Praises in the Book of Revelation (4)

New JerusalemThe final praise I found in Revelation is verse 19:7: “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” This points directly to New Jerusalem, the wife of the Lamb.

In Revelation 21:9-11 the angel showed John the holy city, New Jerusalem, as the bride, the wife of the Lamb, having the glory of God. The bride making herself ready in 19:7 is her seeking and allowing Christ to saturate her so that she expresses Him as the glory of God.

On one hand, this seeking is our responsibility because 19:7 says that we, the wife, made ourself ready. On the other hand, we cannot do anything in ourselves. Our seeking is for the Father to strengthen us through His Spirit so that Christ may make home in our hearts (Eph. 3:14-17). It is also a pursuing of Christ so that He may live in us and be formed in us (Gal. 2:20, 4:19).

We present ourselves, seek, and pursue Christ that we may get ready with Him as our content and expression to match Him and be His wife, New Jerusalem.

Here are more posts about the rejoicing, exulting, glory, and the wife made ready in Revelation 19:7 and the related preparation of the bride in 21:2.
New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Cooperation with Christ Dwelling in Us
Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride
New Jerusalem Prepared as a Bride
Let Us Rejoice & Give the Glory to the Lamb
Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb Has Come
Rejoice, Exult for the Marriage of the Lamb
We, the Bride, Make Ourselves Ready
Love the Lord Jesus, Rejoice and Exult
New Jerusalem is Prepared as a Bride
New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned

Praises in the Book of Revelation (3)

Revelation records praises and rejoicing for God and the Lamb and for what God and the Lamb do. We believers join the heavenly praising now. In eternity the entire new creation will praise God and the Lamb.

Revelation 19, after many judgements (with a few more to come in Rev. 20), begins “I heard as it were a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.” The judgments clear out the old creation. The salvation brings God into us so that the glory may be to Him now and in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 19:3: “And a second time they said, Hallelujah!” “Hallelujah” is from Hebrew, meaning “praise Jah,” a short form of the name Jehovah. We surely can say hallelujah more than once now.

Revelation 19:4: “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God, who sits upon the throne, saying, Amen, Hallelujah!”

Revelation 19:5-6: “And a voice came out from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.”

We are certainly included in the “all” in verse 5. Our praises should not be so quiet. We praise God today, and at the time of Revelation 19, and in New Jerusalem.

Praises in the Book of Revelation (2)

There are many praises in Revelation for what God and the Lamb are and for what God and the Lamb do. We who are believers join the heavenly praising now. In eternity the entire new creation will praise God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 11:15: “And the seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” This brings out the praise in verse 17, “We thank You, Lord God the Almighty, He who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and have reigned.”

We are in the spiritual reality of God’s kingdom now (Rom. 14:17) and John testified that he was in this kingdom while in exile on Patmos (Rev. 1:9). But, the world still has its kingdoms, nations, etc. When these are terminated at the seventh trumpet, that surely will bring forth more praises and thanks from the heavens and from God’s people on earth.

Revelation 12:10 has more: “I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ, for the accuser of our brothers has been cast down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” The transition in Revelation 11 concerns the kingdom of the world and in this chapter concerns the casting down of the devil, satan.

The result of this casting down is “Therefore be glad, O heavens and those who dwell in them” (v. 12). There is more gladness in Revelation 18:20 as a result of further judgements by God. We, God’s people, should be glad now, will be glad then, and this gladness will continue to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Praises in the Book of Revelation

New JerusalemThere are many praises in Revelation. Some are for what God and the Lamb are and some for what God and the Lamb do. All the praises relate either to judgements on the old creation or bringing forth the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

Revelation 4:11: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You have created all things, and because of Your will they were, and were created.” God created everything according to His will and for His purpose. There is glory and honor to God now and these will be amplified in New Jerusalem.

Revelation 5:12: “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who has been slain to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is a great turn in the universe. Everything of the old creation was put to death and the new creation came forth in resurrection. We do not yet see the out-working of this turn, we should declare Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.

Revelation 7:10: “And they cry with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb.” If we have a heavenly vision, we see God and the Lamb on the throne now, and praise now. In the new creation everyone will see God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem and everyone will praise.

Revelation 7:12: “Saying, Amen. The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” We can echo this praise now and certainly will echo it in New Jerusalem forever.

Appreciation of the Ministry of Witness Lee

I am very appreciative of the ministry of Witness Lee. I heard him speak many times in the last thirty years of his life and have read many of the books composed from his spoken messages. Here is a short biography of Witness Lee and here is another short biography.

His Life-Study of the Bible helped me to see Christ and our experience of Christ as life portrayed in many parts of the Bible which formerly were only stories to me. He also helped me to see the lines of life and building from Genesis to Revelation. Here are Witness Lee’s books and some audio recordings. Here is additional online access to Witness Lee’s writings.

I have written about life and building often on this New Jerusalem blog. On one hand I have referenced some of Witness Lee’s writings, quoted from a few books and from his notes in the Recovery Version of the Bible, and presented some of Witness Lee’s hymns.

Here are a few notes about New Jerusalem in the Recovery Version:
John 3:30, the increase is the bride in v. 29 pointing to Christ’s bride, New Jerusalem.
Ephesians 1:18, our hope includes the enjoyment of Christ in the New Jerusalem
James 1:18, the implanted word of life will perfect us unto New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:2, New Jerusalem is a living composition of all God’s redeemed people.

On the other hand what I have written in this New Jerusalem blog in the past five years has been based on the Bible. In a sense I am not dependent on the ministry of Witness Lee because his ministry has opened the Bible to me. Now I present to you in this blog what I see in the Bible related to New Jerusalem.

Tom, who blogs at Holding to Truth, presents his appreciation of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Christian Research Institute, which is not affiliated with him, affirms Witness Lee’s fundamental Biblical position.

My conclusion: there is much in the Bible which directly or indirectly involves New Jerusalem. I thank the Lord for opening my eyes, mainly by what He released through Witness Lee, to what is in His word.

Addendum
__After writing what is above, I was reminded of a web site having both An Open Letter from the Local Churches and Living Stream Ministry concerning the Teachings of Witness Lee and testimonies from more than a dozen respected Christian leaders. Another similar web site is The Truth of the Gospel. These web sites are in both English and German. I am glad to recommend both.
__Nach die Schreibung oben, ich wurde erinnert über eine Internetseite, die Ein offener Brief von den örtlichen Gemeinden und Living Stream Ministry in Bezug auf die Lehren von Witness Lee und Zeugnisse von mehr als Dutzend angesehenen Christlichen Leiter hat. Eine andere ähnliche Internetseite ist Die Wahrheit des Evangeliums. Diese Internetseiten sind auf Deutsch und auf Englisch. Ich bin froh, beide zu empfehlen.

Addendum 2
__A third website is The Local Churches, Die Ortsgemeinden, only in German. The site begins, Die örtlichen Gemeinden sind Teil eines weltumspannenden Netzwerks von Gemeinden, die gemäß den Prinzipien des Neuen Testaments gegründet wurden. Diese Prinzipien sind im Dienst von Watchman Nee und Witness Lee ausgelegt worden, einem Dienst, der die Gläubigen auf Christus und Christus allein als den Erlöser, das Leben und das Haupt der Gemeinde verweist (Eph. 5:25; Kol. 3:4; 1:18). Diese empfehle ich auch.

The Bible: a Journey from Garden of Eden to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

The whole Bible is a journey from God’s creation and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1–2) to God’s consumma-tion centered on New Jerusalem (Revelation 21–22).

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

New Creation: Curiosity versus Life

After the termination of the old creation (Rev. 20:11-15), 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. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1-2).

New JerusalemRevelation 21–22 gives a very limited description of the new creation. The new creation has New Jerusalem as its center and will be full of God’s blessing. Despite this wonderful situation, it is all too easy to be curious and ask many questions about many details of the new creation.

Do not look to this blog for answers or speculations. John 20:30-31 says, “Moreover indeed many other signs also Jesus did before His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.”

I believe that this word in John 20 applies not only to what “Jesus did before His disciples” but also to the entire Bible. God did not speak to answer our questions nor to satisfy our curiosity. God spoke His living word so that we might receive His life and participate in the accomplishing of His purpose, which culminates in New Jerusalem.

The Bible is a book of life. There are many pictures in the Old Testament followed by the reality, Jesus Christ, as “the life” (John 14:6) and “our life” (Col. 3:4) in the New Testament. The Bible is the written word of God and Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God, the Word of life (1 John 1:1). The Bible is a great help for us to contact Him, receive life, grow in life, and mature as people of life to match New Jerusalem as the city of life.

Built to be a Corporate Vessel of God’s Glory

God’s eternal purpose, the subject of the song we are reviewing, depends on God’s divine, eternal life. God’s plan is to build together a group of people as His dwelling place, consummating in New Jerusalem. This must involve humans but it cannot be carried out by the created human life.

Because God’s purpose depends on the divine life, God put the created man in front of the tree of life (Genesis 2:8-9). This tree is a picture of Jesus Christ, who is the life (John 11:25).

When Christ is our life and to the extent that we live because of Him, we participate in the realization of New Jerusalem. Thus the song speaks of being built in life and knit in love, as in Ephesians 4:15-16.

New Jerusalem5_Thus in life we’re built together,
____Then in love we’re knit as one;
__God is now His plan fulfilling,
____Finishing what He’s begun.
__Lord, increase Thyself within us
____That we might be built by Thee
__Into that great corporate vessel
____Filled with God exclusively.

Like the words in the song, we should pray for the Lord’s increase, His growth, in us. This is Colossians 2:19, “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.”

The result of His growth, His increase in us is a corporate vessel filled with God and expressing God. The ultimate step of this is New Jerusalem.

6_As the product, the fulfillment,
____Will the church in glory stand,
__Consummation of the purpose
____In eternal ages planned.
__God will have His corporate vessel,
____All His glory to contain;
__Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose
____All Thy goal in us attain.

New Jerusalem is the final stage of the corporate vessel, filled with and radiating God’s glory. Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose, all Thy goal in us attain.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Created and Saturated for New Jerusalem

God’s eternal purpose was hidden in Him before time. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. As presented in the first half of the song we are reviewing, God wants to dispense Himself into people to build them together in Himself for His glory and praise.

God created all the plants, fish, birds, and animals according to their own kind (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24, 25). In contrast, God did not create man according to man’s kind; rather, God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26) because God created man especially for fulfilling His purpose, .

The man created for God’s purpose has a human spirit as the center of His being. Zechariah 12:1 says, “Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” Here the spirit of man is ranked with the heavens and the earth.

New Jerusalem4_As the center, as the kernel,
____Of God’s plan our spirit is;
__Calling on the name of Jesus
____Makes our spirit one with His.
__From the center to circumference
____God would saturate each part;
__Feeling, mind, and will renewing,
____Making home in all our heart.

The first action God takes in us to fulfill His plan is to enliven our human spirit. This is to be born again, to be regenerated. John 3:6b says, “that which is born of the [divine] Spirit is [our human] spirit.” This regeneration is our first experiential step towards New Jerusalem.

The result of being born again is 1 Corinthians 6:17, “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” From our spirit, God desires to spread to our mind, emotion, and will; for example, Ephesians 4:23 speaks of “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

This renewing by the Spirit (Titus 3:5) in our spirit makes us divinely new to match New Jerusalem, the consummation of all the newness in the Bible.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Built Together in Life for New Jerusalem

We are reviewing a song about God’s eternal purpose. God’s purpose has been in Him from eternity past and it points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. God’s work is not a reaction to the problems in the universe. He solves the problems by doing everything “according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5, 11).

God’s purpose is stated in the second verse of this song: He wants a group of people built together as His vessel, one new man. This is Colossians 3:10-11, we “have put on the new man…where Christ is all and in all.” Ultimately, New Jerusalem is this corporate vessel.

New Jerusalem2_God would have a group of people
____Built together in His plan,
__Blended, knit, coordinated
____As His vessel—one new man.
__God would come into this vessel
____With His nature, life and ways,
__Mingling Spirit with our spirits
____For His joy and to His praise.

The Triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit— work together in us (song, verse 3) resulting in praise to God (end of verse 2).

This triune working and the resulting praise is presented in Ephesians 1. Verses 3-6, 7-12, and 13-14 are associated with the Father, Son, and Spirit. Each of these three sections ends with the praise of His glory. Ultimately the glory, and the praise, will be New Jerusalem.

3_God has worked in three directions
____For His plan so marvelous:
__As the Father, Son, and Spirit
____To dispense Himself to us!
__All creation gives the setting—
____Heav’n and earth are for this plan;
__’Tis for this God made a body,
____Soul and spirit—three-part man.

God created man in His image with body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). God’s creation was for His purpose, for Him to come into man, to be life to man, to be formed in man (Galatians 4:19), and to make home in man (Ephesians 3:16-17). All of this points toward New Jerusalem. Praise Him for this marvelous plan.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

God’s Eternal Goal is New Jerusalem

The consummation of the Bible is the new heavens and new earth with New Jerusalem as their center (Revelation 21:1-2). Recent posts showed how much God’s mercy is involved in bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

One of the recent posts included a few lines from a song. I will now share the whole song (spread over several posts) and comment on it. Here are words and music.

New Jerusalem1_God eternal has a purpose,
____Formed in His eternal past,
__Spreading to eternal future;
____’Twixt these ends all time is cast.
__For with time there is the process,
____Time for His accomplishment;
__And in time we’re merely travelers—
____For eternity we’re meant.

God’s purpose has been in Him from eternity. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. His purpose does take care of the problems in the universe but His purpose is not a reaction to these problems.

Here are some verses which speak about God’s purpose from eternity (before time).
• We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom which has been hidden, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
• To enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things. (Ephesians 3:9)

The universe was created for the carrying out of God’s purpose, His plan, according to His heart’s desire. We were created for this purpose, which means we were created for New Jerusalem. Even before creation, God took some actions in regard to us.
• God, 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. (2 Timothy 1:8b-9)
• Eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the times of the ages. (Titus 1:2)

God’s purpose, God’s grace, and God’s eternal life were given and promised before time began. They operate in time to bring us to New Jerusalem, where we will be after time is finished. As the song says, “For with time there is the process” and “For eternity we’re meant.”

We are in the process of growing in eternal life in time and we are traveling to New Jerusalem in eternity.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

A Personal Testimony

New JerusalemIn April of last year [2014] my wife, Karen, died. However, as I shared in last year’s Personal Testimony, that event was not primarily a physical death. Rather, it was the Lord calling her to be with Him in paradise. Because of the Lord’s speaking then, we both accepted His call without fear and without regret.

How thankful I am for His speaking which took so much potential turmoil out of the events last year. However, I realize that not every Christian couple has such an experience and I am sympathetic with those who go through a time of distress and sadness. He is the Lord and we cannot say why He gives one couple one experience and another couple a very different experience. Neither should we make judgements about these differences.

Since a year ago I have gone on with the Lord. The peace of a year ago has remained. She is asleep in Christ, awaiting the resurrection at the Lord’s visible return, as presented in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16. She is also awaiting the better country, New Jerusalem, the city God has prepared for His people of faith (Hebrews 11:16).

The Lord has brought me on since then, keeping me in Christian fellowship and touching me on aspects of my living so that my reality may become a little more “to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). Regarding Karen, I am at rest in Him. Regarding my future,

Come, Lord Jesus! 

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