The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem in Song

This posts begins a look at a hymn about the features shared by the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem. My focus is the Bible
New Jerusalemverses on which the hymn is based.

The author of the hymn is Witness Lee;
the composer of the music is Claude Goudimel. Words, Music. Verse 1 of the hymn is:

It was a garden in the primal age,
But at the end it is a city square;
Creation’s center in the garden was,
God’s building issues in the city fair.

The garden is in Genesis chapters 1–3. The city , New Jerusalem, is in Revelation chapters 21–22, with brief glimpses in Hebrews 11–12. Revelation 21:16 tells us that New Jerusalem is square, and Genesis 2 presents the garden of Eden as the center of the creation described in Genesis 1.

New Jerusalem is the issue of God’s building work. This work is portrayed in the physical realm by the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament. God’s building in reality is the knitting together in life of the New Testament believers. Some chapters focusing on this are 1 Corinthians 3, 14; Ephesians 2, 4; and 1 Peter 2.

The flow out from the Head, Christ, through all the members of tHis Body “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). The ultimate issue of this building is New Jerusalem.

More about Witness Lee.

Revelation 21:2, a Song

Revelation 21:2, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city because the holy God is the element constituting the city. God in Christ as the Spirit has been wrought into every one of His believers to be their holiness and to make them members of holy New Jerusalem.

The new creation in Revelation 21:1 is composed of new heaven and new earth. This holy city comes down “out of heaven” to be on the new earth.

The city is a corporate living person, a bride to marry her Husband, Jesus Christ, the Lamb. This is the fullest blossoming of the church as the wife of Christ in Ephesians 5. Jesus Christ is life, he has become our life, and New Jerusalem is a city of life.

Here are the words of Revelation 21:2 to sing with this music.

And I saw the holy city,
New Jerusalem,
Coming down out of heaven from God,
Prepared as a bride
Adorned for her husband,
Coming down out of heaven from God.

Lord Jesus, gain our full cooperation and accomplish all the preparation of Your bride!


Revelation 21:2 begins And. “And” Points to New Jerusalem
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New Jerusalem and Our Christian Life in Revelation 22:6-21

Revelation 22:6-21 is the conclusion of the whole Bible, following the presentation of New Jerusalem in 21:2 to 22:5. This conclusion touches New Jerusalem and is full of words applicable to our present Christian life. May we love the Lord Jesus, apply His cleansing blood, pursue Him for our growth in life, and heed the words in these verses.

New Jerusalem

Here are the titles and links to all recent posts on 22:6-21, with some of the verses.

22:6 “And he [angel] said to me [John], These words are faithful and true.”
22:6, The Lord and His Words: Faithful and True
22:6, The Things Which Must Quickly Take Place

22:7 “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this scroll.”
22:7, 10, 18-19, The Words of the Lord are Spirit and Life

22:12 “Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me.”
22:12, The Lord’s Faithful Slaves Serve Him

22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
22:13, New Jerusalem: to God be the Glory Forever

22:14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.”
22:14-15, The Gospel: Be Cleansed, Receive Eternal Life, Enter New Jerusalem

22:16 “I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
22:16, Jesus Testifies for the Churches

22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely.”
22:17, The Spirit and the Bride Say, Come!
22:17, Jesus Says, Come to Me and Drink

22:20 “He who testifies these things says, Yes, I come quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
22:20, I Come Quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus

22:21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”
22:21, Grace to Us is the Conclusion of the Bible

New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-20
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:21-27
New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1-5

Older posts about Revelation 22:6-21

Grace to Us is the Conclusion of the Bible

New JerusalemThe Bible concludes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”

Grace is Jesus Christ Himself for us to love, value, appreciate, and enjoy. Grace came to mankind when God incarnated in Jesus. “Grace and reality came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) This grace is much more than God doing us a favor.

This grace can be manifested through our enjoyment of Christ. By grace we are justified freely, we reign in life, we are gifted to participate in the functioning of His Body, we labor for the Lord, we give monetary gifts, we bear sufferings, we will display God’s surpassing riches of His grace, we sing to God, we receive eternal comfort and good hope, we are supplied with faith and love, and our hearts are confirmed.*

Revelation concludes, as many epistles open and conclude, with this wish of grace to all of us. Saints does not mean a few special people; it refers to all who believe into Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:2). This concluding blessing sums up the Lord’s desire to be our center and our enjoyment so that He could enliven us for the preparation of His bride and the coming of New Jerusalem.


*Verses for this paragraph: Acts 11:23, Rom. 3:24, 5:17, 8:3, 1 Cor. 15:10, 2 Cor. 8:1-7, 12:7-9,
Eph. 2:7, Col. 3:16, 2 Thes. 2:16, 1 Tim. 1:14, Heb. 13:9.

I Come Quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus

Revelation 21 and the first part of 22 is John’s description of New Jerusalem as shown to him by an angel (22:6). From 22:7 most of the speaking is directly by the Lord Jesus. His conclusion is, “He who testifies these things says, Yes, I come quickly.” And John responds, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20).

New JerusalemThe Lord told us in 22:16 “I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.” In 22:20 He is testifying these thing. The angel is representing the Lord and we accept every word from the angel as from the Lord.

The Lord told us three times at the end of Revelation that He comes quickly. We should not use our human reasoning to question quickly. The Lord’s wisdom is infinitely greater than ours. What we should do is echo John’s response, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

While we are waiting, we love Him, love His appearing, and pursue Him as our goal. The Lord’s testifying is for all the churches, so we should give heed to His first warning “I have one thing against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). Lord, keep me loving You every day!

Philippians 3:14, “I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward.” Jesus Christ is our goal and being in the marriage dinner of the Lamb will be our prize. And then onward to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Jesus Says, Come to Me and Drink

New JerusalemThe first part of Revelation 22:17 is the cry for the Lord Jesus to come, to return visibly to earth. The second part of the verse is, “And let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely.”

While the Spirit and the bride call out to the Lord to return, they also call out to all thirsty human beings to come and drink the living water.

This call repeats the invitation the Lord Jesus made on a feast day in Jerusalem, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:39) It also repeats the Lord’s promise in Revelation 21, “I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.”

Thirst is not physical but rather indicates that man needs Jesus Christ to be his life to satisfy his inner longing. The Spirit and the bride are motivated to proclaim the gospel, that Jesus Christ can satisfy man’s hunger and thirst. May each of us be motivated in this way!

The first time a person believes in the Lord, that person gets to drink living water. Then throughout his Christian life that person can and should “drink the one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). Eternally all who have tasted the living water will drink “the river of water of life” which flows in New Jerusalem.

The Spirit and the Bride Say, Come!

New JerusalemThe Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come!” (Rev. 22:17a)

The Spirit and the bride speak together, indicating their union. This is a big step toward the marriage dinner of the Lamb which leads us to New Jerusalem as the bride, the wife of the Lamb. These steps are all part of The Divine-Human Romance thru the Bible.

The Spirit and the bride call out to the Lord Jesus, the Lamb, Come! This is a cry for the Lord’s visible return to earth (Matt. 24:30) including the resurrection of all the dead believers and the manifestation of His kingdom to rule the earth in righteousness.

All who hear this cry should echo, Come! Throughout this age we should be “those who love His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). We are waiting and hoping for His appearing, and we are also pursuing to be perfected to be ready for His appearing.

The apostle Paul is a pattern, “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12). We are not yet perfected but we pursue while we wait for the Lord’s appearing.

May we all “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22) We pursue and we cry out, Come, Lord Jesus!

Jesus Testifies for the Churches

I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star.” (Rev. 22:16)

New JerusalemThe Lord testified the things in Revelation “for the churches.” He was not speaking to individual believers but to believers functioning as members of His Body and coordinating with other members.

This is the church life in the beginning: breaking bread from house to house; praying in houses; giving hospitality to strangers; sharing letters; and knowing, greeting, and visiting one another across great distances despite limited transportation.

This corporate Christian living is the preparation for New Jerusalem, which is a single corporate bride for Christ and home for God. New Jerusalem, God’s goal, is the corporate expression of all that God is. It includes all His people, but without any individualism. Let us live in the churches to receive His words which are “for the churches.”

Jesus is the Root, the divine source, and the Offspring, the human descendant, of David. This is mainly in His relationship to the Jews, who are described in Revelation 14:12 as “those who keep the commandments of God.”

Jesus is also the bright morning star for His loving New Testament seekers, those who overcome the world (Rev. 2:28) and hold to His words as a shining lamp (2 Peter 1:19).

 

The Gospel: Be Cleansed, Receive Eternal Life, Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:14 proclaims, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” This is the gospel to everyone now.

Our robes signify our conduct. In the eyes of God all our living apart from Him, even our good deeds, is like “a soiled garment” in Isaiah 64:6. We need to wash our robes/garments, our conduct. This washing is by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14) which cleanses us from everything we have done apart from God (Acts 15:9).

This cleansing/washing gives us the right to the tree of life—Jesus Christ becoming our life for our new birth and being our life supply for our daily living with Him.

The cleansing/washing also gives us the right to enter by the gates into the city, New Jerusalem. An unbeliever’s basic need is to confess that he is a sinner apart from God, to turn to God, and to thank Jesus for dying to cleanse him and resurrecting to impart eternal life into him. This is the proper response to the proclamation of Revelation 22:14.

In contrast to 22:14, verse 15 declares “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Those who reject cleansing through the death of Jesus and refuse to repent (e.g. Rev. 16:9) will be outside, that is, in the lake of fire.

May all who are around us hear and respond to Revelation 22:14 to be cleansed, have life, and enter 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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

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New Jerusalem: to God be the Glory Forever

The Lord Jesus declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega*, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev. 22:13) Nothing is before Him and nothing comes after Him.

The Lord is the creator of everything. The Lord is also the goal of everything.
“In Him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and unto Him.” (Col. 1:16).
Out from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36).

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is “out from Him.” It is “the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.” (Heb. 11:10) We were brought to New Jerusalem based on His redemption and by the impartation of His life into us in resurrection.

New Jerusalem is “unto Him” as His bride, His wife. The goal of all the preparation work, the goal of our growth, transformation, and glorification in the divine life, is to be unto Him and with Him for eternity! “To Him be the glory forever.”

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* The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

The Lord’s Faithful Slaves Serve Him

New JerusalemThe Lord speaks in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me to render to each one as his work is.”

The Lord has purchased us and we are His slaves. He is our eternal salvation including His redemption and His eternal life. All of this is firm, unchangeable, as in John 10:28-29.

The choice we now face is, do we cooperate with Him for the growth of His life in us and do we serve Him as faithful slaves. A negative example of growth is in 1 Corinthians 3; the Corinthians, real believers, we still fleshly and infants in Christ. A positive and negative example are the faithful and evil slaves, both slaves of the Lord, in Matthew 24:45-51. A positive example is Paul in 2 Timothy 4:8.

How does this relate to New Jerusalem? “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7) Our growth in life and our faithful service are part of the preparation of the wife of the Lamb. And they will be rewarded by the Lamb.

The epistles record many worldly and philosophical and evil things which distract believers. May the Lord save us from these distractions and keep us on a straight path to New Jerusalem with proper growth and service!

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The Words of the Lord are Spirit and Life

New JerusalemAfter the presentation of New Jerusalem,
Revelation continues/concludes,
22:7, “And behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this scroll.”
22:10, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near.”
22:18-19, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this scroll; and if anyone takes away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and out of the holy city, which are written in this scroll.”

In these verses prophecy means not only foretelling the future but even more a speaking of God, God’s speaking to us.

It is a blessing to keep the words of God. We keep the words written in the Bible and we also open to God’s breathing through these words (2 Tim. 3:16). The words which the Lord speaks to us out of the Bible are spirit and life (John 6:63). We say amen to every word.

We should grow in our understanding, but whether we understand or not, we need to hold the words of God. We should not add to them nor take away from (or ignore) some of them. The warning is serious. And the blessing is rich to those who keep the words, believing and trusting God and not being stumbled by our own shortage of understanding.

Lord, I want to be one keeping, holding, breathing, and responding to Your words!

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