Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Celestial City

Psalm 87 (King James Version)

“1His foundation is in the holy mountains.
2The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
3Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.
4I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.
5And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
6The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
7As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.”

Augustine of Hippo is generally considered to be one of the great Christian thinkers.

A portion of his greatest work, City of God, follows for your edification this Saturday morning:

“The city of God we speak of is the same to which the testimony is borne by that Scripture, which excels all the writings of all nations by its divine authority, and has brought under its influence all kinds of minds, and this not by a casual intellectual movement, but obviously by an express providential arrangement. For there it is written, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.” And in another psalm we read, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness, increasing the joy of the whole earth.” And, a little after, in the same psalm, “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God. God had established it forever.” And in another, “There is a river the streams whereof shall make glad the city of our God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her and shall not be moved.” From these and similar testimonies, all of which were tedious to cite, we have learned that there is a city of God, and its Founder has inspired us with a love which makes us covet its citizenship.”

I see the outline of the city ahead now. When I was in my twenties it seemed so far away. Now I believe I can see, as I’ve been promised, its outline that shines like jasper, clear as crystal. While I’m still far away I can even see the brilliant colors of the city’s walls. And the gates, the gates are made of pearl. I look back and see that the path I’ve taken appears to be straight, not crooked and meandering as I remember it. The King has been true to His promise – the crooked places have been straight, the rough places have been made a plain, the mountains and hills have been made low. I see it now more clearly than ever. This is a new city for a new people.

For those who have embraced this reality there is a day coming when we will receive full citizenship in this celestial city. I find that truth comforting. I find it brings a sense of expectancy.

I hope it does for as well, dear reader.

1 comment:

John Y said...

A true expression of the hope that is in us; to look for that city whose builder and maker is God. The bridegroom will have a pure and spotless bride and the marriage feast is surely being spread. Nothing of this earth has can compare and though there are references to pearly gates and streets of gold the rocks and metals of this world will pale in comparison to the true glory to be revealed. Thank you for your faithful posts.