Eternal Life and New Jerusalem (2)

New JerusalemJesus Christ is our eternal life. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). New Jerusalem is an eternal city, so it is intimately tied with this eternal life.

We receive this life, which is Christ Himself, by believing. Our believing is our response to God’s appointing (Acts 13:48). To be appointed to eternal life also means to be appointed to New Jerusalem.

Titus 1:2 and 3:7 speak of “the hope of eternal life.” On one hand, the eternal life we have already received gives us hope for the future, including hope for New Jerusalem.

On the other hand, we have hope for our future that we will have a greater portion of and greater participation in eternal life. At the time of our salvation we received eternal life. When the Lord returns we will “inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29, Mark 10:30)—not a different life but an enriched portion of the same life we initially received, and New Jerusalem will be the richest portion of eternal life.

In John 10:28 the Lord said, “I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” This is strong security, both for having eternal life and participating in eternal New Jerusalem. But the Lord also said in John 12:28, “He who loves his soul-life loses it; and he who hates his soul-life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life.”

Our future inheritance of greater eternal life depends on our hating/denying/losing our soul life, our self. The Lord tells us to deny the soul live so that we may live Him as our eternal life. Eventually we will all make this transition from the fallen natural life to the divine, eternal life, the life of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Faith & Grace Bring Us to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem Romans 4:16: “the inheritance is out of faith that it might be according to grace.” We inherit a foretaste in this age, much more in the kingdom age, and the utmost in New Jerusalem. This verse shows that faith and grace are keys to our inheriting.

Romans 4 makes much use of the example of Abraham. Hebrews 11 also includes him in the discourse on faith. By faith Abraham “eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (v. 10). This clearly points to New Jerusalem, the city which has foundations (Rev. 21:19).

Are we eagerly waiting for New Jerusalem? Or is our eagerness toward a human achievement, a human honor, greater income, a nicer home, or a special vacation? Lord, have mercy on us; align our eagerness with that of the faith people of Hebrews 11.

Romans 3:23-24 say, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Because we were sinners, we were separated from glory and couldn’t inherit anything of God, including New Jerusalem, the city full of the glory of God. But by grace we have been justified by the redemption accomplished by Christ Jesus through His death, which qualifies us to inherit.

Romans 3 and 4 strongly declare that works, human effort according to the law, is not the way to inherit from God. God’s way is by faith and by grace. Faith and grace carry us to New Jerusalem.

Neither faith nor grace originate with us. Peter says that God has allotted faith to us (2 Peter 1:1). Paul says the grace of God was given to us (1 Cor. 1:4). God’s eternal plan, expressed in His creation (Gen. 1:26), is to have a corporate man to express Him. For this, God wants us to be part of New Jerusalem, and to make this possible He has provided faith and grace. Thank Him!

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service.

Acts 26:18 and New Jerusalem (2)

Acts 26:18 records six aspects of the heavenly commission from the Lord Jesus to Paul. The last is that we receive an inheritance. As with all five prior aspects, the consumma-tion of the inheritance is with New Jerusalem.

This inheritance comes to us in three stages—in this age, in the age that begins with the Lord’s second coming, and in eternity in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe New Testament primarily speaks of the inheritance in the kingdom age and in eternity. Nevertheless, Ephesians 1:14 says that the Spirit “is the pledge of our inheritance.” This pledge is a guarantee. It is also a sample, giving us a present taste of the coming inheritance. The Spirit Himself, as our realization of the Triune God, is the sample, indicating that the Triune God is the fullness of our inheritance.

Also, Galatians 3:14 speaks of our receiving the blessing of Abraham, which is the promised Spirit. The promise is of God (v. 16), it is also God’s covenant (v. 17), and it is our inheritance (v. 18). This is the Spirit flowing as the river of life in New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 21:7 the Lord tells us, “he who overcomes will inherit these things.” This is in the context of the Lord describing Himself and describing New Jerusalem. Hence, the Lord Jesus Christ as the reality of everything in New Jerusalem and as the embodiment of the Triune God is our inheritance.

An overall definition:* This inheritance is the Triune God Himself with all He has, all He has done, and all He will do for His redeemed people. The Triune God is embodied in the all-inclusive Christ (Col. 2:9), who is the portion allotted to the saints as their inheritance (Col. 1:12).

Ultimately this inheritance is the Triune God in New Jerusalem allotted to us.

* From footnote 6 on Acts 26:18 in NT Recovery Version Online.
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Acts 26:18 and New Jerusalem

In Acts 26 Paul recounts his calling by the Lord in Acts 9. The LorNew Jerusalemd told Paul He was sending him to the nations (v. 17), “To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (v. 18).

Every point of this commission has a fulfillment in New Jerusalem. The first point is “to open their eyes.” In New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4).

The second point is “to turn them from darkness to light.” In New Jerusalem there will be no darkness. “Night will be no more; and they have no need of the light of a lamp and of the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine upon them” (Rev. 22:5). Not only no darkness; even more there is no natural light from the sun nor man-made light from a lamp. The light of the city is Christ, the light of life (John 8:12).

The third point is a turn “from the authority of Satan to God.” In Revelation 20 Satan, the devil, is cast into the lake of fire forever (v. 10). And in New Jerusalem there is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1, 3).

The fourth point is “sanctified by faith.” By faith we become immediately holy in position and gradually holy in our nature to match “the holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2).

The fifth point, the first result, is “forgiveness of sins.” All sin and sins will have been put away by the time New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. As a testimony, God and the redeeming Lamb are the temple (which is the whole of New Jerusalem), the Lamb is the lamp, and they are on the throne (Rev. 21:22, 23, 22:1).

The sixth point, the second result, is “an inheritance.” to be continued

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Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (7)

Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God the Father “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” Verses 4 to 14 describe these blessings. Because they all result in the praise of God’s glory, and because God’s glory is manifested in New Jerusalem, these blessings point toward and prepare the way for New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:14 says that the Holy Spirit “is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession.” The pledge is the guarantee, keeping us for God “unto the redemption.” The redemption here is not the forgiveness of sins in verse 7 but is the redemption of our mortal body, as in Romans 8:23.

Philippians 3:21 says that our Lord Jesus Christ “will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory.” Here also the blessings in Ephesians 1 (in this case the redemption of the acquired possession) conclude with glory, thus corresponding with New Jerusalem.

The blessings in Ephesians 1 are in three sections, the doings of the three of the Triune God. The first, verses 4 to 6, is of God the Father, and concludes

to the praise of the glory of His grace

The second section, verses 7 to 12, begins with the Son’s redemption and concludes

to the praise of His glory

The third section, verses 13 to 14, is about the Spirit’s work in us and concludes

to the praise of His glory

These spiritual blessings of the Triune God go from eternity before creation, through the present age, to eternity of the new creation with New Jerusalem, the city

having the glory of God

Praise our wonderful God, “who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”

New Jerusalem

Prior posts focused on Ephesians 1:3-41:5-61:7-9a1:9b-101:11-12, and 1:13-14a.

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Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (5)

God’s blessings to us are for the accomplishing of His goal, His good pleasure, to head up all things in Christ. Today Christ is heading up the members of His Body; later we will see His heading up of all things. In eternity He will be on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of a fully headed-up new creation.

Ephesians 1:11 begins, “In whom [Christ] also we were designated as an inheritance” or “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance.” Today God is our inheritance and we are His inheritance. Although this may not seem obvious now, in the coming age and in New Jerusalem it will be very clear.

New JerusalemVerse 1:11 continues, we have “been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Again predestination is mentioned. Our predestination is for God’s purpose, not for any human goal we might have. Ultimately we are predestinated for New Jerusalem with God’s glory.

Today it seems that the world is in turmoil, but the infinite God works all things to reach His goal. We should have this realization in our lives—everything is according to God’s will, even if we don’t understand how it is.

The goal of working all things according to His will is “that we would be to the praise of His glory who have first hoped in Christ” (Eph. 1:12). God’s glory will be expressed through us, resulting in praise from all creation to God. Although the praise is limited now, it will be much greater in the coming age and tremendous in New Jerusalem in the new creation.

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Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 135-147

Christ brings us to God’s house, which is enlarged to be His city Jerusalem on the mount of Zion, a blessing to the whole earth. This is one of the last looks at verses in Psalms which present something to be fulfilled in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem and the new heaven and new earth are eternal. Eternity is mentioned in many Psalms including these:
Psalm 135:13 ” O Jehovah, Your name is forever; O Jehovah, Your memorial is from generation to generation.”
New JerusalemPsalm 136 “His lovingkindness is forever” (in each of the 26 verses)
Psalm 145:13 “Your kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and Your dominion is throughout all generations.”
Psalm 145:21b, “all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.”
Psalm 146:10 Jehovah will reign forever, your God, O Zion, forever and ever. Hallelujah!

In New Jerusalem we will be in God’s kingdom and we will be partaking of His lovingkindness forever. Hence, we will bless God forever.

Psalm 142:5, “I cried to You, O Jehovah; I said, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” God Himself, not a physical location, is our real refuge. Today in Christ we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and in eternity the entire universe will be a new creation (Rev. 21:1-2).

Psalm 147:2a, “Jehovah builds up Jerusalem.” And He builds up New Jerusalem. Jesus Christ said, “I will build.” He builds by operating in and through the members of His Body. By living one with Christ, Paul could say that he was “a wise master builder” (1 Cor. 3:10). We all, by continually coming to the Lord “are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This current building of the Body of Christ is the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NOAA/U.S. Department of Commerce.

Isaiah Speaks About New Jerusalem (2)

New JerusalemRevelation 21:24 to 26 says, “The nations will walk by its [New Jerusalem’s] light; and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. And its gates shall by no means be shut by day, for there will be no night there. And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.”

Revelation 21:24 matches Isaiah 60:3, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Here “your” is probably not only New Jerusalem in eternity but also restored earthly Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom.

Verse 25a matches Isaiah 60:11a, “Your gates will be open continually; they will not be closed day or night.” Again, “your” is probably both restored Jerusalem and New Jerusalem. Verse 25b speaks of “no night” because the eternal, unvarying God in Christ is the light of the city.

Verse 26 matches Isaiah 60:5b, “The wealth of the nations will come to you.” It also matches Isaiah 60:11b, the gates of New Jerusalem will be open “So that they may bring to you the wealth of the nations.”

It was easy for Isaiah to speak things of New Jerusalem because He was a prophet of the God of New Jerusalem. What Isaiah prophesied and what John “saw” (e.g. Rev. 21:2, 22) of New Jerusalem is the inheritance of all God’s people.

Artwork courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Mercy Leads Us to Life for God’s Habitation

New JerusalemEphesians 2 and Titus 3 present our transition from a sinful condition apart from God to having eternal life for the building of God’s habitation. Both God’s life and His habitation have their consummation at New Jerusalem.

We need the eternal life to participate in the building of God’s habitation. Our growing in this life is the building up of this habitation and of the Body of Christ, as in Ephesians 4:15-16. However, as sinners, we are not qualified to receive eternal life. We are shut out, kept away from the tree of life, as portrayed in Genesis 3:24. Therefore we need God’s mercy.

Like Ephesians 2 and Titus 3, 1 Peter also has the thread of mercy, life, and building. Verse 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.”

Our regeneration, the marvelous inheritance, the building of God’s house in 1 Peter 2, and the new heavens and new earth in 2 Peter 3 all point toward New Jerusalem.

Blessed be our God and Father, who regenerated us according to His great mercy and who will also bring us unto New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Enter into What God Has Prepared

God has prepared New Jerusalem for all the people of faith (Hebrews 11:16). Spiritually, we have come forward to this heavenly city (Hebrews 12:22). However, God must do a work in us before we can fully enter into this marvelous city.

New JerusalemGod’s work in us, after our initial salvation, includes growing (1 Corin-thians 3:6), renewing (Ephesians 4:23), sanctifying (Hebrews 2:11), transforming (2 Corinthians 3:18), and building (Ephesians 2:21-22).

God desires to work in us and we need to cooperate with Him. By cooperating, we enter into what He has prepared, including New Jerusalem.

Acts 14:22 tells us that “through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” God arranges whichever tribulations are necessary. His intention is not our suffering but our entering.

Likewise, 1 Peter 1:3-9 tells us that we have been regenerated unto a living hope, unto an inheritance kept in the heavens and unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time. These verses also say that we might be sorrowful under trials but that these are for the proving of our faith.

And, Hebrews 9:15 assures us that we will receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Similarly, 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory.” Verse 18 then encourages us not to focus on the temporary, visible things but on the eternal, invisible things.

Let us go on by faith, not dragged down by the environment, keeping our spiritual eyes on the eternal glory of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All God’s Newness in the Bible

Zion National Park 3, UT, Nat Park Service

New Jerusalem, the center of the new creation (Revelation 21:1-2), is the consummation of all the newness in the Bible. The city is new because, like the new man, it is in Christ and in it Christ is all and in all. God in Christ defines what is new. Everything and every person outside of Christ is old.

Here is a summary with a link and a key verse for each of the recent posts on New Jerusalem as the consummation of the divine newness. In a proper Christian life we experience the newness of New Jerusalem now.

 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Where are we? If in Christ, we are a new creation; if not in Christ, we are in the old creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17

 In Christ, by entering into and experiencing His death and thereby being ushered into His resurrection, we can walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

 Resurrection and newness cannot be separated. In resurrection we walk in newness of life and the Spirit is the reality of resurrection. Therefore, we serve in newness of spirit. Romans 7:6

 By serving in spirit, we participate in the new covenant ministry of the Spirit who gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

 Christ created the new man on the cross. We have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. Colossians 3:10

 The new man is experiencing the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Several chapters in the epistles show us how to cooperate with the Spirit’s renewing work in our being. Titus 3:5

 New Jerusalem is the consummation of the new covenant. The Lord established the new covenant by His death and now we who have been called receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Zion National Park 3, UT, Nat Park Service

Here is a summary with a link and a key verse for some older posts about the newness of the heavenly Jerusalem and our experience of the Spirit’s renewing.

 God created man in His image and with His likeness for the accomplishing of His purpose. The original man fell but on the cross Christ created a new man which will fulfill God’s purpose and bring in New Jerusalem. Ephesians 2:15

 Our believing into Jesus Christ brings us into the new creation. Although we still need the renewing of the Holy Spirit, our believing puts us on and guarantees the path to New Jerusalem. John 1:12

 All believers are positionally in the new man, yet we still need to cooperate with the Spirit’s work in us so that we may be renewed in the spirit of our mind. Ephesians 4:23

 Christ is our new beginning, typified by new moons and new years. Revelation mentions singing a new song (singing is a good way to enjoy His newness). These new things (and many more) point toward New Jerusalem. Psalm 33:3

 Based on the sacrifice (the death on the cross) of our passover Christ, we are a new lump. We should therefore keep the feast with Christ as our pure, new food which energizes us to live Him. 1 Corinthians 5:8

 The new man is being renewing according to the image of Him [Christ] who created the new man. Christ is the image of the invisible God and the renewing brings forth the image of God which ultimately is displayed by New Jerusalem. Colossians 1:15

How wonderful is the work of the Triune God. God has put us into Christ where we are the new man. Here the Spirit is renewing us so that our entire being will have the newness which will be characteristic of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Death→New Covenant→Eternal Inheritance

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of the new covenant established by our Lord in His death (Luke 22:20).

Hebrews 9:14 tells us Christ offered Himself to God on the cross and through the eternal Spirit. Verse 15 continues “And because of this He is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

The death of Christ accomplished redemption. Redemption brought in the new covenant. This new covenant brings us to the eternal inheritance—God in Christ Jesus in New Jerusalem.

We cannot come to this inheritance by ourselves. John 3:6a says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Flesh is a negative word in the Bible, a realm of sin, death, and oldness. But we come to the eternal inheritance because of the blood of the Lamb through which we have redemption and because of His resurrection through which we have the life of New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 3:6 tells us that the new covenant ministry is of the Spirit who gives life. This matches the spiritual nature of all of God’s New Testament building work and matches New Jerusalem which is a living, spiritual city.

To live in the new covenant daily and to participate in God’s New Testament building work, we need to live and walk in S/spirit—the divine Spirit mingled with our human spirit.

Redemption qualifies us to receive eternal life and eternal life supplies us to bring forth God’s building. This is Revelation 22:14, “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.”

Let us thank the Lord for His redemption, eat the tree of life, and go onward to New Jerusalem.

 

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