New Jerusalem Foreshadowed in Exodus

All the positive things in the Old Testament are symbols, pictures, or prophecies of the New Testament realities. Some of these pictures correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a list of posts showing parallels between Exodus and New Jerusalem.

We are on a journey to the mountain of God to see a vision, as John saw New Jerusalem from a high mountain. The stages of this journey:
Exodus 12—14: we are redeemed and nourished by the Lamb to leave Egypt
Exodus 15: we sing and praise the Lord on our journey to the mountain
Exodus 16: we eat the manna, a picture of Christ as our heavenly nourishment
Exodus 17: we drink the water which flows out of the smitten rock
Exodus 17: we fight against the flesh by walking in spirit

After we reach the mountain, more steps are needed to see God’s revelation of the building of the tabernacle, a type of New Jerusalem:
Exodus 19—23: God’s commands show that apart from Christ we cannot make the journey
Exodus 23: God promised that His Angel would lead us onward
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s redemption
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s absoluteness for God

When we go up the mountain, we have undivided time with the Lord to see a full vision.
Exodus 24—25: on the mountain we are in a cloud to cut our view of other things
Exodus 24—25: Moses’ time in the cloud prefigures many NT experiences
Exodus 24, 33, 34: Moses had many times of fellowship with God

The holy of holies in the tabernacle depicts New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies.
Exodus 25-26: the ark, expiation cover, and cherubim of glory portray Christ and the city
Exodus 26: the veil has been rent by the death of Christ, so we can enter New Jerusalem
Exodus 26: the veil portrays the Lord Jesus, who is the reality in New Jerusalem
Exodus 28: the breastplate with gold and precious stones represents aspects of the city

Exodus 40: glory fills the tabernacle, portraying New Jerusalem, a city of glory

All the events that happened with Israel are an example written for us (1 Cor. 10).
The journey in Exodus
has many symbols of our experiences of Christ and the Spirit.

New Jerusalem

 Photo courtesy of NASA.

 

New Jerusalem is One in Christ Jesus

The nations on the new earth around New Jerusalem walk by the light of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24), bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:26), and are healed by the leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). God’s people are not these nations because the Lord Jesus has purchased us for God, redeeming us “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

New JerusalemGalatians 3 says we are justified by faith (v. 24), we are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (v. 26), and we were baptized into Christ and put Him on (v. 27). Because of these divine steps, verse 28 says “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 (and in New Jerusalem) there is no distinction between nationalities, no distinction between social statuses, and no distinction between make and female. Galatians 3:28 does not say “there should not be” but “there cannot be.” In Christ and in New Jerusalem there are no nationalities.

First Corinthians 12:12 reminds us that our human body is one with many members, then tells us, “so also is the Christ.” Verse 13 continues, “For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit.”

All of us are one Body in Christ, not by our determination, but by His baptizing us in one Spirit into the one Body. In this Body there are no separating nationalities; we are one Body in Him. This reality continues into New Jerusalem, where eternally there is oneness in Christ and no nationalities.

 

See the Body of Christ, See New Jerusalem

More than once Moses was on a mountain, in a cloud (Exo. 24, 34). Paul was “three days without seeing, and he neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9). Then he “went away to Arabia” (Gal. 1). These times of separation were for seeing the heavenly vision, and these are a pattern to us for seeing New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemYou might wonder how Paul’s experiences relate to New Jerusalem, since he never said anything about it. True, Paul never directly mentioned New Jerusalem. But, he wrote much for us about the Body of Christ and about the New Man, both of which develop into New Jerusalem.

Therefore, let us consider what Paul says about the Body* and the New Man, since every characteristic of them is also a characteristic of New Jerusalem.
First, Romans.
• “We who are many are one Body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (12:5) Likewise, New Jerusalem is one city in Christ and we are members of it.

Next, 1 Corinthians.
• “There is one bread, we who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread.” (10:17) Because we all partake of Christ, now and in eternity, we are one in Him.
• “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body.” (12:13) The Spirit brings us into the reality of the Body.
• “God has blended the body together.” (12:24) Here our physical body is a picture of His spiritual Body, and the blending of the members is of God, not of us.
• “You are the Body of Christ.” (12:27) We are the Body.

Likewise, the Spirit brings us into the reality of New Jerusalem where we all are blended together in oneness and we all partake of Christ as the tree of life (Rev. 22:2).

* Here I consider only His corporate, spiritual Body, composed of all His believers, not His individual physical body in which He lived and which was crucified and resurrected.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

More Seeing and Entering New Jerusalem

We should all desire to be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). The seeing requires us to be “in spirit” and to have completed a spiritual journey (described in prior posts) to a high mountain.

According to John 3:3 and 3:5, when we see, we enter. Both depend on our new birth. The extent of our seeing and entering New Jerusalem matches the extent to which we let the new birth operate in us. This is like a human—birth brings the baby into humanity but the baby requires many years of development to fully see and enter into human life.

John 3:5: Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

New JerusalemIn John 3:5 being born anew has two aspects: water and Spirit. Being born of water is the termination of our old life. How much will we cooperate with the Spirit to apply this termination to our old habits, our old amusements, our old attitudes, and our old goals? This is the denial of our self spoken by the Lord in the gospels (e.g. Matt. 16:24) by cooperating with the indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:13).

Being born of the Spirit is the enlivening of our human spirit and the joining of the Spirit with our spirit. How much will we live and walk according to this spirit? This is not separate from the first aspect of being born anew. In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—the first aspect, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—the second aspect. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

Christ living in us is a matter of faith. Galatians 2:20 continues to say “I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God.” Lord, fill me with Yourself as my faith so that You may live through me. Lord, bring me more into New Jerusalem.

Experience Christ unto New Jerusalem

Israel had to journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai to see the vision of the tabernacle and then to enter into it (to build it). Likewise, we must journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see New Jerusalem and to enter into the experiences of it.

Israel had the shadow of this journey. The reality of the journey toward New Jerusalem includes:
New Jerusalem• Christ our Redeemer, through whom _we have forgiveness in His blood
• Christ our Passover to impart His _eternal life into us
• The Spirit as the reality of baptism into _Christ and His Body
• Singing and praising the Lord for His _victory in death and resurrection
• Experiencing His sweetness in _outwardly bitter circumstances
• Taking Him as our daily nourishment to _have Him as our daily living
• Drinking the Spirit as the living water
• Rejecting the flesh by the Spirit
• Walking according to spirit
• Access to God in the blood of Christ
• Christ living in us to fulfill all God’s _requirements
• Christ being our absoluteness for God’s interests
• Time in fellowship with the Lord

Our eternal salvation is once for all, but many of these steps recur often in our daily journey. Singing and praising should be frequent. Like physical eating and drinking, spiritual eating and drinking should be daily. Walking according to the spirit is continual. These energize us to fight the battle by the Spirit and to progress to the mountain for the vision of New Jerusalem.

Journey to New Jerusalem: Type & Reality

We need to be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). But how do we get in position to be carried away?

New JerusalemIn Exodus 19 Israel came to Mt. Sinai where they received the vision of the tabernacle. When the tabernacle was completed, God’s glory filled it (Exo. 40:33-34), making it a picture of New Jerusalem as the eternal tabernacle of God filled with glory (Rev. 21:3, 11).

First Corinthians 10:1-13 reviews some of Israel’s journey in the wilderness and says that “these things occurred as examples to us.” Their journey to Mt. Sinai pictures our journey to a high spiritual mountain where we can see New Jerusalem.

The first step in Israel’s journey was the redemption portrayed by the Passover. We need to repent and ask the Lord to forgive all our sins. He has already accomplished redemption by dying; when we ask Him, redemption is applied to us as forgiveness.

The second step in Israel’s journey was to eat the Passover lamb and the unleavened bread. This is a picture of our being nourished with Christ as the real Lamb and real Bread. This energizes us to walk out of Egypt.

The next step for Israel was to cross the Red Sea, which portrays our baptism. This separates us from the world and destroys the worldly forces (Pharaoh’s army being buried in the Red Sea). First Corinthians tells us that this baptism is not only in water but also in the Spirit. Water is the visible symbol but it alone is not effective. We need the invisible reality of the Spirit’s baptism.

These three steps begin our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem.

Salvation Prepared for All Peoples

The apostle John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 21:1-2). This preparation involves what God has done, what God is doing, and our cooperation with His doing.

A good example of this cooperative preparation: God sent John the Baptist to “prepare the way of the Lord” by preaching repentance for His kingdom (Matthew 3:2-3). Some people cooperated by confessing their sins and being baptized (3:6).

Lenk, 1999

Another step on God’s side of the preparation was the incarnation of Jesus. After His birth, His parents brought Him to the temple in Jerusalem. Simeon, a righteous and devout man, was there and the Spirit was upon him (Luke 2:25).

Simeon took Jesus into his arms and declared to God, “my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32). The Spirit’s speaking through Simeon reveals that Jesus is the salvation prepared for everyone, both Jews and non-Jews.

Without God’s salvation, we cannot have a share in New Jerusalem. Only by receiving Jesus as our Savior and having Him as our salvation, can we get to New Jerusalem. Thus, God’s preparation of His salvation for all people is part of His preparation of New Jerusalem.

In Christ, Walk in Newness of Life

New JerusalemJohn had a revelation of New Jerusalem as the center of a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1-2). Today, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Today the new creation has not yet been revealed, but when New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, it will be manifested to the entire universe.

Although the new creation in Christ is not visible, we can live in its reality. Romans 6:4 tells us, “We have been buried therefore with Him through baptism into His death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so also we might walk in newness of life.”

Baptism is not merely a physical action; much more it is a spiritual reality which puts us into the death of Christ and then ushers us into His resurrection. In resurrection we walk in newness of life. Such a walk is “in newness” because it is “of life,” the divine life.

If we live by the divine life we received, we are in newness. If we live by our natural life, we are in oldness. “Sin entered into the world, and through sin, death; and thus death passed on to all men” (Romans 5:12). Oldness is a characteristic of sin and death.

Only divine life can overcome sin and death, so only divine life can overcome oldness. Jesus was crucified but God raised Him “having loosed the pangs of death, since it was not possible for Him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24).

This divine life which overcame death is the life which enables us to walk in newness of life, and it is the life which flows from the throne with the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

Photo of Earth (at arrow) as seen from Saturn, courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute.

The New Man is in Christ Jesus

New JerusalemWe are all one in Christ Jesus, in the Body of Christ, and in the new man. This oneness will continue into New Jerusalem. In Christ there is oneness without any national, cultural, ethnic, or social distinctions.

God created man on the sixth day and said “very good” (Genesis 1:26, 31). Soon afterwards man sinned and became the old man, old meaning separated from God. In Christ we are saved from the old man.

In Christ we are in the new man. Through His death on the cross Jesus Christ terminated all the partitions between different peoples and created one new man. He has slain all the enmity and has reconciled us in one body to God (Ephesians 2:14-16).

Because of what Jesus Christ did, there is a praise to Him in Revelation 5:9, saying, “You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” As a result, in Revelation 7:9 John saw “a great multitude which no one could number, out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palm branches in their hands.”

In these verses out of signifies that the believers are no longer in their nations or tribes or peoples. Rather, we are all in Christ and in the new man, having been purchased by the Lamb out of the old man.

In the reality of baptism, we not only put off the old man; we also put on the new man (Colossians 3:10). Now we can experience the inward renewing to live in the reality of the new man. This living is a foretaste of a living that will be much sweeter and more joyous in New Jerusalem.

Photo by Janet Ward, NOAA HPCC, courtesy of NOAA (U.S. Dept. of Commerce).

Everything of God is in Christ Jesus (3)

Everything of God is found in Christ Jesus and will be found in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Christ there are no national, cultural, ethnic, and social distinctions. These separating characteristics are gone because “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body” (1 Corinthians 12:13) and now “we who are many are one Body in Christ” (Romans 12:5).

In Christ and in His Body there is no Texan, no Chinese, no Arab, no South African, no Canadian, no Latino, no Jew or Gentile, no Pacific Islander, no east or west, no black or yellow or white. In the new man “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11); this is a divine fact which no one can change.

It is also a fact that we have been baptized into Christ and have put on Christ, in whom there cannot be any of these distinctions (Galatians 3:27-28). However, in our experience, our daily living is not always in Christ. Sometimes our living is according to our preferences, wanting to be with Christians from a particular background and not with others.

Although our experience does not always match the divine facts, the new man “is being renewed unto full knowledge” (Colossians 3:10). This renewing by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) is gradually renewing our experience to match the fact.

We are “transformed by the renewing of the mind” (Romans 12:2). We can pray, Lord, transform me. Renew my mind and cause my experience to match the divine fact. We can also pray with this hymn (words, music):
__Lord, transform us to Thine image
____In emotion, mind, and will;
__Saturate us with Thy Spirit,
____All our being wholly fill.

When we are fully transformed, our experience will always match the divine facts and this marvelous condition will continue onward into New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Living Gold of New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem is a living city, constituted with the Triune God and all God’s people. The gold in New Jerusalem is part of this living composition—it is our life path. Revelation 21:21b says,

“the street of the city was pure gold.” 

Our walk from the day of our initial salvation unto New Jerusalem should be on this street of pure gold, the divine nature. This walk is described many ways in the New Testament:

New Jerusalem• “the Way” in Acts.
• “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4)—the life which is Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
• “walk…according to the spirit” (Romans 8:4)—where we are one with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17).
• walk in Christ Jesus the Lord (Colossians 2:6)
• “walk in the light” because “God is light” (1 John 1:5-7).
• “walk in love” (Ephesians 5:2)—the love which is God who abides in us (1 John 4:16).

This walk is our living. In Romans 8 and Galatians 5 we walk either according to the flesh, the fallen human nature, or according to the spirit, the divine nature. To walk in the divine nature is to live in the reality of baptism, by which our old man, our old nature, was buried with Christ (Romans 6). This is equivalent to “it is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Lord, bring us into the reality of this walk today. Our desire is to walk with You in newness, in light, and in love. Keep us on this street of gold from now until New Jerusalem.

Related posts: Our Walk on the Golden Street of New Jerusalem Begins at Regeneration
The One Street of New Jerusalem_________Our Christian Walk and the Golden Street

The Gate and the Way to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe new man was created by and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:14-16). This is the predecessor of New Jerusalem. The new man is a corporate man in Christ and the eternal city is a corporate humanity (including God’s Old Testament and New Testament people) in the Triune God.

Faith and the reality of baptism bring us out of the old man and transfer us into the new man. This transfer is clearly presented in Colossians 3:9-10: “you have put off the old man…and have put on the new man.”

This transfer is accomplished once and is eternally secure. Nevertheless, we need to cooperate with this transfer. This cooperation is seen in Colossians 3:9: “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices.”

Although we have put off the old man with his practices, yet we are still exhorted “do not lie.” Positionally we have put off the old man with his lying; experientially we apply the Lord to save us from lying in our daily living. (A human illustration: a person moving from one country to another has a quick positional transfer. But it will take years for an experientially transfer to the new language and new culture.)

The positional and experiential transfers are like the narrow gate and the narrow way presented by the Lord in Matthew 7:13-14. We enter through the gate once, then we walk on the way continually. This walk is our experience of living in the new man, a living which culminates in New Jerusalem.

%d bloggers like this: