We Are God’s City

New JerusalemThis blog often writes about New Jerusalem being a living composition of God with His people, not a physical city.

The simplest proof of this is in Revelation 21. “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (v. 2). The Husband, Jesus Christ, is a living person, and the bride is a corporate living person to match Him.

“Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb….And he carried me away in spirit onto great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (v. 9-10). Again, there is a living Husband, the Lamb, and a corporate living bride, the wife of the Lamb. The city, New Jerusalem, is a corporate person.

Matthew 5:14 has the same thought. “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” Here the Lord Jesus describes all His disciples (v. 1) as the light of the world. This same description, that we are the light, is in Ephesians 5:8 and Philippians 2:15. Of course, we are not light in ourselves, but we are the light because He is the light in us, shining through us.

The Lord then likens the disciples, a corporate light, to a city. The shining city on a mountain portrays the disciples. The thought here, at the start of the New Testament, matches the thought at the end of the New Testament—a city depicts God’s corporate people. This is New Jerusalem—all God’s people, filled with His fullness and glorifying Him (Eph. 3:19, 21).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: No Blemishes, No Spots (2)

God chose us in eternity past to “be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 1:4) and in eternity future New Jerusalem, the holy city, will be holy and without blemish.

The prior post presents the Lord’s work to make us without blemish. In addition to the verses there, Colossians 1:22 says, “He now has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and without reproach before Him.” His death, for our reconciliation, has the goal of New Jerusalem holy and without blemish.

New JerusalemDespite what He has accomplished, we should not wait passively. Philippians 2 exhorts us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (v. 12). We work by cooperating with God who operates within us (v. 13).

By this cooperation, we will be without murmurings and reasonings (v. 14), “that you may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world” (v. 15). In this shining we present the word of life to worldly people (v. 16).

Our cooperation with God’s operation in us causes us to be without fallen humanity’s blemishes and with divine shining as channels for the word of life, that God’s salvation might reach people in this crooked generation.

Peter, based on our expectation of the new creation with New Jerusalem, exhorts us “be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and without blemish” (2 Peter 3:14).

In Revelation 14:1-5 we see overcomers, firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. Part of their description is that they “are without blemish.” Surely these overcomers lived according to the exhortations in Philippians 2 and 2 Peter 3. Not only are they without negative blemishes, they are also singing a heavenly song of praise, a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo by Nick Pitsas, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

New Jerusalem, City of the Living God

New JerusalemRevelation 21–22 presents a vision of the holy city, New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven to the new earth. Let’s look at descriptions of this holy city in other books of the Bible.

Hebrews 12:22 speaks of “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” The living God desires a living city composed of all His redeemed and regenerated people.

When we are made alive with the divine life in regeneration, we become “sons of the living God” (Rom. 9:26) to be “the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:6) and “the house of God, the church of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). These consummate in New Jerusalem, the city of the living God.

Revelation 21:23 says of New Jerusalem, “the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” This combination of city and light reminds me of Matthew 5:14-16. Verse 14 says, “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” Although New Jerusalem is not said to be “upon a mountain,” it will be very prominent in the new creation, in no way hidden.

 Today the kingdom people, with Christ shining within us, are the light to the fallen world. In eternity we, built into the city with Christ continuing to shine within us, will enlighten the new creation.

Hebrews 12 presents the city of the living God. Hebrews 11 also speaks about New Jerusalem: “the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (v. 10) and “He [God] has prepared a city for them [the people of faith]” (v. 16).

Here are some prior posts about the God-prepared city in Hebrews 11.
We Enter New Jerusalem by Faith
Enter into What God Has Prepared
God Has Prepared the City, But …
God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem Declares God’s Excellencies

First Peter 2:9 says, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The choosing is of God, not of us.  The acquiring is of God and the possession is God’s. Becoming a royal priesthood is through the death of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:5-6). The calling is of God.

The telling out, proclaiming, declaring, making known the virtues, the excellencies, of God is our function today and unto eternity in New Jerusalem.

This telling out is not merely with human words. It is based on and firmly related to God’s calling us “out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Our proclaiming of God’s virtues, His excellencies, is our shining Him forth. This shining will consummate with New Jerusalem radiating the glory of God.

New JerusalemHere are some verses related to our present shining:
• “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” “Let your light shine before men” (Matt. 5:14, 16)
• “Children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world.” (Phil. 2:15)
• “You…are now light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8)

We should shine now, and we will certainly shine as constituents of New Jerusalem. However, our present proclaiming of God’s excellency is not only by an abstract shining. It is also a “telling out” with human words filled with divine life. Philippians 2:15-16 say we are “shine as luminaries in the world, holding forth the word of life.”

God has called us to tell out, to proclaim, to declare, His excellent virtues. This is a call to participate now in this prefigure of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Walk in Light of Life, Now & New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city of light and life and we are children of light and life. Our daily Christian walk should match what we are.

In 1 John 1:1 John testifies concerning the Word of life, which is Christ Himself (John 1:1). In verse 2 John says that Life was manifested (in incarnation, John 1:14). This life is Christ, who is the Word.

In verse 3 John says that he reports this Life to us that we may have fellowship. This fellowship is the flow of this Life, between us and other believers and between us and God. In Revelation 22:1 this fellowship is portrayed by the river of life flowing in New Jerusalem.

In verse 5 John tells us that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” In 1 John 1, as we saw in other verses in prior posts, life and light are coupled. God is light, and His city, New Jerusalem, is a city of light.

In verses 6 and 7 walking in this light and having fellowship are joined. This walk, this fellowship, this flow of life, is maintained because “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin.”

Until the redemption of our mortal bodies at the Lord’s return, we must admit that we have the nature of sin in our flesh and that we commit sins in our living (verses 7-9). When the light exposes us, we confess our sins, and we are forgiven and cleansed. This restores both our walk in the light and our fellowship of life.

This exposing, confessing, and cleansing is an integral part of our Christian life today. The shining light and the flowing life are also part of our Christian life today and will characterize New Jerusalem in eternity.

Sons of Light and Life for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city of light and life and we are children of light and life.
Our regenerated being has the same characteristics as New Jerusalem.

Jesus said, “While you have the light, believe into the light, so that you may become sons of light” (John 12:36). By believing into Him we become sons with Him as our life and light.

Life and light are seen together in Mark 4. Verses 1 to 20 present the parable of the Sower, sowing seeds of life which grow in us. Verses 21 to 23 present the parable of the lamp, which shines on us and within us. The growing life and the exposing light gradually cause our whole being to match New Jerusalem.

Light and life are also seen together in our Christian living in Philippians 2. Verses 15 and 16 say, “That you may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world, holding forth the word of life.”

Here we are children of God with God’s life and we shine with God’s light. While we live and shine in the world, we hold forth the word of life so that others may have opportunity to receive light and life. Their receiving is their entering onto the path to New Jerusalem.

Day by day this life grows and this light intensifies unto fullness in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem: No Darkness, No Death

New Jerusalem is a city of light and life. The antithesis is darkness and death; New Jerusalem will not have either of these.
New Jerusalem• Revelation 21:25, “there will be no night there”
• Revelation 21:4, “death will be no more.”

When Jesus Christ comes, light and life come, and darkness and death are banished. Matthew 4:13-16 tells us that Jesus, “came and dwelt in Capernaum…in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying… The people sitting in darkness have seen a great light; and to those sitting in the region and shadow of death, to them light has risen.” This great light consummates in the light of New Jerusalem.

Then verse 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to proclaim and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” The kingdom is a matter of life. We repent, we turn, from our past; we turn to believe, to receive, and are born into the kingdom (John 3:3, 5). This kingdom of life also consummates in the light of New Jerusalem.

The same thought is in Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness but are now light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” We were not only in darkness, but we were darkness itself. Now we are in the light (1 John 1:7) and are light, so we walk as children of light. “Children” is a matter of life. To repent and believe in Jesus Christ is to turn from darkness to light and from death to life. This begins our walk to New Jerusalem.

Photo by John Bortniak, courtesy of NOAA/U.S. Department of Commerce.

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