New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Both God on the throne (Rev. 4:3) and New Jerusalem (21:11) have the appearance of jasper. In this way, New Jerusalem is the expression of God.

New Jerusalem is a composition of the Triune God and all His people. We were created from dust but through regeneration and transformation, we gain God’s nature and appearance. This makes New Jerusalem the expression of God. Transformation brings our entire being from the old creation to the new creation where New Jerusalem is.

New JerusalemRomans 12:2 tells us that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. This renewing is accomplished by the Spirit who dwells within us from our regeneration all the way into New Jerusalem.

Titus 3:4-5: “When the kindness and the love to man of our Savior God appeared, not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

We were dead spiritually (Eph. 2:1) but the Spirit has regenerated us, making our Spirit alive. John 3:6b “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The Spirit does not merely make us alive and then leave. Rather, the Spirit dwells within us forever. This indwelling Spirit renews us by spreading from our spirit to our mind, the leading part of our soul, our psychological being.

The renewal by the Spirit’s spreading is actually the Spirit Himself as the newness. He guides us “into all the reality” (John 16:13). Thus we gain the Triune God’s newness for His expression by New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Five Steps to New Jerusalem (3)

The prior two posts (first, second) presented five basic steps which bring us to New Jerusalem—selection, redemption, regeneration, transformation, and transfiguration.

The third through fifth steps correspond to the three parts of our being. First Thessalonians 5:23: “the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Every human being is composed of a human spirit, the innermost part, a soul, and a body, the outer part.

New JerusalemZechariah 12:1 ranks God’s forming of the human spirit with the stretching forth of the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth. Man’s spirit is so important because it was made to be God’s dwelling place in man. “The Lord be with your spirit” (2 Tim. 4:22).

In regeneration man’s Spirit is born of God’s Spirit (John 3:6) who imparts the divine life into our deadened spirit (Eph. 2:1). This is portrayed by the large arrow in the diagram and occurs at the moment we believe and ask the Lord to forgive us and come into us.

In transformation the Spirit spreads into our mind, emotion, and will as we turn to and behold the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16-18). This is portrayed by the inner four arrows and continues gradually through our whole Christian life.

In transfiguration the Spirit fills our mortal body with the divine life, swallowing all our mortality and making our body a body of glory (Phil. 3:21). This is portrayed by the outer four arrows and will occur when the Lord Jesus returns to earth visibly.

Through these three steps each of our three parts becomes full of the Lord and a match for New Jerusalem.


See also:
The Mystery of Human Life, a gospel tract.
– Parts of Man, a small book by Witness Lee.

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.

New Jerusalem is Divinity in Humanity

Revelation 21:15 says, “And he who spoke with me had a golden reed as a measure that he might measure the city and its gates and its wall.”

The angel who showed New Jerusalem to John had a golden reed with which to measure the city. In the Bible gold signifies the divine nature. Everything about New Jerusalem has to be measured by the divine nature. Everything of the city must come from God in Christ.

But what about us? We are humans yet we are part of the city. The answer is the Spirit’s work in us. Our human spirit is born of New Jerusalemthe divine Spirit and thus we become one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17).

Through the rich salvation God imparted to us, we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:3-4). This matches the golden nature of New Jerusalem.

Then the Spirit does more in us to renew us in our mind by imparting the divine newness into our mind (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23; Titus 3:5). When the Lord returns He “will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21). His glory comes from the divine nature and we will be conformed to His glory.

When we are transfigured, every part of our human being—spirit, soul, and body—will be fully out of the old creation and renewed into the new creation. This is New Jerusalem—the Triune God with His divinity saturating His people’s humanity.

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.

The Bride, the Wife, New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:9 an angel spoke with John “saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Then (v. 10), John tells us that the angel “carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.”

In this record, the bride, the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, equals the holy city, Jerusalem. Jesus Christ will not take a physical city as His wife. The holy city is a living person! It is composed of all God’s people, chosen, redeemed, and matured in life.

This city, the wife of the Lamb, is the outcome of John 3. In 3:3-6 the Lord Jesus speaks of being born again, our human spirit born of the Spirit. In 3:14-17 all who believe are saved from the death brought in by the serpent, Satan, and receive eternal life. In 3:26-30 the people coming to Jesus, the Bridegroom, and believing into Him are the bride.  Verses 31-36 confirm that Jesus came and that those who believe into Him have eternal life.

The bride, composed of all the born again people, who all have eternal life, is the Lord’s bride, His increase!

That the city, Jerusalem, is the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ, is also seen with the church presented to Christ in Ephesians 5:25-27. This presentation is in the context of human marriage, which is a picture of the eternal marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the city, Jerusalem.

More about the eternal marriage, in both Old and New Testaments, is in
The Divine-Human Romance thru the Bible

Overcome to Inherit God’s Blessings

Revelation 21:7 promises, “He who overcomes will inherit these things…” The footnote on overcomes in the Recovery Version NT says “Here overcome means to overcome by believing, as in 1 John 5:4-5….The overcoming here qualifies all believers to participate in the New Jerusalem with all its enjoyment as the common portion of God’s eternal salvation.”

New JerusalemFirst John 5:4-5: “For everything that has been begotten of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which has overcome the world—our faith. And who is he who overcomes the world except him who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

We believe and we are begotten of God and His life in us is our overcoming. By this overcoming we inherit the blessings described in the foregoing verses.

These blessings include the whole of New Jerusalem (21:2); no tears, no death, no sorrow, no pain (21:4); all things made new (21:5); and to drink the water of life freely (21:6). The blessings also include the Triune God with His attributes mentioned in these verses—faithful, true, the Beginning and the End.

The source of our inheritance is our new birth by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord sent Saul (Acts 26:18) “to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” Even this faith is a gift from God.

Abraham’s going out by faith (Heb. 11:8) and the charge to Saul both point toward New Jerusalem and our eternal inheritance.

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

Sonship for New Jerusalem (2)

God has chosen and predestinated us unto sonship according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:4-5). Then verse 6 says that this is “to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He graced us in the Beloved.” God’s choosing, predestinating, good pleasure, His will, His grace, and the praise of His glory all climax in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod’s choosing and predestinating are eternal, but man fell into sin and death and was under the condemnation of the law. We could not do anything but “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under law, that He might redeem those under law that we might receive the sonship” (Gal. 4:4-5).

Through the death of Jesus Christ we were redeemed and through His resurrection we were regenerated (1 Peter 1:3) and “receive the sonship.” Redemption is needed for fallen humanity but life brings forth the praise of His glory now and in New Jerusalem.

For this sonship, Romans 8:15 tells us that we “have received a spirit of sonship in which we cry, Abba, Father!” This is the divine Spirit who gives birth to our human spirit and then dwells in our human spirit. In this spirit we have the reality of sonship. To cry “Abba, Father” releases the spirit deep within us to testify that we are children of God, born of God (v. 16).

From regeneration we are children of God. Now we are growing in this life to be mature sons to be fully prepared for New Jerusalem.

 

Sonship for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemFour verses in the New Testament include the word “sonship” in reference to New Testament believers and one verse in reference to Israel. The goal of this sonship is New Jerusalem.

The Greek word in these five verses is sometimes translated “adoption.” However, the overall revelation of the NT is that our relationship with God is one of birth and life. John 3:3-8 speaks firmly of our new birth. First Peter 1:23 speaks of our regeneration and four verses later we are “newborn babes.”

A great number of verses speak of our receiving and having eternal life. This life is not a position (as an adopted child) but much more it is Christ Himself, who is “the life” living in us. Some verses about this are Romans 6:23 and 8:10, Philippians 1:20-21, Colossians 3:3-4, and 1 John 5:11-12, “God gave to us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life.”

New Jerusalem is a city of eternal life; the divine, eternal life we received is bringing us to this wonderful city.

Our sonship is eternal. Ephesians 1:4-5 tell us that God chose us in Christ “predestinat-ing us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” God’s choosing and predestinating are eternal, matching the eternal nature of New Jerusalem.

Likewise, God’s good pleasure culminates with New Jerusalem. The sonship to which God predestinated us is “to Himself,” the essence and center of this marvelous city.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Characteristics Now and in New Jerusalem

Ephesians 4:12-24 contains many positives: perfecting, building, oneness, full-grown, fullness, truth, love, reality, righteousness, holiness. These characteristics do not refer to the natural realm or from natural effort.

New JerusalemThey all come from being in Christ, learning Christ, hearing Christ, and growing up into Him as the Head of the Body. Because these all are Christ and our experience of Him, they are also characteristics of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 4:12-24 also contains many negatives: sleight, craftiness, error, vanity, darkness, ignorance, hard-ness, lasciviousness, uncleanness, greediness, corruption, deceit.

These all result from mankind being alienated from the life of God. None of these will be in New Jerusalem nor anywhere in the new creation, except in the lake of fire.

In our daily living, the key for us as believers to get away from the negatives and into the positives is verse 4:23, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” The Spirit has regenerated our spirit—this is John 3:6, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Now we are one spirit with the Lord—this is 1 Corinthians 6:17.

These two steps—regeneration and renewing—are also seen in Titus 3:5, “the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” This renewing is not a change from bad behavior to good behavior. Rather, it is a change from living in the old humanity, the fallen humanity that is apart from God to living Christ and letting Him become the reality of our human virtues. This is a living that corresponds to New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is Eternal (3)

New Jerusalem is 
eternal
, based on the eternal redemption obtained, and eternal life released to us, by Jesus Christ.

Second Thessalonians 2:16: God our Father “loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope in grace.” The love, comfort, and grace are for us now, and in the kingdom age, and eternally in New Jerusalem. Thank Him for His wonderful care for us.

Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” The eternal Spirit brings to us the conscience-purifying effect of Christ’s blood shed on the cross. And through this eternal Spirit we have the eternal life, the resurrection life, the life that characterizes the kingdom of God and New Jerusalem.

#NewJerusalemSecond Peter 1:11 speaks about our “entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” We are already in the spiritual reality of the kingdom, as seen in Romans 14:17, “the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” This spiritual reality is ours now because of our new birth by the Spirit (John 3:5).

Nevertheless, there is a fuller stage of the kingdom to come. By partaking of the divine nature (1 Peter 1:4) the divine virtues develop in us and give us the entrance into the manifestation of the kingdom and carry us onward to New Jerusalem.

All of these eternal things are “according to the eternal purpose which He [God] made in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:11). God’s purpose is eternal and consummates in eternal New Jerusalem.

God’s purpose is far higher than our sinful condition, far higher than overcoming evils on earth. His purpose takes care of these negatives but much more brings forth New Jerusalem with the glory of God radiating through all God’s people.

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 Living Stream Ministry.

No Beasts in or near New Jerusalem

Revelation 13 says much about two beasts. Chapter 14 has a heavenly warning about the beasts, 15 shows those who were victorious over the beasts, 16 has judgement on them, 17 introduces another beast and presents much beastly activity, and 19 has their terminations in the lake of fire.

New JerusalemThese beasts are all opposed to New Jerusalem because they oppose the accomplishing of God’s purpose on earth. This purpose is first revealed in Genesis 1:26 where the Triune God created man in His image and let man have dominion over the earth.

God’s purpose is also revealed in Zechariah 12:1 which speaks of God “who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” The heavens contain the earth and earth is a dwelling place for man, who has a human spirit to contact God who is Spirit (John 4:24).

By contacting God, man receives the life of God, portrayed by the tree of life in Genesis 2. As a result of this contact, man’s spirit is born of God’s Spirit. This birth with God’s life enables man to express God and to rule the earth for God.

Genesis 1–2 is the beginning of God’s purpose; Revelation 21–22 is the consummation. In this consummation, man is beholding God constantly (Rev. 22:4). Man is continually supplied with God’s life by the river of life with the tree of life (22:1-2). God in this corporate man is fully expressed through New Jerusalem which radiates the glory of God (21:11). God and the Lamb on the throne (22:1) reign and man reigns with them (22:5).

Praise God that New Jerusalem is the eternal fulfillment of God’s purpose and that the opposing beasts are gone.

This post is in my list of what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

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