Experience Christ unto New Jerusalem

Israel had to journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai to see the vision of the tabernacle and then to enter into it (to build it). Likewise, we must journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see New Jerusalem and to enter into the experiences of it.

Israel had the shadow of this journey. The reality of the journey toward New Jerusalem includes:
New Jerusalem• Christ our Redeemer, through whom _we have forgiveness in His blood
• Christ our Passover to impart His _eternal life into us
• The Spirit as the reality of baptism into _Christ and His Body
• Singing and praising the Lord for His _victory in death and resurrection
• Experiencing His sweetness in _outwardly bitter circumstances
• Taking Him as our daily nourishment to _have Him as our daily living
• Drinking the Spirit as the living water
• Rejecting the flesh by the Spirit
• Walking according to spirit
• Access to God in the blood of Christ
• Christ living in us to fulfill all God’s _requirements
• Christ being our absoluteness for God’s interests
• Time in fellowship with the Lord

Our eternal salvation is once for all, but many of these steps recur often in our daily journey. Singing and praising should be frequent. Like physical eating and drinking, spiritual eating and drinking should be daily. Walking according to the spirit is continual. These energize us to fight the battle by the Spirit and to progress to the mountain for the vision of New Jerusalem.

Time on the Mountain with the Lord

Israel journeyed from Egypt to Mt. Sinai where God gave a vision of the tabernacle, His dwelling place. Likewise, we have a spiritual journey with many experiences of Christ to get to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling place.

In preparation for such a vision, we need forgiveness by the redeeming blood of Christ and we also need to be one with Christ as our burnt offering, absolute for God’s interests. The people who enter into these steps (Exo. 24:3-8) are then ready to go up the mountain (Exo. 24:9-18).

New JerusalemExodus 24:15-16, 18 say, “And Moses went up to the top of the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. And the glory of Jehovah settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud and went up on the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.”

To receive a full vision, we need to be at the top of the mountain. This is far above our earthly cares and the worldly attractions. Spiritually, this does not mean that we ignore earthly needs but that they do not dominate us and we have times when we put them all aside to be with the Lord.

To receive a full vision, we also need to be in the glory of the Lord. This requires us to turn our heart to the Lord and to exercise our spirit (2 Cor. 3:16-18). By this we can “enter into the cloud of glory” which cuts off our view of everything else.

To receive a full vision, we moreover need much time with the Lord, as Moses had. How much time every day and when during the day are between us and the Lord. Let us give ourselves to have such time that we may see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ in Us is Always Acceptable to God

We continue on our Christian journey toward the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

In order to journey toward New Jerusalem we need to be brought to God through the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13) and through Him as the absolute one living in us.

The death of Christ has fulfilled and fully satisfied God’s righteous requirements; hence, we are justified by God through His death (3:24). His resurrection proves that God’s requirements were satisfied by His death for us, that we are justified by God because of His death, and that in Him, the resurrected One, we are accepted before God. Furthermore, as the resurrected One, He is in us to live for us a life that can be justified by God and is always acceptable to God.*

New JerusalemChrist as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. This is the revelation in Matthew 5:48, where the Lord Jesus said that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. This perfection derives from not from God the Creator but from the Father who imparted His life into us so that we could be His sons.

It is by the heavenly life of our Father that we can live a heavenly life on earth and fulfill all that God requires of us.

This life is in us by the regeneration of our human spirit (John 3:15-16, 5-6). Therefore, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

*Note on Romans 4:25 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry

For New Jerusalem CHRIST IS, We are Not

The goal of our Christian journey is to get to the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem. This journey is portrayed by Israel traveling from Egypt to Mt. Sinai to receive the vision of the tabernacle. The tabernacle they built was merely a shadow of New Jerusalem, the eternal “tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:3).

When Israel heard God’s speaking, they replied “All the words which Jehovah has spoken we will do” (Exo. 24:3). However, they were spiritually blind, not realizing that as fallen men they could not fulfill God’s law. The condition of fallen man is presented in Romans 3:9-20, concluding “no flesh shall be justified before Him.”

Moses knew both God and the people of Israel, “So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people and said, Here is the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

New JerusalemBesides the blood, there were the burnt offerings. These are a picture of Jesus Christ as the person absolute for God. We cannot be absolute for God even when we want to be. He, as the burnt offering, is our replacement and we are identified with Him.

Leviticus 1:3-4 speaks about the offerer of a burnt offering: “…he shall present it, a male without blemish…that he may be accepted before Jehovah. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him…”

Jesus Christ is the “male without blemish” before God. He is accepted for us (v. 4) that we may be accepted before God (v. 3). This acceptance results when we “lay our hand on His head.” This is to pray, confessing that we are not and HE IS, and to praise that what HE IS, is available to us.

Taking Christ as our burnt offering is part of our journey to see New Jerusalem.

Photo in Ireland by Toby Shelton.

Christ Qualifies Us for New Jerusalem

We continue on our Christian journey portrayed by Israel’s journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai. Our goal is to get to the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

A step in the prior post was to walk by the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh. This is pictured in Exodus by the battle against Amalek (Exo. 17), a battle which continues every day. Then Israel arrived at the mountain but still did not see God’s habitation. The journey to see New Jerusalem is not short but it is a normal part of Christian life.

New JerusalemIn Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. These show who God is—He is unique, He is holy, He is living, He is righteous, He is faithful, and He has many other attributes.

All God’s words also show our shortages apart from Christ. Sometimes we try to fulfill the law but eventually we fail. This is Romans 7. Without Christ we cannot fulfill the law because 1) the law of sin is in us, and 2) we do not have God’s life.

When Moses presented all the words of God to Israel, there was an altar and burnt offerings and the blood of the offerings (Exo. 24:4-8). Moses sprinkled the blood on the people. This was a shadow; the reality is:
• “now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have become near in the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13)
• “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7)
This too is part of our journey to see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

We Walk by the Spirit to New Jerusalem

The picture of Israel’s journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai typifies our Christian journey from our initial salvation to the mountain where we can see New Jerusalem. Exodus 16 is about manna, a picture of Christ as our daily bread, and Exodus 17 is about water out of the smitten rock, a picture of the life-giving Spirit.

In addition to the steps mentioned in previous posts, there is the need to fight Amalek (Exo. 17:8-16).

In 17:8-16 we have the war against Amalek….According to the picture in [Exodus] chapters sixteen and seventeen, after we have received the heavenly life supply and the living water from the cleft rock, we are ready to fight against Amalek.

Many students of the Bible realize that this fight depicts the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. This indicates that as we are going on with the Lord, the first fight is that between the flesh and the Spirit. The fact that the first fight in which the children of Israel were engaged was that against Amalek indicates that after we are saved and baptized, the first conflict we experience will be the warfare between the flesh and the Spirit who regenerated us.*

New JerusalemHere are two verses showing this battle:
• “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
• “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” Galatians 5:17

We do not fight the flesh in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

This battle is a necessary step to be freed from the flesh so that we can be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem.

* An extract from Life-study of Exodus by Witness Lee, published by LSM, message 46, section 1.

Photo courtesy of Janelle Johnson.

Bread and Water Bring us to New Jerusalem

Israel’s journey in Exodus 12–19 is a picture of our Christian journey. Their journey brought them to Mt. Sinai to see the vision of the tabernacle. Our journey results in our being “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem.

Prior posts touched several steps preparatory to seeing New Jerusalem. Another step is to take Christ as our living bread, typified by manna (Exo. 16), every day. Jesus clearly told us “he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57). Eating is a daily necessity; without spiritual eating we cannot have a proper Christian life and cannot journey onward to the mountain.

Eating the manna is by our living contact with the Word of God. Deuteronomy 8:3, quoted by the Lord in Matthew 4:4, says that God “fed you [Israel] the manna…so that He might make you know that man lives not by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out from the mouth of Jehovah.”

One more step is to drink the living water which flows out of the smitten rock. When the Lord, pictured by the rock, was smitten on the cross, blood and water flowed out. The reality of this water is the Spirit, as presented in John 7:37-39. Eventually this will be the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemJohn 19:34: “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

A song about this flowing:
__The blood and water flowed from Him,
____In streams of pure salvation.
__The blood brings cleansing from all sin;
____Water, regeneration.
__And now the Spirit flows,
____Brings God where’er He goes.
__All he could do, the foe,
____Was just release the flow.
__And God just keeps on flowing.

God’s continual flow, beginning from the cross, carries us all the way to New Jerusalem.

Sing & Praise on the Way to New Jerusalem

When we are “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” we see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). To get to this point we must make a spiritual journey in our Christian life. This is portrayed by Israel’s journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai.

The first three steps of our journey are asking for forgiveness of sins, receiving Christ as life, and being separated from the world by baptism in both water and the Spirit.

New JerusalemThe next step is to sing and praise the Lord for His victory and His kingdom, paralleling what Israel did in Exodus 15.

Then we need to experience something of the cross of Christ, changing our bitter circumstances into sweet; this brings us to the twelve springs of living water, the reality of the history in Exodus 15:22-27.

These two steps are recorded together in Exodus and are tied to one another in our experience. Often when our circumstances are difficult (typified by the bitter water in Exo. 15), we look at our situation and moan about being stuck in it. This does not sweeten anything.

But, we can praise the Lord! Through His death and resurrection, He won the universal victory. Peter told everyone that it is not possible for Him to be held by death (Acts 2:22-24). When we praise Him or when we sing songs extolling Him, we are delivered.

Our situation might not change, but we taste His sweetness in our singing and praising. This brings us onward to the wonderful experience of the springs of living water.

Here we have a few more steps in our Christian journey that prepare us and supply us to come to the high mountain to see New Jerusalem.

Journey to New Jerusalem: Type & Reality

We need to be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). But how do we get in position to be carried away?

New JerusalemIn Exodus 19 Israel came to Mt. Sinai where they received the vision of the tabernacle. When the tabernacle was completed, God’s glory filled it (Exo. 40:33-34), making it a picture of New Jerusalem as the eternal tabernacle of God filled with glory (Rev. 21:3, 11).

First Corinthians 10:1-13 reviews some of Israel’s journey in the wilderness and says that “these things occurred as examples to us.” Their journey to Mt. Sinai pictures our journey to a high spiritual mountain where we can see New Jerusalem.

The first step in Israel’s journey was the redemption portrayed by the Passover. We need to repent and ask the Lord to forgive all our sins. He has already accomplished redemption by dying; when we ask Him, redemption is applied to us as forgiveness.

The second step in Israel’s journey was to eat the Passover lamb and the unleavened bread. This is a picture of our being nourished with Christ as the real Lamb and real Bread. This energizes us to walk out of Egypt.

The next step for Israel was to cross the Red Sea, which portrays our baptism. This separates us from the world and destroys the worldly forces (Pharaoh’s army being buried in the Red Sea). First Corinthians tells us that this baptism is not only in water but also in the Spirit. Water is the visible symbol but it alone is not effective. We need the invisible reality of the Spirit’s baptism.

These three steps begin our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem.

In Spirit on a Mountain for New Jerusalem

A recent post mentions being “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). Another looks at Moses’ experience with God on Mt. Sinai as a pre-figure of New Jerusalem. Here are other Old Testament mountain experiences, to be followed by New Testament mountain experiences.

Isaiah 2:1-4 and 65:25 speak of the mountain of the Lord’s house in the millennial kingdom with wonderful characteristics which we expect to be better in eternity.

New JerusalemIsaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, of him who announces peace…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people who are “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Like John’s vision from a great and high mountain, Ezekiel 40:2 tells us that to see the millennial Jerusalem “In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel and set me down upon a very high mountain, and on it to the south there was a structure like a city.”

The visions need a spiritual mountain experience because we have to be out of our environment and away from our daily cares to see the wonderful things God has prepared. Lord, I am open to You; carry me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain to see New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of Nathan Ofsthun.

Moses in a Similitude of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMoses is one of God’s people and there is no doubt that he will be in New Jerusalem. Continuing from other posts based on Exodus, I suggest that Moses, especially when he was on Mount Sinai (Exo. 24 and 34), was in a similitude* of New Jerusalem.

In Exodus 24:1-2 God instructed Moses to bring others up the mountain but that he alone was to come near to God. In New Jerusalem we will all be near to God.

When Moses went to the tent of meeting outside the camp, he spoke with God “face to face” (Exo. 33:11). To see the face of God is one blessing in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:4). “Let us therefore go forth unto Him [Jesus] outside the camp” now (Heb. 13:13).

All who came part way up with Moses saw a paved work of sapphire like heaven itself for clearness (Exo. 24:10). Sapphire is one of the foundations of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:19) and clearness/transparency is one of the city’s characteristics (Rev. 21:11, 18, 21).

Moses went to the top of the mountain where the glory of God was (Exo. 24:15-17). Eternally the glory of God enlightens New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). There Moses did not eat bread and did not drink water for forty days, yet he still had strength to come down the mountain (Exo. 34:28-29). How was Moses sustained? Probably by direct supply from God, like the river of water of life and the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1-2).

When Moses came down from the mountain “the skin of his face shone by reason of His [God’s] speaking with him” (Exo. 34:29). This is like our present opportunity to behold and reflect the glory of the Lord by turning our heart to Him (2 Cor. 3:16-18). The shining of this glory is a characteristic of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:11). Moses had these experiences during his human life; may the Lord bring us all into such a foretaste of New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of NOAA (U.S. Dept. of Commerce).

* A counterpart, a correspondence in kind or quality (www.merriam-webster.com).

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.

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