Monday, March 7, 2011

A Heavenly City

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10)

I think this is such an amazing passage, because there are so many spiritual parallels to draw out of it.  I read these verses in late December when my family was taking a brief vacation.  Somehow they just hit me with so much meaning, in ways I had never understood them before.  Hebrews is a book where the Old Testament and the New Testament are woven together to point to Christ, who is the fulfillment of history, the Messiah and perfect sacrifice.  God has authored history in such a way that even the minutest details in the lives of the patriarchs can be marvelous reflections of realities fulfilled only in Christ.

Even though he didn't know exactly what his journey would bring, Abraham obeyed the call of God to leave behind his old life. He was a "stranger in a foreign country" - just as we are strangers here on this earth. The tent he lived in represents the "tent", or body, in which our spirits dwell.  Another really amazing parallel is in John 1:14 which says of Jesus, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." The word "dwelling" means "tabernacled", or "tented".  The promise of God has been fulfilled in us, who are now tabernacles of the Holy Spirit while we are traveling this fallen world.  Imperfect as these "tents" are, Paul confirms this incredible reality in 1 Corinthians 3:17.  "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"

Tents are a pretty temporary home, but that's the whole point.  The last verse in the Hebrews passage sums it up so amazingly - "he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."  Abraham looked forward and saw Christ, the corner stone.  By faith, we are wanderers in the wilderness, filled with the hope of our destination - the Heavenly City.  Revelation 21:22-23 says that "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp."  What a home we have to look forward to, as children of God whose inheritance and citizenship have been bought by the blood of Christ!  

No comments:

Post a Comment