Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 79 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Hebrews 13 today and our focus is on The Heavenly City We Will Dwell In + Can Angels Appear As People? . We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Gujarat, India, parts unknown, Italy, Nova Scotia, Canada, Monterey, California, Columbus, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and Albuquerque New Mexico. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan
Before we get to the meat of this episode, let’s talk about vs. 2 – one of my favorite angel verses in the Bible.
2 Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2
With passages like this, we need to be careful that we don’t presume too much – the writer of Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is indeed telling us something fascinating, but we don’t want to run so far with this fascinating truth that we go beyond what is written. At the least, it appears from this passage (and other Old Testament passages also) that angels can have a human-like appearance, and behave in human like ways…eating, drinking, etc. As Spurgeon notes:
Abraham [entertained angels unaware], and Lot did so; they thought they were entertaining ordinary strangers, and they washed their feet; and prepared their food, but it turned out that they had entertained angels. Some people will never entertain angels unawares, for they never entertain anybody. May we be given to hospitality, for that should be part of the character of saints.
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Unchangeable Christ,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 40 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1894), 203.
One other verse bears a brief mention also.
9 Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by food regulations, since those who observe them have not benefited. Hebrews 13:7
in light of this passage, we need to be very careful about teachings that do not comport with Bible teachings. Many cults are quite notable for this – forbidding things that the Bible does not forbid (coffee, dancing, etc) and mandating things that the Bible does not deem necessary. It’s not just the cults either. Some denominations fast on Wednesday and Friday; several more Christian denominations mandate the fasting of meat on Fridays. John Wesley, a man I greatly admire, basically commanded that those following Methodism abstain from meat on Fridays. This tradition dates all the way back to the 1st century Didache, which is a very helpful and fascinating early church document…but it is NOT the Bible. It’s fine to fast on Fridays if that is where your conscience and convictions lead you, but I note that it is not a Bible command, and thus must NOT be mandated. Our hearts, as the writer of Hebrews says, are established by grace and not by food rules. Let’s read our passage and then get to our primary focus for the day.
Like many ending chapters of Bible letters, there are so many tidbits in this final chapter of what the writer calls a ‘brief’ message. The one I want us to focus on today is found in our verse of the day:
14 For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come. Hebrews 13:14
I grew up in Alabama, and for much of my childhood, teenage years and young adulthood, there was basically one Christian station in Birmingham – WDJC 93.7. Somewhere around 7pm that station went to all Southern Gospel, all the time. I am a fan of many things in the South, but Southern Gospel is not one of them. That said, there was a song that was played often on the Dixie Gospel Caravan that began, “I’m kind of homesick for a country…where I’ve never been before.” It was the song Sweet Beulah Land, and it was about Heaven. By my calculations, approximately 250% of Southern Gospel songs are about Heaven. Which, considering our verse today, might be ok. We are not primarily citizens of this earth, but citizens of the New Heaven and New Earth, where 99.9+% of our existence as Christians will be spent. In 2004, on a wonderful visit to Kenya, while in the Masai Mara, I stepped briefly, for about 1-2 minutes, into the Tanzanian Serengeti – went right across the border, which was completely unguarded and unfenced. Thus I spent a very tiny percentage of my life standing in the country of Tanzania. This does not make me a Tanzanian, though I love and admire the place. I’ve spent much less than a thousandth of a percent of my current life in Tanzania. There will come a point of time in my existence in eternity where I will have spent more time in Tanzania, compared to my time in the United States, than I will have spent time on this Earth, compared to time in the New Heavens and New Earth. That’s how eternity works. Strange analogy, I know, but if you think about it for a moment, you’ll realize what I’m getting at: According to the Bible, we are only in this life for a moment, a vapor, a blink of an eye. We will be in the enduring Heavenly city for eternity. That is and will be our true home.
As dear Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones notes:
As our Lord came into the world from the glory, passed through it, and went back to the glory, so we are all sent into this world by God, but not to stay here. We are meant for a glorious heritage; we are traveling the same journey together. Christians are people who say together, “Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). He has gone before us; He has gone to prepare a place for us. He has told us, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 14:2). We look at this world as simply a place of transition. Why should I parade my wealth? Why should I have many possessions and other people very few? This life is only temporary. We are all one, and we are all making for the same eternal home and looking forward to the same glorious inheritance.
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Peace on Earth,” in Courageous Christianity, 1st U.S. ed., vol. 2, Studies in the Book of Acts (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 214.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for March: Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.”
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