On the Throne in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:3 says concerning New Jerusalem:

New Jerusalem

The verse tells us that God and the Lamb will be on the throne. God on the throne is obvious but for the Lamb, Jesus, the God-man, it is helpful to consider additional verses.

Matthew 28:18 “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Jesus, the Lamb, was given all authority in resurrection.
Acts 2:36, in resurrection, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.” Acts 10:36, “Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all)”

Ephesians 1:19-23 “the might of His [God, the Father of glory] strength, which He caused to operate in Christ in raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body”

This portion tells us that God raised Christ from the dead, exalted Him to the heavens, enthroned Him far above all, subjected all things under Him, and gave Him as Head over all. All these steps are to His Body now and to New Jerusalem in eternity.

The Lamb Jesus Christ will be on the throne in New Jerusalem but we should not wait passively. Hebrews 4:16 exhorts us to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace.”

How can we come to the throne of God and the Lamb, Christ, in heaven while we still live on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in v. 12. The very Christ who is sitting on the throne in heaven (Rom. 8:34) is also now in us (Rom. 8:10), that is, in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22), where the habitation of God is (Eph. 2:22).*

Let us come forward to the throne now on our way to New Jerusalem.

From footnote 1 on Hebrews 4:16 in NT Recovery Version Online.

 

Enter the Veil, Come Forward to the Throne

A hymn by Witness Lee begins, “Enter the veil and go without the camp.” We enter the veil to behold the glorious Christ, to taste heaven’s sweetness, to be charmed by heaven’s glory, and to be energized by resurrection power. All of this is a foretaste of the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22), New Jerusalem. The hymn concludes:New Jerusalem

Enter the veil till it exists no more,
Go out the camp till all the camps are gone;
Until the heavens and the earth unite,
Till God and man together dwell in one.

These four lines speak of the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center (Rev. 21:1-2). There is no more veil, no more camp, and no more separation between God and man because the devil, death, hades, and everything negative have been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10, 14; 21:8). “Death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

We should rejoice for what is coming, but not merely wait for that time. We should enter the veil now. This is to come forward to the holy of holies (Heb. 10:19-22), which is to come forward to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16), the throne which will be in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1).

Undoubtedly, the throne mentioned here [Heb. 4:16] is the throne of God, which is in heaven (Rev. 4:2)….This throne is the throne of both God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:1). How can we come to the throne of God and the Lamb, Christ, in heaven while we still live on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in v. 12. The very Christ who is sitting on the throne in heaven (Rom. 8:34) is also now in us (Rom. 8:10), that is, in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22), where the habitation of God is (Eph. 2:22).*

Let us come forward to the throne, within the veil, to the foretaste of New Jerusalem.

* from note 1 on Heb. 4:16 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Pictures of New Jerusalem in Exodus (3)

New JerusalemThe holy of holies described in Exodus is a portrait of New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies. The entrance to the holy of holies was  a veil. Hebrews 10:20 tells us is that the veil portrays the flesh of Jesus.

Exodus 26:31 describes the veil: “You shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet strands and fine twined linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.”

Because the veil depicts the flesh of Jesus, it relates to His humanity. The linen is His perfect humanity, with heavenliness (blue), royalty (purple), redemption (scarlet, signifying His shed blood), and glory (cherubim).

All of these features are seen in New Jerusalem. The man Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) who is on the throne in the city (Rev. 22:1); this includes the humanity, royalty, and redemption depicted by the veil. New Jerusalem is heavenly. It comes down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2) but retains the heavenly nature; this too is related to the humanity of Jesus. Also, New Jerusalem has the glory of God (Rev. 21:11).

In Exodus the veil was whole, keeping us out of the holy of holies. This was because men were fallen flesh (Gen. 6:3). In the death of Jesus the old man was crucified and the body of sin was annulled (Rom. 6:6). First Peter 3:18 tells us that He died “that He might bring you to God.”

To be brought to God is to be brought into the holy of holies. We have this access by the blood shed in His death (Heb. 10:19-22). Now we come forward to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16), to Jesus (Heb. 7:25), and to the holy of holies (Heb. 10). The throne, Jesus, the holy of holies, and our coming forward are all for today and for New Jerusalem. Let us come forward with boldness!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Pictures of New Jerusalem in Exodus (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies. The holy of holies described in Exodus portrays something of New Jerusalem.

The veil (Ex. 26:31-33) separated the holy of holies from the holy place. Entering the holy of holies was extremely restricted (Lev. 16:2, 29-30). Hebrews 9:7-8 speaks of this, “…only the high priest enters [the holy of holies], once a year and not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of ignorance of the people, the Holy Spirit thus making this clear, that the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested…”

However, we are not in that age! Hebrew 9:11 has a great turn: “But Christ, having come…”! When Jesus died, “the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51). As a result, “Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies in the blood of Jesus, which entrance He initiated for us as a new and living away through the veil, that is, His flesh…” (Heb. 10:19-20).

Through the death of Jesus Christ the veil has been rent! We can enter the spiritual holy of holies now and our entrance to New Jerusalem is guaranteed. Having the new and living way, “and having a great Priest over the house of God, let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:21-22a).

Although the pictures in Exodus convey something about New Jerusalem to us, they do not show us the way to enter. Thank God that we are in this age, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We exercise our faith to receive His redemption and thereby have boldness to enter the holy of holies now on our way to 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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is concludes a series of posts about seeing and entering New Jerusalem. The key is “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see this wonderful eternal city (Rev. 21:9-10). Here is a one sentence highlight, a verse reference, and a link for each post.

❖ The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, presented by the Bible in figurative language. We need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11) and to understand the spiritual significance of all its elements.

In Exodus 24 and 34 Moses was at the top of a mountain, in God’s presence, in glory, and received God’s speaking, including the vision of the tabernacle, a forerunner of New Jerusalem.

 Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai portrays our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem. The first steps in their journey were redemption, eating the passover lamb and unleavened bread, and crossing the Red Sea.

❖ The next step in Israel’s (and our) journey is to sing and praise the Lord for His victory and His kingdom. This brings us onward to the wonderful experience of the springs of living water.

 Eating the manna (a picture of Christ—John 6) daily and drinking the water (a picture of the Spirit—John 7) out of the rock are essential nourishment for our Christian journey.

❖ On our journey we also need to fight against the flesh but not in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

❖ In Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. All God’s words show our shortages apart from Christ. Nevertheless, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7).

❖ On our Christian journey we need Jesus Christ as our burnt offering, as the person absolute for God. He is our replacement and we are identified with Him. This is portrayed in Leviticus 1:3-4.

 Christ as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4) that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

 When Moses went up the mountain he entered into the cloud (which cut off his view of everything earthly) and was there forty days in the glory of the Lord (Exo. 24:15-16, 18). When we give time to the Lord, He will reveal His heart to us.

 We journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see and enter New Jerusalem. For this journey, Christ is our life (Col. 3:4) and we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

❖ Our seeing of New Jerusalem depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation. By the Lord’s mercy, may we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us, so that the Spirit can reveal more to us (Rev. 21:9-10).

❖ On a mountain the Lord spoke the reality of the kingdom of the heavens, which leads to New Jerusalem. In ourselves we cannot reach this level, but we have the life of our heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48).

❖ The Lord Jesus went to a mountain to present the kingdom (Matt. 5–7), to be transfigured (Matt. 17), to speak about this age and His return (Matt. 24), and to ascend (Acts 1). Our need is to come to Him. “His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1)

❖ Everything written in the Old Testament, including Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai, is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement (1 Cor. 10:11, Rom. 15:4). Today, our job is to hold Jesus Christ, who is the reality (Col. 2:16-19).

❖ Recent posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The answer is in John 3—be born again to see (v. 3) and to enter (v. 5).

❖ In John 3:5 we are born of water (terminating our old life) and the Spirit (generating our new life). In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—my old life, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—my new life. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

❖ We need to be uplifted to a high mountain that we may see New Jerusalem as God’s eternal dwelling place for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. (Rev. 21:9-10)

New Jerusalem

aaa

In Revelation 21:9-10 John tells us that an angel carried him away in spirit to a great and high mountain and showed him the holy city, New Jerusalem. This clearly was not John’s effort. Likewise, our seeing of New Jerusalem is not by our determination nor by our striving. We simply turn to the Lord, open our whole heart to Him, and wait on Him. In His time He will give us the vision of New Jerusalem.

aaa

“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Moses in a Similitude of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMoses is one of God’s people and there is no doubt that he will be in New Jerusalem. Continuing from other posts based on Exodus, I suggest that Moses, especially when he was on Mount Sinai (Exo. 24 and 34), was in a similitude* of New Jerusalem.

In Exodus 24:1-2 God instructed Moses to bring others up the mountain but that he alone was to come near to God. In New Jerusalem we will all be near to God.

When Moses went to the tent of meeting outside the camp, he spoke with God “face to face” (Exo. 33:11). To see the face of God is one blessing in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:4). “Let us therefore go forth unto Him [Jesus] outside the camp” now (Heb. 13:13).

All who came part way up with Moses saw a paved work of sapphire like heaven itself for clearness (Exo. 24:10). Sapphire is one of the foundations of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:19) and clearness/transparency is one of the city’s characteristics (Rev. 21:11, 18, 21).

Moses went to the top of the mountain where the glory of God was (Exo. 24:15-17). Eternally the glory of God enlightens New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). There Moses did not eat bread and did not drink water for forty days, yet he still had strength to come down the mountain (Exo. 34:28-29). How was Moses sustained? Probably by direct supply from God, like the river of water of life and the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1-2).

When Moses came down from the mountain “the skin of his face shone by reason of His [God’s] speaking with him” (Exo. 34:29). This is like our present opportunity to behold and reflect the glory of the Lord by turning our heart to Him (2 Cor. 3:16-18). The shining of this glory is a characteristic of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:11). Moses had these experiences during his human life; may the Lord bring us all into such a foretaste of New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of NOAA (U.S. Dept. of Commerce).

* A counterpart, a correspondence in kind or quality (www.merriam-webster.com).

Come Forward to Grace for New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

We are in a series of excerpts from an issue of Affirmation & Critique* about New Jerusalem. The prior post is on New Jerusalem as a sign of the consummation of the operation of grace as allegorized in Galatians and Hebrews.

Here is a short supplement to the prior post from the concluding word of that issue of Affirmation & Critique:

Both Galatians and Hebrews are focused on bringing believers back to God’s operation of grace so that they can be built up into God’s corporate expression, which is allegorized as the Jerusalem above in Galatians [4:26] and the heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews [12:22]. Galatians, Hebrews, and Revelation point to an allegorized city of grace—the Jerusalem above, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem [Rev. 21:2, 9-11]. Each of these books concludes with the most fitting interpretation of this allegory: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen” (Gal. 6:18), “Grace be with you all. Amen” (Heb. 13:25), and “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen” (Rev. 22:21).

From God’s side, Jesus Christ as grace is with us. From our side, we need to cooperate, as in these verses in Hebrews:
• “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” (4:16)
• “Looking carefully lest anyone fall away from the grace of God.” (12:15a)
• “…let us have [or, hold fast to] grace, through which we may serve God well-pleasingly with piety and fear.” (12:28)

Lord, grant me to find and hold grace today and never to fall away from it. Lord, grace me all the way to 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’s Mercy for God’s Goal, New Jerusalem

New JerusalemGod has a goal. This is not his response to man’s fall and to sin and death. Rather, it is His eternal heart’s desire, what He wants to do and what He will accomplish. Sin and death merely show His wisdom in accomplishing His desire, which consummates in New Jerusalem.

Because of sin and death, our fallen being is disqualified from what God wants to do and we could have no part in His plan. However, God had mercy on us. Because of His great mercy, He saved us, He regenerated us, and His is bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

Here is a summary of our recent series on God’s mercy, with a verse and a link to each post.

  John the Baptist came “to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the merciful compassions of our God.” Out of the introduction by John, according to God’s merciful compassions, “the rising sun [Jesus] will visit us from on high” (Luke 1:76-78).

 Jesus Christ became “a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). This propitiation opens the door for us to receive the eternal life which brings us to New Jerusalem.

 Romans 9:15-16 say, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” It is not by our determination (him who wills) nor by our effort (him who runs). But we can cry out to God for mercy.

 We need mercy because of the negative effect of sin and death. We also need mercy because in ourselves we do not have the glory of God (Romans 3:23), an essential quality of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:1-3 describe our fallen condition. Verses 4-6 describe what God did with us in Christ due to “being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Verse 7 continues, “That He might display in the ages to come [including New Jerusalem] the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Like Ephesians 2, Titus 3 presents our fallen condition then presents God’s salvation through His washing and renewing, “not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy.”

First Peter 1:3-4 say that God, “according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” New Jerusalem is the consummation of this inheritance.

 Jude 21 encourages us “keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We have eternal life already; here “unto eternal life” indicates we still need mercy to be brought into the fuller enjoyment of this life in the coming age and the fullest enjoyment of it in New Jerusalem.

While we are on the journey of our Christian life, “Let us come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

The new creation is spiritual and hidden within us today but eventually the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center, will become visible to all (Revelation 21:1-2). We should care for this today; per Galatians 6:15-16, “a new creation is what matters. And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy.”

God has temporarily turned from the Jews to show mercy to non-Jews (Gentiles). God’s mercy is shown to us according to His infinite wisdom. Our response should match Romans 15:9, “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy.”

This series on mercy concluded with a hymn,
God, we praise Thee for Thy mercy, ’Tis so great and so profound!
In our weakness and our failures; With its greatness it abounds.
We adore Thee! we adore Thee! With such mercy we’ve been crowned!

God is merciful to bring us into His salvation and His salvation brings us to New Jerusalem.

Photo by Christine Painter, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

God’s Eternal Goal is New Jerusalem

Romans 11 speaks of God’s work among the Jews and among the non-Jews. All of this work is unto His eternal goal, the New Jerusalem.

Mercy is intimately involved in God’s work through the ages. Romans 11:30-32 says,

For just as you [believers not of the Jews] once disobeyed God, but now have been shown mercy because of their [the Jews] disobedience, so these also now have disobeyed, so that because of the mercy shown to you they also now may be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.

New JerusalemGod wants to show mercy to all. He will do it in His way and in His time. Nevertheless, we should cooperate. We should cry out to Him for mercy. We should also come forward to the throne of grace to receive mercy.

We should praise God. We do not understand all His working and cannot comprehend why He does things a certain way, but we should recognize that He is infinitely wise and knows the best way to accomplish everything. Romans 11:33-36 proclaims, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!…To Him be the glory forever.”

Finally, in the words of Romans 15:9, “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy.” We are objects of His mercy! Let us glorify Him now and unto New Jerusalem.

Photo by Bruce Fritz, courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The New Creation is What Matters

It is God’s mercy that we have been forgiven and regenerated and are going to New Jerusalem. On this path we still need God’s mercy. Today we come forward to receive mercy and find grace at the throne, which is the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem.

In Galatians 6:15-16 Paul says, “For neither is circumcision anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creation is what matters. And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.”

New JerusalemCircumcision and uncircumcision are outward; they are not what matters. What matters to Christians is the new creation. In Galatians the new creation includes Christ revealed in us (1:16), being sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (3:26), Christ living in us (2:20), and Christ formed in us (4:19).

The new creation also includes receiving the Spirit by faith (3:2), being perfected by the Spirit (3:3), walking by the Spirit (5:16), living by the Spirit (5:25), and sowing unto the Spirit (6:8).

In our living we should care for the new creation. Presently this creation is spiritual and hidden within us. Eventually the new creation, the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem as their center, will become visible to all (Revelation 21:1-2).

Paul’s word in Galatians 6 wishes peace and mercy to those who walk by caring for the new creation, to those who have a living and a view unto New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Receive Mercy and Find Grace on the Journey to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemAs believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have eternal life and we are on the path to New Jerusalem.

Although we have eternal life, we still also have the soulish life (which the Lord asks us to deny) and our corrupted flesh. These cause us trouble in our Christian life and are the subject of multiple New Testament warnings, such as the end of Galatians 5 and the first half of Ephesians 5.

We should not fight the negative things on our own because then we will fall into the trap described in Romans 7—“the evil which I do not will, this I practice.” Instead, let us heed Hebrews 4:16:

Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace  that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.

We may (and can) come forward with boldness because of the blood shed by the Lord on the cross (Hebrews 10:19-22). When we come forward first we “receive mercy.” This indicates both our lack of qualification and God’s great compassions.

We receive mercy, then with a little more seeking we “find grace.” This mercy and grace are “for timely help”—it might be when we are frustrated or angry or confused or lonely or ______ (insert your own description here).

Because of the Lord’s mercy and because of the blood of the Lamb, the throne is to us the throne of grace and not the throne of judgement. Out of this throne flows mercy and grace. The same throne will be in New Jerusalem with a merciful and gracious flow of the river of water of life.

More about the throne of grace.

Come Forward, See God’s Face, Serve Him

A review of recent posts on the priesthood:
• In Exodus 19 God stated His intention to make Israel a kingdom of priests;
• Hebrews 5–7 speak about Jesus Christ as the kingly High Priest;
• Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:9-10 tell us that Jesus Christ, through His propitiatory death, made us a kingdom of priests;
• 1 Peter 1–2 presents a process through which we are built together as a priesthood;
• 1 Peter 2 also says we are a royal priesthood telling out the virtues of the Lord;
• Revelation 20:6 speaks of priests of God and of Christ and reigning with Him.

Finally, in Revelation 22:3, 5, “…the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him….and they will reign forever and ever.” Here the word “serve” means to serve as a priest.

New JerusalemTo serve as priests is to be in the presence of God in the holy of holies. Hebrews 9:8 tells us that the way into the holy of holies was not manifested in Old Testament times. But Hebrews 9–10 go on to speak of what Jesus Christ accomplished as our High Priest so that now we can come forward to the holy of holies (10:19). Ultimately, the entire city of New Jerusalem is the holy of holies. Here we see God’s face (Revelation 22:4).

By coming to the holy of holies, the priests are infused with God’s shining and thereby express Him. This matches two lines of a song in an earlier post: Saturated with His beauty, Radiate His excellence. This should be our experience today and will be our fuller experience in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

%d bloggers like this: