“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, members of more than 5,300 branch churches in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Peru, Honduras, Bolivia, El Salvador, Argentina, Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, Netherlands, China, Japan, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, India, Mongolia, Egypt, Israel, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Swaziland, South Africa, Botswana, and Cote d’Ivoire, branch churches and local sanctuary members, those who are attending the service on the Internet all over the world, , and television viewing audiences,
Today is the Lunar New Year’s Day, it is one of the two major festive days in Korea.
Some of you went back to your hometowns for the holiday, but hurried back here to attend this Sunday service, and some others of the congregation should be joining us in this service on the GCN channel or by the Internet.
I hope all of you will have a wonderful holiday in the Lord. This is the 11th session in the lecture series on ‘Heaven’. Today, continuing from the last session, I will talk to you about the basic environments of the kingdom of heaven that is common for all dwelling places.
In the last session, I talked to you about the sky of heavenly kingdom. I told you the reason why the sky there is blue. I told you about the brightness that shines in the heavenly kingdom, about the clouds, and also about four seasons of the kingdom of heaven.
Then, I introduced to you the nature of ground and the kinds of roads in the kingdom of heaven.
In this session, I will tell you more about the different kinds of roads that are in the heavenly kingdom and then we will examine the river in the kingdom of heaven.
The sky and land of the kingdom of heaven that I explained to you in the last session are like the ceiling and floor when compared to a house. From this session on, part by part we will look at the contents that make up the inside of this ‘house’.
Through this message, I pray in the name of the Lord that the beauty of the kingdom of heaven will be placed more perfectly into your heart.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when I was talking about the kind of ground in the kingdom of heaven, I told you that there is no dust or soil but the ground itself is made of jewels, whether it is in paradise or in New Jerusalem. Also, I told you that all dwelling places had golden roads.
Then, some of you may wonder, ‘Is everything the same throughout all heavenly kingdom?” “What is better in New Jerusalem compared to paradise?”
Of course, for all of the dwelling places of the heavenly kingdom, the materials that make up the ground, the roads, and the buildings are not the soils, cement, and rocks as on this earth, but they are of gold, silver, and many kinds of jewels.
But even in this world that has nearly the same kind of materials, the quality is different. For example, sand has many different grades and qualities; and cement and various forms of marble also have different grades and qualities too.
In the same way, the ground, the roads, and the buildings have different kinds of qualities, even though they may be made with the same kind of materials. They have different brightness of light and different meanings.
For example, there is road of pure gold for all heavenly dwelling places. But the meaning of pure gold in each of the dwelling places is completely different.
Let me elaborate on this. Suppose the same kind of 24K gold rings exist. You may have bought one of them or you may have received one as a wedding gift.
If you have bought one with your own money, it may only be worth the money you paid for it, but a gold wedding ring has a very special meaning and special promise that goes with it.
Likewise, God has put meanings in each of the things that He has made with gold, silver, and various jewels for His children in the kingdom of heaven.
And according to the meaning that God has given, the brightness and characteristics of light emanating from the jewels become different too. Just think about Neon sign boards.
It’s the same signboard with or without electricity. However, when there is no electricity, the light doesn’t shine. But when electricity runs through it and the light shines, then the brightness and the beauty of the colors are completely different.
Even the jewels in the kingdom of heaven have different brightness of lights according to the meaning each of the jewels carries.
For example, the spiritual meaning of pure gold is ‘unchanging spiritual faith’.
And according to the measure of this unchanging spiritual faith, the dwelling place for each person is decided.
Paradise is a place for those who just accepted Jesus Christ and have the measure of faith that is barely enough to receive salvation. Thus, they don’t have the kind of spiritual faith that God acknowledges. Therefore, God did not give as much meaning to the pure gold in paradise, and the gold remains just as gold.
But as we go up to the 1st kingdom, 2nd kingdom, and the 3rd kingdom of heaven, it means we have reached closer to the complete measure of faith that God acknowledges.
Therefore, the pure gold in each of the places carries a deeper meaning as we advance from kingdom to kingdom, and they will show it in the brightness of the light.
Now, New Jerusalem is a place where those who have reached the perfect level of faith that truly pleases God.
So can you imagine just how brilliant the light that emanates from the various applications of pure gold in New Jerusalem will be?
The latter part of Revelation 21:21 says, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
The roads in New Jerusalem are not just roads of pure gold but they are like transparent glass. This means that those who enter into New Jerusalem have become completely sanctified in true hope and reached the perfect level of faith, and God acknowledges this fact.
Also, it tells us how bright the light is that is given off by the pure gold of New Jerusalem.
I just talked to you about pure gold, and it is the same for every other jewel. Because the spiritual meaning that God has given to each of the jewels is different, each jewel has different meanings in different dwelling places.
Those who enter into New Jerusalem have all aspects of the spiritual heart with which God is pleased. So, in New Jerusalem there are so many kinds of jewels that we cannot even name them all.
There are not only the 12 jewels that make up the 12 foundations of the city of New Jerusalem, but there are so many other beautiful jewels. The sizes of the jewels also vary. They range from very small ones to immeasurably huge ones. Some jewels give out double-fold light and some others give off triple-fold lights.
The fact is that the jewels in the 3rd Kingdom of Heaven are very different from those of New Jerusalem.
There are also many jewels in the 3rd Kingdom of Heaven, too, but not all jewels of New Jerusalem are present in the 3rd kingdom. In the 3rd kingdom, there are only the jewels that are the basic ones in New Jerusalem.
Also, in the 3rd kingdom, we cannot find any jewels that give out double-fold or triple-fold lights.
The kinds of jewels are simpler and even the same kind of jewel has a very different light coming from it. But of course, the pure gold even in the paradise is much brighter than any gold of this earth.
I hope you will be able to clearly feel how good the kingdom of heaven is by understanding the fact that even the most valuable gold on this earth is only the material used to make the roads in the kingdom of heaven!
Brothers and sisters, in the last session, I told you that other than the road of pure gold, there are also roads of flowers or roads made of various jewels.
Let me explain more about these roads of flowers and roads of jewels.
When we talk about flower roads on this earth, we usually think of the roads where there are flowers on either side of the road.
But the flower roads in the heavenly kingdom are made up of flowers themselves, and we will actually walk on flowers.
There we will have a very light heavenly body, so even though we walk on them, the flowers will not be damaged or even pressed down. You will feel very comfortable and soft as if you are walking on a very fine carpet. Especially, the flowers in heaven delight so much and give out their scents when children of God walk on them.
When we walk on them, their scent will be absorbed by our whole body, so that we will be all the more blissful, refreshed, and inspired.
Next, the jeweled roads are covered with many kinds of jewels that give out light that is clear and bright.
These roads give out very bright and colorful lights from the jewels, yet when we walk on them, these jewels give out even more beautiful light.
When you walk on this jewel road, you feel like you are walking on water, and it gives you a kind of thrill. But this thrill is not the fear or nervousness of sinking in water. If you have absolute safety measures you know that there is no chance of drowning even if you did sink, so you would be at peace while still experiencing the excitement.
But this road of jewels cannot be seen everywhere in the kingdom of heaven, but only in some special places.
Namely, it is made especially by God for those who not only resemble the heart of the Lord but also those who contributed very much for fulfilling the providences of human cultivation. These roads will be placed in their houses and surrounding areas.
It is not unlike on this earth in the palace where a king lives when a small pathway is made for his personal use with the best materials and has most exquisite applications available.
Other than these jewel roads or flower roads, there are so many unimaginable things prepared by God’s wisdom.
If just the roads will be so wonderful, then how much more wonderful would other things be?
No matter how much you imagine again and again, if you just go to the heavenly kingdom and see everything yourself, your jaw will drop to the floor because of the beauty of the kingdom.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, from now, I will tell you about the river in the kingdom of heaven. As said in today’s passage Revelation 22:1, in every dwelling place of heavenly kingdom flows the river of the water of life, which is as clear as crystal.
The source of this river of the water of life is the throne of God and of the Lamb located in New Jerusalem. This river flows from the New Jerusalem to the 3rd Kingdom, and to the 2nd Kingdom, 1st Kingdom, and to Paradise.
The water of life that flows from New Jerusalem to Paradise will flow back to New Jerusalem again, and it will keep on circulating through all places of the heavenly kingdom.
It’s just like our blood. It goes out from the heart and goes through all parts of the body to supply oxygen and comes back to the heart. Now, what is the reason why God named this river coming from God’s throne The River of the Water of Life, and what kind of spiritual meanings does it carry when it flows all throughout the kingdom of heaven?
John 4:14 says, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Here, the water that Jesus is giving to us symbolizes the Word God, and because this water gives eternal life, we call it ‘water of life’.
All living things must have water to survive. In the same way, in order to show that all the souls who enter into the kingdom of heaven have received salvation and life, God named this river coming from God’s throne, The River of the Water of Life.
Also, when this river flows throughout all dwelling places of the kingdom of heaven, it carries the meaning that God will reign over and keep all the souls in the kingdom of heaven, and He will give them grace day by day to fill them with more Spirit.
And it says this river of water of life is as clear as crystal. Even on this earth, when we look at clear water, we feel our heart is cleansed and refreshed.
When I was conducting some overseas crusades, in one country I saw some seawater that was so clear that the fish were all visible. Even at that time, I told our team that even though this place is so beautiful, it’s still not better than Paradise.
Certainly, any river or sea on this earth cannot be compared to The River of the Water of Life, even though the body of water may be clean and clear.
It just says the river of the water of life is as clear as crystal, but with human language, it is very difficult to express the kingdom of heaven.
But let us just imagine very clear and transparent water without any pollution, making a big river and flowing. It is not a torrent, and so it flows very quietly as if it were not moving.
Also, just as crystal reflects many kinds of lights, on this river with water that is as clear as crystal, many brilliant lights are shining.
Even on this earth, if you look out over a sea or lake in calm clear weather, you may see some splashing of gentle waves on the surface. It is such a beautiful scene to watch. Even polluted water of this world can give you such inspiration, and how much more inspiration will the river of the water of life give you in the kingdom of heaven!
In heaven, there is not only The River of the Water of Life, but also seas and lakes.
Rivers, seas, and lakes in heaven are of various sizes. Some of them are so big that they cannot be compared with any sea or lake of this world.
Also, as you follow the flow of The River of the Water of Life, you may encounter a very big waterfall. Some waterfalls in the kingdom of heaven are much bigger and more beautiful than Iguaçu, Victoria, or Niagara.
If you like seeing beautiful natural scenes but do not have time to do it working for the kingdom of God, you know that you can enjoy much greater scenic beauty as much as you want in the heavenly kingdom. So, I hope you will be even more faithful with that hope.
Brothers and sisters, what will the water of The River of the Water of Life taste like?
It will have a sweet taste that we can never taste on this earth, and after you drink it, your whole body will be energized.
When God made this earth in the beginning, He supplied this water of life on earth. But when everything was cursed because of Adam’s disobedience, even water was cursed, too. Since then, we cannot taste the taste of the actual River of the Water of Life.
Only after we get to the kingdom of heaven and drink it ourselves and only then will we be able to taste the original taste.
Also, water on this earth can quench our thirst only for a period of time, and it cannot give us eternal life. But the water of life in heaven will give the drinker life, strength, and energy.
But even though you drink the same water of life, the taste of the water that you drink in Paradise and that of New Jerusalem is completely different.
It’s because, even though the elements that make up the water are the same, the magnitude of satisfaction and happiness are different in each dwelling place.
For example, even if you drink the same water, the taste of that water before you climb up a mountain and the taste of water when you drink on the top of the mountain will be completely different. Likewise, the feeling of satisfaction gained from the water of life is different in each dwelling place, and the actual feeling felt in the mouths is different in different dwelling places.
For example, when you drink the same glass of water in a hot summer day, drinking very cold water right out of the refrigerator and drinking water that has been kept outside will give you completely different feeling.
Also, there are different ways to drink the water of life. You may directly drink from it with your mouth, or a ministering angel may bring it to you and you can drink it from a pretty glass.
I hope you will understand that even the same kind of water of life can give you completely different feelings and sense of satisfaction in different heavenly dwelling places.
In the next session, I will tell you about the scenes around The River of the Water of Life, and the happy life of heavenly kingdom that you can enjoy around this river.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, I talked to you about the roads and river of the kingdom of heaven. Everywhere in heaven there is road of pure gold and a river with water of life, but the happiness and satisfaction felt from them in each dwelling place is very different.
You cannot compare anyplace on this Earth to even Paradise of the heavenly kingdom. Not even those things that are in common can be compared. Everything in heaven will still be so different, even in the different dwelling places of heaven. It is to fulfill God’s promise saying, “I love those who love Me, and those who diligently seek Me will find Me.”
We all may say we believe in the Lord, but some people live for themselves more than they live for the Lord. In doing so, the happiness and satisfaction they will later receive will be just that much less.
On the other hand, if you love the Lord to the utmost degree, give up all worldly pleasures, and devote yourself for the Lord, God will give you true happiness and joy to the utmost degree that cannot be compared to anything of this world.
About this, 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” Romans 8:18 also says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
What kind of life would wise believers choose? Of course, our Lord shows many evidences that He loves those who love Him very passionately, but in heaven, He will abundantly give them the weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will passionately love the Lord in sincere faith and true hope, so that you will receive great love from God the Father both on this earth and in the heavenly kingdom.