May the Glorious City Appear on the Earth !

A few days ago I was singing a song (words music) which begins
__Freed from self and Adam’s nature,
____Lord, I would be built by Thee
__With the saints into Thy temple,
____Where Thy glory we shall see.
In Jesus Christ we can experience the freedom from self and we can be built together with other Christians into God’s house, the temple. The more we are built together, the more His glory will be expressed. The ultimate stage of being freed from Adam, the ultimate stage of being built together, and the ultimate stage of glory is New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Revelation 21:11). The city is not merely in the glory but rather glory is a characteristic of the city.

New JerusalemVerse 2 of this song speaks of the Lord’s life and its flowing. This life is the source of the building, even as the building materials came out of the river of life in Genesis 2. Verse 3 touches Ephesians 4:15-16—we grow and are knit/built together by holding Christ the Head.

Verse 4 touches Ephesians 3:16-19—Paul prayed (and we too can daily pray) for strengthening by the Spirit into our inner man. Thus Christ makes home in us, we know His surpassing love and His immeasurable riches, and we are filled unto all the fulness of God. The utmost of all these experiences is New Jerusalem.

Verse 5 helps us to express our longing in simple prayer to the Lord: in God’s house and in Your Body I long to be builded. The result is that God’s glory will be seen by all. May the conclusion of this song become our longing:
__That Thy Bride, the glorious city,
____May appear upon the earth,
__As a lampstand brightly beaming
____To express to all Thy worth.

New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ (Revelation 21:2), it is the glorious city (21:11), and it is the brightly beaming lampstand (21:23). Lord, fill us with the longing for New Jerusalem to appear on the earth!

Resurrection is the Incorruptible Answer

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city in resurrection and therefore is incorruptible. At present corruption is all around us. There is physical corruption, such as foods spoiling, and there is moral corruption, unrighteous behavior.

Some people strive to reduce or eliminate moral corruption, believing that men can behave properly through some combination of exhortation, education, laws, and public pressure. While this striving is good, it ignores a fundamental fact stated in Romans 5:
• through the disobedience of one man the many were constituted sinners (v. 19)
• through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin, death; and thus death passed on to all men (v. 12)

Because sin and death are in all men, a righteous, incorrupt society is impossible in this age. The efforts of those who strive for righteousness probably help reduce unrighteousness/corruption but cannot eliminate it.

The answer is Jesus Christ. This answer includes many steps. First are eternal facts completed without our involvement: God came in the man Jesus, He lived a perfect human life, He died for the sins of us all, and He rose to impart incorruptible life into us.

Then there are facts involving us, as in 1 Peter 1:23—everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.” When we were born again, we received an incorruptible life.

Now we face a choice moment by moment—to live by our natural, corrupted life or to live by our new, uncorrupted life. One Biblical expression of this choice is Romans 8:6, “the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” We face either death with its corruption or life with its incorruption. Because of this choice, at present Christians are not always perfect.

Gradually, as we cooperate, the incorruptible life grows in us. This process in our present life plus our transfiguration at the Lord’s return will bring forth New Jerusalem incorruptible and fully in resurrection.

New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance

New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection and is the ultimate portion of our incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-4). First Corinthians 15 fuses resurrection and incorruption. In this chapter:

New Jerusalem Our physical body is buried in corruption (v. 35) but raised in incorruption (v. 42). “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body” (v. 43-44). Incorruption, glory, power, and spiritual are characteristics of New Jerusalem.

 Our physical body of flesh and blood, due to the presence of sin and death, is corrupt and “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (v. 50). In this verse to inherit the kingdom of God is to inherit incorruption. The ultimate stage of the kingdom of God is New Jerusalem with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” and in which their slaves “will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:1, 5).

 The dead in Christ “will be raised incorruptible” and the believers who are alive “will be changed” (v. 52). This resurrection and changing will be the transfiguration of our physical bodies, from humiliation to glory (Philippians 3:21), completing God’s process of sonship (Romans 8:23).

 “When this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality, then the word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death has been swallowed up unto victory.’ ” (v. 53-54) Death is the last enemy to be abolished (v. 26). What a glorious victory!

The devil, the source of sin and death, and death itself will be in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10, 14). New Jerusalem will be full of and constituted with sons of God in glory. It will be a city of glory, resurrection, and incorruption.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city in God’s new creation and is a city in resurrection. First Corinthians 15 is a chapter on resurrection; verses 50-54 have multiple occurrences of incorruptible and incorruption. Since New Jerusalem is in resurrection, it is also incorruptible.

What is incorruptible? Romans 1:23 speaks of “the incorruptible God.” So the question really is, Who is incorruptible? New Jerusalem is incorruptible because the incorruptible God saturates the city.

How do we get into this incorruptible city? Second Timothy 1:10 tells us of the appearing of “our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel.”

Death and corruption are inseparable. Our Savior destroyed the devil, the source of death, on the cross and released us (Hebrews 2:14-15). In resurrection He imparted the eternal, incorruptible life to us.

First Peter 1:23 says that we were “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.” This incorruptible seed, full of the incorruptible, eternal life, has been planted in us so that we can possess and partake of its incorruptibility. This regeneration puts us on the road to incorruptible New Jerusalem.

Therefore, we can join Peter in declaring “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Certainly New Jerusalem is part of our incorruptible-undefiled-unfading inheritance. It is in the heavens until it comes down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2). Blessed be our God and Father!

See New Jerusalem with a Spirit of Faith

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” New Jerusalem surely fits the category of things not seen, so we need to lay hold of it by faith.

You might counter my “not seen” statement because John told us that he saw New Jerusalem. This is Revelation 21:9-11a:

New JerusalemOne of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.

Yes, John saw the bride, the wife of the Lamb, when he was “in spirit.” And he was on “a great and high mountain” above the worldly cares and outside the physical distress of his exile on the island of Patmos. This was a spiritual seeing from a high spiritual position; this was not a physical seeing.

Our situation is the same. We cannot yet see New Jerusalem with our physical sight but we can see it in spirit. We cannot see New Jerusalem when we are buried in our worldly cares and complaints but we can see it when we allow the Lord to carry us above everything of the material world.

The key to this seeing is our “spirit of faith” (2 Corinthians 4:13). Our human spirit, regenerated by and one with the Spirit, contains the faith we need to substantiate the physically unseen New Jerusalem.

May we be people who are filled with the Spirit in our spirit by the word of God, speaking, singing, giving thanks, and praising (Ephesians 5:18-21, Colossians 3:16). May we be carried away in spirit to see New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

ps: The seven last plagues in Revelation 21:9 are part of God’s judgements to clean up the universe for New Jerusalem.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Aspects of the Christian Life and Church Life Seen in the New Jerusalem

In April there was an international meeting of Christians with the subject, Aspects of the Christian Life and Church Life Seen in the New Jerusalem. Following that time, the eight messages became the basis for eight weeks of a book with daily verses and reading portions. Daily enjoyment from those portions was posted by Stefan at A Normal Believer in Christ.

I encourage you to look at Stefan’s overview, which has a one line summary/link for each day of the eight weeks. Here are the titles of the eight messages, which are also the subjects of the eight weeks in the book, along with a link to one of his daily portions:

The Throne of God and of the Lamb, the River of Water of Life, and the Tree of Life
Whenever we Enthrone God in our Being, we Enjoy the Flow of Water of Life Within us!

The City and the Bride
Experiencing the New Jerusalem as a City Representing the Kingdom of God Today

The Pearl Gates and the Golden Street
Being Conformed to Christ’s Death by the Power of His Resurrection for the New Jerusalem

The Fellowship of Life
The Fellowship of Life is the Flow of Life with the Supply of Life in the Believers

The Intrinsic Significance of the Name New Jerusalem and the Dimensions of the Holy City
Being Renewed Day-by-Day and Being Constituted with Christ for the New Jerusalem

The Lamb as the Lamp with God as the Light
Living and Walking in the Light Today – a Foretaste of the Light in New Jerusalem

The Triune God as our Constitution, Existence, Enjoyment, Living, and Expression
Partaking of and Living According to the Divine Nature, the Base of Gold in the New Jerusalem

Having the Glory of God
Christ is Coming to be Glorified in His Saints: He is in us as the Hope of Glory!

Stefan – thank you for presenting this to all of us!

New Jerusalem, the Eternal House of God

The New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus, who is the living tabernacle of God (John 1:14), God dwelling in man. The New Testament ends with New Jerusalem, the enlarged tabernacle of God (Revelation 21:3).

The tabernacle is God’s dwelling place in man. This is Bethel, a Hebrew word which means house of God.

In Adam, we have God’s creation, and in Jacob, we have God’s habitation, Bethel….God created, selected, called, and saved us for the purpose that He might have a dwelling place for eternity.

Following Jacob, we have the house of Israel. The house of Israel was actually the house of God. After the exodus from Egypt, there was among the house of Israel the building of the tabernacle, and following that, the building of the temple.

What do we have in the New Testament? Again, we have two main things: the tabernacle, which was Jesus (John 1:14), and the temple, which is the church (1 Cor. 3:16). The consummation of the church as the temple is the New Jerusalem.

The first time God appeared to Jacob was in a dream (Genesis 28:10-22) in which Jacob saw heaven opened and a ladder extending from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending upon it. When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he was inspired to call the name of that place Bethel….God unveiled to Jacob His heart’s desire, which is to have Bethel.*

New JerusalemAt Bethel Jacob set up a pillar and poured oil on it. This is a picture of man, anointed by the Spirit (the oil) becoming a stone for the building of Bethel.

Much later, when Simon first came to Jesus, Jesus said to him, “You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter)” (John 1:42). Both Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) mean stone.

Like Peter, we all need to be changed into stones for building Bethel. The Lord makes the change of name but we need to cooperate by following Him as Peter did. May we follow even when we make mistakes, as Peter did. Despite our mistakes, may the Lord inquire of us more than once (as He did of Peter) “do you love Me”? (John 21:15-17).

Let’s give the answer Peter gave, “Lord, You know that I love You.” May we love Him and love Bethel unto New Jerusalem.

* Life-study of Genesis by Witness Lee, message 78, sections 1-2, © LSM.

Photo courtesy of U.S. government.

The New Testament Tabernacle is Alive

New JerusalemThe first tabernacle in the New Testament age is in John 1. Verses 1 and 14 say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and tabernacled* among us.” The ultimate tabernacle is New Jerusalem.

The Old Testament tabernacle was a physical building but the New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in man. This is a big change. The Old Testament things were pictures but in the New Testament Jesus declared “I am the reality” (John 14:6).

In the Old Testament picture, the high priest, after coming to the altar and laver then partaking of the bread on the table and being in the light of the lampstand, could enter the holy of holies to be in God’s presence.

Today all the New Testament believers are priests (Revelation 1:6) and all of us come to the presence of God by coming to Jesus Christ. He is the embodiment of God—“in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

Now God in Christ dwells/tabernacles in all His believers. Christ in us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Christ lives in us and is being formed in us (Galatians 2:20, 4:19).

The New Testament tabernacle with God dwelling in man will continue for eternity. In Revelation 21:2-3 John saw New Jerusalem and “heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them…”

How we thank the Lord for the New Testament tabernacle. Lord, bring us fully into the experience of the tabernacle and bring us onward to New Jerusalem.

Many English versions say “lived” or “dwelt” but the Greek word is clearly “tabernacled,” a verb form of the noun used in speaking about the Old Testament tabernacle (e.g. Acts 7:44, Hebrews 8:5, 9:2). The translation “tabernacled” is used by Young, Amplified, and King James II, and appears in footnotes in Darby, ERV, and ASV.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Divine-Human Romance thru the Bible

A recent post presented a song, “The Bible is a romance…God and His chosen people. God in Christ is the Bridegroom, His saints, the Bride, portrayed.”
The first portrait of this romance is Adam and Eve; the reality and consummation is
the bride, the wife of the Lamb…the holy city, Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:9-10).

New Jerusalem

Here are all the posts in this series on the divine-human romance, consummating in New Jerusalem, presented in the order of the books of the Bible:

Adam and Eve (Genesis 2) are a picture of Christ and the church in Ephesians 5.

The Triune God’s seeking a bride is portrayed by Abraham’s servant sent to obtain a bride for Isaac. (Genesis 24)

God wooed His people Israel and desired that they love Him. (Exodus) Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “You shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Boaz redeemed and married Ruth as a picture of the divine-human marriage. (Ruth)

Ruth’s seeking played a great role in her marriage to Boaz. May we be those who “follow the Lamb wherever He may go.” (Revelation 14:4)

The Lord is our Husband and Redeemer in Isaiah 54. He redeemed His people so that He could marry them.

He loves us with eternal love, draws us with His lovingkindness, and writes His new covenant in our hearts. (Jeremiah 31)

This marriage is of God, rooted in His righteousness, lovingkindness, compassions, and faithfulness. (Hosea)

The Lord Jesus is the Bridegroom—this is His word in the gospels. To prepare us to be His bride, we need Him as our new garment to be our righteousness and as our new wine to enliven us.

The Spirit fills us to burn brightly as we go to meet the Bridegroom. (Matthew 25)

We cooperate with the Spirit’s filling to be burning as we go forth. (Matthew 25)

We have been betrothed to our Husband, Christ. May we be kept single and pure for Him! (2 Corinthians 11)

Husband and wife in Ephesians 5:22-33 are strongly tied to the eternal Husband and wife. Verse 32: “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.”

Let us rejoice and exult…for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife, New Jerusalem, has made herself ready. (Revelation 19)

The Lamb’s wife made herself ready by receiving Him as our eternal righteousness and by living Him as our daily righteousness. (Revelation 19)

The holy city, New Jerusalem…a bride adorned for her husband. The eternal Husband is the Lamb, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. (Revelation 21)

The Spirit and the bride in oneness say, Come! in response to the Lord’s statement, I come quickly. (Revelation 22)

The Bible shows the love story of a universal couple. God loved us, sent His Son for propitiation, poured His love into our hearts, and caused us to love Him.

We respond to the Lord’s attraction. A song declares, “Jesus Lord, I’m captured by Your beauty…all my heart to You I open wide.”

Our Husband is loving and faithful. His word reveals much about this divine-human romance culminating in New Jerusalem. The progress of this romance depends on our response to Him. Lord Jesus, reveal Yourself and reveal this romance to me more every day. Lord, draw me to love You with my whole heart.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Gaining a Bride for Christ, An OT Picture

New JerusalemAdam and Eve are a picture of the Jesus Christ, the Lamb, and New Jerusalem “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:9-10). So are Boaz and Ruth. Another picture is Isaac and Rebekah.

In Genesis 24 Abraham sent his oldest servant to get a wife for Isaac (v. 1-9). The servant made the journey and had a long interaction with Rebekah’s family (v. 10-56). When asked, Rebekah gave a firm answer about going to Isaac (v. 57-58). (May we each have such a firm, unhesitant answer about going to Jesus.) Her family blessed her, she went with the servant (v. 59-65), Isaac received and loved her and she became Isaac’s wife (v. 66-67).

In the New Testament Abraham is called the father of all who are of faith (Romans 4:16). He is a figure (a picture) of God the Father. Isaac, his son, is a figure of Jesus, the Son of God, and the offering and return of Isaac (Genesis 22) is a picture of the death and resurrection of Jesus (Hebrews 11:17-19).

Although the Bible does not directly tell us, the servant is a figure of the Holy Spirit. The father sent the servant to find a wife, to give her something of Isaac’s riches, and to bring her to Isaac. Likewise, the Father sends the Spirit (John 14:26) to convict us (John 16:8-11), to declare to us the riches of Christ (16:12-15), and to strengthen us so that Christ may make home in our hearts and that we may be filled unto all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Here we see, in an Old Testament picture, the Triune God’s New Testament work to gain a bride for Christ. In this age the bride is the church (Ephesians 5) and in the future the bride is New Jerusalem (Revelation 21).

Photo by Josh Robbins, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Bible is a Romance

Have you ever considered that the Bible presents a romance? Love and marriage are seen beginning with Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 and concluding with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22. A song which presents this view begins:

New JerusalemThe Bible is a romance
In the most holy sense:
God and His chosen people
In love it so presents.
This Universal Couple
Throughout it is displayed;
God in Christ is the Bridegroom,
His saints, the Bride, portrayed.

The second verse focuses on Adam and Eve.
The third verse draws from God’s longing
expressed in Exodus, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.
The fourth verse sets forth something from
Song of Songs.
The fifth verse concludes:

Christ is our coming Bridegroom;
We are the Church, His Bride,
Redeemed, regenerated,
The issue of His side,
In source, in life, in nature
And person fully one,
His counterpart forever,
The New Jerusalem.

“The issue of His side” (4th line of this verse) was portrayed when Eve was built with the rib taken from Adam’s side. The reality is the church produced by the blood (for redemption) and the water (for life) that came forth in the Lord’s crucifixion (John 19:34). The ultimate issue is in Revelation 22:1—the throne of God and of the Lamb sends forth the river of water of life to supply New Jerusalem for eternity.

Let us Follow the Lamb Wherever He Goes

New JerusalemBoaz and Ruth are a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5) and a picture of the Lamb and New Jerusalem (Revelation 21). Boaz redeemed Ruth from her poverty, then married her and brought her into his house. Jesus Christ has done the same for us.

A part of this wonderful picture is Ruth’s seeking. She said to her mother-in-law, “For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you dwell, I will dwell; and your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16). May we all have such an attitude in our heart and declare it with our mouth.

After going to be among God’s people, Ruth was not passive; she went out to glean after the harvesters. As a sojourner and a widow, this gleaning was her right (Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-21), and she came forward to exercise this right.

In God’s mercy she came to the field of Boaz (Ruth 2:1-3). We must come forward, but it is the sovereign God who arranges where we will be. Thank God for this marvelous picture.

Ruth followed the instruction of Boaz to stay with his reapers (Ruth 2:8-9, 23). Ruth was also obedient to the instructions from her mother-in-law (Ruth 3:1-5). Probably her simple obedience followed from her simple and firm declaration in verse 1:16.

May the Lord grant each of us a heart to go, to dwell, to be among God’s people, and to be with God. May we be those who “follow the Lamb wherever He may go” (Revelation 14:4). Eventually, New Jerusalem will be the destination of our going, New Jerusalem will be our dwelling, and New Jerusalem will be our abiding with God’s people and with God.

Here is Ruth 1:16-17 in a song.

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