New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone

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.

New Jerusalem has the glory of God and “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” (Rev. 21:11). We know that this precious jasper stone is not physical because 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” (Rev. 4:2-3).

New JerusalemGod on the throne is like a jasper stone and a sardius stone. The light of New Jerusalem is like a jasper stone because God Himself is the light of the city. “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:18). Because these foundations are plural, they are not Christ Himself. Rather, they are the apostles because, “the wall of the city had twelve founda-tions, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14).

A recent inquiry asked who are the apostles named on the foundations of New Jerusalem. The Bible does not say and I will not speculate. But we do know that there are twelve foundations and that twelve signifies eternal completion and perfection. The ministry of the apostles in this age is for our transformation from clay to living stones and for our being built together now, to prepare the bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

 

Faith & Grace Bring Us to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem Romans 4:16: “the inheritance is out of faith that it might be according to grace.” We inherit a foretaste in this age, much more in the kingdom age, and the utmost in New Jerusalem. This verse shows that faith and grace are keys to our inheriting.

Romans 4 makes much use of the example of Abraham. Hebrews 11 also includes him in the discourse on faith. By faith Abraham “eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (v. 10). This clearly points to New Jerusalem, the city which has foundations (Rev. 21:19).

Are we eagerly waiting for New Jerusalem? Or is our eagerness toward a human achievement, a human honor, greater income, a nicer home, or a special vacation? Lord, have mercy on us; align our eagerness with that of the faith people of Hebrews 11.

Romans 3:23-24 say, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Because we were sinners, we were separated from glory and couldn’t inherit anything of God, including New Jerusalem, the city full of the glory of God. But by grace we have been justified by the redemption accomplished by Christ Jesus through His death, which qualifies us to inherit.

Romans 3 and 4 strongly declare that works, human effort according to the law, is not the way to inherit from God. God’s way is by faith and by grace. Faith and grace carry us to New Jerusalem.

Neither faith nor grace originate with us. Peter says that God has allotted faith to us (2 Peter 1:1). Paul says the grace of God was given to us (1 Cor. 1:4). God’s eternal plan, expressed in His creation (Gen. 1:26), is to have a corporate man to express Him. For this, God wants us to be part of New Jerusalem, and to make this possible He has provided faith and grace. Thank Him!

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection (2)

New JerusalemIn the Bible twelve indicates what is eternally perfect in quality, eternally complete in quantity, and eternally rich in composition. New Jerusalem is full of twelves and is the consummation of all the twelves in the Bible.

The prior post focused on the consum-mation of Old Testament twelves. In the beginning of the New Testament there are twelve apostles (Matt. 10:1-2, 5). Paul was also an apostle and laid a foundation by proclaiming Christ (1 Cor. 3:10-12). Ultimately, on the foundations of New Jerusalem are “the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14).

The raising up the dead twelve-year-old girl in Mark 5 foretells that eternally there will be no death in new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:4), the site of New Jerusalem.

The twelve handbaskets of bread in Mark 6, portray the abundant richness of the tree of life with its twelve fruits in New Jerusalem.

The church began with 120 (ten times twelve) people praying (Acts 1:12-15). The universal church grew from them to include all God’s New Testament people, all of whom will be in New Jerusalem.

The “hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel” (Rev. 7:4-8) and the hundred and forty-four thousand firstfruits (Rev. 14:1-5) also point toward New Jerusalem since one hundred forty-four is twelve times twelve.

New Jerusalem, characterized by twelves, is eternally perfect, eternally complete, and eternally rich. New Jerusalem is the ultimate manifestation of “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8) and “the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19). Lord, perfect us with Yourself for New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection

In the Bible the number seven indicates something complete done by God in this age or past ages. Examples are victory by encircling Jericho for seven days (Hebrews 11:30) , the seven Spirits for the seven churches (Revelation 1:4), and seven churches to bear the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:10-12,20).

New JerusalemIn the Bible twelve indicates what is eternally perfect in quality, eternally complete in quantity, and eternally rich in composition. New Jerusalem is full of twelves and is the consummation of all the twelves in the Bible.

New Jerusalem has twelve gates, its wall has twelve foundations, it measures twelve thousand stadia, and the tree of life produces twelve fruits. Furthermore, the measure of the wall is one hundred forty-four, which is twelve times twelve.

New Jerusalem is the consummation and reality of all the twelves in the Old Testament.  The obvious “twelve” are the tribes of Israel (Gen. 49:28), the sons of Jacob (Gen. 35:22). On the twelve gates of New Jerusalem are inscribed “the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel” (Rev. 21:12). These names show that New Jerusalem includes God’s Old Testament people.

In the Old Testament there were twelve loaves of bread on the table in the tabernacle (Lev. 24:5). Their eternal enlargement is the twelve fruits of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

In addition, there were twelve precious stones set in gold on the breastplate attached to the ephod of the robe of the high priest. Their eternal reality is the twelve precious stones and golden nature of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:18-20).

Christ Himself is eternally perfect, complete, and rich. He desires to live in us and be formed in us (Gal. 2:20, 4:29). Lord, live in me today and form Yourself more into me today to bring me onward to the reality of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

A Journey from the Clay of Creation to the Glory of New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemWe humans were created from dust but we can be filled and saturated with Christ as our life. This life resurrects us and brings us into glory. This saturating/ resurrecting/glorifying is our journey into New Jerusalem.

In New Jerusalem the apostles represent the New Testament believers. The apostles’ names are on the foundations of the city (Rev. 21:14), foundations adorned with precious stones (21:19). These are not physical stones, but represent the apostles themselves, transformed and made precious by Christ as their life.

The New Jerusalem is a city of foundations (Heb. 11:10). These are the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14), each of whom is signified by a precious stone. Peter, the first of the twelve apostles, was originally named Simon. When Simon was brought to the Lord, the Lord changed his name to Peter, meaning a stone (John 1:42). Later, the Lord called him by that name when He spoke concerning the building of His church (Matt. 16:18). Precious stones are not created but are produced by the transforming of things created. All the apostles were created as clay, but they were regenerated and were transformed into precious stones for God’s eternal building. Every believer needs to be thus regenerated and transformed that he may be a part of the New Jerusalem.*

Not only the apostles but also all believers are stones. First Peter 2:5 speaks about all of us saying “you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” The consummation of this house is New Jerusalem.

We have the dust and clay nature from our natural birth and we have the stone nature from our regeneration (1 Peter 1:23). Now we are being transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18) that our entire being may become precious stone to match New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

* Part of note 1 on Revelation 21:19 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry.

Seeking and Longing for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemAbraham eagerly waited for, sought, and longed for the city of foundations, New Jerusalem, in the new creation, the better country (Hebrews 11:10, 14, 16). May we have the same focus in our walk of faith on Abraham’s path (Romans 4:12).

Within the record of Abraham’s walk of faith, the whole of Genesis 23 records the death and burial of Sarah. Although many aspects of Abraham’s life are not recorded at all, God chose to record in detail the site and purchase of the burying place of Sarah. Later Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah were buried there too. Why?

Genesis 23 is a window through which we can see the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is not found in this chapter, but it can be seen through it.*

Abraham and Sarah were living at Beersheba. Here was a well obtained in a covenant for the price of seven lambs, and also a tamarisk tree (Genesis 21:25-34). These are a picture of the water of life and tree of life we obtain in the new covenant through the redemption of Christ, the real Lamb of God.

Sarah lived in Beersheba but died and was buried in Hebron, a place of fellowship on the way from Beersheba to Jerusalem.

The cave of Machpelah in Hebron is the gateway to the New Jerusalem….Sarah was not simply buried in the cave of Machpelah; she is now sleeping there, waiting for the day when she will wake up and find herself in the New Jerusalem.

Sarah’s death did not disappoint Abraham in his search for a better country and for a city with foundations. On the contrary, it stirred up his expectation of the coming day. Therefore, he devoted much attention and spent a large amount of money to purchase the burying place for Sarah, himself, and his descendants. If we have the light from the New Testament, we shall realize that this indicates the expectation of resurrection. Once again I say that the sepulcher is the passageway, the gateway, into the expected city, the New Jerusalem.

Our “tent” is our dwelling place in this age. If we die before the Lord returns, our tomb is our resting place, where we are asleep in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:18) until the time of resurrection.

[Genesis 23:6] speaks of the “choice” sepulcher, referring to the best sepulcher. When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He did not have a good dwelling place [Matthew 8:20]. But after He died, He was put into a very good burying place (Matt. 27:57-60). He lived in a poor home, but He was buried in a rich tomb. In the Bible, this is a principle. Abraham paid more attention to the sepulcher than to the tent.

Abraham gave, and the record in the Bible gives, more attention to the tomb than to the tent, because Abraham’s being was fixed on the coming city and the better country. May we be those who follow Abraham’s pattern, giving more attention to the new creation and New Jerusalem than to our current city and country.

 * All quotes in this post are from Life-study of Genesis (online reading here), message 59, by Witness Lee, © Living Stream Ministry.

We Come Forward by Faith

New Jerusalem

Hebrews declares a fact to us and encourages our action:

We have come forward to New Jerusalem

We are coming forward to God and to His throne

Both the completed fact and the daily experience are through Jesus Christ. Both are spiritual realities but are not yet manifest in the physical realm. They are substantiated by faith (Hebrews 11:1) and we walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

By faith Abraham eagerly waited for the city which has foundations, New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:10). Now we should “walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham” (Romans 4:12).

While Abraham was eagerly awaiting New Jerusalem, “he dwelt as a foreigner in the land of promise as in a foreign land” (Hebrews 11:9). He confessed that he was a stranger in that land (11:13). His focus was not on the current situation around him but on the better, heavenly country (11:16). Sometimes too much attention to the situation around us prevents us from coming forward to God and His throne. Lord, cause us to turn our eyes to the heavenly city and country.

Abraham was also “making his home in tents with Isaac and Jacob” (11:9). He confessed that he was a sojourner (11:13). This indicates that he regarded his living in the physical realm as temporary and moveable. Sometimes we have too many roots, too many attachments, to our current living place and its surroundings. This too can prevent us from coming forward to God and His throne.

Abraham eagerly waited for, sought (11:14), and longed for New Jerusalem. If our attention is elsewhere, we again have difficulty coming forward.

Lord Jesus, save us from all our attachments and release us from all our misplaced attention. Focus us on Yourself, Your throne, and Your city.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

New Jerusalem is a City of Jasper

Jasper is an important part of the appearance of New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:10b-11 John tells us that an angel “showed me 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.” Verses 14 and 19 say that “the wall of the city had twelve foundations… the first foundation was jasper…” and verse 18 says “the building work of its wall was jasper.”

Jasper is the expression of God, for we read in Revelation 4:2-3 “there was 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.” God and the city have the same appearance, indicating that the city is the expression of God. This is the fulfillment of God’s intention in Genesis 1, where God created man “in His image” so that man could express God.

New Jerusalem

Here is something about jasper and New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details). See message 429 in online reading.

The wall and its foundations of precious stones signify the transforming and building work of the Holy Spirit. The foundations of the wall of the city are of twelve layers. The number twelve shows the completion in God’s eternal administration. The first layer is jasper, indicating that the likeness of God is the predominant appearance. The first layer of the wall’s foundation, as well as the entire wall of the New Jerusalem, is built with jasper. This indicates that the main material in the building of the holy city is jasper. Since jasper signifies God expressed in His communicable glory, the main function of the holy city is to express God in bearing His glory (v. 11).

Although the entire wall is jasper, the twelve foundations are different stones with various colors….The reason for this is that the apostles had different ministries….However, these twelve foundations are not laid side by side; rather, they are laid one on top of another….All the work of the apostles issued in the same appearance, jasper. All twelve layers lead to and support the unique testimony in the unique expression.

Let us rejoice in this wonderful expression of God in New Jerusalem!

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

New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God

Here is a short quote about the Triune God and New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details). See message 429 in online reading.

New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem is built of three kinds of precious materials, signifying that she is built with the Triune God. First, the city proper, with its street, is of pure gold (Rev. 21:18, 21). Gold, the symbol of the nature of God, signifies the Father as the source, from whom the element for the substantial existence of the city is produced. Second, the twelve gates of the city are pearls, which signify the Son’s overcoming death and life-imparting resurrection, through which entrance to the city is gained. Third, the wall of the city and its foundation are built of precious stones, signifying the Spirit’s work of transforming the redeemed and regenerated saints into precious stones for the building of God’s eternal habitation that they may express God corporately in His all-permeating glory. In the garden of Eden these three kinds of treasures merely existed as materials (Gen. 2:11-12), whereas in the city of New Jerusalem these precious materials become a builded city for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose, which is to have a corporate expression.

God is infinitely wise and infinitely capable. What He purposed in eternity past, He will accomplish. Satan, sin, death, worldliness, and other negatives cannot deter or stop Him. What was portrayed in the garden of Eden will be fulfilled in New Jerusalem.

The infinite wisdom of God will be “made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11). Today God is operating in all His believers who together constitute the church. His operation is in time but it is of eternity; it includes His work in us but it is His work, not ours. What He accomplishes now is manifest to some extent in this age and to a greater extent in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Are Regenerated and Transformed for God’s Eternal Building

New Jerusalem is solidly built, not with physical materials, but with the Triune God. Here is another excerpt about the city from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ (online reading, message 429 in volume 26) by Witness Lee, © LSM.

New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem is a city of foundations (Heb. 11:10). These are the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14), each of whom is signified by a precious stone. Peter, the first of the twelve apostles, was originally named Simon. When Simon was brought to the Lord, the Lord changed his name to Peter, meaning “a stone” (John 1:42). Later the Lord called him by that name when He spoke concerning the building of His church (Matt. 16:18). Precious stones are not created but are produced by the transforming of things created. All the apostles were created as clay, but they were regenerated and were transformed into precious stones for God’s eternal building. Every believer needs to be regenerated and transformed so that he may be a part of the New Jerusalem.

Both regeneration and transformation are accomplished by the Spirit’s operation in us. John 3:5 speaks about being regenerated, born of the Spirit, and 3:6 says, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The first Spirit in this verse is the Holy Spirit; the second is our human spirit, the deepest part of our being, the part created by God for His purpose (Zechariah 12:1).

Transformation is “from the Lord Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This transformation proceeds as we turn our heart to the Lord to behold His glory (2 Corinthians 3:16-18) and as we present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

Our path to New Jerusalem includes regeneration and transformation. May we practice turning and presenting as we look forward to that glorious city.

God’s Faithfulness Constitutes Us

The wall of New Jerusalem has twelve foundations and on them are names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 21:14). These foundations are also adorned with precious stones (Revelation 21:19).

New Jerusalem

Here is another portion about the wall from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ (online reading) by Witness Lee, © LSM (details).

 It is through God’s faithfulness that the apostles have become the city’s foundation stones….The layer upon layer of precious stones, which compose the foundation of the city, show forth the colors of the rainbow. This indicates that the faithfulness of God [Genesis 9:8-17] is the foundation of the city. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all looked for “the city which has the foundations” (Heb. 11:10). They looked for such a city because that city is built upon the faithfulness of God. Psalm 89:2 says that the faithfulness of God is established in the heavens. Strictly speaking, the twelve stones alone do not compose the foundations of this holy city; rather, the faithfulness of God bestowed upon the twelve stones makes up the foundations.

Genesis 9:8-9, 12-13  says, “Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, and I Myself now establish My covenant with you and with your seed after you….And God said, This is the sign of the covenant…I set My bow in the clouds, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.” 

The apostles in themselves, apart from Jesus Christ, can never be the foundation. Look at their foolish talk and contention in the gospels.  Yet, after the resurrection of Jesus the faithful God worked in them to constitute them as foundations.

Likewise, in our natural makeup we are not qualified for God’s building. However, God in Christ has redeemed and regenerated us. “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9). He is faithful to complete His work in us. A verse which encouraged me recently is Romans 6:5, “if we have grown together with Him in the likeness of His death, indeed we will also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” God is resurrecting each part of our being and we will be full partakers of His resurrection in New Jerusalem.

Photo by Douglas Barnum, courtesy of U. S. Geological Survey.

Ministry of Life for the Wall of the City

Here is more about the foundation of the wall of New Jerusalem from Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM (details). To read this online select the last volume here.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:14 tells us, “the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

That the wall is built upon the foundations of the apostles of the Lamb also means that the wall is built upon the Christ who is brought to us by the apostles. The apostles of the Lamb are the bearers of Christ. They are the transformed transmitting agents of Christ. This simply means that the wall is built upon the Christ who is brought to us through the apostles as the transmitting agents. The children of Israel are the entrances, but the apostles of the Lamb are the foundations because they have Christ, and they brought Christ to us. This is a picture of the church. The church is built upon nothing other than the Christ brought and taught to us by the apostles.

The apostles as “transmitting agents of Christ” minister Christ to us, as in 1 Corinthians 3:5—“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Ministers through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each one of them.” What the Lord gave to them and what they minister to us is of life because the next verse speaks of planting, watering, and growth.

The transmission by the apostles, which is their ministry, is of the Spirit, of life, of righteousness, and abounds in glory (2 Corinthians 3:6-9). The apostles also train us for this same ministry, which we all should carry out with the same essence as the apostles although not to the same extent as they. This ministry by all the members of Christ results in the building up of the Body of Christ which is the path to the building up of New Jerusalem (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Photo of aspen trees in Yellowstone National Park by Jim Peaco, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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