Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe death of Christ terminated, redeemed, released, and created to bring all of God’s people onto the path to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21 says about New Jerusalem, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These pearls portray the wonderful achievements of Christ on the cross as our entrance into the city.*

The effectiveness of Christ’s death is eternal. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” The eternal Spirit makes His death eternally effective and applicable to us at every time. And His death purifies us to serve the living God, which service will continue in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The Lord promised us “when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will guide you into all the reality” (John 16:13). In resurrection this Spirit came and is guiding us into the reality of all that Christ accomplished on the cross in order to bring us unto New Jerusalem.

Through the Spirit all that Christ accomplished is available to us. Through the eternal Spirit His redemption with the forgiveness of sins is applied to our conscience, so that our conscience can be free of condemnation. Through the Spirit the released divine life comes into us to regenerate us. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). And the Spirit of reality makes the new man real to us. The Spirit is the reality of our path to New Jerusalem.

* Links to many posts on this are in Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

Revelation 7 and New Jerusalem

The record in Revelation 7:9-17 parallels in several ways the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Part of note 2 on Revelation 7:9 in the Recovery Version New Testament says, “The record in vv. 9-17 describes in a general way the scene from the time of the rapture of the believers to their enjoyment in eternity.”

New JerusalemOne striking parallel is “These are those who…have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14) and “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” (22:14).

The result of washing in 22:14 indicates that the multitude in Revelation 7 will be constituents of New Jerusalem.

Another strong similarity is “They are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night…” (7:15) and “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him” (22:3). Prior to the Lord’s second coming, the throne of God is in heaven, to which this multitude has been raptured (see link to note in first paragraph). In eternity the throne is in New Jerusalem, which has come down “out of heaven” to the new earth (Rev. 21:2, 10).

“They will not hunger any more, neither will they thirst any more” (7:16a) is fulfilled in New Jerusalem by the fruit of the tree of life and the river of water of life (22:1-2).

“The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them…” (7:17) matches “the throne of God and of the Lamb (22:1). The shepherding in 7:17 includes the tree and river in 22:1-2 and the Lord God’s shining on us in 22:5. These parallels show that the eternal blessing in New Jerusalem are presented in a general way in Revelation 7.

The Bible: a Journey from Garden of Eden to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

The whole Bible is a journey from God’s creation and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1–2) to God’s consumma-tion centered on New Jerusalem (Revelation 21–22).

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

Enter the Veil and Go Without the Camp

The first two lines of a hymn by Witness Lee (words music) are, “Enter the veil and go without the camp, Taste heaven’s sweetness, thus the earth forsake.” To enter the veil is to go into God’s presence in the holy of holies. The original holy of holies in the tabernacle is a picture of New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies (1, 2, 3).

To “go without the camp” is to come out of the natural realm, where there is talk about God and doings related to God yet without God’s presence. Our going out is foreseen by Moses’ action in Exodus 33:7-11. He set up a tent outside the camp after Israel had worshipped the golden calf idol. At Moses’ tent God spoke with him, and “everyone who sought Jehovah went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp.”

New JerusalemEnter the veil and go without the camp is also in Hebrews. Verses 6:18-19, based on God’s promise and oath in the prior verses, say “we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us, which we have as an anchor of the soul, both secure and firm and which enters within the veil.”

Hebrews 13:12-13 say, “Jesus, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us therefore go forth unto Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”

Inwardly, by faith in Christ, we are already a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). We are in the spiritual realm of the new creation, where the hidden reality of New Jerusalem is. Now, in daily living, we need to enter the veil for God’s presence and go outside the camp.

Colossians 3:1-2 exhorts us, “seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth.” To seek and set our mind on the things above is to enter the veil. To turn from earthly things is to leave the camp. Thus our inward being moves from the old creation to the new, the realm of New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Over 500 publications by Witness Lee are available for online reading and searching.

Pictures of New Jerusalem in Exodus (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies. The holy of holies described in Exodus portrays something of New Jerusalem.

The veil (Ex. 26:31-33) separated the holy of holies from the holy place. Entering the holy of holies was extremely restricted (Lev. 16:2, 29-30). Hebrews 9:7-8 speaks of this, “…only the high priest enters [the holy of holies], once a year and not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of ignorance of the people, the Holy Spirit thus making this clear, that the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested…”

However, we are not in that age! Hebrew 9:11 has a great turn: “But Christ, having come…”! When Jesus died, “the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51). As a result, “Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies in the blood of Jesus, which entrance He initiated for us as a new and living away through the veil, that is, His flesh…” (Heb. 10:19-20).

Through the death of Jesus Christ the veil has been rent! We can enter the spiritual holy of holies now and our entrance to New Jerusalem is guaranteed. Having the new and living way, “and having a great Priest over the house of God, let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:21-22a).

Although the pictures in Exodus convey something about New Jerusalem to us, they do not show us the way to enter. Thank God that we are in this age, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We exercise our faith to receive His redemption and thereby have boldness to enter the holy of holies now on our way to 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. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

Out of Every Tribe, Tongue, People & Nation

In Revelation 5 Jesus Christ is both the Lion and the Lamb. He is praised with the words, “You are worthy…for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (v. 5-9). His death and purchase are to gain people for New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Revelation 7:9 John saw “a great multitude which no one could number, out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palm branches in their hands.”

Verse 7:13 asks, Who are these who are clothed in white? Verse 14 answers, They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Verse 15 continues, Because of this they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits upon the throne will tabernacle over them.

This great multitude washed their robes, which means they received the Lord’s forgiving of sins. The end result of washing our robes is to enter New Jerusalem—“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” (Rev. 22:14).

The great multitude is before the throne serving God. This is life in New Jerusalem—“the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him” (Rev. 22:3).

Thank the Lamb for dying for us and purchasing us. Thank Him that we receive forgiveness from Him. Let us go on per Revelation 22:14 to eat Him as our daily food supply and enter New Jerusalem.

Born Anew to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIsrael journeyed to Mt. Sinai where Moses saw and presented to them the heavenly pattern of the tabernacle. We are on a Christian journey to see New Jerusalem.

After the vision of the tabernacle, Israel offered themselves for it, built it, and journeyed with it. Likewise, we see New Jerusalem, we offer ourselves to the Lord for New Jerusalem, we participate in building the Body of Christ as the forerunner of New Jerusalem, and we continue our Christian life in God’s New Testament building.

The past dozen or so posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The Lord Jesus gave us the answer in John 3:3, 5. “Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you,

Unless one is born anew,
__he cannot see the kingdom of God. (v. 3)
Unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
__he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (v. 5)

To be born again, or born anew, is to be born of water and of the Spirit in our human spirit (v. 6). The result of this spiritual birth is both the seeing and the entering into the kingdom of God. To the extent that we see, we enter.

Our seeing of spiritual things is not once for all. Rather, our seeing gradually increases with our loving the Lord and giving ourselves to Him. It increases as we seek and pursue the Lord and respond to Him. It increases through our contact with the Lord in the Bible, through time with other Christians, through prayer, and through gospel preaching.

Since our seeing of New Jerusalem is not once for all, our entering into it is not once for all but gradually. Lord, I am willing and available to You; bring me more into the vision of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has the Bible’s consummate glory. The prior post touched glory in the Old Testament; this one looks at glory in the gospels. What the Lord passed through in the gospels—incarnation, death, and resurrection—was to redeem us and bring us into God so that we could be in New Jerusalem.

The glory in the gospels is foretold in Isaiah 40: “the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it.” Then John 1:1, 14 says, “the Word was God…the Word became flesh…we beheld His glory.” According to 2 Peter 1:16-18, the disciples beheld His glory on the mount of transfiguration. That beholding was for a short time, but the glory in New Jerusalem is eternal.

Luke 5:25-26, 7:17, 13:13, 17:15, and 18:43 are examples of people glorifying God as a result of seeing acts which they knew were of Him. Let us expect more in the kingdom and in New Jerusalem.

In John 12:23 Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” In the next verse He speaks about His death. And at His death, a centurion glorified God (Luke 23:47). In John 17 the Lord prayed, asking the Father to glorify Him so that He could glorify the Father. This prayer was answered in His resurrection. This death and resurrection are our entrance into the glory of New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 16:27 and 24:30 the Lord told us that He will come visibly in glory. This glorious coming will bring His kingdom openly to earth and bring the manifestation of New Jerusalem closer.

Posts about the Lord’s death and resurrection as our entrance into New Jerusalem:
Enter New Jerusalem Now____Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Have Come to the City of the Living God

New JerusalemThe metaphor in Galatians 4:21-31 tells us that Hagar, Abraham’s maidservant, and Sarah, Abraham’s wife, correspond to the Jerusalem on earth and the Jerusalem above; furthermore these represent two covenants, one of law and one of grace.

Hebrews 12:22 says, “You have come forward to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem...” The heavenly Jerusalem here is the Jerusalem above in Galatians 4; both are New Jerusalem.

To come to the new covenant is to come to the New Jerusalem. Without Galatians 4 as a background, it would be very difficult to understand this. Galatians 4 reveals that the mother of the believers, who is the Jerusalem above, the New Jerusalem, is the new covenant of grace symbolized by Sarah. To keep the new covenant is to remain in the New Jerusalem. This indicates that we are not going to the New Jerusalem but that we are in the New Jerusalem already. The tense of the verb in Hebrews 12:22 is the perfect tense, “have come,” not the future tense. We know that we have come to the New Jerusalem because the New Jerusalem is the new covenant. Because we have received the new covenant, we have entered into the New Jerusalem. The receiving of the new covenant is the entering into the New Jerusalem.*

To come to the new covenant is to come to and receive what God gives us in Christ Jesus. This covenant was enacted by Jesus’ death on the cross (Luke 22:20) and Jesus Himself is the surety of this covenant (Hebrews 7:22). To receive the forgiveness of sins and to receive Jesus as our Lord and life is to receive the new covenant; this is also to receive New Jerusalem. To minister the Spirit who gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6) is to minister this better covenant; this is also to minister New Jerusalem.

*An excerpt from Witness Lee, The Conclusion of the New Testament message 255, © by LSM.

Thanks to Jordan Nguyen for the beautiful flowers.

 

Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

New JerusalemRevelation 21:12-3 and 21 describe the city of New Jerusalem, saying, “It had a great and high wall and had twelve gates….the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These gates are our entrance into the city. They are not physical pearls but rather portray the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which we are brought into the new creation and enter New Jerusalem. As He said in John 14:6, “I am the way.”
Here is a list of prior posts on this topic (verse numbers are in Revelation 21).

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God
In New Jerusalem the golden base and street (v. 18, 21) signify the Father’s divine nature, the pearl gates (v. 12) portray the Son’s death and resurrection, and the precious stones (v. 18-20) depict the transforming work of the Holy spirit. The composition of the city is the Triune God mingled with God’s people.

Three Gates on Each of Four Sides
New Jerusalem has twelve gates (v. 12-13, 21). The three gates on each side show that the Triune God is our entrance. Gates on four sides proclaim that the city is open to all humanity.

The Unmeasured Gates
Revelation 21 does not record the measurement for the gates of New Jerusalem. This probably indicates that Christ’s death and resurrection have unlimited (immeasurable) efficacy.

The Law’s Requirements at the Gates
A Living that Fulfills the Law’s Requirements
The entrance to New Jerusalem is guarded by the law, signified by the angels at the gates (v. 12). Whoever enters New Jerusalem must satisfy the law’s requirements. In ourselves we can never satisfy the law, but Christ has done it for us!

Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
We Enter through Faith, not Works
The pearls (v. 21) portray the death and resurrection of Christ. Through faith and baptism we are united with Him in His death and resurrection; this is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

The Entrance into New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem Has a Separating Wall and Open Gates
New Jerusalem has a great and high wall (v. 12) for separation and it has twelve gates for its entrance. Sinners are kept out by the wall but by faith we enter through the redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Enter New Jerusalem Now
Our receiving of the crucified and resurrected Jesus is our entering into New Jerusalem. Through His death all the negative things that would keep us out of the city have been removed. Through His resurrection we receive the eternal life, the life (v. 22:1-2) of New Jerusalem.

We Have the Way, Let’s Enter In
Jesus is our way, our reality, and our life. His coming to abide in us and bringing us to abide in Him is our way to New Jerusalem. We should not look for a way apart from Jesus Himself.

We Who Wash, Eat, and Enter Are Blessed
Revelation 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 by confessing our sins, we receive Jesus as our life supply, and we enter New Jerusalem.

Into God’s Kingdom for New Jerusalem
God the Father “delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:12-13). This transfer from the authority of Satan to the authority of God is the basis for our entering New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Have the Way, Let’s Enter In

New JerusalemWhere is New Jerusalem and how do we get there? This question parallels a discussion in John 14:1-6. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them and said, “where I am going you know the way.” Thomas replied, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus responded, “I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Jesus was going to the Father. He was going to the Living God, not to a physical place. We might mistakenly think He was going to heaven, but in this part of John He never speaks about heaven. Instead, He repeatedly speaks of going to the Father (John 13:1; 14:12, 28; 16:5, 17; 17:11, 13).

Jesus told Thomas that we can come to the Father through Him. He also spoke of His coming to us and the Father coming to us and the Spirit coming to us (John 14:3, 18, 23, 26). Now we abide in Him and He is us (John 15:4-5). His going, His coming, and our mutual abiding is our path to New Jerusalem.

His going and coming and our mutual abiding are summed up in His words, “I am the way.” Jesus Christ is our way to New Jerusalem. Neither a physical path nor a set of rituals will take us there.

Furthermore, we should not think of New Jerusalem as a physical location. On the contrary, Jesus said, “I am the reality.” The reality of the city is a living Person just as His destination in John 14 was a living Person. Praise Him! He is our way and He is the reality of our destination.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

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.

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