The Kingdom of God is at Hand www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com

The Kingdom of God is at Hand

By Steven Merten

ęCopyright 1990
All biblical quotes are from the New American Bible.
All bolding, color and underlining of scriptural quotes have been added.
Jesus' words are in red. Bible Abbreviations

Christ's parables on the 'Kingdom of God' or the 'Reign of God' can be summed up as, Love for God is the Kingdom of God. Love for God is produced through free willed obedience on earth to be gathered up and built into an eternal Kingdom for God in heaven. Jesus and the Father define love for God as obedience to God. When Jesus describes the 'reign of God' as the angels hurling the evildoers into hell and harvesting the righteous into eternal life, it is love, through obedience, which is the fruit that the angels are in search of on earth.

When Jesus describes the 'Kingdom of God' as 'at hand', here on earth, He does so because it is here on earth, not in heaven, that love for God is produced. Love for God is produced within the free willed hearts of men on earth. Love can only be chosen in an environment where one has the capability to choose not to love. God and the saints in heaven will not feel hated or not loved in the perfection of heaven because choosing hatred or choosing not to love is not a part of heaven. Without the capability to choose not to love, one cannot choose to love. Therefore love cannot be accomplished in heaven. Love for God cannot be accomplished in heaven and this is why there is a heaven, filled with nothing but love, and an earth where one is free to choose between love and hatred, rather than there just being a heaven. Love for God, which saints will share with God for all eternity as God's Kingdom, is produced through free will on earth, here, now and only now. "This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the gospel!"(Mark 1:15)

Jesus' terminology, 'Reign of God' or 'Kingdom of God', is Christ's philosophy on eternal life. Love for God is produced in the garden of free will on earth to be harvested into heaven and shared with God for all eternity. Love for God, produced through free willed obedience to the will of God on earth, is the Kingdom of God.

NAB2 1JO 5:3

For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,

NAB2 JOH 14:15

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

NAB JOH 15:22

"To hate me is to hate my Father. Had I not performed such works among them as no one has ever done before, they would not be guilty of sin; but as it is, they have seen, and they go on hating me and my Father."

NAB MAT 13:47 Parable of the Net

"The reign of God is also like a dragnet thrown into the lake, which collected all sorts of things. When it was full they hauled it ashore and sat down to put what was worthwhile into containers. What was useless they threw away. That is how it will be at the end of the world. Angels will go out and separate the wicked from the just and hurl the wicked into the fiery furnace, where they will wail and grind their teeth."

"Have you understood all this?" "Yes," they answered; to which he replied, "Every scribe who is learned in the reign of God is like the head of a household who can bring from his store-room both the new and the old." "

NAB MAT 21:43

"Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."

The only reason in existence for God to allow man the choice of hatred, sin and damnation, is to make human choices of love for God possible. One cannot love without the uninhibited ability to choose not to love. Love can only be accomplished in the enviroment of free-will where one has the capability to choose between love and hatred. Can one choose, hatred, sin and damnation, in the Kingdom of God? No! God does not allow hatred, sin and damnation in the Kingdom of God.

"Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." In Our Lord's prayer, Jesus tells us that God's will is always done in heaven. In heaven, no one will be able commit murder in disobedience to the will of God. In heaven, one will not have the capacity to choose to exploit children out of hatred for God. In the Kingdom of God, no one will be able to choose to horde wealth over choosing to feed the poor out of love for God. In heaven, one cannot hate God or fellow saint, in any way.

God does not allow the hatred of sin in the Kingdom of God. Man is not free to choose hatred through sin in the Kingdom of God. Because man cannot choose not to love in the Kingdom of God then there is no possibility of free willed choices to love. One cannot choose to love without the uninhibited ability to choose not to love. Without freedom from God's will, to choose not to do God's will, man does not have the capability to choose to love God and fellow Saint. Man cannot accomplish love for God in the Kingdom of God.

Free from the will of God, choices of obedience to the will of God, is love for God

The fruit of love for God is produced in the garden of free will on earth. Free from the will of God beings are the only ones who can love God. Though the saints in the Kingdom of God have love for God, they cannot produce love for God. This is because they no longer have the free from the will of God option to choose not to love God. Love cannot be accomplished without the uninhibited ability to choose not to love. The saints in the Kingdom of God have accumulated an inexhaustible treasure of love for God from when they were free-willed men on earth. Jesus Christ has accumulated perfect love for the Father while He was free-willed man on earth.

The Eternal Kingdom of love for God is at hand! Upon judgment day, the construction of the Kingdom of God, already will be past history. The opportunity to love God is at hand now and will not be possible once born into eternal life where there is no free will. The kingdom of God is built now, within free-willed fleshly hearts of men.

NAB LUK 17:20

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the reign of God would come, he replied: "You cannot tell by careful watching when the reign of God will come. Neither is it a matter of reporting that it is 'here' or 'there.' The reign of God is already in your midst."

NAB GAL 6:10

While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men.

NAB EPH 5:15

Keep careful watch over your conduct. Do not act like fools, but like thoughtful men. Make the most of the present opportunity, for these are evil days.

NAB MAT 3:2

Reform your lives! The reign of God is at hand.

NAB MAR 1:15

This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the gospel! (LUK 10:9)
The crop produces in the field, not in the Barn. God will have His kingdom and it will consist of all the love of those who chose to love Him while under free will. The harvest of love, love that man gives God while free will exists, will please God for all eternity. The gifts of love you bring to God on the morning you are made eternal He will keep in His heart for endless time. The love that His obedient Son, Jesus, gave to Him in choosing to die on the cross fills the Father's heart with overwhelming joy for all the days here past and here after. It is the love for God that you accumulate on earth through free will that you will have as a grand gift for God for all eternity. Do not return to the Father empty-handed and unfruitful. Gifts of love to God are being produced in the soil of free will on earth to be harvested into heaven.

The message of Jesus and the prophets, directing us to love, is the seed from which love takes root then dies or grows within men's hearts. It is this love which is the sprouting, growth and blossoming of the enormous Kingdom of God.

NAB MAR 4:26 Seed Grows of itself.

He also said: This is how it is with the reign of God. A man scatters seed on the ground. He goes to bed and gets up day after day. Through it all the seed sprouts and grows without his knowing how it happens. The soil produces of itself first the blade, then the ear, finally the ripe wheat in the ear. When the crop is ready he wields the sickle, for the time is ripe for the harvest.

NAB MAT 13:24 The Weeds.

He proposed to them another parable: The reign of God may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds through his wheat, and then made off. When the crop began to mature and yield grain, the weeds make their appearance as well. The owner's slaves came to him and said, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where are the weeds coming from? He answered, I see an enemy's hand in this. His slaves said to him, Do you want us to go out and pull them up? No, he replied, pull up the weeds and you night take the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will order the harvesters, First to collect the weeds and bundle them up to burn then gather the wheat into my barn.

NAB MAT 13:36

His disciples came to him with the request, Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field. He said in answer: The farmer sowing good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, the good seed the citizens of the kingdom. The weeds are the followers of the evil one and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, while the harvesters are the angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned, so will it be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will dispatch his angels to collect from his kingdom all who draw others to apostasy, and all evildoers. The angels will hurl them into the fiery furnace where they will wail and grind their teeth. Then the saints will shine like the sun in their Father's kingdom. Let everyone heed what he hears!

NAB MAT 13:31

He proposed another parable to them. "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches."

There are no starving people to feed in heaven. In heaven there are no naked people to cloth or fetuses to protect out of love for fellow man. In heaven there are no ill to care for and love. The gifts of love for God that you possess in heaven will have been produced on earth. In God's Kingdom there are no babies in garbage cans for Mother Theresa of Calcutta to rescue and hold tightly to her breast. Still her words to the child, "I will love you", when she did so on earth, bring tears to God's eyes for all eternity.

NAB MAT 25:31

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (ISA 58)

If everyone went to heaven, why would God allow earth and her imperfection and hatred? It is only on free-willed earth that man can choose the prized possession of love. It is only those with love who are worthwhile and will be separated out for the Kingdom. Some say that the greatest treasure in existence is life. However, love is a far greater treasure than life. The existence of eternal death is a clear statement from Jesus that human life of the flesh or spiritual life is useless if it contains no love.

NAB LUK 3:17-18

His winnowing-fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in unquenchable fire. Using exhortation of this sort, he preached the good news to the people.

NAB MAT 3:10

Even now the ax is laid to the root of the tree. Every tree that is not fruitful will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

NAB LUK 13:6 The Barren Fig Tree.

Jesus spoke this parable: A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came out looking for fruit on it but did not find any. He said to the vinedresser, Look here! For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree and found none. Cut it down. Why should it clutter up the ground? In answer, the man said, Sir, leave it another year, while I hoe around it another year and manure it; then perhaps it will bear fruit. If not, it shall be cut down.

NAB MAT 21:19

Seeing a fig tree by the roadside he went over to it, but found nothing there except leaves. He said to it, Never again shall you produce fruit!; and it withered up instantly.

NAB MAT 12:33

"Either declare the tree good and its fruit is good, or declare the tree rotten and its fruit is rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you say good things when you are evil? For from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. A good person brings forth good out of a store of goodness, but an evil person brings forth evil out of a store of evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

NAB MAT 7:13

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

NAB ROM 7:4

In the same way, my brothers, you died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to that Other who was raised from the dead, so that we might bear fruit for God.

To think that you are going to ignore God and then on the last day have a loving God beg you to come into His Kingdom barren of any love for Him is lunacy. God does not believe in agnostics and atheists. If you are agnostic, do not count on Jesus bailing you out on judgement day; you have your opportunity to prepare love for God now.

NAB MAT 25:1-13 Parable of the Ten Virgins.

The reign of God can be likened to ten bridesmaids who took their torches and went out to welcome the groom. Five of them were foolish, while the other five were sensible. The foolish ones, in taking their torches, brought no oil along, but the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their torches. The groom delayed his coming, so they all began to nod, then to fall asleep. At midnight someone shouted, The groom is here! Come out and greet him! At the outcry all the virgins woke up and got their torches ready. The foolish ones said to the sensible, Give us some of your oil. Our torches are going out. But the sensible ones replied, No, there may not be enough for you and us. You had better go to the dealers and buy yourselves some. While they went off to buy it the groom arrived, and the ones who were ready went in to the wedding with him. Then the door was barred. Later the other bridesmaids came back. "Master, master!" they cried. Open the door for us. But he answered, I tell you, I do not know you. The moral is: "keep your eyes open, for you know not the day or the hour."

NAB2 LUK 16:19 The Rich Man and Lazarus

"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.' He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"

The Israelites were invited to love God through His covenant, the commandments. The Chosen concerned themselves with worldly things above creating love for God. In God's Anger, He sent His servant Jesus to invite the gentiles to love God. Jesus now invites all. Even crippled and lame gentiles who desire to love God with all their heart are invited to God's house. Now Israelite or gentile who seek out love, which is the Kingdom of God, can come into God's banquet of eternal life. Those who choose the world rather than loving God will be Rejected by God.

NAB MAT 8:11

Mark what I say! Many will come from the east and the west and will find a place at the banquet in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, while the natural heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the dark, Wailing will be heard there, and the grinding of teeth.

NAB LUK 14:15

At these words one in the party said to him, Happy is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God. Jesus responded: A man was giving a large dinner and he invited many. At dinner time he sent his servant to say to those invited, Come along, everything is ready now. But they began to excuse themselves, one and all. The first one said to the servant, I have bought some land and must go out and inspect it. Please excuse me. Another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen and I am going out to test them. Please excuse me. A third said, I am newly married and so I cannot come. The servant returning reported all this to his master. The master of the house grew angry at the account. He said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame. The servant reported, after some time, Your orders have been carried out, my lord, and there is still room. The master them said to the servant, Go out into the highways and along the hedgerows and force them to come in, I want my house to be full, but I tell you that not one of those invited shall taste a morsel of my dinner. (MAT 22)

NAB REV 3:15

I know your deeds; I know you are neither hot nor cold. How I wish you were one or the other hot or cold! But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spew you out of my mouth!
Whatever worldly riches you possess in life of the flesh are counted as mire as compared to growing rich in free willed gifts of love for God. Even if the rich man is able to come through the 'eye of the needle' he will live out his days of eternal life in poverty. The only thing that will be with you, if you survive to live eternal will be the love of your obedience, good works, charity, compassion and faith.

Four hundred billion years from now whatever worldly thing you did on this earth will be totally forgotten by all. However, the time you spent on earth caring for an ailing mother, praying to God and giving alms to the poor will be joyously remembered for four hundred billion quattuordecillion years. Four hundred thousand years from now no one will remember who was president of a country or CEO (chief executive officer) of a company. However, mothers and fathers who carefully instructed their children to love and obey God will be celebrating with their children for four hundred billion sexdecillion years and beyond. Four hundred years from now no one will care that you had the fastest race car in town, were a golf champion or caught the biggest fish. However, the times you set aside your hobbies to serve the needs of handicapped children, help the poor and protected the innocent, will be visited over and over like an "It's a Wonderful Life" video tape for four hundred billion octodecillion years. Forty years from now no one will be interested whether you worked eighty hours a week or forty. However, four hundred billion trillion quintillion years from now and beyond all men will joyously remember how you put aside your avaricious desires to help with charities and keep holy the Sabbath.

NAB SIR 35:6

The just man's sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten . In generous homage to the LORD be not sparing of freewill gifts.

NAB LUK 12:31

Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides. Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.(TOB 4:7)

NAB LUK 12:15

Then he said to the crowd, "Avoid greed in all its forms. A man many be wealthy, but his possessions do not guarantee him life."

He told them a parable in these words: "There was a rich man who had a good harvest. 'What shall I do?' he asked himself. 'I have no place to store my harvest. I know!' he said. 'I will pull down my grain bins and build larger ones. All my grain and my goods will go there. Then I will say to myself: You have blessings in reserve for years to come. Relax! Eat heartily, drink well. Enjoy yourself.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life shall be required of you. To whom will all this piled-up wealth of yours go?' That is the way it works with the man who grows rich for himself instead of growing rich in the sight of God."

NAB JOH 15:16

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.

Life of the flesh is very short considering the length of eternal life. Yet the gifts to God of love, that you possess for all eternity as the Kingdom of God, can only be accumulated in the time at hand during your short stay in this period of free will. Many, realizing this, devote their entire lives to service and love for God. Our priests and nuns joyously hand over all that they have in love for God. They put aside spouse, children, and material independence and all things of value to the world, for the sake of producing a treasure of love which is the Kingdom of God.

NAB MAT 13:44

The reign of God is like a buried treasure which a man found in a field. He hid it again, and rejoicing at his find went and sold all he had and bought that field. Or again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant's search for fine pearls. When he found one really valuable pearl, he went back and put up for sale all that he had and bought it.

NAB MAR 10:28

Peter was moved to say to him, We have put aside everything to follow you! Jesus answered: I give you my word, there is no one who has given up home, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children or property, for me and for the gospel who will not receive in this present age a hundred time as many homes, brothers and sisters, mothers, children and property and persecution besides and in the age to come, everlasting life. Many who are first shall come last and the last shall come first.

To love God is our purpose in life. Man's love for God is God's purpose for creating the universe. If God's goal was simply to have saints in heaven, saints void of any love for Him, then God would have not created free willed earth but simply created saints in heaven instead. This would have avoided all the hatred, sin and damnation which pours forth from free willed earth. Both, hatred, sin and damnation, and love, flow from man's freedom from the will of God on earth. Because God does allow free will on earth, through which all atrocities, hatred, sin and damnation flow, we know how tremendously valuable our free willed love on earth is to God. The only thing in the universe worth allowing, atrocities, hatred, sin and damnation for is love. Human free willed love for God is an immense treasure for God. Producing free willed love for God, which we will share with God for all eternity as His eternal Treasure, is our purpose in life.

The goal of many Christians is to use life of the flesh to get themselves, and others, into God's eternal Kingdom. These Christians have missed the message of the truly greatest treasure available to those of the free-willed flesh. It is possession of gifts of love for God, gifts of love which can only be produced through free will here and now on earth, which are truly mankind's greatest treasure. Those who bear such gifts of love for God will be brought through Christ's blood into the Kingdom of God in heaven. Those who bear such gifts will be the greatest Treasure in God's heart through out all of eternity.

NAB REV 21:1 New Heavens and New Earth.

Then I saw new heavens and a new earth. The former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer. I also saw a new Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of the heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne cry out: "This is God's dwelling among men. He shall dwell with them and they shall be his people and he shall be their God who is always with them. He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former world has passed away."

The One who sat on the throne said to me, "See, I make all things new!" Then he said, "Write these matters down, for the words are trustworthy and true!" He went on to say: "These words are already fulfilled! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To anyone who thirsts I will give to drink without cost from the spring of life-giving water. He who wins the victory shall inherit these gifts; I will be his God and he shall be my son. As for the cowards and traitors to the faith, the depraved and murderers, the fornicators and sorcerers, the idol-worshipers and deceivers of every sort--their lot is the fiery pool of burning sulphur, the second death!"

God's eternal Kingdom flows out from Christ's cross and resurection to all eternity of past, present and future physical time. God's Kingdom flows out to infinity before creation and infinitely beyond the end of time. All the ages of time and all the ends of the earth have seen the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ's salvation. Creation Like an eternal hyper-super-nova bursting forth from a mustard seed, so does God's Kingdom, comprised of all the love of the Son and the saints, flow out from Christ's resurection to engulf all of heaven and earth. And Christ's ressurection flows out from the love of Christ's perfectly obedient, victorious, human, free-willed heart. Fellow brothers and sisters be imitators of Christ's loving obedience and let the Kingdom of God flow out from within your heart.

Upon the Wedding Day of the Lamb, His bride the Church will be perfect. There will be no future chance to add or subtract love from the Kingdom to make It less or more perfect. Like Christ's Lazarus and the rich man parable, there will be no future chance to change your lot. Now is the opportunity. Now is the time of fulfillment. Now is the time to choose to love God and live to fill God's heart with joy for all eternity as a part of God's loving Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is built within your heart. The love that free-willed men, including 'corner stone' Jesus, create within their hearts are the rocks which the Father builds His Kingdom. God's Kingdom, constructed through Christ, is built on the foundation of the twelve apostles and has gates open wide to receive the twelve tribes of Israel and the baptized gentiles as well. On the foundation stones of Christ's eternal Church are laid the stones of gifts of love from God's chosen gathered from throughout all time. The Father will surround Himself with His loving Son and loving Saints for all eternity.

It is mankind with love for God who is the glorious Bride of the Lamb called the New Jerusalem. It is love from free-willed man that grows into the scriptural immense mustard tree. It is our love for God that will be the glorious palace of precious stones and crystal-clear pure gold. Men with love are as kings carrying massive treasures to their new home of heaven. Love for God is the Kingdom of God.

NAB REV 21:9 The New Jerusalem.

One of the seven angels who held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the woman who is the bride of the Lamb." He carried me away in spirit to the top of a very high mountain and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. The city had the radiance of a precious jewel that sparkled like a diamond. Its wall, massive and high, had twelve gates at which twelve angles were stationed. Twelve names were written on the gates, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The one who spoke to me held a rod of gold for measuring the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is perfectly square, its length and its width being the same. He measured the city with the rod and found it twelve thousand furlongs in length, in width, and in height. Its wall measured a hundred and forty-four cubits in height by the unit of measurement the angel used. The wall was constructed of jasper; the city was of pure gold, crystal clear. The foundation of the city wall was ornate with precious stones of every sort: the first course of stones was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each made of a single pearl; and the streets of the city were of pure gold, transparent as glass.

I saw no temple in the city, The Lord God the Almighty, is its temple he and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. The nations shall walk by its light; to it the kings of the earth shall bring their treasures. During the day its gates shall never be shut, and there shall be no night. The treasures and wealth of the nations shall be brought there, but nothing profane shall enter it, nor anyone who is a liar or has done a detestable act. Only those shall enter whose names are inscribed in the book of the living kept by the Lamb. (EZE 28:11-15)

NAB ZEC 9:16

And the Lord, their God, shall save them on that day, his people, like a flock. For they are the jewels in a crown raised aloft over his land. For what wealth is theirs, and what beauty!

NAB ISA 62

For Zion's sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet, Until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch. Nations shall behold your vindication, and all kings your glory; You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD. You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem held by your God. No more shall men call you "Forsaken," or your land "Desolate," But you shall be called "My Delight," and your land "Espoused." For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you. Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have stationed watchmen; Never, by day or by night, shall they be silent. O you who are to remind the LORD, take no rest And give no rest to him, until he re-establishes Jerusalem And makes of it the pride of the earth. The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: No more will I give your grain as food to your enemies; Nor shall foreigners drink your wine, for which you toiled. But you who harvest the grain shall eat it, and you shall praise the LORD; You who gather the grapes shall drink the wine in the courts of my sanctuary. Pass through, pass through the gates, prepare the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, raise up a standard over the nations. See, the LORD proclaims to the ends of the earth: Say to daughter Zion, your savior comes! Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. They shall be called the holy people, the redeemed of the LORD, And you shall be called "Frequented," a city that is not forsaken.
If you do nothing else in life, I ask you, as a friend, to love God. All the created universe has less importance than the love of one man to God. Love is far greater than any other anything. If love for God were an ocean, all material creation would be but a drop of evaporating water. It is love that gives life meaning, man meaning and even God meaning. What even is God without love for Him or love within Him? Everything in existence, all men, everything material and spiritual were made for love and God is love. Go in peace, my friends, to love and serve the Lord our God with all your heart, with all your strength, with all your mind and with all your soul.

NAB 1CO 13:1-13 Excellence of the gift of love.

Now I will show you the way which surpasses all the others. If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away.

Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.

Parables Painting Pictures of Paradise

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author Steven Merten