Music and Singing in New Jerusalem?

Will there be music and singing in New Jerusalem? Revelation 21–22 does not answer this question, but a broad view of the Bible says YES. The conclusion of the Psalms, Psalm 150, urges us to praise God and to praise Him with many musical instruments, even with loud music and dancing. The conclusion of the Bible should be the same.

New JerusalemPsalm 150 begins, “Hallelujah! Praise God in His sanctuary.” God’s eternal sanctuary, His eternal tabernacle and temple, is New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 2:12, quoting Psalm 22, is a declaration of the resurrected Lord Jesus, “I will declare Your [the Father’s] name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.”

The Lord sings praise to God the Father now in and through the church and we expect this to continue eternally in New Jerusalem. Romans 15:9 is similar; the Lord says, “I will sing praise to Your name.”

Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 present the proper Christian life, including “singing and psalming with your heart to the Lord” and “singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Will this not continue eternally?

Revelation 5:8-9, 14:2-3, and 15:2-3 describe heavenly music, singing, praising God for His person and for His accomplishments. All the music and singing in New Jerusalem will be heavenly. None will be of the earthly nature common in today’s concerts. And all the music will glorify God. Praise Him!

From Here to New Jerusalem

The current outward environment is unusual for all of us. But “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes, even forever” (Heb. 13:8). When we look away to Jesus Christ, we can declare, as Paul did in Romans 8:18, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.”

A similar expression is in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory, because we do not regard the things which are seen but
New Jerusalemthe things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

New Jerusalem is central among the things which are eternal, and in New Jerusalem Jesus Christ is central on the throne. When we regard the unseen, eternal, heavenly things, as in the verse above and Colossians 3:1-4, we take Him as our center now.

Revelation 21 tells us that “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem], and its lamp is the Lamb [Jesus Christ].” The glory of God is in Jesus Christ. Today He wants to work Himself into us to be our “eternal weight of glory.” This is unseen now but “when Christ our life is manifested, then we also will be manifested with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). And we will be with Him eternally in the glory of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem: through Christ, unto Christ

Romans 11 concludes, “Out from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.” This is about the old creation but should apply equally to the new
New Jerusalemcreation and New Jerusalem. They are out from our Lord and through Him and to Him with glory.

Colossians 1:16b is parallel: “All things have been created through Him and unto Him.” First Corinthians 8:6 has similar words. Since this is true for the old creation, it must also apply to the new creation.

The new creation, and New Jerusalem at its center, is not for our pleasure and amusement as in this current world. It will not be for us to do “fun” things we hoped to do in this life. In New Jerusalem, which comes out from God through Christ and is unto Him, Christ will be our joy, our nourishment, our health and rest, our righteousness, our peace and security, our career. We will have everything in Christ and nothing apart from Him.

In our initial salvation we “put on the new man” (Col. 3:10) Now this new man, including all the believers, is being renewed to match the newness of New Jerusalem (3:10). In this new man “Christ is all [everything] and in all [of us]” (3:11). This is fact today even though our seeing and experience is limited.

In New Jerusalem Christ as all and in all with be fully realized and fully manifested in fact and experience.

A Fourth Mystery Points to New Jerusalem

Christ is the mystery of God (Col. 2:2) and the church is the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:4-11). Christ and the church, as Husband and wife, are the great mystery (Eph. 5:32) a predecessor of Christ the Lamb and New Jerusalem as Husband and wife (Rev. 21:10).

Colossians 1:26 speaks of the revelation of “the mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations but now has been manifested.” Verse 27 unveils this mystery, “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which [mystery] is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

New JerusalemToday Christ is life in every believer, as in Colossians 3:4. When He returns and is manifested in glory visibly, this life will also be manifested in glory (3:4). Hence, Christ our life today is also Christ as our hope of glory.

This is the glory which New Jerusalem has and which the city will radiate eternally (Rev. 21:11, 23). This glory is of God in Christ, not of us, but it is in us.

God’s intention is “that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory” (Rom. 9:23). It is God’s choice in His mercy that Christ has become our hope of glory. Thank Him!

Christ in us will be manifested in glory to express God in a corporate entity, the city New Jerusalem. This is the fulfillment of God’s desire and purpose to create man in His image to express Him.

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New Jerusalem: Satisfaction in Love and Rest in Expression

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” Jesus Christ, and also “the tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:2-3). These characteristics are not new at the conclusion of the Bible; they occur often throughout the Bible.

In both the Old and the New Testaments God likens His chosen people to a spouse (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32) and a dwelling place for Himself (Exo. 29:45-46; Num. 5:3; Ezek. 43:7-9; Psa. 68:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The spouse is for His satisfaction in love, and the dwelling place is for His rest in expression. Both aspects will be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem. In her, God will have the fullest satisfaction in love and the uttermost rest in expression for eternity.*

The love between God and His people is important throughout the Bible. The books of Moses are, on one hand, filled with laws, commands, and ordinances. On the other hand, they often speak about our heart and our loving God. The Lord Jesus repeated this in John 14:21, 23, coupling loving Him and keeping His commandments. Second John 6 says the same.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:17 we are “being rooted and grounded in love.” And 4:16 has “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” The building up of the Body of Christ in love is the preparation of New Jerusalem to be His loving bride. Likewise in Colossians 2:2 we are “knit together in love.”

Lord, increase our loving You daily. Make us those who “who have loved Your appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Bring us onward to New Jerusalem

* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Participation in the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ, for His satisfaction in love. The city is also the tabernacle of God for His rest and expression. This marvelous entity is prepared by our experience of the riches of Christ.

The prior post looked at the individual experience of these riches in Philippians 1 and the corporate experience in Ephesians 3. Then Ephesians 4:15-16 says that “holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together…causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Everything in these verses is for the preparation of New Jerusalem as the bride. We hold to Christ, the truth, in love. Thus we grow up into Him, experiencing Him in every aspect of our living, both small and big. As we grow into Him, the rich supply flows out from Him for our joining and knitting together (because the Body of Christ and New Jerusalem are corporate entities, not a gathering of individuals). Through this His Body grows and is built together in love.

Colossians 2:19 is a parallel verse, “Holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.” Again it begins with our holding, our cooperating. Then the rich supply flows out, all the members are knit together, and the corporate Body of Christ grows. This is our current progress in the preparation of New Jerusalem.

 

The Rich Supply, Now and New Jerusalem

The description of New Jerusalem includes “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” (Rev. 22:1).

New JerusalemThe river of life for New Jerusalem flows out of the throne. Colossians 2:19 tells us that Christ is “the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.”

Christ as the Head is the authority, corresponding to the throne in New Jerusalem. The rich supply out from the Head is like the river flowing out from the throne. 

The rich supply is for the present building up of the Body of Christ by the growth of God in all the members. This building up is the preparation of New Jerusalem in every member and corporately in the members as the one Body.

In eternity New Jerusalem will be complete, with no further need of preparation. Nevertheless, as a living entity, the city needs the proper supply to maintain the freshness of life. This supply is the river of life from the throne which brings the tree of life with its fruits.

To partake of the rich supply today is by “holding the Head” (Co. 2:19) and by “holding to truth in love” to “grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ” (Eph. 4:15-16). Lord Jesus, keep us holding to You in love for Your rich supply to prepare New Jerusalem in us.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (8)

Ephesians 4:11-16 focuses on God’s life being ministered for our growth in life and for furtherance of God’s New Testament building work. The growth and the building work are inseparably linked and both consummate in New Jerusalem.

By holding the Head, Christ, we “grow up into Him in all things” (v. 4:15). Then there is a flow out from Him which joins us together and knits us together. This flow is both through the gifted members (v. 4:11) and “through the operation in the measure of each one part” (v. 4:16). “Each one part” equals every believer in Christ, every member of the Body of Christ.

New JerusalemThis flow through all of us “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (v. 4:16). The growth of the Body and the building up of the Body proceed together. This is God NT way which ultimately concludes with New Jerusalem.

Colossians 2:19 is parallel, “holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.” Our holding to Christ the Head allows a rich supply to flow out from Him for our knitting together and growth.

The whole Body, including all the members, “grows with the growth of God.” God was born into us at regeneration and is growing within us. New Jerusalem is the consummation of this growth; it is the manifestation of God in/through all His people built together.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The River is from the Throne both Today and in New Jerusalem

In Revelation 22:1 the river of water of life flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb to supply the entire city for eternity. This flow is the Spirit. We also see this river in New Testament epistles for the preparation of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWhen Paul wrote Philippians he was in a Roman prison and he also describes another difficulty. Yet he says in 1:19, “I know that for me this [prison and difficulty] will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians begins, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The blessings from our Father and our Lord are realized in the bountiful supply which is the Spirit. This is the present realization of the river (the Spirit as the bountiful supply) from the throne of God and the Lamb.

The result of this flow is Paul’s expectation that “even now Christ will be magnified in my body.” The flow of the Spirit produces the expression/magnification of Christ just as the river in New Jerusalem maintains the expression/magnification of God by the city.

Similarly both Ephesians 4:15-16 and Colossians 2:19 speak of a rich supply flowing out from the Head, Christ, which results in the building up of His Body. The rich supply is the Spirit and the building up is the preparation of New Jerusalem. Lord, keep us in this rich supply of the Spirit to prepare us for New Jerusalem! 

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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.

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