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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 21

7. The Twelve Gates of Pearl




“And the Wall hath TWELVE GATES: each one of the gates severally was one pearl”.


As many pearls as Gates — twelve; and at each gate an angel; upon each pearl, a name inscribed of one of the tribes of the Commonwealth of Israel: and three of the twelve gates on each side of the city, situated foursquare.

The twelve gates in the wall are the gates of entrance into the city from the east, north, south, and west, from whence are gathered all upon whom the Name of the City is engraved by the Spirit. The names written upon the pearls, show that the gates are representative of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and that, consequently, the members of the New Jerusalem community become such by adoption into the Commonwealth of Israel. Men must become “Jews inwardly,” “Israelites indeed,” to be citizens of “the Israel of the Deity”. At the twelve gates are twelve angels, indicating that messengers were at the gates to invite men to do the commandments of the Deity, “that they may enter in through the gates into the city” (ch. 22:14). These angels at the gates represent “the Spirit and the Bride” who “say Come;” together with those who understand, being the constituents of the Bride. They invite all who are athirst and all who are willing; saying, “Let him that is athirst, Come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”. These are the commissioned angels of the gates of the city —faithful members of the bride in all ages and generations who are able to teach others “the truth as it is in Jesus”. They are in this passage, ch. 22:17, commissioned by the Jasper Light to turn men from darkness, and to invite to enter as heirs of the kingdom and glory of the Deity. This they do by preaching the gospel of the kingdom “for the obedience of faith;” by which obedience a people are separated from “all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues;” and adopted as citizens of the Commonwealth of Israel, in the national hope of that remarkable and favored people. They thus become part of the Israel, styled by Paul “the Israel of the Deity;” which in its glorified state, with the King of kings in the midst of them, was displayed in vision descending from the Deity to Mount Zion, as already explained.

In all the Divine arrangements, the principle laid down in 1 Cor. 15:46, is always observed in regard to the natural and the spiritual —“that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual”. This order of development obtains in regard to “the Heavens and Earth” body, kingdom, world, commonwealth, resurrection, bride, holy city, New Jerusalem, and so forth. The natural is the basis of the spiritual. If there had been no natural sons of Jacob, there would have been no Hebrew Commonwealth of natural citizens; and no natural commonwealth, there would be no spiritual one, or New Jerusalem. There is, therefore, a reality in the twelve Sons of the patriarch being set forth as the gates of the city, or polity, as indicated by their names having been inscribed upon the pearls, as they had previously been upon the precious stones of Aaron’s breastplate. All who “enter in through the gates into the city” are the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by adoption through Christ, so that the names upon the twelve pearls are as much the names of the glorified saints, as of the twelve men who originally bore them. The names on the pearls represent the “144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (ch. 7:4) become “Israelites indeed” by that which is sealed upon them, first, doctrinally, in the present state; and afterwards, bodily, in the epoch of resurrection.




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