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Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 3:21’

For many believers, the “holy city” or “New Jerusalem” represent either some aspect of heaven or a literal reconstruction of the earthly Jerusalem. In any case, this “City-State” is entwined with the “promise” of Godly reconciliation. But do I care?

Hebrews 11:13c, 16
And they [people of faith] admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. . . . they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

There are several references in the New Testament about the City of God and interestingly enough, they begin here, in Hebrews. I believe it’s importance comes from the crucial parts that Jerusalem and the Temple played in the history of Israel and the worship of YHWH, the one true God. For the Israelite, the City was always holy and revered, so much so that even Jesus is recorded as weeping over the city [Luke 19:41-42].

Many cities seem to have personalities and more often than not, they are usually referenced as female: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans. They have their individuality and their lovers for many, many people love the cities in which they live and they truly grieve at her injuries or misfortunes. But are any of them holy? Do any, particularly here in the U.S., have a mystical history or aura? Would we ever envision a heavenly version of any of our cities?

The derivation of the word city seems to come from the Latin, civitas or civitatem, which could be loosely translated as community of citizens. It would make more sense then, to imagine the “Holy City” — that long awaited one, that New Jerusalem — not so much as a place, but a gathering . . . of people, of souls, of energy, of life. In Bible times and even long after that, most cities or castles also had a tower of safety, or keep deep within for its people, or its royalty, to seek asylum. In the first Jerusalem, this place of safety was the Temple (and deeper still, behind the veil, in the Holy of Holies) because of the presence of God. The New Jerusalem, then, this aggregate faithful could also have God in its midst.

This might be what I really care about then: not some enormous “city” coming down out of the sky like an alien ship, blinking with lights and gold, but the ultimate union of my spirit with the Holy Spirit and then, joining with all the other “faithful.”

When we are walking, talking, living in tandem with the Holy Spirit, “light” radiates and others are drawn to it like moths to a living flame. We are the Holy City, the church, the civitatem of Christ.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” [Philippians 3:20-21]

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