Aspects of New Jerusalem in Our Daily Life

hymn on God’s eternal purpose includes creation, life, transformation, building, and New Jerusalem. It moves from Genesis 1–2 through the New Testament to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22.
New Jerusalem

Verses 5 and 6 of the hymn, above, are about New Jerusalem. Here are many lines from these verses of the hymn with a corresponding portion from Revelation.

✦ He’s the very center, ruling on the throne:  “the throne of God and of the Lamb ” (22:1)
✦ By His light of glory, they are kept in light: “the Lord God will shine upon them” (22:5)
✦ He’s their living water, and their food supply: “a river of water of life, bright as crystal…And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (22:1-2)
✦ All their thirst and hunger He doth satisfy: “They will not hunger any more, neither will they thirst any more” (7:16)
✦ He’s for them the temple, in Himself they live: “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its [New Jerusalem’s] temple” (21:22), “they…serve [as priests] Him day and night in His temple” (7:15)
✦ In His constant presence: “they will see His face….the Lord God will shine upon them” (22:4, 5)
✦ Worship ever give: “His slaves will serve [as priests] Him” (22:3)

The characteristics of New Jerusalem described in these hymn verses should be spiritual (not physical) characteristics of our Christian life today. The Lord Jesus should be on the throne in us now, supplying us with living water and being our bread of life. We should walk in Him as our light (1 John 1:7), be empowered by Him (2 Tim. 2:1), be in the oneness (Eph. 4:3), behold Him (Heb. 12:2), and worship Him (John 4:24).

The characteristics of New Jerusalem in the hymn are very similar to the characteristics of a proper Christian life. The difference is not in nature but in magnitude. New Jerusalem will be much richer than today, and without the complication of sin and death.

New Jerusalem: God Mingled with Man

A hymn on God’s eternal purpose proceeds from creation in Genesis 1–2 to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Verse 3 of the hymn is about our Christian life today and verse 4 goes on to New Jerusalem. Here they are:New Jerusalem

Verse 3 begins with the rich flowing of God’s life. This flow is portrayed by the river in Genesis 2; the reality is the Spirit as rivers of living water in John 7; and the consum-mation is the Spirit as the river from the throne in New Jerusalem in Revelation 22.

This flow of eternal life transforms us into precious stones and conforms us to Christ for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Verse 4 of the hymn speaks of God mingling with man, making His home in us, and becoming our content so that we can share His glory and express Him. Here is one New Testament verse touching each of these points.
“My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19)
“That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17a)
“You may be filled unto all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19b)
“If indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:17b)
“With all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body” (Phil 1:20b)

It is by Christ as life in us that we become God’s expression, both in this age and in New Jerusalem. God created man to express Him in life. He is not looking for a static expression like a work of art. We are living stones to be the house, the temple, of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16) to serve Him by His life. The Christ we live becomes the Christ we express, today in some limited degree and in New Jerusalem in full.

Created in God’s Image for New Jerusalem

This post begins a look at a hymn about God’s eternal purpose, consummating in New Jerusalem. This hymn was authored by Witness Lee. Here are words and music and a post, Who is Witness Lee?

Verse 1 of the hymn is an overview of God’s purpose and verse 2 speaks about creation.New Jerusalem

In Genesis 1:26 the Triune God said, “Let Us make man in Our image.” Man is in God’s image so that man can express God. However, even though man has the image, like a photograph, man still needs the life of God to be God’s living expression.

The created man was set in the garden of Eden with the tree of life (Gen. 2). But man fell into sin and was ejected from the garden (Gen. 3). Through the redemption accomplished by the death of Jesus and the life released in His resurrection, man can now be freed from sin and be born again.

Jesus Christ “the life” (John 14:6) is the reality of the tree of life to become our life. This life is not static, but is a continuous, eternal supply, seen in New Jerusalem as the “river of water of life” (Rev. 22:1) and “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (22:2).

It is by this life that man can express God and thereby cooperate in accomplishing God’s purpose. Examples of the expression of God now are to magnify Christ (Phil. 1:20) and having an excellent manner of life among the unbelievers (1 Peter 2:12).

New Jerusalem, having the glory of God and light like a most precious stone (Rev. 21:11), is the eternal expression of God by means of His life in His redeemed humanity.

Living, Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Here is a summary of recent posts on Christ as the chosen, living, and precious Stone and His believers as living, precious stones. These stones are for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone – In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Christ is a chosen, precious, living Stone. In Acts 4 and Eph. 2 He is the Cornerstone in whom we are built together.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem – The Lord is the living Stone. By coming to Him, we become living stones for the building of God’s house today (1 Peter 2:4-5) which will grow into New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone – God on the throne in Revelation 4 has the appearance of a jasper stone, and the whole city has the same appearance. New Jerusalem is the corporate expression of God on the throne.

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem – The precious faith we have received enables us to lay hold of the precious promises given to us by God (2 Peter 1:1, 4). By these we are constituted precious stones.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ – The twelve precious stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem, and the appearance of the whole city as a most precious jasper stone, display the beauty of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to some older posts about the precious stones of New Jerusalem:

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem – The preciousness is not external but is by the Spirit’s working within us.

Transformation Produces Precious Stones – The Spirit’s working within us transforms us so that the preciousness of Christ may be expressed through us.

Precious Stones on the Foundations – The twelve foundations each correspond to one precious stone; these declare the eternal perfection and fullness of the wall.

The Stones Express God – The whole of New Jerusalem, its wall, and its first foundation are all jasper, expressing the God who sits on the throne.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ

God’s New Testament building is in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-21) and with all His believers as living stones.

God sitting on His throne has the appearance of a jasper stone (Rev. 4:3). New Jerusalem is glorious and has light like a most precious stone, a jasper stone, and the building of its wall is of jasper (Rev. 21:11, 18).

God, the One sitting on the throne in the center of the New Jerusalem, has the appearance of jasper; the wall, the circumference, of the city is made of jasper; and the light of the city is like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Therefore, the entire city will bear God’s appearance, God’s expression. This corresponds to the word in 1 John 3:2: “We know that if He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him even as He is.” God and the believers will have the same appearance—the appearance of jasper.

In Revelation 21:19 and 20 the believers are symbolized by eleven other precious stones in addition to jasper. The other precious stones signify the riches of the beauty of Christ in different aspects for the foundation of God’s eternal dwelling. Christ is the foundation stone of God’s building in eternity, and all the precious stones are different aspects of the riches of Christ as the foundation.*

New JerusalemRevelation 21 presents twelve precious stones associated with New Jerusalem. Thank the Lord that these are not for a jewelry show but rather “signify the riches of the beauty of Christ in different aspects.” The riches of Christ are unsearchable and immeasurable.

The riches of Christ wrought into us will come forth as a display of His unlimited greatness. This is Romans 9:23, “In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory” and Ephesians 2:7, “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

This display of His riches in glory and in the ages to come, corresponds with the precious stones of New Jerusalem.

*An excerpt from Conclusion of the New Testament, The by Witness Lee.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Jesus Christ is the living Stone and we too are stones for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Genesis 2:7, “Jehovah God formed man with the dust of the ground…” In God’s creation we are earthen vessels but in His new creation by regeneration we become stones.

God created Adam, using a piece of clay taken from the earth as material. Therefore, all of us today who have been born of Adam are also clay. However, since we have been saved with God’s life, in God’s eyes we are no longer clay but stones. Immediately after Simon Peter confessed that the Lord was the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lord said to him, “You are Peter” (Matt. 16:16-18). Peter is a translated word which means “a stone.” Likewise, every saved person is a “Peter,” a stone, used by God for the building of this city.

However, in the New Jerusalem the materials used by God for building are not merely ordinary stones but precious stones. Hence, it is not enough that we were saved and became stones; we still need to become precious stones. This requires us to put ourselves in the hands of God so that He can do the work of constitution.*

New JerusalemPaul speaks about building God’s house with precious stones (1 Cor. 3:12). This is directly in line with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21: “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone” (v. 19).”

Second Peter 1:1 says that we all have equally precious faith. Verse 4 tells us that God “has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature.”

By this precious faith we lay hold of the precious promises. Through these promises God works in us to make us precious stones for His building now and for New Jerusalem.

Lord, we are open to You. Work in us and constitute us with Your preciousness.

*A quote from The Building Work of God, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee
A short video by Christian Research Institute about Witness Lee.

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone

In God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, stones are living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. By coming to Him, we too are living stones for God’s building.

New Jerusalem has the glory of God and “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” (Rev. 21:11). We know that this precious jasper stone is not physical because John saw “a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance” (Rev. 4:2-3).

New JerusalemGod on the throne is like a jasper stone and a sardius stone. The light of New Jerusalem is like a jasper stone because God Himself is the light of the city. “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:18). Because these foundations are plural, they are not Christ Himself. Rather, they are the apostles because, “the wall of the city had twelve founda-tions, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14).

A recent inquiry asked who are the apostles named on the foundations of New Jerusalem. The Bible does not say and I will not speculate. But we do know that there are twelve foundations and that twelve signifies eternal completion and perfection. The ministry of the apostles in this age is for our transformation from clay to living stones and for our being built together now, to prepare the bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

 

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem

In the New Testament, stones signify living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, is in Him, the Cornerstone in resurrection (Eph. 2:20-21).

New Jerusalem In the natural realm, human beings are vessels of clay (Rom 9:21), earthen vessels (2 Cor 4:7). In contrast, New Jerusalem has no clay, no dirt, only precious materials. How then can men of clay participate in New Jerusalem?

The answer is that in regeneration, in resurrection, the Lord makes us stones. When the Lord Jesus first met Simon, He told Him, “You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).” Both Cephas (Aramaic*) and Peter (Greek) mean “stone.”

This change of name indicates a change of person, a change of constitution. In God’s salvation, the Lord transforms men of clay into stones for His building.

Peter tells us “Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem. We become living stones by coming to Jesus Christ mot only once but by coming to Him continually.

As we come to Him, he infuses us with His stone nature, reconstituting us from clay to stone. This builds us together as God’s spiritual house and prepares us for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling. In the context of Peter’s epistle, our “coming to Him” involves putting away evil things (2:1) and holding to His living and abiding word (1:22-25, 2:2-3). This is our path to New Jerusalem.

*The common language in Judea and Galilee in the first century.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone

New JerusalemIn the gospels, the Lord depicts Himself as a Stone. His words should cause us to realize that stones in the New Testament, including those in New Jerusalem, are not physical but are living people.

“Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner. This was from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” By this word, spoken in Matthew 21:42, quoting Psalm 118,  the Lord tells us that He is the Cornerstone rejected by the Jewish leaders.

In Acts 4:10-12, Peter makes reference to this statement, telling the Jewish leaders that through death and resurrection, “This is the stone which was considered as nothing by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner.” Here Peter is speaking about “Jesus Christ the Nazarene.” He is the Cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:20-21 proclaims “Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” Here the Cornerstone is not only part of God’s New Testament building but is even the realm in which the building exists and grows.

In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Peter tells us further that the Lord is to us “a living Stone” and “a Cornerstone, chosen and precious,” but to the unbelieving He is “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

Because New Jerusalem is a city in and of resurrection, everything brought forth in the Lord’s resurrection is in New Jerusalem. This includes Him as the Stone, in which the building, including New Jerusalem exists.

Living & Reigning Forever in New Jerusalem

Here are more “forever and ever” verses. These point toward New Jerusalem, the “forever and ever” city.

At the last trumpet “there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). His reigning forever is a result of His living forever. Revelation 4:9 and 10 both have worship to “Him who lives forever and ever.”

New JerusalemRevelation 10:6 and 15:7 also speak of “Him who lives forever and ever.” Some of the verses refer to the Lord Jesus Christ and some to God. The singular pronoun “Him” is used because Jesus is the embodiment of God (Col. 2:9); God and Jesus are not separate but one (John 10:30).

He reigns forever because He lives forever, and He lives in resurrection. The Lord told us in Revelation 1:18, “[I am] the living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living forever and ever; and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

New Jerusalem is a city of life, a city of resurrection, and a city of God in Christ reigning. Revelation 22:3 to 5 describe blessings in New Jerusalem. Verse 5 concludes, “they will reign forever and ever.” They refers to “His slaves” (v. 3), those who have His name on their foreheads (v. 4).

The name shows that they have been redeemed by the Lamb and belong to God. We who have been redeemed have received eternal life and have been raised together with Christ (Eph. 2:5-6). As this life grows in us, it brings us into the reigning in life promised in Romans 5:17. Eventually the life and reigning reach their consummation in New Jerusalem where we will reign with Christ forever.

Photo by Steve Robertsen, courtesy of US Forest Service.

God Supplies Strength for God’s Glory

New JerusalemWe continue in verses with “forever and ever” because these point toward New Jerusalem, the “forever and ever” city.

First Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, as speaking oracles of God; if anyone ministers, as ministering out of the strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever.” Here both glory and might are forever and ever. The might links to “the strength which God supplies” and the result is glory.

First Peter 5:11 and Revelation 1:6 also declare, “To Him be the glory and the might forever and ever.” We in ourselves are not qualified to glorify God nor to participate in New Jerusalem. But He supplies us so that He can work in us and through us. This supply is seen also in Philippians 1:19-20:

“For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I will be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death.”

The Spirit bountifully supplies us in every kind of situation that we may magnify Christ with God’s boldness (not our own boldness). For this we pray for one another, per Paul’s word “your petition.” The river of water of life (Rev. 22:1) is the eternal bountiful supply, and New Jerusalem is the ultimate magnification of Christ.

Revelation 7:12 is the result of God’s rich and varied supply to us throughout our Christian life. “The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever.” In New Jerusalem we will eternally praise God in all these ways.

 

New Jerusalem: God’s Eternal Glory

New Jerusalem is a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). Romans 16:27 says, “To the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever.” Because the glory here is forever it points to New Jerusalem. Because this glory is the conclusion of Romans, it shows that the whole of Romans looks to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAfter writing the prior post, I began to wonder how often “glory forever and ever” is in the New Testament. Here are those written by Paul (Peter and John in later posts).
Galatians 1:5, “To whom be the glory forever and ever.”
Ephesians 3:21, “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever.”
Philippians 4:20, “Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever.
2 Timothy 4:18b, “to whom be the glory forever and ever.”
Hebrews 13:21b, “to Him be the glory forever and ever.”

These verses speak of glory to God, to our God and Father, and to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one glory because, as the Lord said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”

This eternal glory dwells in and is expressed by New Jerusalem, because New Jerusalem, as the conclusion of the Bible, is the consummation of all positive things in the Bible.

Additionally, Hebrews 1:8 says “But of the Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” This eternal throne is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3). One throne for both God and the Lamb also bespeaks their oneness.

To paraphrase the verses above, Glory be to our God and Father both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of US National Park Service.

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