Three Mysteries Point to New Jerusalem

The New Testament presents three outstanding mysteries which together culminate in New Jerusalem.

Colossians 2:2 speaks of “the mystery of God, Christ.” In 1 Corinthians 2:1 Paul came to the Corinthians “announcing to you the mystery of God.” To do this he determined to know nothing except “Jesus Christ, and this One crucified.” This is the first mystery.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:4 Paul speaks of “the mystery of Christ.” Verse 6 opens this mystery: “in Christ Jesus the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the Body and fellow partakers of the promise through the gospel.”

Paul was graced by God (v. 7) to announce “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (v. 8) and “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is” (v. 9). Then verse 10 is about the church, which is according to God’s eternal purpose (v. 11). This is the second mystery.

The latter part of Ephesians 5 is about husband and wife as a picture of Christ and the church. Verse 32: “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.” This great mystery is the forerunner of Christ and New Jerusalem as Husband and wife. 

Ephesians presents many aspects of the church—the Body and fullness of Christ, the one new man, the kingdom and household of God, the dwelling place of God, the bride, and the corporate warrior. New Jerusalem is the consummation of all of these aspects of Christ and the church as the great mystery.

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New Jerusalem: Satisfaction in Love and Rest in Expression

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” Jesus Christ, and also “the tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:2-3). These characteristics are not new at the conclusion of the Bible; they occur often throughout the Bible.

In both the Old and the New Testaments God likens His chosen people to a spouse (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32) and a dwelling place for Himself (Exo. 29:45-46; Num. 5:3; Ezek. 43:7-9; Psa. 68:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The spouse is for His satisfaction in love, and the dwelling place is for His rest in expression. Both aspects will be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem. In her, God will have the fullest satisfaction in love and the uttermost rest in expression for eternity.*

The love between God and His people is important throughout the Bible. The books of Moses are, on one hand, filled with laws, commands, and ordinances. On the other hand, they often speak about our heart and our loving God. The Lord Jesus repeated this in John 14:21, 23, coupling loving Him and keeping His commandments. Second John 6 says the same.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:17 we are “being rooted and grounded in love.” And 4:16 has “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” The building up of the Body of Christ in love is the preparation of New Jerusalem to be His loving bride. Likewise in Colossians 2:2 we are “knit together in love.”

Lord, increase our loving You daily. Make us those who “who have loved Your appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Bring us onward to New Jerusalem

* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

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New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Participation in the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ, for His satisfaction in love. The city is also the tabernacle of God for His rest and expression. This marvelous entity is prepared by our experience of the riches of Christ.

The prior post looked at the individual experience of these riches in Philippians 1 and the corporate experience in Ephesians 3. Then Ephesians 4:15-16 says that “holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together…causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Everything in these verses is for the preparation of New Jerusalem as the bride. We hold to Christ, the truth, in love. Thus we grow up into Him, experiencing Him in every aspect of our living, both small and big. As we grow into Him, the rich supply flows out from Him for our joining and knitting together (because the Body of Christ and New Jerusalem are corporate entities, not a gathering of individuals). Through this His Body grows and is built together in love.

Colossians 2:19 is a parallel verse, “Holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.” Again it begins with our holding, our cooperating. Then the rich supply flows out, all the members are knit together, and the corporate Body of Christ grows. This is our current progress in the preparation of New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Participation in the Riches of Christ

In Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ and is also the tabernacle of God.

As the bride of the Lamb, the New Jerusalem comes out of Christ, her Husband, and becomes His counterpart, just as Eve came out of Adam, her husband, and became His counterpart (Gen. 2:21-24). She is prepared by participating in the riches of the life and nature of Christ the Lamb. As the tabernacle of God, the New Jerusalem is built by God with what He is. It is wholly constituted of the nature of God to be His habitation.*

New JerusalemMultiple verses speak of the riches of Christ as the preparation of the Body of Christ, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the bride. Philippians 1:19 focuses on the preparation of each individual member.

Paul tells us, “I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul was in prison but could experience the riches of Christ there for living Christ to magnify Him (1:20-21).

Ephesians 3:14-19 focuses on our corporate preparation. Paul prayed for the believers, that our Father “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man.” The result of this strengthening is that the believers corporately are rooted (for life supply) and grounded (for building) to apprehend together the vastness of Christ and be filled to all the fullness of God.

The consummation is glory to God, now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.


* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

More about The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem
and The Riches and Fullness of the Triune God

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The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (9-10)

Eight verses of a song link features of the garden of Eden with characteristics of New Jerusalem. The last two verses of this song focus entirely on New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe city is God’s building work replete,
A composition of the justified;
A habitation it affords to God
And is to Christ His own beloved bride.

’Tis God’s expression, ultimate and full,
Corporate and universal, marvelous;
God’s glory it completely manifests,
And is Christ’s counterpart most glorious.

The precious materials in the garden portray the Triune God’s work in all the believers. By this work, we have been built together to become the city as God’s dwelling place.

This habitation, New Jerusalem, is also the beloved bride of Christ. All of this is revealed in Revelation 21:2 to 22:5. The city “has the glory of God” (21:11). It is the ultimate city which cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:14), to be God’s full and eternal expression.

New Jerusalem is a corporate and universal entity, composed of all God’s people throughout the ages. As the habitation and the expression, New Jerusalem satisfies God the Father. And as the bride, the city satisfies Christ the Son.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (8.2)

We looked at eight verses of a song which couples the garden of Eden with New Jerusalem. Eve in the garden as the wife of Adam is a picture of New Jerusalem as the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:9-10).

A line in that song, about Christ’s deep long for His bride led us to another song (words and music) which amplifies this longing. This inserted song emphasizes God’s eternal purpose hidden in His heart through the ages, creation, Satan’s deception of man, and Christ’s continued seeking of His bride.

New JerusalemNext: “His life laid down, an offering whose fragrance yet ascends.” He died to gain His bride. Ephesians 5:25, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

More: “And now in resurrection to her He draws most near.” On one hand Christ is in heaven and not visible to our eyes. On the other hand, He is in us and enlivens us (Rom. 8:10). Soon, Christ “In glory does appear.” He will return to earth visibly in glory.

The inserted song concludes, “As she beholds her Bridegroom, His glory floods her heart, ’til she, His Bride, is raptured, His longed-for counterpart.” We look away to Jesus now and will behold Him in glory at His return.

“He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10) and He will be further glorified in and through His bride, New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (8.1)

Many characteristics in the garden of Eden are like prophecies pointing to New Jerusalem. The prior post is about the bride, which is Eve in Genesis 2 as a picture of the eternal bride, New Jerusalem, in Revelation 21.

New JerusalemWe have been looking at Genesis 1–2 and Revelation 21–22 with a song about the two. Verse 8 of this song speaks of the bride being precious to Christ. Before we conclude the current song, we will go to another, which is about this preciousness.

This inserted song (words and music) begins, “The church is Christ’s deep longing and His good pleasure too.” It also says, “Before the earth’s foundation His thoughts were filled with her.” New Jerusalem as the bride is not a late addition; it is part of God’s eternal plan which existed before creation.

More: “Creation sprang to being, but deep in Him did hide a heart of depth unfathomed fixed on a glorious Bride.” God’s plan was not revealed until the New Testament time (Col. 1:26) but all was firm in His heart from the beginning.

Then it speaks of sin beguiling and mocking man but Christ never forsaking His bride. Next, “Then mercy richly flourished, and love was, oh, so vast, as graciously He sought her with wisdom unsurpassed.” All the problems in the universe, including the fall of man, serve only to manifest the unsurpassed wisdom of Christ. Eternally New Jerusalem will be a complete manifestation of this wisdom triumphing over every obstacle.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (8)

New JerusalemGenesis 1–2 reveals God’s intention in pictures. The reality is in the New Testament.

Many wonderful things in Genesis 1–2 are fully realized in New Jerusalem. Here is the eighth verse of a song connecting these two ends of the Bible, plus several of the underlying Bible verses.

Within the garden also was a bride,
Who was to Adam as his counterpart;
Lastly, the city is itself the bride
As Christ’s own fulness, precious to His heart.

Genesis 2:21-22 tell us, “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 is the bride, the counterpart to Adam in the song.

The reality is first seen in John 3. All the redeemed and regenerated people become the bride of Christ. The reality is also seen in Ephesians 5:25-27; Christ died to redeem the church, His bride, He is now cleansing her by the washing in the water in His living word, and He will present her to Himself not only spotless but even more, glorious.

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

The Bride, the Wife, New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:9 an angel spoke with John “saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Then (v. 10), John tells us that the angel “carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.”

In this record, the bride, the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, equals the holy city, Jerusalem. Jesus Christ will not take a physical city as His wife. The holy city is a living person! It is composed of all God’s people, chosen, redeemed, and matured in life.

This city, the wife of the Lamb, is the outcome of John 3. In 3:3-6 the Lord Jesus speaks of being born again, our human spirit born of the Spirit. In 3:14-17 all who believe are saved from the death brought in by the serpent, Satan, and receive eternal life. In 3:26-30 the people coming to Jesus, the Bridegroom, and believing into Him are the bride.  Verses 31-36 confirm that Jesus came and that those who believe into Him have eternal life.

The bride, composed of all the born again people, who all have eternal life, is the Lord’s bride, His increase!

That the city, Jerusalem, is the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ, is also seen with the church presented to Christ in Ephesians 5:25-27. This presentation is in the context of human marriage, which is a picture of the eternal marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the city, Jerusalem.

More about the eternal marriage, in both Old and New Testaments, is in
The Divine-Human Romance thru the Bible

New Jerusalem is the Bride,                        Jesus Christ is the Husband

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). “The marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). The entire city is the bride and the Husband is the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:25-26 speaks of the Lord’s work to prepare the bride “that He might present the church to Himself glorious” (v. 27) at His second coming, His coming in glory.

John the Baptist spoke of the Lord Jesus as the Bridegroom with all the believers as His increase (John 3:28-30). And in Mark 2:19-20 the Lord Jesus described Himself as a Bridegroom. These words point toward the Husband of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

Jesus Christ as the Husband of the church in Ephesians 5 and of New Jerusalem is also prophesied in the Old Testament. Isaiah 54:5, “For your Maker is your Husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name. And the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.” The Lord Jesus is our Redeemer so that He can impart eternal life into us to constitute us to be His bride so that He can be our Husband.

Hosea 2 speaks of Jehovah’s reclaiming Israel from idol worship. Verse 16: “And in that day, declares Jehovah, You will call Me My Husband.”

New Jerusalem as a bride for Jesus Christ the Husband is not a new idea in Revelation; rather, it is the consummation of what is presented to us throughout the Bible.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ, Adorned with Christ

in Revelation 21:2 New Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” New Jerusalem as the bride of Christ is a corporate person, composed of all the believers.

This bride is adorned, not with physical jewels and fancy clothing, but with the virtues of Christ lived out through the believers. An example is 1 Timothy 2:9, “women adorn themselves in proper clothing with modesty and sobriety, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothing.” Our real modesty and sobriety come from Christ living in us.

New JerusalemSimilarly Titus 2:10 speaks of “all good faithfulness” adorning “the teaching of our Savior God.” And 1 Peter 3:3-4 says that adorning should not be outward things but “the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptible adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very costly in the sight of God.”

Peter also tells us that even gold and silver are corruptible in the eyes of God. Jesus Christ is longing for a bride adorned with incorruptible beauty which can only come from Himself.

Revelation 21:19 records “The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone.” In 1 Peter 2:4-7 Christ Himself is the living Stone who is precious to God. The wall of the city (which is not physical because it is a living bride) is not adorned with physical jewels but with the precious Christ wrought into us through transformation.

The adorning of New Jerusalem as the bride is Christ Himself lived out through all His members. This is the highest beauty in the universe.

New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ

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.” Revelation 21:9-10, “the bride, the wife of the Lamb….the holy city, Jerusalem.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. This is a very important statement in Revelation 21. It declares that New Jerusalem is not a physical city but a corporate living person!

Revelation is a book of spiritual signs. New Jerusalem described as a city shows that it is God’s kingdom built up. New Jerusalem as a bride shows it is a corporate person as the consummation of the church as the Body of Christ, the one new man, and the wife (all three of which are presented in Ephesians).

Ephesians 5:25-27 announces that (1) “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” through His death to redeem her, (2) He is now sanctifying her to match the purity of New Jerusalem, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word,” and (3) at His second coming He will “present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish.”

In Ephesians 5 the church is described in the human context of husband and wife. This church will be the glorious bride, New Jerusalem, which Christ will present to Himself.


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.

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