Jesus Testifies for the Churches

I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star.” (Rev. 22:16)

New JerusalemThe Lord testified the things in Revelation “for the churches.” He was not speaking to individual believers but to believers functioning as members of His Body and coordinating with other members.

This is the church life in the beginning: breaking bread from house to house; praying in houses; giving hospitality to strangers; sharing letters; and knowing, greeting, and visiting one another across great distances despite limited transportation.

This corporate Christian living is the preparation for New Jerusalem, which is a single corporate bride for Christ and home for God. New Jerusalem, God’s goal, is the corporate expression of all that God is. It includes all His people, but without any individualism. Let us live in the churches to receive His words which are “for the churches.”

Jesus is the Root, the divine source, and the Offspring, the human descendant, of David. This is mainly in His relationship to the Jews, who are described in Revelation 14:12 as “those who keep the commandments of God.”

Jesus is also the bright morning star for His loving New Testament seekers, those who overcome the world (Rev. 2:28) and hold to His words as a shining lamp (2 Peter 1:19).

 

The Jasper Wall Expresses God

The wall of New Jerusalem is perfect and eternal. The wall separates and protects the city while the gates let us enter. The building work of the wall is jasper (Rev. 21:18a).

John saw God sitting on the throne in heaven and He was like a jasper stone in appearance (Rev. 4:2-3). The wall has the appearance of God. The wall, the outer limit of New Jerusalem, is jasper because the entire city is jasper. “Her [New Jerusalem’s] light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal” (Rev. 21:11).

New JerusalemThe wall and the whole city having the appearance of God fulfills God’s intention in His creation of man. “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). God created man in His image so that man could express God.

Created man fell into sin and death and can no longer fulfill God’s intention. God came in Jesus Christ to redeem man, to re-open the door for man to receive God’s life and thereby be enabled to express God.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of all that God accomplished. The city is full of the divine, eternal life, which flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb who redeemed us (Rev. 22:1).

The jasper city and the jasper wall were produced and are maintained by the flow of life to express the jasper God on the throne.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem, Clear as Crystal

Revelation 21:11 says about New Jerusalem, “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” The light of New Jerusalem, the light which is Jesus Christ as the shining life in every member of this corporate city, is most precious to God New Jerusalemand expresses Him fully.

This precious shining of New Jerusalem is like a jasper stone, matching God sitting on the throne. This shining jasper stone is “clear as crystal” or, as others translate, “bright as crystal.” The clear-ness allows the brightness to shine out.

The words clear, pure, and transparent are all used in Revelation 21 to describe New Jerusalem. These show that the city has no mixture, no contaminant. no pollution. It is as pure and clear as God Himself because God saturates the whole city.

God chose us in eternity past “to be holy and without blemish before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4). His desire is that, by experiencing Christ day by day, we “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” (Phil. 2:15).

God desires that we shine today like New Jerusalem will shine eternally. We should not wait. Christ living in us will make us blameless, without blemish, and shining. This is for us today as a foretaste of the clear and bright shining of New Jerusalem.

God is Leading Many Sons into Glory

Continuing in Revelation 21:7, we read “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and
I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.” This word continues the blessings in the foregoing verses, and is spoken in response to New Jerusalem coming down out of the new heaven onto the new earth.New Jerusalem

We overcome by believing and thus being born of God, receiving His overcoming life. In this life relationship He is God to us and we are His sons. In this life all the sons of God are constituted the corporate expression of God, New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, like the church today
(1 Tim. 3:15-16), is both the house, the dwelling place, of God and the house-hold, the family, all the sons, of God. His leading of all His sons is in Hebrews 2:10—God made Christ, the Author of our salvation, perfect through sufferings* and thereby God is “leading many sons into glory,” many sons into the city of glory, New Jerusalem.

In contrast to this wonderful destination, Revelation 21:8 speaks of all the evil in the lake of fire, the second death. In Revelation 21:1-8 there are three categories of people: the sons of God constituting New Jerusalem, the nations (including the sheep in Matt. 25) around New Jerusalem, and the evil people in the lake of fire.

We who have believed into Jesus Christ are sons of God and will be in New Jerusalem. May many more believe and be led into glory!


* This does not imply that there was any imperfection of virtue or attribute in Jesus, but only that the completing of His experience of human sufferings was needed to make Him fit to become the Author, the Leader, of His followers’ salvation. (part of Heb. 2:10, footnote 5 in the online Recovery Version NT, © LSM)

New Jerusalem is the Wife of Jesus Christ

New Jerusalem

 

New Jerusalem is not a physical city. It is a corporate person composed of all the children of God to be “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:2, 9-11).

Regular posts on this blog will resume Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

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.

New Jerusalem: the Bride’s Clothing

New Jerusalem is “a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). “And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean.” (Rev. 19:8).

The prior posts showed from Paul and Peter’s writings that the adornment of New Jerusalem is not outward, but is the virtues of Christ brought forth through us. The same principle applies to the fine linen clothing of the bride. This clothing is not a fancy dress as is often seen in human weddings.

There is a multitude “standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes” (Rev. 7:9). The angel told John that this multitude made their robes “white in the blood of the Lamb” (v. 13). This implies that the clothing of New Jerusalem, the bride composed of all this multitude, is not a physical dress but is Christ Himself.

Revelation 19:8 speaks of the clothing, then says “the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” Christ is the objective righteousness of all His believers. But here Christ as our righteousness has been experienced and is being lived out as righteous deeds, our righteousnesses (plural)._________ two aspects of righteousness

The clear word in Revelation 19 about our clothing being Christ as our virtues is the flip side of Isaiah 64:6, “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” When we live Christ, our garment is bright and clean, but when we live in self, our garment is filthy. Other verses about our garments should be viewed in the same way. This is New Jerusalem: the city is clothed with Christ to express Him.

 

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (5)

Positionally we have all that Christ accomplished through His death and resurrection. Now it gradually becomes part of our living, expressed in our daily life. This maturing in life is a foretaste of New Jerusalem, the ultimate corporate expression of Christ.

Growth in the Christin life is a gradual process. This life is Christ Himself. As He increases and spreads in us we grow. Some verses about this progressive growth:
• “My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19)
• “That He would grant you…to be strengthened…that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.” (Eph. 3:16-17)
• “The Head, out from whom all the Body…grows with the growth of God.” (Col. 2:19)

New JerusalemOur gradual entering into the experience of all that Christ is to us is our growth in Christian life. This is in resurrection. How does this relate to going through the cross to New Jerusalem? The answer is: for Christ to increase in us requires the decrease of our natural life.

There are three New Testament Greek words translated life in English; one indicates our physical life, one our psychological life (soul life), and one eternal life. For the increase of eternal life, the Lord instructed us to deny our self life. “Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

To deny ourself is to follow the Lord; this is the key to Christian growth and is how we progress by the cross to New Jerusalem.

 

Our Path to New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, is composed of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people. God’s choosing determined that we are on the path to New Jerusalem. Although we were among fallen men, Christ’s redemption brought us back to God and regeneration gives us God’s eternal life, the life of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemTRANSFORMED: Regeneration is to be born of the Spirit in our spirit, as the Lord spoke in John 3. Transformation is the spreading of divine life into our soul to renew our mind. This renewing is also our transformation (Rom. 12:2).

This is based on our consecration (Rom. 12:1) and is accomplished by our cooperation with the Spirit’s work in us and is “unto glory” that is, unto New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

GLORIFIED: Transformation develops God’s glory within us. However, transformation is in our soul and the expression of glory is still constrained by the body of our humiliation (Phil. 3:21). Glorification, transfiguration, is the divine life saturating our mortal body so that it will “be conformed to the body of His glory.” This is “the redemption of our body” which is the full sonship.

This glorification will occur when the Lord returns, “When He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). This, our glorification, is “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8) whose glory we “behold and reflect” (2 Cor. 3:18) throughout our transformation, saturating our entire being and radiating through us that all may behold.

This glory developed in us began with regeneration, continues through transformation, and is concluded by glorification. This causes us to match New Jerusalem, the city which “has the glory of God.”

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

New Earth is Coming; What to Do Now?

New JerusalemGod created the earth for His purpose, and allowed Satan and man to corrupt it. God’s purpose in creation is to manifest His unlimited riches and immeasurable wisdom (Eph. 3:8-11). Despite the opposition, God will accomplish this through the church now (3:10) and through New Jerusalem on the new earth eternally.

Although the earth and mankind has been severely damaged, Acts 3:21 tells us that there will be a “restoration of all things” at the Lord’s second coming, at the beginning of the next age. After that, Revelation 21:1 tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away.”

Since the earth will be restored then replaced, what should our attitude be today toward the earth? First, remember that God “created all things…according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9, 11). We are on earth to live, and let Christ live through us, for God’s purpose.

God will “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18). We should never be among them. We should have a proper, upright human living, as spoken of many times in the gospels and epistles. Thus, we should not damage the earth. On the other hand, we should not be so environmentally conscious and active that we are like those who “worshipped and served the creation rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25).

“For to me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)—this is the balance in our Christian living. While we are living towards New Jerusalem, we are here living for God’s purpose now, conscious that “the earth is the Lord’s” (1 Cor. 10:26). Christ our life is the governing principle while we are living on earth for the building up of the Body of Christ as the living expression of God, the precursor of New Jerusalem.

 

The Light of the World, A City (2)

The Lord Jesus told His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14). “You” (plural) are “the light” (singular). All of us, as His disciples, are a corporate light to the world. Eventually Jesus Christ, the Lamb, shines within New Jerusalem to be light to the universe.

New JerusalemJesus continued, saying, “It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” We, the corporate light, with Him shining within and through us, are the unhidden city. Ultimately we are New Jerusalem, His expression to the universe.

All who have believed into Jesus Christ are today His body (Rom. 12:5). We are all the one new man (Eph. 2:15. We are all God’s spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). We are all the city of Matthew 5. And we will all be the eternal city, New Jerusalem. Matthew 5:14 is a foretaste of New Jerusalem. The body, new man, house, and city are God’s eternal purpose—a living, corporate expression of Himself in a corporate humanity filled with Himself.

In position, we are in this corporate entity, but we need care to keep our living according to it. The Lord told us, “let your light shine before men,” not hiding it under a bushel (Matt. 5:15-16). A bushel is for measuring grain, food. We should not hide our light by being overly occupied with our jobs, anxious to earn a living to take care of our eating (Matt. 6:25, 31).

Since we are “light in the Lord,” Ephesians 5 charges us to “walk as children of light.” In position we are light but we need to walk in the Lord, loving Him, musing on His word, and opening ourselves to Him in prayer. The shining that results from walking in light is a precursor of New Jerusalem as the unhidden city on a mountain.

Photo by Allan Shimada, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face (5)

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4). To prepare us for this, God has already “shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

In 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 the Israelites looking at the face of Moses is likened to our looking at the Lord’s face. This is for today, not waiting for New Jerusalem.

During our Christian life we should continually behold the face of Jesus Christ. Whenever our heart turns to the Lord our veils are taken away (v. 16). These veils could be our ideas about what is best, our human goals, our attitudes about people and events, our complaining about outward sufferings, or many other things. When the veils are gone, we contact the Lord who is the Spirit and experience His inner freedom (v. 17).

As a result, “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” (v. 18). Our transformation is by our looking to the Lord, beholding His glory, so that He can infuse us with it. This is our preparation for New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

Our continual (or sadly, intermittent) beholding of the Lord produces continual (or sadly, intermittent) transformation, “from glory to glory.” God’s desire, for which He predestinated us, is that we “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). With this image and with “reflecting the glory of the Lord” we become a corporate expression of Him. which consummates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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