We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem (2)

Ephesians 2:22 declares that we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit,” Colossians 2:7 that we are “being built up in Him,” and 1 Peter 2:5 that we “are being built up as a spiritual house.” Each of these are God’s current building work in us wich ultimately brings forth New Jerusalem.

Our entering into the New Jerusalem is not simply an entering in. It is God’s working in us to the point that we have become mature and have been thoroughly dealt with to become pure gold and precious stone. At that time we will spontaneously be in the New Jerusalem. Do not think that God will one day put us in the New Jerusalem even if we have not been thoroughly worked on by God and are still men of clay with very little of God’s life, the pure gold, inside of us….The correct concept in the Bible is that God is working in us with His life. This requires our cooperation to allow His life to transform us inwardly so that we may be changed from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).*

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:52 does says, “in the twinkling of an eye…the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” This sudden change is in our mortal bodies. But God’s intention is that this change follow our life-long transfor-mation. This process, including our renewing, dispositional sanctification, and transformation is gradual. “Let us be brought on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1).

Paul certainly was active in seeking and cooperating with the Lord and letting the Lord work in him. Yet after about 30 years as a Christian he was still pursuing (Phil. 3:7-14). May we follow this example, always being active for God’s current work to build New Jerusalem into us.

* This post begins the second half of a series with excerpts from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the expression of God wrought into a corporate man. To accomplish this God’s Spirit firstly regenerates man’s spirit, then transforms man’s soul, and finally glorifies man’s mortal body. Regeneration begins our Christian life, transformation continues throughout our present lifetime, and glorification is the conclusion.

In the beginning man was neither pure gold nor precious stone but clay. For this reason God has been working continuously to reach His goal. At the end of Revelation a city composed of pure gold and precious stones appears. In that city God and man are mingled into one and heaven and earth are joined together. This is the final destination of the saved ones throughout the ages. Hence, we must change our concept. Our concept should not be that one day we will go to a city. Rather, our concept should be to allow God to transform, build, and work Himself into us today so that we may become that city. We are not going to the New Jerusalem but are being built into the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is not a destination separate from us. Rather, God’s life grows within us to conform us to His image. This conforming work is the construction of New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem is the eternal expression of God in man and this expression is slowly being developed in us through this age.

This construction work requires our cooperation. A few examples of many verses about this cooperation: deny ourself (Matt. 16:24), turn our hearts to the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16), set our mind on things above (Col. 3:2), by the Spirit put to death our old practices (Rom. 8:13), and pursue love (1 Cor. 14:1). All of these actions are part of our being build into New Jerusalem.

The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

New Jerusalem: God and Man Mingled

The garden of Eden and New Jerusalem mirror each other. The garden unfolds God’s purpose and the city shows the completion. God and man are present in the garden but are separate. In New Jerusalem God and man are present in a merged, mingled way.

In the garden of Eden in Genesis, we see man, pure gold, and precious stones. The man, the pure gold, and the precious stones are separate from each other. When we come to the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, we see pure gold and precious stones but no man. Where is man? Can anyone find man in the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21? In Genesis we can see man in the garden of Eden, but in Revelation we cannot see man in the New Jerusalem. Why is this? This is because the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 is the issue of God’s work in man throughout the ages. The city, the place itself, is man. In the New Jerusalem, man, the pure gold, and the precious stones are one and cannot be separated.*

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the mingling of God and man, accomplished by man’s willing cooperation with God’s work in man. God’s work begins with His Spirit regenerating our human spirit (John 3:6), making us alive with God’s life. This is the beginning of God’s work in man.

God continues with the Spirit’s transforming work in us and concludes with the transfiguration of our mortal bodies when the Lord Jesus returns visibly. The goal of this work is to conform us to His image, as clearly presented in Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and Philippians 3:21.

Because God’s work in us conforms us to His image, New Jerusalem is not only the manifestation of God but even more the manifestation of God in man.

* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

No Corruption in New Jerusalem (3)

Because of the resurrection life, there is no corruption in New Jerusalem. We have been regenerated with this life as an incorruptible seed which is now growing in us to save us from the corruption brought into mankind through sin and death. This is an aspect of our path to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemFirst Peter 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 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…”

These verses link the resurrection of Christ, our regeneration, and the incor-ruptible inheritance. New Jerusalem is a city fully constituted with resurrection life. We were regenerated by this life and are growing in this life to match New Jerusalem. This city shines brightly with the glory of God and is pure and transparent, incorruptible and undefiled.

Our growth, which is the growth, the spreading, of this life in us, requires our cooperation. One example is Galatians 6:8, “For he who sows unto his own flesh will reap corruption of the flesh, but he who sows unto the Spirit will of the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Likewise, in 2 Peter 1:4 God has given us precious promises that we might be partakers of the divine nature. And our partaking frees us from corruption. We make progress now and in New Jerusalem will have the full partaking and the full deliverance from corruption.

No Corruption in New Jerusalem (2)

There is no corruption in New Jerusalem because it is a city fully constituted with resurrection life.

This life is Jesus Christ Himself— “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Today He is our life. He “nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). When we it we are “regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible seed, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

New JerusalemRegeneration puts us on the path to the incorruptible New Jerusalem. We were regenerated through the resurrection “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

This life will not fully swallow up the corruption in us until the Lord returns and transfigures our mortal bodies. However, this life operates today to save us from the effects of corruption. Our cooperation with this involves our human spirit mingled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:22-24, “That you put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man, which is being corrupted according to the lusts of the deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man….” In baptism we put off and put on
positionally but in our experience we need to exercise to be renewed every day to apply the positional fact.

This renewing saves us practically from the corrupted old man and makes us new to match incorruptible New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem: No Murmuring, No Reasoning, but Shining the Glory of God

Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without murmurings and reasonings that you may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world.”

Paul exhorts us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” by cooperating with “God who operates in you both the willing and the working for His good pleasure”
New Jerusalem(Phil. 2:12-13). One result, and a practical measure of this working out of salvation is that we “do all things without murmurings and reasonings.”

However, the absence of murmurings and reasonings is not God’s goal. His desire is that we, His children, “shine as luminaries in the world.” But murmur-ing and reasoning quench our shining.

The New Testament Greek word translated “luminaries” is used only in Philippians 2 and in Revelation 21 about New Jerusalem. John writes that an angel showed him “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal” (21:10b-11).

New Jerusalem’s “light” is the eternal luminary, shining out the glory of God. Our shining today is a preview of the shining of New Jerusalem. This is the result of our cooperating with God’s operating in us. May the Lord be merciful to us, drawing us to always cooperate with Him for His shining through us as His luminaries.

The Spirit and the Bride Mingled as One

New Jerusalem is introduced in Revelation 21:2 as both the holy city and the bride. In 21:9 an angel tells us that the bride is “the wife of the Lamb,” who is Jesus Christ.

The bride has been sanctified (made holy) and renewed to match the holy and new nature of New Jerusalem. This occurs by our cooperation with the indwelling Spirit.

Revelation 22:17 says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come!” In Revelation 2 and 3, it is the Spirit speaking to the churches (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22), but at the end of the whole Bible it is the Spirit and the bride speaking together. The Spirit is the ultimate consummation of the Triune God as the Bridegroom; the bride is the ultimate consummation of the redeemed man. After this universal marriage, the Triune God and redeemed man are not separate. They do not speak separately, but the two have become one couple, so there is the speaking of the Spirit and the bride together. Hallelujah, God and man are mingled and united to become the universal and eternal couple, moving together and speaking together!*

New JerusalemChrist has redeemed us from sin, death, and God’s judgment. Redemption brings us to life. Galatians 3:13 proclaims our redemption and 3:14 says that we have received the promise of the Spirit, who is life.

This living Spirit in us does the sanctifying and renewing work so that the bride may be prepared. Then the Spirit and the bride respond to the Lord Jesus, saying Come! He will come quickly to take His bride, the holy city, New Jerusalem.

Five Great Mysteries in the Bible, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Participation in the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ, for His satisfaction in love. The city is also the tabernacle of God for His rest and expression. This marvelous entity is prepared by our experience of the riches of Christ.

The prior post looked at the individual experience of these riches in Philippians 1 and the corporate experience in Ephesians 3. Then Ephesians 4:15-16 says that “holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together…causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Everything in these verses is for the preparation of New Jerusalem as the bride. We hold to Christ, the truth, in love. Thus we grow up into Him, experiencing Him in every aspect of our living, both small and big. As we grow into Him, the rich supply flows out from Him for our joining and knitting together (because the Body of Christ and New Jerusalem are corporate entities, not a gathering of individuals). Through this His Body grows and is built together in love.

Colossians 2:19 is a parallel verse, “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.” Again it begins with our holding, our cooperating. Then the rich supply flows out, all the members are knit together, and the corporate Body of Christ grows. This is our current progress in the preparation of New Jerusalem.

 

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Revelation 4 says that God on the throne has the appearance of jasper and Revelation 21 says that New Jerusalem shines like a jasper stone. Thus New Jerusalem matches and fully expresses God.

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is like a jasper stone because all who have believed into Jesus Christ have not only been regenrated with Him as the eternal life but also have been transformed into His image. Second Corinthians 3:18 speaks of this.

“We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”

From regeneration we are gradually transformed “into the same image,” that is, into the image of our Lord.

This transformation is a renewing (Rom. 12:2) which brings our entire being out of the old creation and into the new creation to match New Jerusalem.

This transformation is also “from glory to glory” which prepares us for New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Transformation requires our cooperation. Second Corinthians 3:16-18 shows that transformation occurs as we turn our heart to the Lord. Likewise, the conformation to the image of God’s Son in Romans 8:29 takes place in “those who love God.”

May we all love the Lord and love His appearing thereby letting the Spirit transform us into His glorious image for New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Lord’s Faithful Slaves Serve Him

New JerusalemThe Lord speaks in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me to render to each one as his work is.”

The Lord has purchased us and we are His slaves. He is our eternal salvation including His redemption and His eternal life. All of this is firm, unchangeable, as in John 10:28-29.

The choice we now face is, do we cooperate with Him for the growth of His life in us and do we serve Him as faithful slaves. A negative example of growth is in 1 Corinthians 3; the Corinthians, real believers, we still fleshly and infants in Christ. A positive and negative example are the faithful and evil slaves, both slaves of the Lord, in Matthew 24:45-51. A positive example is Paul in 2 Timothy 4:8.

How does this relate to New Jerusalem? “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.” (Rev. 19:7) Our growth in life and our faithful service are part of the preparation of the wife of the Lamb. And they will be rewarded by the Lamb.

The epistles record many worldly and philosophical and evil things which distract believers. May the Lord save us from these distractions and keep us on a straight path to New Jerusalem with proper growth and service!

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Things Which Must Quickly Take Place

In Revelation 22:6 the angel said to John, “These words are faithful and true; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show to His slaves the things which must quickly take place.”

New JerusalemThe things is everything spoken in Revelation, including actions in heaven, judgements, the man child and the firstfruits, appearing of the beasts, reapings, the marriage of the Lamb, war at Armageddon, the millennium, and New Jerusalem.

The angel said these things “must quickly take place.” To our human view we might say that a long time has passed since the angel spoke. But the angel spoke with God’s view. We must say amen to what is in the Bible. Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.”

In Revelation 22:7, 12, 20 the Lord Jesus promises “I come quickly.” Again, we must say amen and not question the Lord based on our own understanding. Our response should copy that of John in verse 20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

The Lord’s coming is a big step toward the coming of New Jerusalem. However, we must cooperate. Revelation 19 speaks of the Lord’s coming and the wedding feast, and says, “His wife [New Jerusalem] has made herself ready.” Lord, grant us mercy to participate fully in these days in the preparation of Your bride!

We Reign in Life Now and in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem Revelation 22:5 concludes, “they will reign forever and ever.” They refers to His slaves in verse 3. God’s slaves, all His redeemed people, each one purchased by the blood of Jesus, will serve Him as priests and reign as kings.

The reigning in 22:5 has its source in the Lord’s death. Revelation 5:9-10 is a praise to the Lamb, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

In resurrection the Lord imparted His life, the life of New Jerusalem, into us. Romans 5 speaks of death in Adam and life in Christ. Verse 17: “For if by the offense of the one death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

To receive this abundance requires our cooperation, our opening to the Lord daily by praying, singing, giving thanks, diving into His word, calling on His name (He is rich to all who call – Rom. 10:12), praising Him, speaking the gospel to people, and fellowship with other believers.

Receiving the abundance and reigning in life now is an inward matter. It leads to an open reigning in the millennium, still with abundance of grace and righteousness: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection…they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). This reign leads to New Jerusalem’s eternal reign.

 

%d bloggers like this: