New Jerusalem: Living Temple and Eternal Holy of Holies

The Old Testament temple was physical and earthly. The New Testament temple is living and heavenly. It is the incarnated Jesus and the resurrected Jesus in His believers. Hebrews 8:5 tells us that the Old Testament priests “serve the example and shadow of the heavenly things.” Verse 2 says that our Lord, the real High Priest, is a Minister “of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.”

Here are a posts which compare the shadow and the true, and use the shadow to show characteristics of the true, including New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies. Each summary begins with a link to that post and ends with one key verse reference.

New Jerusalem

The Lord told the Jews that if they destroyed the temple (of His body), He would raise it up in resurrection. This shows that the New Testament temple is living, not physical. (John 2:19-22)

In resurrection, the Spirit is dwelling in every believer. This makes us “the temple of God.” (1 Cor. 3:16)

The overcomers, who hold fast to the Lord’s word, will be pillars in the living temple. (Rev. 3:11-12).

John tells us, “I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Rev. 21:22)

Jesus Christ “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” As priests, we are qualified to serve in the temple and will serve eternally in New Jerusalem. (Rev. 1:5-6).

God is not only our living temple but also our dwelling place now and in New Jerusalem. (Psalm 90:1)

We have been cleansed in the blood of the Lamb. We serve God day and night in His temple, which is God Himself. (Rev. 7:14-15).

Colossians 2, speaking about Old Testament things, says they “are a shadow of the things to come, but the body [the reality which casts the shadow] is of Christ.” (Heb. 8:5)

The Old Testament things are shadows because “grace and reality came through Jesus Christ,” in His incarnation. (John 1:17)

The shadows in the Bible illuminate us concerning the reality. The Old Testament holy of holies had the ark of the covenant with its contents, all pictures of the reality. (Hebrews 9:4)

The ark contains manna in a golden pot, the budding rod, and the tablets of the covenant. All portray something about New Jerusalem. (Hebrews 9:4).

The lid of the ark is the propitiation place, testifying of the forgiveness and cleansing of sins. (Heb. 9:5, 14)

The cherubim of glory are above the propitiation place, symbolizing New Jerusalem which has the glory of God. (Heb. 9:5)

Above the propitiation place and between the cherubim is where God meets with us and speaks with us. (Exo. 25:21-22)

In New Jerusalem we have been brought into the holy of holies to have full fellowship with the Triune God, there is no more need of the outer court nor the holy place. (Rev. 22:1-5)

We come forward with boldness, with full assurance of faith, to the holy of holies, to New Jerusalem. (Heb. 10:19-22)

To come forward to the holy of holies is also to come to the throne of grace. (Heb. 4:16)

To come forward to the holy of holies is to enter through the veil, which was torn when the Lord was crucified (Heb. 9:3, 10:19-20). Here is a hymn about entering through the veil:
Enter the Veil and Go Without the Camp
Taste Heaven’s Sweetness
Enter the Veil, Come Forward to the Throne

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Come Forward to the Throne of Grace

New JerusalemGod meets with us in the holy of holies between the cherubim of glory above the propitiation place. This meeting place is also the throne of grace. Because the throne of grace is in the holy of holies, Hebrews encourages us to come forward both to the holy of holies (10:19-22) and to the throne of grace (4:16).

Today the holy of holies is our human spirit, where Christ dwells in us. To touch Him, to be with Him, is the be in the holy of holies and to come to the throne of grace. To come forward is an exercise today and will be our perpetual living in New Jerusalem.

The encouragement to come forward is captured in a song (music). The first words are:
__In the holiest place, touch the throne of grace, Grace as a river shall flow.
The chorus is, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Grace as a river shall flow.
Grace flowing from the throne is equivalent to the river of life flowing from the throne of New Jerusalem.

The second verse of the song says:
__In the holiest place, live before His face, Light of glory thru me will shine.
This is equivalent to New Jerusalem, in which we see God’s face and His light shines on us (Rev. 22:4-5). And because the entire New Jerusalem, including us, will be transparent, pure, clear (Rev. 21:11, 18, 21), light of glory will shine not only on us but also through us.

We can rejoice with the last verse of the song:
__Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Touch the living fountain of life.
In John 4:14 the Lord promised in us “a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life.” Today He is the fountain in our spirit and this life will flow in and through us forever in New Jerusalem.

Come Forward to the Holy of Holies

New Jerusalem is the eternal holy of holies where we are one with the Triune God, see His face, serve Him, and are enlightened and nourished by Him. New Jerusalem will be wonderful, but don’t wait passively. Hebrews 10:19 tells us that we have “boldness for entering the Holy of Holies in the blood of Jesus.” This is for today!

New JerusalemVerse 20 continues, “which entrance He initiated for us as a new and living way through the veil, that is, His flesh.” When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple, which separated the holy place and holy of holies, was torn (Mark 15:37-38). This opened the “new and living way” for us to enter the holy of holies.

Therefore, verse 22 exhorts us, “come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” Today this real and spiritual holy of holies is in heaven until New Jerusalem “comes down out of heaven from God.” How then can we, who are physically on earth, come forward to and enter this heavenly holy of holies?

The answer is Christ! He is the One who joins earth to heaven. He is both in us and in the heavenly holy of holies. In Christ we have the boldness and we have the full assurance of faith. Let us come forward to the present reality of New Jerusalem as the holy of holies.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies (4)

The Old Testament temple is a picture of the reality of the New Testament temple. The Old Testament holy of holies also depicts New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies. In that holy of holies was the ark with its contents “and above it [the ark] cherubim of glory overshadowing the propitiation place” (Heb. 9:4-5).

New JerusalemPropitiation is the base for the glory. New Jerusalem has both the Lamb as the New Testament propitiatory sacrifice and the glory of God illuminating the city (Rev. 21:23).

Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus Christ, through His redemption, is the way to be freed from sins and to come up to the level of God’s glory. Both solutions are seen in the propitiation cover with the cherubim of glory. New Jerusalem will declare both eternally.

The propitiation place is in the holy of holies. Therefore, this experience of redemption is deeper (more inward) than that of the trespass offering at the altar in the outer court of the temple. Although we might not understand the difference, we should seek to advance in our Christian life. The trespass offering and the propitiation place both take care of our sins, but only the latter is intimately tied to God’s glory.

Do not be satisfied to remain in the outer court. New Jerusalem is the holy of holies; there will be no more outer court. Don’t wait; advance now. Lord, I want to have a deeper experience of Your forgiveness. Bring me to the propitiation place so that Your glory may come forth.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is Heavenly on Earth (2)

Hebrews 11:16 tells us that the Old Testament people of faith, living on the physical earth, “long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” We likewise live in an earthly environment but should have the same longing for a heavenly one.

#NewJerusalemGod’s response to our longing is that He has prepared a heavenly city. This is “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). Although it is a heavenly city, John saw it “coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 10). New Jerusalem is a heavenly city on earth.

The first half of Hebrews 8 tells us that the Old Testament tabernacle was a shadow of the heavenly things (v. 5). Both this chapter and the following one speak of the Holy of Holies. Verse 9:8 says that “the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested while the first tabernacle still has its standing.”

That “first tabernacle” stood during the first, the old, covenant. Now that Jesus Christ has come, died, and risen, the new covenant has been established and the way to the holy of holies is open. This New Testament holy of holies is the heavenly one, the New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the heavenly holy of holies because it is a cube, like the smaller holy of holies in the tabernacle and the temple. Revelation 21:16 declares that New Jerusalem is a cube, saying, “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”

The way to this heavenly holy of holies is open! Jesus Christ has opened the way for us! We cannot see the way physically but we can come forward in faith. Hebrews 10:22: “Let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith;” our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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

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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.

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“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.

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