Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ

Genesis 2:21-22: “Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. And Jehovah God built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man.” This first human couple is a picture of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:23-32) which consummates in Christ and New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage (Rev. 21:1–22:5).

New JerusalemPrior to the formation of Eve, God brought every living creature to Adam. “The man gave names to all cattle and to the birds of heaven and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:20). No other creatures was a match for Adam.

But, when Eve was brought to Adam, “The man said, This time this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman because out of Man this one was taken. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24).

The inability of the creatures to match Adam, and the wonderful correspondence of Eve to Adam shows that only what came out of Adam matches him to be his counterpart. In the same way, only what comes out of Christ can match Him to be His counterpart/ companion/suitable helper*.

New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ. According to the pattern in Genesis 2, New Jerusalem should come out of Christ to be the proper match to be presented to Him.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* Various translations in Gen. 2:20, thanks to Bible Hub.

Photo by Mary Hollinger, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

New Heaven and New Earth with Rejoicing

New JerusalemJohn tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…” (Rev. 21:1-2)

What John saw had already been promised centuries before. in Isaiah 65:17 God promises, “I am now creating new heavens and a new earth, and the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come up in the heart.” The new heavens and new earth are again promised in Isaiah 66:22.

What are the former things which will not be remembered? Isaiah 65:16 says, “the former troubles are forgotten.” In New Jerusalem the Lamb is on the throne. This surely indicates remembrance of His redemption. This fact together with Isaiah 65:16 suggests that we will remember everything related to bringing forth the new creation but will forget everything negative of the old creation.

In New Jerusalem we will remember Gold’s eternal purpose, His selection and predestination, His redemption, His impartation of eternal life, and all that His life accomplished in us. We, and the whole new creation, will also rejoice. God’s word in Isaiah 65:18 is, “rejoice and exult forever, in what I create, for I am now creating Jerusalem as an exultation and her people as a rejoicing.”

You might say that God’s promise was a long time ago and you haven’t seen anything. True, but God’s sense of time is not the same as ours. What He promises, He will achieve. We will see New Jerusalem at the center of the new heavens and new earth, and we will rejoice.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Kingdom and Glory

In Matthew 6:13 the Lord instructed us to praise our Father, “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” (Forever points to eternity with New Jerusalem.) In Matthew 16:28 to 17:2 we have a preview of this kingdom and glory together. First Thessalonians 2:12 tells us that God “calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

New JerusalemBoth the kingdom and the glory are God’s but He has called us to participate in them. The first half of 1 Thessalonians 2:12, exhorting us to walk worthy of God, indicates that our participation is present and experiential. This present partici-pation is our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The guidance and energizing for this walk is 1) the conduct of the apostle among the Thessalonians (1 Thes. 2:1-10) and 2) his exhorting, consoling, and testifying (v. 11), plus 3) their receiving his word “not as the word of men but  even as it truly is, the word of God, which also operates in you who believe” (v. 13).

Because the word of God, transmitted to us by the Spirit through the Bible, is living, we need to let it dwell, live, spread, and operate in us. Lord, cause Your word to live and operate in me! This operation gradually develops the character and walk of New Jerusalem in us.

Unlike the early Thessalonians, we do not have the pattern of the apostle Paul. However, we are among Christians, and the Lord is not limited by the absence of Paul. We should ask the Lord to show us one or a few whom we can consider and let their Christian walk be a pattern to us.

Lord, besides Your operating word, show me how to have a worthy walk on my way to New Jerusalem.

The Bright Lamb-Lamp of New Jerusalem

In Matthew 16:28 the Lord said that some disciples would see “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” A week later three saw Him transfigured. This is the kingdom of God with the glory of God. Ultimately, the kingdom and glory is New Jerusalem. John tells us that he saw the city has the throne of the kingdom at its center and has the glory of God (Rev. 22:1, 21:10-11).

The seeing of the kingdom in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9 gives us a preview of New Jerusalem. These chapters speak not about outward power but about the appearance of the Lord.
“He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.” (Matt. 17:2)
“He was transfigured before them, and His garments became sparkling, exceedingly white.” (Mark 9:3)
“And as He prayed, the appearance of His face became different, and His garment dazzling white.” (Luke 9:29)

New JerusalemAlthough Jesus knew beforehand that this transfiguration would happen, Luke records that He prayed. We need to pray to release what God wants for His kingdom on earth, as in Matthew 6:9-10.

His prayer and transfiguration indicate that the change in His appearance was from within, not from outside. The Greek word translated transfiguration is also transformation in 2 Corinthians 3:18. There the word clearly indicates a change by the Spirit operating within us to bring us onward in glory.

The brightness of the Lord Jesus on the mountain is a preview of His brightness as the Lamb-lamp in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). This is the glory of God radiating through Him, a glory brighter than the sun, so that New Jerusalem “has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Morning Star Rises and the Day Dawns unto the Full Day of New Jerusalem (4)

The Lord Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness who will arise unto the full day of the new creation with New Jerusalem. This rising is not only outwardly in the future but also presently within the hearts of His faithful believers.

New JerusalemSecond Peter 1:19 encourages us to give heed to the Bible “as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The age around us is a dark place. But the Bible is shining; it embodies the “living and operative word of God” (Heb. 4:12). We need to read the Bible and pray the Bible into us* to let this word “dwell in us richly” (Col. 3:16).

This indwelling word is Christ Himself, “the Word of God” (Rev. 19:13), who is also “the bright Morning Star” (22:16). As He dwells in us, He rises and shines in us to carry us victoriously through this dark age to His wedding feast and New Jerusalem.

More about light shining through the Lord’s word and our shining with His word:
Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:130, “The opening of Your words gives light.”
Philippians 2:15-16, “You shine as luminaries in the world, holding forth the word of life.”

There will be the sun with day and night in the new creation. However, Revelation 21:25 and 22:5 tell us that there will be no sunset, no night, in New Jerusalem because the Lord God will shine as the eternal reality of the full day.

* See How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished

Photo by Keith Weller, courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.

The Morning Star Rises and the Day Dawns unto the Full Day of New Jerusalem (3)

God in Christ is a rising Sun, moving toward the full day of the new creation. With God there is no sunset, only a day brighter and brighter. Eternally God in Christ will illuminate New Jerusalem so brightly that “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon.”

The women who were the first to learn of the Lord’s resurrection “came to the tomb as the sun rose.” The sun rising to begin a new day is a picture of resurrection beginning a new age. The “sun” of this age will rise to a full day, consummating in the city of resurrection, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemProverbs 4:18: “the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”

We, in ourselves, are not righteous before God, but Christ has become our righteousness! As we live Him, He becomes our righteous actions, our righteousnesses, as our wedding garment (Rev. 19:8) that we may participate in the wedding feast.

The Lord Jesus told His disciples that at the end of this age “the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father”(Matt. 13:43). In Malachi 4 the Lord is the rising Sun of righteousness; it seems that He is separate from us. But, in Proverbs 4 and clearly in Matthew 13, we shine.

We shine, but the light is not of us. We shine because Jesus Christ is in us, and through our living Him out as our righteousness, we become constituted with Him to be righteous subjectively/experientially and thus we shine. This righteous will increase into the new creation (2 Peter 3:13) and the shining will increase to New Jerusalem, the city having the glory of God.

The Morning Star Rises and the Day Dawns unto the Full Day of New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem

Ruins in Thessaloniki, Greece from the time of Acts 17

The glory of God illumines New Jerusalem, and its lamp is the Lamb. Hence, “there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:23, 25). This illuminating God in Christ desires to rise today in the hearts of people.

The prior post includes Malachi 4:2,”unto you who fear My name will the Sun of righteousness arise.” We do not fear God, who is full of compassion; rather, we fear our disrespect or disobedience of God. With this fear we must depend on the Christ within for our living a proper Christian life. Then the Sun will arise in us now and become brighter all the way to New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 1:19 says, “we have the prophetic word made more firm, to which you do well to give heed as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

In the darkest hour of the night the Lord will appear as the morning star (Rev. 2:28; 22:16) to those who are watchful and looking for His dear appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). They have been enlightened by the shining of the prophetic word, which is able to lead them to the dawning day. If we give heed to the word in the Bible, which shines as a lamp in a dark place, we will have His rising in our hearts to shine in the darkness of apostasy where we are today.*

Jesus Christ is “the Morning Star” and will be a reward to all who are faithful to Him in this age (Rev. 2:26, 28). He is also the Sun and will fill New Jerusalem with His shining.

Part of footnote 4 on 2 Peter 1:19 in the Recovery Version Bible, footnote written by Witness Lee,
© 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

The Morning Star Rises and the Day Dawns unto the Full Day of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 21:23 tells us, “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.” Because the glory of God illuminates New Jerusalem, “there will be no night there” (v. 25).

God is light and God’s intention is to bring us into light. When we are in New Jerusalem we are fully and constantly in the divine light. This journey to the light of New Jerusalem is touched multiple times in the Bible.

Zachariah, father of John the Baptist, prophesied concerning the coming of Jesus, “the rising sun will visit us from on high.” God is light and He emphasizes the sunrise with its move toward full day; sunset is not in His desire. Some sunrise examples:
Isaiah 60:2, “the darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples; but Jehovah will rise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you.”
Malachi 4:2,”unto you who fear My name will the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.”
Proverbs 4:18, ” the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”

When Jesus began His ministry, He came to Capernaum (Matt. 4:13-16). This fulfilled a prophecy in Isaiah 9, which says “The people sitting in darkness have seen a great light; and to those sitting in the region and shadow of death, to them light has risen.” And at the end, He said, “I Jesus…am…the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16).

John 1 tells us that “the life is the light of men.” Life and light go together and heal us from blindness, sin, and death. This healing, and all the rising light is ultimately for the glory of New Jerusalem.

Photo by Samantha Cristoforetti, courtesy of NASA and ESA.

No War in the New Creation

The last war in the Bible is recorded in Revelation 20:8-10, shortly before the new creation appears with New Jerusalem. The cause of this war is Satan deceiving the nations (v. 8).

The Lord Jesus told us not to be alarmed by wars and revolutions (Mark 13:7, Luke 21:9). They occur because Satan, although judged on the cross, has not been imprisoned and is able to deceive the nations through this age. But, when the new creation and New Jerusalem come, Satan will have been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10), so there will be no war in the new creation.

Satan’s deception of the nations is not only outward. Satan within man is sin (Rom. 7:7-25), which leads man into many evils. James also speaks definitely about this, “Where do wars and fightings among you come from? Are they not from this, from your pleasures that war in your members? You lust and do not have; you murder and are jealous and are not able to obtain; you fight and make war.” (4:1-2).

Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us to  “be empowered in the Lord and in the might of His strength” because “our wrestling is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies.” This is another declaration that the source of war is not people but Satan and his evil hosts.

Outward wars result from lusts, greed, pride, anger, and other evils in the fallen human nature. These evils have their source in Satan. Wars cause many deaths, all attributable to Satan who is a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).

In New Jerusalem and in the new creation there is no Satan, no fallen nature, no flesh, no sin, no lies, no death; hence no war.

Come to the Throne, Now & New Jerusalem

In New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.” This is the Triune God flowing to us: God and the Lamb on the throne and the Spirit as the river.

The Triune God being the flow of living water is both now (John 7:38-39) and in New Jerusalem. This flow is also in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

New JerusalemThe throne in Hebrews is the same as in New Jerusalem. Hebrews does not have the word water but there is a flow of mercy and grace here. When we come, we receive mercy. This coming is like John 7:37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” In Hebrews, if anyone needs mercy, let him come to the throne.

Our great High Priest on the throne is also the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem. We can be comfortable coming to Him on the throne because “He can be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15). Here we receive the flow of mercy and we can find the flow of grace. This grace and mercy are not commodities; they are the Triune God flowing to us! We “come forward with boldness.”

A song (words, music) by Witness Lee begins with this flow, “In the holiest place, touch the throne of grace, / Grace as a river shall flow;.” The chorus is “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / Grace as a river shall flow.” And the song concludes “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / Touch the living fountain of life.” This should be our experience now and will definitely be our experience in New Jerusalem.

Prior posts in this group: The Flow of Living Water is the Triune God
__Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem one two three four five
The flow of living water in the Old Testament: Take Freely the Water of Life

Bible verses are quoted 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.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Flow of Living Water is the Triune God

The flow of “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 is “the Spirit” in 7:39. This same Spirit flows out of the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem. This flow of living water is the flow of the Triune God to His people.

New JerusalemThis flow of the Triune God is also in 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Grace, love, and fellowship are not static in heaven; they are the Triune God flowing out to “be with us all.”

The flow of the Triune God may also be seen in Ephesians 3:14-17. “I bow my knees unto the Father…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.”

The outcome of this flow is that 1) we are rooted and grounded in love, to be 2) full of strength to corporately lay hold on the unlimited riches of Christ, so that 3) we are filled to the fullness of God, resulting in 4) glory to God in the church now and in New Jerusalem forever (Eph. 3:17-21).

A short song (with music) combines 2 Corinthians 13:14 with Revelation 22:1:
__The love of God and the grace of Christ
__And fellowship of the Holy Spirit
__Be with you, be with you all,
__Be with you all, be with you all.

__From the throne of our God and the Lamb
__Flows a river of water of life,
__Bright as crystal, reaching man.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem (5)

The “river of water of life” flowing from the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1) is the eternal continuation of the living water the Lord Jesus promised in John’s gospel and of the bountiful supply of the Spirit in Philippians 1.

The river of living water is also the rich supply which comes to us from Jesus Christ.
Col. 2:19: “the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied…grows”
Eph. 4:15b-16: “the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply…the growth of the Body…”

New JerusalemThe rich supply from the Head, Christ, to His whole Body, is the gushing fountain in John 4 and the river in Revelation 22. We receive this rich supply by holding Christ as our Head and by growing up into Him in all things. This growth is to be headed up by Him in all details of our lives, so that Christ, not our natural preferences and desires, is in charge.

The rich supply results from our holding Christ. It also comes through the joints, gifted members given by the Head for the growth, the building up of His Body. The rich supply is not for our individual Christian progress; rather, it is for the knitting together of us as members of His Body.

This rich supply is God Himself flowing to us. Remember that “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 are “the Spirit” in 7:39. This is the flow in New Jerusalem; the Spirit flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb. By this flow “all the Body, being richly supplied…grows with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19).

God in Himself is perfect but He does need to grow, to increase, to spread in us. This is for Christ’s Body today and for New Jerusalem eternally.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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