To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever (3)

The phrase “Glory to our God and Father forever and ever,” found in many New Testament books, points to the eternal New Jerusalem which has the glory of God. Peter expands this to “glory and might to our God.” Jude and Revelation 5 and 7 further expand this praise.

Jude 25: “to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, might, and authority before all time and now and unto all eternity. Amen.” Surely God has all these qualities, needs to be praised for all of them now, and will have all of them displayed through New Jerusalem.

NewJErusalemRevelation 5:13: “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all things in them, I heard saying, To Him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.”

We are included in “every creature” so we should join in this proclamation now, not waiting until New Jerusalem. We can also sing the praise of Revelation 5:13.

Revelation 7:12: “Amen. The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Many of the praises include Amen. This word, from Hebrew, means firm, trustworthy.* It confirms or emphasizes what has been said. Furthermore, in Revelation 3:14 the Lord describes Himself as, “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”

He is our amen. He is faithful and true to accomplish everything in God’s purpose. Through Him and in Him we can say amen to His operation now and to every aspect of New Jerusalem revealed in His word.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Versionpublished and © by Living Stream MinistryAnaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.orgthis too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

* The Greek word (αμην) translated amen in these verses appears at the start of a sentence about 50 times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and 25 times doubled at the start of a sentence in John. In these places it is often translated truly (truly, truly in John).

Purified for New Jerusalem by Cooperating with the Lord (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is pure: “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18), “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass” (21:21). New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb (21:9); “it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean/pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).

For us to match the purity of New Jerusalem, first the Lord cleanses/ purifies our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9). Second, He cleanses us from unrighteousness as we are enlightened and confess our sins (1 John 1:9). Third, He purifies us as we cooperate with His moving in us both to depart from unrighteousness and to let Him live through us as righteousness.

Ephesians 5:26 is also in the third step of this cleansing/purifying. The Lord sanctifies the church, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” Here word is the Greek rhema, which means the instant word, the particular word or speaking enlivened to us as we read or remember the printed words of the Bible.

The Lord is cleansing the church but we need to cooperate. The exhortation in James 4:8 hits responsibility on our side, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Double-souled is double-minded, having the heart divided between two parties — God and the world.*

These rhema words to us “are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). They might be as simple as “no” to separate us from something of the world. When we respond to these words, the life in us has a way to flow. This is “the washing of the water in the word.” By this washing we experience a little more of the purity of New Jerusalem.

*From the footnote on James 4:8 in NT Recovery Version Online.
For the verses cited in this post, clean and pure both come from the same Greek noun and cleanses and purifies both come from the related Greek verb.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service. 

We, the Bride, Make Ourselves Ready

New JerusalemHebrews 11, speaking of Abraham and his faithful descendants says in verse 16, “they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

This prepared city is New Jerusalem, which John saw “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). And Revelation 19:7 announces “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

God prepared the city New Jerusalem, the city is the bride, the bride made herself ready. Does God do the preparation or do we get ourselves ready? Both!

This is an example of “seemingly opposing truths” in the Word of God. Consider*:
• Due to the infinite wisdom and unsearchable richness of God, we must accept from Him what, to us mortals, may seem contradictory.
• Which are we to believe of the two statements? Both! The same God who spoke one spoke the other also. It is enough that the Word of God distinctly affirms both.
• Both are to be received whether we can reconcile them or no. Their claim on our reception is not that we can unite them, but that God has testified both.

God does the preparation and we cooperate with Him to get ready. There is no problem with God’s side of the preparation but we need His mercy for diligence with our side. Lord, we give ourselves to get ready as Your bride, New Jerusalem. Lord, be merciful to us and grant us grace to carry out our responsibility.

Related posts: Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!   The Twofoldness of Divine Truth

*These quotes are from the booklet “The Twofoldness of Divine Truth,” by Robert Govett, a Christian who lived in England 1813 to 1901. My copy is undated, from Christian Publications Inc., Harrisburg PA.

Photo by Willen van Aken, courtesy of CSIRO Australia, www.scienceimage.csiro.au.

We Cooperate with God’s Preparation

New JerusalemJohn saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 21:2). The prior posts in this series have focused on God’s preparatory actions in eternity past and His actions in Jesus Christ in time.

We are very thankful for what God has prepared. Now we look more at our cooperation with His preparation. The Lord Jesus warns about His coming, “be ready, because at an hour when you do not expect it, the Son of Man is coming.” To be ready for His coming is to be ready for New Jerusalem.

The Lord likens the time before His coming to the time before the flood (Matthew 24:32-44). While Noah was preparing the ark in response to God’s revelation, other people were occupied with their human living. The end of Genesis 6 says, “according to all that God commanded him, so he [Noah] did.”

In Matthew 24:35 the Lord said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away.” This indicates the importance of His words in our getting ready. We need to give attention to His speaking as Noah did and not be so occupied with things of earth which will pass away.

Second Thessalonians 2:13 tells us “the word of God operates in you who believe.” We need to read the Bible, then tell the Lord, “I believe Your word.” It is good also to pray with the words of the Bible. For example, we can pray from Matthew 24:38 and 44, Lord, save me from being occupied with eating and drinking; I want to be ready for You.

Our God has worked and is working to prepare New Jerusalem. May we be the best cooperators with His working!

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.

Photo of Crab Nebula, courtesy of NASA.

Christ in us is our Hope of Glory

New Jerusalem is a city of glory (Revelation 21:10-11) and Christ in us is our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). He in us will develop into the glory to be displayed through New Jerusalem. Praise God for His plan and His outworking of His plan.

Christ in you, the hope of glory

New JerusalemOur faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21), not in ourselves nor on circum-stances nor on human culture. This hope is in God, from God, and with God in Christ Jesus as the reality of our hope.

In Hebrews Christ’s heavenly priesthood is the source of a better hope (7:19) and Hebrews charges us to:
lay hold of the hope set before us (6:18),
hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end (3:6),
hold fast the confession of our hope unwavering, for He who has promised is faithful (10:23).

Following the charge in 3:6 to hold fast is a section (3:7–4:13) on believing the word of God, not hardening our hearts to what He speaks. This is the key to holding fast to our hope. We say “amen” to God’s word, even if it does not seem to fit our situation. (Which is distorted – God’s word or our view of things?)

We can hold the word by simple prayers like, Lord, I receive Your word. Or, Lord, I stand on Your word. Or, Lord, cause Your word to operate in me. Or, Lord, thank You for Your living word.

Holding fast to the Lord’s word is also in 1 Corinthians 15:2, “you are being saved, if you hold fast the word which I announced to you as the gospel.” We can hold fast “firm to the end” of this age when the Lord returns visibly and “firm to the end” of the old creation after which New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing

eastern Sierra near BishopHebrews 11:16, speaking of Abraham and his descendants looking toward New Jerusalem, says God “has prepared a city for them.” If God has already prepared the city, why don’t we have any realization of it?

There are two parts of the answer to this question. One* is that God’s view is eternal, whereas our view is temporal. If we ask one another, When did you receive the Lord Jesus? the answer from our side will be in the recent months or years or decades.

In contrast, God’s view is different:
• “God, being rich in mercy…made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies” (Ephesians 2:4-6)
• “those whom He predestinated, these He also called; and those whom He called, these He also justified; and those whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30)
According to Ephesians, God has made us alive, and seated us in the heavenlies when Jesus Christ resurrected and ascended. In Romans, God has already glorified us.

With God’s eternal view, He has already prepared the city New Jerusalem for those whom He has chosen, called, justified, made alive, and glorified. We need to see as God sees. Hebrews 11:16, God “has prepared a city for them” is in a chapter full of faith, not sight. “We walk by faith, not by sight/appearance” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Lord, cause our faith to grow (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

He has prepared a city for us. May we exercise our faith to say “amen” to what God has said. He has prepared and He will bring us on to New Jerusalem.

* The second will be in the next post.

%d bloggers like this: