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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 22

A series of posts for Revelation 1 to 20 look at the wonderful Jesus Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:1 is the new creation and in 21:2 New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. Two recent posts look at the wonderful Jesus Christ in this new creation.

New JerusalemContinuing, Revelation 22:1 reveals “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” There is one throne for God and the Lamb because the two are one. In John 14:10 Jesus told us, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” And in Revelation 21:23 God, the light, is in the Lamb, the lamp.

In 22:2 “was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” This tree is a symbol of Jesus Christ, who is our life and who is our life supply as the living bread in John 6 and forever in New Jerusalem.

In 22:7, 12, and 20 the Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I come quickly.” Our reply is identical to verse 20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

In verse 16 He says, “I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.” Thank You Lord for Your sending. And Lord, keep us in the churches to hear what the Spirit says to them (Rev. 2:7, 3:22). This is part of His work to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

In verse 16 He also says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star.” Concerning this, a footnote in the Recovery Version says, “In His divinity, Christ is the Root, the source, of David; in His humanity, Christ is the Offspring, the issue, of David.” He is also the star to guide us through this dark age until He comes.

The Bible concludes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” Lord, thank You for this wonderful grace to supply us today and to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem: God’s House Becomes a City

“The house of God is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15), a house which will be enlarged to be the city of the living God, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe common New Testament Greek word for house, oikos (οικος), is in 1 Timothy 3:15. This word can mean both the dwelling place and the dwellers. Both uses are in Acts 11:13-14. Cornelius “saw the angel standing in his house and saying, Send men to Joppa and send for Simon, who is surnamed Peter, who will speak words to you by which you shall be saved, you and all your house.”

Both uses are also in Acts 16:15, “when she [Lydia] was baptized, as well as her household, she entreated us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide.” Other verses where oikos clearly means the people, the dwellers:
• Acts 18:8, “Crispus…believed in the Lord with his whole household
• 1 Corinthians 1:16, “And I did baptize the household of Stephanas”
• Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah…prepared an ark for the salvation of his house
• 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house

The convergence of house and household, dwelling and dwellers, is the New Testament reality. We, God’s household, the members of His family, are also His house, His dwelling place. He lives in us and we live in Him (John 14:20). This is true both now and in New Jerusalem.

As 1 Peter 2:5 says, there is a spiritual building work in progress now. The consummation of this building will be New Jerusalem. Today we, God’s New Testament people, are His house, His household, His dwelling place. In eternity New Jerusalem, including all God’s people, will be His city, His household, His dwelling place.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Oneness in the Triune God

The prior post spoke of New Jerusalem as the ultimate answer to the Lord’s prayer for His glorification that He might glorify the Father (John 17:1-5). In John 17 the Lord also prayed for our oneness. New Jerusalem is also the ultimate answer to this aspect of the Lord’s prayer. He prayed:
• that they [all believers] may be one even as We [Triune God] are (v. 11)
• that they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us (v. 21)
• that they may be one, even as We are one (v. 22)
• I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one (v. 23)

New JerusalemThe Lord prayed for a perfected oneness, a oneness of the highest standard—the oneness of the Three of the Godhead. This is seen in the “even as” phrase of verses 11, 21, and 22 above. “They may be one even as We are.”

How is such oneness realized? The Lord’s prayer reveals how. This highest oneness is IN the Triune God—”they also may be in Us” (v. 21) and this highest oneness is by the Triune God IN us— “I in them, and You in Me” (v. 23).

New Jerusalem is the consummation of this oneness. The city has one river flowing in one street (Rev. 22:1) indicating one supply of life for walking in one way. This life supply is the Spirit (John 7:37-39) and Christ is the way (John 14:6).

New Jerusalem is one because the city is in the Triune God and the Triune God is in it. This is the enlargement of John 15:4, “Abide in Me and I in you.”
Where is New Jerusalem? The Triune God and 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, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

New Jerusalem is a Mutual Abiding

New Jerusalem

More at New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

New Jerusalem

At a recent college students’ conference in Texas the general topic was The Overview of God’s Economy. The last message was
___The New Jerusalem as the Ultimate Consummation of God’s Purpose.
In the conference, we saw that the New Jerusalem is NOT a physical, material city.
• Revelation 1:1, “The revelation of Jesus Christ….He made it known by signs.”
Revelation has many signs—the lampstands, the Lamb, the Lion of Judah, the universal woman, the dragon, etc. The New Jerusalem is a sign. This wonderful city IS:

1. The consummation of the Divine Romance in the Bible*
• Isa. 54:5a, “For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name.”
• Rev. 21:2,  “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
According to the entire Bible, God the creator is male and His chosen, redeemed, transformed, glorified people are female, and there is a divine romance between them. At the end of the Revelation, God is the husband and His people are the wife to match God.

2. The consummation of God’s Building (Tabernacle and Temple)
• 1 Cor 3:16a, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God?”
• Rev 21:22, “And I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God (21:3) and the temple of God (21:22). In the eternity future, our habitation is God Himself. To God the city is the tabernacle and to us it is the temple.

3. The consummation of Mutual Abiding of God and His Redeemed
• John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, 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.”
• John 17:21, “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
We will not live in a mansion; we will live in God and God will live in us. This mutual abiding is the New Jerusalem. The eternal God becomes our eternal habitation.

4. The consummation of Believers’ Transformation and Glorification
• 2 Cor. 3:18, “We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”
• Rev 21:10b-11, “The holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.”
All believers were created as clay, yet in the New Jerusalem all believers are regenerated and transformed into precious stone and glorified for God’s eternal expression in His eternal building.

5. The consummation of God as the Life Supply to us
• Rev 22:1-2a “And 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. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.”
When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we received the eternal life. Today, we drink one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), and in the New Jerusalem, the Triune God is life for our enjoyment for eternity—He is our light of life, tree of life, and water of life!

6. The consummation of the Bible and all the NT Blessings and Realities
• Revelation 21–22 “New heaven, new earth…holy city, New Jerusalem…it had a great and high wall and had twelve gates…there will be no night there…no longer be a curse…His slaves will serve Him…they will reign for ever and ever.”
All of us will be new in the New Jerusalem, and we will reign with Christ for eternity. Oh Lord, make me match the New Jerusalem today in every way!

Thanks!! to Deborah who wrote this post from her college conference notes.

* For each point we have presented a few verses. Here are more verses for each topic.
1. Jer. 3:14; John 3:29a; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25, 27a.
2. John 1:14; 2:16b, 19b, 21; 1 Cor. 3:9b, 12a; Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Tim. 3:15b; 1 Peter 2:5a; Rev. 21:3a, 18-19, 21a.
3. John 14:2-3, 20; 17:22-23a.
4. Rev. 21:18-19a, 23-24a.
5. John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13.

Lord, Dispense into me for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn John 15:4 the Lord Jesus tells us, “Abide in Me and I in you.” This abiding is in the divine life and is portrayed in John 15 by the vine and the branches. This mutual abiding will continue unto New Jerusalem.

As soon as we receive Him, Jesus Christ is in us. While this fact remains true eternally, “in” is only a starting point. Galatians has the progression of Christ revealed in me (1:16), Christ living in me (2:20), and Christ formed in me (4:19). This is equivalent to Christ making His home in our hearts (Eph. 3:16-17).

Christ being formed in me and making home in me is a blending of Him and me, and is for New Jerusalem. This blending takes place as Christ lives in me and I live depending on Him by faith (Gal. 2:20).

God and man, man and God, are built up together by being blended and mingled together (John 14:20, 23; 15:4; 1 Cor. 6:17). God wants to dispense Himself into us and mingle and blend Himself with us, and we should open our entire being to Him so that He will be able to carry out His intention regarding us without hindrance. When we are open to the Lord’s dispensing, much mingling and blending can happen in even a short period of time. We need to pray, “Lord, here I am. I choose to become the New Jerusalem now. It is not by my working; it is by my enjoyment of You. Lord, dispense Yourself into me for the New Jerusalem. Mingle Yourself with me in every part of my being, blend me with You, and incorporate me with You for Your corporate expression.”

We either open to the Lord or hinder the Lord. We can pray what is in the quote above or open to the Lord’s desire with our own words. Lord, impart Yourself into me for New Jerusalem. Lord Jesus, mingle Yourself with me, be formed in me for New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of my posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

The Triune God and New Jerusalem

The prior post asked, Where is New Jerusalem? And the answer is that New Jerusalem is in the Triune God. The city is in the Triune God because all God’s New Testament building work is in Himself.

We can also ask, Where is the Triune God? The answer is that the Triune God is in New Jerusalem. The city is in God and God is in the city. This is the consummation of words spoken by the Lord in John.

New JerusalemNew JerusalemI am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
(14:20)
Abide in Me and I in you.
(15:4)

 

Romans says we are “in Christ Jesus” (8:1) and “Christ is in you” (8:10). In Colossians Paul announced “Christ in you” as part of his labor to “present every man full-grown in Christ” (1:27-28). And 1 John 4:15 says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.”

New Jerusalem is not a physical place for us or God to be. The dwellers and the dwelling are one, not separate. New Jerusalem is the consummation of the mutual indwelling of the Triune God and all His people. New Jerusalem is in, and one with, the Triune God and the Triune God is in, and one with, New Jerusalem. In other words, New Jerusalem is the mingling, the blending, the coinherence*, of God and God’s people.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Triune God in His people and His people in the Triune God.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL-Caltech.

* A word meaning one dwells in another and the other in the one, as in John 14:20, 15:4, 1 John 4:15.

God Constitutes Us to be New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

Here are a few more excerpts from the issue of Affirmation & Critique* focused on New Jerusalem. Each excerpt is tagged with the author’s initials and is followed by a related verse.

In Christ God has become man to make man God in His life and in His nature [but not in the Godhead] so that the redeeming God and the redeemed man can be united, mingled, constituted, and incorporated together to become one entity, the consummated corporate God-man—the New Jerusalem. (RK)

We “have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where…Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:10-11

Just as the church as God’s house is not an actual physical house, so the New Jerusalem is not an actual physical city. The city of New Jerusalem is a sign signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place. (WL)

“The house of God, which is the church of the living God.” 1 Timothy 3:15

Through His death, resurrection, ascension, and descension, Christ, the second man, was enlarged from an individual God-man to a corporate God-man, the one new man. (DY)

Christ, in His death on the cross, abolished “in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two [Jews and Gentiles] in Himself into one new man, so making peace.” Ephesians 2:15

The New Jerusalem is new because it is fully saturated with the Triune God of newness. Throughout eternity the New Jerusalem will ceaselessly unfold the fresh newness of the Triune God to the universe. (DY)

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

All of these excerpts portray New Jerusalem as the consummation of God in Christ flowing into, being one with, constituting, and radiating out of His chosen people.

* 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.

God’s Life and Nature for New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

This post continues our look at an issue of Affirmation & Critique* focused on New Jerusalem. The final page of that issue includes:

The New Jerusalem, the city of God, is not a physical city; it is a sign of the consummation of God’s economical operation of grace, an operation that began with the incarnation of the Word in humanity in order to produce a corporate person who is joined to and mingled with the Triune God. The New Jerusalem is a divine declaration of the Triune God’s desire to reproduce Himself in a corporate God-man. As a divine-human corporate person, the New Jerusalem speaks of God becoming man and man becoming God in life and nature but not in the Godhead. The New Jerusalem is a composition of God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, sanctified, renewed, transformed, and glorified people who have been deified, that is, made the same as God in life and nature but not in the Godhead.

For New Jerusalem, we become God in life and nature but not in the Godhead. Is this a strange statement? Not if we look at verses like these:
• “As many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, who were begotten…of God.” John 1:12-13
• “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26
• “He who believes into the Son has eternal life.” John 3:36
• “Christ lives in me.”  “Christ our life.” Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:4
• “All the Body…grows with the growth of God.” Colossians 2:19
• “You might become partakers of the divine nature” 2 Peter 1:4

These verses and many more speak of the mingling of God and man in life now, in this age. The full growth, the maturity in life, of this mingling is the New Jerusalem and will be exhibited by 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.

God Mingled with Man for New Jerusalem

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* focuses on New Jerusalem. Continuing prior posts, here is an extract from The Divine and Mystical in Figurative Language  (by Roger Good).

Although God exists in a divine, mystical, and invisible realm (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; Col. 1:15; Rom. 1:20), He desires to communicate the realities of the divine and mystical realm to us. On the one hand, creation testifies of the characteristics of the divine and mystical realm, and on the other hand, God and the writers of the Bible employ figurative language, taking images from the physical realm, using literary devices such as symbols, types, figures, metaphors, similes, and allegories to communicate the realities of the divine and mystical realm. God’s ultimate goal in His economy is to mingle Himself with redeemed humanity. This is revealed in the greatest allegory of all—the New Jerusalem, the consummation of all the symbols, types, figures, and metaphors revealed in the Bible.

New JerusalemFor God to reach His goal, He became incarnated in the man Jesus, lived a perfect human life, died, was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended. Through incarnation God and man were mingled in one man—Jesus, as He told His disciples in John 14:10, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me…the Father who abides in Me does His works.”

This was a first step. The next step occurred in resurrection, as stated by Jesus in John 14:20, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” In resurrection the mingling of God and man was expanded to millions of believers. Jesus Christ lives in us and we live in Him. This mingling is the essence of both our Christian life and 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.

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