Multicolored Diamonds Background

Every kind of precious stone – Revelation 21:18-21

Multicolored Diamonds BackgroundPreviously: The number 12 – Revelation 21:12-14

The scripture

Rev. 21:18 – The building material of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone: the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 The 12 gates are 12 pearls; each individual gate was made of a single pearl. The broad street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (HCSB)

Every kind of precious stone

John notes in verse 18 that the wall is made of jasper, and the city is pure gold like clear glass. This amplifies the information already given to us in verse 11, where the city is radiant “like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.” The city itself – the bride, the people of God – is so thoroughly purified as to become transparent. This is an image used in other scriptures to describe the refined character of God’s sanctified people:

Job 23:10 – “Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.”

Zech. 13:9 – “I will put this third through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are My people, and they will say: Yahweh is our God.”

Mal. 3:3 – “He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.”

1 Peter 1:7 – “So that the genuineness of your faith – more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Rev. 3:18 – “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see.”

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The humanity of Jesus

Birth_JesusEvangelical Christians often find it necessary to defend the deity of Christ, especially in conversations with those who vigorously deny this biblical truth.

For example, Muslims hold Jesus in high regard as a virgin-born, miracle-working, sinless prophet, but draw the line at the notion of a mere messenger being divine.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, by comparison, grant Jesus the status of “mighty god,” a created archangel who is recreated as a man and then, after dying on a first-century torture stake, is recreated once again as an exalted archangel.

In our efforts to defend the deity of Jesus, however, we also have to grapple with the unique challenges His humanity presents.
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Just released: The Last Apologist

lastapologist3d_softcover_3-jpgThe Missouri Baptist Convention has just released a new apologetics resource for personal or group study titled The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith.

The 275-page book, written by the MBC’s Rob Phillips, offers a verse-by verse study of the short epistle. It also explores key words and phrases, and poses thought-provoking questions that make the book a handy reference and study guide.

The General Epistle of Jude may be one of the most neglected New Testament books, according to Phillips. Bible readers are tempted — in part by its brevity and in part by its similarity to 2 Peter 2 — to skip over Jude on the way to Revelation, or to give the book little more than a glance.

This is unfortunate, because Jude speaks volumes about the value of Christian apologetics. Whether exhorting believers to contend for the faith, or urging them to keep themselves in the love of God, Jude addresses the importance of sound doctrine and the threat of false teachers. And Jude does so with humility, boldness, and remarkable foresight.
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Closeup of a license plate with the number twelve

The number 12 – Revelation 21:12-14

Closeup of a license plate with the number twelvePreviously: A massive high wall – Revelation 21:12-14

The scripture

Rev. 21:12 – The city had a massive high wall, with 12 gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; the names of the 12 tribes of Israel’s sons were inscribed on the gates. 13 There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 The city wall had 12 foundations, and the 12 names of the Lamb’s 12 apostles were on the foundations. (HCSB)

The number 12

The number 12 is repeated many times in this passage:

  • The city walls have 12 gates.
  • Twelve angels are at the gates.
  • The names of the 12 tribes of Israel’s sons are inscribed on the gates.
  • The city wall has 12 foundations.
  • The 12 names of the Lamb’s 12 apostles are on the foundations.
  • The city measures 12,000 stadia.
  • The wall’s thickness is 144 cubits (12 x 12).
  • The 12 gates are 12 pearls.

What is the significance of the number 12 in this passage, and throughout scripture?

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Touching News On Mobile Smartphone

Fake news and false prophets

Touching News On Mobile SmartphoneNews flash: Ireland is now accepting Trump refugees from the U.S.

From our Washington bureau: Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS while secretary of state.

And in sports: The Chicago Cubs win the World Series.

Fake news is everywhere. (Okay, that last story might be true.) And one of the biggest breaking stories of 2016 was the widespread impact of verifiably false news hosted on bogus websites and amplified through social media.

“Yellow journalism” has long been with us — the use of sensationalism and exaggeration to increase a news outlet’s share of the market.

What’s new about today’s fake news is that anyone — not just journalists — can create and disseminate it. Thanks to the Internet and social media, nearly anyone with a smart phone and an imagination can say anything and make it look like reputable journalism.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to minimize the fake news running on his social media platform, while some media outlets are redoubling their efforts to more carefully vet stories, even at the expense of being first with the news.

Even so, consumers of today’s news content should view everything with discernment.
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