Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #13)
I want to introduce this part of
the study with these things. Satan had the civil government and the counterfeit
church to back him until the symbolic thousand year period. When Satan was
loosed at the end of the thousand year period, we notice he renewed his old
trade of deceiving the nations. While he was restrained for the symbolic period
of a thousand years, it was that he might not deceive the nations. I believe
with all my heart that we are in that symbolic thousand year period now and have
been in it for a time. We have liberty to worship God according to the dictates
of our heart without any pressure so far in our country being placed upon us in
the freedom of worship. I'd like to say the Baptists were the medium through
which that liberty was brought about. In fact the first public schools in this
country were started by the Baptists. When the Devil is loosed, he will go up on
the breadth of the earth and compass the camp of the saints about and the
beloved city. That beloved city is the church. Now in his gathering of the
nations through a means of deception, we find he will have an innumerable
company because it says as the sands of the sea. That will cause you to do some
real study if you'll let that sink in. Compare the ideas and opinions of others
regarding a literal reign of Christ here on earth for a thousand years. They say
the literal reign will be after the resurrection of the body of the saints.
Every office will be filled with the resurrected saints including teaching of
the schools, and everything that carries any authority whatsoever will be
occupied by a resurrected saint. They can keep their belief for I don't want it.
If that is the truth, would there be anybody saved in that thousand years if we
take it literally? Some of them say there would be people saved in that thousand
years. Well, will they live through that thousand years and not die? If they
did, they'll live longer than anyone else did in history. Death would prevail
without question, and those saved during that time would die and be buried.
Wouldn't that necessitate another resurrection? Absolutely. That's just some of
their cross ups with that belief. The Devil goes out to gather an army from the
four quarters of the earth. Since a whole only has four quarters, he will gather
an innumerable company from the whole earth. His army will be as the sands of
the sea to fight his last battle against the church. We are told that they went
upon the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about (the
beloved city), and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. This
time the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone
where the beast and the false prophet already are. The beast and the false
prophet (the pope and Rome) had been cast into a lake of fire and brimstone
prior to this, and they cannot be used to fight this last war. They are not even
mentioned in the gathering of the army. Look at the harmony of the scriptures in
Revelation and in II Thessalonians: 1:6 "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God
to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;" 1:7: "And to you who are
troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with
his mighty angels," 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not
God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:" 1:9: "Who shall be
punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from
the glory of his power;" 1:10 "When he shall come to be glorified in his saints,
and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was
believed) in that day." 1:11 “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our
God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of
his goodness, and the work of faith with power:" The church as Thessalonica at
the time Paul wrote this letter was under heavy persecution. They were troubled
on every side. Verse eight is in direct harmony with the destruction of the
Devil's last army that he gathered together. For it said fire and brimstone
would be rained from heaven and devour them. These verses in II Thessalonians
are having reference to the coming of the Lord. He will be revealed with all of
his mighty angels and in flaming fire at the same time. The flaming fire is
taking vengeance upon them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord
Jesus Christ. I Corinthians, fifteenth chapter in Paul's writing show harmony.
15:51: "Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed," How quick? 15:52: "In a moment and even in less time than that. He
brings it down to "the twinkling of an eye." Well now, that is pretty quick. "at
the last trump:" If that is the last trump, what about the wicked that they
claim won't be raised from the dead until a thousand years later. There are
those that teach that. Yet these verses say it will happen at the last trump,
that the dead will be raised and the living will be changed in the twinkling of
an eye, and it will be at the last trump. "The trumpet shall sound, and the dead
shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 15:53: "For this
corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
15:54: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal
shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is
written, Death is swallowed up in victory." Look now in I Corinthians 15:22:
"For as in Adam all die," (That means all now, not just the Christian, but in
Adam, all die.) "Even so in Christ shall all be made alive?" 15:23: "But every
man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's
at his coming." 15:24 “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the
kingdom to God, even the Father;" (This kingdom is the church kingdom with
Christ as the head. At the end he'll deliver up that kingdom even to the
Father.) "When he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power." The
church is operating today under the authority of Jesus Christ. For in the
commission he said "...all power" ("power" meaning authority) "is given unto me
in heaven and in earth." By virtue of that authority Jesus told the church to go
into the entire world, teach all nations that is make disciples of all nations.
The time is coming when Jesus shall put down all rules, all authority and all
power which will be when he shall deliver up the church kingdom to the Father.
He'll then take his place with his bride, the church. And God shall be all in
I Corinthians 15:25: "For he must reign," (Christ must reign.) "till he hath put all enemies under his feet." 15:26: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." These are in answer to: "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." "For he hath put all things under his feet." That is God put all things under the feet of Christ. "But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is accepted, which did put all things under him." God the Father is the one that is accepted. He didn't put himself under Christ. But all other things are put under him. Also in I Corinthians 15:28: "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him that God may be all in all." This is simple language, isn't it? It shows there's going to be a change and a summing up of the situation at the end of the world. Let's notice Matthew and see if we are not in harmony along that same line. 24:29: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:" Some want to limit the tribulation to seven years while others say it is three and one half years. I want to tell you the tribulation Jesus is talking about has been suffered by the Jewish nation since their rejection of the Son of God. Some writers say God postponed the kingdom because the Jews as a nation rejected Christ when he came. They also believe the kingdom will be set up when Christ comes again. Those who endorse that kind of preaching, make the church null and void as far as the commission is concerned. The Baptist has been the biggest fools in the world if that be true. That's making a broad statement, but I'm willing to face it at the judgment. My argument is that Jesus set up his church kingdom during his personal ministry on earth. This kingdom would be left to only a certain class of people and it would stand forever. To say the kingdom is postponed until Christ comes in his second advent would make Baptists fools, but I'm glad that isn't true. The tribulation is the troubles Jews have endured in every country of the world except the United States. The United States is the only country that has sheltered the Jews. Some make the argument that because of the United States has sheltered the Jewish people; there will be special rewards to them when the nations are called together. They say the judgment in the twenty- fifth chapter is not the general judgment but it is the judgment of nations. How can whole nations on the left be turned into hell and all nations on the right enter into life eternal as nations. I'm going to say there will never be a nation where all citizens of that nation are children of God and vice-versa. In Matthew 25:31: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” 25:32: "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a Shepard divided his sheep from the goats:” 25:32: "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." 25:33: "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:" These verses in Matthew do not teach those are nations on the left and right, but rather they are individuals. The commission says go into all nations. Gather those out of all nations who will hear the gospel, repent of their sins, and believe on Christ. I believe every nation will be represented at the judgment, because the Bible says this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all nations and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:30: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven:” (This is the heavens above where the birds fly.) "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Now listen to this in Matthew 24:31: "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." These are children of God gathered by the angels. Matthew 24:32: "Then learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender and putted forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:" He is just pointing out by seeing the things he spoke of come to pass, you know the end of the world and the coming of Christ draweth nigh. In the thirteenth chapter of Matthew in the parable of the tares and the wheat, he said the field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom, and the tares are the children of the wicked one. The reapers are the angels. The angels are the servants of Christ that will be sent to gather the tares in bundles to be burned, but they would gather up the wheat into his barn. So the angels will be the ministers or the servants of Christ in the reaping of this earth which is set out in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. Look again at the twentieth chapter, verse eleven of Revelation. "And I saw a great white throne," (The throne of the glory of Jesus Christ.) "And him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." This verse bothers those folks who think the earth is just going to be seared or burned but will remain. Why this says the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them. There is more in II Peter 3:10: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." I'm going to believe those words as Peter placed them, because it's confirmed with the words of John. If those verses are not convincing enough, then a person cannot be persuaded to believe the earth will be totally burned up.
Chapter 21:1 "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." Three-fourths of the earth is water and there are no more oceans.
Chapter 21:2 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
Chapter 21:3 "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."
Chapter 21:4 “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." I want to make a comparison here. I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. Do we believe that? If we do, we have to believe this. For the former things are passed away. If they are passed away, they exist no more. When the Lord comes back in the clouds with all of his mighty angels in flaming fire, this earth will be wrapped in fire. According to the scriptures written by Paul and the Apostle Peter, it will be destroyed. He also said I make a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelled righteousness. I believe the same God who spoke into existence this earth with everything provided for man in his mortal state, will create a new earth and heaven adaptable to that spiritual state. The former things we have known here will all pass away, and we will know them again no more for ever. Isn't that a wonderful thought? The greatest thing I can think about is that in the other world Jesus is creating, there will be none of the sufferings of this natural life. There will be no illnesses, heartaches, disappointments or no invalids in that world. All of that will be over. What a wonderful state and condition to inhabit.
Chapter 21:5 "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." I had a debate once in Gallatin with E. W. Clevenger on the final security of the saints. He was never able to do anything with it and refused to allow the debate to be published. My leading statement of scripture in the debate was "Behold I make all things new." God started with these old souls of ours that are lost and away from God. We are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenant of promise without God and without hope in the world, but through the regenerating process, they are made new creatures in Christ Jesus. They can't sin because they are sealed by the spirit of God. The Devil just can't get to them. To tell you the truth, he just doesn't know where they are. David said, He that dwelled in the secret place of the Almighty..." That is a place the Devil doesn't know anything about. So, we have here all things being made new, not only our souls in the new birth, but new creatures in Christ Jesus. Read Ephesians 2:10 and 1 John 2:10. Chapter 21:6 "And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." When John wrote this, God had made that offer to man. He's been making the offer through the gospel ever since that day, and his hand will be outstretched until the end of the world when the door of mercy shall be closed. Even today meetings are in progress where the gospel is being preached. People are being told that God's hand is still stretched out beckoning the unsaved to come home while they have the time and the opportunity. Yet we find in the language of Solomon in Proverbs that the day will come when God will laugh at the calamity of the wicked that have rejected him and turned a deaf ear to his call. See Proverbs 1:24-27. That's a sad thing to think about, but it's going to happen.
Chapter 21:7 “He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Who is he that overcomes? It's he that believeth in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And John said, "And this is that which overcomes the world, even our faith." Jesus told his disciples not to be afraid for I have overcome the world. It is our faith that overcomes, and he that overcomes shall inherit all things. He said, I will be his God and he shall be my son.
Chapter 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." That is the casting of both soul and body in hell. I want to give you a quotation from Paul right here; for I'm sure a question has arisen in your mind. You know I read that verse of scripture, I guess hundreds of times before I saw what he was saying. He is saying this: Hebrews 11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please him..." I want to give you a quotation here from Paul for I am sure a question has arisen in your mind. I read this verse of scripture many times before I was able to understand it. He is saying in Romans 8:8 "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." The ninth verse says, "But ye are not in the flesh, if so be that the Spirit of Christ dwells in you." So every child of God has the Spirit dwelling in him, and he is not counted in the flesh but in the Spirit. Those in the eighth verse are unbelievers, in the flesh and without the Spirit.
Chapter 21:9 "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me saying, Come hither, I'll shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." He shows him the Holy City, New Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God. Now is the angel showed John anything else, it is not listed. So the New Jerusalem is in truth a symbol, in every particular, the church in her glorified state.
Chapter 21:10 “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” John had already seen the city in the second verse of this chapter. He saw it coming down out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. God gives him a little closer look. Anyone who believes this is a literal city as many do today, I may disappoint you. To tell you the truth, there's going to be a lot of people disappointed because they have been taught things which will not be enjoyed or experienced after death or in heaven. People talk about walking on gold paved streets and living in a mansion in that city. I may be branded, and you may shake your heads calling into question what this old unworthy servant of God tells you, but I'm going to believe that John actually saw the bride, the Lamb's wife in symbolic imagery.
Chapter 21:11 "Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;"
Chapter 21:12 "And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:"
Chapter 21:13 "On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Chapter 21:14 "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."
Chapter 21:15 "And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof."
Chapter 21:16 “And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal." Let's look at the description of the city. When looking at the city from a literal standpoint, it would be a 1,500 mile square. The length, breadth, and the height is equal making it a perfect cube which is a symbol of divine perfection. The church is the fullness of him that filleth all in all, and the church is the fullness of God.
Chapter 21:17 "And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel."
Chapter 21:18 "And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass."
Chapter 21:19 "And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;" I'll have to confess that I do not know what all of these gems and these precious metals signify. I also have not read of anyone else who has tried to explain what they represent.
Chapter 21:20 "The fifth, sardonic; the sixth, Sardis; the seventh, chrysalides; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst."
Chapter 21:21 "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it was transparent glass." I say again (even the gold) it cannot be interpreted literally. I had a gold wedding ring my father gave to my mother when they were married. As soon as my fingers were large enough as a young boy, I put on the ring. After wearing it so long, the edges wore as thin and sharp as a knife blade. In fact I'm carrying a scar on my finger now from the ring. I helped my uncle lift a heavy rock, and the ring caught under the rock burying the sharp edges in my finger. The gold had worn as all gold does. We know about all the precious metal of gold and the gems such as pearls and diamonds mentioned in this city. In the eighteenth verse it says the walls are made of jasper. All these things are taken from the earth. The Bible says the former things or the things we know now will pass away. The earth and the works therein will be burned. So that does away with the idea the city will be a literal city made of gold paved streets. I say again this city with all of its beauty and perfection is a symbol of the church of Jesus Christ in her final glory. The grandeur of it is more than the human mind might perceive of or be able to understand. John saw this city descending out of heaven from God, and he said it's the Lamb's wife. If you want to take it as a literal city, then a literal city is going to be the Lamb's wife just as he would marry Nashville, Chattanooga, Chicago, or New York. This is a symbol of the bride of the Son of God in her final glory. We could talk a week and not be able to explain how great it is. There are others who take this same position. Among these who do is D. B. Rhea, one of the leading Baptist preachers of a hundred years ago. The very language of chapter twenty-one proves this city is not a literal city. 21:2: "And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." It says in 21:9: "...Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." 21:10: "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem as the bride of Christ. If the only thing he saw was a city, then we will have to admit the city represented the bride of Christ. We will have to stop preaching the bride of Christ will be made up of true churches with real members who lived here on earth. I'm going to accept the latter.
Chapter 21:22 "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."
Chapter 21:23 “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moons, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."
Chapter 21:24 "And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it."
Chapter 21:25 "And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there."
Chapter 21:26 "And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it." Chapter 21:27"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiled, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, nor makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." I want to call your attention to this. I didn't say all names written in the Lamb's book of life would enter the city. It did say they could not enter unless their names were written in the Lamb's book of life. The twenty-fourth verse says the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it. This should distinguish between those who are really the church and the ones who will walk in the light of it. That makes a difference, doesn't it? I can walk in the light of a church but not be a member of that church. I could walk in the spiritual light of a body of people that meets at that church and could experience the light that shines forth from this body of people, yet I wouldn't be a part of it. Each gate was one several pearl, and at the gates there were twelve angels. The names written thereon which were the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. I wondered for a long time why this symbol was used with respect to the church. There were twelve gates with twelve angels, and names written thereon were the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Remember that God selected and married Israel as a civil nation. As the head and founder of the church built on earth, the Son of the living God was born through the Jewish Nation. To that extent, Israel was honored. The opening, or the gate to the city, was made possible through the Jewish Nation by the giving of the Son of God, her head, who loved the church and gave himself for it. See Ephesians 5:25. Therefore, the purpose of God was brought about. In eternity before the world was, God had an eternal purpose. Nothing was done haphazardly and nothing happened accidentally. God did everything with purpose of mind. The Bible says he knew from beginning the end. God purposed the things that have happened so far to his honor and glory. All things purposed by him who has yet to take place, will take place. His name will be honored and glorified in mankind, though not in all men. As instruments in God's hands, his purposes will be carried out. Twelve foundations are mentioned in this city. The names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are in that foundation. We learned by the New Testament that Jesus Christ himself is the chief cornerstone. The inscription of the names of the apostles in the twelve foundations of that city signifies they are the officers of the church Jesus left in the world. Here is another thing which is difficult for people to understand. Jesus ordained apostles, but their work is now finished with their office closed. There is not an office of apostleship today. The business of the church such as the setting forth of discipline, rules and regulations, and the ordination of elders in churches to be pastors was left in the hands of the apostles to direct until the New Testament was completed. When the New Testament was completed, the rules and regulations were laid down in print. The apostles were the inspired men who penned those rules and regulations down in the New Testament for the church to go by. The New Testament became the guide for their rule of faith and practice. The apostles were the instruments at the beginning. I would like to say the church was not set up instantly. That's another thing this great preacher, D. B. Ray, of years gone by affirms. He says, and I agree, that the establishment of the church was a progressive work. The church was started by John's ministry. He prepared the material and made it ready for the coming of the Son of God. This Bible says to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. I believe when John had fulfilled his mission every piece of material was true material. Of course Judas got into the church that the scriptures might be fulfilled as prophesied beforehand. However, every true member who went into the church was completely prepared to fit in his place when Jesus came on the scene. There was nothing else to be done to them except bring them together. This is the same as in Solomon's Temple. The material was prepared beforehand, and every stone that went into the foundation of that building was hewn out in the quarry to fit in the place where it belonged. The lumber was of the cedars of Lebanon. Every piece of it was cut in the forest, and then floated down to the place where it could be picked up and carried to Mt. Mariah. Every piece fit in its place, and without the sound of a hammer. When John the Baptist came with authority from heaven, he preached the everlasting gospel of the Son of God. The people who heard his preaching met the conditions of repentance toward God, and faith in Christ that John said was coming after him, and all of those individuals became lively stones--living stones--and they were exactly fitted for the place that God had for them in building his church in the world. So John's preparation of the material was exactly fitted when Jesus came, and all he had to do was just bring it together. He didn't do that until after he was baptized by John the Baptist who had the divine authority. Jesus made manifest the fact that he did have that divine authority by walking a distance of sixty miles to be baptized at his hands. Then in the wilderness, after forty days and forty nights, he endured the temptation of the Devil. Afterward we see Jesus by the Sea of Galilee, and he began to call together his church. John said behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. They began to follow him, and Jesus called them together. I'm not going to say how many was needed before she was identified as the church. However, this is what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." This is simply a symbolic picture of the divine perfection of the church that Jesus will claim for himself one day after while. I have been asked if I thought every saved, scripturally baptized member of the church will be in the bride. My answer is no because of the scripture in Revelation 19:7 "...... and his wife hath made herself ready." There is a readiness to be made by each individual. Each will be judged personally and individually. Churches on earth, I'm sorry to say, and you know it is true, are negligent in discipline. She might overlook things done by a member and fail to discipline that member, yet it will not go unheeded by God for he is not negligent in discipline. On the other hand, the church on earth might mistakenly exclude someone from the church, but God will not take them out of the church. So not all born again, baptized children of God into a Baptist Church will be in the bride. They will be the ones who walked according to the rule of faith and lived the lives pleasing to God as examples to the world. I pastured a church in Bowling Green, Kentucky that's better than fifty to sixty years old. This church only had four charter members when it was organized. They declared themselves an independent body. I'll say where there are as many as two, three or four together under covenant and fellowship, declaring themselves to be a church, they are. Now when Jesus called together the material that John had prepared, he had his church. Today, we'll have people who desire a church to set a time when a church will be organized. That's quite different to what it was in the beginning. When a church is organized today, letters of demission are given from another church. The only credentials the members of the first church needed were that they were born again children of God and had been baptized by John the Baptist. When Jesus came on the scene and brought them together, they were a church. We'll have an all day or an afternoon service today and ordained help will be called in from other churches, and a council will be formed. Letters received from other sister churches will be read of members who have decided to form themselves into an independent church. That council will decide and vote whether or not they are good letters. Affirmation will then be given. In the presence of that council, they will declare themselves an independent body adopting the Articles of Faith, and the Church Covenant then giving themselves the hand of church fellowship. We organize a church in this way today so that it may have the recognition of all who are there as being an independent church. This is their credentials. The credentials of the first church were that they were baptized by John the Baptist and set up by Jesus Christ. Like Habakkuk of long ago and restated by Paul that eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God nor the Lord hath prepared for them that love him. However, he has revealed them unto us by his spirit. In our souls we can feel it, and know that it is great. Yet our bodies and minds are not able to comprehend the glory awaiting the people of God. The city here symbolizes the wife has made herself ready. We read in another chapter where he said, let us be glad and rejoice for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. This city is the completed church. It will not be complete until the last member goes in.