New Jerusalem, the Fullness of God

Colossians 1:19 declares that in Christ “all the fullness was pleased to dwell.” This fullness is the expression of all the riches of God.* Colossians 2:9 says “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” By incarnation, all the fullness of the Godhead is in the God-man Jesus Christ.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:22-23 go further, saying that the church, the Body of Christ is “the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Not only Christ Himself, but now in resurrection also the Body composed of all His believers, is the fullness. The corporate Body will become the corporate New Jerusalem, so New Jerusalem will be the fullness of God.

The Body is the fullness because “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Ephesians 1 is a prayer for revelation that we might see all that God has operated in Christ unto the church. This is somewhat objective. Receiving grace upon grace is definitely subjective. This grace constitutes the church as the fullness in reality, preparing us for New Jerusalem.

We receive grace and we minister grace to one another, that we may be “good stewards of the varied grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). For this ministry the members of the Body specially gifted by the Head (Eph. 4:11) labor to perfect all of us “unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ” (4:12). This building of the Body is also the preparation of the bride (in Eph. 5), which becomes New Jerusalem.

Our ministry (Eph. 4:12) results in all arriving at the practical oneness, “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The goal of our Christian growth is the fullness of Christ, His Body now and New Jerusalem in the future.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

* See this footnote on Col. 1:19 in the Online Recovery Version NT.

No Devil In or Near New Jerusalem

The devil is not in New Jerusalem and has no way to bother us in New Jerusalem nor to bother the nations around New Jerusalem.

First John 3:8 tells us “the devil has sinned from the beginning.” The devil is the source of sin which brought in death. John 8:44 tells us that the devil is a murderer from the beginning and that he is the father, the source, of lies.  The nature of the devil is a lie because truth is not in him. This is the exact opposite of New Jerusalem in which Christ is the life and reality and where there is no lie.

New JerusalemJesus has overcome the devil. In John 14:30 He told us that the ruler of this world (the devil) “has nothing in Me.” Hebrews 2:14 says, “Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil.”

It seems to us today that the devil is still active. The reason is that the judgment accomplished on the cross has not fully been carried out. Therefore, Ephesians 4:25-27 warns us to put away lies and anger so that we give no place to the devil. We wage this battle continually by applying the law of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2) to overcome the law of sin in our flesh (Rom. 7:20).

In Revelation 12:9 the devil is cast down and in 20:2 he is bound for a thousand years, and in 20:10 he is cast into the lake of fire. This is the final step of the judgment accomplished on the cross. As a result, the devil will never bother New Jerusalem nor the entire new creation.

And, since the devil is Satan, New Jerusalem has Neither Sin nor Satan.
Here is a summary of all posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 12 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe book of Revelation is centered on the testimony of Jesus (19:10). Throughout Revelation we see the Christ, the One anointed to carry out for God’s plan on earth. This plan culminates with the new creation and New Jerusalem. In this post we look at our Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 12.

This chapter begins with the woman, the man-child, and the dragon. Then 12:7-9 present the war in heaven and the casting down of the devil. Verse 10 has a loud proclamation, “Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.” Here, as in 11:15, the eternal stage of the kingdom is New Jerusalem with God’s reign over the whole universe.

The proclamation in verse 10 also declares that our accuser (the devil) has been cast down.

The authority of Jesus Christ is declared many times in Revelation, including 1:5, 11:15, 12:10, 15:3, 17:14, and 19:16. This is from His death, resurrection, and ascension, as declared by Peter in Acts 2:36, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified” and as written in Ephesians 1:22 that God “subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

In Acts 2 our response to His exaltation is to repent, believe, and be baptized. This begins our progress toward New Jerusalem. In Ephesians our response to God’s actions is to grow in life and participate in the building up of His Body in love (Eph. 4:15-16).

Jesus Christ is “Head over all things to the church” because the church is the focus of God’s operation in this age. The church, the Body of Christ, is the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the eternal mingling of God and man.

Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of the Spiritual Growth of God’s People

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s growth in His people and His people’s growth into Him.

Ephesians 2:21, “All the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.”

Ephesians 4:15, “Holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ.”

Ephesians 4:16, “…the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Colossians 2:19, “All the Body, being richly supplied and knit together…grows with the growth of God.”

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Versionpublished and © by Living Stream MinistryAnaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.orgthis too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

New Jerusalem: Fullness of the Triune God

Colossians 2:9 proclaims that “in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Bodily refers to the man Jesus Christ with a human body. Fullness is not only the riches of the Godhead but the expression of these riches.*

New JerusalemThe riches of God are in Christ (1 2 3 4) and so is the expression, the fullness of these riches. Jesus Christ is on the throne in New Jerusalem, so the riches and fullness in Him fill New Jerusalem.

John 1:16 declares that “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” We have received not merely grace but grace upon grace that we may become one with Him in expressing the Triune God, starting now and advancing to New Jerusalem.

This corporate expression is presented in Ephesians 1:22-23, which says the church “is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Through the enjoyment of Christ’s riches [Eph. 3:8], we become His fullness to express Him.**

Ephesians 3 presents an ascending path to this fullness. In answer to prayer, God strengthens us (v. 16), Christ makes His home in us (v. 17), we get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17), we apprehend Christ’s vastness (v. 18), we know His love (v. 19), and we are filled unto all the fullness of God (v. 19). The conclusion is glory to God forever (v. 21), which clearly points to New Jerusalem.

Besides our prayer according to the pattern in Ephesians 3, chapter 4 sets forth our practice. The ascended Christ gave gifted members (v. 8-11); we cooperate by receiving their ministry to be perfected (v. 12) so that we all can share in the work of the ministry for building up (v. 12) until we all arrive “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Ephesians 4 is for now, so don’t passively wait until New Jerusalem.

* from footnote 1, Colossians 2:9NT Recovery Version Online; more from Col. 1:19
** from footnote 2, Ephesians 1:23.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

Christ as the Riches in Christian Life

God’s unsearchable riches will be displayed through New Jerusalem. These riches are not only for New Jerusalem; they are for us to experience in our Christian life now.

New JerusalemGod’s rich mercy and kindness brought salvation to us. And the Holy Spirit has been “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). By this Spirit in us we have a daily renewing.

As the Spirit imparts the riches of Christ into us, our hearts are “being knit together in love and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the full knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ” (Col. 2:2). Like prior verses, here we see that there is no separating the riches from the Person of Christ.

We can also “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). This dwelling helps, and is helped by, “singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Even in New Jerusalem, Christ, the living Word, will be dwelling in us. I believe that in New Jerusalem we will still be singing with grace to God. Besides singing now, it is also good to pray and praise with the word.

Furthermore, we can call on the name of the Lord. Whether almost silently or very loudly, we can call O Lord Jesus. “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him” (Rom. 10:12).

All these Christian practices keep us holding our Head, Christ, and growing up into Him. This bring us to the building up of the Body of Christ by the rich supply out from Him (Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19). This present, living building up is for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal building.

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 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 pixabay.com.

Pursue Peace and Oneness

New Jerusalem is a city of peace and a city of oneness. Besides Colossians 3:15 and Ephesians 2:14-15, here are other verses which couple peace and oneness in our current Christian life and point toward New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRomans 14:19 urges us to “pursue the things of peace and the things for building up one another.” We cannot find “oneness” here, but building up is certainly in oneness.

Romans 14 reminds us not to judge or despise any brother in outward Christian practice, “for God has received him” and “we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14). Today this is an exercise for us but in New Jerusalem all outward behavior will be past and we will eternally enjoy God’s receiving and Christ’s Lordship.

Ephesians 4:3 entreats us to be “diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” Our oneness is spiritual; it is “of the Spirit” just as New Jerusalem is spiritual. The uniting bond of peace is the practical safeguard of this oneness.

Whether we have a deep inner peace or not testifies whether we are keeping the oneness. The question is settled not by whether I think I am right or another Christian is (in my view) wrong, nor by whether I am happy with a situation or not; the peace of Christ is the determinant.

In Colossians 3, “forgiving one another, if anyone should have a complaint against anyone; even as the Lord forgave you, so also should you forgive” (v. 13) is a key to “let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts” (v. 15). Complaints do not guide us to peace but forgiveness does. Thank the Lord that He has forgiven us and is ready to forgive any sin we confess.

Lord Jesus, supply us daily to live in Your peace and to be full of forgiveness. This will be our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

For more on the sense of peace,see chapter 11 in Basic Lessons on Life.

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 U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 66, 68

In the Psalms we can see many prophecies and allusions to Christ and God’s house and city. These ultimately point to New Jerusalem with Christ as its center to be God’s eternal house and city with His reign on new earth.

Psalm 66:1, 4, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth….All the earth will worship You and sing psalms to You; they will sing psalms to Your name.” Not only within New Jerusalem, but also all the nations around it will shout with joy and worship God by singing.

New JerusalemPsalm 68:3, “The righteous will rejoice; they will exult before God and be glad with rejoicing.” We are righteous in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), so we rejoice now (Phil. 4:4) and in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 68:18, “You have ascended on high; You have led captive those taken captive; You have received gifts among men, even the rebellious ones also, that Jehovah God may dwell among them.” This is quoted in Ephesians 4 in reference to the ascension of Christ and of His giving of gifted members to take the lead in the building up of His Body (forerunner of New Jerusalem) so that God may dwell among us.

Psalm 68:20, “God is to us a God of deliverance, and with Jehovah the Lord are the goings forth even from death.” Through His death Christ delivered us from sin (Rom. 8:3), the flesh (Rom. 8:11-12), the world (John 12:31-32), death (2 Tim. 1:10), and the devil (Heb. 2:14). Today we do not yet see these things abolished but in the new creation and New Jerusalem none of these will be present.

Psalm 68:29, “Because of Your temple at Jerusalem, kings will bring a gift to You.” This happened at Solomon’s time and will occur much more in the kingdom and to the fullest in the new creation with kings bringing gifts to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.
This series about the Psalms will resume several weeks from now.

The Lord’s Shepherding to New Jerusalem

The Lord Jesus is the good Shepherd. He came to lead all God’s people, both of the Jews and of the nations, to be His one flock (John 10). This one flock is also His one Body with many members and ultimately the one city, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAt the Lord’s birth He was spoken of as a Shepherd (Matt. 2:6, quoting Micah 5:2). At His death, He was also a Shepherd (Matt.  26:31 quoting Zech. 13:7). In resurrection He is also the Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) to care for us in the eternal (including New Jerusalem) covenant.

How is the Lord shepherding us today? On one hand, He as the resurrection life within us is “the Shepherd of our souls” (1 Peter 2:5). On the other hand He shepherds through other members of His one Body.

The shepherding through His members  is seen in Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11-12, and 1 Peter 5:2. In Ephesians, the gifted members as shepherds (v. 11) perfect all the members of the Body (v. 12) to do the same. Hence, the shepherding is not carried out by a special class, but by every believer. All of this is carried out under the headship of the Lord, who is “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

The shepherding of the flock in Acts and 1 Peter emphasizes our life in Christ; Ephesians emphasizes  the building of His Body. The two are inseparable, as in 1 Corinthians 3:9 and the last phrase of Ephesians 4:16. Both are for New Jerusalem, which is both a city of life and a city of building.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Peace of Christ in our Hearts

New JerusalemPrior posts have presented oneness in John 10 and 17, Ephesians 2, and 1 Corinthians 10 and 12. All of these point to the unique New Jerusalem as the unique city in the new creation which fully expresses the one God.

Galatians 3:28 parallels other verses: “There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there cannot be slave nor free man, there cannot be male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Christ Jesus, both now and in New Jerusalem, all the natural distinctions which divide fallen man are annulled. Outside the natural realm and in the mystical realm in Him we are one.

The oneness in Christ is a fact for which we must care so that it can be our experience and our appearance. Ephesians 4:1-3 beseeches us “to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love, being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.”

These virtues—lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, love, diligence, peace—are all not of ourselves but are the fruit of the Spirit in us. When we are walking according to the Spirit we experience His supply which enables us to keep the oneness.

Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts, to which also you were called in one Body; and be thankful.” We were called to peace in one Body but now we need to let this peace preside/rule/control/govern* within us. Again, this is a matter of the Spirit within us, and is often contrary to our natural preference, desire, or habit. “The mind set on the spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).

Lord, I don’t want to wait for New Jerusalem; I want to learn Your ruling peace now so that I can be in the reality of one Body.

*Various translations, thanks to biblehub.com.

A Pillar in the Temple with the Name of God, New Jerusalem, and the Lord

New JerusalemIn Revelation 3:12 the Lord Jesus promises, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

The pillars in God’s temple are living persons, people closely identified with God, New Jerusalem, and the Lord Jesus.

This, like many other verses (e.g. 1 Cor. 3:9, Eph. 2:21-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:5) show that God’s New Testament building is spiritual. God’s building of Himself into His people and His building His people together has replaced the physical buildings of the Old Testament.

We will not merely be in New Jerusalem (with the possibility of going out) but built into it so that we “shall by no means go out anymore.” This city is a living building joined/fitted/knit together in life, as are the members of our physical body.

Revelation 21:22 tells us that the Triune God is the temple of New Jerusalem—“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” And the overcomers are being built into this living building as pillars during this age and fully in the coming kingdom age. Nothing physical about this. In eternity all God’s people will be built into New Jerusalem and into the temple.

Lord Jesus, grant us grace every day that we may cooperate with You to overcome. Build us into Your building and write Yourself and New Jerusalem on us. 

New Jerusalem has the Fullness of Christ

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is God’s consummation of everything positive in the Bible. Recently the Lord caused Ephesians 4:13 to rise up in me and I realized that its goals correspond with New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 4:11 says that the ascended Christ gave gifted members to His Body. In verse 12 these gifted members are “for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.” We all need perfecting so that we all participate in the ministry.

The proper ministry results in “the building up of the Body of Christ.” The consummation of this building up is New Jerusalem. Ephesians 4:13 gives us the goals of the building work,

“Until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

At present we are still in the process of arriving at these goals. In contrast, New Jerusalem is the full expression of verse 13. New Jerusalem is in oneness, it is full-grown, and it has the full stature of Christ.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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