The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (2)

Revelation 19:7, 9: “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem – 21:9-10] has made herself ready….Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.

The marriage dinner is a blessing, a reward, to believers who have lived faithful to the Lord. It is a foretaste of the eternal blessings of New Jerusalem. These believers have been and will continue to rejoice and exult and give the glory to the Lamb.

New JerusalemThe parable in Matthew 25:1-13 speaks about the faithful believers participating in the marriage dinner. “The bridegroom [a picture of Jesus Christ] came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast” (v. 10). Five others, who were unprepared, did not get into the feast.

Many would say that those who were unprepared were not believers, they were unsaved. Actually, they are saved believers.They are spiritual “virgins,” which unsaved people are not.

Their lamps were lit, although “going out.” These lit lamps typify their human spirit, regenerated by the divine Spirit. “The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah” (Prov. 20:27). They have oil, portraying the Spirit, in their lamps, but did not take extra oil in their vessels.

These unprepared believers during their lifetime “went forth to meet the bridegroom.” All, prepared and unprepared, arose at the cry, “Behold, the bridegroom! Go forth to meet him!” In contrast, John 5:29 shows us there will be two different resurrections for the dead, one for believers and one for unbelievers.

When the Lord says to the unprepared, “I do not know you” it means I do not approve you, as in Matthew 7:23. The next post considers these unprepared believers regarding New Jerusalem.

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Enter the Veil, Come Forward to the Throne

A hymn by Witness Lee begins, “Enter the veil and go without the camp.” We enter the veil to behold the glorious Christ, to taste heaven’s sweetness, to be charmed by heaven’s glory, and to be energized by resurrection power. All of this is a foretaste of the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22), New Jerusalem. The hymn concludes:New Jerusalem

Enter the veil till it exists no more,
Go out the camp till all the camps are gone;
Until the heavens and the earth unite,
Till God and man together dwell in one.

These four lines speak of the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center (Rev. 21:1-2). There is no more veil, no more camp, and no more separation between God and man because the devil, death, hades, and everything negative have been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10, 14; 21:8). “Death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

We should rejoice for what is coming, but not merely wait for that time. We should enter the veil now. This is to come forward to the holy of holies (Heb. 10:19-22), which is to come forward to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16), the throne which will be in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1).

Undoubtedly, the throne mentioned here [Heb. 4:16] is the throne of God, which is in heaven (Rev. 4:2)….This throne is the throne of both God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:1). How can we come to the throne of God and the Lamb, Christ, in heaven while we still live on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in v. 12. The very Christ who is sitting on the throne in heaven (Rom. 8:34) is also now in us (Rom. 8:10), that is, in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22), where the habitation of God is (Eph. 2:22).*

Let us come forward to the throne, within the veil, to the foretaste of New Jerusalem.

* from note 1 on Heb. 4:16 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Taste Heaven’s Sweetness

New JerusalemA hymn by Witness Lee begins, “Enter the veil and go without the camp, Taste heaven’s sweetness, thus the earth for-sake.”  Then, “By heaven’s presence will the earth depart.” Further it encourages us to enter to “behold the glorious Christ” and “for resurrection pow’r.” This all is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is heavenly, as mentioned in Hebrews 12:22. When New Jerusalem “comes down out of heaven” to the earth (Rev. 21:2), it changes position but retains its heavenly nature. When we enter the veil and behold the glorious Christ, we have a foretaste of heavenly Jerusalem.

By entering we also taste heaven’s sweetness, touch the resurrection power (New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection), and more. By entering, we are energized to go outside the camp. One of many expressions of this in the hymn is
__If I His radiant face in heaven see, His footsteps I will follow here below.

Another declaration of entering’s effect on us  is
__If by the Holiest I am satisfied, How can I of earth’s vanities partake?
In ourselves we cannot forsake the vanities but the heavenly satisfaction enables us. I encourage you to read or sing the whole hymn: words music.

Lord, draw us to enter the veil that we may behold You, have heaven’s presence, and partake of resurrection power to forsake earthly vanities and walk with You every day. Lord, bring us into this foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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.

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The Angel Brings Us into New Jerusalem

Several posts in January looked at aspects of New Jerusalem portrayed in the early chapters of Exodus. Later, God promised “I am now sending an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared” (Exodus 23:20).

New JerusalemGod prepared and promised the good land to Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 15:7, 26:3-4). Ultimately the place God has prepared and promised is New Jerusalem, our eternal good land. Thus, the Angel bringing Israel to their place is a picture of Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem.

The Angel in Exodus 23 is God in Christ, as shown in Exodus 3:2, 4 where the Angel appears and God speaks. This is also seen in John 10:7-11 where Jesus Christ is the sent “Angel” and the Father is speaking.

Exodus 23:20 says that the Angel will keep us. Then 23:21-22 commands us to “listen to His voice.” He will keep us but we need to cooperate by listening to Him. In John 14:23 Jesus tells us, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Then in verse 24 He tells us, “The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

The Father sent the Son and the Father speaks through the Son. They keep us on the way to New Jerusalem by making an abode with us. The primary “keeping” is not preserving us from outward problems but maintaining our fellowship with the Lord. The key is our loving the Lord. By loving Him, our living, our daily walk, is brought into Him and He becomes the essence of our daily living. This inward reality is our foretaste of the place, New Jerusalem, to which the Angel is bringing us.

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; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

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The Spirit Gives Life for New Jerusalem

In resurrection we walk in newness of life and we serve in newness of spirit. Resurrection, the divine and eternal life, the Spirit with our spirit, and newness are all essential qualities of New Jerusalem. These qualities all proceed from God.

In 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Paul says that “our sufficiency is from God, who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

New JerusalemServing in spirit is new and ministry of the Spirit is new and life giving. Without the Spirit moving through and with our human spirit, our service and ministry is old and of the killing letter.

Paul also says that in the New Testament way we “serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). When we serve by the Spirit of God, our service has God’s newness. However, if we have confidence in our flesh—our natural talents, our natural training, and our natural experiences—our serving will not be in newness.

In Philippians 3:3, the Greek word translated serve means to serve as a priest. It is the same Greek word as in Revelation 22:3, “His slaves will serve Him.” Our serving now should have the same spirit and the same newness as our serving in New Jerusalem.

Lord Jesus, make us people of the Spirit, people in resurrection walking in newness, people serving in spirit, people ministering the Spirit and life. This is our foretaste of New Jerusalem and our preparation for New Jerusalem.

Priests from Exodus to New Jerusalem

In Exodus 19:3-6 Jehovah spoke to Moses concerning bringing Israel out of Egypt, “I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then….you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

New Jerusalem

For Israel to be a kingdom of priests is a foretaste of our New Testament experience and a foretaste of New Jerusalem. Revelation 1:5-6 says that Jesus Christ loves us, has released us from our sins in His blood, “and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” By His action, all of His redeemed people are a kingdom of priests now. This depends neither on our education or ordination, nor on our feeling of adequacy or inadequacy.

Revelation 5:9-10 is an angelic praise sung to the Lamb repeating the same fact—“You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God.”

The extent to which we live out this wonderful fact depends on our time beholding God. He brought us “to Himself” (Exodus 19:4), and we should turn from everything else to “look away unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Here are words and music of a song about the priests’ living.

Today our living in the reality of the kingdom of priests may be sporadic but in New Jerusalem this living will be continual. There, in the new creation, we, God’s slaves, “will serve Him” (Revelation 22:3, where the Greek word means “serve as priests”) and we “will reign forever and ever” (22:5).

The song mentioned above includes,
____In the holiest place, live before His face,
____Light of glory thru me will shine;
Let us live before His face now and anticipate much more in New Jerusalem.

The Tree of Life Foreshadowed in Exodus

In New Jerusalem the tree of life is conveyed by the river of water of life which proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb (Revelation 22:1-2). This tree of life is foreshadowed in Exodus.

New JerusalemIn Exodus 15 Moses led Israel to praise the Lord after seeing His victory over the Egyptian forces at the Red Sea. Then Moses led the people onwards (v. 22). After three days in the wilderness they found water but could not drink it due to its bitterness (v. 22-23). In verse 25 Moses “cried out to Jehovah, and Jehovah showed him a tree; and he cast it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.”

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) the Greek word for tree in Exodus 15:25* is ξύλον. This is the same Greek word used for the tree of life in Revelation 22:2 and 22:14. Therefore, the tree in Exodus 15 foreshadows the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

The same Greek word is used in 1 Peter 2:24 for the tree (the cross) on which the Lord was crucified. This verse says that by His death we are healed.

The tree in Exodus made the waters sweet. Jesus Christ, the real tree of life, makes our “waters” sweet. In eternity there will be no cause of bitterness—there will be no tears, no death, no sorrow, no crying nor pain (Revelation 21:4).

Don’t wait until New Jerusalem. We can follow the example of Moses to cry out to the Lord. He will show us “a tree” (something of Himself) to cast into our bitter waters so that we may taste His sweetness and be healed from our death. This is our foretaste of greater sweetness in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* And three times in Genesis 2:9.

More about the tree and the sweet water is in Life-Study of Exodus, chapters 30.

See the River of New Jerusalem in Exodus

Exodus concludes with the tabernacle filled with the glory of God. That corresponds with New Jerusalem as the eternal tabernacle of God, having the glory of God (Revelation 21:3, 10-11). Then in Revelation 22:1 John tells us that an angel showed him

a river of water of life,
bright as crystal, proceeding out
of the throne of God and of the Lamb

We see a picture of this in Exodus 17. Verses 5-6 say, “Jehovah said to Moses….I will be standing before you there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink.” Speaking about this, 1 Corinthians 10:4 tells us that the people “drank of a spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ.”

Striking the rock is a picture of Jesus Christ being struck by death on the cross, from which water flowed out, as recorded in John 19:34.

New Jerusalem

In Exodus God is standing on the Rock, which is Christ, and the water flows out. In Revelation God and the Lamb, who was struck by death to be our Redeemer, are on the throne from which the river of water of life flows out. Exodus 17 matches Revelation 22.

In Numbers 20 Israel had another experience with the rock. This time God instructed Moses to speak to the rock. The application to us is that Christ died once for all; He should not be struck a second time. Daily we can come to Him and speak to Him, asking Him to flow living water to us. This is His promise in John 7:37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”

May this Old Testament picture and these New Testament words encourage us to ask the Lord for a drink of living water every day as a foretaste of our drinking the water of life in New Jerusalem.

More about the water out of the rock is in Life-Study of Exodus, chapters 40-42.

God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing (2)

New JerusalemHebrews 11:16, speaking of Abraham and his descendants looking toward New Jerusalem, says God “has prepared a city for them.” If God has already prepared the city, why don’t we have any realization of it?

The answer has two parts. One is that God’s view is eternal (prior post), outside of our temporal limitations. The other is that we are gradually growing into what He has done. New Jerusalem has not yet been manifested, but we can grow into some realization of it now.

In regeneration we received the divine life and became children of God. Now we need to grow. As we grow we realize and experience more of what God has prepared and provided for us. Here are some paths for our growth:

• First Peter 2:2 tells us to “long for/desire the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation.” Longing/desiring indicate we should not be passive.
• Hebrews 5 and 1 Corinthians 3 also couple milk and solid food with spiritual growth.
• Colossians 1:5-10 speaks of the word of the truth of the gospel which causes us to know the grace of God in truth. This, coupled with prayer that we “may be filled with the full knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”, results in our walking worthily, bearing fruit, and growing.

The main lesson here is that we have to come, with prayer, to the Bible for nourishment, not merely for knowledge. We should pray for increased spiritual hunger and increased spiritual thirst. Pray this chorus:
__Feed me, Lord Jesus, give me to drink,
____Fill all my hunger, quench all my thirst;
__Flood me with joy, be the strength of my life,
____Fill all my hunger, quench all my thirst.
Even better, pray all the words of this hymn (words, music).

Our spiritual eating and drinking will bring forth spiritual growth including an increased realization and appreciation of New Jerusalem.

Experience the Light of Life (2)

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:23 says about New Jerusalem, “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

The glory of God as the light and the Lamb as the lamp signify that God in Christ is the light of the New Jerusalem in eternity. In the new city there is no need of the sun, the natural light, or any man-made lamp because God Himself will be the light, and Christ will be the lamp, shining out God to enlighten the entire city. This means that God in Christ is everything in the New Jerusalem. In the presence of the greatest light, all the lesser lights count for nothing. Outside the New Jerusalem there will still be day and night, but inside there will be no night (21:25).*

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). God is in Jesus Christ who is our light of life (John 8:12) today. Thus, inwardly we can experience the light of New Jerusalem. This light gives us a sense about things and actions. The sense may be peace or joy, indicating that something corresponds with the light. Or, the sense within may be uneasiness or confusion, indicating something that is of darkness rather than light.

We need first to be aware of this light, this sense, within and then give heed to it. Gradually we learn to live according to this inward divine light. God’s word is a help in our learning to live in the light.

Psalm 119:130 says that the opening, or entrance, of God’s Word gives light. Day by day we need to enter into the holy Word. Then we will see and be in the light, which is God Himself through His Word. Therefore, we should not realize or do anything according to our natural ability or according to the education we have received. We have God as our unique light to apply to our life.*

When we read, we need an attitude of seeking to gain the light of life, not merely seeking to have some knowledge. We need to be nourished by spiritual eating, with praying, meditating, and singing. These are good ways to open to the light of life and experience a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

* These are excerpts from the book Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM. See message 431 in online reading.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Coming to Him, We Are “Jasperized”

In Revelation 4:2-3 John saw a throne in heaven and One sitting on the throne who was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance. Later he saw the holy city, Jerusalem, having the glory of God and her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone  (Revelation 21:10-11). He also saw that the wall of the city was built of jasper (v. 21:18). Both God and New Jerusalem have an appearance like jasper.

God desires to develop this identical appearance now. First Peter 2:4 says that the Lord is a living Stone and verse 5 says that by coming to Him we are becoming living stones to be built together as a spiritual house.

What is presented in 1 Peter—both He and we are living stones—is the preparation for what John saw—God and New Jerusalem are jasper.

We become living stones as we come to the Lord. Our coming is in Peter 2:4. In verses 2-3 we drink the pure milk of the word of God and we taste that the Lord is good. Then we come to the One we are tasting.

Let us all drink from the word of God. Whether we understand everything or not, whether everything seems applicable to us or not, we can read the word of God. Then:
New Jerusalem• we can say amen to His word
• we can thank Him for His word
• we can pray with what we read
• we can meditate on His word
• we can ask for His speaking
• we can sing His word

Through these practices, God’s word becomes our joy (Jeremiah 15:16) and our nourishment (Matthew 4:4). This gradually constitutes us as living stones and “jasperizes” us for New Jerusalem.

Related post: The Stones Express God

Photo by R Robinson, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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