Friday, April 11, 2014

Revelation 22:5, 11-15 -- On the City of God

"And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."
Revelation 22:5, 11-15

I threw verse 5 in here because it shows a little bit of how cool the city is that is referred to later.  "There shall be no night there."  Wow.  And then we don't need candles or the sun, because God gives us light.  We need the sun for more than just light... and the fact that God can make up for all of that, in himself, is a pretty incredible thought, not just because that makes God more amazing in a certain way, but also because we are his children with the potential to become like him.
The next verses in the selection is interesting.  The first is similar to Mormon 9:14 ("he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still") in telling us that we will continue to be whatever we are.  We need to do the work to become who we want to be now... because we aren't going to escape it in the afterlife.  I think sometimes we get confused on that subject, and we think that we're totally going to change our minds and our hearts in an instant once we get on the other side... once we really see the truth, or have proof, or are relieved of a certain burden, or whatever it is that we are waiting for.  But in reality, we won't be able to change instantaneously like that.  This life is where we need to learn to change... with the burdens, with the questions... with the limitations.  Because those questions and imperfections are what give us the true freedom to change and to choose.
And lastly, we go back to the idea of God's city, and that we can only get there by doing the work, and by keeping his commandments.  Having the right to the tree of life is a reference back to verse 2 of the chapter, where it talks about it being there and that it is used for healing the nations.  The last verse talks about what it is like outside the city, and helps us to realize that we would much rather be inside.  (I don't think that this means that all dogs are bad.  I think it is symbolic and means the more wild, people-attacking types of dogs.)  I think it also shows us some of the things that we need to avoid, so we don't get caught on the wrong side of the gate.
Today, let's work on getting to God's city.  Let's make the changes that we need to make in ourselves.  Let's repent and grow and improve.  Let's pray and learn from God.  Let's get to the place where there is no darkness, and be able to walk through the gate.  Let's be the people that eat from the tree of life, and stay happy forever.

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