September 2014

Green Pastures  Email:- greenpasture@btinternet.com    Listen on WWW.harbourlightradio.org 

                                                             VIEW FROM THE PULPIT                      September Issue 2014

Cities   In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, the opening paragraph reads, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.’ The two cities were London and Paris and records life as it was leading up to the French Revolution. Dickens observations of his day are timeless and well fit the day we live in too.

The Apostle John wrote the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ at the close of the first century AD and majors upon two cities at the end of the Book, Babylon and Jerusalem, also a third city, the New Jerusalem. Those chapters also speak of  Heaven and Hell but more of that later!

The first recorded city is found in Genesis 4:17, “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.” Cain was the first person to be born into the world and he became a murderer when he killed Abel, his brother. From the beginning of time cities have been associated with murder. In our day there are cities throughout the world that record over a thousand homicides every year.

Gen.10:8 to 12 tells us of the beginning of two notable cities, Babylon, built by Nimrod, and Nineveh built by Asshur (Assyria). “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.”

A true story of a city beneath the waves involves an island called Pavlopetri, off the south east coast of Greece. Forty years ago an oceonologist first observed the submerged city and recently a team of Australian scientists have charted the streets, walls and buildings and produced a very interesting documentary about this lost city.

Genesis ch.19 tells us of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities of extreme wickedness that God rained fire and brimstone upon. The man Lot and his two daughters escaped to a place called Zoar which lays at the southern tip of the Dead Sea. Although there is no biblical record of the whereabouts of the remains of these cities many believe that they are at the bottom of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is a lake and the lowest place on earth, it is about 1400 ft. below sea level and is over 1000ft. deep. Israeli scientists are presently drilling in the centre of the lake, for forty days and forty nights, to a depth of 300 meters, taking core samples for analasis to determine (amongst other things) previous volcanic activity and possible future ones. The present conflict of Gaza and Israel is indicative of the hatred between Arab and Jew, which will spread further affecting neighbouring nations and the world at large.

John tells us in Revelation ch’s 17 and 18 the destruction of Babylon (in Iraq) both religiously and politically. Babylon epitamises all religious rebellion to God, embracing all false cults and religions of the world. Christ will destroy all of these along with the political power of the Beast with all his military might at Meggido in the valley of Jezreel. Jerusalem is called in Psalm 48 and Matt. Ch.5 “The city of the great king”. It is the city where Christ will reign universely.

Exerps from the opening paragraph of this month’s editorial of the Society for Distribution of Hebrew Scriptures reads, ‘ ‘JERUSALEM TRODDEN DOWN. From the time of Israel’s first carrying away into captivity under the Babylonian conquest until 1948, Jerusalem had been in the hands of Gentiles. To judge from its physical state in the year of Israel’s return, the Gentiles had done precious little with the land in all the years of occupation. Over the centuries the city has been destroyed twice, besieged twenty-three times, captured and re-captured forty four times. We cannot think of any city that has been the subject of so much destruction.’ Jerusalem has been the devil’s target to destroy from the beginning, but he has not succeded and he never will.

I mentioned earlier a third city called The New Jerusalem. Revelation ch.21 begins, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. That will be a great city to live with Christ. Will you be there?  God bless.

 Stan Burditt View