Gold Refined by Fire (All Israel 5)

In my recent article “All Israel Shall Be Saved” I explained that the seven specific promises to the overcomers of the seven churches apply to all overcomers. For example, Jesus grants the Ephesian overcomers the right “to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7 ESV) Eating of the tree of life, of course, relates to the idea that these overcomers will have eternal life in heaven (paradise). Clearly this right will be given to the overcomers of all other churches. If not, then none of those additional promises make any sense because all of the overcomers would die in the future even after having been once resurrected. I find it interesting that the most significant promise to an overcomer occurs in the last church, the arguably most corrupt church (except perhaps Thyatira), the lukewarm church of Laodicea. We live today in the time of the Laodicean church, a day when much of the established church believes herself rich and yet instead is “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

Jesus promises the overcomers in Laodicea virtual identification with himself. He says, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Rev. 3:21 ESV). A person cannot sit in the same throne as a king unless he himself wears the king’s crown. This is the “crown of life” which Paul spoke of. This is the high prize of our calling and many are called, but few are chosen. How can you and I ever be chosen to fill such an exalted position?

First, we must understand that we cannot simply decide that we are an overcomer and just take this calling to ourselves. Those chosen must be “elected” or “predestined” for such a position by God himself. Second, we must know that our election, if indeed we are so elected, comes by the grace of God alone, not by my own decision or works. I can never work hard enough to earn this exalted position. Similarly, I cannot work hard enough to earn my initial spiritual salvation, but before you go on you must understand that an “overcomer’ in the sight of God differs from a person who merely believes that Jesus died for his sins. Third, the overcomer must truly know that Jesus Christ demands utter perfection in anyone with whom he will share his throne. Fourth, the predestined one must realize that he can never become perfect in his flesh. Fifth, he must learn to depend upon Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone to bring him into perfection and into the full image of God.

Jesus, in mercy, explains to the poor deceived Laodiceans how they may actually become overcoming Christians. He says,

18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  (Rev. 3:18-19)

Now let me tell you a good Bible study practice. Buy a good reference Bible. I have had many reference Bibles over the last 40 years, but my favorite by far is the English Standard Version “Classic Reference Bible” (ESV). I have bought at least four copies of this Bible, two for me and two for my wife. I believe that God truly led those who translated this version and those who put together its thousands of references and concordance. I often find that those references take me directly to Scriptures I remembered existed, but did not remember the location, or to entirely new passages that shed spiritual light on the subject I am studying. This proved to be the case again when I checked the first reference given for Revelation 3:18 and also when I examined the concordance for references to the word “gold.” Both took me to a “goldmine” of information!

Consider that Jesus does not want you to pay him worldly money in order to “buy” his gold, his garments, or his eye-salve. How then does he want us to buy these precious spiritual things? The first ESV reference takes us to Isaiah 55:1, which says,

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.

Here is a second tip for your Bible study. Do not stop reading after you read a referenced verse. You need to read the verse in context, so read what comes before it and what comes after it. This verse actually comes toward the end of a very long prophecy from the beginning of Isaiah 48 to the end of Isaiah 55 concerning the glorification of Israel and the coming of Immanuel, Christ in us, Christ in his glorified body which he calls Israel and New Jerusalem. It would be a good idea to read all of that passage when you finish reading this article. Then read my previous posts on Immanuel which you can reference in the links above just below the name of this site.

For this article, however, just read Isaiah 55:1-5,

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
    and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you. (Isaiah 55:1-5 ESV)

This passage tells us how we buy spiritual food from God, we must listen to his words! Throughout the Bible God calls his doctrine (his truth) “food.” My entire book When We Awake (available free here online) concerns God’s food, as does my book Food Sacrificed to IdolsFood Sacrificed to Idols is a slightly condensed version of When We Awake. I recommend that you read one or the other book if you have not done so. Isaiah tells us here that we buy food from Jesus by listening diligently to his words, by assimilating them into our being, that is, by eating them! Of course we cannot pay Jesus American dollars for his water, bread, wine, or milk. We “pay” him by “inclining our ear” toward him, toward his truth.

Likewise, Jesus does not want us to pay him money for his “gold refined in the fire.” We buy his gold the same way we buy his food, by listening diligently to him. What, then, is his gold? To find out I simply went to the ESV concordance and looked up the word gold. The first reference is to Psalm 19:10 which does reference the word gold, but would tell me nothing if I did not read the verses before and after it. Here is the verse in context,

The law of the Lord is perfect,[c]
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules[d] of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7-11)

The ESV references for gold in Psalm 19:10 take me to Psalm 119:72, 127; Proverbs 8:10, 19; and Job 28:17:

72 The law of your mouth is better to me
    than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

127 Therefore I love your commandments
    above gold, above fine gold.

10 Take my instruction instead of silver,
    and knowledge rather than choice gold,

19 My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,
    and my yield than choice silver.

Job said,

12 But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth,
    and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
    and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold,
    and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
    in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it,
    nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
    the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
    nor can it be valued in pure gold.

20 “From where, then, does wisdom come?
    And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living
    and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon and Death say,
    ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

23 “God understands the way to it,
    and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight
    and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
    and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it;
    he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
    and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” (Job 28:12-28)

Now we should be able to answer the question “what is God’s gold?” Just as his money is not man’s money, neither is his gold man’s gold. All of the Scriptures above from Psalms, Proverbs, and Job teach us that God’s gold is God’s Law, testimony, precepts, commandments, fear, rules, instruction, and fruit. Men can only apprehend these wonderful treasures of God if they incline their ears to his Word. But most Christians today reject God’s Law and his standards of righteousness, calling such things “legalism.” Only by embracing Christ’s gold, however, can we ever become clothed in the white garments of righteousness. Only then can we acquire salve which will clear our blurred spiritual eyes and allow us to see the holiness of God. Today’s Laodicean church, though, prefers her own words and doctrine and thus parades before the world and her God in her nakedness.

Yet, clearly there remains hope even for Laodicean Christians. Otherwise, no overcomers could come from her and Jesus Himself would not bother to rebuke them and to instruct them how they too may overcome. And, remember, Christ made the greatest promise to the overcomers from Laodicea!

This entry was posted in 144000, a perfect stone, Book of Revelation, Church of Laodicea, Church of Thyatira, Elohim, Fear of God, Firstfruits, Food, food of God, food sacrificed to idols, glorification, image of God, Immanuel, Isaiah, Israel, New Jerusalem, Overcomers, Prophecy, Righteousness, Salvation of the Soul, Sons of God, the Order of Melchizedek, The Teaching About Righteousness, When We Awake, Word Made Flesh, Word of God. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gold Refined by Fire (All Israel 5)

  1. urban says:

    Love your teachings Glenn. I always liked studing the 7 church of Revelation

  2. Glenn says:

    Thank you, Urban. It’s good to get a little feedback once in awhile!