God’s NT Building is Living, not Physical

God’s New Testament building is living!

Christ Jesus in resurrection is the Cornerstone. Acts 4:10-12
All the building is “in Christ.” Ephesians 2:20-22
“All the building is growing.” Ephesians 2:21
“We are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:16
We all, “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” 1 Peter 2:5
—–and additional verses in the prior posts

New Jerusalem is not physical!

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building.
New Jerusalem shows the completion of all the growth and building in the NT.
New Jerusalem has a living temple, not a physical temple;
——-“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Rev. 21:22
New Jerusalem is living to be “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Rev. 21:9

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a living city, not a physical city:
New Jerusalem is Spiritual, not Physical
New Jerusalem: Not a Physical Building
A Physical Building is not the House of God

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (9)

Ephesians presents much about our growth into Christ in all things, which matches His growth within us, and our being built together in Him. New Jerusalem, a living city, is the consummation of this growth and building.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to recent posts on God’s living New Testament building. The key verses in each post are listed.

Jesus Christ is the living Cornerstone of God’s NT building. Matt. 21:33-41; Acts 4:10-12
Jesus Christ is the Living Stone and we also are living stones. John 1:41-42; 1 Peter 2:2-7
Jesus Christ is the temple in resurrection, and all His believers are part of this temple.
John 1:14, 2:19-22, 14:2, 23; 2 Cor. 6:16

We are God’s cultivated land, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:1-16
In Christ Jesus all the building is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Eph. 2:19-22
We have been rooted and are being built up in Christ Jesus. Eph. 3:16-21; Col. 2:6-7

Our growth in life is for the building up of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16
The growth of the Body is unto the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a city of life and God’s NT building in life:

New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm
The Living House Becomes the Living City
New Jerusalem is a Living City

New Jerusalem is a Living City, a City of Life
New Jerusalem is a Living, Spiritual City
We are God’s Living House

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (5)

God’s New Testament building work is spiritual, accomplished by the resurrection life in all His believers. The result is a living building composed of God mingled with all the believers; it is not a physical structure. New Jerusalem is the consummation of this building work.

Ephesians 2:19b-20 says that we are “members of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone.” We all, through faith in Christ Jesus, became members of God’s household. As members we are also the materials God uses for His building. 

New JerusalemChrist Jesus is the living Cornerstone. He sets the pattern for God’s building: all the components of the building are alive in resurrection.

Verse 2:21 continues, “In whom [Christ Jesus] all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” The sphere of the building work is in Christ Jesus.

In Christ Jesus the whole building is “growing.” This clearly indicates that the building is living. The church is a living building now and New Jerusalem will be a mature, living building in eternity.

Verse 2:22, “In whom [Christ Jesus] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” In Christ we are “growing” and “being built together.” These two actions cannot be separated. New Jerusalem is the ultimate issue of both.


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.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (2)

New JerusalemGod’s New Testament building work is spiritual, not physical, and is accomplished by His resurrection life in all His believers. The consummation of this work is New Jerusalem.

The prior post has verses about Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone for God’s building. We also are stones for God’s building. In our natural state we are clay, but Christ as life within us makes us stones. New Jerusalem has stones but no clay.

When Simon first met Jesus (John 1:41-42), Jesus said Simon would be called Peter, which means “stone.” Later Peter presented the Lord as “a living Stone” and all the believers as “living stones” (1 Peter 2:4-5). Peter then repeats the words about the Lord being the Cornerstone, chosen and precious. We who believe on Him are brought into God’s building work and “shall by no means be put to shame” (2:6-7).

We are stones because of the eternal life in us; we are living stones for God’s living building, God’s spiritual house. This life comes into us at our regeneration “through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23) and grows by our taking the nourishing milk of God’s word (2:2).

First Peter 2:2 speaks of our nourishment by God’s word. Verse 3 says we taste that the Lord is good. Lord, give me such a good tasting of Your word daily! Then verse 4 is “coming to Him.” Daily we come to Him through His word, by singing, in prayer, in praising. As a result, in verse 5, we participate in God’s living building work for our priesthood to God now and in New Jerusalem.

 

 

 

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building work. The Old Testament had physical symbols, the tabernacle and temple, but now we are in the age of the spiritual reality of God’s building.

New JerusalemWe begin a look at many NT verses which show that God’s building work now is not physical but spiritual. This building work is accomplished by the eternal life which dwells in us. New Jerusalem, the consummation, will likewise be spiritual, not physical.

In Matthew 21:33-41 (and Mark 12, Luke 20) the Lord Jesus spoke a parable about a vineyard. Suddenly He changed to speaking about a stone who became the cornerstone for God’s building. This speaking shows us first, that the life of the vineyard brings forth the building material. Second, it shows that the Lord Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone.

In Acts 4:10-11 Peter declared that the crucified and resurrected Jesus is the Stone in these parables and that He has become “the Head of the corner.” In resurrection Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone, showing that God’s NT building work is in resurrection, not in the natural realm.

In 4:12 he says further that salvation is in this One. Every Christian knows that Jesus Christ is the Savior, but do we recognize further that His salvation brings us to Himself as the cornerstone for God’s building work? We receive God’s salvation because God desires to have us as material for His building, consummating in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (4)

A hymn presents characteristics of New Jerusalem which are seen figuratively in the garden of Eden. Here is the first part of verse 3 with verse 4 of this hymn:

New JerusalemBoth in the garden and the city bright
Three kinds of precious substances are found;

But in the garden all these precious things
Are just materials lying in the earth,
Yet in the city all are builded up
And form that dwelling of transcendent worth.

Genesis 2 presents to us gold, bdellium (a pearl-like material from a tree resin), and onyx stones. As the song says, these are precious substances but merely lying around. In New Jerusalem the street is of gold, the twelve gates are pearls, the wall is built of jasper, and the foundations of the wall are adorned with twelve types of precious stones (Rev. 21:12-21).

New Jerusalem being builded up is the culmination of God’s spiritual building work throughout the New Testament. In Matthew 16 Jesus said “I will build my church.” Jesus is the Stone which became the Cornerstone for this building (Mark 12:10, Eph. 2:20).

The building work involves all of us, as in 1 Corinthians 3 and Ephesians 2 and 4. In Ephesians 4:15-16 holding in love to Christ as the truth, we grow up into Him in all things. Then a rich supply flows out from Him through the gifted members and also “through the operation in the measure of each one part.” The result is “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

The ultimate issue of the building work is New Jerusalem, built with the three kinds of precious substances.

New Jerusalem is Spiritual, not Physical

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building. Unlike the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, God’s people today are
• • • growing in the divine life
• • • being built together in Christ Jesus
• • • becoming a dwelling place of God in spirit
This building is growing unto New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:19-22, “You are…being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.”

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem

In the New Testament, stones signify living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, is in Him, the Cornerstone in resurrection (Eph. 2:20-21).

New Jerusalem In the natural realm, human beings are vessels of clay (Rom 9:21), earthen vessels (2 Cor 4:7). In contrast, New Jerusalem has no clay, no dirt, only precious materials. How then can men of clay participate in New Jerusalem?

The answer is that in regeneration, in resurrection, the Lord makes us stones. When the Lord Jesus first met Simon, He told Him, “You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).” Both Cephas (Aramaic*) and Peter (Greek) mean “stone.”

This change of name indicates a change of person, a change of constitution. In God’s salvation, the Lord transforms men of clay into stones for His building.

Peter tells us “Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem. We become living stones by coming to Jesus Christ mot only once but by coming to Him continually.

As we come to Him, he infuses us with His stone nature, reconstituting us from clay to stone. This builds us together as God’s spiritual house and prepares us for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling. In the context of Peter’s epistle, our “coming to Him” involves putting away evil things (2:1) and holding to His living and abiding word (1:22-25, 2:2-3). This is our path to New Jerusalem.

*The common language in Judea and Galilee in the first century.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone

New JerusalemIn the gospels, the Lord depicts Himself as a Stone. His words should cause us to realize that stones in the New Testament, including those in New Jerusalem, are not physical but are living people.

“Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner. This was from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” By this word, spoken in Matthew 21:42, quoting Psalm 118,  the Lord tells us that He is the Cornerstone rejected by the Jewish leaders.

In Acts 4:10-12, Peter makes reference to this statement, telling the Jewish leaders that through death and resurrection, “This is the stone which was considered as nothing by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner.” Here Peter is speaking about “Jesus Christ the Nazarene.” He is the Cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:20-21 proclaims “Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” Here the Cornerstone is not only part of God’s New Testament building but is even the realm in which the building exists and grows.

In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Peter tells us further that the Lord is to us “a living Stone” and “a Cornerstone, chosen and precious,” but to the unbelieving He is “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

Because New Jerusalem is a city in and of resurrection, everything brought forth in the Lord’s resurrection is in New Jerusalem. This includes Him as the Stone, in which the building, including New Jerusalem exists.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalm 118 (3)

Psalm 118:22-23 is about Christ Jesus, rejected by the Jewish leaders, becoming the Cornerstone in resurrection. This Cornerstone is for building God’s house which expands to God’s city, His kingdom, and blesses the whole earth. Ultimately this is New Jerusalem with the fullest blessing to the new earth.

NGC 6496, NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterPsalm 118:24 continues, “This is the day that Jehovah has made; let us exult and rejoice in it.” It is possible to rejoice in every day that the Lord gives us. However, in context, this verse points specifically to the day of resurrection, the day in which Christ became the Cornerstone.

Whenever we are living Christ, we are living in resurrection. Here (in resurrection) we are being built together with other believers. Here we are richly supplied and knit together (Col. 2:19). Here we are entering the reality of New Jerusalem.

Psalm 118:25 says, “O Jehovah, do save, we pray! O Jehovah, do send prosperity, we pray!” This is not pointing to a physical salvation nor to material prosperity. Rather, it is about God saving us in resurrection into His building, which is in Christ Jesus the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-22). New Jerusalem is the final outcome of this salvation and is our utmost blessing. Let us follow Psalm 118 and pray for this kind of salvation and blessing.

Psalm 118:26 says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of Jehovah; we bless you from the house of Jehovah.” This was spoken by the crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem shortly before His death (Luke 19:37-38) and will be spoken again when He returns again (Luke 13:35).

In these few verses we exult, rejoice, and bless the Lord. We are being built together in Him. His second coming, with more rejoicing, brings us closer to New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:2).

Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is adorned as a bride prepared for her Husband, Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:2). This adorning is not outward. Rather, it is accomplished by the Spirit working within us and Christ living through us.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:19 tells us, “The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone.” Twelve stones are named. To understand this, we need to consider what is precious to God, not what is precious to society.

In 2 Peter 1:1 the faith allotted to us by God is precious and in 1 Peter 1:7 the proving of our faith is “much more precious than of gold which perishes.” This faith does not originate with us but is from God (Rom. 3:22). This faith is precious when it becomes our initial ability to believe into Jesus Christ. It is also precious as it holds us through trials in our Christian life.

In 1 Peter 1:19 the blood Jesus shed to redeem us is precious. In 1 Peter 2 the Lord is a living Stone (v. 4) and the Cornerstone (v. 6); both are “with God chosen and precious.” Peter shows us that Christ, what He did for us, and what He is to us, are precious to God.

Christ is the precious Stone. He is uniquely one, but the stones adorning New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 are many, not one. They signify various aspects of the unique Christ experienced by His many members, so that we, as living stones (1 Peter 2:5), become preciously constituted with Christ.

The twelve stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not literally twelve in number but are the unsearchably rich Christ formed into many believers. This process displays in New Jerusalem the eternal richness and perfection of Jesus Christ in His believers.

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. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center.

A Physical Building is not the House of God

New JerusalemGod’s building, as revealed throughout the New Testament, is not material but spiritual. Christ Jesus is the builder, the cornerstone, and the foundation; we are living stones; the word of God’s grace builds us together; and our growth into Christ results in the building up of His Body. This building culminates in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Acts 7:47 Stephen speaks of Solomon building the Old Testament temple. In verses 48 to 50 he goes on, “Yet the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands, even as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has not My hand made all these things?’ ”

Stephen’s word shows that God’s longing in the Old Testament matches the spiritual building in the New Testament. The Old Testament temple was a temporary picture of God’s real desire.

New JerusalemStephen quoted Isaiah 66:1-2, where the Lord goes on to say “But to this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” This shows that God’s desire is for a spiritual building, a dwelling in men, as in Ephesians 2:22, “a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

New JerusalemThe conclusion of the New Testament and the consummation of God’s building is in Revelation 21–22. We cannot expect New Jerusalem to depart from the pattern prophesied in Isaiah 66 and clearly revealed through the New Testament. New Jerusalem is a spiritual building, a building of God into man, the corporate consummation of Christ making home in our hearts (Eph. 3:16-17) and of the church as the house of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15).

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

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