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April 6, 2013
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April 6, 2013
Do We Build Our Mansions In Heaven?, God The Father And Jesus Christ Are New Jerusalem's Builders And Makers, Eye Hath Not Seen And The Glory Which Shall Be Revealed, Foolishness Of Trying To Build Our Own House, Cain Flees From The Lord And Builds A City In Nod, We Must Build On The Right Foundation Of Jesus Christ The Rock, Jesus Is The Rejected Cornerstone, Ancient Jewish Religious Leaders Built Their House On False Foundation Of Merciless Legalism, Jesus Came To Set Captives Free And To Give Sight To Spiritually Blind, Jerusalem And Temple Destroyed By King Nebuchadnezzar In 587 BC, Seventy Years Of Captivity, Three Diasporas And The Ten Lost Tribes, Jesus Prophesies Destruction Of Second Temple, General Titus And Roman Legions Destroy Jerusalem And Temple During First Jewish-Roman War, Learn From The Past, It Is Unwise To Rebel Against The Lord, Our Wicked Heart, Don't Harden Your Heart
A short while ago, one of my Facebook friends asked me via private chat if we build our own mansions in Heaven. As my longtime readers will know, whenever I am asked a question regarding our faith, my natural reaction is to turn to the Scriptures for an answer. A lot of times -- as occurred in this case -- I will just sit here pondering the question which I have been asked, and Scriptures will just start popping into my head. It is like the spiritual spigot from Heaven opens, and the Scriptures begin to flow one after the other. So, exactly what do the Scriptures say regarding this issue? Following are the verses which immediately came to me. I have placed some words in uppercase for the purpose of emphasis:
"For he [Abraham] looked for a city which hath foundations, WHOSE BUILDER AND MAKER IS GOD . . . But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for HE HATH PREPARED FOR THEM A CITY."
Hebrews 11:10, 16, KJV
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
John 14:1-3, KJV
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, THE THINGS WHICH GOD HATH PREPARED for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, COMING DOWN FROM GOD out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
Revelation 21:2, KJV
So who is building, making and preparing this wonderful Heavenly City which we Christians know as New Jerusalem? It is evident from the previous verses that it certainly is not us. It is in fact God the Father and Jesus Christ who are the Divine Architects of this amazing City of Gold. Please notice that the Apostle Paul states that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Wow! In other words, we cannot even begin to imagine the wonderful Home that God the Father and Jesus Christ have so lovingly prepared for us in Heaven. This glory which shall be revealed from Heaven is mentioned in a few other places in the Epistles as well. Consider the following verses and be inspired:
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
Romans 8:18, KJV
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV
"But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
1 Peter 4:13, KJV
"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:"
1 Peter 5:1, KJV
Please note that the previous verses are not just talking about the Heavenly City itself. They are also referring to the miraculous transformation which our own bodies of flesh will undergo as well, which I will discuss later on in this same article.
While God the Father and Jesus Christ are the Builders and Makers of the Heavenly City, and the wonderful mansions in which we will live, the Scriptures also offer us a number of warnings regarding endeavoring to build our own house. In the Book of Psalms, for example, we find this verse:
"[A Song of degrees for Solomon.] Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
Psalms 127:1, KJV
The Book of Genesis informs us that following the murder of his brother Abel, wicked Cain fled from the presence of the Lord -- at least Cain thought he did; please see Proverbs 15:3 -- and from his family, and built himself a city in the land of Nod, as we see by these verses:
"And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch."
Genesis 4:16-17, KJV
Exactly as the verse in Psalm 127 states, evil Cain built in vain, because the city which he built was no doubt destroyed no later than the time of the Flood during the days of the Patriarch Noah. Consider also what the Apostle Paul has to say regarding this issue of building on the wrong foundation:
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
1 Corinthians 3:11-17, KJV
It is imperative then, that if we are going to build our house at all -- that is, our life -- we must make certain that we are building it upon the right foundation; that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the one true Rock, as we see by the following group of verses:
"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes."
Psalms 118:22-23, KJV
"Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces . . . And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
Daniel 2:34, 44, KJV
"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
Psalms 2:6-9, KJV
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
Matthew 7:24-27, KJV
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock [Jesus referring to Himself and not to Peter] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Matthew 16:18, KJV
"Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? . . . And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them."
Matthew 21:42, 44-45, KJV
"And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."
Mark 8:31, KJV
"And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?"
Mark 12:10-11, KJV
"Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day."
Luke 9:22, KJV
"But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation."
Luke 17:25, KJV
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not."
John 1:11, KJV
"This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner."
Acts 4:11, KJV
"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
1 Corinthians 10:4, KJV
"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed [that is disapproved, rejected, repudiated] indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."
1 Peter 2:4-8, KJV
In a historical context, we know that the misguided Jewish religious leaders did the very same thing; not once, but in fact two times. As I amply explain in other articles, such as "The Fruits of Disobedience", they abandoned the Lord many times, and foolishly built their own false religious system which was based on the strict mandates of the Mosaic Law, and which centered around Temple worship in Jerusalem. They replaced God's abundant Love and Mercy with cold, hard, merciless, self-righteous legalism, and by the same, kept the common people in bondage. However, Jesus told them in the Gospel of Luke, that in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies -- such as the Prophet Isaiah -- He had come to set the captives free, as we can determine by the following verses:
"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."
Isaiah 42:1-7, KJV
Following is the fulfillment of the previous verses that are found in the Book of Isaiah:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Luke 4:18-21, KJV
". . . If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free . . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
John 8:31b-32, 36, KJV
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30, KJV
It is because they abandoned the Lord, and tried to construct their own house which was built upon the laws, traditions and doctrines of men, that God found it necessary to destroy the Temple that was situated on the summit of Mount Moriah in the city of Jerusalem -- and which was the spiritual center of Jewish life -- on two different occasions. If you study some of my other articles, you will discover that Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed during the third siege by the army of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar around the year 587 BC. The immediate result of these events was the Second Diaspora and the Seventy Years of Captivity in Babylon.
For those of my readers who may not be familiar with ancient Jewish history, the First Diaspora -- or dispersion -- took place about one hundred and fifty years earlier during the Assyrian invasions of northern Israel, which was also known at different times as Samaria and Ephraim. It was during the time of the Assyrian invasions that the so-called "Ten Lost Tribes" were dispersed. The third and final Diaspora would occur hundreds of years later, as we will see in a moment.
While God did allow the Jews to return to Israel following the Babylonian invasions and the Seventy Years of Captivity, and while they were able to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple compound, tragically, it was not before long that they had once again hardened their hearts against Him, and introduced the aforementioned cold, harsh, religious system under the wicked, legalistic influence of the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. This was the system that was in place during the first decades of the First Century when Jesus walked the Earth. As the Lord prophesied throughout the Gospels, this false house was also doomed to destruction, as we see by the following verses:
"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! BEHOLD, YOUR HOUSE IS LEFT UNTO YOU DESOLATE. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Matthew 23:33-39, KJV
"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Matthew 24:1-2, KJV
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Luke 21:20-24, KJV
As the following verses reveal, even before Jesus began His public ministry, John the Baptist had likewise warned of the wrath to come during the invasion by the legions from Rome:
"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
Matthew 3:7, KJV
"Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
Luke 3:7, KJV
Exactly as Jesus had prophesied, their house -- that is, the Temple -- was indeed "left unto [them] desolate" about forty years later when General Titus -- who was the son of Emperor Vespasian -- and his armies utterly destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple compound in 70 AD at the middle of the seven-year First Jewish-Roman War. These events resulted in the Third Diaspora, during which hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed by way of war, disease, famine and crucifixion, while others were once again enslaved and shipped off to foreign lands.
While all of this information is ancient Biblical history, nevertheless, it is still very important to us today. After all, as the Apostles Paul and Jude advise us, we are supposed to learn important lessons from the past, including from the grievous errors of the rebellious Jews. Consider these verses and be wise:
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:"
Romans 15:4 KJV
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted . . . Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
1 Corinthians 10:6, 11, KJV
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
Jude 1:7, KJV
As I explain in such articles as "Beholding the Evil and the Good", "Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?" and "Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement" and "Backsliding, Divine Chastisement and the Divine Agreement", if there is one thing that we should learn from the tragic history of the Jews, it is that it is not wise to rebel against the Lord, or to harden our hearts against Him, or against His Will for our lives. The Bible is full of warnings regarding the wickedness of the human heart, and the folly of hardening our hearts to the Lord's Spirit. Consider the following verses:
"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Genesis 6:5, KJV
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9, KJV
"And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Mark 7:20-23, KJV
"For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened."
Mark 6:52, KJV
"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."
Mark 7:6, KJV
"And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?"
Mark 8:17, KJV
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept."
Mark 10:5, KJV
"Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."
Mark 16:14, KJV
"He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."
John 12:40, KJV
"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."
Acts 7:51, KJV
"But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;"
Romans 2:5, KJV
"Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."
Ephesians 4:18-19, KJV
"Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:"
Hebrews 3:8, KJV
"While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation."
Hebrews 3:15, KJV
"Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
Hebrews 4:7, KJV
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalms 51:10, KJV
To reiterate, it is not wise to try to do things our own way. It is not wise to endeavor to build our own house upon what we think is right in our own minds. As all of the previous Scriptures clearly demonstrate, we must build our lives -- and our faith -- upon the only one true foundation, and that is the Rock of Jesus Christ. Anything else is sinking sand; and if we choose that medium of construction, we will pay for it dearly in the end. We will suffer loss as the Apostle Paul informs us.
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
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