No Devil In or Near New Jerusalem

The devil is not in New Jerusalem and has no way to bother us in New Jerusalem nor to bother the nations around New Jerusalem.

First John 3:8 tells us “the devil has sinned from the beginning.” The devil is the source of sin which brought in death. John 8:44 tells us that the devil is a murderer from the beginning and that he is the father, the source, of lies.  The nature of the devil is a lie because truth is not in him. This is the exact opposite of New Jerusalem in which Christ is the life and reality and where there is no lie.

New JerusalemJesus has overcome the devil. In John 14:30 He told us that the ruler of this world (the devil) “has nothing in Me.” Hebrews 2:14 says, “Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil.”

It seems to us today that the devil is still active. The reason is that the judgment accomplished on the cross has not fully been carried out. Therefore, Ephesians 4:25-27 warns us to put away lies and anger so that we give no place to the devil. We wage this battle continually by applying the law of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2) to overcome the law of sin in our flesh (Rom. 7:20).

In Revelation 12:9 the devil is cast down and in 20:2 he is bound for a thousand years, and in 20:10 he is cast into the lake of fire. This is the final step of the judgment accomplished on the cross. As a result, the devil will never bother New Jerusalem nor the entire new creation.

And, since the devil is Satan, New Jerusalem has Neither Sin nor Satan.
Here is a summary of all posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL.

New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned

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

What is the adorning of New Jerusalem? Let us ask the Bible, putting aside any natural ideas. The first use of adorn in the New Testament is Matthew 23:29, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build up the graves of the prophets and adorn the tombs of the righteous.” Any outward adornment without inner reality is hypocrisy; surely this is not New Jerusalem.

Next, Luke 21:5 says that “the temple…was adorned with beautiful stones and consecrated offerings.” In the following verse the Lord says this will be torn down; clearly this outward adorning was not precious to God.

Thirdly, 1 Timothy 2:9 instructs “that women adorn themselves in proper clothing with modesty and sobriety, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothing.” Again, adorning (both in this age and for New Jerusalem) is not something outward but rather inward virtues. First Peter 3:3 is the same.

Titus 2:9-10 exhorts “slaves to be subject to their own masters in all things, to be well pleasing, not contradicting, not pilfering, but showing all good faithfulness that they may adorn the teaching of our Savior God in all things.” This teaching, which is with grace (v. 11), should soak into our inner being to become our pleasantness and faithfulness and wash us from arguments and greed. This is an adorning for which the Lord looks. First Peter 3:5 is comparable.

These verses tell us that the adorning of New Jerusalem is inward, not outward. The next post will look more specifically at what constitutes the adorning of New Jerusalem.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem, the Growth of God’s House

New Jerusalem

The church is the living house of the living God and is God manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15-16). New Jerusalem is the enlargement, the expansion of the church with God’s Old Testament people.

The prior post focused on Colossians 2:19—the church’s growth (increase) to New Jerusalem is by the growth (increase) of God—God in Christ spreading and increasing in us. In Colossians 2:16–3:4 this growth is by our experiencing Christ as the reality of every positive thing, by holding Him as our Head, by our mind being set on things of Christ above, by being governed by Christ Himself rather than by outward ordinances, and by letting Christ our life live in us.

All of these contributors to growth characterize New Jerusalem. In New Jerusalem we will be full grown with Christ as the reality of everything, we will be fully occupied with the things of Christ, we will be governed by God and the Lamb on the throne, and He will be our life and our living.

Lord, keep us with Yourself every day that You may grow in us unto New Jerusalem!

New Jerusalem, City of the Living God

New JerusalemFirst Timothy 3:15 tells us “the house of God is the church of the living God.” This house will be enlarged to be the city of God, New Jerusalem.

At Timothy’s time, the word church did not denote a physical building. The word referred to God’s people. The believers in Timothy’s time were the house of God. Today we are the house of God. In eternity all God’s people will be His city, New Jerusalem.

The word church in the New Testament refers not to a physical building, but to the corporate people who believe in Jesus Christ. Examples:
• Matthew 16:18, “I will build My church”
• Matthew 18:17, “tell it to the church”
• Acts 11:22, “the ears of the church”
• Acts 12:5, “prayer was being made fervently by the church”
• Acts 20:28, “shepherd the church of God”
• Romans 16:5, “greet the church”
Many more examples can be seen in the following books of the New Testament.

The tabernacle and temple as the house of God in the Old Testament were pictures of what God desires. Jesus Christ is the reality (John 2:19, 21). Through death and resurrection we have been brought into Him to be the enlarged reality of the temple (1 Cor. 3:16).

This house, this temple, grows with “the growth of God” (Col. 2:19) through the New Testament. The full growth of this “house-temple” will be the “city-temple” New Jerusalem. The characteristics of New Jerusalem will be the same as the house of the living God except much greater in quantity, much richer in expression, and without the present distractions of our fallen nature.

Related post: The Living House Becomes the Living City

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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.

Things Written in the Old Testament Point to Christ and to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIsrael’s journey to Mt. Sinai depicts our Christian journey to a point where we are “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10).

This paralleling of Israel and Christian life is seen in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our admonition.” Thank the Lord for the Old Testament examples and for the fact that “they were written” for our sake.

The same is seen in Romans 15:4, “For the things that were written previously were written for our instruction, in order that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Again, thank the Lord! The Bible gives us instruction and encouragement and with these we take the Lord as our endurance.

Israel journeyed to Mt. Sinai, received the vision of the tabernacle, built it, and brought it into the good land. Later the tabernacle was enlarged and made more solid with the building of the temple in Jerusalem. All of this history is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement. And all this history points toward New Jerusalem.

All this history was a shadow of Jesus Christ, the reality (Col. 2:16-19). Our job today is to hold Him that He may grow in us to fill us with reality (2:19). Today this reality is in the Body of Christ as God’s and our dwelling which will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem as God’s and our eternal dwelling.

I Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* focuses on New Jerusalem. Beginning with this post, I will present an excerpt from each article in this publication. What I present is only a brief nugget, not a summary of the article; the whole can be read online.

The title of the first article includes John’s words from Revelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” “I Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem”—the Vision of the New Jerusalem as a Corporate God-man (by Ron Kangas).

Just as Christ the Redeemer is not literally a lamb with seven physical eyes (5:6), the New Jerusalem is not a literal city but a sign of the glorious fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose, according to the desire of His heart, to have a corporate expression of Himself in Christ as the firstborn Son and the believers in Christ as the many sons.

New JerusalemJohn the Baptist “saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). This is a reference to the Old Testament sacrifices. Those physical lambs served as a figure, a portrait, of Jesus Christ as the real Lamb of God.

John the apostle saw “a Lamb standing as having just been slain.” Here, as in John 1, the Lamb is not a literal animal, but a symbol of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, this Lamb has “seven eyes” which are not literal but “are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 5:6).

Spiritual symbolism permeates Revelation. New Jerusalem is a symbol. New Jerusalem is not a physical city because it is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:9-10). The Lamb is God, who put on humanity. The Lamb’s wife is humanity who has received divine life. May the Lord give us such a revelation of New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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.

The Lamb from Exodus to New Jerusalem

Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God is intimately connected to New Jerusalem:
• Revelation 19:7 announces the marriage of the Lamb and 21:9-10 says New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
• John saw no temple in the city because “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22).
• New Jerusalem “has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23).
• The center of New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” from which flows the river of water of life with the tree of life (22:1-3).

New JerusalemJesus is the reality of all the Old Testament lambs. John the Baptist “saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). Further-more, 1 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that Christ is our Passover. He is not only the reality of the passover lamb but also the reality of every part of the passover.

Exodus 12 describes the passover. Each house took a lamb, kept it four days, killed it, put its blood outside, roasted it with fire, and ate it. Exodus 12:14 says, “this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall keep it as a feast to Jehovah; throughout your generations as a perpetual statute you shall keep it as a feast.”

In New Jerusalem we will have the eternal feast and the eternal memorial of Jesus Christ as our Lamb who redeemed us and forever nourishes us.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

More about the lamb and passover is in Life-Study of Exodus, chapters 23-25.

The New Testament Tabernacle is Alive

New JerusalemThe first tabernacle in the New Testament age is in John 1. Verses 1 and 14 say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and tabernacled* among us.” The ultimate tabernacle is New Jerusalem.

The Old Testament tabernacle was a physical building but the New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in man. This is a big change. The Old Testament things were pictures but in the New Testament Jesus declared “I am the reality” (John 14:6).

In the Old Testament picture, the high priest, after coming to the altar and laver then partaking of the bread on the table and being in the light of the lampstand, could enter the holy of holies to be in God’s presence.

Today all the New Testament believers are priests (Revelation 1:6) and all of us come to the presence of God by coming to Jesus Christ. He is the embodiment of God—“in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

Now God in Christ dwells/tabernacles in all His believers. Christ in us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Christ lives in us and is being formed in us (Galatians 2:20, 4:19).

The New Testament tabernacle with God dwelling in man will continue for eternity. In Revelation 21:2-3 John saw New Jerusalem and “heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them…”

How we thank the Lord for the New Testament tabernacle. Lord, bring us fully into the experience of the tabernacle and bring us onward to New Jerusalem.

Many English versions say “lived” or “dwelt” but the Greek word is clearly “tabernacled,” a verb form of the noun used in speaking about the Old Testament tabernacle (e.g. Acts 7:44, Hebrews 8:5, 9:2). The translation “tabernacled” is used by Young, Amplified, and King James II, and appears in footnotes in Darby, ERV, and ASV.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Spirit and the Bride Say Come

New JerusalemIn Revelation 22 the Lord Jesus says three times, “I come quickly” (verses 7, 12, 20). In 22:17 we read the response: “the Spirit and the bride say, Come!” This cry, Come, is in the present age; it is a cry for the visible coming of the Lord Jesus, which will end this age.

The bride here is New Jerusalem, as clearly stated in Revelation 21:2, 9-10. In verse 22:17 the Spirit and the bride speak together, showing that they are one. The Spirit has not only regenerated the members of this corporate bride (John 3:6) but has also transformed them (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Now the members of the bride live in the reality of one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). This oneness in living is demonstrated by the oneness in speaking with the Spirit.

In [Revelation] chs. 2 and 3 it was the Spirit speaking to the churches; here, at the end of the book, it is the Spirit and the bride, the church, speaking together as one. This indicates that the church’s experience of the Spirit has improved to the extent that she has become one with the Spirit, who is the ultimate consummation of the Triune God.*

Reaching such oneness with the Spirit is the completion of preparation of the bride for the marriage of the Lamb. This oneness will be a characteristic of New Jerusalem. To grow into this living oneness, we need the rich supply from our Head, Jesus Christ. This supply comes through our dropping all distracting involvements and holding Him as our reality, as in Colossians 2:16–3:4.

We can pray, Lord, I love You and I open to You. Save me from my outward formalities so that I may experience You as my reality and receive Your rich supply for me to live one with You. This is the preparation of the bride and the path to New Jerusalem.

* See Revelation 22:17 in this online NT (© LSM).

New Jerusalem in a Divine Metaphor (2)

The divine metaphor in Galatians 4:21-31 presents characteristics of the heavenly New Jerusalem. Galatians 5 continues, as shown by its further speaking concerning freedom and slavery. Here are two characteristics of New Jerusalem presented in Galatians 5:1-6, a few more will be in the next post.

New Jerusalem

Christ: Jesus Christ is the center and reality of our present Christian life and of New Jerusalem. His is the first name and the last name in the New Testament (Matthew 1:1, Revelation 22:21). He is in us and we are in Him (John 14:20). He is our Lord, our life, and much more. He is our unique center. He is the focus of every part of the New Testament. Creation is in Him, through Him, and unto Him; He is the Firstborn from the dead; He has first place in all things (Colossians 1:15-18). He is “all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

Grace: When we experience Jesus Christ, He is grace to us. In His incarnation He was “full of grace” (John 1:14). In His incarnation grace came (v. 17) to man; came can literally be translated became or came into being. God coming in the man Jesus to all men is grace. Therefore John says, “Of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (v. 16). Grace for our Christian life today is expressed at the beginning and end of many epistles, such as Romans 1:7, 16:20 and 2 Peter 1:2, 3:18. The entire Bible concludes with grace to us (Revelation 22:21). Grace upon grace today is wonderful; surely there will be even more in New Jerusalem.

In our Christian walk today, may we never be separated from Christ nor fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4). May we be those who “receive the abundance of grace” (Romans 5:17) that we may “be empowered in the grace which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). This grace will carry us forward to New Jerusalem. As declared in 1 Thessalonians 5:28:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is the House of God and the Gate of Heaven

New JerusalemJesus came out of heaven from God to bring God to us and resurrected to bring us to God. His “travels” opened the way for New Jerusalem to be built that it may come out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:2).

Genesis 28:10-22 records Jacob’s dream and his response. The core of this dream is, “There was a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And there was Jehovah…” In John 1:51 Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, You shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Here He reveals Himself as the reality of the ladder joining earth to heaven and bringing heaven to earth.

Upon waking up, Jacob declared,

The Lord is in this place….How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

During His ministry on earth, recorded in the four gospels, Jesus was the house of God and gate of heaven. Today, Jesus Christ with all the members of His Body is the enlarged house of God and gate of heaven. Eternally, Jesus Christ with New Jerusalem will be the consummate house of God and the gate of heaven.

To appreciate this matter, we need a dream, a heavenly revelation. We can pray, Lord, give me the New Testament version of Jacob’s dream. Grant me Your presence in a stronger way and show me the house of God and the gate of heaven.

Such a dream will energize us to live in the Body of Christ today and to go onward to New Jerusalem.

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

Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

New JerusalemRevelation 21:12-3 and 21 describe the city of New Jerusalem, saying, “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates….the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These gates are our entrance into the city. They are not physical pearls but rather portray the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which we are brought into the new creation and enter New Jerusalem. As He said in John 14:6, “I am the way.”
Here is a list of prior posts on this topic (verse numbers are in Revelation 21).

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God
In New Jerusalem the golden base and street (v. 18, 21) signify the Father’s divine nature, the pearl gates (v. 12) portray the Son’s death and resurrection, and the precious stones (v. 18-20) depict the transforming work of the Holy spirit. The composition of the city is the Triune God mingled with God’s people.

Three Gates on Each of Four Sides
New Jerusalem has twelve gates (v. 12-13, 21). The three gates on each side show that the Triune God is our entrance. Gates on four sides proclaim that the city is open to all humanity.

The Unmeasured Gates
Revelation 21 does not record the measurement for the gates of New Jerusalem. This probably indicates that Christ’s death and resurrection have unlimited (immeasurable) efficacy.

The Law’s Requirements at the Gates
A Living that Fulfills the Law’s Requirements
The entrance to New Jerusalem is guarded by the law, signified by the angels at the gates (v. 12). Whoever enters New Jerusalem must satisfy the law’s requirements. In ourselves we can never satisfy the law, but Christ has done it for us!

Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
We Enter through Faith, not Works
The pearls (v. 21) portray the death and resurrection of Christ. Through faith and baptism we are united with Him in His death and resurrection; this is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

The Entrance into New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem Has a Separating Wall and Open Gates
New Jerusalem has a great and high wall (v. 12) for separation and it has twelve gates for its entrance. Sinners are kept out by the wall but by faith we enter through the redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Enter New Jerusalem Now
Our receiving of the crucified and resurrected Jesus is our entering into New Jerusalem. Through His death all the negative things that would keep us out of the city have been removed. Through His resurrection we receive the eternal life, the life (v. 22:1-2) of New Jerusalem.

We Have the Way, Let’s Enter In
Jesus is our way, our reality, and our life. His coming to abide in us and bringing us to abide in Him is our way to New Jerusalem. We should not look for a way apart from Jesus Himself.

We Who Wash, Eat, and Enter Are Blessed
Revelation 22:14 declares “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Three steps are presented: we wash by confessing our sins, we receive Jesus as our life supply, and we enter New Jerusalem.

Into God’s Kingdom for New Jerusalem
God the Father “delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:12-13). This transfer from the authority of Satan to the authority of God is the basis for our entering New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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