No Corruption in New Jerusalem (2)

There is no corruption in New Jerusalem because it is a city fully constituted with resurrection life.

This life is Jesus Christ Himself— “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Today He is our life. He “nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). When we it we are “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible seed, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

New JerusalemRegeneration puts us on the path to the incorruptible New Jerusalem. We were regenerated through the resurrection “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

This life will not fully swallow up the corruption in us until the Lord returns and transfigures our mortal bodies. However, this life operates today to save us from the effects of corruption. Our cooperation with this involves our human spirit mingled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:22-24, “That you put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man, which is being corrupted according to the lusts of the deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man….” In baptism we put off and put on
positionally but in our experience we need to exercise to be renewed every day to apply the positional fact.

This renewing saves us practically from the corrupted old man and makes us new to match incorruptible New Jerusalem.

The Supply of Life in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:1-2 tells us that New Jerusalem has “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.”

The tree of life grows in the river of life, and the river of life that flows out of the throne reaches every part of the city. Every part of the city receives the life supply because the tree of life grows in the river and the river reaches every part of the city. The tree of life, as a vine, grows on both sides of the river, following the flow of the river. Wherever the river flows, the tree of life grows. The supply of life is in the flow of life. This is a picture of God’s dispensing. Christ as the tree of life is the life supply available along the flow of the Spirit as the water of life. Where the Spirit flows, there the life supply of Christ is found.*

New JerusalemThe tree portrays Christ, who is the Life. Hence, there is only one tree. It grows on both sides of the river as the vine of life. This is John 15:5, “I am the vine.”

This life comes to us as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) who is one with our human spirit as in Romans 8:16. Christ as the Spirit is in us and our human spirit is life (Rom. 8:10). It is here that we receive the river of life now, experiencing the foretaste of its flow in New Jerusalem.

The Conclusion of the New Testament, chapter 20, by Witness Lee, © LSM.


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No Dust in New Jerusalem

Genesis 2:7—”Jehovah God formed man with the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”

New Jerusalem“Dust of the ground” was the material used in the creation of Adam at the beginning of the Bible. But at the end of the Bible we see New Jerusalem composed of pure gold, like clear glass (Rev. 21:18), pearls (21:21), and precious stones (21:11, 18-20).

It is by the divine life, the eternal life, that man is transferred from dust of the ground to the precious city. In Genesis 2 this life is portrayed by the tree of life. In the New Testament this life is Jesus Christ (John 11:25, 14:6).

In eternity past we were foreknown and predestinated by God to this life (but we still need to cooperate in time to receive it). On the cross Jesus Christ accomplished redemption to solve all the problems which shut us out from the tree of life because of the fall of man (Gen. 3:22-24).

Now man can be regenerated, born in spirit with this life (John 3:6) to possess this life. Then, throughout our Christian life on earth, this life transforms us, renews us. This is clearly presented in Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, and Ephesians 4:23. This transformation changes our constitution from dust to precious material so that we match New Jerusalem.

When the Lord Jesus returns He will transfigure “the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21). The is our final step from dust to precious material for New Jerusalem.

More: Five Steps to New Jerusalem (1)  (2)  (3)

 

See with a Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

To see New Jerusalem we need to be carried “away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” (Rev. 21:10). This separates us from the natural realm in which we cannot realize spiritual matters.

In Ephesians 1:17 Paul prayed for the believers: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.” This is parallel to Revelation 21:10. We must be in spirit to have spiritual wisdom to see the things of God, including the real significance of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:17 is the only verse with the phrase “the Father of glory.” This phrase links to New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). The Father of glory will bring forth the city of glory, and He will give us the spiritual wisdom and spiritual revelation in this age to see the eternal New Jerusalem.

God does this not only as the God of glory but as the Father of glory. As the Father, He has imparted His divine life into all His people. This life brings forth New Jerusalem as the city of life.

Do not think it is too hard to have a spiritual vision of New Jerusalem. No. God our Father wants to give us this vision and led Paul to pray for this. We can pray in the same way, Father of glory, give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of You and Your city.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

In the Wilderness or on a High Mountain?

New JerusalemRevelation 17 begins, “And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the judgment of the great harlot.” Verse 3 begins, “And he carried me away in spirit into a wilderness.”

The wilderness is a place of desolation and judgment, in contrast to the high mountain in Revelation 21 for seeing the glorious New Jerusalem. In the wilderness is the harlot but in eternity there is only New Jerusalem, the holy and pure wife of the lamb, Jesus Christ.

When the angel wanted to show John the great harlot in Revelation 17:1-3, he led him into the wilderness. In God’s eyes and in the eyes of those who are inspired by the Holy Spirit, the harlot is one who dwells in the wilderness. She lives in a place where there is no life and no fruit—a barren land. Men today can behold high church buildings, they can take part in well-prepared Sunday services, and they can admire the ability of man, but in the sight of God, everything that has its origin in Babylon is in the wilderness; it is deserted.*

The deciding factor in God’s eyes is not what is done but who is doing it. Anything done by man’s effort apart from the Lord as our life, even if in His name, is in the wilderness and is condemned. This is Matthew 7:21-23. What is blessed by God is full of His life—Christ abiding in us and we abiding in Christ. This is John 15 and this is New Jerusalem.

The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Death and Resurrection for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21–22 New Jerusalem is at the center of the new creation. This is the conclusion and goal of the Bible. Everything positive in the Bible points directly to this conclusion, and the negatives are fully removed by Revelation 20.

Firstly, the Bible shows us that the Triune God was signified by the tree of life. Then He came in incarnation to be the one grain in the flesh, who died and resurrected to produce the many grains. Through incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection God became the many grains which are we. As the many grains we are ground into flour to make one bread, and this bread is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the new man as the organism of the Triune God, which eventually consummates in the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemGenesis 1 speaks of the creation of man. In Genesis 2 man was in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This portrayed God wanting to impart His life into man.

However, due to Satan’s corruption of man in Genesis 3, man was shut out from the tree of life. Then God came in the man Jesus, both to save, to cleanse, us from corruption and to be available to us as the reality of the tree of life.

In John 12:24 Jesus said “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” He came and died (He fell into the ground) and in resurrection brought forth us as many grains sharing His life. Together we, as many grains, are one bread, one Body in Christ (1 Cor. 10:17). The issue of this one bread, one Body, is New Jerusalem.

* The Constitution and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, chapter 1, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

 

Jesus Christ is the Reality Today and in New Jerusalem

In John 1:29 and 3:29 John the Baptist identified the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Bridegroom. In New Jerusalem the Lord is the Lamb on the throne and the Bridegroom.

The New Jerusalem is the ultimate conclusion of the entire Scriptures. In the Gospel of John we see the Lord Jesus as many items. He was recommended by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God and as the Bridegroom. He is also the light, the life, the way, and everything. The New Jerusalem is the all-inclusive embodiment of Christ as everything. In the New Jerusalem Christ is the Lamb, and He is the Bridegroom to marry the New Jerusalem as the bride. In the New Jerusalem Christ is also the light, the life, the way, and the truth, the reality. The New Jerusalem is the embodiment of all that Christ is.*

New JerusalemJesus Christ is our “light of life” (John 8:12) both now and eternally in New Jerusalem. Everything He is in the gospels, He is in eternity. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke He is the new wine for us to drink. Although wine is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem, He is the new wine eternally in the new creation.

In John 6 Jesus is the bread of life to nourish us with Himself as “the life.” In New Jerusalem He is the tree of life to continue nourishing us eternally.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes, even forever” (Heb. 13:8). This verse assures us that everything spoken about what the Lord is in the gospels and epistles is also true in New Jerusalem eternally.

* The Building of God, chapter 4, by Witness Lee.

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New Jerusalem: No Self, No Soul Life

“Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). This is not an option for our Christian life nor for New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPositionally, our self, our old man, has been crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6). But in practicality we often live according to our old man—our old preferences, our independent decision making, and our habitual ways of living. We are like a person born and grown up in country A who is now positioned in country B but still lives like a country A person.

We need to deny ourself so that Christ can live through us. This was Paul’s declaration in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I [the old, natural man] who live, but it is Christ who lives in me…”

For such a life, we need the Spirit to apply the death of Christ to everything natural in us. Second Corinthians 4:7-12 speaks of this. Christ is the treasure in our human vessel but we still need outward circumstances to turn us from our natural living to living by faith in Christ. This portion concludes “death operates in us but life in you.” The operating death works for our denying of self so that life can flow to others.

To deny ourself is to experience the Spirit’s renewing of our entire being. The result is that our constitution and all our daily living is in the new creation where we come to the full reality of New Jerusalem.

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (2)

God is eternal. He created time and the universe because He has a plan and a goal. The center of His goal, in Revelation 21–22, is New Jerusalem, His eternal expression.

New JerusalemA song (musicwords by Witness Lee) presents highlights of God’s actions to accomplish His purpose, to arrive at New Jerusalem. Here are the second part of verses 1 and 2:

He to man is everything
That He might fulfill His plan.

God as life that he may take
And with Him have oneness true.

In the first verse God wants to be everything to man, but how? The second verse answers—God wants to be life to man. This is symbolized by the tree of life shown to Adam in Genesis 2 and plainly spoken by the Lord Jesus in John 3:15-16 and many verses in John 6. By His resurrection life, we can be in Him and He in us (John 14:20); this is God being one with man as the song states.

To believe into Jesus Christ is to receive Him as our eternal life and to become one with Him. “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:4) Christ is our life today and He will appear in glory. Then we will be glorified with Him.

He and we will be a corporate expression of God’s glory. This is New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Photo in Germany by Jenny Grosh.

Christ & His Attributes Become Our Crown

In Revelation 20:4 the faithful believers reign with Christ for 1000 years. In Revelation 22:5 all the believers will be in New Jerusalem and “they will reign forever and ever.”

New JerusalemFor these two stages of reigning, Christ will be our crown in various ways. In Philippians 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 2:19 the believers Paul brought to Christ are his crown.

In 2 Timothy 4:8 “the crown of righteousness” will be to “all those who have loved His appearing.” In James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 the believers who remain faithful to the Lord through trials will receive “the crown of life.” And in 1 Peter 5:4 is the promise of “the unfading crown of glory.”

When we first turned our hearts and  believed into the Lord Jesus Christ, we were born again and He became our life. Then throughout this age this life grows within us, and supplies us with all that Christ is to become our virtues. Through trials these virtues develop and become our crown; the Christ who has been life continually within us also becomes our expression, our radiance.

As we remain faithful to the Lord and love His appearing, something of His wonderful, unlimited person becomes our crown. This is not a physical crown; it is Christ shining Himself out through all of us. The unique Christ shining through all the believers becomes the radiant glory of New Jerusalem.

The Book of Life for the City of Life

The Bible certainly is a book of life, presenting God in Christ as life to man. This presentation is 1) in the Old testament in allegories/pictures beginning with the tree of life in Genesis 2, and 2) in the New Testament in reality. “Christ our life” (Col. 3:4).

Philippians 4:3 and six verses in Revelation speak of “the book of life.” This book does not refer directly to the Bible but rather to a book of names of everyone chosen to participate in the blessings on the new earth, including New Jerusalem. These blessings come from the eternal life flowing out of the throne of God and the Lamb; hence to be named in this book is a matter of life.

New JerusalemToday we participate in the blessings of the eternal life. These blessings will increase in the coming kingdom age and reach their peak in New Jerusalem.

In eternity all whose names are written in the book of life will be either constituents of New Jerusalem (e.g. those referred to in Phil. 4:3) or citizens of the nations around New Jerusalem (e.g. those referred to in Rev. 13:8).

In contrast, those not named in this book will marvel when they see the beast that was killed and resuscitated (Rev. 17:8). Finally, “if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Today the door is open to turn our heart to receive the Lord Jesus as life. Lord, come into me, live in and through me daily, and prepare me for New Jerusalem.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (6)

Genesis 1–2 presents many pictures. The reality of these is in the New Testament and their consummation is New Jerusalem. A song couples these two ends of the Bible. Verse 5 of the song is about the tree of life in the garden of Eden but outside of man. Verse 6:

But in the city glorious the tree
Within the corporate “man” doth grow, thereby
Revealing Christ Himself as life divine
New JerusalemBeing to man his inward life supply.

In New Jerusalem is “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (Rev. 22:2). This is Jesus Christ, who is “the life” to become, through death and resurrection, “our life” (Col. 3:4).

As the reality of the bread of life, He is our daily nourishment that we may “live because of Him.” We, like Paul, should be able to declare “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).

The song says the tree grows within the “corporate man.” This is a reference to New Jerusalem, the culmination of all God’s building work. This work builds all the believers together. One reference to this is in Ephesians 2:22, “you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” New Jerusalem is God’s dwelling place.

In Romans 12, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” This is our position from the time we believe. Now, by Christ as our life supply, we grow in His life for the building up of the one Body, the “corporate man” which becomes 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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

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