The Angel Brings Us into New Jerusalem

Several posts in January looked at aspects of New Jerusalem portrayed in the early chapters of Exodus. Later, God promised “I am now sending an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared” (Exodus 23:20).

New JerusalemGod prepared and promised the good land to Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 15:7, 26:3-4). Ultimately the place God has prepared and promised is New Jerusalem, our eternal good land. Thus, the Angel bringing Israel to their place is a picture of Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem.

The Angel in Exodus 23 is God in Christ, as shown in Exodus 3:2, 4 where the Angel appears and God speaks. This is also seen in John 10:7-11 where Jesus Christ is the sent “Angel” and the Father is speaking.

Exodus 23:20 says that the Angel will keep us. Then 23:21-22 commands us to “listen to His voice.” He will keep us but we need to cooperate by listening to Him. In John 14:23 Jesus tells us, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Then in verse 24 He tells us, “The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

The Father sent the Son and the Father speaks through the Son. They keep us on the way to New Jerusalem by making an abode with us. The primary “keeping” is not preserving us from outward problems but maintaining our fellowship with the Lord. The key is our loving the Lord. By loving Him, our living, our daily walk, is brought into Him and He becomes the essence of our daily living. This inward reality is our foretaste of the place, New Jerusalem, to which the Angel is bringing us.

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.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

The Triune God and New Jerusalem

The prior post asked, Where is New Jerusalem? And the answer is that New Jerusalem is in the Triune God. The city is in the Triune God because all God’s New Testament building work is in Himself.

We can also ask, Where is the Triune God? The answer is that the Triune God is in New Jerusalem. The city is in God and God is in the city. This is the consummation of words spoken by the Lord in John.

New JerusalemNew JerusalemI am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
(14:20)
Abide in Me and I in you.
(15:4)

 

Romans says we are “in Christ Jesus” (8:1) and “Christ is in you” (8:10). In Colossians Paul announced “Christ in you” as part of his labor to “present every man full-grown in Christ” (1:27-28). And 1 John 4:15 says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.”

New Jerusalem is not a physical place for us or God to be. The dwellers and the dwelling are one, not separate. New Jerusalem is the consummation of the mutual indwelling of the Triune God and all His people. New Jerusalem is in, and one with, the Triune God and the Triune God is in, and one with, New Jerusalem. In other words, New Jerusalem is the mingling, the blending, the coinherence*, of God and God’s people.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Triune God in His people and His people in the Triune God.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL-Caltech.

* A word meaning one dwells in another and the other in the one, as in John 14:20, 15:4, 1 John 4:15.

Where is New Jerusalem ?

New JerusalemWhere? The obvious answer is what John said in Revelation 21:1-2, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven…” New Jerusalem is in heaven until it comes down out of heaven to be on the new earth.

The New Testament also locates the city another way. First Corinthians 1:29-30 says that of God we are in Christ Jesus. And Colossians 3:3 says “your life is hidden with Christ in God.” The Triune God is our spiritual location no matter what our physical location is. This location will continue into New Jerusalem.

Furthermore, John’s epistles exhort us to walk in the light and to walk in love and they also tell us that God is light and God is love. Therefore, our walk, our daily living, is in God. This walk in God will continue into New Jerusalem.

We and God together are God’s building. Where we are, that’s where God’s building is. Ephesians 2:20-22 says that we are being built together

Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.

These verses thrice say that God’s New Testament building work is in Christ Jesus the Lord. New Jerusalem, as the consummation of God’s building work, surely will not be brought out of Christ. The city will also be in Christ Jesus, who is the embodiment of the Triune God.

Colossians 2:6-7 puts the verses from John and Ephesians together, saying we should walk in Christ Jesus the Lord and that we are being built up in Him.

Q: Where is New Jerusalem ?
A: in the Triune God !

New Jerusalem Radiates God’s Excellence

Multiple times in recent months I have considered the song Pray to Fellowship with Jesus by Witness Lee (music). The last two lines remind me of New Jerusalem:

Saturated with His beauty,
Radiate His excellence.

“He [an angel] carried me [John] 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” (Rev. 21:10-11a).

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has, possesses, the glory of God because it is saturated with God’s life and nature, thereby becoming God’s expression. This saturation and expression are identical to the two lines of the song.

The song has much guidance and encouragement for being before His face for His shining into us in our Christian life today, a relationship which will continue into New Jerusalem. Among the Bible verses alluded to in this song, to me 2 Corinthians 3:18 stands out:

We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.

Our unveiling is not a once-for-all matter in our Christian life. Rather it is a continual turning of our heart to the Lord (v. 16). Whenever we turn to Him to have fellowship with Him in our spirit (v. 17), we are beholding Him and reflecting Him.

Unlike an earthly mirror which is unchanged by what it reflects, our beholding and reflecting the Lord causes us to be transformed into His image “from glory to glory.” This glory gradually saturates us, transforming us to the radiating glory of New Jerusalem.

God Constitutes Us to be New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

Here are a few more excerpts from the issue of Affirmation & Critique* focused on New Jerusalem. Each excerpt is tagged with the author’s initials and is followed by a related verse.

In Christ God has become man to make man God in His life and in His nature [but not in the Godhead] so that the redeeming God and the redeemed man can be united, mingled, constituted, and incorporated together to become one entity, the consummated corporate God-man—the New Jerusalem. (RK)

We “have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where…Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:10-11

Just as the church as God’s house is not an actual physical house, so the New Jerusalem is not an actual physical city. The city of New Jerusalem is a sign signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place. (WL)

“The house of God, which is the church of the living God.” 1 Timothy 3:15

Through His death, resurrection, ascension, and descension, Christ, the second man, was enlarged from an individual God-man to a corporate God-man, the one new man. (DY)

Christ, in His death on the cross, abolished “in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two [Jews and Gentiles] in Himself into one new man, so making peace.” Ephesians 2:15

The New Jerusalem is new because it is fully saturated with the Triune God of newness. Throughout eternity the New Jerusalem will ceaselessly unfold the fresh newness of the Triune God to the universe. (DY)

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

All of these excerpts portray New Jerusalem as the consummation of God in Christ flowing into, being one with, constituting, and radiating out of His chosen people.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

God’s Life and Nature for New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

This post continues our look at an issue of Affirmation & Critique* focused on New Jerusalem. The final page of that issue includes:

The New Jerusalem, the city of God, is not a physical city; it is a sign of the consummation of God’s economical operation of grace, an operation that began with the incarnation of the Word in humanity in order to produce a corporate person who is joined to and mingled with the Triune God. The New Jerusalem is a divine declaration of the Triune God’s desire to reproduce Himself in a corporate God-man. As a divine-human corporate person, the New Jerusalem speaks of God becoming man and man becoming God in life and nature but not in the Godhead. The New Jerusalem is a composition of God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, sanctified, renewed, transformed, and glorified people who have been deified, that is, made the same as God in life and nature but not in the Godhead.

For New Jerusalem, we become God in life and nature but not in the Godhead. Is this a strange statement? Not if we look at verses like these:
• “As many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, who were begotten…of God.” John 1:12-13
• “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26
• “He who believes into the Son has eternal life.” John 3:36
• “Christ lives in me.”  “Christ our life.” Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:4
• “All the Body…grows with the growth of God.” Colossians 2:19
• “You might become partakers of the divine nature” 2 Peter 1:4

These verses and many more speak of the mingling of God and man in life now, in this age. The full growth, the maturity in life, of this mingling is the New Jerusalem and will be exhibited by New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

God’s Great Salvation unto New Jerusalem

Here is more about New Jerusalem from Affirmation & Critique,* The New Jerusalem—The Consummation of God’s Work in Humanity (by David Yoon):

New JerusalemThroughout church history, the mystery of God’s purpose and that of man’s destiny have been a continuous source for debate and discussion among Christians. According to the divine revelation in the Holy Scriptures, the ultimate answer to these two mysteries is presented in the final vision of the Bible—the vision of the New Jerusalem, the holy city. This vision, described in Revelation 21 and 22, concludes the entire Scriptures and completes the progression of the divine revelation concerning God and His interaction with humankind. As the consummating vision in the Bible, the New Jerusalem unveils the ultimate issue of God’s work upon His elect, the final state of their perfection through their participation in His great salvation (Heb. 2:3). The accomplishment of God’s purpose and the fulfillment of humanity’s destiny culminate and converge in the New Jerusalem.

As stated here, New Jerusalem is the ultimate issue of God’s work in His people. This work includes His foreknowledge, selection, and predestination in eternity past; the creation of man; redemption by Jesus Christ; proclaiming of the gospel; our regeneration, transformation, and glorification; and the building up of the Body of Christ which is the house of the living God, the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

All the steps from eternity through redemption are outside of us. Beginning from regeneration, the Triune God’s work upon us is His work in us: the Father— “it is God who operates in you” (Phil. 2:13), the Son— “Christ may make His home in your hearts” (Eph. 3:17), and the Spirit—He gives life “through His Spirit who indwells you” (Rom. 8:11).

Also, the building up of the Body of Christ is by our growth in life—the life which is Christ in us. Our growth is His increase within us. Eventually, Christ will come “to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10). This completes the Triune God’s work in us and causes us to match New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God.”

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Love the Lord to see New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe Bible often uses figurative language, and these symbols, metaphors, parables, and allegories communicate the divine and mystical realities. New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Bible and is described in the Bible’s figurative language.

Revelation has the Lord’s description of New Jerusalem. We must look to Him to show us the deep significance of the figures which He uses. He might show us directly and He might show us through other Christians’ speaking or writing. In our seeking we must heed the Lord’s warning in Matthew 13:15 regarding why many could not comprehend the spiritual significance of His parables.

For the heart of this people has become fat, and with their ears they have heard heavily, and their eyes they have closed, lest they perceive with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and they turn around, and I will heal them.

That the people’s heart “has become fat” means their hearts were calloused, hardened, dull, insensitive. Regarding everything of the Lord, including New Jerusalem, we should never sink to this point.

What went wrong? A scribe asked, “Which is the first commandment of all? Jesus answered, The first is: ‘Hear, Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord; and
______you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart
and from your whole soul and from your whole mind and from your whole strength.’ ” (Mark 12:28-30)

If we miss this first commandment, nothing will proceed properly. Their hearts were hardened because their hearts were loving something other than the Lord. Lord, keep me loving You every day. Lord, save me from having any love before You. I want to love You to the extent that I can see the reality of New Jerusalem now.

Photo by Keith Weller, courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

In Spirit on a Mountain, see New Jerusalem

New JerusalemWe are looking at an issue of Affirmation & Critique* on New Jerusalem. The prior post includes this sentence from The Divine and Mystical in Figurative Language: God and the writers of the Bible employ figurative language, using literary devices such as symbols, types, figures, metaphors, similes, and allegories to communicate the realities of the divine and mystical realm.

We must recognize that the Bible uses such figurative language. We must also recognize that the reality of all these pictures are God, Christ Jesus, His offices and accomplishments, His believers and their Christian experiences, and His Body.

We are familiar with parables in the gospels. Parables are not merely nice stories, they all have spiritual significances, such as the sower and seed being the Lord Himself and the word of God (Matthew 13:3-23).

Revelation is a books of signs, as stated in verse 1:1. For example, the seven lampstands in Revelation 1 are symbols of the seven churches, and the woman and the dragon in Revelation 12:1-9 portray the people of God and Satan.

The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, which is also presented by the Bible in figurative language. This is why we need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10-11). All the natural elements (e.g. gold, pearls, wall, precious stones, tree of life) in Revelation 21–22 have spiritual significance.

We should not use our human imagination to create images of these figures in a natural way. Rather, we should open our heart to the Lord and ask Him to give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may see the reality of these figures. Lord, show me New Jerusalem!

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

God Mingled with Man for New Jerusalem

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* focuses on New Jerusalem. Continuing prior posts, here is an extract from The Divine and Mystical in Figurative Language  (by Roger Good).

Although God exists in a divine, mystical, and invisible realm (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; Col. 1:15; Rom. 1:20), He desires to communicate the realities of the divine and mystical realm to us. On the one hand, creation testifies of the characteristics of the divine and mystical realm, and on the other hand, God and the writers of the Bible employ figurative language, taking images from the physical realm, using literary devices such as symbols, types, figures, metaphors, similes, and allegories to communicate the realities of the divine and mystical realm. God’s ultimate goal in His economy is to mingle Himself with redeemed humanity. This is revealed in the greatest allegory of all—the New Jerusalem, the consummation of all the symbols, types, figures, and metaphors revealed in the Bible.

New JerusalemFor God to reach His goal, He became incarnated in the man Jesus, lived a perfect human life, died, was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended. Through incarnation God and man were mingled in one man—Jesus, as He told His disciples in John 14:10, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me…the Father who abides in Me does His works.”

This was a first step. The next step occurred in resurrection, as stated by Jesus in John 14:20, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” In resurrection the mingling of God and man was expanded to millions of believers. Jesus Christ lives in us and we live in Him. This mingling is the essence of both our Christian life and New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

The New Man Becomes New Jerusalem

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* focuses on New Jerusalem. Here is an excerpt from the fourth article, The New Jerusalem—The Consummation of God’s Work in Humanity (by David Yoon).

The first man is the corporate man whom God created for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose; the old man is the created man who became old through the corruption of the fall; the second man is Christ, the first God-man, as the initial accomplishment of God’s purpose; and the new man is the corporate God-man as the reproduction of the second man for the full accomplishment of God’s purpose. The divine revelation in the entire Bible may be considered the history of these four men with the New Jerusalem as its culmination. Genesis 1 and 2 unveil the creation of the first man. Genesis 3 through Malachi present the history of the old man, the first man who fell. The four Gospels in the New Testament offer the biography of the second man as the replacement of the first man, and Acts through Revelation 20 contain the story of the new man as the corporate enlargement of the second man. The last two chapters of the Bible present the description of the New Jerusalem as the consummation of the new man.

New JerusalemAdam is the first man and Jesus Christ is both the second man and the last Adam. “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul'; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. The first man is out of the earth, earthy; the second man is out of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47)

Due to man’s fall, all of Adam’s descendants became the old man, but through redemption and regeneration all who believe in Jesus become the new man. In position, through baptism, we have put off the old man and put on the new man. Now in our Christian experience we need to put off the living of the old man with all his actions (Colossians 3:5-9) and put on the living of Christ as the reality of the new man (Colossians 3:1-4).

The new man is the forerunner and New Jerusalem will the completion. Today Christ is our life in the new man and tomorrow Christ will be our life in New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdpics.com.

Come Forward to Grace for New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

We are in a series of excerpts from an issue of Affirmation & Critique* about New Jerusalem. The prior post is on New Jerusalem as a sign of the consummation of the operation of grace as allegorized in Galatians and Hebrews.

Here is a short supplement to the prior post from the concluding word of that issue of Affirmation & Critique:

Both Galatians and Hebrews are focused on bringing believers back to God’s operation of grace so that they can be built up into God’s corporate expression, which is allegorized as the Jerusalem above in Galatians [4:26] and the heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews [12:22]. Galatians, Hebrews, and Revelation point to an allegorized city of grace—the Jerusalem above, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem [Rev. 21:2, 9-11]. Each of these books concludes with the most fitting interpretation of this allegory: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen” (Gal. 6:18), “Grace be with you all. Amen” (Heb. 13:25), and “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen” (Rev. 22:21).

From God’s side, Jesus Christ as grace is with us. From our side, we need to cooperate, as in these verses in Hebrews:
• “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” (4:16)
• “Looking carefully lest anyone fall away from the grace of God.” (12:15a)
• “…let us have [or, hold fast to] grace, through which we may serve God well-pleasingly with piety and fear.” (12:28)

Lord, grant me to find and hold grace today and never to fall away from it. Lord, grace me all the way to New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

%d bloggers like this: