New Jerusalem Declares God’s Excellencies

First Peter 2:9 says, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The choosing is of God, not of us.  The acquiring is of God and the possession is God’s. Becoming a royal priesthood is through the death of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:5-6). The calling is of God.

The telling out, proclaiming, declaring, making known the virtues, the excellencies, of God is our function today and unto eternity in New Jerusalem.

This telling out is not merely with human words. It is based on and firmly related to God’s calling us “out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Our proclaiming of God’s virtues, His excellencies, is our shining Him forth. This shining will consummate with New Jerusalem radiating the glory of God.

New JerusalemHere are some verses related to our present shining:
• “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” “Let your light shine before men” (Matt. 5:14, 16)
• “Children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world.” (Phil. 2:15)
• “You…are now light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8)

We should shine now, and we will certainly shine as constituents of New Jerusalem. However, our present proclaiming of God’s excellency is not only by an abstract shining. It is also a “telling out” with human words filled with divine life. Philippians 2:15-16 say we are “shine as luminaries in the world, holding forth the word of life.”

God has called us to tell out, to proclaim, to declare, His excellent virtues. This is a call to participate now in this prefigure of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem Proclaims the Excellencies of God

New Jerusalem First Peter 2:9 says, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Other translations* of “tell out the virtues” include “proclaim/ declare/show forth/make known the excellence/excellencies/praises.”

This telling out/proclaiming/declaring begins now and will be magnified in New Jerusalem. The initial step is regeneration by the incorruptible seed of the word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

The next step is the guileless milk of the word for our growth and our tasting the goodness of the Lord (1 Peter 2:2-3). Then we continually come to the Lord, the living Stone, to be built together into a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house is also a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God.

All of these steps are related to New Jerusalem. Regeneration is our entrance. Although we will be full grown in New Jerusalem and not need the milk for newborn babes, eternally we will have the river of life and tree of life to sustain and satisfy us (Rev. 22:1-2). Our being built together also points toward New Jerusalem, which is a spiritual building.

The holy priesthood of 1 Peter 2:5 and the royal priesthood of 2:9 will continue in New Jerusalem. God’s “slaves will serve Him” (Rev. 22:3). The Greek word translated serve means serve as priests. And we “will reign forever and ever” (22:5).

Based on our regeneration, growth, being built together, and serving in the priesthood, we proclaim the excellencies of our God. The proclaiming begins now and amplifies with our growth, building, and serving unto the fullness of New Jerusalem.

* Thanks to

New Creation: Curiosity versus Life

After the termination of the old creation (Rev. 20:11-15), John tells us, “And 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, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1-2).

New JerusalemRevelation 21–22 gives a very limited description of the new creation. The new creation has New Jerusalem as its center and will be full of God’s blessing. Despite this wonderful situation, it is all too easy to be curious and ask many questions about many details of the new creation.

Do not look to this blog for answers or speculations. John 20:30-31 says, “Moreover indeed many other signs also Jesus did before His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.”

I believe that this word in John 20 applies not only to what “Jesus did before His disciples” but also to the entire Bible. God did not speak to answer our questions nor to satisfy our curiosity. God spoke His living word so that we might receive His life and participate in the accomplishing of His purpose, which culminates in New Jerusalem.

The Bible is a book of life. There are many pictures in the Old Testament followed by the reality, Jesus Christ, as “the life” (John 14:6) and “our life” (Col. 3:4) in the New Testament. The Bible is the written word of God and Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God, the Word of life (1 John 1:1). The Bible is a great help for us to contact Him, receive life, grow in life, and mature as people of life to match New Jerusalem as the city of life.

New Jerusalem is a City of Glory

New JerusalemA recent post presented New Jerusalem as the consummation of Ephesians 4:13, having oneness, full growth, and the stature of the fullness of Christ. The aspect of oneness brought me to John 17. New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Lord’s prayer in that chapter.

The Lord began, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You.” The Lord was glorified in resurrection. In Luke 24:26 He said that the Christ had to suffer and to enter into His glory. In Luke 24:46 He said that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead. In these two verses glorification equals resurrection.

First Peter 1:11 speaks of the sufferings of Christ and the glories (plural) afterwards. This note gives verses related to Christ’s glory in resurrection, ascension, second coming, and reigning. All of these aspects of the glories of Christ are seen in New Jerusalem.
• New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection.
• It is a heavenly city, indicating ascension.
• Christ will come in glory (Matt. 25:31), as will New Jerusalem.
• Christ reigns on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1).

Jesus prayed to the Father, “Glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You.” This glorification began with His resurrection. In His resurrection we were regenerated (1 Pet. 1:3) with His life of glory. This life grows in us. Eventually this life will bring us to glory (2 Thes. 1:10, 12). The Lord’s prayer for glorification is, in the ultimate stage of the answer, New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Related posts about the glory of God in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is Spiritual and Heavenly

First Corinthians 15 says much about resurrection. It also says something about New Jerusalem because New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection (see these posts ).

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:35-44 speaks about death and resurrection. Verse 44 concludes, “It is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body.” We will be raised not with the same body we have now but with a spiritual body.

Verse 47 says, “The first man [Adam] is out of the earth, earthy; the second man [Jesus Christ] is out of heaven.” Verse 48 continues “As the earthy is, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly is, such are they also that are heavenly.” In Christ we are the heavenly people, no longer the earthly.

Verse 49 says, “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” In resurrection we no longer bear the image of created and fallen Adam but rather the image of the resurrected Jesus Christ. This is the image of New Jerusalem.

In resurrection, with a spiritual body, being a heavenly people, and bearing a heavenly image, we correspond with a heavenly, spiritual city, not with an earthly, physical city (related posts ). This city is heavenly in nature but located on the new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).

As resurrected, spiritual, heavenly people, we should not expect New Jerusalem according to our soulish, natural, earthly desires. Rather, Christ is the center and content of this city. He will be our life supply, our joy, our peace, our rest, our everything. We can enjoy Jesus Christ in resurrection every day to enter a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

A Journey from the Clay of Creation to the Glory of New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is a city “having the glory of God” (Revelation 21:11).

The New Jerusalem is built of three kinds of precious materials, signifying that she is built with the Triune God. First, the city proper, with its street, is of pure gold (vv. 18, 21). Gold, the symbol of the divine nature of God, signifies the Father as the source, from whom the element for the substantial existence of the city is produced. Second, the twelve gates of the city are pearls, which signify the Son’s overcoming death and life-imparting resurrection, through which entrance to the city is gained. Third, the wall of the city and its foundation are built of precious stones, signifying the Spirit’s work of transforming the redeemed and regenerated saints into precious stones for the building of God’s eternal habitation that they may express God corporately in His all-permeating glory.*

New JerusalemIn Genesis 2:7 God “formed man with the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” and Romans 9:21 describes man as vessels of clay.

We are on an amazing journey from vessels of clay to a constitution with the precious materials of New Jerusalem. This journey is dependent on God’s mercy, making us “vessels of mercy” upon whom God will “make known the riches of His glory” (Romans 9:23), a glory ultimately displayed by New Jerusalem.

Although the glory will be made known through us, it is not of us and we cannot boast. Rather, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Christ is the treasure and we are the earthen vessels. He is the excellent One!

The next two posts will be a brief look at the journey from clay to the precious materials of New Jerusalem.

Photo by Commander John Bortniak, NOAA Corps, courtesy of NOAA (U.S. Dept. of Commerce).

* Part of note 1 on Revelation 21:21 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry.

The Resurrected Jesus is the Temple

New JerusalemThis post continues our series on God’s New Testament building.

In John 2:12-22, when the Lord cleansed the physical temple (v. 14-16), the Jews asked, “What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?” (v. 18). “Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (v. 19).

The Lord showed us that His physical body, which the Jews would “destroy” by crucifixion and He would “raise up” in resurrection*, was the replacement for the Old Testament temple. Furthermore, He told us that He is greater than the old temple (Matthew 12:6).

Jesus is the New Testament temple! He was such at the time recorded in John 2, He is such in resurrection, and Revelation 21:22 says concerning New Jerusalem, “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

In Mark 13:1-2 the disciples declared that the old temple had wonderful stones and wonderful buildings. The Lord’s answer to them was “There shall by no means be left here a stone upon a stone which shall not be thrown down.”

Which would we choose? A beautiful physical building that can be destroyed by tornado or earthquake or war? Or the living temple who is the resurrected Lord? May we each testify, I choose the living Person.

__Death cannot hold the resurrection life,
____The life of God eternal manifest;
__’Tis uncreated, indestructible,
____’Tis Christ Himself, unconqu’rable, expressed.
____complete words__music

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

*Regarding the Lord as a man, the New Testament tells us that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 8:11); considering Him as God, it tells us that He Himself rose from the dead (1 Thes. 4:14 [and John 2:19]). This proves His dual status — human and divine. (Recovery Version NT, © LSM, part of Acts 2:24, footnote 1)

Follow the Lamb

New JerusalemRevelation 14 begins, “And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”

Verse 3 tells us that those who are with the Lamb are singing a new song and verse 4 tells us, “These are they who follow the Lamb wherever He may go.” Eventually the Lamb will be in New Jerusalem. Since we desire to follow the Lamb, let us look at a few verses about following.

Revelation 14:3 mentions the Lamb’s followers singing a new song, so we could pray, Lord fill my heart with songs to You.

In Matthew 4:19-20, Peter and Andrew left their nets and followed the Lord. Most of us do not need to leave our occupation but we do need to be saved from what occupies our attention. The way to be saved is to be attracted by the Lord. This was Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3. In verse 8 he says, “I count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Lord, show me more of Your excellency.

In Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, “If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” We need to drop our opinions, preferences, and desires in order to pick up the Lord’s. This is for His building of His church and for His kingdom (16:18-19). To deny ourself is to live in the reality of our crucifixion with Christ. We cannot do this by ourselves, but by His operation in us*.

In John 21:15-22 Jesus encouraged Peter to follow Him. This following is based on loving the Lord (v. 15-17), caring for His flock (v. 15-17), denying ourself (v. 18-19), and not comparing ourselves with other believers (v. 20-21). Since this sequence begins with love, let’s pray, Lord Jesus, please fill my heart with love for You every day.

* For example, see this note on Philippians 3:10 in The NT Recovery Version Online.

Four other posts on the Lamb in Revelation are here: 1 2 3 4

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