Eternal Life and New Jerusalem

In Christ we have eternal life. New Jerusalem is an eternal city, so it is intimately tied with eternal life. This post begins a look at that which is eternal throughout the New Testament, and the relationship to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemJohn 3:15, 16, 36 (and many more verses) give the first step – whoever believes into the Son of God has eternal life. Thus, whoever believes also will be part of New Jerusalem, the city of life. This life is the Son, Jesus Christ, as we see in John 11:25 and 14:6; hence, He who has the Son has the eternal life (1 John 5:11-12).

The Lord also tells us, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). To eat His flesh is to receive by faith all that He did in giving His body for us; and to drink His blood is to receive by faith all that He accomplished in shedding His blood for us*. This eating and drinking will continue into New Jerusalem where we will eat the fruit of the tree of life and drink the water of the river of life.

This eating and drinking is not physical but is spiritual, by faith. Many were bothered by the Lord’s word about eating Him (John 6:60) because they only knew the natural realm. But He said (v. 63), “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” Then Peter confessed (v. 68), “You have words of eternal life.” Lord, keep us eating Your words of life.

When we are in spirit and receive the Lord’s words as spirit and life, we are nourished and have a foretaste of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

* From footnote 2 on John 6:54 in the Online Recovery Version New Testament, © LSM.

The Nations around New Jerusalem (7)

Revelation 22:2, describing New Jerusalem, says, “And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” The fruits are for the people constituted into New Jerusalem while the leaves are for those living around the city.

The tree of life is a symbol of Christ and the fruits are Christ as our life supply as He spoke in detail in John 6. What then are the leaves?

* The leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. In the Bible, leaves are a symbol of man’s deeds (Gen. 3:7). The leaves of the tree of life symbolize the deeds of Christ. The regenerated believers eat the fruit of the tree of life, receiving Christ as their inward life and life supply, that they may enjoy the divine life for eternity, whereas the restored nations are healed by the leaves of the tree of life, taking the deeds of Christ as their outward guide and regulation, that they may live the human life forever.

New JerusalemThe nations are guided outwardly by the deeds of Christ. This is very good, but it is also very different from being supplied inwardly by the life of Christ. The Lord is the bread of life edible today. We shouldn’t wait for New Jerusalem. “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” is a promise for today (John 6:57).

The proper Christian living today and our eternal living in New Jerusalem is Jesus Christ as our life supply to be lived out by us. This is much higher than being guided by Him as our outward example. Eating brings us into New Jerusalem!

Photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

* Note 1 on Rev. 22:5 in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM.

The Nations around New Jerusalem (6)

The peoples, the nations, around New Jerusalem participate in the general blessings of the new earth. These nations (plural) are distinct from the people (singular) who live in Christ with the reality of God’s new creation; these are the constituents of New Jerusalem and partake of the special blessings in this city. Revelation 22:2 says,

He showed me a river of water of life….on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

John 6:56There are three provisions here: the water of the river of life, the fruits of the tree of life, and the leaves of the tree. The leaves are specifically designated for the healing of the nations around New Jerusalem. In contrast, the water and the fruit symbolize the supply of divine life to the people built into New Jerusalem.

The life supply of the water continues our drinking the Spirit in John 4 and 7. “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink….This He said concerning the Spirit” (John 7:37-39).

The life supply of the fruit continues our eating Jesus as the bread of life in John 6. ” I am the living bread which came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever” (v. 51).

In John 6:56 the Lord tells us, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.” In verse 63 He explains that this is not physical; instead, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” The mutual abiding requires our spiritual eating now and the fullest mutual abiding in New Jerusalem matches our spiritual eating of the fruit of the tree of life.

Experience Christ unto New Jerusalem

Israel had to journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai to see the vision of the tabernacle and then to enter into it (to build it). Likewise, we must journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see New Jerusalem and to enter into the experiences of it.

Israel had the shadow of this journey. The reality of the journey toward New Jerusalem includes:
New Jerusalem• Christ our Redeemer, through whom _we have forgiveness in His blood
• Christ our Passover to impart His _eternal life into us
• The Spirit as the reality of baptism into _Christ and His Body
• Singing and praising the Lord for His _victory in death and resurrection
• Experiencing His sweetness in _outwardly bitter circumstances
• Taking Him as our daily nourishment to _have Him as our daily living
• Drinking the Spirit as the living water
• Rejecting the flesh by the Spirit
• Walking according to spirit
• Access to God in the blood of Christ
• Christ living in us to fulfill all God’s _requirements
• Christ being our absoluteness for God’s interests
• Time in fellowship with the Lord

Our eternal salvation is once for all, but many of these steps recur often in our daily journey. Singing and praising should be frequent. Like physical eating and drinking, spiritual eating and drinking should be daily. Walking according to the spirit is continual. These energize us to fight the battle by the Spirit and to progress to the mountain for the vision of New Jerusalem.

Bread and Water Bring us to New Jerusalem

Israel’s journey in Exodus 12–19 is a picture of our Christian journey. Their journey brought them to Mt. Sinai to see the vision of the tabernacle. Our journey results in our being “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem.

Prior posts touched several steps preparatory to seeing New Jerusalem. Another step is to take Christ as our living bread, typified by manna (Exo. 16), every day. Jesus clearly told us “he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57). Eating is a daily necessity; without spiritual eating we cannot have a proper Christian life and cannot journey onward to the mountain.

Eating the manna is by our living contact with the Word of God. Deuteronomy 8:3, quoted by the Lord in Matthew 4:4, says that God “fed you [Israel] the manna…so that He might make you know that man lives not by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out from the mouth of Jehovah.”

One more step is to drink the living water which flows out of the smitten rock. When the Lord, pictured by the rock, was smitten on the cross, blood and water flowed out. The reality of this water is the Spirit, as presented in John 7:37-39. Eventually this will be the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemJohn 19:34: “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

A song about this flowing:
__The blood and water flowed from Him,
____In streams of pure salvation.
__The blood brings cleansing from all sin;
____Water, regeneration.
__And now the Spirit flows,
____Brings God where’er He goes.
__All he could do, the foe,
____Was just release the flow.
__And God just keeps on flowing.

God’s continual flow, beginning from the cross, carries us all the way to New Jerusalem.

Heavenly Diet in Exodus and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal….And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (Revelation 22:1-2).

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven from God to earth. Its position is on earth but its nature is heavenly. In this city the tree of life is the heavenly diet for God’s people. By eating the twelve fruits of the tree of life, we are supplied with the divine, eternal life to live a heavenly life on earth. This life is Jesus Christ (John 14:6) and to live this life is to live Him (Philippians 1:21).

The manna in Exodus is a shadow of the heavenly diet of New Jerusalem. In Exodus 16 “Jehovah said to Moses, I will now rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day…” (v. 4).

In John 6 the Lord Jesus told us that He is the bread of life, the reality of what was pictured by manna (v. 32-35). He also said that if we eat Him we will live because of Him (v. 57). Then He told us that the way to eat Him is to take His words, and that these words are spirit and life (v. 63). For this we must not only use our mind to understand the words but also use our human spirit. We must strike the Spirit of the Scripture with our spirit.

The nourishment we gain from the Scripture becomes our bread of life, causing us to grow in the divine life. This growth goes onward until we arrive at New Jerusalem.

More about manna is in Life-Study of Exodus, chapters 35-39.

The Lamb from Exodus to New Jerusalem

Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God is intimately connected to New Jerusalem:
• Revelation 19:7 announces the marriage of the Lamb and 21:9-10 says New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
• John saw no temple in the city because “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22).
• 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” (21:23).
• The center of New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” from which flows the river of water of life with the tree of life (22:1-3).

New JerusalemJesus is the reality of all the Old Testament lambs. John the Baptist “saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). Further-more, 1 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that Christ is our Passover. He is not only the reality of the passover lamb but also the reality of every part of the passover.

Exodus 12 describes the passover. Each house took a lamb, kept it four days, killed it, put its blood outside, roasted it with fire, and ate it. Exodus 12:14 says, “this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall keep it as a feast to Jehovah; throughout your generations as a perpetual statute you shall keep it as a feast.”

In New Jerusalem we will have the eternal feast and the eternal memorial of Jesus Christ as our Lamb who redeemed us and forever nourishes us.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

More about the lamb and passover is in Life-Study of Exodus, chapters 23-25.

New Jerusalem, the Eternal Mutual Abode

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of all the positive matters in the Bible. One of these matters is our living in Jesus Christ and His living in us. In John 6:56 He told us, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.” This is not physical eating and drinking but spiritual, as confirmed by John 6:63 and 7:37-39. The Lord says more about this mutual abiding in John 15.

In Romans 8 we are in Christ Jesus. Here our being in Him is our living because it involves our daily walk (v. 4) and our thinking (v. 5-6). At the same time the Spirit of God may dwell in us (v. 11). This mutual abiding is stated succinctly in Philippians 1:21a, “to me to live is Christ.” This living is both my living in Him and His living in me.

For eternity the New Jerusalem will be the fulfillment of the Lord’s brief word in John 15:4: “Abide in Me and I in you.” To abide in the Lord means to take Him as our dwelling, our habitation. When we take the Lord as our dwelling, He abides in us. This abiding is mutual, for we abide in the Lord, and He abides in us. There is no need to wait until the coming New Jerusalem to abide in the Lord and to have Him abide in us. We can testify strongly that many times we know that we are truly in the Lord and that He is actually abiding in us. When we abide in Him, we immediately sense that He is abiding in us….Wherever we are—at home, at work, or at school—we can say, “O Lord Jesus, I am abiding in You right now,” and something within us will say, “And I am abiding in you.” This is a miniature of the coming New Jerusalem, which will simply be a mutual abiding place for us and for God and the Lamb.”

* This is an excerpt from the book Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM. See message 430 in online reading.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

We Who Wash, Eat, and Enter Are Blessed

New JerusalemRevelation 22:14 declares “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Three steps are presented: we wash our robes, come to the tree of life, and enter into the city, New Jerusalem.

To wash our robes is to cleanse our conduct by confessing our sins and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness and cleansing. This is clear from Revelation 7:14 and 1 John 1:7-9, and is an ongoing action on our part.

As a result of washing, we have right to the tree of life. Cleansing brings us to life, even as in New Jerusalem the river of life flows out of the throne of the redeeming Lamb (Revelation 22:1). With the river is the tree of life (22:2) which depicts Christ as our continual supply of life. “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57). We eat multiple times per day; likewise, we confess our sins regularly and we take Christ as our life supply regularly.

By taking Christ as our life supply, we enter into New Jerusalem. The entry into the city is not physical but is by life, resurrection life. Today our entrance is into the hidden, spiritual reality of the city, in the corporate life of the Body of Christ. In the future we will be in the fullness of the city.

Praise the Lord! He shed His blood for our washing, He is our life supply, and He is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

Here are words and music for singing Revelation 22:13-14.

Related posts: Redemption for Life, (2), (3), (4) _Gates of Pearl

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Come, Drink a River Pure and Clear

New Jerusalem

Here is the first verse of a song that I appreciate (all the words, music, testimonies). The writer and many I know who sing this song heartily experience some spiritual reality of New Jerusalem.

Drink! A river pure and clear that’s flowing from the throne;
Eat! The tree of life with fruits abundant, richly grown;
Look! No need of lamp nor sun nor moon to keep it bright, for
__Here there is no night!

The four lines above reflect four phrases in Revelation 21–22 about New Jerusalem.

And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. (22:1)
And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month. (22:2)
The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it. (21:23)
There will be no night there. (21:25)

The chorus of the song is Revelation 22:17:

Do come, oh, do come,
Says Spirit and the Bride:
Do come, oh, do come,
Let him that heareth, cry.
Do come, oh, do come,
Let him who thirsts and will
__Take freely the water of life!

The key to entering experiences portrayed in this song is “come.” In John 7:37-39 Jesus says, “Come to Me and drink.” In John 4:10 Jesus tells us to ask Him and He will give us a drink. Come to Jesus and simply tell Him, Lord, I am one who thirsts and I want to take the water. I open to You. Please give me living water to drink. Every day we can come and ask Jesus for living water.

A related post by Tom at Holding to Truth in Love:
Speak to Christ the Rock to Drink the Spirit as the Water of Life!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life”

We have been on an eating journey through the Old Testament. (Later we will take a NT journey.) Jesus Christ, the bread of life (John 6:35) and the passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), is the reality of many kinds of physical food given by God to His OT people. All these pictures of our spiritual eating will culminate in New Jerusalem with “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” Each paragraph below links to one post in this eating journey.

Boston, David Kan

The tree of life was in the garden of Eden as a picture of Jesus Christ as our life and as the life supply for our daily living. In John 6:57 our Lord Jesus told us, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.”

The first commandment from God to man concerned eating. This command was given in the garden of Eden. God’s desire was (and is) that man receive Him as man’s life, as pictured by “the tree of life in the middle of the garden” (Genesis 2:9).

Eating the lamb is the focus of the passover feast. Exodus 12:4 says “according to each man’s eating you shall make your count for the lamb.” Christ is the real lamb (John 1:29) and the reality of this feast (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

The passover lamb was eaten “with unleavened bread with bitter herbs” (Exodus 12:8). This is to take Christ as our sinless (unleavened) life and thereby to have a bitter feeling about sin.

We should eat unleavened bread seven days. Seven is a number of completion, indicating that we should eat Jesus as our unleavened bread through our whole Christian life. This is  to “keep the feast…with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

Manna is bread from heaven (Exodus 16:4). Exodus 16 and Numbers 11:7-9 give a detailed description of manna. These details portray the richness of Christ as the bread of life in our Christian experience.

Israel was instructed to gather manna each day. Through Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4 we learn that manna shows us “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” Let us be people Eating the Word of God.

The priests eat the offerings in Leviticus 1–7. In the New Testament we are the priests (Revelation 1:5-6), Jesus Christ is the reality of the offerings (see verses in the post), and we mainly eat by thanking and praising the Lord for all that He has done and all that He is to us.

Exodus 40 and Leviticus 24 speak of the bread of the presence on the table in the tabernacle. This table and the lampstand are closely related. When we, the NT priests, eat the bread, we experience Jesus as the “light of life” (John 8:12).

The bread of the presence multiplied from tabernacle to temple (as did the lampstand). We expect much more multiplication from temple to New Jerusalem. This multiplication portrays the unsearchable/exhaustless riches of Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 12:7 tells Israel to eat and rejoice before their God when they gather in Jerusalem. This is a picture of a New Testament feast with Christ as the reality of our sacrifices and offerings, as the real firstborn, and as the content of our vows and freewill offerings.

In Leviticus 23 the Lord spoke about “My appointed feasts.” The introduction to these feasts is the sabbath rest. This shows that we should rest in Jesus Christ and His accomplishments in order to have proper Christian feasts.

Israel began to eat the produce of the land after they crossed the river Jordan. The variety and abundance of this produce again points us to the Christ who is unsearchably, immeasurably rich (Ephesians 3:8).

A feast of the passover and a seven-day feast of unleavened bread are recorded in 2 Chronicles 30. This feast was held “with great rejoicing” which caused them to continue for another seven days. The key was preparing their heart to seek God.

First Kings 8 records a feast after dedication of the temple and Ezra 6 records a feast after the dedication of the second temple. As we offer ourselves to the Lord and participate in the NT building work, we are preparing and entering into a feast.

Second Kings 23 and 2 Chronicles 35 record a marvelous passover feast following the cleansing of the temple, of Jerusalem, and of the whole land. The more we cleanse our hearts from desiring and working for goals other than the Lord, the more we will feast.

Photo of Boston harbor, courtesy of David Kan.

Related post: Is Your Spiritual Eating Advancing by Tom at Holding to Truth in Love

Eat and Be Satisfied

New JerusalemIn the Bible pictures of our spiritual eating began with the tree of life in the garden of Eden. They continued with the Passover lamb and bread, and then the daily manna in the wilderness. Joshua 5:11-12 presents the transition after crossing the river Jordan:

“And on the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased on that day, when they ate of the produce of the land; and there was no longer manna for the children of Israel, but they ate of the yield of the land of Canaan that year.”

Deuteronomy 8:7-10 describes the land with its produce:

“For Jehovah your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of waterbrooks, of springs and of fountains, flowing forth in valleys and in mountains; a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees with oil and of honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity; you will not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and from whose mountains you can mine copper. And you shall eat and be satisfied, and you shall bless Jehovah your God for the good land which He has given you.”

Deuteronomy presents the flowing waters as a picture of the Spirit as our spiritual drink, the food as a picture of Christ as our spiritual nourishment, and the metals as a picture of Christ empowering us to fight the spiritual battles. Thank Him for His abundance!

The emphasis in these verses is on eating. When we eat Jesus, we live because of Him. The variety and quantity of food (see also Numbers 13:23) portray the richness of Christ. These riches are proclaimed as the gospel (Ephesians 3:8). To partake, call upon the Lord who is “rich to all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:12-13). We may simply call, O Lord Jesus or we may call and declare, Lord Jesus, You are my food, or Lord Jesus, thank You for being the vine and fig tree to me.

The riches of Christ are for us now and in New Jerusalem, where the twelve fruits of the tree of life indicate eternal fullness and eternal richness.

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