Hastening the Coming of the Day of God (and of New Jerusalem)

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9-10) and the Lamb is Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He says, “Behold, I come quickly” (22:7) and the Spirit and the bride respond “Come” (22:17). Then the Lord says again, “Yes, I come quickly” and John answers “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20).

New JerusalemWe need to pray, Lord, come. Furthermore, Peter tells us how to speed up the Lord’s coming— “what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11-12).

Peter urges us to live a holy life and a life of godliness. A holy life comes from the sanctification of the Spirit separating us unto God both in position and inwardly. Godliness—”a life that lives Christ and expresses God in Christ*” comes from experiencing Christ as our life day by day. In this holy life and godliness we are expecting the Lord’s coming and the day of God.

By this life, we also hasten the coming. The Lord is eager to come and we pray Come, Lord Jesus. But, He will not come until “His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).

We must get ready but cannot get ready by ourselves. We get ready by opening to and cooperating with the Spirit’s work in us. We need the Spirit’s regenerating (John 3:6), renewing (Tit. 3:5), sanctification (2 Thes. 2:13), transformation (2 Cor. 3:18) and more. All of this is for preparing the bride, the wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem.

* Part of footnote 3 on 1 Tim. 6:3 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb has Come, and His Wife [New Jerusalem] is Ready

Recent posts are on the marriage and marriage dinner of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and New Jerusalem as the bride, the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7, 9; 21:2, 10). When the Lord returns, He will present the church to Himself as His glorious bride (Eph. 5:27).

New JerusalemA song (words + music) express the Lord’s and our longing for this wedding day. The first verse is:
__Lord, Thou wilt soon appear,
____Thy day is almost here.
__Oh, how we love Thy coming soon!
____We have no other
____Lord, life, or lover
__Than Thou, Lord Jesus, our Bridegroom!

With the eternal marriage in view, the Lord spoke of Himself as the Bridegroom in Matthew 9 and 25. To prepare us, He is our Lord to rule us, our Life to supply us, and our Lover to attract us.

Ephesians has many verses on love, and presents human marriage as a picture of the eternal marriage of New Jerusalem. Part of the second verse of the song says:
__Oh what an hour sweet
__When Bride and Bridegroom meet
__And love surpassing comprehend.
Looking forward to the day of His return, Ephesians ends, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Lord Jesus, we love You and are eager to see You return and to comprehend the surpassing love! This longing is expressed in the third verse of the song, “Soon we shall see Thy face! / Amen, Lord Jesus! Quickly come!”

The last verse of the song says, “Thou, our Lord Bridegroom, Thou / Soon wilt return to claim Thy Bride.” Then Revelation 19:7 will be fulfilled, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem] ]has made herself ready.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   10-11 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The heart of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus (19:10). He is seen through Revelation caring for God’s interests on earth, which consummate in the new creation and New Jerusalem. In this post we look at His care for God’s interests and God’s people in Revelation 10 and 11.

New JerusalemIn Revelation 10:1-7 Christ comes to claim the earth and to declare that there will be no more delay in completing the mystery of God.

Today God’s purpose, including New Jerusalem, is a mystery but it the coming age and in eternity the mystery will have been completed, and everything will be openly manifested. The Mystery of God is FinishedThe Mystery and the End of the Mystery.

In 11:15, “The seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” Today the kingdom of God is a reality as a spiritual mystery. “The kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

When the Lord Jesus returns visibly (Come, Lord Jesus! Rev. 22:20) the kingdom of God will be manifested to everyone. That is the time of the shout in 11:15. This kingdom will fill the earth from then into eternity.

The center of this visible kingdom of God is New Jerusalem, and the center of New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1, 3). Praise Him!

A Personal Testimony (2015)

New JerusalemIn April of last year [2014] my wife, Karen, died. However, as I shared in last year’s Personal Testimony, that event was not primarily a physical death. Rather, it was the Lord calling her to be with Him in paradise. Because of the Lord’s speaking then, we both accepted His call without fear and without regret.

How thankful I am for His speaking which took so much potential turmoil out of the events last year. However, I realize that not every Christian couple has such an experience and I am sympathetic with those who go through a time of distress and sadness. He is the Lord and we cannot say why He gives one couple one experience and another couple a very different experience. Neither should we make judgements about these differences.

Since a year ago I have gone on with the Lord. The peace of a year ago has remained. She is asleep in Christ, awaiting the resurrection at the Lord’s visible return, as presented in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16. She is also awaiting the better country, New Jerusalem, the city God has prepared for His people of faith (Hebrews 11:16).

The Lord has brought me on since then, keeping me in Christian fellowship and touching me on aspects of my living so that my reality may become a little more “to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). Regarding Karen, I am at rest in Him. Regarding my future,

Come, Lord Jesus! 

three years later

Pursue a Holy Manner of Life

New Jerusalem, the holy city, the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people. God chose use to be holy, called us with a holy calling, and is now sanctifying us unto New Jerusalem. Second Peter 3:10-12 says,

The day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements, burning with intense heat, will be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up. Since all these things are to be thus dissolved, what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements, burning with intense heat, are to be melted away?

New JerusalemBecause the old creation will be consumed, we should seek a holy manner of life. How? First Peter 1:15 says, “according to the Holy One who called you, you yourselves also be holy in all your manner of life.” Our holy manner of life is not from our natural being nor by our own effort. Our holy manner of life depends on The Holy One.

This dependence involves prayer with thanksgiving. We first thank the Lord that He has become sanctification to us objectively (1 Corinthians 1:30). Then we can thank Him that He is the One sanctifying us subjectively (Hebrews 2:11).

We can also thank God for choosing us to be holy (Ephesians 1:4) or for calling us with a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9). At times it is good to pray with these verses.

We can also pray, asking the Lord to sanctify us, even petitioning concerning specific aspects of our daily living where we have a hard time remembering Him or where we know our need of sanctification. We do not need to beg; He wants to sanctify us, needing only our cooperation.

When we are living a holy manner of life, we are expecting the Lord’s return. Our holy living even hastens His return per 2 Peter 3:12. Come, Lord Jesus! Bring us onwards to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Jesus Lord, We’re Captured by Your Beauty

The Bible is a love story concluding in New Jerusalem with an eternal marriage of the Triune God and all His people. This is what John saw and what we see in Revelation 21:2 and 21:9-11. There is a song about this eternal romance which begins:
..Jesus Lord, I’m captured by Thy beauty,
_.._All my heart to Thee I open wide;

These first two lines point us in the proper direction. We did not initiate the relationship with God, the relationship which culminates in New Jerusalem. Rather, we were drawn by the beauty of the Lord Jesus and then, in response to Him, we opened our heart.

New JerusalemThe last verse of the song says:
..My Beloved, come on spices’ mountain;
..__How I yearn to see Thee face to face.
..Drink, dear Lord, from my heart’s flowing fountain,
_.._Till I rest fore’er in Thine embrace.
..Not alone, O Lord, do I adore Thee,
_.._But with all the saints as Thy dear Bride;
..Quickly come, our love is waiting for Thee;
_.._Jesus Lord, Thou wilt be satisfied.

In the first line, Jesus Christ is our Beloved, and we can pour out the longings of our heart to Him every day. In the next phrases, reflecting the poetry of Song of Songs, the lover asks the Beloved to “come on spices’ mountain” (Song 8:14) and yearns to see Him “face to face.” The mountain signifies His kingdom. This kingdom was brought forth by the Lord’s death and resurrection which are symbolized by the spices. When He comes in glory to manifest His kingdom, we will see Him “face to face.”

Then the lover asks her Beloved to drink of her heart’s flowing fountain and expresses her longing to be in the eternal embrace of New Jerusalem. Finally the song presents the corporate lover, all God’s people, as the Bride, asking the Lord to come quickly (as in Revelation 22:17) and declaring the Bride’s love for the Bridegroom.

May the Lord attract us more to stir up more love for Him in our hearts! Come, Lord Jesus! Come and bring us onward to the fullness of New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The Spirit and the Bride Say Come

New JerusalemIn Revelation 22 the Lord Jesus says three times, “I come quickly” (verses 7, 12, 20). In 22:17 we read the response: “the Spirit and the bride say, Come!” This cry, Come, is in the present age; it is a cry for the visible coming of the Lord Jesus, which will end this age.

The bride here is New Jerusalem, as clearly stated in Revelation 21:2, 9-10. In verse 22:17 the Spirit and the bride speak together, showing that they are one. The Spirit has not only regenerated the members of this corporate bride (John 3:6) but has also transformed them (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Now the members of the bride live in the reality of one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). This oneness in living is demonstrated by the oneness in speaking with the Spirit.

In [Revelation] chs. 2 and 3 it was the Spirit speaking to the churches; here, at the end of the book, it is the Spirit and the bride, the church, speaking together as one. This indicates that the church’s experience of the Spirit has improved to the extent that she has become one with the Spirit, who is the ultimate consummation of the Triune God.*

Reaching such oneness with the Spirit is the completion of preparation of the bride for the marriage of the Lamb. This oneness will be a characteristic of New Jerusalem. To grow into this living oneness, we need the rich supply from our Head, Jesus Christ. This supply comes through our dropping all distracting involvements and holding Him as our reality, as in Colossians 2:16–3:4.

We can pray, Lord, I love You and I open to You. Save me from my outward formalities so that I may experience You as my reality and receive Your rich supply for me to live one with You. This is the preparation of the bride and the path to New Jerusalem.

* See Revelation 22:17 in this online NT (© LSM).

A Parable with a Warning

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2 and 21:9 show us New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage. In the gospels the Lord Jesus spoke about Himself as the Bridegroom for this marriage.

In Matthew 25:1-13 the Lord spoke a parable about Himself (the Bridegroom), ten virgins, and the wedding feast. He tells us that when He comes, the virgins who are ready for Him with their lamps brightly burning will go with Him into the wedding feast.

Some people hold the interpretation that the five wise/prudent virgins are believers and the five foolish virgins are unbelievers. But this strong separation pushes aside the common characteristics of these ten virgins:
• all ten are virgins, signifying our purity by believing into Jesus Christ (v. 1)
• all ten took their lamps and all ten went forth to meet the Bridegroom (v. 1)
• while the Bridegroom delayed they all slept (v. 5)
• in response to the midnight cry, all ten arose and all ten trimmed their lamps (v. 6-7)

In verse 8, the lamps of the foolish virgins were “going out,” which indicates that they were lit but short of oil. “The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah” (Proverbs 20:27). The spirits/the lamps of the foolish virgins being lit indicates that they were born again of the Spirit in their spirit.

The foolish virgins were shut out of the wedding feast. What then? They need to take the admonishing from the prudent virgins, “go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves” (v. 9). Eventually, although they will miss the wedding feast, they will be in New Jerusalem.

The characteristics of New Jerusalem include life, light, holiness, newness, and glory. We need more oil, more of the Spirit saturating our being so that we match the city. Let us open to the Lord and pray, Lord, fill me, touching the desire expressed in the song which begins, We have oil in our lamps—we are burning!

For more about this parable, look at the footnotes in the online Recovery Version.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (5)

New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is implied in both the giving of the first covenant in Exodus 20 and the prophecy of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31.

New JerusalemHosea speaks to and condemns Israel’s departure from God to go after other gods. Nevertheless he also has some encouraging words about the future:
• “she will say, I will go and return to my first husband” (v. 2:7)
• “in that day, declares Jehovah, you will call Me my Husband” (v. 2:16)
• “I will betroth you to Myself forever” (v. 2:19a)
• “I will betroth you to Myself in right-eousness and justice and in loving-kindness and compassions” (v. 2:19b)
• “I will betroth you to Myself in faithfulness, and you will know Jehovah” (v. 2:20).

The last three of these five phrases show that the eternal marriage is of God. He (not we) planned, He (not we) initiated, He (not we) betrothed, and He (not we) supplies the righteousness, lovingkindness, and faithfulness.

Our response is to love Him and to call Him our Husband. Our response is also to “go and return” to Him from all other “husbands/lovers/idols/distractions.” Our responses will be repeated multiple times in our experience. This is our path to the eternal marriage, to New Jerusalem.

The seeker in Song of Songs said, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine….Draw me; we will run after you.” We can pray with her, Lord kiss me! Lord Jesus, may I realize that Your love is better! Draw me so that we can run after You! 

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has the Bible’s consummate glory. The prior post touched glory in the Old Testament; this one looks at glory in the gospels. What the Lord passed through in the gospels—incarnation, death, and resurrection—was to redeem us and bring us into God so that we could be in New Jerusalem.

The glory in the gospels is foretold in Isaiah 40: “the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it.” Then John 1:1, 14 says, “the Word was God…the Word became flesh…we beheld His glory.” According to 2 Peter 1:16-18, the disciples beheld His glory on the mount of transfiguration. That beholding was for a short time, but the glory in New Jerusalem is eternal.

Luke 5:25-26, 7:17, 13:13, 17:15, and 18:43 are examples of people glorifying God as a result of seeing acts which they knew were of Him. Let us expect more in the kingdom and in New Jerusalem.

In John 12:23 Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” In the next verse He speaks about His death. And at His death, a centurion glorified God (Luke 23:47). In John 17 the Lord prayed, asking the Father to glorify Him so that He could glorify the Father. This prayer was answered in His resurrection. This death and resurrection are our entrance into the glory of New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 16:27 and 24:30 the Lord told us that He will come visibly in glory. This glorious coming will bring His kingdom openly to earth and bring the manifestation of New Jerusalem closer.

Posts about the Lord’s death and resurrection as our entrance into New Jerusalem:
Enter New Jerusalem Now____Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Have Come Forward to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemHebrews 12:22 tells us that we “have come forward to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” which is New Jerusalem. This spiritual fact is plainly declared in God’s word and must be substantiated by faith. “Faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

On one hand we have already come to New Jerusalem. On the other hand we are hoping for it, that is, hoping for its full manifestation. While we are hoping for the manifestation, our faith is substantiating the present reality.

The present hidden reality and coming open manifestation of New Jerusalem parallel our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Regarding the spiritual reality today, He told us, “I am with you all the days” (Matthew 28:20). Regarding His open manifestation, He says “I come quickly” and we respond “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

The same is true about the kingdom of God. The reality of the kingdom is in the Holy Spirit today (Romans 14:17) and John told us that he was in the kingdom (Revelation 1:9). Nevertheless we should pray for its open manifestation—“Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10).

The pattern in 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 is that we exercise our spirit of faith to experience the resurrection that grace may abound to us all. Therefore outward decay does not make us lose heart because inwardly we are being renewed day by day. An eternal weight of glory, to be manifested in New Jerusalem, is being developed within while we pay attention to the unseen, eternal things revealed in God’s word.

Photo of Dinklesbuehl, Germany courtesy of U.S. government.

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