The New Testament Temple is Living (2)

#NewJerusalemIn resurrection, all who believe into Jesus Christ are a corporate man with the Spirit dwelling in them and are the temple which will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem.

This corporate man, the new man, who is also the living temple, was created by Christ Jesus on the cross (Eph. 2:15) and here Christ is “all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Likewise, New Jerusalem springs forth from His crucifixion and resurrection, and in New Jerusalem Christ is all and in all.

First Corinthians 3:16: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” In this verse you is plural and temple is singular. This corporate temple, like the new man, is a characteristic of God’s people. Paul’s question to immature Christians, Do you not know?, indicates that we all should have the realization that we corporately are the temple and that the Spirit dwells in us. Second Corinthians 6:16, affirming, says, “we are the temple of the living God.”

Ephesians 2:20-21 continues: “Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” The New Testament temple is in Christ Jesus (not in the physical realm) and is growing because it is a living building.

The consummation of the growth of the living temple, its maturity, is New Jerusalem. Like the temple in Ephesians, the entire city of New Jerusalem is a living building in Christ Jesus.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The New Testament Temple is Living

The Old Testament focuses on physical, material things and people, both of which typify/portray the New Testament reality. For example, in Matthew 12:42 the Lord Jesus told us that He is the greater Solomon, the real King and temple Builder typified by Solomon in the Old Testament.

Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem but it was destroyed by the Babylonians. A later temple is often mentioned in the Gospels and Acts. But, in John 2, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (v. 19). The Jews could not understand this (v. 20), “but He spoke of the temple of His body” (v. 21).

New JerusalemThis is the first indication that the New Testament temple is a living entity. And it is in resurrection, as shown by the phrase “in three days I will raise it up.” The New Testament reality, including New Jerusalem, is not in the natural realm but in resurrection, something of eternal life, and it is not physical but spiritual.

Like this first indication, throughout the New Testament, God’s New Testament building is not natural, but in resurrection, and not material, but spiritual. This is true into eternity. New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection and is spiritual.

After John 2, the next mention of the New Testament temple is in 1 Corinthians 3:16. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” In John, Jesus, a single man with the Spirit dwelling in Him, was the temple. After His resurrection, His believers, a corporate man with the Spirit dwelling in them, are the temple. From John 2 to 1 Corinthians 3 is a step along the way to New Jerusalem.

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.

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God’s Kingdom, Now and New Jerusalem

God has called us into His kingdom and glory (1 Thes. 2:12) to fulfill His purpose of being expressed and reigning through a corporate man (Gen. 1:26-28). Ultimately this goal is fulfilled in New Jerusalem which expresses God and is the center of His ruling in the universe.

New JerusalemRevelation 1:6 tells us that Jesus Christ “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever.” Again God’s kingdom and glory are linked. Today God has made the believers His kingdom; in the future the whole earth will be.

In Revelation 1:9 we read, “I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos…” The apostle John was inwardly in the kingdom while outwardly exiled to Patmos. New Jerusalem will be an open manifestation of the kingdom’s inward reality in which John was, and we are, participating.

In 1:9 John does not mention glory, only tribulation and endurance. Romans, Thessalonians through Titus, and James all have multiple mentions of endurance, which is needed to hold fast our faith in tribulations. Second Thessalonians 3:5 says, “the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ.” Our natural endurance is not what God wants; we need to be led into the endurance of Christ.

New Jerusalem will not display our natural (and fallen) virtues. Rather, it will be an exhibition of what God has imparted into us, including the love of God and the endurance of Christ. The glory of New Jerusalem will be a product of our loving God with the love He gives us and the many virtues of Christ realized by us in our living now, both in good times and in trials.

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The New Man Becomes New Jerusalem

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* focuses on New Jerusalem. Here is an excerpt from the fourth article, The New Jerusalem—The Consummation of God’s Work in Humanity (by David Yoon).

The first man is the corporate man whom God created for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose; the old man is the created man who became old through the corruption of the fall; the second man is Christ, the first God-man, as the initial accomplishment of God’s purpose; and the new man is the corporate God-man as the reproduction of the second man for the full accomplishment of God’s purpose. The divine revelation in the entire Bible may be considered the history of these four men with the New Jerusalem as its culmination. Genesis 1 and 2 unveil the creation of the first man. Genesis 3 through Malachi present the history of the old man, the first man who fell. The four Gospels in the New Testament offer the biography of the second man as the replacement of the first man, and Acts through Revelation 20 contain the story of the new man as the corporate enlargement of the second man. The last two chapters of the Bible present the description of the New Jerusalem as the consummation of the new man.

New JerusalemAdam is the first man and Jesus Christ is both the second man and the last Adam. “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul’; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. The first man is out of the earth, earthy; the second man is out of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47)

Due to man’s fall, all of Adam’s descendants became the old man, but through redemption and regeneration all who believe in Jesus become the new man. In position, through baptism, we have put off the old man and put on the new man. Now in our Christian experience we need to put off the living of the old man with all his actions (Colossians 3:5-9) and put on the living of Christ as the reality of the new man (Colossians 3:1-4).

The new man is the forerunner and New Jerusalem will the completion. Today Christ is our life in the new man and tomorrow Christ will be our life in New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

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New Jerusalem is a Corporate Man in the Triune God

God’s eternal purpose is centered on His relationship with man. By looking at highlights of God’s speaking about man, we will see something about New Jerusalem. In Genesis 1:26, God spoke His first words concerning man:

And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

New JerusalemGod speaks of both man (singular) and them (plural). This indicates that God created a corporate man, mankind. The combination of singular and plural is seen again in Genesis 5:1-2. This created man turned away from God to human kingdoms (Genesis 10) and a city and tower (Genesis 11). These things exalt man and reject God.

In the New Testament God came in the man Jesus to redeem us from the fall and to bring forth a new corporate man for His purpose. Many verses refer to His taking care of all problems between God and man by His death on the cross (e.g. Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24). In addition, the second half of Ephesians 2 speaks about a positive accomplishment of His death. Verses 15-16 say:

He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace, and might reconcile both in one Body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it.

The two and both refer to the Jewish people and the non-Jewish peoples. In Christ we all have been formed into one new corporate man. This corporate man is the predecessor of New Jerusalem. The one new man created on the cross in Christ indicates that the city New Jerusalem will be a corporate man, composed of all God’s people living in the Triune God.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Weather Service.

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