New Jerusalem: Bride and Tabernacle

John the apostle tells us in Revelation 21:2-3a, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them.”

The New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth is the bride, the wife (Rev. 21:9) of the Lamb Christ as His counterpart (John 3:29) and the tabernacle of God as His habitation (Rev. 21:3). Christ and God are one. They are one God, but triune. And the tabernacle is one entity with two aspects to meet the different needs of its Triune God. To Christ, the Lamb, the Redeemer, the New Jerusalem is His bride as His counterpart for His satisfaction. To God, the Originator, the Creator, the New Jerusalem is His tabernacle as His habitation for His rest.*

New JerusalemThe Bridegroom and bride are spoken about in John 3:29. In 3:30 the bride is the increase of Christ. How can Christ increase? By spreading into many human beings and then growing in us to saturate us with Himself. His spreading begins with His terminating the serpent’s deadly poison, as alluded to in 3:14, so that we can be cleansed to receive eternal life.

This eternal life is the life of New Jerusalem. After being born again, this life, Christ Himself, grows in us. This growth, presented in many of the epistles, brings us to maturity and builds us together. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Transformation, Renewing, Sanctification, Washing for New Jerusalem

Every human being is born into the old creation. Every human being who turns to God and believes into Jesus Christ is born a second time, born again, into the new creation. The culmination of this new creation is “a new heaven and a new earth” with “the holy city, New Jerusalem” as its center (Rev. 21:1-2).

Being born again is a positional transfer into the new creation and a gaining of the life of the new creation. Being born again is also a guarantee that our condition, our inner nature, will change to fully match New Jerusalem in the new creation. In our second birth Jesus Christ as the Spirit enlivens our human spirit and remains within us eternally. He is our guarantee.

New JerusalemHis growth and spreading within us transforms, renews, sanctifies, washes us, changing our inward nature from the old to the new creation, to the shining of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 5 speaks of the “washing of the water in the word.” This is not the printed word of the Bible but the living word which comes through the Bible page in front of us or the Bible memory within us.

This living word is the Spirit and the Spirit is the flow of life in us. John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life…the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” We experience this living word when a passage of the Bible becomes so bubbling in us, or when we receive fresh light on it, or when the Spirit applies it to our personal situation.

In our present experience the living word is irregular but in New Jerusalem the Spirit flows constantly as the river of water of life.

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Prior posts speak of our transformation by the Spirit’s renewing to bring forth New Jerusalem as the full expression of the Triune God. Our transformation and renewing from men of dust in the old creation to living stones in the new creation is also a sanctification, a washing. Transformation, renewing, and washing are not separate actions but three views of the same action.

New JerusalemThere are two washings in our Christian life. One is the cleansing from sins by the blood of Jesus. That is a judicial matter. The other washing is living, by the flow of His life within us. This post is about the living washing.

Titus 3:5: “according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Regeneration, being born again, is a once for all matter. But regeneration brings eternal life into us and this life is a flowing life. This flow, portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem, washes us continually.

Ephesians 5:25-27 also speaks of our sanctification by this washing: “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things.”

On the cross Christ gave Himself to gain the church. Now He is “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” The goal of this washing is that the church, as the forerunner of New Jerusalem, be glorious, radiating the glory of God.

The Gospel: Be Cleansed, Receive Eternal Life, Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:14 proclaims, “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.” This is the gospel to everyone now.

Our robes signify our conduct. In the eyes of God all our living apart from Him, even our good deeds, is like “a soiled garment” in Isaiah 64:6. We need to wash our robes/garments, our conduct. This washing is by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14) which cleanses us from everything we have done apart from God (Acts 15:9).

This cleansing/washing gives us the right to the tree of life—Jesus Christ becoming our life for our new birth and being our life supply for our daily living with Him.

The cleansing/washing also gives us the right to enter by the gates into the city, New Jerusalem. An unbeliever’s basic need is to confess that he is a sinner apart from God, to turn to God, and to thank Jesus for dying to cleanse him and resurrecting to impart eternal life into him. This is the proper response to the proclamation of Revelation 22:14.

In contrast to 22:14, verse 15 declares “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Those who reject cleansing through the death of Jesus and refuse to repent (e.g. Rev. 16:9) will be outside, that is, in the lake of fire.

May all who are around us hear and respond to Revelation 22:14 to be cleansed, have life, and enter New Jerusalem!

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.

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Enter by the Regenerating Resurrection

New Jerusalem has twelve gates; “the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl” (Rev. 21:21).

Like the gold of New Jerusalem, the pearls are not physical. They are spiritual signs. They represent the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Through death He terminated all the problems that separate us from God. In resurrection He released the divine life to us to regenerate us. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

New JerusalemThis life is our entrance into New Jerusalem. The city is entirely separate from our fallen, natural life and is wholly in the realm of the divine, eternal life.

The Lord also presented this in His words to Nicodemus. He said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). When we are born again, regenerated by the Spirit with eternal life, we enter the kingdom of God. New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of this kingdom.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is our entrance into New Jerusalem. Each gate is one pearl; this is the one, unique way to get into the city. Yet there are twelve pearl gates; this shows that the Triune God (three) faces all of creation (four) to invite and allow every human being a chance to enter the city.

“He who believes into the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). This is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

God is Leading Many Sons into Glory

Continuing in Revelation 21:7, we read “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and
I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.” This word continues the blessings in the foregoing verses, and is spoken in response to New Jerusalem coming down out of the new heaven onto the new earth.New Jerusalem

We overcome by believing and thus being born of God, receiving His overcoming life. In this life relationship He is God to us and we are His sons. In this life all the sons of God are constituted the corporate expression of God, New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, like the church today
(1 Tim. 3:15-16), is both the house, the dwelling place, of God and the house-hold, the family, all the sons, of God. His leading of all His sons is in Hebrews 2:10—God made Christ, the Author of our salvation, perfect through sufferings* and thereby God is “leading many sons into glory,” many sons into the city of glory, New Jerusalem.

In contrast to this wonderful destination, Revelation 21:8 speaks of all the evil in the lake of fire, the second death. In Revelation 21:1-8 there are three categories of people: the sons of God constituting New Jerusalem, the nations (including the sheep in Matt. 25) around New Jerusalem, and the evil people in the lake of fire.

We who have believed into Jesus Christ are sons of God and will be in New Jerusalem. May many more believe and be led into glory!


* This does not imply that there was any imperfection of virtue or attribute in Jesus, but only that the completing of His experience of human sufferings was needed to make Him fit to become the Author, the Leader, of His followers’ salvation. (part of Heb. 2:10, footnote 5 in the online Recovery Version NT, © LSM)

New Jerusalem is Heavenly, On Earth

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” The fifth matter we consider in this verse is coming down out of heaven.

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven because it is heavenly in nature. In Hebrews 12:22 it is called “the heavenly Jerusalem” and in Galatians 4:26 “the Jerusalem above.”

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:45-49 presents a contrast between heavenly and earthly. All that is of fallen Adam is earthly; all that is of Christ is heavenly. Verse 49: “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

We were born into Adam but we have been reborn into Christ; hence we will bear the image of Him as the heavenly man, and corporately New Jerusalem as the heavenly city will bear the same image.

New Jerusalem is in the new creation of Revelation 21:1. This creation consists of heaven and earth. New Jerusalem is heavenly in nature but it comes down out of heaven. It is no longer in heaven; its location is on the new earth.

New Jerusalem on earth fulfills God’s goal in creating man—to have a corporate man on earth to express Him by being constituted with Him to bear His image. This is in progress now; “the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him [Christ] who created him” (Col. 3:10). The consummation of this renewal is New Jerusalem bearing a heavenly image on earth.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Light of the World, A City

New JerusalemIn Matthew 5:14 the Lord Jesus told His disciples, ” You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” But how dies this relate to New Jerusalem? We will use a few posts to consider this, but one obvious link is the word “city.”

Here the Lord tells His disciples “You are the light of the world.” In John 8:12 and 9:5 He says, “I am the light of the world.” How can we be what He is? It is because when we can receive Him into our being, He becomes both life and light within us.

He is “the light of life” and we are born again with this life. Now we have Christ as our life and our light. We become “children of God” who can “walk as children of light” and “shine as luminaries in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

The Greek word φωστηρ translated “luminaries” in Philippians is used only one other place in the New Testament—”Her [New Jerusalem’s] light was like a most precious stone” (Rev. 21:11). New Jerusalem shines because Jesus Christ is the light infusing the entire city.

Revelation 21:23 tells us, “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem], and its lamp is the Lamb.” Because the city is transparent (21:21), clear as crystal (21:11), the glory of God in the Lamb radiates through the city to the entire universe. In this way, New Jerusalem is the fulfillment of the Lord’s word in Matthew 5:14.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem

In the New Testament there are several dozen verses which include Greek words translated complete/completion, perfect/perfection, or mature/maturity/full grown. These words all point toward New Jerusalem because every believer will mature in their Christian life to participate in this wonderful/complete/perfect city.

#NewJerusalemThe perfection of New Jerusalem is shown by the multiple “twelves” in its description.
See: Numbers in the Bible
New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection
New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection (2)

This post begins a look at some verses containing these words, including their relationship to New Jerusalem.

Matthew 5:48 is a good beginning, “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Our Christian perfection comes not from ourselves but from the Father’s life within us. His life is perfect and when it matures in us, we will be perfect.

Our Christian life begins with our new birth, as in John 3:5-6 and 1 Peter 1:23. A birth is the beginning. Now we need to grow for a considerable period of time. The beginning of this growth is by the milk of God’s word, just as newborn babies drink milk to grow (1 Peter 2:2-3). But New Jerusalem is not a city of babies; it is mature and complete.

We should heed the words in Hebrews: “everyone who partakes of milk is inexperienced in the word of righteousness, for he is an infant; but solid food is for the full-grown” (5:13-14). This requires spiritual exercise (5:14). So, “let us be brought on to maturity” (6:1). Lord, I am willing; bring me and my Christian companions on to maturity. Give us solid food so that we can grow!

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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.

The Son Comes with Glory and the Kingdom

The Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory in three stages: on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2), on the clouds (Matt. 24:30), and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-11).

New JerusalemThe glory on the mountain fulfilled the promise that some would “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (16:28). The glory and the kingdom appear together.

In the glory of His second coming “He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31). The throne indicates the kingdom, again coupling the glory and the kingdom. The glory of New Jerusalem is with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), again linking the glory and the kingdom.

The union of glory and kingdom matches God’s purpose expressed in the creation of man: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man was created in God’s image so that God may become man’s life and be expressed through man. This corresponds to the glory. Created man given dominion is for God to reign over the earth through man. This reigning is the kingdom.

The glory and the kingdom are with Jesus Christ in Matthew. However, He is not alone. God’s purpose in Genesis 1 involves a corporate man. This is now the new man, which we have put on, where “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Jesus Christ radiates the glory and reigns through the corporate new man which grows unto New Jerusalem.

This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:12: “God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” We have been called to participate in God’s kingdom and His glory. This begins from our being born into the kingdom (John 3:5), continues with our transformation in glory (2 Cor. 3:18) and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

Brass Serpent, Spirit, Bride: New Jerusalem

New JerusalemJohn 3 is a chapter on being born again and eternal life. John 3 also speaks about a brass serpent and a bride. Together these point toward New Jerusalem.

Because of Adam’s transgression, all men were constituted sinners (Rom. 5:19), man was put out of the Garden of Eden, and the way to the tree of life (a picture of Christ as the real life) was closed (Gen. 3:22-24). In the New Testament Jesus Christ came to resolve this problem. He took away sin (John 1:29); cast out Satan, the source of sin (John 12:31); and was lifted up to save us from the satanic nature (John 3:14).

Although we were constituted sinners in Adam, we were constituted righteous in Christ (Rom. 5:19). Based on this righteousness, we receive eternal life (5:18) and are born again.

The later part of John 3 speaks of the bride as the increase of Jesus Christ (v. 29-30). This bride is composed of all who have been healed from the satanic nature, become righteous in Christ, and received eternal life. Regeneration not only brings the divine life into the believers and annuls the satanic nature in their flesh, but it also makes them the corporate bride for Christ’s increase.*

John the baptist said, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom” (John 3:29). This statement, although seemingly generic, has a context clearly about Jesus Christ. New Jerusalem is the fulfillment of this statement. Revelation 19:7 says, “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.” Jesus Christ is the Lamb and New Jerusalem, the composition of all regenerated people, is His bride.

In Revelation 21:2 John the apostle saw New Jerusalem as “a bride adorned for her husband,” the eternal outcome of John 3.

* From footnote on John 3:30 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version.

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