New Jerusalem is Heavenly on Earth

New Jerusalem is heavenly in nature but in position it is on earth. John saw New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 10). The phrase “out of heaven,” twice in Revelation 21, means it is no longer in heaven.

Matthew has multiple verses speaking of the “heavenly Father.” New Jerusalem is heavenly because the Father, the source of life, is heavenly. Through regeneration we received this heavenly life so that we can grow up to be the heavenly members of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemBelieving in Jesus Christ for our new birth is our response to the “heavenly calling” which has come to us and of which we are now partakers (Heb. 3:1) . We are called to Jesus Christ, to God the Father, and to the heavenly city Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us that due to God’s rich mercy He made us alive with Christ. Then verse 6, “and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” We were made alive with the divine life, the heavenly life, then seated in the heavenlies with Christ. Physically we are on earth but spiritually we are in a heavenly position

First Corinthians 15:49 declares, “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” We have the earthly image because, as human beings, we have an earthly life. Now we have been reborn of a heavenly Father, and are being transformed into His image.

This transformation is presented in 2 Corinthians 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.” As we behold the Lord, His glory is infused into us to develop this glorious, heavenly image in us. This matches New Jerusalem, which “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Photo courtesy of Heather Martin.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever

The conclusion of Romans is “Now to Him…to the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (16:25-27) This anticipates New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

In its conclusion this book [Romans] …gives glory to the wise God. This unveils that all the matters discussed in this book, such as how God selects us, how He saves us from sin and death, how He redeems us and justifies us, how He makes us, sinners who were dead through and through, His divine sons, how He transfers us out of Adam into Christ, how He sanctifies and transforms us in Christ, how He makes us the members of Christ for the constituting of the Body of Christ, and how He causes us to be the local churches appearing in different localities as the expressions of the Body of Christ on the earth in this age — all these matters are planned, managed, and accomplished by God’s wisdom, in order that He, the unlimitedly rich Triune God, may be glorified, that is, that His incomparable glory may be completely and fully expressed through us.*

New JerusalemRomans 3:23 says that sin separated us from the glory of God. Nevertheless, God has worked in Christ to incorporate us with His glory.

This work, described in the excerpt above, includes redemption, regeneration, transfer from Adam to Christ, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and participation in the Body of Christ. These all conclude with glory to God in Romans 16:25-27, pointing to the glory of New Jerusalem.

This work is God “leading many sons into glory” (Heb. 2:10). However, glory is not only a realm into which we enter. Second Corinthians 3:18 says we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” and 2 Thessalonians 1:10 says our Lord Jesus Christ “comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed.” God’s operation in us today is bringing forth New Jerusalem’s glory.

*From the footnote on Romans 16:27 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL-Caltech.

Where Our Heart is Determines Our Expectations for New Jerusalem

Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 say, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In these chapters the Lord Jesus tells us that our treasure is either earthly or heavenly. If we treasure earthly things, our heart will be earthly; if we treasure heavenly things, our heart will be heavenly. The condition of our heart determines our view of and expectations about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIf we treasure earthly things, we will be people of anxiety, as in Matthew 6:24-34. In this anxious condition we are very susceptible and responsive to descriptions of New Jerusalem as having streets of material gold, physical mansions, very pleasant gardens, superb recreational facilities, etc.

In contrast, New Jerusalem is heavenly. Jesus Christ tells us that New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 3:12). New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of God dwelling in man and man dwelling in God—John 15:4a, “Abide in Me and I in you.”

In New Jerusalem the Triune God is our all. The city “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11), “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22), “its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23), the throne of God and the Lamb, the river of life (the Spirit), and the tree of life (Christ as our nourishment) are in the city (22:1-2), and we will see His face (22:4).

If our heart is set on heavenly things, we realize that these blessings are much more than material, corruptible riches. If our heart is set on earthly things, they become a veil, and we cannot see the reality of New Jerusalem. But, there is a promise for today: “Whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Lord, I turn my heart to You now; save me from the veils to have a clear view of You and of New Jerusalem.

 

We Come Forward to Heavenly Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

New Jerusalem

“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.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

“We suffer with Christ that we may also be glorified with Him. (Rom. 8:17b)

The holy city, Jerusalem…having the glory of God. (Rev. 21:10-11)

More at New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

Photo courtesy of European Space Agency

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: Glorious Corporate Vessel

The Body of Christ is a living, corporate composition of all the believers in Christ. Likewise, New Jerusalem is a living, corporate composition of all God’s people throughout the ages. Here is another excerpt from Affirmation & Critique*.

God created human beings as vessels unto honor prepared unto glory…(Rom. 9:21, 23). Sadly, humankind fell into sin. To sin is to fall short of God’s glory and thus to express sin and the sinful self and to love the glory of men more than the glory of God (3:23; John 5:44; 7:18; 12:43). But Christ’s redemption has fulfilled the requirements of God’s glory (Rom. 3:24-25; Heb. 9:5; cf. Gen. 3:24), and through the gospel of the glory of God, God has called us by and into His eternal glory (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Tim. 1:11; 1 Thes. 2:12; 1 Pet. 5:10; 2 Pet. 1:3). By God’s mercy and grace, we have believed into Christ, and now the all-inclusive Christ dwells in us as the hope of glory (John 3:15; Col. 1:27; 3:4, 11; 1 Cor. 15:45) for us to experience, enjoy, and express. Day by day, as we behold and reflect the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed into the Lord’s image from glory to glory for the expression of God in Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

New JerusalemEach of us is a vessel created “unto glory.” God will “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory” (Rom. 9:23).The word unto indicates a goal and implies a process.

God’s goal in creating vessels unto glory is New Jerusalem, because in eternity there are no individual glorious vessels, there is only the one great corporate vessel, New Jerusalem—“the holy city, Jerusalem…having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10b-11a). We are all vessels unto glory to become members of this glorious city.

The process “unto glory” is well presented in 2 Corinthians 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.” Eventualy the glory in us becomes the glory of New Jerusalem.

“From glory to glory” denotes the steps of a gradual process. This process is accomplished by the Lord Spirit but He requires our cooperation. We turn our hearts to the Lord and behold Him (2 Cor. 3:16-18), so that the Spirit can impart the glory into us. This is our path to 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 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.

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.

Time on the Mountain with the Lord

Israel journeyed from Egypt to Mt. Sinai where God gave a vision of the tabernacle, His dwelling place. Likewise, we have a spiritual journey with many experiences of Christ to get to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling place.

In preparation for such a vision, we need forgiveness by the redeeming blood of Christ and we also need to be one with Christ as our burnt offering, absolute for God’s interests. The people who enter into these steps (Exo. 24:3-8) are then ready to go up the mountain (Exo. 24:9-18).

New JerusalemExodus 24:15-16, 18 say, “And Moses went up to the top of the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. And the glory of Jehovah settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud and went up on the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.”

To receive a full vision, we need to be at the top of the mountain. This is far above our earthly cares and the worldly attractions. Spiritually, this does not mean that we ignore earthly needs but that they do not dominate us and we have times when we put them all aside to be with the Lord.

To receive a full vision, we also need to be in the glory of the Lord. This requires us to turn our heart to the Lord and to exercise our spirit (2 Cor. 3:16-18). By this we can “enter into the cloud of glory” which cuts off our view of everything else.

To receive a full vision, we moreover need much time with the Lord, as Moses had. How much time every day and when during the day are between us and the Lord. Let us give ourselves to have such time that we may see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Moses in a Similitude of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMoses is one of God’s people and there is no doubt that he will be in New Jerusalem. Continuing from other posts based on Exodus, I suggest that Moses, especially when he was on Mount Sinai (Exo. 24 and 34), was in a similitude* of New Jerusalem.

In Exodus 24:1-2 God instructed Moses to bring others up the mountain but that he alone was to come near to God. In New Jerusalem we will all be near to God.

When Moses went to the tent of meeting outside the camp, he spoke with God “face to face” (Exo. 33:11). To see the face of God is one blessing in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:4). “Let us therefore go forth unto Him [Jesus] outside the camp” now (Heb. 13:13).

All who came part way up with Moses saw a paved work of sapphire like heaven itself for clearness (Exo. 24:10). Sapphire is one of the foundations of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:19) and clearness/transparency is one of the city’s characteristics (Rev. 21:11, 18, 21).

Moses went to the top of the mountain where the glory of God was (Exo. 24:15-17). Eternally the glory of God enlightens New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). There Moses did not eat bread and did not drink water for forty days, yet he still had strength to come down the mountain (Exo. 34:28-29). How was Moses sustained? Probably by direct supply from God, like the river of water of life and the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1-2).

When Moses came down from the mountain “the skin of his face shone by reason of His [God’s] speaking with him” (Exo. 34:29). This is like our present opportunity to behold and reflect the glory of the Lord by turning our heart to Him (2 Cor. 3:16-18). The shining of this glory is a characteristic of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:11). Moses had these experiences during his human life; may the Lord bring us all into such a foretaste of New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of NOAA (U.S. Dept. of Commerce).

* A counterpart, a correspondence in kind or quality (www.merriam-webster.com).

New Jerusalem Radiates God’s Excellence

Multiple times in recent months I have considered the song Pray to Fellowship with Jesus by Witness Lee (music). The last two lines remind me of New Jerusalem:

Saturated with His beauty,
Radiate His excellence.

“He [an angel] carried me [John] away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11a).

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has, possesses, the glory of God because it is saturated with God’s life and nature, thereby becoming God’s expression. This saturation and expression are identical to the two lines of the song.

The song has much guidance and encouragement for being before His face for His shining into us in our Christian life today, a relationship which will continue into New Jerusalem. Among the Bible verses alluded to in this song, to me 2 Corinthians 3:18 stands out:

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.

Our unveiling is not a once-for-all matter in our Christian life. Rather it is a continual turning of our heart to the Lord (v. 16). Whenever we turn to Him to have fellowship with Him in our spirit (v. 17), we are beholding Him and reflecting Him.

Unlike an earthly mirror which is unchanged by what it reflects, our beholding and reflecting the Lord causes us to be transformed into His image “from glory to glory.” This glory gradually saturates us, transforming us to the radiating glory of New Jerusalem.

Vessels of God’s Mercy for His Glory

God’s merciful care brings us from a pitiful situation to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRomans 9:15-16 say, “For to Moses He says, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.”

The next verse in Romans refers to Pharaoh, at the time of the exodus. This makes it clear that “him who wills” is a person like Pharaoh who makes his own decisions ignoring the Lord. And “him who runs” is a person like Pharaoh who thinks he is knowledgeable and capable to do things on his own.

In contrast, a person who cries out for mercy knows he has a need beyond his control or capability. Physical needs are obvious with a situation such as severe illness. However, spiritual needs might not be obvious, especially if our human situation is in good condition. If this is our case, we need mercy to see that we need mercy!

The Bible makes it clear that every human being needs mercy. Consider Romans:
• all were constituted sinners (5:19)
• death passed on to all men (5:12)
• all fall short of the glory of God (3:23)

We need mercy because of the negative effect of sin and death. We also need mercy because in ourselves we do not have the glory of God, an essential quality of New Jerusalem.

God’s intention is to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy” (Romans 9:23). Each of us is a vessel of mercy to be transformed to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Together, all of us will be New Jerusalem, a corporate vessel radiating “the riches of His glory.”

Photo by Robert Kenton, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

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.

Death→New Covenant→Eternal Inheritance

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of the new covenant established by our Lord in His death (Luke 22:20).

Hebrews 9:14 tells us Christ offered Himself to God on the cross and through the eternal Spirit. Verse 15 continues “And because of this He is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

The death of Christ accomplished redemption. Redemption brought in the new covenant. This new covenant brings us to the eternal inheritance—God in Christ Jesus in New Jerusalem.

We cannot come to this inheritance by ourselves. John 3:6a says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Flesh is a negative word in the Bible, a realm of sin, death, and oldness. But we come to the eternal inheritance because of the blood of the Lamb through which we have redemption and because of His resurrection through which we have the life of New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 3:6 tells us that the new covenant ministry is of the Spirit who gives life. This matches the spiritual nature of all of God’s New Testament building work and matches New Jerusalem which is a living, spiritual city.

To live in the new covenant daily and to participate in God’s New Testament building work, we need to live and walk in S/spirit—the divine Spirit mingled with our human spirit.

Redemption qualifies us to receive eternal life and eternal life supplies us to bring forth God’s building. This is Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.”

Let us thank the Lord for His redemption, eat the tree of life, and go onward to New Jerusalem.

 

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