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.

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