See the Kingdom Coming in Glory

One day the Lord Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, There are some of those standing here who shall by no means taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:28). How is this related to New Jerusalem? Simple; New Jerusalem is the ultimate manifestation of God’s kingdom, with the throne of God and the Lamb at its center.

The fulfillment of the Lord’s word is in Matthew 17:1-2, “And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain privately. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.”

New JerusalemThe Lord’s transfiguration was the release of glory from within Him. This was also His coming in His kingdom. This transfiguration was temporary. When they went down the mountain the glory was again concealed within Him.

The glory will again be manifested when the Lord Jesus returns visibly. In Luke 21:27 He says that men shaken by the tribulation “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” And, “when the Son of Man comes in His glory…He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt 25:31).

Based on these verses, we should expect that God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3) will radiating great glory.


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 LSM.

New Jerusalem Foreshadowed in Exodus

All the positive things in the Old Testament are symbols, pictures, or prophecies of the New Testament realities. Some of these pictures correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a list of posts showing parallels between Exodus and New Jerusalem.

We are on a journey to the mountain of God to see a vision, as John saw New Jerusalem from a high mountain. The stages of this journey:
Exodus 12—14: we are redeemed and nourished by the Lamb to leave Egypt
Exodus 15: we sing and praise the Lord on our journey to the mountain
Exodus 16: we eat the manna, a picture of Christ as our heavenly nourishment
Exodus 17: we drink the water which flows out of the smitten rock
Exodus 17: we fight against the flesh by walking in spirit

After we reach the mountain, more steps are needed to see God’s revelation of the building of the tabernacle, a type of New Jerusalem:
Exodus 19—23: God’s commands show that apart from Christ we cannot make the journey
Exodus 23: God promised that His Angel would lead us onward
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s redemption
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s absoluteness for God

When we go up the mountain, we have undivided time with the Lord to see a full vision.
Exodus 24—25: on the mountain we are in a cloud to cut our view of other things
Exodus 24—25: Moses’ time in the cloud prefigures many NT experiences
Exodus 24, 33, 34: Moses had many times of fellowship with God

The holy of holies in the tabernacle depicts New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies.
Exodus 25-26: the ark, expiation cover, and cherubim of glory portray Christ and the city
Exodus 26: the veil has been rent by the death of Christ, so we can enter New Jerusalem
Exodus 26: the veil portrays the Lord Jesus, who is the reality in New Jerusalem
Exodus 28: the breastplate with gold and precious stones represents aspects of the city

Exodus 40: glory fills the tabernacle, portraying New Jerusalem, a city of glory

All the events that happened with Israel are an example written for us (1 Cor. 10).
The journey in Exodus
has many symbols of our experiences of Christ and the Spirit.

New Jerusalem

 Photo courtesy of NASA.

 

The Son Comes with Glory and the Kingdom

The Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory in three stages: on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2), on the clouds (Matt. 24:30), and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-11).

New JerusalemThe glory on the mountain fulfilled the promise that some would “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (16:28). The glory and the kingdom appear together.

In the glory of His second coming “He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31). The throne indicates the kingdom, again coupling the glory and the kingdom. The glory of New Jerusalem is with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), again linking the glory and the kingdom.

The union of glory and kingdom matches God’s purpose expressed in the creation of man: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man was created in God’s image so that God may become man’s life and be expressed through man. This corresponds to the glory. Created man given dominion is for God to reign over the earth through man. This reigning is the kingdom.

The glory and the kingdom are with Jesus Christ in Matthew. However, He is not alone. God’s purpose in Genesis 1 involves a corporate man. This is now the new man, which we have put on, where “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Jesus Christ radiates the glory and reigns through the corporate new man which grows unto New Jerusalem.

This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:12: “God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” We have been called to participate in God’s kingdom and His glory. This begins from our being born into the kingdom (John 3:5), continues with our transformation in glory (2 Cor. 3:18) and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

The Son is the Brightness of God’s Glory, Both Now and in New Jerusalem

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the Son of God, who is God (v. 8), is “the effulgence of His [God’s] glory.” This effulgence/radiance/brightness/brilliance° ‘is like the shining or the brightness of the light of the sun. The Son is the shining, the brightness, of the Father’s glory.’* This is true today and will be visible to all in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 21:11 says that New Jerusalem came down “having the glory of God” and verse 23 says “the glory of God illumined” the city New Jerusalem.

With Hebrews and Revelation together, we realize that New Jerusalem has the glory of God because the Son is in New Jerusalem, and that the glory of God illuminates the city because God in the Son shines in it.

God’s glory radiating through Jesus was seen when He took three disciples up the mountain. Matthew 17:2, “He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.” This was a foretaste of the glory of New Jerusalem.

The brilliance on the mountain was temporary but the Lord told us people “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). This will be His visible return to earth, preparing the way to New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 24:30, as well as 16:27 and 25:31, Jesus speaks of the Son of Man coming in glory. Hebrews speaks of the effulgence of the Son of God. Both are true because Jesus Christ is both Man and God.

The mountain, the Lord’s coming on the clouds, and New Jerusalem descending introduce three stages of the Son as the brightness of God’s glory.

° various translations, thanks to biblehub.com.
* from footnote on Heb. 1:3 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Photo via Good Free Photos.

 

In the Cloud for the Lord’s Presence

The Spirit will bring us up to a high mountain to see and enter New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). On this mountain, we will be in a cloud which cuts off our seeing of everything else. Moses; Peter, James, and John; and Saul all had such “cloud” experiences.

New JerusalemIn these experiences the “cloud” cuts off our view of everything, but that is not the goal. The goal of the cloud is to separate us from everything into the Lord’s presence that we may focus all our attention on Him.

Exodus 24:15–25:1 say, “Moses went up to the top of the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. And the glory of Jehovah settled on Mount Sinai….And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud…and was on the mountain forty days and forty nights….Then Jehovah spoke to Moses.” Moses was in the cloud to behold the glory of the Lord and to hear His speaking.

On the mountain in Matthew 17, while Peter was speaking, “behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight. Hear Him!” The cloud brought God’s voice to turn Peter from everything else to Jesus Christ.

In Acts 9:11-12, while Saul was blind, he was praying and saw a vision. This indicates that he was in fellowship with the Lord. And Acts 26:16 records that the Lord spoke to Saul during his blindness about “the things in which you have seen Me and of the things in which I will appear to you.” Hence his blindness began a life of seeing the Lord and the things of the Lord.

Lord Jesus, turn us from darkness to light. Grant us a “cloud” experience that we may clearly hear Your voice, see You, and see the glory of New Jerusalem.

Seeing Nothing, Seeing New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMoses was on a mountain, in a cloud, to see the tabernacle. Three disciples were on a mountain, overshadowed by a cloud, to see Jesus in glory. We need an equiva-lent experience to see New Jerusalem with the glory of God (Rev. 21:9-11).

The cloud cuts us off from everything, it blinds us to everything, apart from the Lord and His eternal tabernacle, New Jerusalem.

Besides the three disciples in Matthew 17, Saul had a comparable experience recorded in Acts 9. At that time (on the road to Damascus) he became blind. He heard and spoke to the Lord yet physically he “could see nothing” and was “three days without seeing, and he neither ate nor drank.”

He saw something of the Lord on the road. During the following three days he was praying; he must have seen more during this time, undisturbed by the physical realm.

Beyond those days of prayer, in Galatians 1:15-17 Paul tells us, “But when it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me…immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood, neither did I go up to Jerusalem…but I went away to Arabia.”

We do not know where in Arabia he went nor what he did nor how long he stayed. The Bible’s silence about these matters, and the fact that he “did not confer with men,” implies to me that Saul was “in a cloud with the Lord” and not involved in human activity. This would allow him opportunity to receive more revelation from the Lord.

Saul’s experiences and Moses’ multiple times on the mountain show that we need repeated times with the Lord to have a full revelation of New Jerusalem. Although we might think that John suddenly saw New Jerusalem (Rev. 21–22), we should remember that he had much interaction with the Lord before that time. Lord, give us the experiences we need for the vision of New Jerusalem.

Mosaic image of pixabay.com.

A Cloud + God’s Voice: Heavenly Revelation

Moses went up to the top of the mountain, heard God’s call, entered into the cloud, and remained there. As a result he received a vision of the tabernacle, a precursor of New Jerusalem.

There are some New Testament records which to me have the same flavor. In Matthew 17 the Lord Jesus took Peter and James and John up to a high mountain privately (v. 1). “He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun” (v. 2). At that time there was a transient appearance of His glory but in New Jerusalem the glory will eternally illuminate the city (Rev. 21:23).

New JerusalemWhile Jesus shone with glory, Moses and Elijah also appeared to the three disciples (v. 3). Peter’s response was to make Moses and Elijah equal to Jesus (v. 4). But, “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight. Hear Him!” (v. 5).

Even on the mountain, privately, far from all earthly activities, Peter still needed a cloud to cut off his attention to Moses and Elijah. Are we any different?

After the word, “Hear Him!” the disciples fell down (v. 6). Jesus said “Arise, and do not be afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.” The cloud plus God’s speaking were effective!

We all need experiences equivalent to those of Moses and the three disciples so that we can see New Jerusalem. The temporal and physical circumstances will be different but the outcome will be a heavenly vision.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

On a Mountain, In a Cloud, New Jerusalem

Last month we concluded the posts on our spiritual journey to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem. This series touched both the Old Testament picture and the New Testament reality.

In the picture, both Exodus 24 and Exodus 34 speak of Moses being in a cloud. To be on a mountain in clear weather affords a great view. But God preferred a cloud. Exodus 24:15 to 25:1:

“Moses went up to the top of the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. And the glory of Jehovah settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud….And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud and went up on the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. Then Jehovah spoke to Moses…”

Exodus 24-25In recent days I have been wondering if one purpose of the cloud is to block our view of things below so that all we can see are the heavenly things on the mountain.

The goal of going up is time in the presence of God. With Him it does not matter if we think the earthly scene is lovely or ugly, encouraging or depressing. The goal of going up is time with Him. For this, it is better to have no distractions—no list of daily chores, no work obligations, no internet, etc.*

Moses was in the cloud forty days—a period of testing. After this test, God began to speak with Him about offering materials for building the tabernacle, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the eternal tabernacle (Rev. 21:3).

Moses heard the call and entered into the cloud. May we all hear the call to be with God and may we all be willing to enter a cloud, so that we can see nothing but Him. This is the route to the vision of New Jerusalem.

*We do need to care for our daily chores and human obligations but not during our time with the Lord.

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.

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