New Jerusalem, a Bride Adorned (3)

New Jerusalem is “a bride adorned for her husband.” And, “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:19.

The prior posts present verses from Paul, in 1 Timothy 2, and Peter, in 1 Peter 3, showing that Christian adornment is not outward. It is not anything like the world with its fancy clothes, jewelry, and makeup. Rather, in God’s view, the proper adornment is Himself wrought into and radiating from our inner being. The worldly things are corruptible and will be consumed, but God in our hearts is our incorruptible adornment. This “is very costly in the sight of God.”

If we love the worldly things, we would be very disappointed with New Jerusalem. But God will turn our hearts to Him to love His ways.

The adorning of the foundations of the wall of New Jerusalem follow the divine principle of God’s operation in our being. These precious stones, precious to God, are believers who have been transformed by the Spirit’s work in them throughout their human lives. This adorning testifies both the riches of God New Jerusalemand the complete cooperation of these believers with the Spirit.

For this, we can to declare our love for the Lord, which saves us from love for the world. We may also pray with the words of a hymn,
___Lord, transform us to Thine image
_____In emotion, mind, and will;
___Saturate us with Thy Spirit,
_____All our being wholly fill.

This is our path to New Jerusalem and its adornment.

New Jerusalem, a Bride Adorned (2)

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” And 21:19: “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone.”

First Timothy 2:9 clearly says that Christian adorning is not external things. This principle should extend to New Jerusalem.

Furthermore, 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Let your adorning not be the outward plaiting of hair and putting on of gold or clothing with garments, 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 is firm that Christian adorning is not outward, not with physical things, but is a matter of our heart  and our spirit, and is incorruptible. The Spirit regenerated our spirit (John 3:6). The Lord is with our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). The Father, by His Spirit, strengthens us into our inner man that Christ may make His home in our heart (Eph. 3:16-17).

These verses show that the adorning spoken of by Peter is the Triune God entering and filling our being. This is the adornment for our Christian life today and for New Jerusalem.

This adorning is incorruptible because the Triune God is incorruptible and has conveyed this to us through the gospel to regenerate us with incorruptible seed (1 Pet. 1:23). All kinds of outward adorning, even silver and gold, are corruptible (1:18) and do not correspond with our incorruptible inheritance (1:4), New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, a Bride Adorned

John declares in 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.” New Jerusalem is a corporate person, the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

This bride is adorned. Let us use the Bible to determine what this adorning is and is not. Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:9 exhorts “that women adorn themselves in proper clothing with modesty and sobriety, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothing.” Here the genuine Christian adorning is not outward decoration but proper virtues*.

New JerusalemWe should apply this to our expectations for New Jerusalem. The gold of the city is not physical gold but a sign (Revelation is a book of signs) of the divine nature which saturates the city. Likewise the pearl gates are not physical but portray the death and resurrection of Christ through which we enter the city.

Additionally, the precious stones are not something of human jewelry but display the transforming work of the Spirit in all the believers. This work causes the city to have the appearance of jasper (Rev. 21:11) which is also the appearance of God on the throne (Rev. 4:3).

The adorning of New Jerusalem is the Triune God Himself wrought into all believers and shining out through them. By partaking of the divine nature, the gold (2 Pet. 1:4), experiencing the death and resurrection of Christ as our pearl (Phil. 3:10), and participating in the transforming by the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18) to make us precious stones, we become constituted and adorned to be New Jerusalem to manifest the Triune God.

* More on this in the next post.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Spoken to Ephesus in 1 Timothy 1

New JerusalemLast month there were six posts from Ephesians on the love between Christ the Husband and His wife the church (now) and New Jerusalem (eternally). My most recent post was the Lord’s rebuke to Ephesus in Revelation 2 because of their loss of the first love to Him.

How did they lose this love while remain-ing very active for the Lord in many things? First Timothy 1 gives us a view.

Paul exhorted Timothy to “remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questionings rather than God’s economy, which is in faith”
(v. 3-4)

Then Paul says “the end/goal/purpose* of the charge is love out of a pure heart and out of a good conscience and out of unfeigned faith” (v. 5). These three inward sources of love make for a proper church life and prepare us for New Jerusalem.

The goal of Paul’s charge is love for the Lord out of a proper, upright inner being. The things which quench our love for the Lord and oppose this goal are different teachings, myths, genealogies, vain talking, and law teaching (v. 4-7). In contrast, 2 Timothy 2:22 exhorts us to pursue love “with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Lord Jesus, I love You! Save me from all the distractions to remain in Your love.

* Various translations in 1 Tim. 1:5, thanks to Bible Hub.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Spoken to Ephesus in Revelation 2

New Jerusalem is a marriage. The relationship of the Lord and the city, His bride, is in love. Last month there were six posts on this love from verses in Ephesians, The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians.

At the beginning of Ephesians God “chose us…to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” At the end of Ephesians “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Approximately 30 years after Ephesians was written, the Lord spoke to them again in Revelation 2:1-7.

New JerusalemThe Lord commended the Ephesians for their work and labor and endurance and hating what He hates (v. 2-3, 6). However, He also said, “I have one thing against you, that you have left your first love” (v. 4).

The Lord focused on this one lack among them because loving Him is so important. We go to the marriage of the Lamb in love and with love.

The Lord’s word to the Ephesians is also to us: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (v. 7).

The Lord’s instruction to us is “Remember therefore where you have fallen from and repent” (v. 5). We need the rebuke in verse 4 and the reminder in verse 5. Thank the Lord that there is still time to repent!

Lord Jesus, forgive me for letting my love to You fade. Please keep my ear open to the Spirit and remind me always to love You.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The Gospel Points toward New Jerusalem

The New Testament is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. The New Testament begins with John’s proclamation of the gospel and ends with New Jerusalem. These two end points are connected. Many aspects of this gospel correspond to or point toward characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a key point from, and a link to, each of the recent posts on the gospel.

New Jerusalem

In 1 Timothy 1 we read of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” This is the good news that God is being glorified in Christ Jesus and through all His believers built together to become New Jerusalem.

God called us through the gospel “unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14). Ultimately this glory radiates from our Lord through New Jerusalem.

“The gospel of peace” (Acts 10:36) points to New Jerusalem because Jerusalem means The Foundation of Peace.

“The gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23) is for the inward reality of His kingdom now, the manifestation in the next age, and the eternal kingdom of New Jerusalem.

Paul was “announcing Jesus and the resurrection as the gospel” (Acts 17:18). We have been regenerated through the resurrection of Jesus Christ “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” This wonderful inheritance includes everything related to New Jerusalem.

The hope of the gospel” is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:23, 27). This too points to the glory of New Jerusalem.

The gospel of the grace of God and the word of His grace, build us up and give us the inheritance among all who have been sanctified. This inheritance is ultimately New Jerusalem, the holy city for which we have been sanctified.

Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). New Jerusalem is a city of life and of incorruption.

We receive resurrection life and incorruption through the promise of the gospel.

The gospel is “of Jesus,” “of Jesus Christ,” and “of Christ.” He is the center of the gospel and He will be the center of New Jerusalem. He is the same yesterday, today, and eternally (Heb. 13:8).

The unsearchable riches of Christ are the gospel in Ephesians 3. God’s intention is that these riches fill us and be expressed through us.

Photo by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, courtesy of NASA and ESA.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ as the Gospel, Now and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemPaul: “I became a minister [of the gospel] according to the gift of the grace of God which was given to me according to the operation of His power. To me…was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:7-8).

In God’s view the gospel is much more than a response to our need. The gospel is to bring us from our fallen condition back to God, to regenerate us with His life, to fully renew us through the course of our Christian life, and to build us together with other believers. This accomplishes God’s eternal purpose, ultimately bringing forth New Jerusalem.

For all these steps we surely need God’s mercy and compassion but we also need much more. We need the riches of Christ. God’s intention is to strengthen us into our inner man, our regenerated spirit, so that Christ may make His home in our heart. Then we are rooted and grounded in His love and can lay hold of these unsearchable riches. Eventually we are filled unto all the fullness of God and the outcome is glory to God. This is the gospel presented in Ephesians 3.

When we are filled with God, His glory shines out. This is His intention. He is working to fill us day by day with these unsearchable riches. Eventually we all will be filled and New Jerusalem will radiate the glory of God eternally.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and New Jerusalem

The gospel brings us to God’s redemption that we may receive His eternal life and partake of His salvation throughout our Christian life. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

“The gospel of Jesus,” “the gospel of Jesus Christ,” and “the gospel of Christ” are mentioned in about 30 New Testament verses. Jesus Christ is the center of the gospel and He will be the center of New Jerusalem. He is the same yesterday, today, and eternally (Heb. 13:8).

The first name and the last name (Rev. 22:21) in the New Testament is Jesus, proving that Jesus Christ is the subject and content of the New Testament.*

New JerusalemOn the cross Christ created one new man, composed of all the people He redeemed and reconciled to God, thus making peace (Eph. 2:14-16). In this one new man, the stepping stone to New Jerusalem, He is all and in all, and in Him our racial, social, cultural, and national distinctions have been eliminated (Col. 3:11). 

Now our need is to “be renewed in the spirit of our mind” (Eph. 4:23). By this renewing, which is day by day, not once for all, we practically put off the old man—our old ways of thinking and living—and put on the new man so that Christ is expressed. 

This renewing prepares us for New Jerusalem which is fully new in Christ and fully expresses Him. This is the goal of the gospel and the goal of Christ’s human living, death, resurrection, and ascension.

* Part of footnote 1 on Matt. 1:1 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

The Gospel: a Promise of Resurrection and Incorruption

“Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). His resurrection nullifies death and His resurrection life changes our corruption into incorruption, thus preparing us for New Jerusalem.

In Acts 13 Paul spoke of “the gospel of the promise made to the fathers.” This gospel is characterized by resurrection and incorruption. The first step for us, as mentioned in Acts 13, is forgiveness of sins as God’s response to our repentance. This is Luke 24:47, “Repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations.”

Based on this forgiveness, we receive God’s eternal life, an incorruptible life, the life of resurrection. This life matches New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

When we receive this life, the first action in us is that our deadened spirit is made alive. Then gradually this life spreads in our being to renew our soul—our mind, emotion, and will—making our soul life. Gradually this life is imparted into our mortal body, an impartation which will be completed at the Lord’s return so that “the body of our humiliation” may be “conformed to the body of His glory.”

This life saturating our being makes us people full of life and full of incorruption, swallowing all the death and corruption in our being. Through this development, we get fully conformed to New Jerusalem to become a part of this city “having the glory of God.”


Some phrases about this development of life:
Eph. 2:5 God, “when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ”
Rom. 8:10 “if Christ is in you…the spirit is life because of righteousness.”
Rom. 8:6 “the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”
Rom. 8:11 God will “give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”

Life and Incorruption through the Gospel

Second Timothy 1:10 speaks of “the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel.” This life is the eternal life of God, the only life present in New Jerusalem. 

New JerusalemThe incorruption is the result of long-term operation of this life in all the believers. Our present thoughts are corrupt at various times and our body’s corruption is shown by illnesses, weaknesses, and pains. 

First Corinthians 15 is a chapter of resurrection. The concluding verses are about our current corruption being changed to incorruption. This chapter quotes Isaiah, “the word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death has been swallowed up unto victory.’” 

This incorruption in our being and this victory will be manifested first in the kingdom age and more fully in the new creation. Since this incorruption comes to light through the gospel, the gospel points to the kingdom and to the new creation including New Jerusalem.

We should keep in mind that it is “our Savior Christ Jesus” who accomplished everything presented in 2 Timothy 1:10. And He brought these things to light through the gospel. Ephesians 2:17 tells us “coming, He announced peace as the gospel to you who were far off [the non-Jews], and peace to those who were near [the Jews].” The gospel is presented to us not merely by believers but by our Savior’s coming through these believers. His coming brings to us now the life that will bring us to incorruption and to New Jerusalem.

Additional posts about incorruption:
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
Resurrection is the Incorruptible Answer
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Gospel of Grace and New Jerusalem

In Acts 20:24 Paul speaks of “the gospel of the grace of God.” Like aspects of the gospel in prior posts, this too is related to New Jerusalem. He continues in Acts 20:32, “I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who have been sanctified.”

God and the word of His grace can build us together. This is the building up of the Body of Christ now, the forerunner of New Jerusalem. God and the word of His grace also give us the inheritance. This is not “an inheritance” but “the inheritance,” unique, called “the eternal inheritance” in Hebrews 9:15. This also points to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSimilarly, Titus 3:7 ties grace to God’s eternal salvation, saying that “having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Even more, 1 Peter 5:10 speaks of “the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus.” This eternal glory surely is New Jerusalem.

In addition, the inheritance in Acts 20:32 is “among all those who have been sanc-tified,” a sanctification which prepares us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

This grace should operate in us to the extent it becomes visible. Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem to Antioch and “when he arrived and saw the grace of God, rejoiced” (Acts 11:23). Grace certainly will be very visible through New Jerusalem and will cause great rejoicing.

Photo courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, and U. of Arizona.

The Hope of the Gospel and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMany aspects of the gospel correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Colossians 1:23 speaks of “the hope of the gospel.” Our hope is not a thing or a success or a position. Ephesians 2:12 says that when we were “apart from Christ” we had no hope. In contrast to this, Christ Himself and all that He will accomplish in us is our hope.

Colossians 1:27 tells us that Christ in us is our hope of glory. He was glorified through death and resurrection. Through this He also become our Redeemer and our Life. Now we are being transformed to glory. When we see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27) our mortal body will be conformed to the body of His glory.

The glory which is our hope is not merely an external glory into which we will enter. Rather, it is Christ in us growing/spreading in our being to glorify us with Himself. At His return this hope will be fulfilled.

When Christ comes again, “He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). He will be in glory and will be glorified in the believers at that time, and in the manifestation of His kingdom, and eternally in New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

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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