Filled with God’s Holiness for the Holy City

John writes, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2). The holy city is holy because God is holy.

New JerusalemHoliness is the nature of God. Love reveals God’s heart, righteousness is God’s way, and holiness is God’s nature. Only God Himself is holy, for only God is separated and uniquely different from everything else. The New Jerusalem is a city which is absolutely saturated and mingled with God; therefore, it is absolutely holy. It is entirely different from all other things….If we have some experience of God in Christ being mingled with us, we experience holiness in that very thing. …To be holy means to have something of God mingled with us. Holiness is not a matter of action but a matter of nature, for holiness is God’s nature. It is not what we do but how much we have been mingled with God.*

First Peter 1:16 is God’s command, “You shall be holy because I am holy.” How shall we be holy? Verse 14 says we are God’s children; as children we have something from our Father. It also says we should obey and not live in our former lusts; this is to cooperate with God’s holiness in us.

Hebrews 12:10 says that God, our Father, disciplines us “for what is profitable that we might partake of His holiness.” Sometimes we need His discipline to remind us to cooperate or to stop us from our former lusts. The goal is not discipline but holiness, to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

* Excerpt from The Vision of God’s Building by Witness Lee, chapter 18, © LSM

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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

The Building of New Jerusalem’s Wall

New Jerusalem is “pure gold, like clear glass” and “the building work of its wall was jasper” (Rev. 21:18). The building of the wall is an important part of the city’s expression because, in Revelation 21:11, “Her [New Jerusalem’s] light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.”

The city, which is all of gold, signifies the divine nature, and this nature does not involve much building. All the gates of the city are pearls, which do indicate some amount of building. The wall, however, is the main part of the building of the city. As we have seen, this wall as the separating and protecting factor, is in the likeness of God. It is one hundred forty-four cubits high, that is, twelve times twelve, which signifies completion in completion. The wall is indeed high….We must have a wall one hundred forty-four cubits high to keep out everything common, and this wall must be built with precious stones.*

God’s building with precious stones is presented in 1 Peter 2:4-5 which says that we, “Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood.”

Peter shows us that we participate in the building work by first being regenerated by the living word of God (1:23), by drinking the milk of this word so that we may grow in this life (2:2), by always coming to the Lord (2:4), and by serving with others in the corporate priesthood (2:5). This is our participation in the building work for New Jerusalem.

* Excerpt from The Vision of God’s Building by Witness Lee, chapter 18, © LSM

Our Priesthood, Now & New Jerusalem (3)

Jesus Christ has made us a kingdom of priests to serve God. This is for now and for New Jerusalem. There, eternally, we, as God’s slaves, will serve Him as priests (Rev. 22:3).

Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:10 both speak of Jesus Christ making us priests. Hebrews 9:14 says the same: “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, [will] purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” To serve in this verse is to serve as priests.

New JerusalemIt is important to realize that we are priests because of what Christ has done. In the New Testament to become a priest is not the result of seminary graduation or ordination nor is a NT priest a person who wears a special robe. Jesus Christ “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:6).

The One who made us priests “loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood” (Rev. 1:5). Every believer (male and female), everyone who has touched the Lord’s love and received His forgiveness of sins, is a priest to serve God from today unto New Jerusalem.

First Peter says the same. We have been regenerated (1:3, 23) and take the milk of God’s word to grow (2:2). Now, daily “coming to Him” our Lord, we “are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (2:4-5). The conclusion of this spiritual building is our eternal priesthood in New Jerusalem with the eternal sacrifices acceptable through Jesus Christ!

God’s Move from Eternity to Eternity

Peter’s two epistles present God’s move from eternity to eternity. Here is a brief look.

In eternity, before creation, God had purposed something in Himself. In His infinite wisdom God knew us before creation and chose us for Himself (1 P 1:2). Something of God’s purpose and our salvation was unveiled through the prophets (1 P 1:10-12).

Jesus Christ was manifested (1 P 1:20), transfigured (2 P 1:16-18), shed His blood for our redemption (1 P 1:18-19, 2:24), and resurrected (1 P 1:3). He is the cornerstone for God’s eternal building (1 P 2:6), and He will come again as the rising Sun (2 P 1:19).

Peter writes about our receiving God’s forgiveness (1 P 1:2), regeneration (1 P 1:3, 23), and baptism (1 P 3:21). He speaks of God’s grace to us (1 P 1:2, 5:12) and our manner of life as Christians including relationships with one another, rejecting worldly and fleshly living to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), being subject to the government of God while we suffer in this time, and God’s judgement beginning with His household (1 P 4:17).

New JerusalemPeter unveils the day of judgement with the change from the old creation to the new
(2 P 3:10-13). He does not mention New Jerusalem but many phrases point to it.

We have been regenerated “unto a living hope,” and “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 P 1:3-4). Our ultimate inheritance is to be part of New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 1:1-4 present many blessings from God to us. By these we exercise to develop a life full of Christian virtues (1:5-11). Eventually, “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly and bountifully supplied to you” (1:11). New Jerusalem is the consummate realization of this eternal kingdom.

Finally, to God “be the glory and the might forever and ever” (1 P 5:11) and to Jesus Christ “be the glory both now and unto the day of eternity” (2 P 3:18). Both point to New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

 

 

 

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God (2)

In Genesis 2 we read that “a river went forth from Eden to water the garden.” In New Jerusalem John was shown “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 see that the dwelling place God prepared for man in the beginning was a paradise and that the dwelling place God prepares for man in the end is also a paradise. Both are pleasant places, and their contents are also similar. The two paradises both have the tree of life and a river, and both have pure gold, pearl, and precious stones. This shows that the dwelling place God prepared for man in the beginning is the same as the one He prepares for man at the end. The two places have almost the same contents. This shows that what God did in the beginning was related to His ultimate purpose, and God’s ultimate purpose is revealed in what He did in the beginning.*

New JerusalemThe materials in the garden and in New Jerusalem  are the same. However, in the garden the materials are present but not built together as they are in the city.

God’s building work is going on through human history. In Genesis 12 Abraham’s tent was a small symbol of the dwelling place God desires. Later, the tabernacle and temple were much larger symbols and included precious materials. Today we are being built in reality to be “a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

By “coming to Him, a living stone” we also “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). New Jerusalem is the consummation of this living building, a living composition of God and all His people.


* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Much more about the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

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

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