No Dust in New Jerusalem

Genesis 2:7—”Jehovah God formed man with the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”

New Jerusalem“Dust of the ground” was the material used in the creation of Adam at the beginning of the Bible. But at the end of the Bible we see New Jerusalem composed of pure gold, like clear glass (Rev. 21:18), pearls (21:21), and precious stones (21:11, 18-20).

It is by the divine life, the eternal life, that man is transferred from dust of the ground to the precious city. In Genesis 2 this life is portrayed by the tree of life. In the New Testament this life is Jesus Christ (John 11:25, 14:6).

In eternity past we were foreknown and predestinated by God to this life (but we still need to cooperate in time to receive it). On the cross Jesus Christ accomplished redemption to solve all the problems which shut us out from the tree of life because of the fall of man (Gen. 3:22-24).

Now man can be regenerated, born in spirit with this life (John 3:6) to possess this life. Then, throughout our Christian life on earth, this life transforms us, renews us. This is clearly presented in Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, and Ephesians 4:23. This transformation changes our constitution from dust to precious material so that we match New Jerusalem.

When the Lord Jesus returns He will transfigure “the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21). The is our final step from dust to precious material for New Jerusalem.

More: Five Steps to New Jerusalem (1)  (2)  (3)

 

Five Steps to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, the conclusion of the Bible, is God’s eternal goal. Here are five basic steps that bring all of us to God’s goal.

First, God’s selection. Ephesians 1:4 says, “He [God] chose us in Him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” This selection was prior to creation, not a reaction to man’s fall.

In Ephesians 5 Christ is making the church, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as His bride, holy and without blemish. God chose us to be holy and without blemish and this verse shows the goal of God’s choosing.

Second, redemption. Although man fell into sin and death, Jesus Christ has redeemed us. Ephesians 1:7 tells su that in Christ Jesus “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” This redemption is not according to our need; rather it is “according to the riches of His grace” and for God’s will, God’s good pleasure, God’s purpose, presented in Ephesians 1:9-10. This redemption is shown eternally by the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem.

Third, regeneration. New Jerusalem is a city of life and a city in resurrection. Our created, fallen human life is not qualified to participate. But God has imparted His life into us! First Peter 1:3 speaks of God regenerating us and verse 4 shows the goal: “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.”

Our fourth and fifth steps basic steps to New Jerusalem are in the next post.

The Reality of All the OT Shadows

This post begins a look at multiple contrasts in Hebrews 8 to 10. The spiritual/heavenly side of these contrasts shows us something about New Jerusalem. On the opposite side, the physical/material side of these contrasts shows us what New Jerusalem is not.

New JerusalemHebrews 8:1: “We have such a High Priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” In His ascension Jesus Christ sat down. In eternity He is the Lamb with God on the throne in New Jerusalem.

Verses 3-4 speak of priests making offerings. The Old Testament priests offered gifts according to the law, but the Lord Jesus offered Himself as the reality of all the OT sacrifices. He is “the Lamb of God.”

Verse 5 tells us that the OT priests “serve the example and shadow of the heavenly things.” Earthly things, like the OT tabernacle, are merely shadows. Heavenly things, including “New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven” are the reality.

Verse 6 says that Jesus Christ “obtained a more excellent ministry inasmuch as He is also the Mediator of a better covenant.” This new covenant is further described in verses 7 to 13.

Verse 13: “ In saying, A new covenant, He has made the first old.” The new covenant, which is of life, not of law, is the better covenant and corresponds with New Jerusalem. Verse 13 also says that the old “is near to disappearing” but New Jerusalem is eternal.


Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Eternal Redemption; Serve the Living God

Hebrews 9:12 declares that Jesus, “through His own blood, entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:14 declares further that “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.”

How does that relate to New Jerusalem? Revelation 22:3, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.”

New JerusalemThe eternal redemption accomplished once for all by Jesus Christ is for us to serve God now and in New Jerusalem. His redemption, and the forgiveness and purifying it affords us, is always available because it was done “through the eternal Spirit.”

Redemption opens the door for us to receive eternal life, and eternal life (John 3:15-16) brings us into the bride of Christ (3:29-30) which ultimately is New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

The purifying presented in Hebrews 9:14 is necessary for us to receive eternal life and because “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18). New Jerusalem has no spots, no darkness, no obscurity. Every aspect of the city is pure and transparent.

We are experiencing the purifying in Hebrews 9 along with the inward washing of our being presented in Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5. This brings us to the purity of New Jerusalem and to our eternal service to the living God.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (2)

God is eternal. He created time and the universe because He has a plan and a goal. The center of His goal, in Revelation 21–22, is New Jerusalem, His eternal expression.

New JerusalemA song (musicwords by Witness Lee) presents highlights of God’s actions to accomplish His purpose, to arrive at New Jerusalem. Here are the second part of verses 1 and 2:

He to man is everything
That He might fulfill His plan.

God as life that he may take
And with Him have oneness true.

In the first verse God wants to be everything to man, but how? The second verse answers—God wants to be life to man. This is symbolized by the tree of life shown to Adam in Genesis 2 and plainly spoken by the Lord Jesus in John 3:15-16 and many verses in John 6. By His resurrection life, we can be in Him and He in us (John 14:20); this is God being one with man as the song states.

To believe into Jesus Christ is to receive Him as our eternal life and to become one with Him. “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:4) Christ is our life today and He will appear in glory. Then we will be glorified with Him.

He and we will be a corporate expression of God’s glory. This is New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Photo in Germany by Jenny Grosh.

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

The Book of Life for the City of Life

The Bible certainly is a book of life, presenting God in Christ as life to man. This presentation is 1) in the Old testament in allegories/pictures beginning with the tree of life in Genesis 2, and 2) in the New Testament in reality. “Christ our life” (Col. 3:4).

Philippians 4:3 and six verses in Revelation speak of “the book of life.” This book does not refer directly to the Bible but rather to a book of names of everyone chosen to participate in the blessings on the new earth, including New Jerusalem. These blessings come from the eternal life flowing out of the throne of God and the Lamb; hence to be named in this book is a matter of life.

New JerusalemToday we participate in the blessings of the eternal life. These blessings will increase in the coming kingdom age and reach their peak in New Jerusalem.

In eternity all whose names are written in the book of life will be either constituents of New Jerusalem (e.g. those referred to in Phil. 4:3) or citizens of the nations around New Jerusalem (e.g. those referred to in Rev. 13:8).

In contrast, those not named in this book will marvel when they see the beast that was killed and resuscitated (Rev. 17:8). Finally, “if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Today the door is open to turn our heart to receive the Lord Jesus as life. Lord, come into me, live in and through me daily, and prepare me for New Jerusalem.

The Leaves for the Healing of the Nations

The river of water of life flows from the throne in New Jerusalem. “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” (Rev. 22:2).

New JerusalemThe fruit of the tree of life is the life supply for God’s people who are constituted into New Jerusalem. The leaves of the tree are for the nations living around and outside New Jerusalem, who are not part of the city. There is a difference: Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem.

The peoples of the nations around the city will have human life restored to the condition of Genesis 1–2, before sin entered. They will not have the divine, eternal life that the people constituted into the city possess, and they will not eat the fruit of the tree of life.

The leaves of the tree are for their healing. The fact that they need healing indicates some imperfection. In contrast, the people who are part of New Jerusalem have the perfect eternal life.

The nations around New Jerusalem are mentioned in Revelation 21:3, 24, 26, and 22:2. But God’s goal is New Jerusalem as His dwelling place, the place of His glory, and the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ. Let us align ourselves with this. Our first step is to repent of our past living and believe into Jesus Christ. Then we exercise to take Him as our life supply that we may live Him daily. This brings us to the goal, New Jerusalem.

The Glory of God Illuminates the City

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has no need of natural light because “the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

New Jerusalem is a city completely constituted with eternal life, and this life is the light of the city. The light is the glory of God and this light is in the Lamb, Jesus Christ, the lamp of the city.

God, the light, is in Christ, the lamp. This matches John, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (14:10). The Father sent the Son and the Son lived because of the Father (6:57) and expressed the Father through His living (14:9,11). What is described in the Gospel of John is what will be in New Jerusalem, except that it will be enlarged to the Father in the Son in all God’s people.

Even today we as children of God should be “without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world” (Phil. 2). We shine, not because of ourselves, but because God in Christ is in us as the light of life.

The Greek word translated luminaries in Philippians 2 occurs only one other time in the New Testament, which is in the description of New Jerusalem having the brilliance/ radiance from the glory of God (Rev. 21:11). Thus, what we should be today according to Philippians 2 is a miniature of New Jerusalem. God in Christ is the light in the lamp in both our Christian life and New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Enter by the Regenerating Resurrection

New Jerusalem has twelve gates; “the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl” (Rev. 21:21).

Like the gold of New Jerusalem, the pearls are not physical. They are spiritual signs. They represent the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Through death He terminated all the problems that separate us from God. In resurrection He released the divine life to us to regenerate us. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

New JerusalemThis life is our entrance into New Jerusalem. The city is entirely separate from our fallen, natural life and is wholly in the realm of the divine, eternal life.

The Lord also presented this in His words to Nicodemus. He said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). When we are born again, regenerated by the Spirit with eternal life, we enter the kingdom of God. New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of this kingdom.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is our entrance into New Jerusalem. Each gate is one pearl; this is the one, unique way to get into the city. Yet there are twelve pearl gates; this shows that the Triune God (three) faces all of creation (four) to invite and allow every human being a chance to enter the city.

“He who believes into the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). This is our entrance into New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem’s Precious Light

Revelation 21:11 describes New Jerusalem, “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” This precious jasper stone is not a New Jerusalemphysical stone but a spiritual symbol.

In God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, stones are living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. By coming to Him, we too are living stones for God’s building (1 Peter 2:4-5).

In Revelation 4 John saw “a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting; and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance.”

The jasper of New Jerusalem is “a most precious stone” indicating that the whole city is most precious in God’s sight. New Jerusalem is most precious because it fulfills God’s eternal desire—a corporate expression of Himself in humanity. This desire was first indicated in Genesis 1:26 when God created man in His own image.

However, created man was like a photo, having the image of God but without the reality. To bring forth His corporate expression in man, the Triune God came to be life in man. This life is also the light as the Lord promised in John 8:12; not a natural light nor a man-made light, but God Himself shining through us. This is the most precious light of New Jerusalem, the light which expresses the One sitting on the throne at the center of the city.

The Bride, the Wife, New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:9 an angel spoke with John “saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Then (v. 10), John tells us that the angel “carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.”

In this record, the bride, the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, equals the holy city, Jerusalem. Jesus Christ will not take a physical city as His wife. The holy city is a living person! It is composed of all God’s people, chosen, redeemed, and matured in life.

This city, the wife of the Lamb, is the outcome of John 3. In 3:3-6 the Lord Jesus speaks of being born again, our human spirit born of the Spirit. In 3:14-17 all who believe are saved from the death brought in by the serpent, Satan, and receive eternal life. In 3:26-30 the people coming to Jesus, the Bridegroom, and believing into Him are the bride.  Verses 31-36 confirm that Jesus came and that those who believe into Him have eternal life.

The bride, composed of all the born again people, who all have eternal life, is the Lord’s bride, His increase!

That the city, Jerusalem, is the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ, is also seen with the church presented to Christ in Ephesians 5:25-27. This presentation is in the context of human marriage, which is a picture of the eternal marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the city, Jerusalem.

More about the eternal marriage, in both Old and New Testaments, is in
The Divine-Human Romance thru the Bible

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