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The Gospel From Patmos
Everyday Insights For Living
From The Last Book Of The Bible
Daily Devotional
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

            The foundations of the wall of the city were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth green quartz, the eleventh jacinth and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate was made of a single pearl. The main street of the city was made of pure gold, as transparent as glass. Rev 21:19-21.



        For me the most unforgettable moment of 1984 occurred during a presidential debate. The race for the nomination of the Democratic Party was chiefly between Walter Mondale and Gary Hart. Gary Hart would later become infamous for his dalliances with women other than his wife. But at the time of this debate, he was actually the leading candidate for the nomination. No one could have anticipated that the entire nomination would turn on a single phrase.
            In the course of the debate, Gary Hart talked about his vision for improving the country. Walter Mondale responded that his opponent had a lot of things to say, but the really decisive issue was, “Where’s the beef?” Was this phrase a ploy to acquire the agriculture vote? No, his comment was not really about beef, although it did recall a hamburger ad on TV.
            In the ad, a “little old lady” sat at the table of a rival hamburger chain. A hamburger was placed in front of her. The bun was generous in its proportions, but inside there was a tiny little piece of meat, about the size of a quarter. In stunned surprise she said with the quavering voice of the aged, “Where’s the beef?” The campaign was a smash success. All over the country people were reciting the lines. The little old lady became a star overnight at the age of 85.
            The message of the advertisement was that claims don’t matter when it comes to hamburgers. What counts is the meal one actually receives. By invoking the phrase from the burger commercial, Mondale called his opponent’s credibility into question. With a simple phrase he succeeded in turning his opponent into a national laughingstock, even before his marital indiscretions became public knowledge and his political career was forever ruined. Such is the power of allusion to the past.
            Our text is largely a recitation of various stones in the foundation of the New Jerusalem. But there is something deeper going on here. The stones of the city’s foundation are the same as those on the breastplate of Israel’s High Priest. Here, as so often in this book, the vision ties together the whole of God’s revelation. In the Apocalypse of John all the books of the Bible meet and end. It is like the finale of the biblical symphony.



            Lord, I want to go deeper and deeper into Your Word every day.




 
 
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