No Corruption in New Jerusalem (3)

Because of the resurrection life, there is no corruption in New Jerusalem. We have been regenerated with this life as an incorruptible seed which is now growing in us to save us from the corruption brought into mankind through sin and death. This is an aspect of our path to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemFirst Peter 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be 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, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading…”

These verses link the resurrection of Christ, our regeneration, and the incor-ruptible inheritance. New Jerusalem is a city fully constituted with resurrection life. We were regenerated by this life and are growing in this life to match New Jerusalem. This city shines brightly with the glory of God and is pure and transparent, incorruptible and undefiled.

Our growth, which is the growth, the spreading, of this life in us, requires our cooperation. One example is Galatians 6:8, “For he who sows unto his own flesh will reap corruption of the flesh, but he who sows unto the Spirit will of the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Likewise, in 2 Peter 1:4 God has given us precious promises that we might be partakers of the divine nature. And our partaking frees us from corruption. We make progress now and in New Jerusalem will have the full partaking and the full deliverance from corruption.

The Temple-Palace of New Jerusalem

John, in considering New Jerusalem, told us, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb [Jesus Christ] are its temple” (Rev. 21:22).

The Lord God and the Lamb reign over the new creation and the throne in New Jerusalem. God in Christ is the King of kings and His people with Him “will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

Because the Dweller and His children will be kings, this temple becomes a palace. Solomon built a temple for God and also a palace for himself separately. These two were divided, separated. But now in the New Jerusalem our temple and our palace are one. God’s temple is our palace. All the folks of the same divine family live in that temple, where they worship God and live as kings, making that living place a palace. The Father is the Father-King, and the children are the children-kings. This is the reigning, ruling family, the royal family. Their dwelling place is the place not only for them to serve God but also for them to live as kings; it is a palace.*

New JerusalemAll God’s children are also priests serving God in the temple (serve in Rev. 22:3 means to serve as a priest). As priests and kings, they are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). This will be wonderful in New Jerusalem but don’t wait for that time.

Peter says we are, today, a royal priesthood. We have been born again (v. 1:23), and are growing in this life (2:2-3), always coming to the Lord as the Living Stone (2:4, 6), and being built together as a spiritual house (2:5).

Today, as the royal priesthood, we are growing into the fullness of New Jerusalem.

* The Application of the Interpretation of the New Jerusalem to the Seeking Believers, chapter 4, by Witness Lee, © LSM.

Bricks or Precious Stones?

New JerusalemJohn was carried away in spirit to a wilderness to see Babylon the harlot (Rev. 17) and carried away in spirit to a high mountain see New Jerusalem, the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 21). The difference in locations reveals the difference in nature of these two women.

Genesis 11 records the building of Babel, the predecessor of Babylon. The builders said to one another (v. 3), “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and they had tar for mortar.”

God’s building is of stones (Matt. 16:18; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 21:18-20), produced by God’s divine work, whereas Babel was of bricks, which are the result of human labor through the burning of the God-created earth. In figure, the earth signifies humanity (Gen. 2:7; Matt. 13: 3-8; 1 Cor. 15:47a). Satan kills the element within man that grows the divine life, by burning it out, and it misuses man to build up a man-made and godless life.*

Satan kills but Jesus Christ gives life. When He becomes our life through regeneration, God’s building work of life begins in us. An example is in 1 Peter: we are regenerated by incorruptible seed (1:23), we taste the Lord and grow by drinking the nourishing milk of His word (2:2-3), and we are living stones for the building of God’s spiritual house.

The consummation of this house is New Jerusalem. God’s life brings us here and builds us into this glorious city.

* Part of footnote 1 on Genesis 11:3 in The Recovery Version of the Bible, © LSM.

No Quarantine with God

Dear Readers, because of the current world situation I am inserting this post, which is not directly about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe covid-19 virus pandemic has caused many isolation and social distancing measures to be announced. Nations have closed borders, sealed off cities, and quarantined sick or suspected persons.

In ancient times, leprosy was a terrible infectious disease. Those who were infected had bad rashes and sometimes severe facial deformities. When a person got leprosy, he was discriminated against and isolated by society.

One day a leper came to Jesus. He worshiped him and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can cleanse me.” Jesus held out his hand, touched the leper, and said, “I am willing; be cleansed!” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:2-3).

Nobody dared to approach the leper, who was regarded by everyone as an impure person who must be separated from society. However, the Lord Jesus was willing to approach him and even reached out to touch him.

Although Jesus only needed to speak to heal the leper, nevertheless He touched him. What consolation for this leper who suffered from pain, was isolated, and desperate from panic!

God is merciful. Even if fear arises again today, please remember that the Lord Jesus died to redeem us and resurrected to regenerate us (1 Peter 1:3). Today He invites you to cast “all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you” (1 Peter 5:7). Then “the peace of God will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).

 

Five Steps to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, the conclusion of the Bible, is God’s eternal goal. Here are five basic steps that bring all of us to God’s goal.

First, God’s selection. Ephesians 1:4 says, “He [God] chose us in Him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” This selection was prior to creation, not a reaction to man’s fall.

In Ephesians 5 Christ is making the church, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as His bride, holy and without blemish. God chose us to be holy and without blemish and this verse shows the goal of God’s choosing.

Second, redemption. Although man fell into sin and death, Jesus Christ has redeemed us. Ephesians 1:7 tells su that in Christ Jesus “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” This redemption is not according to our need; rather it is “according to the riches of His grace” and for God’s will, God’s good pleasure, God’s purpose, presented in Ephesians 1:9-10. This redemption is shown eternally by the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem.

Third, regeneration. New Jerusalem is a city of life and a city in resurrection. Our created, fallen human life is not qualified to participate. But God has imparted His life into us! First Peter 1:3 speaks of God regenerating us and verse 4 shows the goal: “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.”

Our fourth and fifth steps basic steps to New Jerusalem are in the next post.

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (3)

A song* about God’s purpose begins with God in Christ becoming life to man so that God and man can be united for God’s eternal glory, expressed through New Jerusalem. The third verse:

New JerusalemBy the flow of life divine,
Man becomes a precious stone
Fit for building God’s abode,
That His glory might be known.

Through His redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection (1 Peter 1:3), Jesus Christ has become our life. Now, as the song says, this life wants to flow, as pictured by the river of life in Genesis 2.

The flow of life transforms us (2 Cor. 3:18) to become precious stones. This is seen in Old Testament symbolism by the gold, bdellium, and onyx stone brought forth by the river in Genesis 2. We who believe into Him are the real stones for God’s living building. As Peter tells us, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).

This verse in Peter matches, and undergirds, the second and third lines of the song’s verse above. Peter goes on to say we were chosen and acquired so that “you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (v. 2:9). This is to glorify God now (and much more in New Jerusalem).

The purpose of becoming stones is the building and the goal of the building work is that God’s glory might be known. Ephesians speaks much about building and 3:21 says, “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever.” Glory to God forever is New Jerusalem “having the glory of God.”

——
* music (composer unknown), words by Witness Lee

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 (2)

New JerusalemGod’s New Testament building work is spiritual, not physical, and is accomplished by His resurrection life in all His believers. The consummation of this work is New Jerusalem.

The prior post has verses about Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone for God’s building. We also are stones for God’s building. In our natural state we are clay, but Christ as life within us makes us stones. New Jerusalem has stones but no clay.

When Simon first met Jesus (John 1:41-42), Jesus said Simon would be called Peter, which means “stone.” Later Peter presented the Lord as “a living Stone” and all the believers as “living stones” (1 Peter 2:4-5). Peter then repeats the words about the Lord being the Cornerstone, chosen and precious. We who believe on Him are brought into God’s building work and “shall by no means be put to shame” (2:6-7).

We are stones because of the eternal life in us; we are living stones for God’s living building, God’s spiritual house. This life comes into us at our regeneration “through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23) and grows by our taking the nourishing milk of God’s word (2:2).

First Peter 2:2 speaks of our nourishment by God’s word. Verse 3 says we taste that the Lord is good. Lord, give me such a good tasting of Your word daily! Then verse 4 is “coming to Him.” Daily we come to Him through His word, by singing, in prayer, in praising. As a result, in verse 5, we participate in God’s living building work for our priesthood to God now and in New Jerusalem.

 

 

 

We Serve as Priests in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3 says that in New Jerusalem, “His slaves will serve Him.” The service here is serving as priests. This is the consummation of Jesus Christ, through death and resur-rection, making us “a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6).

Jesus Christ has made all His believers priests, and today we should all function in this way. First Peter 2:4-5 speaks to us “Coming to Him, a living stone…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

We come to our Lord daily to receive His divine supply. This results in our being built together as God’s living house in which we function as a holy priesthood to “offer up spiritual sacrifices.” Two verses about these sacrifices:
• “Let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name.” (Heb. 13:15)
• Paul was “a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:16)

In 1 Peter 2:9 we are also “a royal priesthood” and our serving is to “tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We should all function as priests today(without and clergy-laity arrangement) and we will certainly be priests continually in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is Divine, Eternal Gold

Revelation 21:18 says of New Jerusalem, “the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” We must not think that this is physical gold. Physical gold, although valued highly in our societies, does not measure up to the much higher standard of New Jerusalem, as shown in the following verses.

James 5:3, “Your gold and your silver have rusted, and their rust will be a testimony against you…”
1 Peter 1:7 “The proving of your faith, much more precious than of gold which perishes…”
1 Peter 1:18 “Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed…”
1 Peter 3:3 “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.”

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem being pure gold means that it is constituted of the divine nature. Physical gold is not the real thing—it was created by God to portray something of Himself. The basic element of New Jerusalem is the divine nature trans-mitted into us by the regenerating Spirit.

Physical gold has caused much envy and greed, many robberies, and ostentatious displays. The divine gold has none of these problems. Furthermore, Peter tells us that physical gold perishes. Divine gold is eternal. New Jerusalem is pure, divine, incorruptible, eternal, and much more precious than physical gold.

No Physical Gold in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem’s Precious Light

Revelation 21:11 describes New Jerusalem, “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” This precious jasper stone is not a New Jerusalemphysical stone but a spiritual symbol.

In God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, stones are living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. By coming to Him, we too are living stones for God’s building (1 Peter 2:4-5).

In Revelation 4 John saw “a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance.”

The jasper of New Jerusalem is “a most precious stone” indicating that the whole city is most precious in God’s sight. New Jerusalem is most precious because it fulfills God’s eternal desire—a corporate expression of Himself in humanity. This desire was first indicated in Genesis 1:26 when God created man in His own image.

However, created man was like a photo, having the image of God but without the reality. To bring forth His corporate expression in man, the Triune God came to be life in man. This life is also the light as the Lord promised in John 8:12; not a natural light nor a man-made light, but God Himself shining through us. This is the most precious light of New Jerusalem, the light which expresses the One sitting on the throne at the center of the city.

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