New Jerusalem is Heavenly, On Earth

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” The fifth matter we consider in this verse is coming down out of heaven.

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven because it is heavenly in nature. In Hebrews 12:22 it is called “the heavenly Jerusalem” and in Galatians 4:26 “the Jerusalem above.”

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:45-49 presents a contrast between heavenly and earthly. All that is of fallen Adam is earthly; all that is of Christ is heavenly. Verse 49: “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

We were born into Adam but we have been reborn into Christ; hence we will bear the image of Him as the heavenly man, and corporately New Jerusalem as the heavenly city will bear the same image.

New Jerusalem is in the new creation of Revelation 21:1. This creation consists of heaven and earth. New Jerusalem is heavenly in nature but it comes down out of heaven. It is no longer in heaven; its location is on the new earth.

New Jerusalem on earth fulfills God’s goal in creating man—to have a corporate man on earth to express Him by being constituted with Him to bear His image. This is in progress now; “the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him [Christ] who created him” (Col. 3:10). The consummation of this renewal is New Jerusalem bearing a heavenly image on earth.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

Glorified with Christ for New Jerusalem (2)

First Corinthians 2:8 says that Jesus Christ, who was crucified, is “the Lord of glory.” He first revealed this glory on the mountain near Caesarea Philippi and will ultimately be glorious in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemColossians 3:4 declares, “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory.” This is a promise. Colossians 3:1-3 show us how to reach this climax.

First, in 3:1 we “seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” These things “above” are the unseen, eternal things in Second Corinthians 4. We also set our mind on these things (3:2), including “the Jerusalem above” in Galatians 4:26.

In contrast, we do not set our mind “on the things which are on the earth” (3:2). This is parallel to Romans 8:6, “the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” Flesh corresponds with things on the earth and spirit corresponds with things above.

How do we carry this out? Colossians 3:3 reminds us, “you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Our death with Christ and Christ as our life are facts. The experience of these facts is in spirit*.

Our death with Christ saves us from earthly things. Christ as our life supplies us to seek the eternal things above. Living in the spirit is the path to being manifested with Christ in glory and being prepared for New Jerusalem. Lord, grant me more living in spirit to experience You more.

* See Key to Experiencing Christ–the Human Spirit, The.

New Jerusalem: Now or Later?

In Revelation 21:2 John declares, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Two thousand years ago John saw New Jerusalem. This is God’s word.

In God’s eternal view, outside our temporal limitations, New Jerusalem exists, and in spirit the angel showed the city to John. In our time-limited view, New Jerusalem is in the future. Yet, God works in us through time to bring forth the city.

New JerusalemToday all believers are members of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:5). This is our position. Now we need perfecting in our condition and function that we may grow into Christ for the building of the Body until we are full grown to match New Jerusalem. This is Ephesians 4:11-16.

Today we are also constituents of the new man created by Christ on the cross. This is another aspect of our position. Now we need the Spirit’s renewing (Eph. 4:23) to have a proper living in the new man.

By the Spirit’s work in us, the new man is “being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…where Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11).

When Christ is everything in our living then the new man will fully express Him. Reaching this goal will bring us to New Jerusalem. Yes, John saw the city, but in our present human situation we still need the Lord’s mercy to respond to Him for our growth into Him.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Redemption unto New Jerusalem (2)

At the Lord’s second coming He will redeem our physical body, bringing us into full sonship (Rom. 8:23), which is to transfigure our mortal body to be like His body of glory (Phil. 3:21). This is a step on our path to the city of glory, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe graphic has the second verse of the song about this redemption. Christ is our hope of glory today (Col. 1). He is also the mystery of God (Col. 2:2).

The song says “He shares with me God’s fulness.” This is Colossians 2:9-10, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you have been made full in Him.” John 1:16 is similar, “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” More about the fullness.

Jesus Christ is God; He is in us and we are in Him (John 14:20). We are joined to Him and one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17). The more we are renewed and transformed in our soul, the more we are blended with God. Our transformation is “from glory to glory” and this glory is fully God’s expression, both now and unto New Jerusalem.

In New Jerusalem we will share God’s glory with Him forever. The city “has the glory of God” and “the glory of God illumines it.” This is our wonderful destiny.

The Hope of the Gospel and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMany aspects of the gospel correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Colossians 1:23 speaks of “the hope of the gospel.” Our hope is not a thing or a success or a position. Ephesians 2:12 says that when we were “apart from Christ” we had no hope. In contrast to this, Christ Himself and all that He will accomplish in us is our hope.

Colossians 1:27 tells us that Christ in us is our hope of glory. He was glorified through death and resurrection. Through this He also become our Redeemer and our Life. Now we are being transformed to glory. When we see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27) our mortal body will be conformed to the body of His glory.

The glory which is our hope is not merely an external glory into which we will enter. Rather, it is Christ in us growing/spreading in our being to glorify us with Himself. At His return this hope will be fulfilled.

When Christ comes again, “He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). He will be in glory and will be glorified in the believers at that time, and in the manifestation of His kingdom, and eternally in New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

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.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (7)

The Lord Jesus told us to deny ourself, take up our cross, and lose our soul life for His sake. Such denying, taking up, and losing is a continual part of our Christian life, applying the once-for-all death of Christ on the cross to our old man. In this way we put on the reality of the one new man created on the cross as we advance to New Jerusalem.

“For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). This circumcision is not in the flesh as practiced by the Jews; rather, we “were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:11).

New Jerusalem“The circumcision of Christ” is His once-for-all death on the cross, made available to us by the Spirit, and applied by us daily. Whenever we boast in ourselves or have confidence in ourselves, we have strayed from the cross and from the path to New Jerusalem.

Boasting in Christ Jesus and denying self-confidence is a continual exercise. This exercise is also seen in Paul’s desire to gain Christ and be found in Him “to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:8-10).

Before we reach New Jerusalem we need the Lord and His resurrection power through sufferings to conform us to “His death”!

A Rich Supply, Now and New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:1: “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.” We continue with verses about the rich/bountiful supply flowing to us today just as the water of life will flow to us in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 4:15-16 exhorts us to hold to truth (which is Christ) in love that we may grow up into Him in everything. These verses then tell us a rich supply flows out from Him for the building of His Body in love. This love is not our love but is His love in us (1 John 4).

The rich supply out from Christ the Head results in the building up of His Body for His purpose. Paralleling Genesis 2, this shows us Christ’s corporate Body comes out from Him and is unto Him.

Colossians 2:19 is a companion verse to Ephesians 4. Here, by holding the Head (Christ, the truth) His Body “being richly supplied and knit together” by what He supplies through His members, “grows with the growth of God.” God in Himself is perfect and does not grow, but the rich supply of the Spirit results in the increase/growth of God in us, which is very necessary. The maturity of this growth brings us to New Jerusalem.

Peter tells us that our ministering should be “out of the strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). Again, the supply comes out from God and the glory returns to Him.

Peter also tells us that by applying all that he presents in 2 Peter 1:3-10, “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly and bountifully supplied to you” (1:11). The spiritual reality of the eternal kingdom is here today, as in Romans 14:17. New Jerusalem is the eternal manifestation of this kingdom, the eternal product of this rich, bountiful supply.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Morning Star Rises and the Day Dawns unto the Full Day of New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem

Ruins in Thessaloniki, Greece from the time of Acts 17

The glory of God illumines New Jerusalem, and its lamp is the Lamb. Hence, “there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:23, 25). This illuminating God in Christ desires to rise today in the hearts of people.

The prior post includes Malachi 4:2,”unto you who fear My name will the Sun of righteousness arise.” We do not fear God, who is full of compassion; rather, we fear our disrespect or disobedience of God. With this fear we must depend on the Christ within for our living a proper Christian life. Then the Sun will arise in us now and become brighter all the way to New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 1:19 says, “we have the prophetic word made more firm, to which you do well to give heed as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

In the darkest hour of the night the Lord will appear as the morning star (Rev. 2:28; 22:16) to those who are watchful and looking for His dear appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). They have been enlightened by the shining of the prophetic word, which is able to lead them to the dawning day. If we give heed to the word in the Bible, which shines as a lamp in a dark place, we will have His rising in our hearts to shine in the darkness of apostasy where we are today.*

Jesus Christ is “the Morning Star” and will be a reward to all who are faithful to Him in this age (Rev. 2:26, 28). He is also the Sun and will fill New Jerusalem with His shining.

Part of footnote 4 on 2 Peter 1:19 in the Recovery Version Bible, footnote written by Witness Lee,
Bible
© 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem (5)

The “river of water of life” flowing from the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1) is the eternal continuation of the living water the Lord Jesus promised in John’s gospel and of the bountiful supply of the Spirit in Philippians 1.

The river of living water is also the rich supply which comes to us from Jesus Christ.
Col. 2:19: “the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied…grows”
Eph. 4:15b-16: “the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply…the growth of the Body…”

New JerusalemThe rich supply from the Head, Christ, to His whole Body, is the gushing fountain in John 4 and the river in Revelation 22. We receive this rich supply by holding Christ as our Head and by growing up into Him in all things. This growth is to be headed up by Him in all details of our lives, so that Christ, not our natural preferences and desires, is in charge.

The rich supply results from our holding Christ. It also comes through the joints, gifted members given by the Head for the growth, the building up of His Body. The rich supply is not for our individual Christian progress; rather, it is for the knitting together of us as members of His Body.

This rich supply is God Himself flowing to us. Remember that “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 are “the Spirit” in 7:39. This is the flow in New Jerusalem; the Spirit flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb. By this flow “all the Body, being richly supplied…grows with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19).

God in Himself is perfect but He does need to grow, to increase, to spread in us. This is for Christ’s Body today and for New Jerusalem eternally.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Heaven and New Earth

Revelation 21:1: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away.” God created the heavens and the earth for His purpose, but it is not until there are a new heaven and a new earth that New Jerusalem appears.

The new heaven and new earth are also in 2 Peter, “according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” The “promise” is God’s word in Isaiah 65:17.

New JerusalemIt is easy to understand that the earth was damaged by the fall of man, and thus God plans a new earth. We need to realize that heaven was also damaged by the rebellion of Satan. At least two verses speak of God’s response to this damage.

Colossians 1:20: “Through Him [Christ] to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross—through Him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.” Here the things in the heavens need reconciliation to God, which was accomplished by Christ.

Ephesians 1:10 “Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him.” God’s intention is to head up things in the heavens in Christ, indicating that some were not headed up since Satan’s rebellion.

Although there will be “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21), God desires to go further and have a new creation for His eternal dwelling, New Jerusalem. Thus, there will be the new heaven and the new earth and the new city Jerusalem after everything negative is cleaned away by the judgments in Revelation 20.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Through Sufferings to New Jerusalem (5)

Suffering in our Christian like is normal but temporary. This suffering brings forth glory in a limited way now (see 2 Thes. 1 below), in a strong way at the Lord’s return, and completely in New Jerusalem.

#NewJerusalemColossians 1:10 charges us “to walk worthily of the Lord to please Him in all things.” The following verses touch several aspects of this walk, including “being empowered with all power, according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy” (v. 11).

Like verses in recent posts, glory and suffering are coupled here. And again, we are not encouraged to bear the sufferings ourselves. Instead, we should be empowered according to the might of His glory. This empowering is “no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” and is able to bring forth joy in suffering.

The sufferings are only now, but he empowering, the life, and the joy are for now and the coming age and New Jerusalem.

Second Thessalonians 1 includes persecutions and afflictions. It concludes with prayer for God’s working in the believers (v. 11) “that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him” (v. 12). Again, trials can bring forth glory. This is not by our own effort but because of God’s operation within us.

The mutual glorification in verse 12 is “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Lord, grace us in every situation that You may be glorified in us and we in You.

The name of the Lord glorified in us includes today. When the Lord returns, “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (v. 10) and we will experience “rest” (v. 7). The glory and rest will then continue into New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies (3)

#NewJerusalemIn the New Testament we no longer have a physical temple. Rather, the living temple is both Jesus (John 2) and His believers (2 Cor. 6:16). But, the Bible’s description of the old, physical temple depicts many spiritual realities today and in New Jerusalem.

The prior two posts are about the ark and its contents, described in Hebrews 9:4. Then 9:5 says, “And above it [the ark] cherubim of glory overshadowing the propitiation place.” The lid of the ark, with the propitiatory blood on it, frees us from the condemnation of falling short of the requirements of the law in the ark.

Today we certainly need forgiveness and cleansing of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. Before our initial repentance we were dead spiritually and were sinners condemned by God’s righteous requirement. We repented and believed, thus “though dead in your offenses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our offenses” (Col. 2:13).

That action took care of all offenses before our regeneration. Afterwards, 1 John 1:9 applies, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Thank Him!

In New Jerusalem there is no sin nature and we will never do sinful deeds. Nevertheless, in New Jerusalem God and the redeeming Lamb are on the throne (Rev. 22:3) and they are the temple (Rev. 21:22). This is a memorial of what is portrayed by the blood on the lid of the ark in the old holy of holies.

Hebrews 9:14 declares that “the blood of Christ…[will] purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” In New Jerusalem the Lamb is present as an eternal memorial, and in New Jerusalem we will “serve the living God” (Rev. 22:3).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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