New Jerusalem, the Eternal City (3)

New JerusalemThe eternal New Jerusalem is the consummation of the eternal God’s eternal purpose, accomplished by eternal redemption as part of an eternal salvation of eternal life in an eternal covenant to bring forth an eternal weight of glory.

First Peter 5:10 tells us that “the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” God has called us to participate in His glory! The fullness of this participation is New Jerusalem.

For this God is working in and on us in four ways. Whether or not we can differentiate between perfecting, establishing, strengthening, and grounding is not of highest importance. God knows what is in each category and He is bringing all four to completion.

We who have been called into the eternal glory “receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15). This inheritance includes the Christ we have received and experience now and the greater appreciation and experiences of Him in New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 1 begins with the our having received “all things related to life and godliness” and “precious and exceedingly great promises” (v. 3-4). By diligently cooperating with these gifts, we develop in Christian life (v. 5-10). Through this “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly and bountifully supplied” (v. 11). This eternal kingdom includes both the coming age and New Jerusalem.

Photo by Jesse Zheng via pexels.com.

Hastening the Coming of the Day of God (and of New Jerusalem)

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9-10) and the Lamb is Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He says, “Behold, I come quickly” (22:7) and the Spirit and the bride respond “Come” (22:17). Then the Lord says again, “Yes, I come quickly” and John answers “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20).

New JerusalemWe need to pray, Lord, come. Furthermore, Peter tells us how to speed up the Lord’s coming— “what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11-12).

Peter urges us to live a holy life and a life of godliness. A holy life comes from the sanctification of the Spirit separating us unto God both in position and inwardly. Godliness—”a life that lives Christ and expresses God in Christ*” comes from experiencing Christ as our life day by day. In this holy life and godliness we are expecting the Lord’s coming and the day of God.

By this life, we also hasten the coming. The Lord is eager to come and we pray Come, Lord Jesus. But, He will not come until “His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).

We must get ready but cannot get ready by ourselves. We get ready by opening to and cooperating with the Spirit’s work in us. We need the Spirit’s regenerating (John 3:6), renewing (Tit. 3:5), sanctification (2 Thes. 2:13), transformation (2 Cor. 3:18) and more. All of this is for preparing the bride, the wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem.

* Part of footnote 3 on 1 Tim. 6:3 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

The Street of New Jerusalem is Transparent

Revelation 21:21 says of New Jerusalem “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” The gold of New Jerusalem’s street is not physical but spiritual, signifying the divine nature.

New JerusalemThe Greek adjective translated transparent is only in this one verse in the NT. God’s purpose was hidden in past ages, but with God’s person nothing is opaque, nothing is cloudy. God’s being is pure, clear, and transparent. His goal, New Jerusalem, matches Him. New Jerusalem is Pure, Transparent, Bright

How do we become transparent to match New Jerusalem? A Greek verb related to the adjective transparent also occurs once, in 2 Peter 1:19, translated dawns or shines through. The whole verse is, “We have the prophetic word made more firm, to which you do well to give heed as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The world is certainly a dark place, and some parts of our being are still dark. Peter’s encouragement is that we give heed to the word of God. Because God’s word is life, it is also light. Thus, it is a shining lamp to penetrate our darkness, to shine through and make us transparent.

“The word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing…” (Heb. 4:12). Lord, keep us in Your living word day by day that You may shine through us and make us transparent.

Photo courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, and U. of Arizona.

New Jerusalem: Our Master Bought Us

Revelation 22:3 tells us that as slaves we will serve God in New Jerusalem. Many verses present God and the Lord Jesus as our Master, who acquired us as slaves by buying us.

New JerusalemSecond Peter 2:1 says that our Master bought us. This is His redemption. A definition of redemption in the Oxford Living Dictionary is, The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment. God created us for Himself but we were taken away by Satan. Through the death of Christ we were redeemed, regained by God in exchange for payment.

We are told “You have been bought with a price.” (1 Cor 6:20). This price, God’s payment for us, is not corruptible things like silver and gold, “But with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

In Revelation 5:9 a heavenly song praises the worthy Lamb, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” The next verse praises the Lamb for the outcome of redemption, He made us “a kingdom and priests to our God.” This ultimately indicates New Jerusalem, God’s eternal kingdom with us in His eternal priesthood.

Acts 20:28 also shows us God’s purchase and His goal. “The church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.” God, through the blood shed by His Son, purchased us out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Based upon this redemption we received eternal life which constitutes us the church of the living God, the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15). This church grows into God’s ultimate dwelling, New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Morning Star Rises and the Day Dawns unto the Full Day of New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem

Ruins in Thessaloniki, Greece from the time of Acts 17

The glory of God illumines New Jerusalem, and its lamp is the Lamb. Hence, “there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:23, 25). This illuminating God in Christ desires to rise today in the hearts of people.

The prior post includes Malachi 4:2,”unto you who fear My name will the Sun of righteousness arise.” We do not fear God, who is full of compassion; rather, we fear our disrespect or disobedience of God. With this fear we must depend on the Christ within for our living a proper Christian life. Then the Sun will arise in us now and become brighter all the way to New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 1:19 says, “we have the prophetic word made more firm, to which you do well to give heed as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

In the darkest hour of the night the Lord will appear as the morning star (Rev. 2:28; 22:16) to those who are watchful and looking for His dear appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). They have been enlightened by the shining of the prophetic word, which is able to lead them to the dawning day. If we give heed to the word in the Bible, which shines as a lamp in a dark place, we will have His rising in our hearts to shine in the darkness of apostasy where we are today.*

Jesus Christ is “the Morning Star” and will be a reward to all who are faithful to Him in this age (Rev. 2:26, 28). He is also the Sun and will fill New Jerusalem with His shining.

Part of footnote 4 on 2 Peter 1:19 in the Recovery Version Bible, footnote written by Witness Lee,
Bible
© 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth (5)

God created the earth and placed man on it for His purpose. However, man fell and was captured by Satan’s system, the world. This problem has become an opportunity for God to demonstrate His unlimited wisdom (Eph. 3:8-11). This demonstration involves many actions, including Jesus Christ dying to redeem us, save us from the world, and give us eternal life. The goal of all of these actions is New Jerusalem, the consummation of everything positive in the Bible.

Today we have eternal life in us so that we may cooperate with God to manifest His wisdom through the church on the way to New Jerusalem. Yet, although we are not “of the world” the world still tries to attract us. James warns us, “Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever determines to be a friend of the world is constituted an enemy of God” (4:4).

New JerusalemThat is serious, but we should not try to avoid the world by our own effort! Peter tells us that God “has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world by lust” (2 P. 1:4).

It is by the rich supply in God’s word that we escape the attraction of the world. We need our physical Bibles but must also realize that “the word of God is living and operative” (Heb. 4:12). In coming to the Bible, we open to the Lord so that He may be life to us and operate in us as we read and muse on the written word*. This saves us from the attraction of the world.

To be saved from the world is for God’s purpose but the real purpose is that we partake of the divine nature to have it expressed through us on the earth in the church and on the new earth in New Jerusalem.

* For more, click on Pray-Reading the Word.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Earth to New Earth with New Jerusalem (7)

New JerusalemWe are on the path from the created earth in Genesis 1 to the new earth with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21. Psalm 102, the Lord’s speaking in the gospels, Hebrews 1, and 2 Peter 3 all declare a transition from the old, corrupted earth to the new earth.

The prior post focused on 2 Peter 3:10-12. Then verse 13, “according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” This is the new creation which appears in Revelation 21:1 as the setting for New Jerusalem in 21:2.

Like Peter, we should live according to God’s promise, God’s unchanging word. The Lord told us “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away.” Our stand is His eternal word.

The promise of a new creation is fulfilled in two steps—at the Lord’s second coming and then by New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. The first step is trumpeted in Revelation 11:15, “the seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.”

The final preparation for the new earth with New Jerusalem is Revelation 20:11, “I [the apostle John] saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.” After the judgments in 20:12-15, 21:1-2 tell us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Earth to New Earth with New Jerusalem (6)

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Because of the fall of man the entire old creation was corrupted and is awaiting the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Even the heavenly things needed to be purified by the blood shed on the cross.

Psalm 102 foretold the passing away of the old heavens and old earth, and Hebrews 1 quotes this. Peter also speaks about this: “The heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements, burning with intense heat, will be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

New JerusalemPeter also presents our responsibility: “Since all these things are to be thus dissolved, what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements, burning with intense heat, are to be melted away?” (3:11-12)

This holy manner of life and this godliness are not outward behaviors nor something of our effort nor by our determination. Peter tells us that “His divine power has granted to us all things which relate to life and godliness.” (1:3) This grant enables us to live a life preparatory to the new earth, a foretaste of New Jerusalem life.

By living such a life, we are not only looking forward to the new earth and New Jerusalem, but we are “hastening” their coming. This hastening occurs because the Lord is looking for a people ready for His coming. Lord, work in us for the preparation of Your bride.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

%d bloggers like this: