New Jerusalem: God’s Slaves Serve Him

Revelation 22:3 says about New Jerusalem “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” In human society slavery is not good, but to be slaves of God (and also sons of God) is our eternal destiny. Let us review the divine slavery as revealed in the New Testament.

Moses is identified as a slave in Revelation 15:3. In a parable in Matthew* 21 the Lord Jesus describes the Old Testament prophets as God’s slaves. Mary called herself a slave of the Lord (Luke 1:38) and Simeon likewise (Luke 2:29). The Christians in Jerusalem asked the Lord to “grant Your slaves to speak Your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29)

New JerusalemPaul, James, Peter, and Jude all began epistles calling themselves slaves of the Lord. Paul also referred to Timothy, Epaphras, and Tychicus as slaves of God. All of these labored to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

In parables in Matthew 13, 24, 25 the Lord Jesus portrays all His New Testament disciples as His slaves and Himself as the Master. In Matthew 20:27 He said, “whoever wants to be first among you shall be your slave.” And in Acts 2 is God’s promise to pour out His Spirit upon his slaves.

These verses indicate that we are slaves of God both in this age and in New Jerusalem. We must give ourselves to serve God and learn how to serve. An example to us is the faithful and prudent slave in Matthew 24 who gives food to God’s household and does not eat and drink with the drunken. This food nourishes us to grow in the divine life. We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem.

*and similar verses in Mark and Luke

Our Path to New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, is composed of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people. God’s choosing determined that we are on the path to New Jerusalem. Although we were among fallen men, Christ’s redemption brought us back to God and regeneration gives us God’s eternal life, the life of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemTRANSFORMED: Regeneration is to be born of the Spirit in our spirit, as the Lord spoke in John 3. Transformation is the spreading of divine life into our soul to renew our mind. This renewing is also our transformation (Rom. 12:2).

This is based on our consecration (Rom. 12:1) and is accomplished by our cooperation with the Spirit’s work in us and is “unto glory” that is, unto New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

GLORIFIED: Transformation develops God’s glory within us. However, transformation is in our soul and the expression of glory is still constrained by the body of our humiliation (Phil. 3:21). Glorification, transfiguration, is the divine life saturating our mortal body so that it will “be conformed to the body of His glory.” This is “the redemption of our body” which is the full sonship.

This glorification will occur when the Lord returns, “When He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). This, our glorification, is “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8) whose glory we “behold and reflect” (2 Cor. 3:18) throughout our transformation, saturating our entire being and radiating through us that all may behold.

This glory developed in us began with regeneration, continues through transformation, and is concluded by glorification. This causes us to match New Jerusalem, the city which “has the glory of God.”

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

Our Path to New Jerusalem

Revelation 19:7 and 21:2 tell us that the holy city, New Jerusalem, is the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. The New Jerusalem, the bride, is the composition of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people. Here is a brief look at these five steps on our path to New Jerusalem.

CHOSEN: First Peter 1:2 tells us that we are “Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Ephesians 1:3-4 says that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. The choice was entirely God’s, based on His foreknowledge. It is not our choice nor based on anything we are or have done. Because of God’s choice, we are in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemREDEEMED: Romans 5:12 declares, “through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin, death; and thus death passed on to all men because all have sinned.” Because of sin and death, we need redemption to bring us back to God. Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us. Galatians 3 says that Christ redeemed us out of the curse so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit and Galatians 4 says that God sent His Son to redeem us that we might receive the sonship.

REGENERATED: First Peter 1:3 blesses “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This fulfills the goal of redemption stated in Galatians. In God’s eyes regeneration was accomplished “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” and we experience it at the time of our believing into Him.

Choosing, redemption and regeneration are three steps on our path to New Jerusalem. The other two will be in the next post.

Joy, Praise, Victory, Eternal Marriage, Glory

This third post concludes our review of a song of praises based on Revelation 12–22 concerning the kingdom of God, the defeat of Satan, the marriage of the Lamb, and New Jerusalem. In the eleventh verse of the song we sing:
_Now behold the greatest wonder—New Jerusalem descend!
_She’s the Bride, prepared, adorned for Christ—of all God’s work, the end!

New JerusalemThese lines express 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.”

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Husband, as John the Baptist told us in John 3:28-29. The New Jerusalem, the composition of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people, is the bride.

The last verse of the song includes In His holiness and glory He’s expressed through all of them. “All of them” is all God’s people built together in Christ to be New Jerusalem. Because God is holy, and all His people partake of His holiness, New Jerusalem is “the holy city.” Likewise, because God expressed is glory, the city “has the glory of God” (21:11).

The last line of every verse in the song is  The victory is won! This victory is Christ’s triumph on the cross, plus His triumph in applying all that He is into us, and the elimination of all negative things in the universe by the judgements in Revelation 17-20. This brings us to the last chorus, which is Hallelujah, hallelujah! The victory is won!

New Jerusalem proclaims God’s victory eternally. Let’s rejoice and praise now to prepare for that day!

Joy, Praise, Victory, Eternal Marriage

The song of praises in the prior post continues in its ninth verse:
_Now rejoice and be exceeding glad! What glory is displayed!
_For the marriage of the Lamb, the wife all ready now is made!

New JerusalemThese words correspond with Revelation 19:7. John says here, “Let us rejoice.” This comes from the exhortation in the heavenly praise in 19:5-6 concerning God’s reign.

In 19:7-9 the praise and rejoicing continues to the marriage of the Lamb. The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is the eternal Husband, and New Jerusalem is His eternal wife. This is clearly stated in Revelation 21:2, 9-10.

The song continues, In fine linen, bright and pure, ’twas granted her to be arrayed. This is Revelation 19:8, which also says that “the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.”

The fine linen is not a physical garment, but is our righteousnesses, our righteous acts. These acts are Christ Himself coming forth in our living. This is the result of our giving ourselves to gain Christ and be found in Him in daily life, having Him as our righteous living, as presented in Philippians 3:7-9. This expression of Christ in our living is a precursor of His much fuller expression through New Jerusalem.

The tenth verse of the song presents Revelation 20, the devil cast into the lake of fire. This is the final step of carrying out the judgement Christ accomplished on the cross. This is cause for more praise; the song says, Hallelujah, never more need we his provocations bear!.

The judgements in Revelation 20 are the last step before the new  creation appears with New Jerusalem. For every one of these steps we can rejoice. Hallelujah!

Joy, Praise, Victory, Kingdom

A song based on Revelation begins, “Lo, the kingdom of the world is now the kingdom of the Lord!” This line of the song comes from Revelation 11:15, “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 “forever and ever” points to New Jerusalem, the center of God’s eternal kingdom.

New JerusalemThe song continues, “O what joy to all the saints does His eternal reign afford!” All who believe into Christ Jesus are saints because we have been “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:2). And we have His joy now and more so in His eternal reign in New Jerusalem.

The second verse of the song speaks of Satan being cast down. The third continues, “Now is come salvation, power, and the kingdom of our God.” The fourth declares our overcoming by the blood of the Lamb, our testimony, and not loving our soul life. These three song verses present Revelation 12:9-11.

Revelation 12:12 says, “Therefore be glad, O heavens and those who dwell in them.” This is echoed in words of praise in the song, including the chorus, Vict’ry, vict’ry, Hallelujah! The victory is won!

The song continues with the judgements in Revelation 17 and 18. This leads into the praise at the beginning of Revelation 19, “A loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God. For true and righteous are His judgments.”

All these judgements are part of God’s clearing away of the old creation, so that He can bring in the new creation with New Jerusalem. And all of our praises develop the life of New Jerusalem within us.

I copied the graphic from a prior post on praising, since that post also is on Rev. 19:1.

Jesus and New Jerusalem: “Out of Heaven”

The Lord Jesus told us multiple times that He came down out of heaven:
John 3:13, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man…”
John 6:38, “I have come down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.”
John 6:51a, “I am the living bread which came down out of heaven.”

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2 says, ” I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride.” And 21:10, “He [the angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,”

Both the Lord Jesus, the Bridegroom, and New Jerusalem, the bride, come down out of heaven. The two correspond to each other, as Eve corresponded to and complemented Adam in Genesis 2.

Eve is a strong contrast to the animals God created; among them “for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:20). Eve was the complement to Adam because she came out of Adam. God built Eve with the rib He had taken out of Adam.

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven because it is composed of the life and nature of Christ imparted into us in His resurrection. First Corinthians 15:47-48 make a contrast, “The first man [Adam] is out of the earth, earthy; the second man [Christ] is out of heaven. As the earthy is, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly is, such are they also that are heavenly.” As the heavenly new creatures, we compose the heavenly bride, New Jerusalem, which matches the heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

A Personal Testimony (2018)

I wrote my first Personal Testimony post in May 2014, a month after my wife died. I wrote a second Personal Testimony a year later. Now it is four years since her death and I have the feeling to write again.

I continue to love the Lord Jesus, read His word, have frequent fellowship with believers, teach in a Bible school, and participate in the Lord’s work. And I keep writing this blog about New Jerusalem.

The New Testament views death as sleep, from which the Lord will awaken us.* “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). Resurrection is our hope for all who are or will be asleep in the Lord.

But I am not passively waiting for that resurrection. Paul, in the last years of his Christian life, said that he had not yet attained to the goal, but he pursued (Phil. 3:12-14). I am surely further from the goal than he was, so I pursue, “forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before.”

To forget the things behind is not to despise all that the Lord has done with us. Rather, it is to clear the path so that He can do more and become fresh and richer to us. Every day or every week we should realize more of Him as everything to us. Lord, bring me onward with Yourself! This is our goal today, and our ultimate goal is New Jerusalem.

Here is a song based on Philippians 3 about pursuing Christ.

* For example, Matthew 9:23-25, 27:50-53; John 11:11-13; Acts 7:60; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15

Srong Contrast: Babylon and New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:18 says about New Jerusalem, “the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, “the twelve gates were twelve pearls….the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” In contrast, Revelation 17:4 says that the woman, Babylon, was “gilded with gold and precious stone and pearls.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is composed of pure, precious materials but Babylon is only gilded with them. New Jerusalem is pure, clear, transparent. But Babylon, behind the gilding, is “full of abominations and the unclean things of her fornication.” Babylon is a mixture—abominations cloaked in precious things.

Abominations hidden in a good covering is not new in Revelation. The Lord Jesus speaks of many examples in the Gospels. One is, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly appear beautiful but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:37).

James 4:8 guides us: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Our heart is for loving. Lord, purify us from any doubleness, save us from any mixture of loving You while loving other things. Bring us to loving You with our whole heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

The pure in heart will see God and will be prepared as constituents of the pure city, New Jerusalem.

This post is based on the first part of chapter 5, “The Holy City, New Jerusalem,” in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. This book can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Holy and Without Blemish in Love

New JerusalemEphesians 5:27 tells us that Christ 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.” This church is His well-prepared bride, the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

Christ cares for the church, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” This corresponds with Revelation 21:2, “New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” His washing prepares the bride.

Also, we cooperate with Him. For example, holding to Him in love that His rich supply may flow out. This corresponds with Revelation 19:7, “the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Our cooperation prepares the bride.

The result of both sides of this preparation, is the bride “holy and without blemish.” This matches Ephesians 1:4, God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” Three phrases stand out:
holywithout blemishin love.

The church becoming New Jerusalem, “the holy city,” as the bride of Christ must be fully holy to match the Bridegroom. The bride must also be without blemish to match the unblemished Bridegroom. Being completely holy and without blemish fulfills Matthew 5:48, “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Christians are the Father’s children, having the Father’s divine life and divine nature. Hence, they can be perfect as their Father is….The kingdom of the heavens is the highest demand, and the divine life of the Father is the highest supply to meet that demand.*

Love is the key for our perfecting, as part of “things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9). To love God means to set our entire being absolutely on Him, that is, to let our entire being be occupied by Him and lost in Him, so that He becomes everything to us and we are one with Him practically in our daily life.º

Lord, keep us loving You every day from now to New Jerusalem!

* Part of the footnote on. Matt. 5:48       º Part of the footnote 3 on 1 Cor. 2:9
Both are in the
Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

No Spots nor Wrinkles nor Blemishes in New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:2, 9-10 present to us the city New Jerusalem, prepared as “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” This Lamb is Jesus Christ, the Lion-Lamb in Revelation 5 who conquered as a Lion and redeemed as a Lamb.

Ephesians 5:25-27 speaks of the church as the current stage in the preparation of New Jerusalem. This is in a context about human husbands and wives. “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she New Jerusalemwould be holy and without blemish.”

In verse 25 Christ “gave Himself up” on the cross. In 26 He is now sanctifying us by the washing of the water in His living word. In 27 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.”

Spots indicate things not part of the church, wrinkles indicate oldness, any such things and blemishes indicate other defects, faults, shortcomings, and unwanted materials. The bride Christ will present to Himself will have no foreign things, no oldness, and no defects. Likewise, New Jerusalem, the consummation of this glorious church, will have nothing foreign, nothing old, and nothing defective.

However, God’s goal is not merely to eliminate everything negative. His goal now for the church is that she be holy and glorious to match God’s nature and expression, and His goal for eternity is New Jerusalem, holy and glorious.

More about What is NOT in New Jerusalem.

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.

A Rich Supply, Now and New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:1: “He showed me 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.” We continue with verses about the rich/bountiful supply flowing to us today just as the water of life will flow to us in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 4:15-16 exhorts us to hold to truth (which is Christ) in love that we may grow up into Him in everything. These verses then tell us a rich supply flows out from Him for the building of His Body in love. This love is not our love but is His love in us (1 John 4).

The rich supply out from Christ the Head results in the building up of His Body for His purpose. Paralleling Genesis 2, this shows us Christ’s corporate Body comes out from Him and is unto Him.

Colossians 2:19 is a companion verse to Ephesians 4. Here, by holding the Head (Christ, the truth) His Body “being richly supplied and knit together” by what He supplies through His members, “grows with the growth of God.” God in Himself is perfect and does not grow, but the rich supply of the Spirit results in the increase/growth of God in us, which is very necessary. The maturity of this growth brings us to New Jerusalem.

Peter tells us that our ministering should be “out of the strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). Again, the supply comes out from God and the glory returns to Him.

Peter also tells us that by applying all that he presents in 2 Peter 1:3-10, “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly and bountifully supplied to you” (1:11). The spiritual reality of the eternal kingdom is here today, as in Romans 14:17. New Jerusalem is the eternal manifestation of this kingdom, the eternal product of this rich, bountiful supply.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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