Enter the New Testament Holy of Holies

Revelation 21 describes New Jerusalem. Verse 16 tells us, “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” The entire city is a cube.

New Jerusalem

Part of Hebrews 10:19-22

The only cubes in the Bible are the holy of holies in the tabernacle, the holy of holies in the temple, and New Jerusalem. This shows that New Jerusalem is the eternal holy of holies, where we will live forever in the Lord’s presence.  

Hebrews 9 says that the Old Testament priests were always going into the holy place but that only the high priest entered the holy of holies and only once a year. Verse 8: “The Holy Spirit thus making this clear, that the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested…” 

In contrast to the Old Testament, when the Lord Jesus was crucified, “the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom” (Matt 27:51). As a result of His death the way through the veil into the holy of holies is open. “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16). He opened the way, let us come forward (Heb. 10:19-22).

The throne of grace is in the heavenly holy of holies and we come forward in our spirit united with the Spirit. Ultimately this throne will be at the center of New Jerusalem. 

In this age we need the call to “come forward.” But in New Jerusalem there will be no need of this call; will be permanently in the holy of holies; eternally forward.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

We Serve as Priests, Now + New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe description of life in New Jerusalem includes, “And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him” as priests (Rev. 22:3). Several NT verses speak of our serving as priests also in the present age.

We might feel unqualified to serve, but God in Christ has done everything needed to qualify us. He “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:6). He did this by dying to redeem us and resurrecting to enliven us.

Hebrews 9:14 proclaims, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” This is the redeeming aspect. We apply this in our Christian life by confessing our sins (1 John 1:9).

In Hebrews 12 Jesus is “the Author (Originator) and Perfecter (Completer) of our faith.” This is the life aspect. We serve God as redeemed people by His divine life and supplied by His grace. We need to repent of our unqualified feeling. Then we put away every encumbrance and look away [from ourselves] to Jesus (12:1-2)!

As we look away from self to Jesus, we are kept in the grace of God (12:15). We have already “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (12:22). Outwardly things may be in disarray but “receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us have grace, through which we may serve God well-pleasingly with piety and fear” (12:28). This is our foretaste of serving God as priests in New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

We Serve as Priests, Now & New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:3 is part of the description of life in New Jerusalem. “And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” Here “serve” means “serve as priests.”

New JerusalemThrough the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, God purchased us. We “were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20). Thus, we are God’s slaves, both now and in New Jerusalem. As His slaves we serve Him as priests.

The first NT mention of this serving is the Lord’s speaking to Satan in Matthew 4:10 (quoting Deut. 6:13), “Then Jesus said to him, Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'”

In Romans 1:9 Paul tells us, “God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son.” His serving in the gospel was a foretaste of his (and our) serving in New Jerusalem. Paul served “in spirit,” that is, by a living in his human spirit. (In John 4:23-24 our worship, tied to our service in Matthew 4, should also be in spirit.)

We all were bought by God to “serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). Being trained by the Spirit to serve today prepares us for our eternal serving in New Jerusalem.


To serve as a priest does not involve seminary or ordination or special robes. It depends on regeneration with a life of loving God, receiving fellowship from Him, and offering thanksgiving and praise to Him.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (4)

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building work. This work is spiritual, accomplished in us by the resurrected Christ who has become our life.

First Corinthians 3 presents much about this living building process. The process begins with our regeneration. At that point we are “infants in Christ” (v. 1). We need milk to drink (v. 2) for our spiritual growth. In 1 Peter 2 the milk comes through the word of God; in this chapter the supply comes through the gifted members given for the building up.* But, although they supply us, “God causes the growth” (v. 6-7).

In verse 9 we “are God’s cultivated land, God’s building.” The cultivated land, God’s farm, is for our growth in His life. This growth is for God’s building. By the divine life within us,
New Jerusalemwe all participate in the building work (v. 10-12). Our participation in the building is our ministering of this life to one another; through this we are knit together and built together.*

The building work of each one of us will be tested. The work that is accomplished through the divine life will pass the test; that which is through our natural life will fail (v. 13-15). New Jerusalem is 100% built with the divine life in and through all of God’s people.

We “are the temple of God” and the Spirit dwells in us as the reality of the life for building (v. 16). This is for today and points toward New Jerusalem.

* More on this in a following post on Ephesians 4.

Revelation 21:2, a Song

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

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city because the holy God is the element constituting the city. God in Christ as the Spirit has been wrought into every one of His believers to be their holiness and to make them members of holy New Jerusalem.

The new creation in Revelation 21:1 is composed of new heaven and new earth. This holy city comes down “out of heaven” to be on the new earth.

The city is a corporate living person, a bride to marry her Husband, Jesus Christ, the Lamb. This is the fullest blossoming of the church as the wife of Christ in Ephesians 5. Jesus Christ is life, he has become our life, and New Jerusalem is a city of life.

Here are the words of Revelation 21:2 to sing with this music.

And I saw the holy city,
New Jerusalem,
Coming down out of heaven from God,
Prepared as a bride
Adorned for her husband,
Coming down out of heaven from God.

Lord Jesus, gain our full cooperation and accomplish all the preparation of Your bride!


Revelation 21:2 begins And. “And” Points to New Jerusalem
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: to God be the Glory Forever

The Lord Jesus declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega*, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev. 22:13) Nothing is before Him and nothing comes after Him.

The Lord is the creator of everything. The Lord is also the goal of everything.
“In Him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and unto Him.” (Col. 1:16).
Out from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36).

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is “out from Him.” It is “the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.” (Heb. 11:10) We were brought to New Jerusalem based on His redemption and by the impartation of His life into us in resurrection.

New Jerusalem is “unto Him” as His bride, His wife. The goal of all the preparation work, the goal of our growth, transformation, and glorification in the divine life, is to be unto Him and with Him for eternity! “To Him be the glory forever.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

* The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1-5

“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. 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)

Revelation 22:1-5 presents much about New Jerusalem—the throne, the river of water of life, the tree of life, and many blessings for all who are part of New Jerusalem. All the characteristics of New Jerusalem can be experienced today (to a lesser degree) in our Christian life. May we be those who seek the Lord Himself (not merely His doing good for us) and pursue with others to know Him in a deeper way.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-20
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:21-27

Here are the titles of recent posts and their links for 22:1-5.

New Jerusalem22:1, A River of Water of Life
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River from the Throne
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River Flows in its Street
22:1, The River is from the Throne
both Today and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, Jesus is the Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, The Tree of Life is Here Today
and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree for the Healing of the Nations

22:3, Christ Redeemed Us for New Jerusalem
22:3, New Jerusalem, the City of the Great King
22:3, We Serve God as Priests in New Jerusalem
22:3, We Serve as Priests in New Jerusalem

22:4, See His Face Now and in New Jerusalem
22:4, Follow the Lamb and Live to Him

22:5, New Jerusalem is Full of Light, No Night
22:5, The Lord God Shines in New Jerusalem
22:5, We Reign in Life Now and New Jerusalem

Many older posts about Revelation 22:1-2
Many older posts about Revelation 22:3-5

 

We Reign in Life Now and in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem Revelation 22:5 concludes, “they will reign forever and ever.” They refers to His slaves in verse 3. God’s slaves, all His redeemed people, each one purchased by the blood of Jesus, will serve Him as priests and reign as kings.

The reigning in 22:5 has its source in the Lord’s death. Revelation 5:9-10 is a praise to the Lamb, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

In resurrection the Lord imparted His life, the life of New Jerusalem, into us. Romans 5 speaks of death in Adam and life in Christ. Verse 17: “For if by the offense of the one death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

To receive this abundance requires our cooperation, our opening to the Lord daily by praying, singing, giving thanks, diving into His word, calling on His name (He is rich to all who call – Rom. 10:12), praising Him, speaking the gospel to people, and fellowship with other believers.

Receiving the abundance and reigning in life now is an inward matter. It leads to an open reigning in the millennium, still with abundance of grace and righteousness: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection…they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). This reign leads to New Jerusalem’s eternal reign.

 

The Lord God Shines in New Jerusalem

The blessings in New Jerusalem continue in Revelation 22:5, “And night will be no more; and they have no need of the light of New Jerusalema lamp and of the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine upon them.”

Verse 22:5 emphasizes 21:23, “And 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.” It is very firm that New Jerusalem will be filled with the shining of God, brighter than the sun. This is our eternal destiny.

Today we should have a foretaste of New Jerusalem’s shining. The Lord Jesus told us, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). First John 1:5-10 ties together confessing our sins, fellowship with God and with one another, and walking in the light.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Then we can have fellowship with God. This is not to ask God to do things for us, but to have time in His word, musing, considering, praying with it and about it.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” “The opening of Your words gives light, imparting understanding to the simple.” (Ps. 119:105, 130). Let us be simple, open to the Lord in His word, and thereby experience a preview of the shining in New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem is Full of Light, No Night

Revelation 22:5 shows more blessing in New Jerusalem, “And night will be no more.”

“God is light” (1 John 1:5). God was incarnated in Jesus Christ to be “the light of the world” (John 8:12). Through His death and resurrection Christ has become our life, and this life is the light of men. He is the light now and will shine brighter in New Jerusalem.

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Darkness is God’s judgment on the devil and all the devil’s evil works. During the last three hours of crucifixion “darkness fell over all the land” because everything negative was being judged. By Revelation 20 all these negatives will be in the lake of fire. Hence New Jerusalem will always be light, no night.

New JerusalemDarkness also is a symbol of these works and of the people who do them. Ephesians 5:8 says we “were once darkness but are now light in the Lord.”

The Lord Jesus told us, “I have come as a light into the world, that every one who believes into Me would not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). God “delivered us out of the authority of darkness” (Col. 1:13) and charged Paul to turn people “from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).

We are children of light, we can walk in the light, and we can shine with this light. Christ is our life, our light, and our righteousness. Proverbs 4:18 declares, “the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day,” which will be in New Jerusalem.

No Night in New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem: Night Will be No More
New Jerusalem: No Night There (2) (3)

Follow the Lamb and Live to Him

Revelation 22:3-4 says that in New Jerusalem we will serve God as His slaves “and they will see His face.” Then 22:4 continues, “and His name will be on their foreheads.”

New JerusalemTo have God’s name on us means that we belong to Him. Today how much do we belong to Him in practicality? How much are we open to Him and cooperating with His life in us? In 1 Corinthians 6 and 7 Paul reminds us “You were bought with a price.” But the context in both chapters is concern about Christians living apart from God.

Revelation 3:12 speaks of overcomers, those fully given to God and living one with Him. The Lord says, “I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem…and My new name.” These overcomers belong to God and to New Jerusalem. They are progressing strongly toward Revelation 22:4.

In 14:1 John saw “the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.” Verse 4: “These were purchased from among men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” These firstfruits matured early in the life they received in regeneration. “These are they who follow the Lamb wherever He may go.” Verse 5 adds, “they are without blemish.”

Lord, we desire to belong to You fully, to mature in life early, and to follow You completely. Be merciful to take us this way every day. Write Your name and New Jerusalem on us now!

See His Face Now and in New Jerusalem

In Revelation 22:3 we, God’s slaves, serve Him in New Jerusalem. In 22:4, “And they will see His face.”

“The God who said, Out of darkness light shall shine, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Today we have some inward seeing of God in the face of Jesus Christ, but our seeing is limited by aspects of the old creation still in our being. Even so, this seeing is related to the glory of God, a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSpiritually speaking, “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Again, our seeing is related to the glory of New Jerusalem.

“Now we see in a mirror obscurely/ imperfectly/dimly, but at that time face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). To “see His face” in New Jerusalem will be like the three disciples seeing the Lord on the mountain: “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light” and like John’s seeing in Revelation 1: “His face shone as the sun shines in its power.”

Today we do not see in full but we see Jesus (Heb. 2) and we look away unto Jesus (Heb. 12). Don’t wait passively for the full promise in Revelation 22; look away to Jesus today!

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face two three four five six seven

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