God’s Building Work with Man (4)

New JerusalemRevelation 21–22 presents New Jerusalem to us, followed by some words from the Lord. New Jerusalem, as the conclusion of the Bible, is the conclusion of all that God has done through the ages. New Jerusalem is not separate from all that God accomplished before Revelation 21. It is His goal from eternity.

Abraham, in following God, “eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God (Heb. 11:10). And New Jerusalem is that city with foundations (Rev. 21:19-20).

The Bible is a composition of sixty-six books that tell us how God has been working for over six thousand years to bring His ultimate building into existence. Bible students speak of many dispensations, telling how God works in one age in a certain way and in another age in another way. Yet the ultimate result, the issue of all God’s work throughout all generations, will be the New Jerusalem. However we may interpret the dispensations, we must realize that all of God’s various ways of working will issue in a certain kind of result—the New Jerusalem.*

All negatives in the universe were overcome by Christ through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension. All are fully eliminated in Revelation 20. This affords a way for New Jerusalem to appear in a new and pure creation. Although it might be difficult to see how some of God’s work today is toward this goal, we must realize that New Jerusalem is the target and the consummation of all God’s work.

* Excerpt from The Vision of God’s Building by Witness Lee, chapter 17

Jeremiah Points to New Jerusalem

I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…” (Rev. 21:1-2)

The Bible consummates with the revelation of the city of New Jerusalem….All the books of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, are related in some way to the New Jerusalem as God’s goal….In His wisdom, God….reveals this matter by using the Bible with its plain words, stories, histories, types, figures, and shadows. By all these different means, He reveals His thought concerning the New Jerusalem and depicts the various aspects of the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemThe bulk of Jeremiah’s writing is about Israel’s failures and God’s judgement. However, within Jeremiah there are many positive highlights pointing to New Jerusalem.

God is “the fountain of living waters” (2:13). This is part of the wonderful bridge** from the river of life in Genesis 2 to the river of life in Revelation 22.

Jehovah declares, “I will raise up to David a righteous Shoot; / And He will reign as King and act prudently” (23:5). This Shoot is Jesus Christ. He reigns in us now and will reign over the whole earth. His reign brings forth complete righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). God also speaks of Himself as the Husband (3:14; 31:32). This points to New Jerusalem, “the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9).

These are three examples of the multitude of instances in the Bible that directly or indirectly point to God’s goal, New Jerusalem. 

* Life-Study of Jeremiah and Lamentations by Witness Lee, chap. 12
** Here are many other Old Testament verses which are part of this bridge.

 

New Jerusalem: the Triune God and God’s Redeemed People

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2 – “I saw the holy city,
New Jerusalem, coming down out of
heaven from God.”
Revelation 21:12 – “It [New Jerusalem] had a great and high wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.”
Revelation 21:14 – “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

Many things are mentioned in the Bible, but eventually, at the end of the Bible, there is only one consummation, and this consummation is the New Jerusalem. In this consummation, we can see God (the Father, the Son, and the Spirit) and God’s redeemed humanity. We can see Israel because the New Jerusalem bears the names of the twelve tribes representing saved Israel (Rev. 21:12). We can see the believers because the holy city bears the names of the twelve apostles representing all the New Testament believers (v. 14). The New Jerusalem is the consummation of God and man.*

The verses above show that God’s people from both the Old Testament and the New Testament are constituted into New Jerusalem.

Revelation 22:1 shows God in New Jerusalem—the throne of God, the Father, and the Lamb, Jesus Christ, with the river of water of life flowing out of the throne. As in John 7:38-39, the river here signifies the Spirit flowing to reach man with the divine supply for eternity.

Practical Points Concerning Blending, chapter 3, by Witness Lee, © LSM

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is a Spiritual Blessing!

New JerusalemEphesians 1:3 declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” The Old Testament had God’s outward blessings to Israel. The New Testament presents God’s spiritual blessings to the believers.

What we have today are spiritual blessings: the redemption Christ accomplished; the eternal life given to us; Christ as our inward peace, joy, and hope of glory; the love of God and the grace of Christ; plus much more. All of these spiritual blessings point toward New Jerusalem, the conclusion and consummation of the New Testament.

These blessings are all spiritual, imparted into us by the Spirit of God. Galatians 3:13-14 tells us that the blessing God promised to Abraham is the Spirit Himself. “Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law…in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

The nature of all New Testament blessings is spiritual. Therefore, we should not expect New Jerusalem to be physical. Rather, it is the enlargement and enrichment of all the present spiritual blessings and also has none of the negatives in our present environment.

In New Jerusalem we will see the Lord fully, abide in Him without interruption,  and will have the highest experience of all that He is, including His life, love, righteousness, peace, joy, holiness, and glory. New Jerusalem is the eternal outcome of Ephesians 1:3.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (2)

New JerusalemGod’s New Testament building work is spiritual, not physical, and is accomplished by His resurrection life in all His believers. The consummation of this work is New Jerusalem.

The prior post has verses about Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone for God’s building. We also are stones for God’s building. In our natural state we are clay, but Christ as life within us makes us stones. New Jerusalem has stones but no clay.

When Simon first met Jesus (John 1:41-42), Jesus said Simon would be called Peter, which means “stone.” Later Peter presented the Lord as “a living Stone” and all the believers as “living stones” (1 Peter 2:4-5). Peter then repeats the words about the Lord being the Cornerstone, chosen and precious. We who believe on Him are brought into God’s building work and “shall by no means be put to shame” (2:6-7).

We are stones because of the eternal life in us; we are living stones for God’s living building, God’s spiritual house. This life comes into us at our regeneration “through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23) and grows by our taking the nourishing milk of God’s word (2:2).

First Peter 2:2 speaks of our nourishment by God’s word. Verse 3 says we taste that the Lord is good. Lord, give me such a good tasting of Your word daily! Then verse 4 is “coming to Him.” Daily we come to Him through His word, by singing, in prayer, in praising. As a result, in verse 5, we participate in God’s living building work for our priesthood to God now and in New Jerusalem.

 

 

 

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building work. The Old Testament had physical symbols, the tabernacle and temple, but now we are in the age of the spiritual reality of God’s building.

New JerusalemWe begin a look at many NT verses which show that God’s building work now is not physical but spiritual. This building work is accomplished by the eternal life which dwells in us. New Jerusalem, the consummation, will likewise be spiritual, not physical.

In Matthew 21:33-41 (and Mark 12, Luke 20) the Lord Jesus spoke a parable about a vineyard. Suddenly He changed to speaking about a stone who became the cornerstone for God’s building. This speaking shows us first, that the life of the vineyard brings forth the building material. Second, it shows that the Lord Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone.

In Acts 4:10-11 Peter declared that the crucified and resurrected Jesus is the Stone in these parables and that He has become “the Head of the corner.” In resurrection Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone, showing that God’s NT building work is in resurrection, not in the natural realm.

In 4:12 he says further that salvation is in this One. Every Christian knows that Jesus Christ is the Savior, but do we recognize further that His salvation brings us to Himself as the cornerstone for God’s building work? We receive God’s salvation because God desires to have us as material for His building, consummating in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm (2)

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Lord’s redeeming work on the cross, the Lord’s sanctifying/purifying work now, and His glorifying work at His return.  We see New Jerusalem by being carried away in spirit (out of the natural realm) onto a great and high mountain (above the level of our ordinary living).

To consider Revelation 21–22 as something natural is to miss the reality presented here. This is to repeat the error common in John’s gospel—interpreting or trying to grasp the Lord’s spiritual presentation by natural understanding. Here are more examples of this.

New Jerusalem• In 6:51-55 no one understood how the Lord could give us His flesh to eat for eternal life. But He spoke of the Spirit who gives life (v. 63).
• In 8:32-34 He spoke about being free from the slavery of sin but the hearers thought only about human slavery.
• In 8:51-53 the Lord spoke about keeping His word to overcome eternal death but the hearers could only think of physical death.
• In 11:11-14 the Lord used sleep as a picture of death; the disciples thought of physical sleep and could not comprehend His word.
• In 14:7-11 the Lord told the disciples that they had seen the Father manifested in His living and doing, but they only thought of physical seeing.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the church as the Body of Christ, His fullness (Eph. 1:22-23). New Jerusalem is also the consummation of the new man created by Christ in Himself (Eph 2:15), the holy temple growing in Him (2:21), and the dwelling place of God in spirit (2:22). Surely this is not in the natural realm. Lord, carry me away in spirit to see New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

A Christian Life of Maturing and Perfecting

Christ in us is the essence, the center, the focus of our Christian life. Yet, although He is mature and perfect in Himself, He needs to grow to maturity and be perfected in us, otherwise we remain “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). Here are a few verses about our Christian growth and perfection, plus links to posts about this subject and its relation to New Jerusalem.

Matthew 5:48: You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Colossians 1:27b-28: Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we announce…that we may present every man full-grown in Christ.
Colossians 2:19: 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.
Hebrews 6:1: …let us be brought on to maturity

#NewJerusalemNew Jerusalem is Eternal Perfection
New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection
New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection (2)

We Can Be Perfect in our Father’s Life
Perfected into One unto New Jerusalem
Full Grown in Christ our Life
Let’s Go On to Maturity for God’s Building

We Mature in Christian Life to Match
New Jerusalem

We Mature in Christian Life to Match
New Jerusalem (2)

We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)
We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)
We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)

Growing with the Growth of God
New Jerusalem is the Consummation of the Spiritual Growth of God’s People

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (2)
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (6)

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the Universal Golden Lampstand, the Ultimate Consummation of the Lampstands

Here is a third post about New Jerusalem from Stefan’s blog, agodman.com. It begins, The New Jerusalem, the holy city, is the universal golden lampstand, the ultimate consummation of the lampstands in the Scriptures.

rev-1-20-the-mystery-of-the-seven-stars-which-you-saw-upon-my-right-hand-and-the-seven-golden-lampstands1

Excerpts from Stefan’s post: Throughout the Bible there’s the mentioning of the lampstand. First, in the tabernacle in the wilderness with Moses, there was a golden lampstand in the Holy Place; this lampstand signifies Christ Himself as the embodiment and shining out of God (Exo. 25:31-37).

When Christ came in incarnation, He was a lampstand: He embodied God, expressed God, made God visible, did everything by the Spirit of God, and shined out God. In His resurrection, Christ has been enlarged to become the church as the Body of Christ; now all the genuine local churches are the many golden lampstands as the reproduction of Christ and the reprint of the Spirit. [See Rev. 1:20 in the graphic above.]

In the New Testament we also see the lampstands – the Son of Man is walking among the seven golden lampstands in Rev. 1:12-20; these lampstands signify the churches, the local churches.

Read all of New Jerusalem is the Universal Golden Lampstand, the Ultimate Consummation of the Lampstands  with graphics, references, and hymns.

Stefan’s other two posts in this cluster are New Jerusalem is a Corporate God-man, the Consummation of the High Peak of Revelation and The New Jerusalem is the Real and Consummate Shulammite, a Corporate Shulammite.

ps: A God-man is a man in whom God in Christ dwells. In John 14:20 the Lord Jesus told us that after His resurrection we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Our being in Christ and Christ being in us is the reality of a God-man, but we are NOT part of the Godhead.

New Jerusalem is a Corporate God-man,   the Consummation of the High Peak of Revelation

Thanks to Stefan at www.agodman.com/blog for this solid post on New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

The consummation of the central vision of God’s economy and of the high peak of the divine revelation is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:29-11); the New Jerusalem is a corporate God-man and the consummation of the high peak of the divine revelation.

The central vision of God’s economy is the experience of Christ as life for the producing and building up of the church as the Body of Christ. God has an economy, and in His economy He intends to dispense Himself into us to regenerate us, transform us, build us up, and glorify us, so that He may gain the church as the Body of Christ, His corporate expression in the universe.

This is what Paul was writing about in his 14 epistles; the central vision of Paul’s completing ministry is God in us as our contents, Christ as the mystery of God, and the church as the mystery of Christ.

Read the entire post which includes additional verses, more spiritual riches, plus links to references and hymns about New Jerusalem.

ps: Stefan is a God-man because, like all believers in Jesus Christ, he is a man and God in Christ is in Him. In John 14:20 the Lord Jesus told us that after His resurrection we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Our being in Christ and Christ being in us is the reality of a God-man, but we are NOT part of the Godhead.

New Jerusalem is Spiritual, not Physical

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building. Unlike the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, God’s people today are
• • • growing in the divine life
• • • being built together in Christ Jesus
• • • becoming a dwelling place of God in spirit
This building is growing unto New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:19-22, “You are…being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.”

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Bible: a Journey from Garden of Eden to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

The whole Bible is a journey from God’s creation and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1–2) to God’s consumma-tion centered on New Jerusalem (Revelation 21–22).

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

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