Three Mysteries Point to New Jerusalem

The New Testament presents three outstanding mysteries which together culminate in New Jerusalem.

Colossians 2:2 speaks of “the mystery of God, Christ.” In 1 Corinthians 2:1 Paul came to the Corinthians “announcing to you the mystery of God.” To do this he determined to know nothing except “Jesus Christ, and this One crucified.” This is the first mystery.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:4 Paul speaks of “the mystery of Christ.” Verse 6 opens this mystery: “in Christ Jesus the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the Body and fellow partakers of the promise through the gospel.”

Paul was graced by God (v. 7) to announce “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (v. 8) and “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is” (v. 9). Then verse 10 is about the church, which is according to God’s eternal purpose (v. 11). This is the second mystery.

The latter part of Ephesians 5 is about husband and wife as a picture of Christ and the church. Verse 32: “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.” This great mystery is the forerunner of Christ and New Jerusalem as Husband and wife. 

Ephesians presents many aspects of the church—the Body and fullness of Christ, the one new man, the kingdom and household of God, the dwelling place of God, the bride, and the corporate warrior. New Jerusalem is the consummation of all of these aspects of Christ and the church as the great mystery.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Participation in the Riches of Christ

In Revelation 21:2-3 New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ and is also the tabernacle of God.

As the bride of the Lamb, the New Jerusalem comes out of Christ, her Husband, and becomes His counterpart, just as Eve came out of Adam, her husband, and became His counterpart (Gen. 2:21-24). She is prepared by participating in the riches of the life and nature of Christ the Lamb. As the tabernacle of God, the New Jerusalem is built by God with what He is. It is wholly constituted of the nature of God to be His habitation.*

New JerusalemMultiple verses speak of the riches of Christ as the preparation of the Body of Christ, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the bride. Philippians 1:19 focuses on the preparation of each individual member.

Paul tells us, “I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul was in prison but could experience the riches of Christ there for living Christ to magnify Him (1:20-21).

Ephesians 3:14-19 focuses on our corporate preparation. Paul prayed for the believers, that our Father “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man.” The result of this strengthening is that the believers corporately are rooted (for life supply) and grounded (for building) to apprehend together the vastness of Christ and be filled to all the fullness of God.

The consummation is glory to God, now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.


* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

More about The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem
and The Riches and Fullness of the Triune God

Photo courtesy of NASA.

God’s Multifarious Wisdom Made Known

Ephesians 3 tells us that God wants to enlighten us concerning His eternal purpose. God “created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

New JerusalemGod’s purpose is to display His magnificent wisdom now through the church and much more to display it through New Jerusalem for eternity.

New Jerusalem shines with the glory of God. This is not merely a brightness but a display of all that God is and has accomplished.

God has forgiven our sins but that is not His goal. Forgiveness cleanses us to receive His eternal life. But that is not the goal. Eternal life is in us to grow and build us together as the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15), the church, through which God is manifested in humanity.

Today the world is full of corruption, wars, murders, deceit, homelessness, and many more problems. All these negative things are the dark background for the manifestation of God’s infinite wisdom. If the entire human situation were simple, smooth, and clean, such wisdom would not be needed.

God has allowed Satan some freedom to work in humanity but eventually all Satan will be able to do is to provide the opportunity for God to manifest His wisdom. God wants this today in the church and will fully realize it in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (9)

Ephesians presents much about our growth into Christ in all things, which matches His growth within us, and our being built together in Him. New Jerusalem, a living city, is the consummation of this growth and building.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to recent posts on God’s living New Testament building. The key verses in each post are listed.

Jesus Christ is the living Cornerstone of God’s NT building. Matt. 21:33-41; Acts 4:10-12
Jesus Christ is the Living Stone and we also are living stones. John 1:41-42; 1 Peter 2:2-7
Jesus Christ is the temple in resurrection, and all His believers are part of this temple.
John 1:14, 2:19-22, 14:2, 23; 2 Cor. 6:16

We are God’s cultivated land, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:1-16
In Christ Jesus all the building is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Eph. 2:19-22
We have been rooted and are being built up in Christ Jesus. Eph. 3:16-21; Col. 2:6-7

Our growth in life is for the building up of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16
The growth of the Body is unto the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a city of life and God’s NT building in life:

New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm
The Living House Becomes the Living City
New Jerusalem is a Living City

New Jerusalem is a Living City, a City of Life
New Jerusalem is a Living, Spiritual City
We are God’s Living House

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (6)

New JerusalemMultiple chapters in the New Testament, in recent posts, show that God’s New Testament building comes forth through the growth of His divine life in us.

God’s NT building is spiritual, not physical. This principle applies through the entire NT to New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 3:16-17a speaks of us being strengthened into our inner man “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.” The first outcome of this is that we are “rooted and grounded in love” (v. 3:17b).

Rooting brings in the life supply for our growth in life. What is the grounding for? The parallel verse, Colossians 2:6-7a, says, “As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, having been rooted and being built up in Him.” Being grounded in love is for building up which comes out of the life supply through our Christian roots.

The end result of our being rooted and grounded in Christ is God’s building, His dwelling place, composed of all the believers “filled unto all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). Through this filling “To Him [God] be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”

By the divine life growing in us and building us together, there is glory be God today! And more glory to God in New Jerusalem forever and ever! (Eph. 3:21).

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (7)

A song couples the key characteristics in the garden of Eden with those of New Jerusalem. The garden presents God’s intention and the city shows His accomplishment. Verse 7 of the song:

’Tis for the city man is wrought upon,
Therefore regenerated and transformed
To purest gold, to pearls and precious stones,
As Christ’s own Body, to Himself conformed.

New Jerusalem is God’s goal. All of God’s creation, including man, is for this goal. New JerusalemAll the negatives among men and throughout the universe have root in Satan’s rebellion against God (Isaiah 14) and his corruption of the human race. But nothing can defeat God!!!

Ephesians 3 tells us that God “created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

All the negative things are merely the black background to further manifest God’s wisdom. He will make this wisdom known now through the church and eternally in a fuller manner through New Jerusalem.

Humanity has fallen, but God came in Jesus Christ to redeem and to regenerate mankind. By regeneration we receive the divine, eternal, incorruptible life. As this life grows and spreads within us, we are transformed (Rom. 12:2), to be the precious materials for the building of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in New Jerusalem.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ as the Gospel, Now and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemPaul: “I became a minister [of the gospel] according to the gift of the grace of God which was given to me according to the operation of His power. To me…was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:7-8).

In God’s view the gospel is much more than a response to our need. The gospel is to bring us from our fallen condition back to God, to regenerate us with His life, to fully renew us through the course of our Christian life, and to build us together with other believers. This accomplishes God’s eternal purpose, ultimately bringing forth New Jerusalem.

For all these steps we surely need God’s mercy and compassion but we also need much more. We need the riches of Christ. God’s intention is to strengthen us into our inner man, our regenerated spirit, so that Christ may make His home in our heart. Then we are rooted and grounded in His love and can lay hold of these unsearchable riches. Eventually we are filled unto all the fullness of God and the outcome is glory to God. This is the gospel presented in Ephesians 3.

When we are filled with God, His glory shines out. This is His intention. He is working to fill us day by day with these unsearchable riches. Eventually we all will be filled and New Jerusalem will radiate the glory of God eternally.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 2–3

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Their marriage is in love. Ephesians 1 presents God’s love in the context of His purpose and all that He accomplished.

In contrast, chapter 2 begins with us being dead in our offenses and sins (2:1*). Nevertheless, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ” (2:4-5). God loved us before creation (1:4), and now, although we are in a fallen creation, He still loves us.

Because of this love, God was merciful to forgive us and to make us alive with Christ, to raise us up with Christ, and to seat us in the heavenlies with Christ (2:5-6). This is our salvation by God’s mercy and grace based on His love.

Now we are in position to experience the love of God. Paul prays that we be strengthened into our inner man so “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith”
(3:16-17). By His making home in us, we are rooted and grounded in His love. This empowers us to apprehend the vast riches of Christ (3:17-18) and “to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ” (3:19).

In experiencing this love we are “filled unto all the fullness of God” that there may be glory to God in the church (3:19-21). This experiential love, filling, and glory all increase unto New Jerusalem.

*Verse numbers are in Ephesians.
Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Flow of Living Water is the Triune God

The flow of “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 is “the Spirit” in 7:39. This same Spirit flows out of the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem. This flow of living water is the flow of the Triune God to His people.

New JerusalemThis flow of the Triune God is also in 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Grace, love, and fellowship are not static in heaven; they are the Triune God flowing out to “be with us all.”

The flow of the Triune God may also be seen in Ephesians 3:14-17. “I bow my knees unto the Father…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.”

The outcome of this flow is that 1) we are rooted and grounded in love, to be 2) full of strength to corporately lay hold on the unlimited riches of Christ, so that 3) we are filled to the fullness of God, resulting in 4) glory to God in the church now and in New Jerusalem forever (Eph. 3:17-21).

A short song (with music) combines 2 Corinthians 13:14 with Revelation 22:1:
__The love of God and the grace of Christ
__And fellowship of the Holy Spirit
__Be with you, be with you all,
__Be with you all, be with you all.

__From the throne of our God and the Lamb
__Flows a river of water of life,
__Bright as crystal, reaching man.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Creation, New Creation, New Jerusalem

The Bible progresses from God’s creation of heaven and earth in Genesis 1 to the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Here is a summary of recent posts on this progression, with a link to and a key verse from each post. All of these point toward New Jerusalem, the goal of God’s creation and His work.

New Jerusalem

“God, who created all things, in order that now…the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:9-11)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.“ (Gen. 1:1)
God created because He has an eternal purpose.

“O Jehovah our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth.” (Psa. 8:1)
We do not yet see this outwardly, but we do see Jesus and His accomplishments.
Hebrews 2 quotes Psalm 8 and then speaks of God leading many sons into glory, which ultimately is New Jerusalem; then we will see God’s name excellent in all the earth.

“The earth is Jehovah’s, and its fullness…” (Psa. 24:1)
God is never defeated on the path from creation to New Jerusalem.

“Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.” (Matt. 6:10)
God has a purpose and we cooperate by praying for it on earth.

“Until heaven and earth pass away…” (Matt. 5:18).
The first heaven and earth will pass away and the new heaven and earth will come.

“What kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness.” (2 Pet. 3:11)
God’s divine power supplies us to live a life for the new creation.

“According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Pet. 3:13)
The Lord told us “My words shall by no means pass away.” Our stand is His word.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
We are being renewed inwardly (Titus 3:5) to prepare us fully for New Jerusalem.

“A new creation is what matters.” (Gal. 6:15)
Our spirit is life and our heart loves the Lord and His word; this is what matters.

Creation’s goal: “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known.” (Eph. 3:9-10)
God’s desire is to display His wisdom through His people knit together in Christ.
This display brings forth glory to God now in the church and forever in New Jerusalem.

God created “the heavens,…the earth, and…the spirit of man within him.” (Zech. 12:1)
In our human spirit that we are born of God to have His life for His expression.

“The judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)
God created the earth for His purpose; Satan formed the world system to capture man.

“They all may be one…that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” (John 17:21)
By the Lord’s life in us, we “shine as luminaries in the world.” (Phil. 2:15)

“Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4)
God’s living word energizes us to live to Him and escape the corruption in the world.

“If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
As we love the Lord, He and the Father make their abode in us. (John 14:23)
This abode is for today and eternity. New Jerusalem is God’s eternal abode in His people.

God “created all things…according to the eternal purpose which He made.” (Eph. 3:9, 11)
We are living for God‘s purpose now, conscious that “the earth is the Lord’s.”

“We are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Pet. 3:13).
The Lord overcame the world and now He is the Overcomer in us. He is our life.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” (Rev. 21:1)
Through the death of Christ, things on earth and in heaven were reconciled to God.
This is a step in preparing for the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth…and the sea is no more.” (Rev. 21:1)
The sea speaks of God’s judgments, which are completed in Revelation 20.

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Rev. 21:1-2a)

Earlier posts about the new creation.
New Creation: Curiosity versus Life
New Jerusalem is the Center of New Heaven and New Earth
The Word of the Lord Abides to Eternity
New Creation
New Heaven and New Earth

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.

 

God Created the Earth for His Purpose

New Jerusalem

 

“God, created all things…according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:9-11) The ultimate outcome of creation is the new creation with New Jerusalem as the center.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

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