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, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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!

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

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.

The Spirit and a Serpent for New Jerusalem

It is well-known that John 3 is a chapter on new birth and eternal life. In verse 3 Jesus speaks about being born again (or born anew), in verse 5 about being born of water and the Spirit, and in verse 6 He tells us, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” When we are born anew, our deadened human spirit is born of, made alive by, the divine Spirit. Being born again begins our walk on the golden street of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWhen we believe into Jesus Christ, not only is our human spirit made alive, but also we receive eternal life. This is John 3:15-16. This is a new beginning with a new life. The consummation, the maturity, of this life is New Jerusalem.

But how can a serpent be related to New Jerusalem? Numbers 21:4-9 has the base for our answer. The people of Israel sinned in complaining against God and serpents bit them. Moses prayed and God told him what to do. “Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the pole; and if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

The Lord Jesus applied this to Himself. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14). Because of sin, all humans have the evil nature, the poison, of the serpent Satan within. The Lord Jesus was lifted up on the cross as the reality of the bronze serpent to free us from this serpentine nature.

We need both of these for our participation in New Jerusalem—the Lord Jesus lifted up to cast out the old serpent (John 12:31) and save us from that nature, plus the Spirit entering into us with eternal life. We receive, rejoice, and go on to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem

New JerusalemFour verses mention the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations around New Jerusalem. These nations walk by the light of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24), bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:26), and are healed by the leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). Here is a summary of recent posts about these nations, with links (at ▣) to individual posts.

 These nations are plural and still are “nations” whereas the Lord Jesus has purchased us for God, redeeming us “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

Revelation 21:24-26 is about these nations. Several phrases here match phrases in Isaiah 60, such as “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (60:3).

In contrast to the plurality of the peoples and nations in Revelation 21:3, 24-26, Galatians 3:28 proclaims “you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Another contrast to the multiple peoples/nations in that in the new man, which we have put on, “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” (Col. 3:10-11).

▣1 ▣2 The peoples/nations around New Jerusalem will be God’s peoples, belonging to Him, and restored to the state of human life at creation, before the fall. However, they are not His sons born of His life.

 The nations around New Jerusalem walk by the light of the city (Rev. 21:24). This blessing is not as high as that of the believers in Jesus Christ, who have Jesus Christ within them as their light of life (John 1:4, 8:12).

 God is both the God of people built into New Jerusalem and the God of the peoples around the city. In contrast, only the people constituted into New Jerusalem have been born of God and have God as their Father.

The peoples around New Jerusalem live near God. This is far inferior to the people built into New Jerusalem, who live in God and have God living in them.

▣1 ▣2 In Revelation 22:1-2 there are three provisions: the water of the river of life, the fruits of the tree of life, and the leaves of the tree. The leaves are designated for the outward healing of the nations around New Jerusalem. In contrast, the water and fruit symbolize divine life as the inward supply for the people built into New Jerusalem.

▣1 ▣2 First Corinthians 1:30 declares that it is of God that we are in Christ Jesus. This is unchangeable. But, is our daily living according to our culture and upbringing or is it in Christ Jesus? We need the Lord’s renewing (Col. 3:10) that we may live Him in reality.

 Choose to be in New Jerusalem! John 1:12-13 tells us that those who receive Jesus Christ are born of God. This birth imparts eternal life into us, the life which brings us into New Jerusalem and grows us into this city of life.

Yes, life on the new earth around New Jerusalem will be tremendously better than life on earth now. However, do not settle for this but reach out for the best—born again for being built into New Jerusalem today and living in its fullness eternally.

 

Your Choice for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRecent posts have compared the nations living outside, around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3, 24) with the redeemed and regenerated people constituted into New Jerusalem. The peoples, the nations around New Jerusalem are plural. The people constituted into New Jerusalem are one in Christ.

To be on the new earth around New Jerusalem will be very good but it will be a much greater blessing to participate in the eternal life of the city.

The choice to be in New Jerusalem is yours. This choice must be made while you are alive and before the Lord Jesus returns physically from heaven to earth. The choice is, will you believe into Jesus Christ and receive Him into you? John 1:12 says, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name.” And verse 13 says that these believers, these receivers, are born of God.

The result of receiving Jesus Christ is that we are born again with the eternal life in addition to our human life. It is this eternal life which brings us into New Jerusalem and grows us into this city of life.

In John 14:1 the Lord Jesus said, “believe into God, believe also into Me.” In the rest of this chapter He speaks about God dwelling in us and us dwelling in God. This mutual indwelling is the reality of New Jerusalem. It all comes forth from our believing/receiving (the two are synonyms in the New Testament).

If you have already believed and have assurance of eternal life, then assuredly you will be part of New Jerusalem. If not, choose Jesus Christ. Choose eternal life. This is also to choose participation in New Jerusalem. Simply say to Him, Lord Jesus, I receive You. I want to be a child of God. Cleanse me of all my sins and failures, and give me eternal life. For more, watch these two videos (each about 2½ minutes) about Jesus and human life.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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