New Jerusalem is the City of the Great King

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New Jerusalem is a city but Revelation is a book of signs. As a sign, the city represents the ultimate stage of the kingdom of God. The kingdom exists today as a hidden, spiritual reality which will be manifested in the kingdom age and in eternity.

Matthew 5:35 says “Jerusalem…is the city of the great King.” This is a quote from Psalm 48:2, ” Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” Surely New Jerusalem will be the most beautiful city and it will be the joy of the whole new earth.

New Jerusalem is composed of the great King and all His people. A view of the city concerning its people is in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” New Jerusalem is full of divine light; “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).

As a city, New Jerusalem portrays the kingdom of God brightly shining with the glory of God to illuminate the whole earth.

 

New Jerusalem is Holy with God’s Holiness

Revelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New Jerusalem is holy because God is holy (Lev. 11:44 quoted in 1 Peter 1:16) and the city is saturated with God’s holiness. This God, who is Triune, operates on us and in us to make us holy to match New Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 1:2 – those “who have been sanctified* in Christ Jesus”
Romans 15:16 – “sanctified in the Holy Spirit”

These verses speak of our sanctification, our being made holy, in position. This occurs, and is complete, when we first believe in the Lord. This is Acts 26:18 – “those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” And Hebrews 10:10 – “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

New JerusalemTo match New Jerusalem’s purity and transparency, it is not enough to be holy in position. After our initial, positional sanctification we also need to be saturated with God’s holiness.

Hebrews 10:14 refers to the process of being saturated: “those who are being sanctified.” Ephesians 5:26 tells us how this is accomplished: “He [Christ] might sanctify her [the church, including every believer], cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.”

The goal of this washing is that Christ, at His second coming, “might present the church to Himself glorious…holy and without blemish” (5:27). This holy and glorious condition, without any spot or wrinkle or blemish matches the holy city, New Jerusalem.


* The English words holy/holiness and sanctify/sanctification are translations of closely related New Testament Greek words. They seem very different because holy came into English from an Anglo-Saxon root and sanctification came from a Latin root.

John Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:1 there is a new heaven and a new earth. In 21:2 John says “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

NewJerusalemVerse 2 begins with And because the bringing forth of the new heaven and new earth allow New Jerusalem to come out of heaven and be on earth.

John saw New Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago. He saw it because, in God’s eternal view, everything is complete. In Revelation John says 47 times “I saw”.

God is the Beginning and the End (Rev. 21:6). Whatever God purposes to do, He accomplishes. Unlike human endeavors, with God there is no uncertainty, no question about success. God already sees the finished product and we too will see it.

When we believe into the Lord Jesus Christ, we enter into a spiritual realm where everything is certain. Yes, in our human realm we do not see it, but we do believe God’s word; “faith is the substantiation/confidence/assurance…of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Gradually He is renewing us, working the eternal spiritual realities into us to become our constitution.

John saw New Jerusalem because he was in spirit and on a high mountain (Rev. 21:10), outside and above the natural human realm. We need the same experience. Lord, bring me in spirit onto a mountain to see New Jerusalem!

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New Heaven and New Earth

In the recent years I have written about New Jerusalem as the consummation of many spiritual matters throughout the Bible. These topics include the garden of Eden, water of life, oneness, holinessshadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms, living in versus living around New Jerusalem, mercy, living stonesunsearchable riches of Christmaturing in Christian life, and more.

This post begins a series focused on Revelation 21. In verse 1 John tells us, “And 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.”

Revelation 21 begins “And” to link the appearance of the new heaven and new earth with the termination of the devil, death, and Hades. The old creation was old because of rebellion against God. The new creation is new because of God’s renewing work and the elimination of rebellion and the devil, the source of rebellion.

New JerusalemThe termination of the old creation is described in 2 Peter 3:10: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements, burning with intense heat, will be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up.”

The sea is the result of God’s past judgments. Since in Revelation 20 all judged things were cast into the lake of fire, this lake has replaced the sea and there is no more need of the sea. See also New Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem; No Sea.

This change in the creation opens the door for New Jerusalem to come down out of the new heaven to settle on the new earth.

 

God Gave Us a Guarantee, a Foretaste

God’s Spirit within us is the pledge, the deposit, the down payment, guaranteeing all that God will be to us and do in us. This includes the redemption of our mortal body, then our participation in the kingdom age, and ultimately our participation in New Jerusalem.

Besides the verses in the prior post, Romans 8:23 says, “we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body.”

The Spirit as the guarantee is also the Spirit as the firstfruits, the foretaste of our full enjoyment of all of God’s riches.

At present our realization and appreciation of what God in Christ is to us is limited. The limiting factor is our fallen body, our flesh, in which nothing good dwells (Rom. 7:18). This limitation is the reason for the groaning in Romans 8:23.

Another limitation is our mind, to the extent it has not yet been renewed by the Spirit.

While we are groaning we also are partaking of the firstfruits of the Spirit. This Spirit is not only a guarantee of the coming riches but He is also our current foretaste of these riches. This foretaste gives us confidence for our fuller participation in God’s riches during the coming age and the fullest participation in New Jerusalem.

God Gave Us a Guarantee

Three verses in the New Testament speak of the Spirit as a pledge/deposit/guarantee/ down payment*. A fuller meaning is that which is assured by God to believers…the Divine pledge of all future blessings**. These future blessings include New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSecond Corinthians 1:22 tells us that God has “sealed us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” The Spirit as a pledge, a down payment, means that we will receive more of the Spirit in the future. Eternally, the Spirit is portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 5:5 also speaks of the Spirit as a pledge. Our guarantee is not a thing or a legal document; rather it is the Spirit Himself, the Spirit who is the reality and who guides us into all the reality (John 16:13).

Ephesians 1:13b-14 says “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.”

God put His Spirit within us and also sealed us with this Spirit. This sealing keeps us for our divine inheritance, which is much more of the Triune God in the next age and the fullest portion in New Jerusalem for eternity.

In Ephesians 1 the Spirit as a pledge guarantees the redemption of our mortal body “to the praise of His glory.” God’s glory will fully shine forth from New Jerusalem and the entire universe will praise Him.


* Various translations in these verses, thanks to Bible Hub.
** Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
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Sonship for New Jerusalem (4)

God has chosen us in eternity past unto sonship to the praise of the glory of His grace. This praise develops through this age and the next age until the eternal praise and glory of God in New Jerusalem.

The New Testament sonship includes all the believers in Jesus Christ. In addition, Romans 9 speaks about Israel; verse 4 says “whose are the sonship…” Although Israel had the sonship in some sense, they did not have the life of God because this is only for believers in the New Testament time, based upon the redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection of Jesus Christ.

New JerusalemWhatever the nature of Israel’s sonship, the Israelites faithful to God will be in New Jerusalem. This is indicated by Revelation 21:12 which says New Jerusalem, as seen by John, “had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.”

Among all the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel, only the Lord knows who will be in New Jerusalem. He is “the Knower of the hearts” (Acts 1:24).

Surely the number of Israelites participating in New Jerusalem will include some from Old Testament times, some from New Testament times, and all who repent when they see the Lord, whom they pierced, coming in glory.

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Sonship for New Jerusalem (3)

God has chosen and predestinated us unto sonship “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:4-6). This praise culminates with the glory of New Jerusalem.

We have the sonship, yet Romans 8:23 says, “we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body.” We have the sonship but we are awaiting the fulness of this sonship.

New JerusalemThe fulness will occur at the redemption of our mortal body. The mortality of our body, with its weaknesses, sicknesses, and lusts, is the cause of our groaning.

While we are groaning, “we eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:20-21).

Sonship is “to the praise of the glory of God.” The glory is within us, but will be released at the Lord’s return when our physical body is “conformed to the body of His glory.” The climax of this released glory is New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God.”

All believers in Jesus Christ have been born of God and have the sonship. Throughout our Christian life we cooperate to let this sonship grow in us. Growth unto maturity, while awaiting our Lord’s appearing, is our path to New Jerusalem.


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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Sonship for New Jerusalem (2)

God has chosen and predestinated us unto sonship according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:4-5). Then verse 6 says that this is “to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He graced us in the Beloved.” God’s choosing, predestinating, good pleasure, His will, His grace, and the praise of His glory all climax in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod’s choosing and predestinating are eternal, but man fell into sin and death and was under the condemnation of the law. We could not do anything but “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under law, that He might redeem those under law that we might receive the sonship” (Gal. 4:4-5).

Through the death of Jesus Christ we were redeemed and through His resurrection we were regenerated (1 Peter 1:3) and “receive the sonship.” Redemption is needed for fallen humanity but life brings forth the praise of His glory now and in New Jerusalem.

For this sonship, Romans 8:15 tells us that we “have received a spirit of sonship in which we cry, Abba, Father!” This is the divine Spirit who gives birth to our human spirit and then dwells in our human spirit. In this spirit we have the reality of sonship. To cry “Abba, Father” releases the spirit deep within us to testify that we are children of God, born of God (v. 16).

From regeneration we are children of God. Now we are growing in this life to be mature sons to be fully prepared for New Jerusalem.

 

Sonship for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemFour verses in the New Testament include the word “sonship” in reference to New Testament believers and one verse in reference to Israel. The goal of this sonship is New Jerusalem.

The Greek word in these five verses is sometimes translated “adoption.” However, the overall revelation of the NT is that our relationship with God is one of birth and life. John 3:3-8 speaks firmly of our new birth. First Peter 1:23 speaks of our regeneration and four verses later we are “newborn babes.”

A great number of verses speak of our receiving and having eternal life. This life is not a position (as an adopted child) but much more it is Christ Himself, who is “the life” living in us. Some verses about this are Romans 6:23 and 8:10, Philippians 1:20-21, Colossians 3:3-4, and 1 John 5:11-12, “God gave to us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life.”

New Jerusalem is a city of eternal life; the divine, eternal life we received is bringing us to this wonderful city.

Our sonship is eternal. Ephesians 1:4-5 tell us that God chose us in Christ “predestinat-ing us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” God’s choosing and predestinating are eternal, matching the eternal nature of New Jerusalem.

Likewise, God’s good pleasure culminates with New Jerusalem. The sonship to which God predestinated us is “to Himself,” the essence and center of this marvelous city.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem (4)

Faith and love are excellent virtues which come to us from and unite us with the Triune God. This life union carries us through sufferings to glory – the glorious expression of the Triune God who is our life and our living, the consummation of which is New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

Faith and love are included in the greeting at the end of Titus. Here is another part of the footnote on faith and love in this verse in the Recovery Version New Testament:

This wonderful faith and this super-excellent love are out of the Triune God, who earnestly desires to be joined to us to be our everything. This Triune God passed through the process of incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection from the dead, and ascension to the heavens on high and was ultimately consummated as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). This Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2), who includes divinity, humanity, and Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension and is the reality of the all-inclusive Christ (John 14:16-20), dwells in our regenerated spirit (Rom. 8:16; 2 Tim. 4:22). When we contact this Triune God through prayer and by looking to Him…He infuses Himself into us in many ways to become the faith within us toward Him and the love outside of us toward those who belong to Him. Such faith and such love are the reality and expression (1 John 4:8, 16) of the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — in whom we believe and whom we worship and receive.

The Triune God being our everything is an inward, hidden reality today that will be manifested in glory upon the Lord’s return and will be displayed to the fullest extent in New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me in Your faith and love so that You may live in me today and bring me and many others onward to New Jerusalem.

Part of the quote above, about wonderful faith and super-excellent love, has been set to music. Listen here.

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Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem (3)

Romans 8:17 tells us that we suffer with Christ to be glorified with Him. Faith and love energize us to pass through the sufferings that bring us to the glory to be revealed at the Lord’s second coming and then to the glory of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

Titus ends, “All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in faith. Grace be with you all.” Here is part of the footnote on this verse in the Recovery Version New Testament:

Faith and love are two inseparable, excellent virtues of the believers in Christ. Faith is given to us by God (2 Pet. 1) that by it we may receive Christ (John 1:12), the embodiment of the Triune God (Col. 2:9), and thereby enter into the Triune God and be joined to Him as one, having Him as our life, life supply, and everything. Love issues out of such a wonderful faith and enables us to live out all the riches of the Triune God in Christ with those who have believed into Christ with us, that the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — may have a glorious expression.

Faith and love are excellent because they unite us with the Triune God. The Triune God as our life and living result in a glorious expression present now to a limited extent. This expression will be much more in the coming age and at its fullest in New Jerusalem.

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