God Reserves The Right To Exclude Those Who Can Enter His City
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel…25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Many have wondered why, if we are all created equal and in the image of God, we should build walls, defenses, obstructions, barriers, or any other kind of impediment to people who wish to enter the borders of a nation. For example, let’s choose a nation in particular, the United States of America.
The President of this nation as of this writing, Donald J. Trump, has made the very bold suggestion that a wall be built to separate the national borders between itself and its Southern neighbor, the country of Mexico. Many have spoken out and said that building walls to keep people out of a country is RACIST, BIGOTED, and ANTIQUATED.
Yet, we see that GOD HIMSELF has built walls for His city, The New Jerusalem. Let’s take a moment to look at the CHARACTER of God to see if God is RACIST, BIGOTED, and ANTIQUATED:
- Is God RACIST?
- There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28
- Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:11-12
- Is God BIGOTED?
- And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. – Joel 2:32
- And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. – John 12:32
- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
- You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13
- But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. – 2 Peter 3:8-10
- Is God ANTIQUATED?
- All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16
- What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything [continually*] new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:5
These are just a few passages from God’s holy word about HIS character. From what can be gleaned here, it would not appear that God is RACIST, BIGOTED, nor ANTIQUATED. If that is the case, then building a wall around a sovereign area is NOT RACIST, NOT BIGOTED, and NOT ANTIQUATED. Therefore, when a leader of a nation, such as Donald J. Trump, POTUS, desires to build a wall around a sovereign nation, he is not RACIST, BIGOTED, nor ANTIQUATED (for wanting to build a wall around the sovereign nation that God has appointed him in his position of governance).
These arguments are instead a deceitful, emotionally charged, slanderous and/or libelous attempt to defraud, defame, and otherwise impugn the character of a leader of a nation for the purposes of influencing public opinion on a particular subject. This type of distraction is very effective when directed towards people who have been trained to think with their emotions rather than logical and ethical/moral reasoning.
Guardians at the Gates?
God has placed angels at the gates. The word angel is used to denote a messenger. But angels have had specific duties in addition to delivering messages to people. Usually these involve protection, or destruction. In this case, although the Bible does not clearly say so, it is most likely protection (when taken together with the verses that are after it). Why place guardians at the gates of your city? Should we not allow EVERYONE to have complete, unrestricted, access the city, its people, and it treasures?
God has, in His sovereign decree, restricted access to His holy city, The New Jerusalem, to ONLY those who names are written in the Book of Life. By sovereign decree, God is specifically EXCLUDING some who may desire to enter His city.
God is in the process of vetting those who can access the city. For instance, only those whose names are written in the Book of Life can enter. So, what is the exclusionary criteria for barring entry into the city?
- shameful acts
Why would God specifically exclude anything impure, or shameful, or deceitful? After all, isn’t God “inclusive” and “wanting everyone to come to Him” and “wanting no one to perish”? Why would God NOT allow some people access to the city? What possible motivation could God have that would even place the thought of being “EXCLUSIVE” into His thinking?
- God is HOLY
- God is RIGHTEOUS
- God is PURE
God cannot stand wickedness in His presence. God’s very nature abhors that which is antithetical to the truth. And those who cannot accept that there is truth (a measurable and quantifiable definition of the absolute nature of reality) will not understand the concepts of HOLY, RIGHTEOUS, and PURE, because to them, these are all RELATIVE TO THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PERSON VIEWING THEM, rather than objective and concrete and universal. Sin is like yeast. It alters and distorts that which it comes in contact with.
“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Do leaders have the right to impose restrictions of entry to people within the sovereign borders of their nations?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are merciful and gracious. Yet You are also holy, righteous, and pure. Thank You for having the iron fist with the velvet glove. Blessed be Your name. You and You alone are able to completely, without error, rule in correct judgment all created things, including me. Help me to understand Your position on National Sovereignty. If my views do not align with Your views, please change my heart to align with Your heart. Break down every stronghold in my mind that the world, the flesh, and the devil have erected to stand in opposition to Your revealed word. Help me to embrace Your character and Your heart, that I may draw closer to You as the last day approaches. Help me witness with my actions, but more importantly, with my words, about who You are and what You believe. Strengthen me as I encounter opposition to You and Your word. Remember me in my efforts to faithfully tell about Your Son and what He has done for everyone. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?
Notes: This blog has been edited for clarity
*The Greek verb here for making, poiO, does not have a direct English single-word translation. Strong’s notes on this verb indicate that it is:
- apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary;
- to make or do (in a very wide application, more or less direct).
The implication is that God will, for all eternity, be making His creation continually new. Imagine being in a finite place that never changes and is always the same. Many people call that JAIL. God, understanding that He has imbued us with His creativity and curiosity, will be forever subtly or drastically altering the very Universe He created so that we will not become bored. His glory, majesty, power, and dominion will be continually demonstrated and experienced by us for all eternity.