New Jerusalem, the Eternal City (3)

New JerusalemThe eternal New Jerusalem is the consummation of the eternal God’s eternal purpose, accomplished by eternal redemption as part of an eternal salvation of eternal life in an eternal covenant to bring forth an eternal weight of glory.

First Peter 5:10 tells us that “the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” God has called us to participate in His glory! The fullness of this participation is New Jerusalem.

For this God is working in and on us in four ways. Whether or not we can differentiate between perfecting, establishing, strengthening, and grounding is not of highest importance. God knows what is in each category and He is bringing all four to completion.

We who have been called into the eternal glory “receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15). This inheritance includes the Christ we have received and experience now and the greater appreciation and experiences of Him in New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 1 begins with the our having received “all things related to life and godliness” and “precious and exceedingly great promises” (v. 3-4). By diligently cooperating with these gifts, we develop in Christian life (v. 5-10). Through this “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly and bountifully supplied” (v. 11). This eternal kingdom includes both the coming age and New Jerusalem.

Photo by Jesse Zheng via pexels.com.

New Jerusalem’s Glory: Now or Later?

Revelation 21 describes New Jerusalem as “having the glory of God.” God, in His divinity, has this glory from eternity past. The glory of this divinity was hidden in the humanity of Jesus and revealed briefly on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2). This glory will be revealed openly and permanently when the Lord returns.

New JerusalemToday we are members of the Body of Christ, and in eternity we will be constituents of New Jerusalem, sharing in the glory of the city. When do we partake of this glory?

On one hand, in Romans 8:29-30 Paul writes to us that God foreknew, predestinated, called, justified, and glorified us. All these are past tense verbs. We easily agree with most of these, but has God actually glorified us already? We need to believe God’s word!

On the other hand, Hebrews 2:10 tells us that God is “leading many sons into glory.” And Romans 8:17 says, “we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him.” These verses indicate that our partaking of glory is coming, not yet present. Again, we need to believe God’s word!

God is eternal, outside the limits of time. Here we have been glorified. God, through incarnation, entered into time. Here our glorification is a process that is in progress. We cooperate by turning our heart to Him so that the Spirit can transform us from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18), step by step bringing us onward to the glory of New Jerusalem.

Our human cooperation is in the realm of time but in God’s eternal view we are already in the glory of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus and the Preparation of the Bride

The Lord Jesus promised, “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64). He will come to judge the earth, to rapture the believers, and to “present the church to Himself glorious” as His bride, His wife. We must cooperate with His operation to be ready for this. Here are links to posts on this topic with a key point or verse from each.

New Jerusalem

The Lord says, “Behold, I come quickly.” In response “The Spirit and the bride say, Come!”

We do not merely wait for His coming. We can be people “expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God.”

In a parable in Matthew 24 the Lord charges us to watch and to be ready for His coming.

In Matthew 25 “The bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast.”

In Matthew 25 there is a warning to us—not all believers were ready to enter.

The readiness of the bride comes from God working in us in response to our cooperation.

Our cooperation includes letting the Lord’s living word operate in us, not loving the world, watching in prayer, denying the self to be filled in spirit, and not saying, my Master delays.

Until the Lord comes, “count the long-suffering of our Lord to be salvation.”

On one hand Christ sanctifies the church “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” On the other hand, Revelation declares “His wife has made herself ready.”

The Lord Jesus will come again in glory and will present the glorious church to Himself for His wedding. Eternally, glory fills New Jerusalem and the city “has the glory of God.”

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (7)

Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Ephesians 5:25-27, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself New Jerusalemglorious.”

Does the wife, New Jerusalem, make herself ready or does Christ do it by His sanctifying washing? BOTH! The wife prepares herself by cooperating with the Lord’s operating in her.

Peter’s failure the night the Lord was arrested, the foolish virgins not gaining the oil, and the wicked servant saying that his lord delays all show us that in ourselves we cannot get ready. We need the washing of the Lord’s living word to wipe away all the negative things in us and to bring in more of the divine nature so that the church can become glorious.

The Lord’s desire is to sanctify us to become His glorious bride, the church now and New Jerusalem eternally. However, the Lord will not force Himself on us. We must choose to cooperate. To initially receive His redemption and His eternal life is once for all. But to cooperate with Him for this sanctifying is a life-long process. The word faithful appears about 50 times in the New Testament.

Our faithfulness is the fruit of the Spirit’s work in us (Gal. 5:22). Our faithful cooperation brings us forward to readiness and to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (6)

New JerusalemRevelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” We need to pursue this readiness because we do not know when He will return.

An evil slave of the Lord says, “my master delays” (Matt. 24:48). Also, 2 Peter 3 says that mockers are saying there is delay but the Lord “is long-suffering toward you, not intending that any perish but that all advance to repentance.” The Lord is waiting in His mercy so that we have time to advance, to get ourselves ready.

We should never say “my Master delays” but instead “count the long-suffering of our Lord to be salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). This is not our initial salvation, but “much more we will be saved in His life” in Romans 5:10. This much more salvation is our growth in His life, our gaining the oil of the Spirit in our vessel, our preparing to be the constituents of His wife who has made herself ready.

Peter exhorts us to “be on your guard lest being carried away by the error of the lawless, you fall from your own steadfastness.” Our steadfastness (our faithfulness, in next post) is for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This growth is the much more salvation in Romans and has the prepared bride and New Jerusalem as its goal.


Rather than the error of “my Master delays” we can be those
Hastening the Coming of the Day of God (and of New Jerusalem)

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (5)

When the Lamb’s wife, New Jerusalem, is ready, there will be great rejoicing in heaven and the Lord will come to take her. This readiness depends on our cooperation with God’s operation in us.

Aspects of this cooperation in prior posts include: letting the Lord’s living word operate in us, not loving the world, watching in prayer, denying the self to be filled in spirit, and fanning into flame the gift of God which is in us. In addition to these positive actions, we New Jerusalemneed the Lord’s warning, “You also, be ready, because at an hour when you do not expect it, the Son of Man is coming” (Luke 12:40).

The Lord says we must be ready because do not know when He will come. We should never relax. The Lord tells us it is an evil slave who says, “My master delays” (Matt. 24:48). The Lord’s return might seem delayed to us but we need to be saved from such thoughts.

“You have need of endurance in order that, having done the will of God, you may obtain the promise. For in yet a very little while the Coming One will come and will not delay” (Heb. 10:36-37). This is God’s word—the Coming One will not delay.

One aspect of His coming is to take His bride. Let us not delay in getting ready. Lord, be merciful to us that we could always take Your faithfulness and endurance in our getting ready for Your coming and for New Jerusalem.

Photo by Dan Darolti, courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (4)

“Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem] has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). Our getting ready is by cooperating with the Spirit, not by self effort.

New JerusalemSimon Peter is a warning to us. “He [Simon] said to Him [Jesus], Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). His readiness was his decision out of his own zeal, his natural love for the Lord, and his self-confidence, but that night Simon Peter failed completely.

The readiness of the bride comes only from God working in us in response to our cooperation. In contrast to Peter’s zeal before the Lord’s crucifixion, Romans 12 charges us to “be burning in spirit” and 2 Timothy 1 charges us to “fan into flame the gift of God” which is in us.

In contrast to Peter’s natural love, Ephesians concludes with grace to “all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Such love comes from God. First John 4 tells us that “God is love” and that we love “because love is of God.” At that time Peter was confident in himself but later Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God.”

Eve was constituted with a rib taken out of Adam to match him. In the same way, New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife, to match Christ. Her constitution must come from Him, not from anything of the fallen, natural realm.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

The Course of Our Christian Life

New JerusalemOur Christian life begins with repentance and consummates with New Jerusalem. Although every Christian has had an initial experience of repentance, during the progress of our Christian life we might need further times of repentance.

It is sad that the New Testament has many examples of people who refuse to repent. The Lord rebuked multiple cities for this failure (e.g. Matt. 11:20-24), and large numbers in Revelation refused to repent (9:20-21) even when they knew they were under the judgment of God (16:8-11).

May we never be like those people. Lord, keep our heart soft to You every day. If we realize that we still have sin and sins, as we see in 1 John 1,and recognize that we are not sufficient in ourselves to serve the Lord, we will welcome His mercy. We are vessels of mercy, and God desires to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy.”

Besides welcoming His mercy, we also confess our sins, exercising to be void of offense. This is our cooperation with His mercy. When we cooperate by confessing, we have boldness to come forward to His throne of grace, where we receive more mercy and find grace to meet every need (Heb. 4:16).

Thank God for His mercy to us that we may be vessels to contain and express His riches. This is for His glory. “To Him be the glory in the church” now (Eph. 3:21). And to Him be the glory in New Jerusalem for eternity.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Through the Cross, Looking to Jesus

The Lord desires to constantly apply His death to our natural life so that His resurrection life may be manifested. “We who are alive are always being delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested” (2 Cor. 4:11). This is our path to New Jerusalem, the consummate manifestation of the life of Jesus.

New JerusalemOn one hand “we are being delivered unto death.” On the other hand, we have to deny our soul life and bear our cross. We cannot do this ourselves. We need to be empowered by Him.

“Let us…run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:1-2).

We need the endurance of Jesus, so that we may reach the joy set before us, a joy which culminates in New Jerusalem. Thus, we look to HIm. This is similar to the first part of Romans 5. Being justified “we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Standing in grace, equal to looking away to Jesus, brings forth many virtues including endurance.

A related verse is 2 Thessalonians 3:5, “The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ.” When our hearts are loving God we have endurance, but we are not the source. It is “the endurance of Christ.” He brings us through all the killing of our natural man into the reality of the new man, which becomes New Jerusalem.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (7)

The Lord Jesus told us to deny ourself, take up our cross, and lose our soul life for His sake. Such denying, taking up, and losing is a continual part of our Christian life, applying the once-for-all death of Christ on the cross to our old man. In this way we put on the reality of the one new man created on the cross as we advance to New Jerusalem.

“For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). This circumcision is not in the flesh as practiced by the Jews; rather, we “were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:11).

New Jerusalem“The circumcision of Christ” is His once-for-all death on the cross, made available to us by the Spirit, and applied by us daily. Whenever we boast in ourselves or have confidence in ourselves, we have strayed from the cross and from the path to New Jerusalem.

Boasting in Christ Jesus and denying self-confidence is a continual exercise. This exercise is also seen in Paul’s desire to gain Christ and be found in Him “to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:8-10).

Before we reach New Jerusalem we need the Lord and His resurrection power through sufferings to conform us to “His death”!

Death & Resurrection unto New Jerusalem

The Lord Jesus asks us to deny ourself, take up our cross daily, and lose our soul life. This is our path to New Jerusalem but it seems quite negative. But remember, the Lord’s death is followed by resurrection. The Lord’s death applied in us is followed by His resurrection applied in us.

New Jerusalem is a city of resurrection, not a city of our natural life. Our natural life must be denied so that resurrection life can spring forth.

New JerusalemDeath and resurrection was the life of the Lord Jesus and today it is our life. Second Corinthians 4 speaks of this. Verse 10: “Always bearing about in the body the putting to death of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

Verse 11: “We who are alive are always being delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

When the Lord returns, we will experience the redemption of our mortal body. Until then we bear, not an ordinary death, but “the putting to death of Jesus” that the resurrection life may be manifested. This manifestation will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

Verse 12 says that death operates in us. This is our experience of the cross. Verses 13-14 say we have a spirit of faith, “knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus.” This coming experience of resurrection brings us into the manifestation of the kingdom and then to New Jerusalem.

Photo by David Goodrich, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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