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.

 

The Water of Life, Now and New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:6 concludes, “I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the
New Jerusalemwater of life freely
.”

In 21:6, God is the Beginning and the End. In His eternal view He has fulfilled all that He planned. In our limited view, He is still working, and while we are on the bridge of time between eternity past and eternity future, we should cooperate with what God is doing in us.

While God is working in us to apply His eternal accomplishments in us, He is also fully willing to satisfy us with Himself. This satisfaction is “the spring of the water of life” which comes to us “freely.”

This spring is not only in New Jerusalem in eternity. The Lord Jesus offers it to us today. John 4:10 has His promise, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Verse 14 continues, “the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life.”

The woman in John 4 drank the living water and we drink today. We have all “been given to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). This water is available to everyone; “the Spirit and the bride say, let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). Lord, bring many to drink living water now!

And eternally in New Jerusalem is the “river of water of life, bright as crystal.”

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

New Jerusalem Comes Down, Prepared

Revelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New JerusalemThe fact that prepared follows from God implies that God is the Preparer of the bride. Hebrews 11:16 agrees with this, saying that God “has prepared a city for them”—for those who live as sojourners on the earth while seeking a better country, a heavenly one (11:13-16).

Some of the preparation has been done by the Triune God with no action by us, including incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. These steps are necessary to redeem us and to release the divine life so that it can enter into us. Without this redemption and life, there is no possibility for us to be prepared for New Jerusalem.

After we receive this life, we need to cooperate with it. The word bride indicates a wedding feast, about which the Lord speaks in Matthew 25:1-13. In this parable the wise virgins gain the oil, a type of the Spirit, to fill their vessels. This filling is our cooperation with the preparation of New Jerusalem.

This corresponds with being filled in spirit in Ephesians 5 which requires not being drunk with worldly pleasures and pursuits. This filling also depends on our singing with our heart to the Lord, speaking to one another, giving thanks to God, and submitting to one another.

To be filled with the oil in every part of our begin results in our life and nature matching that of New Jerusalem, the city which is from God and of God.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

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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.

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