Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 122, 132

New JerusalemThe Psalms have many prophecies and shadows of Christ, God’s house and city, and their blessings to the whole earth. All of these point to Christ in New Jerusalem on the new earth.

Psalm 122:1-3 says,
I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go __to the house of Jehovah.
Our feet are standing within your gates, __O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has been built as a city that __has been compacted together.

The present reality of the house of God is the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Let us go with rejoicing to this house to enjoy Christ with all the believers. When we do this we are standing within the gates of God’s spiritual city. All of this is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. And, as Jerusalem was built, so the church now is being built now (e.g. Eph. 4:16, 1 Peter 2:5) as a forerunner of the builded New Jerusalem.

Psalm 132:13-14 says,
For Jehovah has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.
This is My resting place forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.

God has chosen Zion and we too should choose to long for God’s house and city. New Jerusalem will be consummation of both, where God and we also will dwell eternally.

Verses 15-16 say,
I will abundantly bless its provision; I will satisfy its poor with bread.
And its priests I will clothe with salvation, and its faithful ones will shout with a ringing shout.

Today the promise of abundant provision is fulfilled by the flow out from the Head, Christ (Col. 2:19) and the Spirit poured upon us richly (Titus 3:6). How much more in New Jerusalem with the river of life and tree of life! We participate in God’s salvation and shout for joy now with more in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the Product of God’s Life

New Jerusalem

“A fountain of water gushing up into eternal life.” (John 4:14)

“I am the bread of life.” (John 6:48)

“And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” (Rev 22:1-2a)

More at New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection

In the Bible the number seven indicates something complete done by God in this age or past ages. Examples are victory by encircling Jericho for seven days (Hebrews 11:30) , the seven Spirits for the seven churches (Revelation 1:4), and seven churches to bear the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:10-12,20).

New JerusalemIn the Bible twelve indicates what is eternally perfect in quality, eternally complete in quantity, and eternally rich in composition. New Jerusalem is full of twelves and is the consummation of all the twelves in the Bible.

New Jerusalem has twelve gates, its wall has twelve foundations, it measures twelve thousand stadia, and the tree of life produces twelve fruits. Furthermore, the measure of the wall is one hundred forty-four, which is twelve times twelve.

New Jerusalem is the consummation and reality of all the twelves in the Old Testament.  The obvious “twelve” are the tribes of Israel (Gen. 49:28), the sons of Jacob (Gen. 35:22). On the twelve gates of New Jerusalem are inscribed “the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel” (Rev. 21:12). These names show that New Jerusalem includes God’s Old Testament people.

In the Old Testament there were twelve loaves of bread on the table in the tabernacle (Lev. 24:5). Their eternal enlargement is the twelve fruits of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

In addition, there were twelve precious stones set in gold on the breastplate attached to the ephod of the robe of the high priest. Their eternal reality is the twelve precious stones and golden nature of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:18-20).

Christ Himself is eternally perfect, complete, and rich. He desires to live in us and be formed in us (Gal. 2:20, 4:29). Lord, live in me today and form Yourself more into me today to bring me onward to the reality of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is concludes a series of posts about seeing and entering New Jerusalem. The key is “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see this wonderful eternal city (Rev. 21:9-10). Here is a one sentence highlight, a verse reference, and a link for each post.

❖ The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, presented by the Bible in figurative language. We need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11) and to understand the spiritual significance of all its elements.

In Exodus 24 and 34 Moses was at the top of a mountain, in God’s presence, in glory, and received God’s speaking, including the vision of the tabernacle, a forerunner of New Jerusalem.

 Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai portrays our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem. The first steps in their journey were redemption, eating the passover lamb and unleavened bread, and crossing the Red Sea.

❖ The next step in Israel’s (and our) journey is to sing and praise the Lord for His victory and His kingdom. This brings us onward to the wonderful experience of the springs of living water.

 Eating the manna (a picture of Christ—John 6) daily and drinking the water (a picture of the Spirit—John 7) out of the rock are essential nourishment for our Christian journey.

❖ On our journey we also need to fight against the flesh but not in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

❖ In Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. All God’s words show our shortages apart from Christ. Nevertheless, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7).

❖ On our Christian journey we need Jesus Christ as our burnt offering, as the person absolute for God. He is our replacement and we are identified with Him. This is portrayed in Leviticus 1:3-4.

 Christ as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4) that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

 When Moses went up the mountain he entered into the cloud (which cut off his view of everything earthly) and was there forty days in the glory of the Lord (Exo. 24:15-16, 18). When we give time to the Lord, He will reveal His heart to us.

 We journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see and enter New Jerusalem. For this journey, Christ is our life (Col. 3:4) and we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

❖ Our seeing of New Jerusalem depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation. By the Lord’s mercy, may we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us, so that the Spirit can reveal more to us (Rev. 21:9-10).

❖ On a mountain the Lord spoke the reality of the kingdom of the heavens, which leads to New Jerusalem. In ourselves we cannot reach this level, but we have the life of our heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48).

❖ The Lord Jesus went to a mountain to present the kingdom (Matt. 5–7), to be transfigured (Matt. 17), to speak about this age and His return (Matt. 24), and to ascend (Acts 1). Our need is to come to Him. “His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1)

❖ Everything written in the Old Testament, including Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai, is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement (1 Cor. 10:11, Rom. 15:4). Today, our job is to hold Jesus Christ, who is the reality (Col. 2:16-19).

❖ Recent posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The answer is in John 3—be born again to see (v. 3) and to enter (v. 5).

❖ In John 3:5 we are born of water (terminating our old life) and the Spirit (generating our new life). In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—my old life, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—my new life. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

❖ We need to be uplifted to a high mountain that we may see New Jerusalem as God’s eternal dwelling place for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. (Rev. 21:9-10)

New Jerusalem

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In Revelation 21:9-10 John tells us that an angel carried him away in spirit to a great and high mountain and showed him the holy city, New Jerusalem. This clearly was not John’s effort. Likewise, our seeing of New Jerusalem is not by our determination nor by our striving. We simply turn to the Lord, open our whole heart to Him, and wait on Him. In His time He will give us the vision of New Jerusalem.

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“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Bread and Water Bring us to New Jerusalem

Israel’s journey in Exodus 12–19 is a picture of our Christian journey. Their journey brought them to Mt. Sinai to see the vision of the tabernacle. Our journey results in our being “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem.

Prior posts touched several steps preparatory to seeing New Jerusalem. Another step is to take Christ as our living bread, typified by manna (Exo. 16), every day. Jesus clearly told us “he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57). Eating is a daily necessity; without spiritual eating we cannot have a proper Christian life and cannot journey onward to the mountain.

Eating the manna is by our living contact with the Word of God. Deuteronomy 8:3, quoted by the Lord in Matthew 4:4, says that God “fed you [Israel] the manna…so that He might make you know that man lives not by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out from the mouth of Jehovah.”

One more step is to drink the living water which flows out of the smitten rock. When the Lord, pictured by the rock, was smitten on the cross, blood and water flowed out. The reality of this water is the Spirit, as presented in John 7:37-39. Eventually this will be the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemJohn 19:34: “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

A song about this flowing:
__The blood and water flowed from Him,
____In streams of pure salvation.
__The blood brings cleansing from all sin;
____Water, regeneration.
__And now the Spirit flows,
____Brings God where’er He goes.
__All he could do, the foe,
____Was just release the flow.
__And God just keeps on flowing.

God’s continual flow, beginning from the cross, carries us all the way to New Jerusalem.

Journey to New Jerusalem: Type & Reality

We need to be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). But how do we get in position to be carried away?

New JerusalemIn Exodus 19 Israel came to Mt. Sinai where they received the vision of the tabernacle. When the tabernacle was completed, God’s glory filled it (Exo. 40:33-34), making it a picture of New Jerusalem as the eternal tabernacle of God filled with glory (Rev. 21:3, 11).

First Corinthians 10:1-13 reviews some of Israel’s journey in the wilderness and says that “these things occurred as examples to us.” Their journey to Mt. Sinai pictures our journey to a high spiritual mountain where we can see New Jerusalem.

The first step in Israel’s journey was the redemption portrayed by the Passover. We need to repent and ask the Lord to forgive all our sins. He has already accomplished redemption by dying; when we ask Him, redemption is applied to us as forgiveness.

The second step in Israel’s journey was to eat the Passover lamb and the unleavened bread. This is a picture of our being nourished with Christ as the real Lamb and real Bread. This energizes us to walk out of Egypt.

The next step for Israel was to cross the Red Sea, which portrays our baptism. This separates us from the world and destroys the worldly forces (Pharaoh’s army being buried in the Red Sea). First Corinthians tells us that this baptism is not only in water but also in the Spirit. Water is the visible symbol but it alone is not effective. We need the invisible reality of the Spirit’s baptism.

These three steps begin our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem.

Heavenly Diet in Exodus and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal….And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (Revelation 22:1-2).

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven from God to earth. Its position is on earth but its nature is heavenly. In this city the tree of life is the heavenly diet for God’s people. By eating the twelve fruits of the tree of life, we are supplied with the divine, eternal life to live a heavenly life on earth. This life is Jesus Christ (John 14:6) and to live this life is to live Him (Philippians 1:21).

The manna in Exodus is a shadow of the heavenly diet of New Jerusalem. In Exodus 16 “Jehovah said to Moses, I will now rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day…” (v. 4).

In John 6 the Lord Jesus told us that He is the bread of life, the reality of what was pictured by manna (v. 32-35). He also said that if we eat Him we will live because of Him (v. 57). Then He told us that the way to eat Him is to take His words, and that these words are spirit and life (v. 63). For this we must not only use our mind to understand the words but also use our human spirit. We must strike the Spirit of the Scripture with our spirit.

The nourishment we gain from the Scripture becomes our bread of life, causing us to grow in the divine life. This growth goes onward until we arrive at New Jerusalem.

More about manna is in Life-Study of Exodus, chapters 35-39.

Do You See New Jerusalem in Exodus ??

Does the book of Exodus speak about New Jerusalem? Certainly the name New Jerusalem does not appear in Exodus. However, Exodus contains an excellent picture. Revelation 21:3 says of New Jerusalem

Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men

and verse 11 describes New Jerusalem as

Having the glory of God

Exodus ends with the tabernacle of God filled with the glory of God. The revelation of the tabernacle begins in Exodus 25. The construction begins in chapter 35 and in chapter 40 the tabernacle was assembled. The work was finished in verse 40:33, then verses 34 and 35 both say “the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle.”

Affoltern, Switzerland

Exodus is also full of pictures showing how we Christians arrive at New Jerusalem as the tabernacle filled with the glory of God. Briefly, the steps (and their symbols in Exodus) include:
• being redeemed by Christ our passover (the sacrificed lamb and blood on door posts)
• being saved out of the world (leaving Egypt)
• feeding on Christ as our living bread (manna)
• drinking the Spirit as our living water (water out of the smitten rock)
• receiving revelation (at Mt. Sinai)
• offering ourselves for the building (material things offered for the tabernacle)
• growing into Christ in all things (building of the tabernacle)

Let’s thank the Lord for His redemption and salvation, give ourselves for more nourishment and revelation from Him, and ask Him to grow in us daily. This is our path to the eternal tabernacle, New Jerusalem.

Let’s Go On to Maturity for God’s Building

A scientific image based on motion of NASA's Fermi Space Telescope, NASA:DOE:Fermi LAT CollaborationFirst Corinthians 3 is the next stop on our look at God’s New Testament building work. The building is first mentioned in verse 9, and verses 1 to 9 show that this is a building in life. The life elements are:
infants (v. 1), with a need for growth
 milk and solid food (v. 2), the nourishment for growth
 planting and watering (v. 6-8), care for what is alive
 God giving growth (v. 6-7), the development of life
 God’s farm (v. 9), a commune of living things

First Corinthians 3:10-15 focus on the building, showing that:
 the foundation is Jesus Christ (v. 10-11)
 our building work must be upon this foundation (v. 12, 14)
 the materials we use will be tested and revealed by fire (v. 12-13)
 the proper work will remain and the improper work will be consumed (v. 14-15)

Verse 9 ties the life and growth to the building, saying that we are God’s farm/field/ husbandry and equally we are God’s building. Humanly, these are separate but God has a living building, an organism where growing is building.

(Although physical materials are listed in v. 12, these are symbols of the actual, spiritual building materials. This parallels milk and solid food as symbols of spiritual nourishment, and planting and watering as symbols of the gospel and care for new believers.)

Let us give ourselves to take both the milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2-3) and the solid food (Hebrews 5:13-14) so that we may grow with the growth given by God for His building.  Eventually we will all be mature and we will all be in New Jerusalem.

The image is a scientific graphic by a NASA-U.S. Dept. of Energy-Fermi LAT collaboration.

Receive the Word of God by Prayer

New JerusalemGod’s New Testament building work is in progress now. Acts 20:32 tells us that the word of God’s grace is able to build us up. Ephesians 6:17-18 presents a way to take this word of grace:

And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.

According to these verses, we receive the word of God by means of prayer, praying in spirit. It is good for us to pray audibly, following this pattern in Psalm 119. While we read the Bible, we pray, and we pray using the words of the Bible. This could include:
+ repeating phrases or words
+ using phrases in prayer for ourselves or others
+ giving thanks for what we have read
+ singing parts of what we read
+ declaring portions that touch us
+ praising God for what is in His word
+ reciting a verse through the day

The intent of this praying, praising, and thanksgiving is not to learn more (that can be done at another time of day). The intent here is to be nourished (Matthew 4:4), to become joyful (Jeremiah 15:16), to be graced (Acts 20:32).

God’s present building work consummates in New Jerusalem. As we partake of His word for nourishment and grace, His word works to build us together. This building work keeps us on the path to New Jerusalem.

More:
• select Pray-Reading the Word in this alphabetical list
• Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished

Photo by Jay Martin, courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life”

We have been on an eating journey through the Old Testament. (Later we will take a NT journey.) Jesus Christ, the bread of life (John 6:35) and the passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), is the reality of many kinds of physical food given by God to His OT people. All these pictures of our spiritual eating will culminate in New Jerusalem with “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” Each paragraph below links to one post in this eating journey.

Boston, David Kan

The tree of life was in the garden of Eden as a picture of Jesus Christ as our life and as the life supply for our daily living. In John 6:57 our Lord Jesus told us, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.”

The first commandment from God to man concerned eating. This command was given in the garden of Eden. God’s desire was (and is) that man receive Him as man’s life, as pictured by “the tree of life in the middle of the garden” (Genesis 2:9).

Eating the lamb is the focus of the passover feast. Exodus 12:4 says “according to each man’s eating you shall make your count for the lamb.” Christ is the real lamb (John 1:29) and the reality of this feast (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

The passover lamb was eaten “with unleavened bread with bitter herbs” (Exodus 12:8). This is to take Christ as our sinless (unleavened) life and thereby to have a bitter feeling about sin.

We should eat unleavened bread seven days. Seven is a number of completion, indicating that we should eat Jesus as our unleavened bread through our whole Christian life. This is  to “keep the feast…with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

Manna is bread from heaven (Exodus 16:4). Exodus 16 and Numbers 11:7-9 give a detailed description of manna. These details portray the richness of Christ as the bread of life in our Christian experience.

Israel was instructed to gather manna each day. Through Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4 we learn that manna shows us “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” Let us be people Eating the Word of God.

The priests eat the offerings in Leviticus 1–7. In the New Testament we are the priests (Revelation 1:5-6), Jesus Christ is the reality of the offerings (see verses in the post), and we mainly eat by thanking and praising the Lord for all that He has done and all that He is to us.

Exodus 40 and Leviticus 24 speak of the bread of the presence on the table in the tabernacle. This table and the lampstand are closely related. When we, the NT priests, eat the bread, we experience Jesus as the “light of life” (John 8:12).

The bread of the presence multiplied from tabernacle to temple (as did the lampstand). We expect much more multiplication from temple to New Jerusalem. This multiplication portrays the unsearchable/exhaustless riches of Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 12:7 tells Israel to eat and rejoice before their God when they gather in Jerusalem. This is a picture of a New Testament feast with Christ as the reality of our sacrifices and offerings, as the real firstborn, and as the content of our vows and freewill offerings.

In Leviticus 23 the Lord spoke about “My appointed feasts.” The introduction to these feasts is the sabbath rest. This shows that we should rest in Jesus Christ and His accomplishments in order to have proper Christian feasts.

Israel began to eat the produce of the land after they crossed the river Jordan. The variety and abundance of this produce again points us to the Christ who is unsearchably, immeasurably rich (Ephesians 3:8).

A feast of the passover and a seven-day feast of unleavened bread are recorded in 2 Chronicles 30. This feast was held “with great rejoicing” which caused them to continue for another seven days. The key was preparing their heart to seek God.

First Kings 8 records a feast after dedication of the temple and Ezra 6 records a feast after the dedication of the second temple. As we offer ourselves to the Lord and participate in the NT building work, we are preparing and entering into a feast.

Second Kings 23 and 2 Chronicles 35 record a marvelous passover feast following the cleansing of the temple, of Jerusalem, and of the whole land. The more we cleanse our hearts from desiring and working for goals other than the Lord, the more we will feast.

Photo of Boston harbor, courtesy of David Kan.

Related post: Is Your Spiritual Eating Advancing by Tom at Holding to Truth in Love

We Consecrate, Build, and Feast

New JerusalemWe continue looking at Old Testament pictures of our New Testament spiritual eating. In 1 Kings 8 Solomon led all Israel in bringing the ark into the new temple. He then spoke to Israel and prayed to God. They concluded dedication of the temple with sacrifices (v. 62-64) and a feast. Verse 65 says, “And Solomon held a feast at that time and all Israel with him…before Jehovah our God, seven days and seven more days, fourteen days in all.”

Ezra records the effort, by Jews who returned to Jerusalem, to rebuild the temple. In Ezra 6 the work was completed and they had a dedication with sacrifices (v. 16-17) and with the feast of Passover (v. 19-22). Verses 21-22 say that they “…ate the passover and held the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for Jehovah had made them joyful…”

In both of these records the feasting follows the sacrifices and celebrates the completion of the building. No doubt there will also be a feast celebrating the completion of the New Testament building. But let’s not wait until then.

Let us thank the Lord that He sacrificed Himself for us (as the reality of the Old Testament sacrifices) and consecrate ourselves again (1 John 3:16). Then we pursue the building up with one another. As the issue of our consecration and building, we will have a spiritual feast. Eventually New Jerusalem will be completed and we will have an eternal feast.

Here, very briefly, are ways to participate in the New Testament building work:
• coming to the Lord (in prayer, praise, thanksgiving, consecration, etc.) – 1 Peter 2:4-5
• taking Christ as our foundation and cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20
• speaking the Lord to one another (prophesying) – 1 Corinthians 14:3-4
• holding to Christ as the truth in an atmosphere of love – Ephesians 4:15-16
• receiving from Him through both the gifted members and each one – Ephesians 4:15-16
• praying with others – Jude 20

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

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