A city set on a hill cannot be hid.
The U.S. and the New Jerusalem
- Tim O’Brien, “Twelve Gates to the City”
- The Davis Sisters, “Twelve Gates to the City”
It’s The William Tell Show. I call myself William Tell; you can call me Bill. Thank you for including me in your world. It’s wonderful to be included.
I have been seeking a way to pray for the nation
that I can rely on. So often, in my designated prayer time, when it comes time to pray for the nation,
I can’t access any of the moods I want. I need a concept or image that will guarantee finding the right mood.
A few weeks ago, I may have found it.
I recalled a hymn we used to sing in the gospel choir at my church; I had never heard of this song before we started singing it in the gospel choir. I happened to be the only white person in the choir. It was “Twelve Gates to the City,” about the New Jerusalem described in Revelation chapter 21.
This New Jerusalem — This is where the streets are gold, and each gate of the city is composed of a single giant pearl.
(Pearlygate, of course, was a sex scandal in 1987, involving two ordained ministers from the Assemblies of God denomination,
each of whom had his own TV show.
One of them, Jim Bakker, his wife Tammy Faye —
otherwise known as the queen of cosmetics abuse,
— had a crush on the other minister, Jimmy Swaggart. So, to make his wife jealous, Bakker rented a hotel room and had sex with his secretary, Jessica Hahn. He wound up in jail.
She posed several times for Playboy.
In due time, the other guy, Swaggart,
was brought up on charges of sexual misconduct,
and was finally defrocked.
But he’s still got his own TV show.
Jim Bakker does, too. But, I digress.)
Back to the New Jerusalem.
The river of life runs through the city,
and in the middle is the Tree of Life,
bearing its twelve kinds of fruit —
one for each month of the year,
and its leaves are for the healing of the nations.
The city has twelve gates.
“There are three gates on the east,
three gates on the north.
There are three gates on the west,
there are three gates on the south,
making it’s twelve gates to the City,
There is one gate for each of the twelve tribes of Israel; but when we sang this song, it brought me a different kind of message.
This was going to be a place where all kinds of people are welcome. Twelve gates. Short people, tall people, black people, white people, green people, straights, gays, all will live there in love and harmony. All will be welcome. Even Democrats — Did I say that? Even Democrats — I can’t believe I said that. Even Democrats will be welcome there.
I can pray that the United States become like that.
There are many things in the book of Revelation that are just beyond belief, for which reason I don’t take much of anything in that book too seriously. The dimensions of this New Jerusalem are one example.
It won’t be on this earth. It will come down from heaven, but that heaven won’t be the one we have now. There will be a new heaven and a new earth, and the City will come down from that new heaven,
to that new earth.
The text says it will be shaped like a cube,
all four sides equal, and the height equal to the sides.
The text says it will be 12,000 furlongs on each side;
I mention that because 12,000 is a symbolic or magical number.
12,000 furlongs translates into 1,500 miles.
1,500 miles long, 1,500 miles wide, 1,500 miles high.
That land area is equivalent to the continent of Australia, and that height is more than four times the altitude of the International Space Station.
The City will shine. It will have no need of sun or moon for light, for the glory of God will be its light.
I don’t pray that America become that,
but that America become like that.
With liberty and justice for all.
One doesn’t pray for things to stay as they are.
One doesn’t pray that the sick person remain sick.
One prays according to what one hopes for.
And effective prayer brings one closer to that goal.
I recall everything that’s been said and continues to be said, about manifestation and the Law of Attraction.
It seems to me just now that the secret to the whole thing is focused desire. The problem is that most of us are not skilled at managing our feelings. Thus, for example, my complaint at the beginning of this episode, that the feelings I want when I pray for America don’t necessarily come when called.
Maybe they will now.
We have two pieces of music today, two different renditions of the song, “Twelve Gates to the City.” One is by Tim O’Brien, one of my favorite singers; the other is by the Davis Sisters, about whom I knew nothing until I researched this episode. Evidently the Davis Sisters made the song famous; it was their signature song.