New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned (2)

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Verses in the prior post clearly show that this adorning is not outward.

New JerusalemLet us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2] has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” (Rev. 19:7-8)

Here the fine linen is not fancy physical clothing; it is “righteousnesses.” The plural word indicates that it is not Christ as our righteousness (singular) as part of our initial salvation, but Christ lived out of us in many righteous acts (more). By living Christ we are making ourselves ready for the wedding, we are adorning ourselves.

“The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:19). Gold and diamonds are precious to humans, but not to God. In His eyes all these things are corruptible.

The stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not natural but represent the Spirit’s transforming work in us to make us living stones for God’s building (1 Peter 2:5); see posts below. Like the fine linen, these stones illustrate God’s work in us, our cooperation with His work, and our living according to God’s operation within. This is the adorning of New Jerusalem.

Three Precious Materials
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God

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

 

The Lord’s Shepherding to New Jerusalem

The Lord Jesus is the good Shepherd. He came to lead all God’s people, both of the Jews and of the nations, to be His one flock (John 10). This one flock is also His one Body with many members and ultimately the one city, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAt the Lord’s birth He was spoken of as a Shepherd (Matt. 2:6, quoting Micah 5:2). At His death, He was also a Shepherd (Matt.  26:31 quoting Zech. 13:7). In resurrection He is also the Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) to care for us in the eternal (including New Jerusalem) covenant.

How is the Lord shepherding us today? On one hand, He as the resurrection life within us is “the Shepherd of our souls” (1 Peter 2:5). On the other hand He shepherds through other members of His one Body.

The shepherding through His members  is seen in Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11-12, and 1 Peter 5:2. In Ephesians, the gifted members as shepherds (v. 11) perfect all the members of the Body (v. 12) to do the same. Hence, the shepherding is not carried out by a special class, but by every believer. All of this is carried out under the headship of the Lord, who is “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

The shepherding of the flock in Acts and 1 Peter emphasizes our life in Christ; Ephesians emphasizes  the building of His Body. The two are inseparable, as in 1 Corinthians 3:9 and the last phrase of Ephesians 4:16. Both are for New Jerusalem, which is both a city of life and a city of building.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Pursue Now, unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemA recent post encourages us to
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
I am convinced that we should do this, although this phrase is not explicitly in the Bible.

While praying on the phone with a brother, he touched 2 Timothy 2:22, which is about pursuing. That motivated me to look at New Testament verses on pursuing and how the objectives pursed relate to New Jerusalem. Here are the verses which touched me.

Romans 14:19 exhorts us to “pursue the things of peace and the things for building up one another.” First Peter 3:11 also urges us to pursue peace. Pursuing peace is certainly related to New Jerusalem because the name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace” (one two). Building up is a central feature of the New Testament (e.g. 1 Cor 3:6-12, Eph. 2:19-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:4-5) and New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s NT building.

First Corinthians 14:1 charges us to “pursue love, and desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Love is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem but the God who is love is on the throne at the center of the city. How does prophesying relate? He who prophesies builds up (1 Cor. 14:3-5, 12).

In Philippians 3:12, 14 Paul tells us that he was pursuing toward the goal. He was such an advanced Christian by that time, yet he still pursued because there is always more of the unlimited Christ to be gained. His goal was to gain Christ, be found in Christ, know Christ experientially, to attain to the out-resurrection, and to lay hold of Christ (3:9-12). New Jerusalem will be the fulness of all these aspirations.

Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification.” Peace is as in Romans 14:19.  The ultimate stage of *sanctification is the “holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2, 10).

Lord, draw us to pursue You every day as our peace, our love, our building up, our sanctification, our goal all the way to New Jerusalem.

* The Greek words translated sanctification and holy are very similar. The apparent difference in English is that one word comes from a Latin root and the other from an Anglo-Saxon root.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

A Pillar in the Temple with the Name of God, New Jerusalem, and the Lord

New JerusalemIn Revelation 3:12 the Lord Jesus promises, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

The pillars in God’s temple are living persons, people closely identified with God, New Jerusalem, and the Lord Jesus.

This, like many other verses (e.g. 1 Cor. 3:9, Eph. 2:21-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:5) show that God’s New Testament building is spiritual. God’s building of Himself into His people and His building His people together has replaced the physical buildings of the Old Testament.

We will not merely be in New Jerusalem (with the possibility of going out) but built into it so that we “shall by no means go out anymore.” This city is a living building joined/fitted/knit together in life, as are the members of our physical body.

Revelation 21:22 tells us that the Triune God is the temple of New Jerusalem—“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” And the overcomers are being built into this living building as pillars during this age and fully in the coming kingdom age. Nothing physical about this. In eternity all God’s people will be built into New Jerusalem and into the temple.

Lord Jesus, grant us grace every day that we may cooperate with You to overcome. Build us into Your building and write Yourself and New Jerusalem on us. 

Enlargement from Here to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is the summary of posts about the enlargement of God’s house, the church today, to God’s city, New Jerusalem. A link, a key sentence and a verse are presented for each post.

 First Timothy 3:15 tells us “the house of God is the church of the living God.” This house will be enlarged to be the city of God, New Jerusalem.

 The word church in the New Testament refers to the Lord’s corporate people, His mystical Body. In Ephesians 1:22-23 Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

The church as the manifestation of God in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15-16) is a foretaste of God manifest through New Jerusalem.

 The common New Testament Greek word for house means both the dwelling place and the dwellers; in 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house”—we are God’s dwelling place, His house.

 The convergence of house and household, dwelling place and dwellers, is the New Testament reality, both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem; in Ephesians 2:19 we are “members of the household of God.”

 The church as the house of God and New Jerusalem as the city of God are both living entities, the building together of God’s people; “you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16).

We are the living house of God; “Christ was faithful as a Son over His [God’s] house, whose house we are” (Heb. 3:6); in eternity we will be God’s city, New Jerusalem.

  New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies, where God meets with His people and speaks with us face to face; this is a great enlargement from the Old Testament holy of holies.

 The enlargement of God’s house is by Christ’s growth in us. Colossians 2:19 tells us that by our holding the Head, Christ, His Body, which is also the living house of God, “grows with the growth of God.”

 In Colossians 2:16–3:4 the growth is by our experiencing Christ as the reality, by holding Him as our Head, by our mind set on things of Christ, by being governed by Christ Himself, and by letting Christ our life live in us.

The growth is also seen in Ephesians 3:16-19; Christ makes home in our hearts as we experience His death and resurrection.

 Ephesians 3:17-19 continues; as a result of Christ’s home-making, we are rooted and grounded in love, we together apprehend His vastness, and we are filled unto all the fullness of God.

Then in Ephesians 3:20-21 the growth and filling in the prior verses result in glory to God in the church and then in more glory to him in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11), all enabled by God in Christ as the power operating in us.

The New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in humanity, first in Jesus Christ (John 1:14) and then greatly enlarged in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: God’s House Enlarged

Revelation 21:16 tells us that when an angel measured New Jerusalem—”the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” New Jerusalem, as a cube, is the eternal holy of holies. This is a great enlargement from the Old Testament, where the dimension of the holy of holies was ten cubits in the tabernacle (Exo. 26) and twenty cubits in the temple (1 Kings 6:20).

New JerusalemThis principle of enlargement applies through the New Testament. Recent posts have many verses (including 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 3:6; 1 Peter 2:5) on the church as the house of the living God. This house is being enlarged to New Jerusalem, the city of the living God.

The holy of holies is where God meets with His people and speaks with us face to face (Ex. 25:22). Thus, in New Jerusalem, the eternal holy of holies, we have God’s eternal presence and His speaking.

God in Himself is unchanging. The enlarging of the holy of holies from the tabernacle to the temple to the church to New Jerusalem shows that God has more ground in His people. It also indicates that God’s people have more opportunity to be in His presence and more capacity to hear His speaking.

The enlargement of the holy of holies, which is the enlargement of our experience of God in it, results in the enlarged expression of God. The tabernacle and temple were pictures of the expression of God. The church as the house of God is the manifestation of God in the flesh. New Jerusalem will be the ultimate expression of God in redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified humanity. This is New Jerusalem, having the glory of God (Rev. 21:11).

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem: Not a Physical Building

The church as the house of God and New Jerusalem as the city of God are both living entities, the building together of God’s people.

Referring to the Old Testament temple in Jerusalem, Acts 7:47 says, ” Solomon built Him a house.” However, this physical house was only a picture. Acts 7:48-50 continues, “Yet the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands, even as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feetNew Jerusalem. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has not My hand made all these things?'”

The phrase “the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands” is a most clear word that God’s house and eventually New Jerusalem will not be something physical. The spiritual and non-physical nature of God’s house and city is also shown in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

Acts 7:49-50 quotes from Isaiah 66:1-2. After the quoted words, Isaiah continues, “But to this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” God is looking to men, especially to men whose seek Him in spirit. It is with these men that God is building His spiritual house, as in Ephesians 2:22 and 1 Peter 2:5.

Today we should be “burning in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11) and “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). Our supply is “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). God’s spiritual house today is built with such humans through our cooperation with the Lord. This house will become the spiritual city, New Jerusalem.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: God’s House Becomes a City

“The house of God is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15), a house which will be enlarged to be the city of the living God, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe common New Testament Greek word for house, oikos (οικος), is in 1 Timothy 3:15. This word can mean both the dwelling place and the dwellers. Both uses are in Acts 11:13-14. Cornelius “saw the angel standing in his house and saying, Send men to Joppa and send for Simon, who is surnamed Peter, who will speak words to you by which you shall be saved, you and all your house.”

Both uses are also in Acts 16:15, “when she [Lydia] was baptized, as well as her household, she entreated us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide.” Other verses where oikos clearly means the people, the dwellers:
• Acts 18:8, “Crispus…believed in the Lord with his whole household
• 1 Corinthians 1:16, “And I did baptize the household of Stephanas”
• Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah…prepared an ark for the salvation of his house
• 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house

The convergence of house and household, dwelling and dwellers, is the New Testament reality. We, God’s household, the members of His family, are also His house, His dwelling place. He lives in us and we live in Him (John 14:20). This is true both now and in New Jerusalem.

As 1 Peter 2:5 says, there is a spiritual building work in progress now. The consummation of this building will be New Jerusalem. Today we, God’s New Testament people, are His house, His household, His dwelling place. In eternity New Jerusalem, including all God’s people, will be His city, His household, His dwelling place.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

New Jerusalem

At a recent college students’ conference in Texas the general topic was The Overview of God’s Economy. The last message was
___The New Jerusalem as the Ultimate Consummation of God’s Purpose.
In the conference, we saw that the New Jerusalem is NOT a physical, material city.
• Revelation 1:1, “The revelation of Jesus Christ….He made it known by signs.”
Revelation has many signs—the lampstands, the Lamb, the Lion of Judah, the universal woman, the dragon, etc. The New Jerusalem is a sign. This wonderful city IS:

1. The consummation of the Divine Romance in the Bible*
• Isa. 54:5a, “For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name.”
• Rev. 21:2,  “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
According to the entire Bible, God the creator is male and His chosen, redeemed, transformed, glorified people are female, and there is a divine romance between them. At the end of the Revelation, God is the husband and His people are the wife to match God.

2. The consummation of God’s Building (Tabernacle and Temple)
• 1 Cor 3:16a, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God?”
• Rev 21:22, “And I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God (21:3) and the temple of God (21:22). In the eternity future, our habitation is God Himself. To God the city is the tabernacle and to us it is the temple.

3. The consummation of Mutual Abiding of God and His Redeemed
• John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.”
• John 17:21, “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
We will not live in a mansion; we will live in God and God will live in us. This mutual abiding is the New Jerusalem. The eternal God becomes our eternal habitation.

4. The consummation of Believers’ Transformation and Glorification
• 2 Cor. 3:18, “We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”
• Rev 21:10b-11, “The holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.”
All believers were created as clay, yet in the New Jerusalem all believers are regenerated and transformed into precious stone and glorified for God’s eternal expression in His eternal building.

5. The consummation of God as the Life Supply to us
• Rev 22:1-2a “And 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. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.”
When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we received the eternal life. Today, we drink one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), and in the New Jerusalem, the Triune God is life for our enjoyment for eternity—He is our light of life, tree of life, and water of life!

6. The consummation of the Bible and all the NT Blessings and Realities
• Revelation 21–22 “New heaven, new earth…holy city, New Jerusalem…it had a great and high wall and had twelve gates…there will be no night there…no longer be a curse…His slaves will serve Him…they will reign for ever and ever.”
All of us will be new in the New Jerusalem, and we will reign with Christ for eternity. Oh Lord, make me match the New Jerusalem today in every way!

Thanks!! to Deborah who wrote this post from her college conference notes.

* For each point we have presented a few verses. Here are more verses for each topic.
1. Jer. 3:14; John 3:29a; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25, 27a.
2. John 1:14; 2:16b, 19b, 21; 1 Cor. 3:9b, 12a; Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Tim. 3:15b; 1 Peter 2:5a; Rev. 21:3a, 18-19, 21a.
3. John 14:2-3, 20; 17:22-23a.
4. Rev. 21:18-19a, 23-24a.
5. John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13.

New Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb

New JerusalemRevelation 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.”
Revelation 19:9: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.”
Revelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

The marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His wife, New Jerusalem, is the conclusion of the Bible.

The New Jerusalem as the counterpart, the bride, of the redeeming God is a fulfillment of a cluster of types in the Scriptures. In typology, certain women in the Old Testament reveal that the church is the counterpart of Christ (Gen. 24:67; 41:45; Ruth 4:13; 1 Sam. 25:40-42). According to type, the position of the church before God is that of a counterpart; in the entire Bible God likens Himself to a man, and He likens the totality of His created and redeemed people to a woman as His counterpart (Isa. 54:5; John 3:29; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2, 9-10). As the Body of Christ, the church receives life from Him for His expression; as the counterpart of Christ, the church receives His love for the satisfaction of His heart’s desire (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:30; John 3:15-16, 29).*

Our receiving eternal life (John 3:15-16) is so that we can match Christ and become His bride, His increase (3:29-30).

Our receiving of eternal life is our being born again (3:3, 5-6). Now we need to grow in this life (1 Peter 2:2-3, Eph. 4:15) by being nourished with the milk of the word (1 Cor. 3:2). This nourishment causes the increase of Christ in us (Col. 2:19) so that we are no longer “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). This growth is our path to New Jerusalem.

Let us not remain infants and let us not merely seek Bible knowledge. Lord, nourish me and cause me to grow in You unto New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of my posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

A Spiritual House Grows to New Jerusalem

Both the tabernacle and the temple are pictures of the church as the New Testament dwelling of God and of New Jerusalem as the eternal dwelling of God.

Acts 7:47 mentions David, Solomon, and building the temple. Verse 48 refers to the prophet Isaiah and verse 49 quotes Isaiah, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest?” A note by Witness Lee on Acts 7* says,

This quotation from Isa. 66:1-2 indicates that the Lord was seeking a spiritual habitation in man’s spirit. This is proved by the unquoted part of Isa. 66:2 that says, “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit.”

In Old Testament times, God had a dwelling among His people. Yet even then He was longing for a dwelling in His people. This indwelling is realized now in the church as the precursor of New Jerusalem. Christ is in us and the Spirit is dwelling in us (Rom. 8:9-11). Thus, we are the reality of what was symbolized by the Old Testament temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17) and we are experiencing a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe spiritual nature of the New Testament building is also seen in Ephesians 2:22, we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit” and in 1 Peter 2:5, we “ourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.”

This spiritual building will progress on to New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem will be a spiritual city with Christ as the Living Stone and all of us a living stones and with the Spirit dwelling in each one of us.

* Acts 7:49, footnote 1, in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003.

The House of the Living God—The Church Now, New Jerusalem in Eternity

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* is on New Jerusalem. Here is an excerpt from the second article, Aspects of the New Jerusalem as the City of the Living God (by Witness Lee).

God has been working throughout the ages, first creating the universe and man and then coming to earth to redeem man. The Lord Jesus, the God-man, lived on earth, He was crucified and resurrected, He ascended, and He poured Himself out as the Spirit upon His disciples. The disciples then went out to preach the gospel. As a result of the preaching of the gospel, throughout the centuries people have been saved and added to the church in order to be built up as the Body of Christ to express Him.…The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people.

The church today is the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). This house is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. This house is a sign signifying that the church’s function today is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell. In eternity this house will be enlarged to a city—the New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe physical things of the Old Testament were signs. Now we are in the New Testament age, the age of reality. This reality is spiritual, not material. We “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

How wonderful that God desires to dwell in His people. For this Christ is making His home in our hearts (Ephesians 3:15) and we are being built up as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). This is the fulfillment of what the Lord promised in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.”

The key is to love the Lord Jesus. Lord, grant us mercy to love You every day from now unto New Jerusalem!

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

%d bloggers like this: