Our God, Our Dwelling, is the Living Temple

New JerusalemThe prior five posts look at the living New Testament temple. This began with the Lord Jesus in John 2, with His body, the real temple of God, “destroyed” by the Jews in crucifixion but raised up in resurrection. The living temple concludes with God and the Lamb as the temple of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

This living temple was typified by the physical tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament, but this physical structure was not God’s eternal intention.

Moses, who oversaw the building of the tabernacle, realized this. In Psalm 90:1 he declared, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” In eternity, in New Jerusalem, the Lord will still be our dwelling place.

Isaiah speaks similarly, “You shall sanctify Jehovah of hosts; He shall be the One to fear and He shall be the One to be awed by. Then He will become a sanctuary” (8:13-14a). When our heart pursues sanctification, the Lord becomes our sanctuary, our dwelling place, our temple. The ultimate stage of this is the holy (sanctified) city New Jerusalem.

We have been sanctified positionally at our initial salvation. Now we need to pursue experiential sanctification, that is, being separated unto God from everything else by being saturated with His holy nature. In this way He becomes our sanctuary, our temple.

Both Moses and Isaiah saw beyond the outward pictures of the tabernacle and temple. They saw that the real temple is the living God Himself. Lord, bring us to the same realization that they had; We want to experience dwelling in You as our living temple not only in New Jerusalem but also in this age.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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 Living Stream Ministry.

New Jerusalem is a Corporate God-man,   the Consummation of the High Peak of Revelation

Thanks to Stefan at www.agodman.com/blog for this solid post on New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

The consummation of the central vision of God’s economy and of the high peak of the divine revelation is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:29-11); the New Jerusalem is a corporate God-man and the consummation of the high peak of the divine revelation.

The central vision of God’s economy is the experience of Christ as life for the producing and building up of the church as the Body of Christ. God has an economy, and in His economy He intends to dispense Himself into us to regenerate us, transform us, build us up, and glorify us, so that He may gain the church as the Body of Christ, His corporate expression in the universe.

This is what Paul was writing about in his 14 epistles; the central vision of Paul’s completing ministry is God in us as our contents, Christ as the mystery of God, and the church as the mystery of Christ.

Read the entire post which includes additional verses, more spiritual riches, plus links to references and hymns about New Jerusalem.

ps: Stefan is a God-man because, like all believers in Jesus Christ, he is a man and God in Christ is in Him. In John 14:20 the Lord Jesus told us that after His resurrection we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Our being in Christ and Christ being in us is the reality of a God-man, but we are NOT part of the Godhead.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of the Spiritual Growth of God’s People

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s growth in His people and His people’s growth into Him.

Ephesians 2:21, “All the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.”

Ephesians 4:15, “Holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ.”

Ephesians 4:16, “…the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Colossians 2:19, “All the Body, being richly supplied and knit together…grows with the growth of God.”

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Versionpublished and © by Living Stream MinistryAnaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.orgthis too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

New Jerusalem is Spiritual, not Physical

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building. Unlike the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, God’s people today are
• • • growing in the divine life
• • • being built together in Christ Jesus
• • • becoming a dwelling place of God in spirit
This building is growing unto New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:19-22, “You are…being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.”

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

According to God’s Purpose, Grace, Mercy

New JerusalemThis post has more verses with the pattern according to God’s…everything. God’s ways and His acts are marvelous and culminate in New Jerusalem.

Colossians 1:29: “For which also I labor, struggling according to His operation which operates in me in power.” Paul labored much, but not by his own effort. His labor was according to the Lord’s operation in him. This is the Lord Jesus, carrying out, through faithful believers, His declaration in Matthew 16, “I will build My church.”

2 Timothy 1:9: “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages.” God’s calling of us, like so many other steps He takes, is according to His own purpose. This calling is also according to His grace, His coming to us to be experienced by us.

Titus 3:5: “Not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:3 describes us as “…once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving as slaves various lusts and pleasures…” As such we were not qualified for God’s purpose and had no share in New Jerusalem. But when the kindness and love of God appeared (Titus 3:4), He saved us according to His mercy.

Hebrews 2:4: “…distributions of the Holy Spirit according to His will.” Likewise, we were not qualified to receive the Holy Spirit, but, based on His mercy, God gave the Spirit according to His will. In ourselves we are not suitable for New Jerusalem because of God’s mercy the Spirit will constitute us for this city.

Thanks be to our God and Father for His rich provision.

God Strengthens Us, According to the Riches of His Glory, unto New Jerusalem

This post continues verses that say according to God’s will/purpose/pleasure… all of which are surpassing and excellent and which culminate in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:16: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit…” Ephesians 1 has a prayer for our seeing and Ephesians 3:14-19 is a prayer for our experience.

For such experience, we do not depend on our own strength. Rather, God strengthens us according to the riches of His glory. This strengthening is for Christ to make home in our hearts (3:17) so that we can be filled unto all the fullness of God (3:19) to glorify God in the church (3:21) and in New Jerusalem (3:21).

Philippians 3:21: “Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory, according to His operation by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.” Currently our body is a body of sin and death (Rom. 6:6, 7:24). This in no way matches New Jerusalem. But our Lord Jesus Christ is able to conform us to His body of glory to match the city of glory. This is not according to our need but according to His all-subjecting operation.

Philippians 4:19: “And my God will fill your every need according to His riches, in glory, in Christ Jesus.” God fills our need but not according to our need. God fills according to His riches. And this filling is in glory, corresponding to New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

Colossians 1:11: “Being empowered with all power, according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy.” We are empowered to “walk worthily of the Lord” (1:10) but this empowering is not merely to match our shortage. Instead it is far higher, according to the might of His glory, another pointer toward New Jerusalem.

We can pray, Lord, turn my view from myself, my situations, and my needs to You, Your riches, Your glory, Your operation, and Your power

God’s Purpose Surpasses Our Need

This is the second post with verses that say according to God’s will/purpose/pleasure… which far exceed our will/purpose/pleasure. Because everything of God is consummated at the end of the Bible, all these phrases point toward New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:9: “Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself.” God’s will is according to His good pleasure, not for the common pleasures sought by humans. When we are one with Him, we partake of His pleasure and He becomes our satisfaction. In New Jerusalem we will fully participate in and fully be satisfied by God’s good pleasure.

Ephesians 1:11: “In whom [Christ] also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” In Ephesians 1:7 we were predestinated according to the good pleasure of His will in this verse according to the counsel of His will. God’s will, pleasure, and counsel far exceed ours. Thank Him for bringing us to Himself!

Ephesians 1:19: “And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength.” Ephesians 1:15 begins a prayer that the Father of glory would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may see many things of His economy. This portion of the prayer covers his power, might, and strength, which are surpassing. They are so excellent, so high, because God’s goal, New Jerusalem, is so excellent.

Ephesians 3:7: “I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God which was given to me according to the operation of His power.” Paul was a minister not according to His own ability and learning but according to the operation of God’s power. This divine enabling is required to minister the outstanding and excellent things of God.

Father, give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation to see more of Your will, Your good pleasure, Your purpose, and Your power. Show us how all of these constitute us with You into New Jerusalem.

God’s Purpose: Much Higher than Our Need

New JerusalemIn recent months I have been touched by various phrases like according to God’s will or according to His riches. What God does is not according to man’s need but much higher—according to His purpose. Man’s need is solved by God’s salvation but God’s salvation is for His goal, which much greater than satisfying our need.

Because of this realization I gathered verses which include something like according to His… This is the first of a few posts in which I present these verses in their order in the Bible. These verses are on this New Jerusalem blog because God’s will, God’s riches, and God’s grace all point toward New Jerusalem.

Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We are not called by God because we need to be saved from sin and death; rather we are called according to His purpose. For His purpose He saves us from sin and death as a preparatory step so that we can grow in Him and be built together in His life to bring forth New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:5: “Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Before creation, before any sin and death, God foreknew us and predestinated us to be His sons, to have His eternal life. We have this life so that God can bring forth His good pleasure in us. This good pleasure, including New Jerusalem, is according to His will.

Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” Even redemption is not according to our need but according to the riches of His grace. God will display the surpassing riches of this grace in the ages to come (Eph. 2:7), including New Jerusalem in eternity.

A House and a City Built Together in Christ

New Jerusalem

Revelation is a book of signs (1:1). New Jerusalem is the consummate sign in Revelation and in the Bible. It is God and all His redeemed people living in mutuality.

Here is an excerpt* about New Jerusalem from the ministry of Witness Lee.

The New Jerusalem is not an actual city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches [Rev. 1:20]. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell.

Today the church is a house, and in eternity the church will be enlarged. When the church is enlarged, it becomes a city. The church as a house is not an actual physical house in the same way that the church enlarged to be the holy city will not be an actual physical city. The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.

The church today, all the believers in Christ Jesus built together in Him, is a precursor of New Jerusalem. Many verses in the New Testament present this view, and no verse treats the church as a physical building.

Ephesians 2:19-20 declares that we are “members of the household of God, being built…” We, not a physical structure, get built together. Verse 21 continues, “In whom [Christ Jesus] all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” We are being built together in Him, not in a physical location. Also, this building is growing because its essence is the divine life.

First Peter 2:4-5 tells us that “coming to Him, a living Stone…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Very clear. This is the living house of the living God in 1 Timothy 3:15.

Other verses in the New Testament say the same: we are the materials being built together, the building process is growth in the divine life, and the building work is going on in Christ. These same characteristics are true of New Jerusalem, which is the consummation of all the building and growth in the Bible.

* Witness Lee, The Divine Economy, Chapter 15, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. Read more of this excerpt online. Many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

Build His Body, Prepare New Jerusalem 

Paul’s seeing of the Body of Christ and the New Man show us much about New Jerusalem. The prior post touched verses in Romans and 1 Corinthians. Now Ephesians.

New Jerusalem• “The church which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” (1:22b-23). The Body now, and New Jerusalem eternally, is the fullness, the enlarged expression of the Christ who fills everything.
• Christ died to create diverse peoples “in Himself into one new man” and to “reconcile both in one Body to God through the cross.” (2:15-16) The doing is His and the realm is in Him.
• We all are “fellow heirs and fellow members of the Body and fellow partakers of the promise.” (3:6) Everything in Christ is shared among us all.

• “One Body and one Spirit.” (4:4) The Spirit is indispensable for the reality of the Body.
• All of us participate in “the building up of the Body of Christ.” (4:12)
• By holding the Head we grow up into Him; as a result, by the supply flowing out from the Head “all the Body…causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” (4:15-16) Ephesians 4 shows that all of us participate in the building up which is the preparation of New Jerusalem.
• We have “put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man” and “put on the new man.” (4:22, 24)

All of these characteristics of the Body and New Man apply to New Jerusalem—the city is the fullness of Christ, coming out of His death and resurrection, we are all one in Him, we all share in all the blessings, and we all participate in the preparation.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Built into the Temple of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, as the consummation of all the positive matters in the Bible, will be the eternal fulfillment of the mutual abiding presented in John 15:4: “Abide in Me and I in you.”

Revelation 21:22 says of New Jerusalem, “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” In New Jerusalem, God and the Lamb are the temple and also our dwelling place. In Revelation 3:12 the Lord Jesus declares, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore…”

The pillar is in the temple, and the temple is God and the Lamb. This shows that the overcoming believers are pillars built into the Triune God. Being built in, they “shall by no means go out” because God is their eternal dwelling place.

Being built into God is not only in the future; it is the pattern of all the building described in the New Testament. The facts that 1) God and the Lamb are the living temple of New Jerusalem and 2) believers can be pillars in this temple both show that New Jerusalem is not a physical city but rather a living composition of God and God’s people.

The second part of Revelation 3:12 tells us that the name of God, the name of New Jerusalem, and the name of the Lord (the holy and true One, v. 7) are written on the believer who is a pillar. This shows that such a believer is possessed by the Triune God and by New Jerusalem. This is like an object on which our name is written to show that it is ours. We can pray, Lord, possess me wholly for Yourself and possess me for Your city.

%d bloggers like this: