Reflections on My Mission Trip

100_2112.jpgWell, I noticed that my stats were way up while I was away on my mission trip to Niger, West Africa. I’m not sure why that was, but I glad that people found things to read while I was away.

So, what happened in Niger? A great time of ministry! Missions trips to Mslm people groups is very different from other, more western groups. For example, you don’t show up and do a couple weeks of VBS for the kids! Thus, much of the ministry involves making, maintaining, and strengthening relationships that the full-time missionaries’ work easier in the long-term. As we met with some seekers, it was a joy to renew friendships I had made during my previous trip in 2006 and see the amazement from many that I had come back. It was an opportunity to speak a simple word for Christ and give glory to him as the source for my love for people who lived halfway around the world.

Much of our ministry also involved praying for the people and allowing God to unite our heart with the people so that in weeks and months to come, even in the comforts of your own home, you will not forget their poverty – physical and spiritual. And you will continue to intercede to God on their behalf, calling down his common and saving grace. During one 100_2218.jpgof our prayer walks around the city, we came across a man reading an old magazine. He was a guard for another person’s home. As the missionary engaged him in some simple conversation, the man asked what we were doing walking around in that part of the town (white people usually drive). We told him we Christians were praying for people. He quickly asked if we had anything we could give him to read about Christianity. The missionary probed a little further and the man asked for a Bible. He even called the next day to ask if we were coming with the Bible. We spent much time praying for that man, that the desire for God in his heart would be satisfied by the one, true and living God – the Father of Jesus Christ.

I was also able to use my gifts and engage in some teaching during the second week of my trip. I taught in two settings. The first setting was of new believers. I prepared a talk called ‘What Christians Believe.’ (You can read this talk online below or download it here). In it, I attempted to teach basic theological beliefs through the larger storyline of the Bible and the theme of promise-fulfillment.

Preparing this talk was a struggle – it had to be in one setting, to last only and hour to an hour and twenty minutes with translation (which meant 30-40 minutes of actual talk). Praise God that in the initial read through with my Tamashek translator, his first response was, ‘can we record this?’ Meaning, the talk was good! The praise for this does belong to God and not myself. I know many people were praying for me as I wrote this talk and whatever good will come from it is because of God’s help upon me as I prepared it.

When it came time to actually give the talk, it was a sobering experience. We were literally in the shadow of a small mosque down the street. Just before we began (though I do not think he knew what we were doing) the leader of the mosque came in the compound to say ‘hi’ to my Christian translator and his guests. And as I read over wonderful Christological passages of the Bible and drew out themes that exalted Christ as the focus of God’s plan of redemption, I realized that I too often take for granted these great beliefs. I was almost moved to tears as I read from John 1 –

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

100_2124.jpgThe missionaries do want to record this talk so they can hand it out to some new believers or very serious seekers. Please pray that God would use the talk to bring people closer to him, and that the name of Christ would be made much of through it.

I also gave a talk on Abraham for some “seekers” – those interested in learning more about Christianity. This came a result of one seeker who had caught only part of the story of Abraham’s offering of Isaac, but wanted to hear the whole thing. So, I prepared a talk that briefly went over Abraham’s call (Gen 12), God covenant promises (Gen 15), Sarah’s attempt at fulfilling the promises herself (Gen 16) and the birth of Issac (Gen 21). Then I spent most of my time in Genesis 22, drawing out the themes and teaching of the story of Abraham offering Isaac, but God stopping him and providing the sacrifice. I then immediately went to John the Baptist and his declaration about Jesus – “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Though I did not get into Jesus’ deity, I did explain his sacrifice for our sins that brings us peace with God.

The first time I gave this talk, an old Mslm man had come to defend Islm. Though, what he meant for evil, God meant for good. Because the man offered a criticism of what I had said about Jesus at the end, my translator (a Christian Tamashek) was able to go further than the talk and explain that the man did not understand the story of Abraham as well as he thought he did. He explained that Mslms believe that salvation comes by their own works, but that the story of Abraham shows that it doesn’t, and that Christ is necessary to receive God’s salvation. It was great!

God allowed myself and those on our church’s mission team to have a great experience in Niger, which I pray will result in the growth of God’s kingdom among the Tamashek. Pray for them. Pray for the missionaries. Pray that God will continue to use the words I spoke, building upon them with the words of the missionaries and others believers, and bring salvation to many.

_________________

What Christians Believe

Christians believe that everything begins with God. The very first words of God’s Word are “In the beginning was God.”[i] God is the almighty, eternal Sovereign who has always existed and always will exist.

And God has spoken. He has revealed himself to us. We are not left to discover God by ourselves. He has spoken and continues to speak to us through his word. For Christians, the Scriptures are God’s revelation of himself. The Bible allows us to know who is God, who we are, and how God desires us to live.

Since everything begins with God, it is not surprising that God is also the one who created all things. The first two chapters in God’s Word describe God’s powerful creative acts. God simply speaks – and all of creation comes into existence out of nothing. Everything that exists was created by God including human beings. In the book of Genesis, the prophet Moses says,

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”[ii]

As God’s special creation, humanity was supposed to be God’s servants. They were to worship and serve Him as they cared for his good creation. God’s Word says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”[iii]

But it was not very long before God’s good creation was spoiled by evil and sin. Moses tells us that soon Satan disguised as a serpent come into the garden and tempts Adam and Eve to do the one thing God commanded not to do – eat from the forbidden tree.

Satan begins tempting them by asking, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”[iv] He not only twists God’s word, but causes God’s people to doubt his word. God was gracious and generous, and had given all things to Adam and Eve except one tree. Even in denying them the one tree, God was good to them because to eat of the tree would mean their death.

But Adam and Eve choose to disobey God. They stopped trusting in him and his word. They stopped believing he was good and gracious. This is what the Bible calls sin. And result was that God brought his judgment on humanity as well as all of creation.

In this once good creation now comes sickness, disease, famine, and evil. Now the earth resists as man tries to cultivate it and grow crops. Now thorns and thistles grow alongside the flowers and wheat and millet. The earth resists our efforts to care for it and keep it.

Worst of all, though the very heart of man has been changed. People are not basically good anymore. Now every person born is born with a sinful nature.

This is why when Israel’s King David sinned, he prayed to God – “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”[v] From the moment my life began in the womb, I have been a sinner says David. And the prophet Jeremiah can say, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and [terribly] sick; who can understand it?”[vi]

Adam and Eve did not simply forget what God said. No, they sinned. They willfully turned away from God’s word and his promises and rebelled against his authority. As a result, they were thrown out of the garden of Eden never to return. In fact, God set an angel to guard against anyone returning to the garden. They lost the perfect life and communion with God they were created for.

And yet, even in judgment, God shows them mercy. He pronounces a curse on Satan and says,

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall [crush] your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”[vii]

When God speaks of Satan’s offspring, he is not speaking of literal children of Satan. Instead, he is speaking of two lines of descent from the woman – a godly line and an ungodly line. The godly line is made up of those who place their faith in God, experience his salvation, and live in obedience to his law.

The rest of humanity is that ungodly line – those who rebel against God. Since children often act like their parents, those who rebel against God, act like Satan. And so they are said to be his offspring.

But notice God said that from the offspring of the woman – from the godly line – one day a son would appear. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall [crush] your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Even in the midst of judgment God shows humanity mercy in the promise of a son who will one day come and end the conflict between the godly and ungodly. Though Satan will bruise his heel – injure him, the promised Son will crush the head of the serpent. The Son will deliver a fatal blow to Satan and end his rebellion against God and his affliction of God’s people.

From this point forward, the rest of the Bible shows how God is faithful to his promise. It shows how over decades and centuries, God is still moving towards this plan of defeating Satan and the power of sin in humanity.

Many generations later, God calls a man out of his worship of false gods to be one of his people. In Genesis 12, we read, Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[viii]

Abraham believed God and answered his call. He left his homeland and began to travel where the Lord led him. Some time later, the Lord came to Abraham again and said, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great. [And then we are told] But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”[ix]

Abraham isn’t complaining. It is actually out of his faith that he inquires of God. He believes that God will keep his promise, but he doesn’t see how. Remember what the Lord had promised him – offspring, descendants that would one day become a great nation. But he and his wife are childless and already old in age. There appears to be no hope of him and his wife having a child of their.

So, as was the custom at the time, Abraham has already adopted one of his servants – Eliezar – to be his heir. He’s done this so that his wife will be taken care of when he dies. And now he reasons that this must be the one through whom God’s promise will be fulfilled.

But what does God say? “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[x]

God is telling him, ‘I know your intentions are good. I know that you cannot see how I am going to fulfill my promises to you. But you cannot ring them about though your own doing. But I will keep my word. You will have a son from your own body. And through that son, you will have many more sons – so many sons, in fact, that to try and count them would be like counting the stars in the sky. And it is through those offspring that I will make you a blessing to the nations of the earth.’

Though he could not see how God would fulfill his promise, he believed he would. God’s word says, And [Abraham] believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.[xi] Abraham trusted – had faith in – the Lord. And because he had faith, the Lord credited to him, or declared him to be righteous.

Within Christianity, this is what faith is. Faith is simply trusting the promises of God. Faith is not righteousness. But faith is the means by which we receive righteousness from God. It is the means by which God gives what we need to be with him.

This is why later God’s Word can say, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”[xii]

Abraham was a man of God not because he earned it; not because he was righteous; not because he was born into it. He was part of God’s people because – by God’s grace – he trusted in the promises of God. He believed God in faith and received God’s gift of salvation.

Years go by and Abraham’s wife begins to waver in her faith in God’s promise. She tells Abraham to sleep with her servant. She wants to bring about the fulfillment of the promise. Abraham listens to the word of his wife instead of the word of God and sins by sleeping with Sarah’s servant, Hagar. From Hagar, a son is born named Ishmael. Yet, God comes to Abraham and tell him that he is not the son of promise.

Eventually God fulfills his promise. When Abraham is 100 years old, the Lord blesses him and his wife Sarah and miraculously allows her to conceive and bear a son. His name is Isaac. Eventually, Isaac in turn has two sons – Jacob and Esau. And though he was younger, God chose to use Jacob to fulfill the promises he made to Abraham. The Bible says that this was to show that God was the one who blesses and had mercy upon whomever he chooses.

And so, Jacob has twelve sons; twelve sons whose families grow into tribes and from tribes into a nation. God continues to show his faithfulness to his promise to Abraham. He has made his offspring into a nation.

However, that nation of Israel was living in Egypt. And though God had chosen to love Israel, the Pharaoh – king of Egypt did not. He feared that because Israel was so great in number that they would rise up and take over. So he forced them into slavery. There the people of Israel suffered and some were even killed.

But God remembered his promise to Abraham, and raised up a deliverer to save them. His name was Moses. God’s Word says, “Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey . . . And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”[xiii]

Through Moses, God delivered Israel out of the hand of Egypt. Through Moses, the Lord brings Israel to the land he promised Abraham his descendents would have. Through Moses, the Lord gives Israel his Law – instructions for life that will bring God’s blessing.

But he has still not given his people the Son he promised Eve. He has still not sent the final deliverer who will defeat Satan and restore fellowship between God and his people as it was in the garden of Eden.

But Moses himself tells Israel not to give up hope. He says, “And the Lord said to me . . . I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” [xiv]

After many generations, from among the people of Israel, God chooses a man name David to be King over Israel. And though the people of Israel have wavered in their faith and strayed far from God, David helps bring the people back to faith in God. Through military victories, and his own example of a deep, passionate love for God, the people are renewed in their faithfulness to the Lord.

As with Adam and Eve, as with Abraham, as with Isaac and Jacob, the Lord comes to David and makes a covenant promise to David –

“‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth . . . . Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a dynasty. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits [sin], I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, . . . . And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” [xv]

David soon has a son named Solomon. And he ascends the throne after his father dies. But he is not like his father. Though he is the wisest of all men, he is not as godly as David. Over the years, just as God promised, a son of David was always on the throne of Israel.

But not all of the kings were godly men. Some rebelled against the Lord and worshipped false gods. Others tried to reform Israel and had some success. But eventually the people rebelled so much that the Lord brings judgment upon Israel. He allows the nations to invade and take the people into exile.

The future looked dark for God’s people. Those few that were still faithful to God prayed and fasted and longed for God to fulfill his promise of the Son. The special, anointed Son – the messiah – who would defeat the enemies of God’s people and restore them to God.

God sent prophets to encourage his people. And every one of them continued to remind the people of the promised son, the messiah who would come and save God’s people.

Then, after 500 years of silence from God – 500 years of no words – God sends angels to announce the birth of the long-awaited Messiah.

The New Testament begins with these powerful words – “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.[xvi] Now all of the promises of God would be fulfilled in this man, Jesus Christ.

God’s Word says, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).[xvii]

Jesus Christ is the heart of Christianity teaching and faith. And as the angel told Joseph, what makes him so special is that he brought salvation to his people. Not just salvation from physical pain, or political enemies. He brought salvation from sins.

Because God is infinite in his glory and holiness, even the smallest of sins is worth an infinite punishment. So how can God forgive sins? How can he not punish us? We can escape judgment, because Jesus Christ took our punishment for us.

God’s Word says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”[xviii]

Here is the amazing truth that the Bible teaches about how sinful men and women are made right before God. It is not by doing good works. It is not by being born into the right family. Instead, it is by trusting Christ as their savior.

The Bible says that Christ death was substitutionary. When he suffered and died on the cross, Christ stood in the place of sinners. There, he satisfied God’s wrath against their sin. But more than that, the Bible tells us that if we are to live with God, we must be perfectly righteous. In Christ, God has not only provided a sacrifice that brings forgiveness for all our sins, he also provides us with the righteousness we need to have fellowship with God. Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect righteousness. He always obeyed the Lord and lived according to his will. So when we put our faith in Christ, God not only considers our sins punished on the cross of Christ, he also considers Christ’s righteousness to be our own.

God’s word says, “we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. . . . Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”[xix]

God’s Word calls Christ “the second Adam” who stands in contrast to the first Adam. Unlike the first Adam, Jesus faced the temptation of Satan and triumphed. He did not listen to the lies and half-truths of the devil, but remained righteous. In fact, in fulfillment of the prophet Moses said would come, Christ spoke forth God’s Word to defeat the lies of Satan.

Furthermore, Jesus came as the promised son of Eve – the first woman – who would defeat Satan. Christ became like us so that “through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.”[xx]

Jesus also came in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. God’s Word says, “Now the promises were made to Abraham and his offspring. It does not say, ‘and to his offsprings’ referring to many, but referring to one . . . who is Christ . . . [And if by faith] you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, [inheritors] according to the promise.”[xxi] All who trust God and believe Jesus is Savior and Lord – all who have faith in God like Abraham – are considered to Abraham’s children and part of the fulfillment of God’s promise.

More than that, Jesus came in fulfillment of God’s promise to David. Just as an angel of the Lord told Joseph of the coming birth of Jesus, so God also sent an angel to tell Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. The angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”[xxii]

Christ now reigns over all of God’s people as Lord and Savior. Because the offspring of Abraham are all those who have faith in God – Jew and Gentile alike – God’s word says that now all of God’s people are called the ‘new Israel.’ And so Christ is king over all.

Thus God’s word says, “All the promises of God find their yes – amen – in Christ.”[xxiii] All of the hopes of God’s people, all of the long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promises have been realized in Christ. This is possible because Jesus Christ is more than a mere man – he is both divine and human. He is God in the flesh.

When Jesus began his ministry, he was baptized in order to identify with his people. At his baptism, we see all persons of the triune God. God’s word says, “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”[xxiv]

Christianity believes that there is only one God. But that one God exists as three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It is important to realize that when the God’s Word speaks of Jesus being God’s Son, it does not mean Jesus was God’s physical offspring. Instead it speaks to his divinity. As we said before, in ancient times, a son often revealed something about the father. A father’s personality could often been seen in his son. If a father was a shepherd, the son was often a shepherd.

Likewise with Jesus – he perfectly reveals God the Father. He was the incarnate Word of God. Christ was the very embodiment of God’s message to the world. Christ came as the full expression of God and his word. God’s word says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”[xxv]

Jesus Christ was the able to be the perfect mediator between God and humanity because he himself was both divine and human. He is God in the flesh. His sacrifice was the perfect sacrifice that reconciles people to God.

And yet, Christ did not stay dead. Because of his faithfulness to the will of God the Father, and his willingness to give his life for others, the Scriptures say, “God has highly exalted [Christ] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”[xxvi]

We receive God’s salvation when we do not trust in our own goodness and works to be saved, but place our faith in Jesus Christ – his sacrifice and righteousness. God forgives our sins and credits Christ’s righteousness to our own life. God break the power of sin in our lives by giving us his Spirit. By the power of God’s Spirit we can now say ‘no’ to sin and follow Christ as Lord.

God’s Word says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman . . . so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”[xxvii]

Now as God’s children, we join together with the rest of God’s people, studying his Word, encouraging one another to live holy lives, and telling others of what Christ has done.

Christians do this while we wait for Christ to return to judge all of the world, the living and the dead. All those who have not receive Christ as Savior and Lord will receive God’s judgment forever in hell. But for those who do believe, God will create a new heaven and a new earth for his people to dwell forever together with him. Just as before in the garden, but in a far more gloriously way, God people will live in God’s presence without sin.

One of God’s prophets was given a vision of that day. And in God’s word he writes,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away’ . . . . And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb . . . . [And in that place is] the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the


[i] Genesis 1:1

[ii] Genesis 1:26-28

[iii] Genesis 2:15-17

[iv] Genesis 3:1

[v] Psalm 51:5

[vi] Jeremiah 17:9

[vii] Genesis 3:15

[viii] Genesis 12:1-3

[ix] Genesis 15:1-3

[x] Genesis 15:4-5

[xi] Genesis 15:6

[xii] Ephesians 2:8-9

[xiii] Exodus 3:1-10

[xiv] Deuteronomy 18:17-18

[xv] 2 Samuel 7:8-9,12-16

[xvi] Matthew 1:1

[xvii] Matthew 1:18-23

[xviii] Romans 5:6-9

[xix] Romans 5:11,18-19

[xx] Hebrews 2:14

[xxi] Galatians 3:16, 29

[xxii] Luke 1:30-33

[xxiii] 2 Corinthians 1:20

[xxiv] Matthew 3:16-17

[xxv] John 1:1-2,9,16-18

[xxvi] Philippians 2:9-11

[xxvii] Galatians 4:4-6

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