New Jerusalem, the Fullness of God (2)

From incarnation, in Jesus Christ “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). From resurrection and ascension the church, His Body, is “the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). Eventually New Jerusalem will display the fullness of the Godhead.

The Body of Christ is the fullness now. Nevertheless, we need to experience much of God’s operating to enter into this reality. Paul prayed for this in Ephesians 3. He said, “I bow my knees unto the Father,” (v. 14) for us to be brought through four stages of experience.
New Jerusalem• “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16)
• “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (v. 17a)
• “that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ” (v. 17b-19a)
• “that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” (v. 19b)

The outcome of this filling is in verses 20-21, “to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”

There is no question about glory in New Jerusalem eternally. But, for glory in the church now, we need to echo Paul’s prayer, Father, strengthen me into my inner man today. Strengthen us that we may be filled for glory to You in the church now. God is able! To him be the glory.

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory

New Jerusalem is a city, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). This glory is not monotone but is an exceedingly rich glory.

Colossians 1:27 speaks of “the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The mystery of God’s eternal purpose is Christ in us. This mystery comes with riches of glory. Today we do not realize so much of the riches nor is the glory manifested.

New JerusalemGod willed to make known this mystery to His believers. His making known to us is in this age. His making known to the whole earth will be in the next age and through New Jerusalem.

Paul prayed in Ephesians 1 for our seeing and in Ephesians 3 he prayed for the working out of this, that the Father (v. 14) “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16). We need to be strengthened and God is willing to strengthen us, not a little but “according to the riches of His glory.”

This strengthening results in Christ making home in our hearts so that get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17) which enables us to corporately apprehend the vastness of Christ (v. 18), leading to being “filled unto all the fulness of God” (v.19). The riches of the glory, both now and with New Jerusalem, cannot be separated from Christ Himself.

The filling spoken of in Ephesians 3 for this age is a precursor to  New Jerusalem. The process begins with our being strengthened according to the riches of God’s glory and results in the expression of these riches. This process is not visible to natural eyes, but the result will be visible to everyone in the new creation.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Christ’s Growth in Us (2)

New Jerusalem is the enlargement of the house of the living God. This enlargement is God’s growth, His increase, in us (Col. 2:19). This growth is seen in Ephesians 3:14-19.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:16-17 are a prayer for our Father to strengthen us so that Christ may make His home in our hearts. This home-making is in the realm of faith. Likewise, everything related to New Jerusalem is in the realm of faith, in the spiritual realm.

Ephesians 3:17-19 continues. As a result of Christ’s home-making, we “being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.”

The strength in verse 18 is not our human strength; it comes out of Christ making home in us. This strength is Christ living in us. This enables us to apprehend together the vastness of Christ, a vastness which will be manifested to the fullest in New Jerusalem. Then we can know the excellent love of Christ.

The conclusion of Ephesians 3:16-19 is that all the believers together are “filled unto all the fullness of God.” This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem. God desires to fill His corporate people with all that He is in Christ, so that all He is may be manifested through His people. Ultimately New Jerusalem will be our corporate manifestation of all that God is.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

What God Prepared for Those Loving Him

A prior post spoke about 1 Corinthians 2:6-14 in relation to preparation of New Jerusalem. That post emphasized God’s wisdom, His glory, and the spiritual nature of whatever “things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” The wisdom, the glory, and the spiritual nature all match characteristics of New Jerusalem.

Later I went through Corinthians in my regular New Testament reading and was moved by other words in verse 9, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared…”

New JerusalemThere are many speculations or fanciful ideas related to New Jerusalem. All of these are an extension of people’s earthly desires. These ideas are idealizations of things people desire to make their human life more comfortable or trouble free or exciting or glamorous.

All these ideas arise in people’s hearts based on what they see or hear. Hence, none of these things are what God has prepared and none of these things are what is intended in God’s revelation in the Bible.

On one side, we need to deny ourself and take up our cross (Matthew 16:24-25). On the other side, we need to open to the Lord about His intention and His desire. New Jerusalem is not to satisfy our natural, human desires; rather, it is to satisfy God’s desire and thereby to satisfy those who are one with Him. Lord, make my heart one with Your heart.

God has prepared the way for Christ to be our life and to make home in our hearts, that we may be rooted and grounded in Him in order to apprehend with all the believers the unsearchable riches of Christ. The result is that we are filled unto all the fullness of God to fully manifest God with His glory (Ephesians 3:16-21). This is what God has prepared, what we can enjoy with Him, and what consummates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

The Riches of God’s Glory

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

New JerusalemEphesians 3 shows something of the development of the glory which ultimately will be in New Jerusalem. Paul prayed, asking the Father to “grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man…” (v. 16).

This strengthening is so “that Christ may make His home in our hearts…” (v. 17) which results in our apprehending the vastness of Christ and knowing His love (v. 18-19), which results in our being “filled unto all the fulness of God” (v. 19). The conclusion is “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever.” (v. 21).

The apostle prayed that the Father would strengthen the saints according to the riches of His glory. This implies that the glory of God can be wrought into the saints. In the doxology he said, “To Him be the glory” (v. 21), implying that the glory of God, which has been wrought into the saints, returns to God. First, the glory of God is wrought into us; then it returns to God for His glorification….The apostle prayed that God would strengthen the saints according to His glory, “but” eventually God’s glory, after being wrought into them, returns to Him along with the strengthened saints. This is the way in which God is glorified in the church.*

The glory wrought into us is first for glory to God through the church in this age. Consummately it is for glory to God eternally and for God’s glory to be expressed universally through New Jerusalem.

* A part of footnote 1 on Ephesians 3:20 in this online NT (© LSM).

Photo courtesy of NASA.

See New Jerusalem with a Spirit of Faith

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” New Jerusalem surely fits the category of things not seen, so we need to lay hold of it by faith.

You might counter my “not seen” statement because John told us that he saw New Jerusalem. This is Revelation 21:9-11a:

New JerusalemOne of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.

Yes, John saw the bride, the wife of the Lamb, when he was “in spirit.” And he was on “a great and high mountain” above the worldly cares and outside the physical distress of his exile on the island of Patmos. This was a spiritual seeing from a high spiritual position; this was not a physical seeing.

Our situation is the same. We cannot yet see New Jerusalem with our physical sight but we can see it in spirit. We cannot see New Jerusalem when we are buried in our worldly cares and complaints but we can see it when we allow the Lord to carry us above everything of the material world.

The key to this seeing is our “spirit of faith” (2 Corinthians 4:13). Our human spirit, regenerated by and one with the Spirit, contains the faith we need to substantiate the physically unseen New Jerusalem.

May we be people who are filled with the Spirit in our spirit by the word of God, speaking, singing, giving thanks, and praising (Ephesians 5:18-21, Colossians 3:16). May we be carried away in spirit to see New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

ps: The seven last plagues in Revelation 21:9 are part of God’s judgements to clean up the universe for New Jerusalem.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

The Divine-Human Romance thru the Bible

A recent post presented a song, “The Bible is a romance…God and His chosen people. God in Christ is the Bridegroom, His saints, the Bride, portrayed.”
The first portrait of this romance is Adam and Eve; the reality and consummation is
the bride, the wife of the Lamb…the holy city, Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:9-10).

New Jerusalem

Here are all the posts in this series on the divine-human romance, consummating in New Jerusalem, presented in the order of the books of the Bible:

Adam and Eve (Genesis 2) are a picture of Christ and the church in Ephesians 5.

The Triune God’s seeking a bride is portrayed by Abraham’s servant sent to obtain a bride for Isaac. (Genesis 24)

God wooed His people Israel and desired that they love Him. (Exodus) Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “You shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Boaz redeemed and married Ruth as a picture of the divine-human marriage. (Ruth)

Ruth’s seeking played a great role in her marriage to Boaz. May we be those who “follow the Lamb wherever He may go.” (Revelation 14:4)

The Lord is our Husband and Redeemer in Isaiah 54. He redeemed His people so that He could marry them.

He loves us with eternal love, draws us with His lovingkindness, and writes His new covenant in our hearts. (Jeremiah 31)

This marriage is of God, rooted in His righteousness, lovingkindness, compassions, and faithfulness. (Hosea)

The Lord Jesus is the Bridegroom—this is His word in the gospels. To prepare us to be His bride, we need Him as our new garment to be our righteousness and as our new wine to enliven us.

The Spirit fills us to burn brightly as we go to meet the Bridegroom. (Matthew 25)

We cooperate with the Spirit’s filling to be burning as we go forth. (Matthew 25)

We have been betrothed to our Husband, Christ. May we be kept single and pure for Him! (2 Corinthians 11)

Husband and wife in Ephesians 5:22-33 are strongly tied to the eternal Husband and wife. Verse 32: “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.”

Let us rejoice and exult…for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife, New Jerusalem, has made herself ready. (Revelation 19)

The Lamb’s wife made herself ready by receiving Him as our eternal righteousness and by living Him as our daily righteousness. (Revelation 19)

The holy city, New Jerusalem…a bride adorned for her husband. The eternal Husband is the Lamb, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. (Revelation 21)

The Spirit and the bride in oneness say, Come! in response to the Lord’s statement, I come quickly. (Revelation 22)

The Bible shows the love story of a universal couple. God loved us, sent His Son for propitiation, poured His love into our hearts, and caused us to love Him.

We respond to the Lord’s attraction. A song declares, “Jesus Lord, I’m captured by Your beauty…all my heart to You I open wide.”

Our Husband is loving and faithful. His word reveals much about this divine-human romance culminating in New Jerusalem. The progress of this romance depends on our response to Him. Lord Jesus, reveal Yourself and reveal this romance to me more every day. Lord, draw me to love You with my whole heart.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Have Oil in our Vessels, We are Burning

New JerusalemWhen the Lord Jesus returns, there will be a wedding feast! This feast will carry us on to the eternal marriage of New Jerusalem. All who believe in the Lord Jesus are invited to this feast, but only those whose lamps are brightly shining will be admitted.

“The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah” (Proverbs 20:27). Our human spirit is the lamp and the divine Spirit is the oil for our burning and shining. Yet, like the prudent virgins, we need to take oil in our vessels with our lamps.

Man is a vessel made for God (Rom. 9:21, 23-24), and man’s personality is in his soul. Hence, vessels here signifies the souls of the believers. The five prudent virgins not only have oil in their lamps but also take oil in their vessels. That they have oil in their lamps signifies that they have the Spirit of God dwelling in their spirit (Rom. 8:9, 16), and that they take oil in their vessels signifies that they have the Spirit of God filling and saturating their souls. (Matthew 25:4, footnote 1 in the Recovery Version New Testament)

Ephesians 5:18 exhorts us, “do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness, but be filled in spirit.” Here it seems that “wine” is not only actual wine but also the whole range of worldly pleasures and pursuits. Rather than being drunk with these things, we can be filled with the Spirit in our spirit and this filling will spread to our entire being.

Not being drunk with worldly things cannot be accomplished by our resolution. Rather, not being conformed to this age is a result of the renewing of our mind, which is the transforming action of the Spirit in us.

We can pray, Lord, fill me with the Spirit, make me a vessel full of You. Lord, prepare me now for the wedding feast and for New Jerusalem.
We can also sing Fill us, Jesus! Fill us, Jesus! Every moment give us more of Thee!

Photo of Boston Harbor, courtesy of David Kan.

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