Our Spirit, God’s Kingdom, New Jerusalem

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens
(Matt. 5:3). 

God created the heavens, the earth, and the spirit of man (Zech. 12:1). This human spirit, the center of our being, is made alive by the Spirit in regeneration (John 3:6). Our spirit is also the receptor of the Lord’s grace, as in Galatians 6:18, Philippians 4:23, and Philemon 25.

To be poor in spirit is not only to be humble, but also to be emptied in our spirit, in the depth of our being, not holding on to the old things….We need to be poor, emptied, unloaded, in this part of our being so that we may realize and possess the kingdom of the heavens. This implies that the kingdom of the heavens is a spiritual matter, not a material one.*

New JerusalemThe opposite of being “poor in spirit” is seen in the Lord’s warning to the church in Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). They said they were rich and had need of nothing but the Lord told them they were wretched, poor, and blind.

How does this relate to New Jerusalem? As stated above, in Matthew 5 the kingdom is a spiritual matter. Thus the ultimate stage of the kingdom, New Jerusalem, is also spiritual, not physical.

Therefore we must be poor/humble/ emptied in spirit to see more of God’s kingdom both today and with New Jerusalem.

* Life-Study of Matthew by Witness Lee, chap. 13

New Jerusalem is a Spiritual Blessing!

New JerusalemEphesians 1:3 declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” The Old Testament had God’s outward blessings to Israel. The New Testament presents God’s spiritual blessings to the believers.

What we have today are spiritual blessings: the redemption Christ accomplished; the eternal life given to us; Christ as our inward peace, joy, and hope of glory; the love of God and the grace of Christ; plus much more. All of these spiritual blessings point toward New Jerusalem, the conclusion and consummation of the New Testament.

These blessings are all spiritual, imparted into us by the Spirit of God. Galatians 3:13-14 tells us that the blessing God promised to Abraham is the Spirit Himself. “Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law…in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

The nature of all New Testament blessings is spiritual. Therefore, we should not expect New Jerusalem to be physical. Rather, it is the enlargement and enrichment of all the present spiritual blessings and also has none of the negatives in our present environment.

In New Jerusalem we will see the Lord fully, abide in Him without interruption,  and will have the highest experience of all that He is, including His life, love, righteousness, peace, joy, holiness, and glory. New Jerusalem is the eternal outcome of Ephesians 1:3.

In Spirit, Not in the Natural Realm, to See New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:1 presents the new heaven and new earth and 21:2 presents the holy city, New Jerusalem. In 21:10 John tells us that an angel carried him “away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.” To see New Jerusalem, we need to be in spirit and in an elevated situation.

Jesus “went out from there and came into His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and many hearing were astounded, saying, Where did this man get these things? And what is this wisdom given to this man, and how is it that such works of power take place through His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? And they were stumbled in Him. And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and among his own relatives and in his own house.” (Mark 6:1-4)

New JerusalemWhat Mark records here is the opposite of Revelation 21. The people had such a natural remembrance and assessment of Jesus that they could not see the signifi-cance of His teaching and miracles. Due to their unbelief, He could only heal a few people (6:5). Similar cases of spiritual blindness are throughout the gospels.

It is the same today. If we look at the description of New Jerusalem in a natural way we will totally miss its spiritual significance. Revelation is a book of signs (1:1). The materials, dimensions, and features of New Jerusalem should not be understood in a natural, physical way. We need to be “carried away in spirit” to see the reality of New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of God’s Building through the Bible

New Jerusalem, as the conclusion of the Bible, shows God’s goal—to have a living building composed of Himself and all His people.

New JerusalemWe see this building clearly in the New Testament. At first the eternal Word came to tabernacle among us (John 1:14). Jesus alone was God’s tabernacle at that time. In John 2:19-21 He spoke of Himself as the temple, the replacement for the old, physical temple.

Later, He redeemed us by His death and regenerated us through His resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Now we are being built together. A few verses which speak of our involvement in God’s building work are 1 Corinthians 3:9 and Ephesians 2:19-22 and 4:15-16. In these verses both we and God in Christ are being built together. The ultimate issue is New Jerusalem.

Noah’s ark, the tabernacle, the temple, Christ, the church, and the New Jerusalem are all God’s building. However, these are all different aspects of one building, not many buildings. In the New Jerusalem we can find items related to Noah’s ark, to the tabernacle of Moses, and to Solomon’s temple with the old Jerusalem. We can certainly see Christ as the house and temple of God, and we can also see the church. Therefore, the New Jerusalem is the ultimate expression and consummation of God’s building.*

When the New Testament speaks about building it is always coupled with life. We are built together in the divine life which flows out from Christ the Head in Ephesians 4:16. This building is maintained in eternal newness by the flow of the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

New Jerusalem is a Spiritual Blessing

Ephesians 1:3 declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” Verses 4 to 14 present some details of these spiritual blessings. New Jerusalem is the consummation of all these blessings.

The blessings are from the Triune God. Ephesians 1:4-6 speaks about the Father’s selection and predestination. Verses 7-12 speak of the Son’s redemption for the accomplishing of God’s eternal purpose. Verses 13-14 speak of the Spirit”s applying to us what the Son accomplished.

New JerusalemEach of these three sections leads to the praise of God’s glory. Ultimately New Jerusalem will have and display God’s glory and praises will go to God for this glory.

First Corinthians 10:16 tells us that “the cup of blessing which we bless” is the fellowship of the blood of Christ. This too is a spiritual blessing.

Galatians 3:13-14 proclaim that “Christ has redeemed us…in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Here the blessing we receive is the Spirit. This is an eternal blessing based on God’s promise to Abraham.

Jesus told us that our heavenly Father will care for our outward needs. This is true but God’s highest desire is to bless us with Himself.  The blessing of New Jerusalem is not outward but it is to live in and with the Triune God for eternity.

A Word from Moses

Recent posts are about New Jerusalem being a spiritual structure in the resurrection life. New Jerusalem is not a physical city. This is the pattern of God’s building throughout the New Testament.

In the Old Testament God had a physical tabernacle and temple, but these were merely pictures of the NT reality. Even in that age, Moses declared in Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” 

New JerusalemOur dwelling place, our home, both today and in New Jerusalem, is God Himself. Jesus made this clear in John 14:20, speaking about His soon-to-happen resurrection, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” And John 15:4, “Abide in Me and I in you.” We have a mutual indwelling.

How do we “know”? First John 2 tells us that we know because of the love of God in us, with which we love God, and because of the moving of the Holy Spirit in us. Lord, stir Your love in me and move within me every day! 

God in Jesus Christ dwells in us and we dwell in Him. This is true no matter what our physical location is. Paul, in prison, wrote several epistles which speak of Christ in us and us in Christ. This is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. It is also our training, our preparation to be a proper and mature constituent of New Jerusalem.

See also Where is New Jerusalem ?

God’s NT Building is Living, not Physical

God’s New Testament building is living!

Christ Jesus in resurrection is the Cornerstone. Acts 4:10-12
All the building is “in Christ.” Ephesians 2:20-22
“All the building is growing.” Ephesians 2:21
“We are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:16
We all, “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” 1 Peter 2:5
—–and additional verses in the prior posts

New Jerusalem is not physical!

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building.
New Jerusalem shows the completion of all the growth and building in the NT.
New Jerusalem has a living temple, not a physical temple;
——-“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Rev. 21:22
New Jerusalem is living to be “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Rev. 21:9

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a living city, not a physical city:
New Jerusalem is Spiritual, not Physical
New Jerusalem: Not a Physical Building
A Physical Building is not the House of God

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (9)

Ephesians presents much about our growth into Christ in all things, which matches His growth within us, and our being built together in Him. New Jerusalem, a living city, is the consummation of this growth and building.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to recent posts on God’s living New Testament building. The key verses in each post are listed.

Jesus Christ is the living Cornerstone of God’s NT building. Matt. 21:33-41; Acts 4:10-12
Jesus Christ is the Living Stone and we also are living stones. John 1:41-42; 1 Peter 2:2-7
Jesus Christ is the temple in resurrection, and all His believers are part of this temple.
John 1:14, 2:19-22, 14:2, 23; 2 Cor. 6:16

We are God’s cultivated land, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:1-16
In Christ Jesus all the building is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Eph. 2:19-22
We have been rooted and are being built up in Christ Jesus. Eph. 3:16-21; Col. 2:6-7

Our growth in life is for the building up of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16
The growth of the Body is unto the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a city of life and God’s NT building in life:

New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm
The Living House Becomes the Living City
New Jerusalem is a Living City

New Jerusalem is a Living City, a City of Life
New Jerusalem is a Living, Spiritual City
We are God’s Living House

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (8)

Ephesians 4:11-16 focuses on God’s life being ministered for our growth in life and for furtherance of God’s New Testament building work. The growth and the building work are inseparably linked and both consummate in New Jerusalem.

By holding the Head, Christ, we “grow up into Him in all things” (v. 4:15). Then there is a flow out from Him which joins us together and knits us together. This flow is both through the gifted members (v. 4:11) and “through the operation in the measure of each one part” (v. 4:16). “Each one part” equals every believer in Christ, every member of the Body of Christ.

New JerusalemThis flow through all of us “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (v. 4:16). The growth of the Body and the building up of the Body proceed together. This is God NT way which ultimately concludes with New Jerusalem.

Colossians 2:19 is parallel, “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.” Our holding to Christ the Head allows a rich supply to flow out from Him for our knitting together and growth.

The whole Body, including all the members, “grows with the growth of God.” God was born into us at regeneration and is growing within us. New Jerusalem is the consummation of this growth; it is the manifestation of God in/through all His people built together.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (7)

God’s New Testament building comes forth from the growth of His life in us. New Jerusalem is the consummation of this growth and building up.

Ephesians 4:11-16 speaks much about growth and building. Verse 11 says that the ascended Christ gave some as particular gifted members to His spiritual Body. These gifted members are “for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ” (v. 12).

The gifted members train all the members to minister Christ to one another. This ministering is a life supply which issues in the building up of the Body. The goal is that “we all arrive at the oneness of the faith…, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Here “full-grown man” clearly indicates our growth in the divine life.

New JerusalemOn the positive side growth brings building up, pointing toward New Jerusalem. On the negative side growth brings us away from spiritual childhood where we are subject to “winds of teaching” and other aspects of a “system of error” (v. 14).

For our growth, for our building up, we need the gifted members (v. 11). We all also need to hold to truth in love (v. 15). Jesus Christ Himself is the truth, the reality, as He declared in John 14:6. We hold to Him in love. One aspect of holding in love is to declare Lord Jesus, I love You.

This loving of Him certainly will intensify as we are prepared to be His bride, His wife, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9-10).

 

 

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (6)

New JerusalemMultiple chapters in the New Testament, in recent posts, show that God’s New Testament building comes forth through the growth of His divine life in us.

God’s NT building is spiritual, not physical. This principle applies through the entire NT to New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 3:16-17a speaks of us being strengthened into our inner man “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.” The first outcome of this is that we are “rooted and grounded in love” (v. 3:17b).

Rooting brings in the life supply for our growth in life. What is the grounding for? The parallel verse, Colossians 2:6-7a, says, “As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, having been rooted and being built up in Him.” Being grounded in love is for building up which comes out of the life supply through our Christian roots.

The end result of our being rooted and grounded in Christ is God’s building, His dwelling place, composed of all the believers “filled unto all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). Through this filling “To Him [God] be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”

By the divine life growing in us and building us together, there is glory be God today! And more glory to God in New Jerusalem forever and ever! (Eph. 3:21).

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (5)

God’s New Testament building work is spiritual, accomplished by the resurrection life in all His believers. The result is a living building composed of God mingled with all the believers; it is not a physical structure. New Jerusalem is the consummation of this building work.

Ephesians 2:19b-20 says that we are “members of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone.” We all, through faith in Christ Jesus, became members of God’s household. As members we are also the materials God uses for His building. 

New JerusalemChrist Jesus is the living Cornerstone. He sets the pattern for God’s building: all the components of the building are alive in resurrection.

Verse 2:21 continues, “In whom [Christ Jesus] all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” The sphere of the building work is in Christ Jesus.

In Christ Jesus the whole building is “growing.” This clearly indicates that the building is living. The church is a living building now and New Jerusalem will be a mature, living building in eternity.

Verse 2:22, “In whom [Christ Jesus] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” In Christ we are “growing” and “being built together.” These two actions cannot be separated. New Jerusalem is the ultimate issue of both.


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

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