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.

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).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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