We Are God’s City

New JerusalemThis blog often writes about New Jerusalem being a living composition of God with His people, not a physical city.

The simplest proof of this is in Revelation 21. “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (v. 2). The Husband, Jesus Christ, is a living person, and the bride is a corporate living person to match Him.

“Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb….And he carried me away in spirit onto great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (v. 9-10). Again, there is a living Husband, the Lamb, and a corporate living bride, the wife of the Lamb. The city, New Jerusalem, is a corporate person.

Matthew 5:14 has the same thought. “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” Here the Lord Jesus describes all His disciples (v. 1) as the light of the world. This same description, that we are the light, is in Ephesians 5:8 and Philippians 2:15. Of course, we are not light in ourselves, but we are the light because He is the light in us, shining through us.

The Lord then likens the disciples, a corporate light, to a city. The shining city on a mountain portrays the disciples. The thought here, at the start of the New Testament, matches the thought at the end of the New Testament—a city depicts God’s corporate people. This is New Jerusalem—all God’s people, filled with His fullness and glorifying Him (Eph. 3:19, 21).

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The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit, the primary theme, of Revelation. Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is seen carrying out God’s judgements on the enemies and developing His corporate testimony all the way to New Jerusalem. We continue in chapter 19.

New JerusalemVerses 19:1-4 are praises for God’s judgements. Verses 5-6 is another praise. Verse 7 goes on, “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.” This is rejoicing for the positive side of God’s move, the move unto New Jerusalem.

Jesus, the Lamb, will receive His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2). He, and this marriage, are worthy of our rejoicing and our giving glory to Him. We need not wait until the time of Revelation 19 nor until New Jerusalem. We can rejoice today and give glory to Him today. “Worthy is the Lamb” (Rev. 5:12).

Verse 19:8 continues, “And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” Christ became righteousness to us at our initial salvation (1 Cor. 1:30). Now He is our life; as we live Him He becomes righteousness in our living; this daily manifestation of Him is the righteousnesses in 19:8, portrayed by fine, bright linen garments.

Verse 19:9 says, “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.” Unlike a human wedding, which often focuses on the bride, the focus in Revelation 19 is the Lamb. He is our Redeemer and our Life, and by our experience of Him we become His expression in a corporate man, both today and in New Jerusalem.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The New Jerusalem is the Real and Consummate Shulammite, a Corporate Shulammite

Here is another good post about New Jerusalem from Stefan’s blog, agodman.com. The name Shulammite (SS 6:13) in the subject is the feminine form of the name Solomon. The use of this name means that the lover of Christ—an individual in Song of Songs, the believers collectively in the New Testament—become a duplication of Solomon (Christ) to express Him in love. This is the Body of Christ today and New Jerusalem in eternity.

New Jerusalem

From the angle of the divine romance, the New Jerusalem is the real and consummate Shulammite – a corporate Shulammite, including all God’s chosen and redeemed people; the New Jerusalem is the consummation of the divine-human romance in the Bible.

God’s purpose, as seen in His creation of man, is to “get married” – He desires to gain a counterpart that would match Him and would be His wife. For this purpose God created man in His image and according to His likeness, and then God said, It is not good for man to be alone… – this actually speaks concerning Himself, It is not good for God to be alone.

In Himself, in His person and being, God is complete, perfect, and with no need; however, God in His economy has a plan to dispense Himself into His people and make them His counterpart, His bride, His wife, for the two of them (the processed and consummated Triune God and the redeemed, transformed, and glorified people of God) to live a marriage life for eternity.

Read all of New Jerusalem is the Real and Consummate Shulammite with graphics, references, and hymns.

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.

The Testimony of Jesus in Revelation

New JerusalemFive chapters in Revelation include the phrase “the testimony of Jesus.” In verse 19:10 an angel tells John, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy.”

Revelation 1:3 and 22:7, 10, 18-19 make clear that “the prophecy” is the book of Revelation. The spirit—the heart, the focus, the emphasis, the essence—of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus.

This testimony is not only of the Jesus seen clearly in the gospels. It is also the testimony of Jesus living in and through all His believers. The consummation of this corporate testimony of Jesus is New Jerusalem.

John “testified the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, even all that he saw” (Rev. 1:2). All that John saw included New Jerusalem. John paid a price for his seeing.

“I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (1:9). John was exiled to the Patmos. Because his situation involved tribulation and endurance, he took it “in Jesus,” in the man who suffered and endured in His life on earth.

In this outward suffering John saw four visions “in spirit,” the last of which was New Jerusalem. John wrote not an outward story nor a merely human history. Rather, he presented the testimony of Jesus, including New Jerusalem, seen “in spirit.” We too need to be In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem.

The spirit, the focus, of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This includes the seven churches (Rev. ch. 2–3), the multitude (ch. 7), the bright woman (ch. 12), the firstfruits (ch. 14), the overcomers (ch. 15, 20), the bride (ch. 19), and New Jerusalem (ch. 21–22). These should be our focus in Revelation, and like John, we should be in spirit.
See New Jerusalem with a Spirit of Faith.

Created in God’s Image for New Jerusalem

This post begins a look at a hymn about God’s eternal purpose, consummating in New Jerusalem. This hymn was authored by Witness Lee. Here are words and music and a post, Who is Witness Lee?

Verse 1 of the hymn is an overview of God’s purpose and verse 2 speaks about creation.New Jerusalem

In Genesis 1:26 the Triune God said, “Let Us make man in Our image.” Man is in God’s image so that man can express God. However, even though man has the image, like a photograph, man still needs the life of God to be God’s living expression.

The created man was set in the garden of Eden with the tree of life (Gen. 2). But man fell into sin and was ejected from the garden (Gen. 3). Through the redemption accomplished by the death of Jesus and the life released in His resurrection, man can now be freed from sin and be born again.

Jesus Christ “the life” (John 14:6) is the reality of the tree of life to become our life. This life is not static, but is a continuous, eternal supply, seen in New Jerusalem as the “river of water of life” (Rev. 22:1) and “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (22:2).

It is by this life that man can express God and thereby cooperate in accomplishing God’s purpose. Examples of the expression of God now are to magnify Christ (Phil. 1:20) and having an excellent manner of life among the unbelievers (1 Peter 2:12).

New Jerusalem, having the glory of God and light like a most precious stone (Rev. 21:11), is the eternal expression of God by means of His life in His redeemed humanity.

Living, Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Here is a summary of recent posts on Christ as the chosen, living, and precious Stone and His believers as living, precious stones. These stones are for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone – In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Christ is a chosen, precious, living Stone. In Acts 4 and Eph. 2 He is the Cornerstone in whom we are built together.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem – The Lord is the living Stone. By coming to Him, we become living stones for the building of God’s house today (1 Peter 2:4-5) which will grow into New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone – God on the throne in Revelation 4 has the appearance of a jasper stone, and the whole city has the same appearance. New Jerusalem is the corporate expression of God on the throne.

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem – The precious faith we have received enables us to lay hold of the precious promises given to us by God (2 Peter 1:1, 4). By these we are constituted precious stones.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ – The twelve precious stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem, and the appearance of the whole city as a most precious jasper stone, display the beauty of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to some older posts about the precious stones of New Jerusalem:

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem – The preciousness is not external but is by the Spirit’s working within us.

Transformation Produces Precious Stones – The Spirit’s working within us transforms us so that the preciousness of Christ may be expressed through us.

Precious Stones on the Foundations – The twelve foundations each correspond to one precious stone; these declare the eternal perfection and fullness of the wall.

The Stones Express God – The whole of New Jerusalem, its wall, and its first foundation are all jasper, expressing the God who sits on the throne.

Church, City Full of Christ to Express Christ

Recent posts have been about the riches of Christ to us and the fullness of God. By enjoying the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8), we are filled to the fullness of God (3:19). This brings forth glory to God both now and eternally in New Jerusalem (3:21).

New JerusalemThe first verse of a hymn (words music) by  Witness Lee is:
__Riches of Christ we should enjoy
__And then His fulness we will be;
__Partaking of His very self,
__His testimony men will see.

God’s testimony today is the church; in eternity it will be New Jerusalem. What we take in is what we express. If we eat much garlic, we put forth the aroma of garlic with no difficulty. If we spent many hours every day watching the Olympic Games, that is what we effortlessly talked about.

If we enjoy riches of Christ, He will be expressed both in our speaking and also in our living. God desires to bring us to such experiences, so that God may be expressed now, and even more by New Jerusalem.

The last verse of the hymn is:
__Christ’s riches are Himself within,
__His fulness is the Church without,
__As His expression, full of Him;
__The Church with Christ is built throughout.

“Christ’s riches are Himself.” I could send you a rich gift by UPS or FedEx but that would be separate from my person. Christ is different! John 8:12—He is the light; when we receive light (one of His riches), we receive Him. Likewise in John 14:6—He Himself is our way, our reality, and our life. Jesus often says, “I am…” because He is!

Christ’s riches are Himself within, both today and in New Jerusalem. His fulness is the Church today and New Jerusalem in the future, both as His expression.

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New Jerusalem: Fullness of the Triune God

Colossians 2:9 proclaims that “in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Bodily refers to the man Jesus Christ with a human body. Fullness is not only the riches of the Godhead but the expression of these riches.*

New JerusalemThe riches of God are in Christ (1 2 3 4) and so is the expression, the fullness of these riches. Jesus Christ is on the throne in New Jerusalem, so the riches and fullness in Him fill New Jerusalem.

John 1:16 declares that “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” We have received not merely grace but grace upon grace that we may become one with Him in expressing the Triune God, starting now and advancing to New Jerusalem.

This corporate expression is presented in Ephesians 1:22-23, which says the church “is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Through the enjoyment of Christ’s riches [Eph. 3:8], we become His fullness to express Him.**

Ephesians 3 presents an ascending path to this fullness. In answer to prayer, God strengthens us (v. 16), Christ makes His home in us (v. 17), we get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17), we apprehend Christ’s vastness (v. 18), we know His love (v. 19), and we are filled unto all the fullness of God (v. 19). The conclusion is glory to God forever (v. 21), which clearly points to New Jerusalem.

Besides our prayer according to the pattern in Ephesians 3, chapter 4 sets forth our practice. The ascended Christ gave gifted members (v. 8-11); we cooperate by receiving their ministry to be perfected (v. 12) so that we all can share in the work of the ministry for building up (v. 12) until we all arrive “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Ephesians 4 is for now, so don’t passively wait until New Jerusalem.

* from footnote 1, Colossians 2:9NT Recovery Version Online; more from Col. 1:19
** from footnote 2, Ephesians 1:23.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory

New Jerusalem is a city, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). This glory is not monotone but is an exceedingly rich glory.

Colossians 1:27 speaks of “the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The mystery of God’s eternal purpose is Christ in us. This mystery comes with riches of glory. Today we do not realize so much of the riches nor is the glory manifested.

New JerusalemGod willed to make known this mystery to His believers. His making known to us is in this age. His making known to the whole earth will be in the next age and through New Jerusalem.

Paul prayed in Ephesians 1 for our seeing and in Ephesians 3 he prayed for the working out of this, that the Father (v. 14) “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16). We need to be strengthened and God is willing to strengthen us, not a little but “according to the riches of His glory.”

This strengthening results in Christ making home in our hearts so that get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17) which enables us to corporately apprehend the vastness of Christ (v. 18), leading to being “filled unto all the fulness of God” (v.19). The riches of the glory, both now and with New Jerusalem, cannot be separated from Christ Himself.

The filling spoken of in Ephesians 3 for this age is a precursor to  New Jerusalem. The process begins with our being strengthened according to the riches of God’s glory and results in the expression of these riches. This process is not visible to natural eyes, but the result will be visible to everyone in the new creation.

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Riches of God’s Glory, Now, New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is a city of glory. The apostle John saw “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). “The city [New Jerusalem] has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has the glory of God because it is saturated with God and hence expresses God. This expression is not simple because God is marvelously rich. New Jerusalem expresses the innumerable aspects of God’s being.

The word rich is not used in Revelation 21, but the riches of God’s glory are in other verses. Romans 9:23 tells us that God wants to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.”

Each of us was created as a vessel to contain God. God has already prepared us for His glory, even for the riches of His glory. Each of us as an individual is very limited, but together we will display the riches of His glory.

In Ephesians 1:17-18 Paul prayed that the Father of glory would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation “that you may know…the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” These riches, like New Jerusalem, are not in the natural realm. This is why we need a spirit of wisdom and divine enlightening to see and know them.

Colossians 1:27 says “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory.” We need not struggle, unsure of what will happen. No. The revelation of the riches of glory is God’s desire and He will accomplish it. We cooperate by opening ourselves; Father, give me a spirit of revelation and enlighten my heart  that I may see the riches of Your glory for now and for New Jerusalem. 

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

The Son Comes with Glory and the Kingdom

The Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory in three stages: on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2), on the clouds (Matt. 24:30), and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-11).

New JerusalemThe glory on the mountain fulfilled the promise that some would “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (16:28). The glory and the kingdom appear together.

In the glory of His second coming “He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31). The throne indicates the kingdom, again coupling the glory and the kingdom. The glory of New Jerusalem is with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), again linking the glory and the kingdom.

The union of glory and kingdom matches God’s purpose expressed in the creation of man: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man was created in God’s image so that God may become man’s life and be expressed through man. This corresponds to the glory. Created man given dominion is for God to reign over the earth through man. This reigning is the kingdom.

The glory and the kingdom are with Jesus Christ in Matthew. However, He is not alone. God’s purpose in Genesis 1 involves a corporate man. This is now the new man, which we have put on, where “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Jesus Christ radiates the glory and reigns through the corporate new man which grows unto New Jerusalem.

This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:12: “God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” We have been called to participate in God’s kingdom and His glory. This begins from our being born into the kingdom (John 3:5), continues with our transformation in glory (2 Cor. 3:18) and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

New Jerusalem—Magnification of Christ (2)

The prior post presented Paul’s individual magnification of Christ (Phil. 1:20) as a miniature of the corporate magnification of Christ in New Jerusalem. The Greek verb translated magnify means to declare to be great, to glorify, to praise, to exalt.

Although magnify is not in Revelation, the magnification of Christ is seen in the glory of the city: “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:10-11a)

New JerusalemBased on Paul’s example, we magnify Christ today by living Him, by believers praying for us, by the bountiful supply of the Spirit, and by His excellency motivating us to count everything else as a loss (Phil. 1:19-21, 3:7-8).

Another magnification is in Luke 1:46-47, “Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior.” First, Mary’s spirit exulted in God; then her soul magnified the Lord. Her praise to God issued from her spirit and was expressed through her soul. Her spirit was filled with joy in God her Savior, and her soul manifested that joy for the magnifying of the Lord.*

Based on Mary’s example, our magnification of Christ is by the joy of the Lord. In our-selves and our situations we often feel we cannot rejoice, but we are in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). In Him we can rejoice now and we will rejoice in New Jerusalem. Philippians 3:1 and 4:4,

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

Acts  16:25 describes an undesirable situation, a prison: “about midnight Paul and Silas, while praying, sang hymns of praise to God; and the prisoners were listening to them.” Christ in us is able, any place, any time, any situation, for our praising to magnify Him; how much more in New Jerusalem!

* from footnote on Luke 1:47 in NT Recovery Version Online.
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