By Brenda Black
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.” (Revelation 3:11-12b)
As a graduate of the University of Missouri, I know the significance of the six iconic columns that tower over MU's campus. The Columns once supported the portico of Academic Hall, the first building erected on campus sometime between 1840 and 1843. Hinkson Creek Valley furnished the timeless limestone, hauled to the construction site by ox-drawn carts. When the brick building burned in January 1892, only those charred white Columns remained, and their standing was threatened with removal when the Board of Curators voted to tear them down. After inspection revealed the Columns stood on solid foundations, the Board reversed their decision and agreed to leave them standing.
Pil·lar (plr) n. 1. a. A slender, freestanding, vertical support; a column. b. Such a structure or one similar to it used for decoration. 2. One who occupies a central or responsible position: a pillar of the state. tr.v. pil·lared, pil·lar·ing, pil·lars
The word jumped off the page at me when I read Revelation chapter 3. The imagery painted a picture of God constructing His church with tremendous and ornate detail. I was reminded of the highly specific and intricate blueprints Moses shared with the Israelites for building the Tabernacle. My mind raced from one end of history to the history yet to be challenging me to envision the New Jerusalem, the Holy City, “coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2) God has particular plans. He has had them from the foundations of the world and He will have them for all eternity. He likes His house in order and He has space for every precious piece. Specifically, He is waiting for pillars, the saints of all ages joined together by and in Christ, to take their place in this spiritual temple so that a great banquet can begin.
The called, the elect, the children of God, the church, the bride! Call her what you must, but here in Revelation, God calls her pillars. Not windows to see through nor a door through which to greet. Not drapes that warm a room. Not walls or floors or ceiling tiles. Pillars. Rock solid, integral support. And like the church in Philadelphia, one of only two not rebuked, we pillars of this time period need to “hold on to what [we] have” so we'll be fit for the task.
That's going to take some quality construction. Safety cautions from AllenHousing.org for forging brick pillars may be applicable advice for building stable spiritual pillars as well.
“One of the most important things you should consider during the construction is the weight that the brick pillars will support. They have to be strong enough to prevent the building from collapsing.”
God may be holding the weight of the world, but He only has one plan for winning the world – faithful followers who will pillar in Holy Spirit power and hold up the truth of God's Word. The task is impossible without prayer support. “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:10-12) Since pillars have to be strong enough to prevent the building from collapsing, pray for the strength to stand firm. Pray for other pillars as well.
Caution 2: “The raw materials that you are going to use for the construction should be used according to the specifications. When you are making mortar to use in the brick pillars, make sure you utilize coarse sand. The bricks have to be perfectly burnt and the corners should be faultless.
“When mixing the sand and cement to make the mortar, the ration has to be 4:1. The bricks should also be properly soaked when using them. After you have constructed the brick pillars, they have to be cured for at least ten days to make sure they set well.”
It takes the right ingredients, a little heat, some washing and time to make us fit to stand in heaven and hold up our part of the temple. God isn't looking for ornate decorations though He does see as beautiful. He is looking for obedient disciples. Get into the Word. Get to know the Master Builder who drafted a design for your life. Get ready to be tested. The more you withstand the heat of a brick-layer's oven, the more pure you will become. Be cleansed. “...'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” (Acts. 2:38) Be patient. The Lord is at work in your life even when you feel like you are just standing still.
May we as the people of Christ, be willing to pray: Lord, forge us into pillars, established on strong foundations so that we might be fit to stand together for you in heaven. Teach us to pray for those still needed to build the Holy City and keep us pure in mind and heart and willing to endure to the end.