Eternal Life and New Jerusalem

In Christ we have eternal life. New Jerusalem is an eternal city, so it is intimately tied with eternal life. This post begins a look at that which is eternal throughout the New Testament, and the relationship to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemJohn 3:15, 16, 36 (and many more verses) give the first step – whoever believes into the Son of God has eternal life. Thus, whoever believes also will be part of New Jerusalem, the city of life. This life is the Son, Jesus Christ, as we see in John 11:25 and 14:6; hence, He who has the Son has the eternal life (1 John 5:11-12).

The Lord also tells us, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). To eat His flesh is to receive by faith all that He did in giving His body for us; and to drink His blood is to receive by faith all that He accomplished in shedding His blood for us*. This eating and drinking will continue into New Jerusalem where we will eat the fruit of the tree of life and drink the water of the river of life.

This eating and drinking is not physical but is spiritual, by faith. Many were bothered by the Lord’s word about eating Him (John 6:60) because they only knew the natural realm. But He said (v. 63), “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” Then Peter confessed (v. 68), “You have words of eternal life.” Lord, keep us eating Your words of life.

When we are in spirit and receive the Lord’s words as spirit and life, we are nourished and have a foretaste of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

* From footnote 2 on John 6:54 in the Online Recovery Version New Testament, © LSM.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The heart of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. He (not calamities nor judgments nor beasts) is our focus. In Revelation our Lord Jesus is seen in many ways. He is working to conclude this age, to bring the kingdom of God to earth, and to consummate God’s economy with the new creation. Here is a link and one highlight from each post on the wonderful Jesus Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRev. 1: in verse 5  Jesus Christ is the faithful Witness. He is faithful to care for us and to care for God’s purpose through us, all the way to New Jerusalem.

Rev. 1: in verses 17-18 He declares, “Do not fear; I am the First and the Last and the living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living forever.” We should not fear anything because He is first and last; nothing is outside the limits He sets.

Rev. 2: in verse 12 He “has the sharp two-edged sword.” This is His living and operative word, which divides all the mixture in our being (Heb. 4:12) and washes away all our blemishes to present us to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:26-27).

Rev. 3: in verse 7 Jesus Christ is “the Holy One” sanctifying us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

Rev. 4–5: in verse 5:5 Jesus Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” He, the victorious One, defeated God’s enemies to clear the way for our redemption, regeneration, and perfection.

Rev. 6–9: in verse 8:3 Christ adds Himself as incense to our prayers that they may be a sweet-smelling savor to God. These prayers of believers on earth cooperating with the heavens open the way for the seven trumpets.

Rev. 10–11: in verses 10:1-7 Christ comes to claim the earth and to declare that there will be no more delay in completing the mystery of God, leading to New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.

Rev. 12: verse 10 has a loud proclamation, “Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.”

Rev. 12: verse 11 says that we overcome the devil because of the blood of the Lamb, the blood shed in His redemptive death. We also overcome because of the word of our testimony of all that Jesus Christ has accomplished.

Rev. 14: chapter 14 begins with praise. There are many praises in Revelation—here and chapters 5, 12, 19—and surely there will be more praises in New Jerusalem.

Rev. 17: verse 14, “The Lamb will overcome, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings.”

Rev. 18-19: chapter 19 begins with praise, “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.”

Rev. 19: verse 7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem, in 21:9-10] has made herself ready.”

Rev. 19: verse 11, “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sits on it called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” What Jesus Christ is, not what we are, accomplishes everything leading to New Jerusalem.

Rev. 19: Christ is our fine garments. These qualify us 1) to attend the marriage dinner of the Lamb, 2) to be part of His victorious army, and 3) to participate in New Jerusalem.

Rev. 20: the millennium in verses 20:4-6 has many parallels with New Jerusalem.

Rev. 20: in the second half of the chapter, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man who has been given all judgement (John 5:26-27), clears up everything to bring in the new creation.

New JerusalemRev. 21: verse 2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Rev. 21: in verse 22 John saw no temple in New Jerusalem, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. God and Jesus Christ are the living temple of the city. There is no physical temple.

Rev. 22: in verse 2 is the tree of life, a symbol of Jesus Christ, who is our life and our life supply now and eternally.

 

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem (2)

Revelation 19 has an extensive presentation and much praise of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who carries out God’s move on earth from His time on earth unto New Jerusalem in eternity. (posts on verses 1-6 and 7-9)

New JerusalemVerse 11: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sits on it called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” Jesus Christ is faithful and true in accomplishing God’s economy. If we think that He is unfaithful in our lives, it is because we are looking at our interests and goals rather than God’s.

“In righteousness He judges and makes war”—this removes all the negative forces on earth so that God’s kingdom can fill the earth in the coming age and in New Jerusalem.

Verses 12-13 and 15-16: “And His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written which no one knows but Himself. And He is clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and His name is called the Word of God. And out of His mouth proceeds a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations; and He will shepherd them with an iron rod; and He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. And He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written,
King Of Kings And Lord Of Lords.”

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the Word of God, the King, and much more. His person has many marvelous aspects. His characteristics in these verses are described in notes here. In Revelation 19 He clears the way for New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 17 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit, the emphasis, of Revelation. Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to develop His corporate testimony, which consummates with New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 15 to 18 is mostly judgments (ch. 17). Verse 17:14 says, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they who are with Him, the called and chosen and faithful, will also overcome them.” Here again the Lord is declared to be the Ruler of the whole earth.

In 17:14 He displays His victory. The victory is simple—the Bible gives no details of this “war.” The victory is simple because the war is extremely short, exactly like the war in 19:19-21. It is short because the Lamb is the overcoming and almighty Lion (5:5). The ultimate result of these victories is a new creation, with New Jerusalem, in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).

Verse 17:14 also says, “they who are with Him, the called and chosen and faithful, will also overcome them.” The faithful believers with the Lamb overcome all the opposers, as also in chapters 12 and 19. These believers  participate in the Lamb’s victory.

In 1:5 and 3:14 the Lord Jesus Christ is the faithful One, and in 19:11 His name is “Faithful and True.” Furthermore, in 21:5 and 22:6 His words are faithful and true. The faithful believers are those who love the Lord, love His word, and take His word as their nourish-ment and enlightening. This is John 14:23, ” If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.”

Certainly in New Jerusalem we will all love the Lord and keep His word absolutely, but we need to be perfected now. Lord, grant us more love for You and Your word every day; form Yourself as the faithful One in us.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 2 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the centrality of Revelation (19:10). Here are more characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ related to our progress to New Jerusalem (Rev. 2). Some of these characteristics are also in Revelation 1:13-20.

New JerusalemWe see the Lord Jesus Christ walking in the midst of the seven lampstands (1:12-13), the seven churches (1:20) and caring for them in Revelation 2–3. His care is not limited to this age, because the lampstands today are the forerunner of the eternal lampstand, New Jerusalem.

Revelation 2:1 repeats the fact that the Lord is “He who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” His walking and speaking care for the churches. As our High Priest, His care brings us to Himself and ministers Himself to us. His goal is to be glorified in us when He returns (2 Thes. 1:10) and in New Jerusalem.

Our response to His care should be the best love for Him (2:4) so that our love governs our working for Him (2:2).

In 2:8 the Lord describes Himself as “the First and the Last, who became dead and lived again.” Nothing in our lives starts without Him and nothing ends apart from Him. Therefore, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you” (1 Peter 5:7). Lord, fulfill in us Your word in 2:10, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

In 2:12 He is the One “who has the sharp two-edged sword.” This sword is His living and operative word which is sharper than any physical sword and which can divide all the mixture in our being (Heb. 4:12). By the dividing, He can wash away all our blemishes to present us to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:26-27), causing us to match New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 145-150

This concludes our look at plain words and shadows in Psalms about Christ, God’s house, God’s city, and God’s blessing to the whole earth. The eternal reality of these is Christ on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).

Psalms 145 to 150 anticipate eternity in New Jerusalem full of praises and singing. Here are some of the praises:
bread, pixabay.comPsalm 145:10, “All Your works will praise You, O Jehovah; and Your faithful ones will bless You.”
Psalm 146: 1, “Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah, O my soul!”
Psalm 146:2, “I will praise Jehovah while I live; I will sing psalms to my God while I yet have being.”
Psalm 148:1-2, “HallelujahPraise Him…Praise Him”
Psalm 149:1 “Hallelujah! Sing a new song to Jehovah; sing His praise in the congregation of His faithful ones.”
Psalm 150:1-5, “Hallelujah! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him…Praise Him” New Jerusalem is His eternal sanctuary in which we will praise God.
Psalm 150:6, “Let everything that has breath praise Jehovah. Hallelujah!” We have breath now so we can praise Him now and unto New Jerusalem.

We should not delay our praising and singing until New Jerusalem. The church life in Jerusalem began with “praising God” (Acts 2:47), and Hebrews 13:15 says “Through Him [Jesus, v. 13:12] then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name.”

Colossians 3:16 is also for us today, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.” When His word is life to us, we sing with grace in our hearts to God.

Our foretaste of New Jerusalem is our current praising and singing.

Hallelujah is a Hebrew word meaning praise Jah; Jah being a shortened form of Jehovah.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Creation: Curiosity versus Life

After the termination of the old creation (Rev. 20:11-15), John tells us, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1-2).

New JerusalemRevelation 21–22 gives a very limited description of the new creation. The new creation has New Jerusalem as its center and will be full of God’s blessing. Despite this wonderful situation, it is all too easy to be curious and ask many questions about many details of the new creation.

Do not look to this blog for answers or speculations. John 20:30-31 says, “Moreover indeed many other signs also Jesus did before His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.”

I believe that this word in John 20 applies not only to what “Jesus did before His disciples” but also to the entire Bible. God did not speak to answer our questions nor to satisfy our curiosity. God spoke His living word so that we might receive His life and participate in the accomplishing of His purpose, which culminates in New Jerusalem.

The Bible is a book of life. There are many pictures in the Old Testament followed by the reality, Jesus Christ, as “the life” (John 14:6) and “our life” (Col. 3:4) in the New Testament. The Bible is the written word of God and Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God, the Word of life (1 John 1:1). The Bible is a great help for us to contact Him, receive life, grow in life, and mature as people of life to match New Jerusalem as the city of life.

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.

The Angel Brings Us into New Jerusalem

Several posts in January looked at aspects of New Jerusalem portrayed in the early chapters of Exodus. Later, God promised “I am now sending an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared” (Exodus 23:20).

New JerusalemGod prepared and promised the good land to Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 15:7, 26:3-4). Ultimately the place God has prepared and promised is New Jerusalem, our eternal good land. Thus, the Angel bringing Israel to their place is a picture of Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem.

The Angel in Exodus 23 is God in Christ, as shown in Exodus 3:2, 4 where the Angel appears and God speaks. This is also seen in John 10:7-11 where Jesus Christ is the sent “Angel” and the Father is speaking.

Exodus 23:20 says that the Angel will keep us. Then 23:21-22 commands us to “listen to His voice.” He will keep us but we need to cooperate by listening to Him. In John 14:23 Jesus tells us, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Then in verse 24 He tells us, “The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

The Father sent the Son and the Father speaks through the Son. They keep us on the way to New Jerusalem by making an abode with us. The primary “keeping” is not preserving us from outward problems but maintaining our fellowship with the Lord. The key is our loving the Lord. By loving Him, our living, our daily walk, is brought into Him and He becomes the essence of our daily living. This inward reality is our foretaste of the place, New Jerusalem, to which the Angel is bringing us.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

We Enter New Jerusalem by Faith

New JerusalemGod has prepared a city for His people (Hebrews 11:16), who are people of faith (the subject of Hebrews 11). This city is New Jerusalem. And, by faith we  “have come forward to…the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22).

God has prepared New Jerusalem. We do not see the city with our eyes but “faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

This faith does not come from our determination. This faith does not come from convincing ourselves. Faith comes from God:

Acts 14:27  “God opened a door of faith.”
Romans 10:17  “Faith comes out of hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
2 Peter 1:1  “Simon Peter…to those who have been allotted faith equally precious as ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

We have faith because God has allotted it to us. In 2 Peter 1:1 many English translations say that we have received/obtained like precious faith. It does not originate in us; God allotted faith to us and we received it from God.

Other verses speak of our faith and indicate that we do need to exercise faith. True! But we must remember that “our faith” does not originate with us.

By this faith we give attention to the unseen, eternal things. By faith come forward to and substantiate New Jerusalem.

Receive the Word with Faith to Get Ready

In Matthew 24 and 25 the Lord Jesus urged us to be ready for His coming. This readiness for Him as the Bridegroom is related to preparation of New Jerusalem as His bride.

The preparation is carried out not by our own zeal or energy but by our cooperation with Him. Hebrews 3:7 to 4:13 speaks about the failure of the children of Israel to pass through the wilderness and enter the good land. Their journey is like our journey as virgins going forth to meet the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13). Thus we can learn from their failure.

New JerusalemHebrews 4:12 says, “the word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The condition of our heart is important in our being ready for the Lord.

Hebrews 4:2 says of those who died in the wilderness, “the word heard did not profit them, not being mixed together with faith in those who heard.” When we receive the word of the Lord with faith and say amen to it, then it will be living and operative in us.

The living and operative word profits us when it nourishes our spirit, divides our spirit from our soul, and operates in our heart. The gradual nourishing, dividing, and operating get us ready for the Lord’s return and for New Jerusalem.

A song:
__Jesus is coming, now He’s on His way—
____Amen the Word of God!
__Would you be ready if He comes today—
____Amen the Word of God!
__His Word prepares us, to Jesus bears us—
____Amen the Word of God!

The word of God is living and operative!

Incorruptible and Undefiled and Unfading

Peter declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

New JerusalemIn his epistles Peter mentions several things included in this inheritance. Since Peter’s epistles conclude with the new heavens and new earth (2 Peter 3:13), this implies to me that the inheritance also includes New Jerusalem. Certainly the characteristics “incorruptible and undefiled and unfading” are true of New Jerusalem.

Our God and Father has regenerated us unto this inheritance. By our natural birth we are not qualified. Our second birth, our birth as children of God (John 1:12-13), is the initial step toward this inheritance. Now we are growing in this life unto maturity, which is the qualification for us to inherit it.

We were “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). The incorruptible nature of the seed matches the incorruptible nature of the inheritance.

Our regeneration is “unto a living hope…unto an inheritance.” Our inheritance is not material riches, which are lifeless, corruptible, and fading. Our inheritance is living. New Jerusalem is a living, incorruptible, undefiled, unfading city and regeneration puts us on the path unto this wonderful city.

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