The metaphor in Galatians 4:21-31 tells us that Hagar, Abraham’s maidservant, and Sarah, Abraham’s wife, correspond to the Jerusalem on earth and the Jerusalem above; furthermore these represent two covenants, one of law and one of grace.
Hebrews 12:22 says, “You have come forward to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem...” The heavenly Jerusalem here is the Jerusalem above in Galatians 4; both are New Jerusalem.
To come to the new covenant is to come to the New Jerusalem. Without Galatians 4 as a background, it would be very difficult to understand this. Galatians 4 reveals that the mother of the believers, who is the Jerusalem above, the New Jerusalem, is the new covenant of grace symbolized by Sarah. To keep the new covenant is to remain in the New Jerusalem. This indicates that we are not going to the New Jerusalem but that we are in the New Jerusalem already. The tense of the verb in Hebrews 12:22 is the perfect tense, “have come,” not the future tense. We know that we have come to the New Jerusalem because the New Jerusalem is the new covenant. Because we have received the new covenant, we have entered into the New Jerusalem. The receiving of the new covenant is the entering into the New Jerusalem.*
To come to the new covenant is to come to and receive what God gives us in Christ Jesus. This covenant was enacted by Jesus’ death on the cross (Luke 22:20) and Jesus Himself is the surety of this covenant (Hebrews 7:22). To receive the forgiveness of sins and to receive Jesus as our Lord and life is to receive the new covenant; this is also to receive New Jerusalem. To minister the Spirit who gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6) is to minister this better covenant; this is also to minister New Jerusalem.
*An excerpt from Witness Lee, The Conclusion of the New Testament message 255, © by LSM.
Thanks to Jordan Nguyen for the beautiful flowers.