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- A worldly city is built by the hands of men as a safe dwelling place for its inhabitants. The Church, however, is built by Christ for the habitation of God. It is an Ark of Safety for all who constitute the Elect of God. “24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation (Acts 17:24-26)
- Perhaps owing to the fact that America was established as a Christian Republic, we have had less use for walls, than other parts of the world, to protect our cities. There is a prophecy concerning a merciless people of Gog & Magog in Ezekiel that could apply as much to our prodigal nation as any other: “11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” Ezek 38:11-12) But, unlike the growing immoral cities of America, the Church of God (City) is not without strong defenses: “We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” Isaiah 26:1) “1 They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. 2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” (Psalm 125:1-2) I can imagine no stronger defense than to be surrounded by the Lord Protector Himself.
- The strong cities of old Europe were set upon hills to enhance protection. So is the City of God situated at the very heights of the mountains: “1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. 2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. 3 God is known in her palaces for a refuge.” (Psalms 48:1-3) “14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matt 5:14)
- An earthly city is constructed of a great variety of materials and resources – wood, stone, glass, iron, etc. And there are a variety of different shapes and sizes of her buildings. But the City of God is likewise shaped to conform to the ordinances and zoning laws of God. “19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph 2:19-22) There are many proud churches of the Reformation tradition that boast of their Apostolic Succession, yet those who are in its lineage deny by thought, word, and deed the very doctrines of the Apostles. How can this be? If the Succession is not DOCTRINAL – it is not the Succession of the Apostles regardless the defiled hands that were laid upon a man’s head. Each saint, regardless of size or shape, is cut out to fit precisely into the compact walls of the City of God. You were hewn of stone long before the construction began. “3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together.” (Psalm 122:3)
- An earthly city has laws and ordinances by which the citizens therein abide. There are officials to enforce the law, and a mayor or other official to see that all laws are kept for the good of the people. In the City of God, there are likewise ordinances and laws that require obedience – not enforced by arms, but by love. Its Mayor is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- Earthly cities have many merchants who buy, sell, and trade in merchandise peculiar to the needs of the city. The City of God has merchants also who buy the word, and sell it not. (see Proverbs 23:23) The merchandise we trade in is heavenly and quite expensive. It is truth, love, and faith. Our daily discourse is in Heaven, not worldly concerns, (Phil 3:20) Solomon compares the City of God to Merchant Ships that ply the waters and bring their merchandise from afar. When we mine the Holy Scriptures for the beauties of truth contained therein, we are bartering at the very door of Heaven. Once we have acquired the glorious truths secluded in Holy Writ, we cannot keep quiet but as “Blind Bartemeaus” we must herald the news to all who will hear. The merchandise of that City is abundant and free to all.