’ point of view.
God wants us to have assurance of our salvation,
and the best way to do that is to be pursuing godly virtues
and actively growing in the Christian life.
Second Peter 1:5–7 lists godly qualities that believers should
add to their faith—goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.
Those qualities are the “these things” of verse 10, and the reader is urged thereby to “make your calling and election sure.”
In doing “these things,” one will never stumble and is promised “
a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom” (verse 11).
On the surface 2 Peter 1 seems to affirm that one’s salvation depends on having the qualities listed in verses 5–7. On closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that Peter is addressing those who already
which he lists as the first (and foundational) quality.
Also, Peter presumes that some of those who did not demonstrate these qualities had in fact been saved, for “whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been
cleansed from their past sins” (2 Peter 1:9).
So, being cleansed from past sin does not automatically mean a person
in goodness, knowledge, etc., but, if he doesn’t “possess these qualities in increasing measure” (verse 8),
he is spiritually myopic and forgetful of God’s grace.
Let’s examine the command to “make your calling and election sure” within the context of what Peter says before that:
1:3. The readers’ “godly life” is somehow being threatened by their circumstances, and we know from
Peter’s previous epistle that they have been suffering (1 Peter 1:6);
the apostle is therefore providing reassurance that they have
all the resources they need
within their knowledge of God
(the One who called them).
1:4. Peter adds that God’s “glory and goodness” entails
"very great and precious promises”
through which his readers “may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
God’s goal is to produce a holy people for Himself
(see 1 Peter 1:15–16).
Believers should have the same goal to become that holy people.
1:5–7. It is clear that Peter presumes that his readers have already exercised faith and that these qualities are to be added to
These same virtues allow believers to participate in the
divine nature (verse 4)
and thus distinguish themselves as a holy people.
In his epistle,
James explains how these qualities “add” to faith and
enable one to become “a friend of God”
1:8. Here is mentioned a fruitful “knowledge” of Christ
(compare verse 3)
that will enable
believers to display God’s character effectively.
This comes through maintaining
a close relationship
with Christ—Jesus called it
“abiding” in Him (John 15).
1:9. When the qualities listed in verses 5–7 are not present in a believer,
it betrays the fact that he’s forgotten
his true identity in Christ.
Believers have been “cleansed from . . . past sins,” and we must not forget it.
By persisting in sin, believers are “blinded” to their new identity as a holy people for God (compare 1 Peter 4:1–6 and Romans 6:1–2).
In light of all that comes before,
we should see the exhortation to “make your calling and election sure” as a call to “shore up” our righteous character as a holy people. The compound verb translated “to make sure” can mean either to “verify”
(in the sense of assuring oneself of something that may not be true)
or to “guarantee” or “protect” something that is already true.
It is the latter meaning in view here:
we are told to “shore up” our “calling and election” to be holy as God is holy by exhibiting the list of behaviors
in verses 5–7, so we do not “fall” (compare 2 Peter 3:17)
into past sinful behavior (see 1 Peter 4:1–6).
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth,
holding back uthe four winds of the earth, that
no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree.
2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun,
with the seal of the living God,
and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had
been given power
to harm earth and sea, 3 saying,
"Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
4 And aI heard the number of the sealed, 144,000,
sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
5 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
6 12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
7 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
8 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying,
“Who are these,
clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”
14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
And he said to me,
"These are the ones coming out
of the great tribulation.
They have washed their robes and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne owill shelter them
with his presence
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
The sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
8 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal,
there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God,
and seven trumpets were given to them.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar
with a golden censer,
and he was given much incense to offer
with the prayers
of all the saints on the golden altar
before the throne,
4 and the smoke of the incense,
with the prayers of the saints,
rose before God
hand of the angel
The New Jerusalem,
which is also called the Tabernacle of God, the Holy City,
the City of God,
the Celestial City, the City Foursquare, and Heavenly Jerusalem,
is literally heaven on earth. It is referred to in the Bible in several places (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 11:10; 12:22–24; and 13:14),
but it is most fully described in Revelation 21.
In Revelation 21,
the recorded history of man is at its end.
All of the ages have come and gone
Christ has gathered His church in the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17).
The Tribulation has passed (Revelation 6—18).
The battle of Armageddon has been fought
and won by our Lord
Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:17–21).
Satan has been chained for the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth
Anew, glorious temple has been established
The final rebellion against God has been quashed,
and Satan has received his just punishment, an eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7–10.)
The Great White Throne Judgment
has taken place,
and mankind has been judged (Revelation 20:11–15).
In Revelation 21:1 God does a complete make-over of heaven and earth
(Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:12–13).
The new heaven and new earth are what some call the “eternal state”
and will be “where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
After the re-creation,
God reveals the New Jerusalem
John sees a glimpse of it in his vision:
“The Holy City, the new Jerusalem,
out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband”
This is the city that Abraham looked for in faith
It is the place where God will dwell with His people forever
Inhabitants of this celestial city will have all tears wiped away
The New Jerusalem will be fantastically huge. John records that the city is nearly 1,400 miles long, and it is as wide and as high as it is long--
the New Jerusalem being in equal in length, width, and depth
The city will be dazzling in every way.
It is lighted by the glory of God
Its twelve foundations,
bearing the names of the twelve apostles,
are “decorated with every kind of precious stone”
It has twelve gates,
each a single pearl, bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel
(verses 12 and 21).
The street will be made of pure gold (verse 21).
The New Jerusalem will be a place of unimagined blessing.
The curse of the old earth will be gone
In the city are the tree of life “for the healing of the nations”
and the river of life (verses 1–2). It is the place that
Paul spoke of:
“In the coming ages [God] might show the
incomparable riches of his grace,
expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus”
The New Jerusalem is the ultimate
of all God’s promises
The New Jerusalem is God’s
made fully manifest.
Who are the residents of the New Jerusalem?
The Father and the Lamb are there
Angels are at the gates
But the city will be filled with God’s redeemed children.
The New Jerusalem is the righteous counter to the evil Babylon
(Revelation 17), destroyed by God’s judgment (Revelation 18).
The wicked had their city, and God has His.
To which city do you belong?
Babylon the Great or the New Jerusalem?
If you believe that Jesus,
the Son of God,
died and rose again and have asked
God to save you by His grace,
then you are a citizen
of ANew Jerusalem
"God raised [you] up with Christ and seated [you]
with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”
You have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade”
(1 Peter 1:4).
If you have not yet trusted Christ as your Savior,
then we urge you to receive Him.
The invitation is extended;
“The Spirit and the bride say,
And let the one who hears say,
Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one
who wishes take the free gift of the water of life”
In the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible, New Jerusalem (יהוה שָׁמָּה, YHWH šāmmā, YHWH [is] there")
is Ezekiel's prophetic vision of a city centered on the rebuilt Holy Temple,
the Third Temple, to be established in Jerusalem, which would be the capital of the Messianic Kingdom,
the meeting place of the twelve tribes of Israel, during the Messianic era.
The prophecy is recorded by Ezekiel as having been received on Yom Kippur of the year 3372 of the Hebrew calendar.
In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament,
the city is also called the Heavenly Jerusalem,
as well as being called Zion.
The Babylonian threat to the Kingdom of Judah
began as the Babylonian Empire conquered Assyria
and rose to power from 612 to 609 BCE.
Jerusalem surrendered without major bloodshed to Babylon in 597BCE.
An Israelite uprising brought the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar’s army in 586 BCE.
The entire city, including the First Temple,
was burned. Israelite aristocrats were
taken captive to Babylon.
The Book of Ezekiel contains the first record of the New Jerusalem.
Within Ezekiel 40–48, there is an extended and
detailed description of the measurements of the Temple,
its chambers, porticos, and walls. Ezekiel 48:30–35 contains
a list of twelve Temple gates named for
The Book of Zechariah expands upon Ezekiel's New Jerusalem.
After the Second Temple was built after the exile, Jerusalem's population was only a few hundred. There were no defensive city walls until 445 BCE. In the passage, the author writes about a city wall of fire to protect the enormous population. This text demonstrates the beginning of a progression of
New Jerusalem thought
In Ezekiel, the focus is primarily on the human act of Temple construction.
In Zechariah, the focus shifts to God's intercession in the
founding of New Jerusalem.
New Jerusalem is further extrapolated in Isaiah,
where New Jerusalem is adorned
with precious sapphires, jewels, and rubies.
The Tent of Meeting Tabernacle means "place of meeting"
or "tent of meeting,"
since it was the place where God dwelt among his people on earth.
Other names in the Bible for the tent of meeting are the
tabernacle of the congregation,
tabernacle of witness,
tent of witness,
the tabernacle of Moses
While on Mount Sinai,
Moses received minutely detailed instructions
from God on how the tabernacle
and all its elements were to be constructed.
The people gladly donated the various materials from spoils
they had received from the Egyptians.
The Tabernacle Compound
The entire 75 by 150-foot tabernacle compound was enclosed by a court fence of linen curtains attached to poles and fastened to the ground with ropes and stakes.
At the front was a 30-foot wide gate of the court,
made of purple and scarlet yarn
woven into twined linen
The Courtyard Once inside the courtyard, a worshiper would see a bronze altar, or altar of burnt offering, where offerings of animal sacrifices were presented. Not far from that was a bronze laver or basin,
where the priests performed
ceremonial purification washings of their hands and feet.
Entry to the tent was made through a screen of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn woven into fine twined linen. The door always faced east.
The Holy Place
The front 15 by 30-foot chamber, or holy place, contained a table with showbread, also called shewbread or
bread of the presence.
Across from it was a lampstand or menorah, fashioned after an almond tree. Its seven arms were hammered from a solid piece of gold.
At the end of that room was an altar of incense.
The rear 15 by 15-foot chamber was the Most Holy Place, or holy of holies, where only the high priest could go, once a year on the Day of Atonement. Separating the two chambers was a veil made with blue, purple and scarlet yarns and fine linen. Embroidered on that curtain were images of cherubim or angels. In that sacred chamber was only one object, the ark of the covenant.
The ark was a wooden box overlaid with gold, with statues of two cherubim on top facing each other, their wings touching. The lid, or mercy seat, was where God met with his people. Inside the ark were the tablets of the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna, and Aaron's almond wood staff.
The entire tabernacle took seven months to complete, and when it was finished, the cloud and pillar of fire—the presence of God—descended on it
A Portable Tabernacle When the Israelites camped in the desert,
the tabernacle was situated in the very center of camp, with the 12 tribes encamped around it. During its use, the tabernacle was moved many times. Everything could be packed into oxcarts when the people left, but the ark of the covenant was hand-carried by Levites.
The tabernacle's journey began at Sinai, then it stood for 35 years at Kadesh. After Joshua and the Hebrews crossed the
Jordan River into the Promised Land,
the tabernacle stood at Gilgal for seven years. Its next home was Shiloh, where it remained until the time of the Judges. It was later set up in Nob and Gibeon. King David
erected the tabernacle at Jerusalem
and had the ark
brought from Perez-uzzah and set in it.
The Meaning of the Tabernacle
The tabernacle and all its components had symbolic meanings.
Overall, the tabernacle was a foreshadowing of the perfect tabernacle,
Jesus Christ, who is Immanuel, "God with us."
The Bible constantly points to the coming Messiah,
who fulfilled God's loving plan for the salvation of the world:
We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices ... They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven ...
But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. (Hebrews 8:1-6, NLT)
God continues to dwell among his people
but in an even more intimate way
After Jesus' ascension into heaven, he sent
the Holy Spirit
to live inside every Christian
The Key of David
is a term found in Revelation and Isaiah.
A key indicates control or authority; therefore, having the Key of David would give one control of David’s domain, i.e., Jerusalem,
the City of David,
and the kingdom of Israel. The fact that, in Revelation 3:7,
Jesus holds this key shows that He is the fulfillment of the
the ruler of the New Jerusalem,
and the Lord of the kingdom of heaven.
The Key of David is most directly referenced in Revelation 3:7,
"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
these are the words of him who is holy and TRUE,
who holds the key of David.”
The Old Testament reference is Isaiah 22:22.
There, the prophet tells
the palace secretary Shebna that he will be replaced by Eliakim, for God
“will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David”
The one who holds the keys has the authority. Thus, the “key of David” implies control of David’s domain, which was
promised to the Messiah in
both the Old and New Testaments
(Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32).