New Jerusalem: God and the Lamb are the Temple

In Revelation 21:22 John tells us, “I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” By faith we have entered.

New JerusalemThe New Testament was written in Greek, which has distinct words for “in” and for “into.” According to the New Testament we do not merely believe in Jesus Christ, acknowledging something about Him. Rather, we believe “into Him.”
• “these little ones who believe into Me” Matthew 18:6
• “believe into His name” John 1:12
• “every one who believes into Him may have eternal life” John 3:15, 16
• “Do you believe into the Son of God?” John 9:35

Revelation says that God Himself, God and the Lamb, will be the temple for us who serve Him to dwell in. Our dwelling place in eternity is God Himself….We will dwell in God. He is our temple and we are His tabernacle. He dwells in us and we dwell in Him, and this mutual dwelling is the New Jerusalem, which to God is the tabernacle and to us is the temple. We enjoy a foretaste of this today when we abide in the Lord and the Lord abides in us (John 15:5). This mutual abode will be enlarged in eternity to be the New Jerusalem where God will be our dwelling place and we will be His dwelling place.*

It is not only in New Jerusalem that God will be our dwelling and we will be His dwelling. This is true since the Lord’s resurrection, as He spoke in John 14:20 and 15:5.

* The Divine Economy, chapter 15, by Witness Lee

See also Where is New Jerusalem

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New Jerusalem is the Mingling of The Triune God with His People

God has been seeking a dwelling with man since creation. Many stages of this dwelling developed through the Old and New Testaments, culminating in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAn early picture of this dwelling, this building, is Abraham’s tent with his altar in front of it, a miniature of the tabernacle with an altar built centuries later. At that time God told Moses, “Let them make a sanctuary for Me that I may dwell in their midst” (Exo. 25:8).

In the Old Testament, due to the fall of man, God could only dwell with man, not in man. But the redemption obtained by the Lord Jesus cleansed man.

In the New Testament God does not dwell ‘with man’ but ‘in man.’ Even before accomplishing redemption, the Lord Jesus spoke of this. “You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20). “Abide in Me and I in you” (John 15:4).

In the epistles many verses speak of us being in Christ and Christ being in us. This is mutual indwelling, also called coinherence or mingling. The ultimate stage of this coinherence is New Jerusalem.

The New Jerusalem is a full picture of the mingling of the Triune God with His redeemed creatures, the mingling of divinity with humanity. Now God is no longer merely a God outside of man. He is a God within man.

For eternity God will dwell in His people and His people in Him. This mutual dwelling is New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

Organic Union with the Triune God

The description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22 is full of spiritual signs. Among these signs are the materials—gold signifying the Father’s divine nature, and pearls portraying the Son’s redemptive death and regenerating resurrection. These become our entrance into the kingdom of God which consummates in New Jerusalem.

In the New Jerusalem the precious stones are we plus the Spirit. The transforming Spirit becomes one with us, His transformed ones. Therefore, the pearls are Christ and we, and the wall of precious stones is the Spirit and we. These two items, the pearls and the precious stones, indicate that the second of the Triune God and the third of the Triune God have made Themselves one with us. Without the Spirit it would be impossible for us as pieces of clay to become jasper, bearing the same appearance as God. But now we have the life-giving Spirit, who is actually the consummated Triune God, in us, making us one with Him. Thus, we are altogether in the organic union with the Triune God.*

New JerusalemThe Lord spoke about this organic union in John’s gospel. For example, He said that in resurrection “you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” The Lord lives in us and we live in Him. In the epistles this thought continues—many verses speak about Christ in us and us in Christ.

Romans 8:9 declares that the Spirit dwells in us and in 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are being transformed by the Lord Spirit. This organic union is for our Christian life today and for eternity in New Jerusalem.

* The Organic Union in God’s Relationship with Man, chapter 6, by Witness Lee.

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (7)

New Jerusalem is the goal of God’s eternal purpose made in eternity past. It is also the goal of all God’s work in time. This post concludes linking a song* about God’s purpose for New Jerusalem with verses in the Bible. The last verse of the song is:

New JerusalemGod in man and man in God
Mutual dwelling thus possess;
God the content is to man,
And the man doth God express.

The mutual dwelling of God and man is not a new thought in Revelation. Rather, in John 14 the Lord Jesus said to the disciples, “In that day [His soon-coming resurrection] you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Then in 15:4 He said further, “Abide in Me and I in you” with more in 15:5 and 15:7.

God as our content is also not a new thought in Revelation. Multiple verses speak of God in Christ as our life, our righteousness, our wisdom, our grace, our peace, our empowering, our hope of glory, our boast, and much more. He is unsearchably rich.

Man as the expression of God is seen in Acts 19:17, Ephesians 3:10 and 3:21, and in Philippians 1:21. The expression of God in man depends on the development of eternal life in man. We cooperate with Him now for this growth so that He may be expressed to the world today. This same expression, but much richer and stronger, will shine forth through New Jerusalem.

——
* music (composer unknown), words by Witness Lee

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (4)

The new creation with New Jerusalem at its center is the conclusion of the Bible. This is God’s goal. A song* tells about God’s process to reach this goal. The fourth verse expresses God’s longing:

New JerusalemTis the city God hath built,
Tis the dwelling God requires,
Tis the new Jerusalem
Which fulfills His heart’s desires.

The fifth verse:

Tis the building of the saints,
Tis the blend of God and man,
Purposed by the Father’s will
Long before the world began.

“Saints” are all God’s people, sanctified by His working upon and in them. They are built together by the flow of God’s life (verse 3 of the song) as presented in Ephesians 4:16 and Colossians 2:19. This building work is what God purposed in eternity past.

New Jerusalem was planned by God before creation and is portrayed by all that is in Genesis 2. God has the foreknowledge of everything and every event in His creation, and in His wisdom He uses all of it to bring forth His desire. The sixth verse, speaking of the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1), begins:

In its center, as its pow’r,
Is the throne of Christ and God.

God is in Christ and Christ in God, as the Lord Jesus spoke to us in John 14:10-11. In their coinherence They have one throne, which is the center of New Jerusalem, out of which flows the river of water of life.

——
* music (composer unknown), words by Witness Lee

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.

New Jerusalem’s River from the Throne

Revelation 22:1 says, “he showed me 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.”

New JerusalemThe river comes out of the throne of God. This tells us that we need to be under the throne, under the ruling of God and the Lamb. The extent to which we are ruled is the extent to which we are watered.

This throne is “of God and of the Lamb.” God and the Lamb share one throne because They are coinherent—God is in the Lamb, Jesus and the Lamb is in God, the Father. This is Jesus’ word in John 14:11, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”

The Triune God is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The throne is of Two, but where is the Spirit? The Spirit is the river! John 7:38-39, “He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit.” The Triune God is here!

First Corinthians 12:13 declares, “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body…and were all given to drink one Spirit.” Baptism is once for all, but drinking is lifelong. Let us drink the Spirit all the time to be saturated with the life of New Jerusalem.

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The Believers Together Are New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:2 New Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” In 21:9 the angel says, “I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb” and in 21:10 he shows “the holy city, Jerusalem.”

In 2 Corinthians 11 we, the believers, are engaged to Christ. In Ephesians 5, in the context of husbands and wives, we, the church, are being prepared to be presented to Christ. In Revelation 22:17 we are the bride speaking one with the Spirit. All the believers together, the one universal church, are the bride to be the wife of the Lamb.

New JerusalemIn Isaiah 54:5, Jeremiah 3:14, 31:32, and other verses, God declares that He is the Husband. In Ephesians 5 Christ is the Husband, and in Revelation 21 the redeeming and enthroned Lamb is the Husband.

Since this bride, this wife, is New Jerusalem, we corporately are New Jerusalem!! New Jerusalem is not a place we go to; we are the city! Since we are the city, where does that put Jesus Christ? He too is the city!

In John 14:20 He told us that in resurrection He is in us and we are in Him. Developing this fact, many verses in the epistles speak of “Christ in us” and we “in Christ.” The eternal consummation is that we are New Jerusalem in Christ Jesus. He and we coinhering are the eternal city! New Jerusalem is a married couple!

The portion above answers, “Who is New Jerusalem?” A related answer is in “Where is New Jerusalem?”

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face (3)

In New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4). Now, in resurrection, we see the Lord in spirit and He is our joy.

The prior posts touched John 14 and 16. Then the Lord prayed, “I desire that they also may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory.” (17:24). To behold His glory is to behold Him, to have a foretaste of the promise in Revelation 22.

The fulfillment of this matter began with the Son’s resurrection, when He brought His believers into participation in His resurrection life, and will consummate in the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemFor this beholding, the Lord says we must be with Him, where He is. To be with Him is in resurrection. He told us in John 14:20 that from the time of His resurrection, we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

This mutual indwelling is in spirit. The Spirit of reality has regenerated our human spirit (John 3:6) and now indwells it (John 14:17, Rom. 8:11). We are one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).

In spirit we see the Lord! It is wonderful to await the Lord’s second coming when “every eye will see Him” (Rev. 1:7), and to pray Amen, Lord, come quickly (Rev. 22:20). Yet, while doing this, we must not forget that today we are in Him and He is in us so we can behold Him and His glory now.

New Jerusalem will be the fullness of beholding the Lord and His glory, but this is available in lesser degree now. Lord, grant us this beholding experience today!

* Part of footnote 1 on John 17:24 in the Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

New Jerusalem: Dwell and Serve in God

New JerusalemThe New Testament has a living temple— God Himself and all His people. Eventually this temple will be New Jerusalem. In the Old Testament times, before our redemption and regeneration, this living temple was portrayed by a physical temple.

Revelation 7:14-15 says, “These are those who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Because of this they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits upon the throne will tabernacle over them.”

Revelation 7 is a view of life in the coming age and eternity. In this picture God’s redeemed people “serve Him day and night in His temple.” yet Revelation 21:22 tells us that John “saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

We who will serve in the temple will serve in God, the living temple. And we will dwell in Him. And be “before the throne” in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3), supplied to serve by the flow from this throne (22:1-2).

This is New Jerusalem: we dwell in God, God dwells in us, God supplies us, and we serve God in God! Very much like the Lord’s word in John 14:20-23—we are in Him, He is in us, we love Him, the Father loves us, and He and the Father make a dwelling with us. When we love Him we are surely willing to serve, and we serve Him while dwelling in Him, in the living temple.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The New Testament Temple is Living (4)

New JerusalemIn various centuries, physical temples were built in earthly Jerusalem. But in the New Testament Jesus is the reality; He is the living temple. In resurrection He brought all His believers into this reality, this living temple.

In Revelation 21:22 John says, “I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Certainly this is a living temple! We do not need an earthly, physical temple, for today and in New Jerusalem we worship God in God.

This is not a new idea; in John 4:19-24 the Lord was asked which physical place is the proper location for worship. He answered. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.”

Worship is no longer defined by a physical building. To worship in our human spirit, born of God the Spirit, is to worship in the living temple. In resurrection, as regenerated people, we are one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). Our worship of God in spirit, in the living temple, is in the Person of God, who is Spirit.

The regeneration of our human spirit and the Lord being with us in our spirit, distinguish the New Testament from the Old Testament. In the New Testament reality the location is spirit instead of the physical Jerusalem. In the New Testament reality the temple is living and the worship is living. This pattern will continue into New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Church: Forerunner of New Jerusalem

The church is the household of the living God and the Body of Christ. Both of these aspects of the church present to us the reality of New Jerusalem. The city is God’s eternal home in His millions of people, and these people are built together in His life just as the Body of Christ is one living entity.

Continuing to look at the nature of the church as a forerunner of New Jerusalem, we read, “the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 1:1, 2 Thes. 1:1). The church is “the church of God” (multiple verses) and the church is also “of human beings.” However, these humans are not natural, in Adam, but regenerated, in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Thessalonians, and all believers, are in God and the Lord by God’s action. “Of Him [God] you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:29-30). This is what the Lord promised earlier, in John 14. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (v. 20). “That day” is the day in which He became our life in resurrection (v. 19).

John 14:20 presents a coinherence: we are in God by being in Christ and God in Christ is in us. The church is both “of God” (as in Acts 20:28) and “of the believers” (as in 1 Thes. 1:1). Likewise New Jerusalem is composed of the Triune God in all His people and all His people in the Triune God.

New Jerusalem, like the church, is much higher, much more mysterious, much more marvelous than a physical city; it is a composition of the Triune God and His people living in oneness.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)

We are growing and being perfected in our Christian life. Our maturity in life and our perfection (Matt. 5:48) match New Jerusalem. This is not merely human maturity and human perfection; rather, it is Christ growing in us, Christ formed in us (Gal. 4:19), Christ making home in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Christ in us becomes our maturity and perfection.

In 1 John 2:5 His word is for our perfection: “whoever keeps His word, truly in this one the love of God has been perfected.” In John 14:23 the Lord Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.” On one hand we need the word for our perfecting in love. On the other hand we need love to keep the word. Growth in Christian life is often bidirectional like this, not a matter of a sequence of steps. Lord, keep me loving You and Your word.

#NewJerusalemGod’s love is perfect, but there is a need for it to be perfected in us. This perfection saves us from all other loves, as in 1 John 2:15. And this perfection prepares us for New Jerusalem.

In 1 John 4:12 we love one another because God’s love is in us. While we are loving, God abides in us. The result is that God’s love is perfected in us. This shows that the perfection is not our human doing but is our cooperation with God working in us. “His love is perfected in us!

Then in verses 16-17 God is love in us. We open ourselves to this love, and then we and God have a mutual abiding and His love is perfected in us. Again, it is God in Christ perfecting us by being formed in us. Our cooperation with God’s perfecting work in us is the preparation of New Jerusalem.

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