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THE CHURCH
(In That Day)


What Are the Last Days?

Isaiah 26:1 reads, “In that day shall this song be sun in the land of Judah; We have a strong city [the devil would like to sell us on the idea that we can only experience weakness and failure]; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” The defense or the strength of those literal cities was measured by how high and how wide the walls around the cities were. Then on the outside of the walls, they dug bulwarks out of the earth to hinder anyone from getting to the walls. In this verse God was beginning to talk about a city, and He said this is a song that will be heard there. You can use this as an earmark: you will find Zion when you find a strong city where people are singing about their strength. There are too many other songs being heard today.

Verses 2-4 read: “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth on thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”

Consider the first three words in verse 1: “In that day.” Many want to literalize the Bible completely and say that day was the time of the Assyrian invasion, in the day of Hezekiah when God so wonderfully helped them. However, Isaiah used this expression over and over throughout his prophecy. He was a prophet who understood much about the worth of Christ. He prophesied about the workings of Christ that were to come, what He would do, and how His power would be unveiled. If you want to find real prophesies of what Christ will do in this Gospel Day, just turn to the Book of Isaiah. He had some understanding that other prophets did not have.

Isaiah 2:1-2 says: “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days…” Preachers are telling people that the last days are the last few days before Jesus comes again. However, the last days, according to the Bible, began around A. D. 33 and go through to the end of time. The last days are the Holy Ghost dispensation. When the Bible speaks of the last days, it merely means that beyond this period, there are no days, or there is no time; beyond the last days is eternity.

Isaiah said in verses 2-3: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Many of these prophesies point to the church. Whether it is called a house, ad building, or a city, they all refer to the church, which is the church of the living God or the church of the Firstborn.

Zion Is Redeemed With Judgment

When the Word of the Lord goes forth from the mountain of the Lord’s house, the Bible says: “He shall judge among the nations [Through the preaching of the Gospel, He judges the people; he that believe is saved, and he that believe not is damned.], and shall rebuke many people [Not everybody will take His rebuke, but there are people who will take it and humble themselves.]: and they [who take the rebuke] shall beat swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (verses 4-5).

Many people are looking for a day, in a supposed millennial age, when there will be peace throughout the world and the swords and spears will be gone. Notice, however, that this was only to happen in God’s holy mountain, not all over the world. Isaiah was merely using a prophetic expression to denote how we would be changed through real salvation. There is peace, and Christ teaches us His ways, and when we learn His ways, there no longer is war.

Isaiah said, “in that day shall this son be sung…We Have a strong city…” In what day? Isaiah 25:9 states, And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this it the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” In Chapters 24 and 25, Isaiah set forth the picture of a worldwide judgment, because the Word of God and the law of God go forth from Zion, the church.

The Bible says Zion is redeemed with judgment. If you show me a place where strong judgment goes forth, I will show you a strong city, or a strong congregation. There is too much “mealy-mouthed” preaching going forth (smile): people can come into a congregation loaded down with sin, and no judgment whatsoever touches them. The Bible teaches us that before anybody can get saved, someone must put judgment on them and show them their true condition. The reason may over our land are not turning to God is that their true condition has not been pointed out to them. Nobody will become troubled about their sins, unless a preacher listens to God and pours out the Word as God lays it on his heart.

Remember, Isaiah’s prophecy was not broken up into chapters and verses until man broke it up for reference form. Isaiah kept right on preaching that there would be a day of judgment. Chapter 24:1 says, “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.” Isaiah said that men would turn the world upside down. How? With judgment.

Verse 2 says, “And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.” No matter where you work or what you line of work is, this judgment hits everybody the same. When someone pours out judgment that turns the world upside down, thank God, along with it comes salvation.

God-Appointed Salvation for Walls and Bulwarks

Let us read Isaiah 25:9 again: “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God [this is His work]; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” This is the cry of every true heart. They are not looking for somebody to entertain them or pat them on the back. True hears are looking for somebody to show them their true condition and the way out of that condition so they can be saved. They rejoice in God’s salvation. As we look at Isaiah 26:1, where he said, “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city,” we can know what day he was talking about. There may be a lot of cities, but there is only one city strong enough that no sin can get in. Brothers and sisters, we need to lift up our voices as never before to sing and tell about this strong city. While the cry is, “There is sin everywhere” (and some go so far as to say, there is sin in the church), we need to lift up our voices, because we have a strong city. What makes her strong and keeps her strong? God-appointed salvation will save you and keep you from sin. I thank God for a strong city! She is something that God has set in order, and He has put walls and bulwarks around her.

Many have studied about those ancient cities and the stone walls around them. They have learned how big they were, how wide they were, and what kind of defense they had. Zechariah 2:1-5 says: “I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breath thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls… For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.”

In other words, here defense will be found in the Lord, not in any human efforts or human walls that man tries to build. Isaiah let us know beyond a shadow of doubt that he was talking about New Testament Zion, the city of God, because the expressions he made point to the New Testament church.

A City, Which Has Foundations

We want to study this strong city, her defenses, and her citizens. In order to find this city, you must pass beyond all the literalities of Palestine. No part of this Scripture points to literal Palestine in any day or time, not now or in a supposed future age. To find this city, you must also go beyond all visible institutions and organizations of man. No organized church among man can ever represent this city. Isaiah was speaking of a strong city, and within his mind was the indestructible vitality of true Israel. He was talking about people who found the city that Abraham looked for, as mentioned in Hebrews, the eleventh chapter.

Abraham lived in tents looking for this city. Hebrews 11:10 reads, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations [something that could stand, something that was strong], whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 12:22-23 tells us: “But ye are come [Abraham looked for it, but ye are come] unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God the heavenly Jerusalem…To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven…” Abraham and others down through the years of time have looked for this city. They traveled about here and there, looking for a city which had foundations, one that would stand, one that would be secure, one that would withstand everything that could come against her, whose Founder, Builder, and Maker is God.

Hebrews 12:22, “ye are come,” not ye will come. Every born again believer has already reached the city of the living God. Again, verse 23 says, “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” Brother, you did not come till Abraham came. Abraham and all the other Prophets looked for the city and prophesied about it, but they never found it. However, if you were to read in Hebrews, the ninth chapter, you would find that when Christ died on the cross, He canceled the transgressions of the first testament and opened up the way for every one of the patriarchs to walk right into this city which has foundations.

Hebrews 11:39-40 says: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, receive not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” This city takes in the redeemed of all ages. When Christ died on the cross, He redeemed those people under the Old Testament and, at the same time, opened up a way for you and me through real salvation to come into the same city, a strong city.

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Moved

Hebrews 12:24-27 reads: “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven [this is speaking of our day]: Whose voice then shook the earth [at Sinai]: but now he hat promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet one more, signifieth [or is a sign of] the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those thing which cannot be shaken may remain.”

At Sinai God spoke and shook the earth, but He is going to speak once more one of these days, and when He speaks, He will remove the heavens and the earth (read 2 Peter 3:10). You see, we are headed for a serious time. It was serious when God so shook the mountain of Sinai that they quaked with fear; Moses eve trembles under the voice of God. However, when God moves again, He will do more than just shake the heavens and the earth: He will remove them

I realize that Scripture has been used to denote that the heaven and the earth that He shakes is the church and earthly organizations of religion; but friend, we have a strong city, and the true church never gets shaken. We know this is true because it says in Hebrews 12:28-29: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved [whether the Bible speaks about a kingdom, a strong city, the church, or the Kingdom of God, it refers to the same thing], let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.”

When Isaiah said, “In that day,” he was speaking of the Gospel Day. Therefore, in the period of the last days, this song (We have a strong city) shall be sung. That day is not some certain twenty-four hour day, but it takes in the whole Gospel Day. There never was a time when the true Church became weak. There have been individuals who have fallen away, and groups of people who have fail; but God has always had a strong city. She is strong because she hears God’s Word and obeys it. She does not refuse God, but she walks in the light of His Word. There was a great falling away of people, and there is yet today; but God still has a strong city. If you find the people who are in this city, you will find that they are singing this song.

Paul let us know that we are come to Mount Zion right now, here on the earth, to an order that is indestructible, a kingdom that cannot be moved. It is solid and secure, and it cannot fail. If this message is not preached, read, studied, and believed, we will easily drift away from it. If this happens, we will begin to present the Church as a city among cities, or a church among churches. Again, the Church, or the city of God, is a strong city. We are not one of them; we have a strong city! The reason our city is strong is that our salvation is not man-made; God has appointed it. Through God-appointed salvation, He can save you and keep you.

Spiritually speaking, shakings have come and will come. Every Babylon falls. Human institutions change and pass, and the kingdoms of old are cast into another mold. Nevertheless, high and persistent, and standing above them all, is the city, which has foundations! She cannot fall, and she cannot fail; you can put your trust in her. Paul talked about a lot of things happening, but in 2 Timothy 2:19, he said the foundation of God (that which God has founded) stands sure! Revelation teaches us that Zion still stands and rejoices while Babylon’s cities burn. The strong city stands and rejoices in the judgments of God.

The city that Isaiah was talking about is not a literal city. He was speaking of the city of God, that God founded, a city which has God-appointed salvation for its walls and bulwarks. Isaiah said we have a strong city, and then he gave the reason: salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

The Defense of the City

The old literal city’s protection was in its high, strong, wide walls and in how many bulwarks it had on the outside to hold back the enemy. God has only one defense for His city: Salvation. Friend, real and true salvation is all you really need; you do not need salvation and something else. A real experience of salvation will put you in a place where the enemy cannot do anything unless God lets him, and everything that God lets him do will only make you better, stronger and more obedient Christian.

When I used to sing in the old quartet, we sang, ”With salvation’s surrounded, you can smile at all your foes.” It makes no difference, what kind of foes come upon you, they cannot prevail against you. David said in Psalm 27:2, “When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” What did they stumble over and why did they fall? They reached the walls, and God said to them, “You can go this far, but no farther.” We need to lay hold on this experience and rejoice in what God has done for us. I repeat, the defense of this city is God-appointed salvation.

Isaiah used the word salvation to describe the defense of the city. By salvation, he meant not only the negative aspect of it, but also the positive blessings. Negatively, salvation includes the removal of every conceivable and endurable evil. You are not standing in the strong city with salvation’s walls surrounding you unless you are ready to turn from every conceivable evil. Furthermore, after you live for God for a while and find something else that is evil, you must lay it aside, along with everything else that would defile the flesh or the spirit; and you must perfect holiness in the fear of God.

When Isaiah talked about salvation, not only was he speaking of laying aside the evils of sin and sorrow, but he also was speaking of a positive investiture of every good that we can possibly obtain, whether it is for the sake of goodness or happiness. This is what he meant by the walls and bulwarks that God puts around the city.

Notice in Isaiah 26:1 that he said God will appoint. In other words, the real defense of this city is God Himself. Paul taught this in a New Testament doctrine in Ephesians, the sixth chapter, when he said to put on the whole armor of God, or God’s armor; stating it in a simpler manner, we must put on God. We read in Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” God is our defense.

God appointed salvation, not just to deliver you from sin and then turn you from sin and then turn you loose to do the best you can, but it is a salvation where you trust in God every hour of every day. If you will trust in Him, you will find the security that Isaiah was talking about.

No Evil Shall Befall You

The experience of salvation within our poor hearts is the best defense against the evils of sin and sorrow. In the trying times of temptation, or when you are under the pressure of calamity, there is nothing that so draws the poison from the fangs of sin and sorrow like the loving assurances found within God’s appointment.

Psalm 91:1-2 states: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” Verse 10 tells us, “There shall no evil befall thee…” David was talking about the defense that we have in God. We are living under the wing of the shadow of the Almighty, and no evil will befall us.

I have worked with people in my ministry when sadness, heartache, or reverses came upon them. Many of them have said, “Brother Wilson, I read the ninety-first Psalm, and it said no evil shall befall me, but here I am in trouble.” So I told them that they did not read it with understanding. Why will no evil befall you? Romans 8:28 lets us know, that everything that happens to us works for good and not evil. When the trial comes to the sinner, it puts him down lower and lower; but when the trial comes to the Christian, it brings good and uplifts him.

You may ask, “Do you mean that you can be so saved that no evil can befall you? That is exactly right. God has appointed salvation so that anything that the devil can try on you, if you are within God’s appointment, will not work evil, but it will work good. It may work evil against the flesh and put the flesh under a strain, but at the same time, it will work “good” for the soul; and it is the soul that God is interested in.

We have a strong city, and there is no better ammunition than that to use against the devil when he comes roaring or when he comes slyly. You see, the devil does not always come as a roaring lion… sometimes he comes as a Delilah, a good-looking woman. Some could handle the roaring lion better than the good-looking woman. There are many ways that the devil comes, but as soon as God enables you to recognize that it is the devil, you need to look him in the eye, so to speak, and say “Devil, here you are, so there must be some good coming to me. God say that I needed to be strengthened and helped.” The devil is the saints’ exerciser. No evil will befall you inside this salvation when you put your trust in God.

“Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace”

Job lost more than many of us will ever have. He was one of the richest men in the East, and there were not many poor folks there. The Lord had blessed him so much that he lived in abundance. One day the devil was waling up and down in the earth, trying to show his power. So God stopped him and said, “I know you have upset a lot of people, but have you considered My servant Job? He is a perfect man who eschews evil and lives for Me.” It was not long afterwards that Job lost everything he had, including his family.

Job’s wife intimated the thought, that he commit suicide. She said, “Just curse God and kill yourself.” But Job said, “You talk like a foolish woman.” Job looked to God and trusted in Him. He said, “God, I have prayed, I have looked ahead and behind, to the right and to the left, but I can’t find You [here is where faith will work], but you know where I am. I am still standing on the promises, and I haven’t moved. I am standing within the borders of real salvation.”

Do you know what happened to Job later? God made that which looked evil work for good. Job came out of the trial with twice as much as he had before. This is where God is trying to bring the church. He wants us to have twice as much as we have now. Unfortunately, He cannot get some to stand true and hold their ground. We need to stay within the borders of real salvation and not cast ourselves away or cast away our confidence. We should trust in God who cannot fail and who has said no evil will befall us.

The latter part of Psalm 91:10 says, “…neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling,” and it is true! If you were to study the word plague as it is used throughout the Scriptures, you would find that the only time God sent plagues on people was when they would not move when He told them to. The reasons no plague will come nigh your dwelling is, that you move when God tells you to; you obey Him.

Real salvation is a service of love. We serve Him because we love Him, and when we love Him, we will keep His commandments and do what He asks us to do. Nothing so robs temptation of its power and lightens the pressure of our calamities and draws the poison from the fangs of sin and sorrow as the loving assurance that God has appointed. Only God knows where your salvation will lead you, but whatever God has appointed in the way of salvation for you, if you will obey Him, it will work for you good and the good of your soul.

Again, Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” With salvation you can live a life in perfect, unfurled peace. In the strong city, you can live in peace and pleasantness.

God Is in Control

In Acts, the third chapter, Peter and James were going through the gate called Beautiful. There they saw a man who had been lame from birth, and he was asking for alms. Verse 6 says, “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” John did not have the gifts of healing or the gift of miracles, but Peter did. In fact, all some people had to do to be healed was let the least shadow of Peter pass over them. This is why Peter did not say such as we have; he singled it down and said, “such as I have give I thee.”

Notice that Peter did not pray for the sick man. The Scripture does not say that he laid hands on the man and prayer. Peter had something, and he gave it. You cannot give what you do not have. Peter had some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He possessed the gifts of healing, and when he reached out and touched the lame man, strength came into his body and he stood up and shouted.

At the same time, there was a formal service going on inside the temple. When this man began to shout, everybody in the temple came out on the porch, because there was more going on out there than in the temple. Peter preached a message to that crowd. He fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy: “In that day shall this song be sung…We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint…” The religious rulers of that day asked him, “By what power or by what name have ye don’ this?” Peter answered, “By the name of Jesus, for there is no salvation in any other.” This stirred them. They looked at Peter and John as if to say, “Look at these fellows. They are unlearned and ignorant. Peter was just a fisherman.” Those religious men thought they could have some fun with Peter and John and twist them up as men have never been twisted, but it worked just the opposite, because Peter and John were a part of this strong city. Before they could say anything to Peter, he spoke up and said, “Isn’t this a strange thing? You have arrested us and brought us to the council because we helped a lame man. What kind of men are you?” and the audience just roared. Then they tried to assert their authority, and Peter said, “Whether it is right to obey God or man, I will let you answer that question.” The audience said, “We need to obey God!” After this, the religious rulers became fearful and let them go, because the people glorified God.

I want you to see this strong city. Peter and John put their trust in God. They knew where their strength came from. As soon as they got back to their own company, they lifted up their voices and prayed, “God, who made the heavens and the earth and who has power over everything, you see this situation. Lord give us boldness and a fresh moving of your Spirit so that we can strongly proclaim the Word of God to these people.”

The Operation of His Hand Will Keep Us

The song, “We have a strong city,” was sung first in the land of Judah. The Revelation tells us it was sung in many other places and in other times. The salvation, the victory, and the onward progress of the people of God depended entirely upon God. They trusted in Him, and they sought no human avenues. They looked to God because they knew that He had appointed salvation. He had appointed the way He wanted them to go, and they were living according to that way.

Jesus told us in Luke 21:28 to lift up our heads when this very time in which we are living comes upon us and everything looks dark. Lift up your heads and look to God. Saint, you do not have to back up and become weak, nor do you have to look to human help. We have a strong city! It is the city of God, where God has appointed our salvation. In this city it is blessed to learn that everyone who thinks he is naked is clothed. In all of you solitariness, you have a Companion. You may be unarmed but your defenseless head is covered with the shadow of a great wing. You need to think about this. We need to be reminded again and again that God is our salvation, our strength, our deliverer, and our help.

God is in control of this city. His purpose is to keep us saved. Everyone whom God saves, He saves to keep. There is a song that says, “Jesus Christ is my salvation, He will keep. From the power of temptation, He will keep. Underneath my Savior’s arm, I am safe from fear’s alarm. And from every loss and harm, He will keep.” God has appointed a salvation to save and keep us.

God stands ready to help us. The operation of His hand is keeping us safe every moment. When we take this by faith, we will not ask for the poor, feeble, earthly works that our senses will throw at us. From our flesh, comes the powers of our senses. They will reach out for something that is earth made, for something that you can see with the natural eye. When you walk with God, you can go up the steps, so to speak, and not need a handrail. Now, our earthly senses would feel more secure if we had a handrail, but a lot of people have wrecked and ruined their life of faith by holding out for some kind of handrail that their natural senses could grasp.

We cannot have faith until we have hope. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…” Many people do not hope to see things any better. Many people do not have any hope of a great revival breaking out among us, but it can happen. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. There is nothing too hard for God. God can still shake this old world. Through the workings of His Holy Spirit, I have watched Him time after time.

Sin cannot stand up against this strong city. All the devil’s strategies fall at the feet of God. It is blessed to know that I live in a strong city. When I hear the devil roaring, I can say, “Thank God! Before he ever gets me, he has to get past Jesus.” Jesus stands between me and every for.

Open the Gates

Another reason this city is strong is because of the citizens. Again, Isaiah 26:2 reads, “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.” No evil can get in this city. The gates are only open to righteous people. Before you can get into this city, you must meet God at an altar of prayer, get rid of evil, and get the power of God in your life. Your name cannot be written down on the list of citizens of the strong city until you become righteous. Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

There is no sin in the church. The devil has tried to put sin in the church through such doctrines as inherited nature and any other move he could make. However, none but the righteous can get into this strong city; this is another reason she is strong. We are living in a day when church doors are being opened to most anything. Isaiah said to open the gates. We are to open them in such a way that only a righteous people who keep the truth may enter in. Revelation 21:27 says, “And there shall in no wise enter into it [the righteous nation] any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Peter, inspired by the Holy Ghost, preached on the Day of Pentecost the promises made to the Jews and their children, and also to those who were afar off, the Gentiles. After a few days had passed, God called him to hold a meeting for a few Gentiles (Acts 10). However, before he could go, God had to take him on a housetop, let down a sheet three times, and tell him, “What God has cleansed, do not call unclean.” God sent three men to take Peter with them. God told Peter that they were coming to ask him to go to an Italian man (a Gentile) to teach him and those who were with him. He did not want Peter to turn them down or ask them any questions. He wanted him to get up and go when the knock came; so Peter went.

Peter had learned some lessons by the time he got to Cornelius’ house. He saw God move on those dear people through the Holy Spirit, acknowledging them as obedient people, when God poured out His Spirit upon them. Acts 10:34-35 states: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”

Isaiah 60:21 reads, “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” Isaiah talked about this strong city in verse 18 also. He said, “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within they borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.”

How do we open the gates? By giving praise to God. When there is a dying down of the real praises of God, along with that comes a great lack in reaching souls and bringing people in, because they go together. We each have a job to do. Thank God for the strong city, but the command is for you and me to open the gates.

Again, the qualification for entering into the city is righteousness, absolute purity. Because many people have lowered the standard in search of numbers, some congregations are no longer a part of this strong city. They have lost their power with God and their winsome way with the people. God has given us a strong city. Let us labor to keep it that way.

The Continuing City

Note that all the security and blessings of salvation rest on your continuing to be righteous. In Old Testament salvation, they found no continuing city (Hebrews11). They looked for one to come, and we have found it. Thank God, this salvation is everlasting. This strong city endures and continues forever. When you pass through the experience of death, you simply go from the downstairs room to the upstairs room, so to speak; you are still in the same house, or the same city.

What is the continuing city? The church of the living God. When everything else has fallen to pieces and has been shaken loose from the judgment shocks of eternity, this strong city will move right on through the Judgment and take its place in a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.

My friend, we must continue in righteousness to enjoy the defenses of this city. Every flaw, every failure, every drop beneath the standard, and ever fall below obedience will rob us of the consciousness of the walls of this city. Doubts will come into your heart as to whether or not you are a citizen of it. The Psalmist said in Psalm 24:3-4: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure hear…” This is the standard.

In 1 John 3:7 John said, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteous righteousness is righteous…” Those are the only ones whoa re righteous. You are not righteous by faith, but by doing righteousness. Only the righteous nation enters in and stays in this strong city.

Another reason why this city is strong is that God keeps her pure. Revelation 21:27 tells us that nothing can enter in that would defile, work abomination, or make a lie. We need to lay forth the truths that keep her strong. There is no other way for Christians here on earth to pass into and keep within the city of the living God without possessing purity, righteous of life, and cleanness of heart.

Anyone who thinks himself a citizen of this great city and falls into transgression will soil the cleanness of his hands and upset the calmness of his pure heart; by self-willed sinfulness, he will find himself outside of this embattlement, feeling robbed and alone in a pitiless desert. Dear one, I repeat, only the righteous nation can enter in. Isaiah 26:2 makes this very plain.

Revelation 21:23 speaks of this strong city. Somebody may say, “That verse is talking about Heaven.” No. A lot of people have this idea because the truth has not been presented to them. The church is the greatest thing on earth, and John had to use symbols for us to understand it. How do we know this is speaking of the strong city? Revelation 21:9 states, “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 will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” The rest of the chapter speaks of the strong city. The bride is the strong city.

These Scriptures are not talking about heaven. They are speaking of the Lamb’s wife, the bride of Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. John described the bride and likened her unto a city to give us a picture. The Revelation does not talk about the Heaven where God dwells, but about the heaven where ecclesiastical forces have been lifted.

The Glory of God Lights the City

This is the first thing that is necessary to see this city: verse 10 says, “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain…” You cannot stand on the lower levels of this old world, down in the quagmire of sin, and see this strong city. You have to be carried away in the Sprit and lifted up by the power of God to a great and high mountain, the mountain of God’s holiness. After you have been lifted up to the great and high mountain, then you can begin to see the New Jerusalem, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. This simply means that the church was developed in the very mind of God. Babylon (false religion) came up out of the earth, but the New Jerusalem came down for God. She is God’s church, she is made up of God’s thoughts, she is empowered by God’s power, and she has the glory of God.

Verse 23 says, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” The light of the moon (the Old Testament) and the light of the sun (the New Testament) were to lead you to the Lamb. Somebody may ask, “Do you mean I can have greater light than the Bible?” Yes. The Bible will lead you to Christ and truth; but when you come to it and obey it, you are standing in a greater position where you can say, “I not only know the Bible is true because the Bible says it is, but I know it is so because it is true within my own heart.” The Bible will lead you to where the Lamb is the light, where a living Christ becomes the light of your life.

Verses 24-25 read: “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. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” We have come into a time of everlasting light. If you stay within the walls of this strong city, and if you will put your trust in God and obey Him, there will be no night; no more darkness.

Verses 26-27 state: “And they shall bring glory and honor of the nations into it [Any glory that potentates, kings, and the highest ones on the earth have, when they find this city, they will lay it down, because this glory exceeds all other glory!). And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie [the worst lie is the kind that people live]: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Over and over, the song, “We have a strong city,” was sung. As we have learned from this message, it began in Judah, right in Judea, with a band of people who refused to bow down to what men or devils said. It was also, sung by the church in the Revelation.

Living Fountains of Waters

In the seventh chapter of Revelation, God was ready to turn the winds loose on the earth. This was nothing more than the real powers of judgment. God wants every one of His servants to be sealed with the sealant of the Holy Spirit so that they will not be hurt. Verses 9-10 reads: “After this I beheld, and, lo a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands [here is a part of the strong city]; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

As you read through this chapter, you will note that one of the elders asked John if he knew who these were and he said, “Sir, thou knowest, as if to say, “I don’t know.” John saw the morning-time church before they went into tribulation. Thank God, they still had palms in their hands, and they were still holding on to the victory. The tribulation could not shut them out. What was the reason? Salvation is of God.

Verses 15-16 say: “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” Jesus said if you eat this Bread, you will never hunger again. He told the woman at the well in John 4, if you drink of this Water, you will never thirst again.

These people were living for God, and they did not hunger or thirst; neither did the sun light on them, nor any heat. Why? The Lord is their shade. When you live for Him and you are true to Him, while the Word is burning up other people, you can be cool and calm because you are a part of this strong city. God’s true people do not need to have the heat put on them, because they love God, the service of God, the work of God, the church of God and the men of God.

Revelation 7:17 reads, “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters [This is plural. You will find that living fountain of water when you get saved; then as the Lord leads you, He will lead you to living fountains of waters.]: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” This does not mean that you will never have tears as long as you are here on the earth, but when the tears come, God will wipe them with the comforting power of His Holy Spirit, and He will sustain you.

Isaiah 26:4, says to trust in the Lord Jehovah forever. Do not quit, saint. Do not allow the devil to detour you. It was God who appointed your salvation in the very beginning, and it is God who keeps the appointment and the working of it day after day. If you trust Him, you will not hunger.

Why have some people who were once true saints turned to the world? Because they began to hunger for the things which they once turned away from. What causes a desire for the ways of the world? Ceasing to follow the Lamb. If you will follow Him, you will never hunger or thirst. That is just another way of saying you will be fully satisfies with the Lord.

Psalm 48 tells us to walk about Zion and consider her towers. According to the teachings of Jesus, the towers are people who have high experiences. They have built towers by faithful living, and they are living above other people. After you have looked at the towers and the bulwarks, the Psalmist said to tell you children about them. The reason many children are not getting saved is that their parents have lost their vision of the church. If you run down the city, your children will believe what you say, and they will not want any part of it, because you have closed the gates to the city right in their faces.

Do you live in this strong city? Are you within the appointed walls of salvation, where you can smile at all of your foes? How can you smile at them? Because; He that is in you, is greater than he that is in the world (John 4:4).

Are you living a righteous life? Do you have clean hands and a pure heart? Friend, this city is God’s designated plan. If we were able to bring anything in that defiles and corrupts, it would take the strength away from the city. May you hear the Word and obey is a God has sent it to you. [ The End ]


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