Tamarajo is an avid Bible Studier who loves nothing more than to seek out the treasures in God's Word and share them with others.
A full description of the New Jerusalem, the topic of this study, is recorded in John's book of Revelation.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
— Revelation 21:10-21
This heavenly depiction is so much more than a fantasy home to look forward to at the end of our earthly journey. It is the blueprint of an entire Christian life lived for God.
Much like the Tabernacle of the Old Testament Tabernacle, in which every detail spoke of salvation through a sacrificial system which Christ fulfilled, so to this structure's every detail will have something to say about a life lived in fellowship with Him. Both structure's main goal and focus are to dwell with God eternal.
This structure consists of the individual lives of believers, and It is also a picture and symbol of how God was able to take sinful humanity and bring forth a new and beautiful creation.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
— I Corinthians 3:9
. . . you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
— I Peter 2:5
Every foundation and gate will include people that were not perfect but submitted themselves and surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name means salvation. And in the end, the Lord was able to create a beautiful and suitable habitation with their lives.
So it is with us. Our individual lives may not seem to bear much beauty from our mistakes and may even be marred by the sins committed against us. But as we place our faith, trust, and hope in the saving work of Jesus' death for our sins and the sins committed against us, and in His resurrection, we can believe to have our lives resurrected and transformed into a beautiful new and perfect creation.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
— Romans 8:28
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
— Ephesians 2:10
Jesus, whose name means salvation, is the only sure foundation and how our life with God must begin with this groundwork laid. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of our lives, and all else is to be built upon faith in Him and what He has done for us.
This article begins with the materials and their spiritual applications used to start building upon the foundation of forgiveness through Christ alone.
Once the foundation is laid, we need to be careful about building and what we are building with.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on itendures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
— I Corinthians 3:9-15
Gold Silver And Precious Stones
In this portion of Scripture, there are two sets of materials with which we can build. In the first set, the first three materials consist of gold, silver, and precious stones and are good solid everlasting materials and reveal to us how the tool of faith is how godliness, redemption, and glory are installed in our life.
- Gold in the Bible represents God's divine nature of love.
Believing and trusting in who He is in all His goodness, splendor, and majesty, with an unerring eye on eternal life, will impart to us these very qualities.
. . . we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord
— II Corinthians 3:18
- Silver in the Bible represents redemption.
Believing we have access to God and all the good that he has for us through Jesus, who paid the redemption price for our sins, knowing we are forgiven and forgiving others, enables us to live life on new terms, and as new people delivered from the power of darkness. We are then set free from the things we have done and the things done to us.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
— Colossians 1:13-14
- Precious stones result from the above two, and we begin to see ourselves as God's redeemed children reflecting His goodness, glory, and majesty to others and may include suffering for His namesake.
Wood, Hay, and Stubble
The second group is wood, hay, and stubble. These represent Christian activity that looks important but has little eternal value and is generally self-serving. Or they can be blatant and obvious sins of the flesh.
- Wood, in the Bible, represents the carnal man. It is trusting in our human abilities and reasoning to meet our needs and primarily focuses on this life.
- Hay is justifying ourselves and making ourselves "seem" right in what and why we do it.
- Stubble represents believing that the above two will get us to our destination.
Heat and pressure will either cause us to become a precious jewel or a heap of ashes.
Heat and fire will refine and beautify the first three materials. Heat and fire will inevitably destroy the last three. There is no way to avoid the heat and fire of living life. Heat and fire will reveal the real substance of the materials.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
— I Peter 1:6-7
The Chief cornerstone that Jesus laid is the revelation that God the Father, the creator of all things, and the giver of life loves us. Jesus' life, teachings, and His interactions with people were all attempts to communicate love to the human heart, which was finalized by His death for our sins.
When Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, the doubt of God's ability to satisfy them entered their souls, and the faith and provision that came with it was never again retrieved in the human experience until Jesus came to restore it. Most of our sins have to do with attempts to please, satisfy, and comfort ourselves and the genuine needs of our hearts without considering God. A lot of our religious activity centers upon the very same motivation.
The needs of our hearts are love, acceptance, value, peace, protection, and knowing that our lives have meaning and purpose. This revelation is the framework for our house. What we build upon and the materials we use to make that structure will determine if that house will stand on this earth and into eternity.
. . . whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.
— Matthew 7:24-27
Examples of Wood, Hay, and Stubble
Trusting that my good deeds will buy me God's love and acknowledgment and or the love and acceptance of others is one example of inferior material.
Years ago, I had a friend whose daughter died of cancer, and I tried to do so many things for her that I felt weren't even noticed. One day I was complaining about it in my heart. Minutes later, I received a phone call from my friend saying she had a gift for me to say thank you for everything. My heart was immediately convicted, and I believed the Lord to me, "here is your reward" I understood this to mean that if earthly acknowledgment and appreciation were what I was looking for, then this was it. Still, I certainly felt that I missed out on something so much bigger, better, and eternal.
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
— Matthew 6:1-3
We are not doing God favors by our good deeds. God wants our good deeds to be born from the knowledge and experience of His love for us and our desire to reciprocate that love.
We love Him because He first loved us. Our "works" are not good deeds our "works"are to be this:
— I John 4:19
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
— John 6:29
When we believe that He first loved us and do deeds for others from that love, our motives will be pure and not self-serving.
Another thing we might try to build a structure is the opinions of others. We set out to please people rather than God. We become dependent on their acceptance of us, and whether they think well of us or not becomes paramount to us. It can lead to self-hatred for not being able to meet up to others' perceived expectations or hatred towards others because of their inability to fulfill our expectations. If someone says something bad about us and it shatters us, our house is built on sand. God only becomes God to us when His thoughts are esteemed above the opinions of others.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
— Matthew 6:24
We cannot serve God and mammon, ourselves, or the opinions of others. When we are loyal to the views of others, we will think little of what God thinks. God ceases to be God to us when we exalt others' opinions over the thoughts of God in this way.
When we get our sense of value from good deeds and others' opinions, we are trusting and founding our lives upon the premise that I am only valued for what I do. The result is being used by others and accomplishing nothing of spiritual value in their lives or our own. We endlessly busy ourselves with the lives of others to the neglect of our own relationship with God. Our house is being built on sand.
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
— Luke 14:26
God is not asking us to hate these significant relationships. He is asking us to put Him far above any one of them. Our value is not found in any of these relationships.
Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
— Psalm 45:10
Another faulty building material is trusting ourselves, our spouse, our children, our friends, or our government to keep us safe from physical or emotional harm. This misplaced trust may lead to great fear and disappointment as the storms of life blow, and we observe how flimsy these resources are.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
— Psalm 4:8
Trusting in success to fulfill our sense of meaning in life is a poor resource and can lead to devastating depression when a failure occurs. If we feel we are nothing because of a lack of worldly success, our house is built on sand.
. . . for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
— John 12:43
God will affirm us if we worship Him.
We all have a need to be seen and heard. If we believe that if we could have a moment of fame, or even live a life of one, so we could feel good about our existence, we are building our house on sand. It can lead to pride, and we may do desperate things to obtain it. It is only God's notice that matters as Hagar well discovered.
Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”
— Genesis 16:13
I believe that God understands that we feel natural emotions of disappointment with each of these examples, but when we have allowed them to devastate us, we can be sure we built our lives upon them, and they are only sinking sand.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
— Hebrews 4:15-16
If no one on this earth loved us again, we are still loved.
I can't help but think of our cornerstone, Jesus, who went to a cross all alone and was abandoned by all who claimed to love Him, yet He kept His eyes on the Father's love.
I was reading a book called He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen, and the author suggested the possibility that when Jesus asked, "Father, why have you forsaken me" it wasn't because the Father forsook Him. He was just so clouded by the sin that He bore that He couldn't see it and became like us. Jesus later said to the Father, "into your hands, I commit my Spirit," meaning even though He felt so forsaken, He still chose to trust the Father's love.
But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
— John 2:24-25
Everything we do outside of the experiences of God's love for us can be traced to an impure motive to attain something our soul needs, which translates to sin even if it looks good by worldly standards.
If our value, esteem, and security are in God and God alone, it cannot be stolen. It is a firm foundation. No matter how others treat us, no matter what our circumstances are. God himself submitted Himself to a human death to prove it.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:19-21
For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bond servants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed
— I Corinthians 4:5-9
Knowing Jesus and the love of the Father, through His cancellation of our sins, is the bedrock of the condition of our souls.
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
— Matthew 16:13-19
Jesus wasn't saying He was going to build the church on Peter. He said He was going to build His church upon the foundational belief that Jesus is the Messiah (appointed, anointed, empowered one to do so). And the church would then be built by the revelation of individual believers who understood Him to be their savior.
Through God's sacrifice of His one and only Son, sin no longer separates us from His love. People can treat us wrong, and we can still know we are loved. We may make mistakes and still know we are loved. The wind in our lives can howl like a category five hurricane, but our soul is safely held in our knowledge of His love for us. We are free to be loved and free to share the love with others. We have access to His throne of grace to obtain what we need (Hebrews 4:16). We no longer have to scramble through our lives, looking for ways to milk our needs and desires out of other people. We no longer need to manipulate our circumstances to make ourselves comfortable. We can rest on the solid rock.
Are the materials of our thoughts, feelings, lives, situations, circumstances, and even our attitudes, firmly planted on the bedrock and foundation of God's awesome love for us? If no one else on earth affirmed our value, can we know for sure, the creator of the universe values us?
Do we know that we are loved with an eternal love? A love that doesn't depend on anything that happens on this earth and never wears out.
The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.
— Jeremiah 31:3
If we do not believe He is our defense, we might avenge a situation ourselves. If we do not think He adores us, we may seek adoration from others. If we do not believe we are significant to Him, we may attempt to be substantial in other ways. If we do not think that He loves us and forgives us, we might try to make right our wrongs in some very wrong ways. If we do not believe He answers prayer, we may never talk to Him.
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
— John 14:8
Every human heart yearns to know "The Father" Jesus came to show us "The Father" and His great love.
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
— John 17:20-25
May we let the love of the Father transform our lives, and may our good deeds be born of our knowledge and experience of that love, and fulfill the plans and purposes of God.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
— Matthew 6:33
© 2010 Tamarajo
Tamarajo (author) on January 31, 2011:
Hello Skye, I love your photo with the baby. It is precious.
I hear you about much to do on hubpages. its tough to keep up with it all. I want to read it all. I wish there was reading by osmosis.
I would love to have have the link to the foundation song. maybe I will look it up on you tube myself.
I too had never heard of Ravenhill until I was researching for this study and his message is so strong yet undeniably causes us to think deeply and answer honestly.
I am glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate you stopping by and your precious comments.
Bless you Skye.
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on January 31, 2011:
I am back sister. I have tears in my eyes. I listened to the video. Oh my how my spirit was stirred. A Truly Beautiful and wonderful message. Ravenhil I had never heard of this man. My what a heart for GOD he does have. Awesome. Thank you for all the time you spend in sharing the truth. Love you again. hugs.
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on January 31, 2011:
Hello sister I am making my way here. There is so much to do on the pages of hubs of love. Please know I will come, wait for me. I want to hear!!!! Your teaching is powerful, precious, true, heartfelt and led by the Sprit in You. What a time God has led you to write this. I know many more will come in days ahead as the 'birthing pains' get closer together. I love how you teach verse by verse step by step. May God just keep the light shining in you to reach many hearts. I so need to be reminded and I just love you.
I will send the link to the 'foundation' song your way I can not think of song off of hand. Edward John from Norway is the artist. He has given His life to Christ to preach the Word. He writes his songs and sings it. He teach's as well. Hugs galore. Now you keep on ok sister? In Him. You are loved by an awesome God. ( - ;You are a precious gem!!
Tamarajo (author) on January 26, 2011:
Thank you hanging out. Doubly appreciated.
hanging out on January 26, 2011:
Tamarajo (author) on December 12, 2010:
Thank you for reading and commenting.
Cristina Santander from Manila on December 12, 2010:
Great hub with great insights to ponder about. Thank you Tamarajo for sharing these timeless truths in the light of God's Word. Blessings to you always and best regards.
Tamarajo (author) on December 11, 2010:
I had never heard of Leonard Ravenhill until I was researching for the lesson. He is powerful and preaches an extremely straightforward message of the truth. He is definitely not seeker sensitive. lol
Thank you for visiting and your encouraging comment.
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on December 11, 2010:
Thanks for the time and accurate research you put into your hubs. They truly speak to me. Thanks for the Ravenhill video as well. He is one of my favorite voices from the past.
Tamarajo (author) on December 08, 2010:
Thank you for your encouragement Laurie.
I am grateful for lesson learned with my friend. It was a living example of how inner motivations do get revealed when put to the test.
I used to think that the fire that tested was about when all was said and done but I think the testing occurs in the here and now. The Word says that God led the children of Israel into the wilderness to know what was in their heart.
"And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not," (Deut. 8:2).
The here and now is comforting in that it is like God is refining us and purifying us as we go rather than just hoping it all works out in the end.
Glad you enjoyed the study and thanks for stopping by.
Tamarajo (author) on December 08, 2010:
Hi Betty, I attended a bible Study for approximately 17 years taught by an extremely insightful teacher by the name of Jean Karau.
It was the first time I had ever heard of the symbolic things in scripture and their deeper meaning. She inspired me to want to search the Word for myself and discover what was beneath the surface of what we read.
I am forever grateful to her for her teaching me and giving me a deep and abiding love for His Word and the application of it.
Thank you for stopping by and I appreciate your comment.
Tamarajo (author) on December 08, 2010:
Thank you for your visit and encouraging comment Dave.
exjwlaurie on December 08, 2010:
Beautiful and powerful! Tamarjo, you provide us with such a substantial understanding of the importance of what we build our faith upon, and how we go about it in a way that praises our amazing God!
I agree with Betty, above--you brought forth practical meaning to the symbolism within the Scriptures you quoted.
I also appreciated your personal experience regarding your friend, whose daughter died of cancer. I don't believe for a single moment that you have lost your reward in heaven, over a moment of "human" failing. We are not perfect yet. What matters is that you cared, you reached out to a person in need--God doesn't deduct points on some scoreboard in heaven for momentary failing--He only credits us the 'good' that was produced. He knows your heart!
So, thank you for sharing this beautiful hub, I have been edified in having read it!
Betty Johansen on December 08, 2010:
A beautiful discussion of the niddy-griddy in the Christian life, Tammarajo. You really nailed the examples of wood, hay and stubble.
Thank you for the imagery of the category 5 hurricane that can't dislodge us from our knowledge of God's love. Powerful!
I was especially interested in the meaning of gold, silver, and precious gems. I had never heard that symbolism before, but it is meaningful. I'm going to try to remember these meanings in the future when I see these beautiful materials mentioned in scripture. Wood, hay and stubble too.
Dave Mathews from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA on December 07, 2010:
beautifully written and well developed thank you.
Tamarajo (author) on December 06, 2010:
Hello His daughter. The whole structure in Revelation is loaded with relevant here and now imagery.
Thanks for coming by and commenting.
Love His Word.
Tamarajo (author) on December 06, 2010:
Thank you for visiting and commenting Vladimir Uhri.
His daughter on December 06, 2010:
Another great one which is LOADED with so much to think about and contemplate in our own lives. Thanks for sharing.
Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on December 06, 2010:
Great Hub, brother, thank you.