Holy of Holies: Come Forward, Don’t Wait

In Revelation 21:16 New Jerusalem is a perfect and immense cube; this is the eternal holy of holies. This marvelous blessing is our eternal dwelling place with God and in God.

New JerusalemHowever, we should not wait until New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2, 10). Today we are encouraged to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” The throne of grace is the reality of the Old Testament ark of the covenant in the holy of holies.

This throne has the redeeming blood of Christ on it and the glory of Christ above it. We can come forward because we have a great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God. He has ascended to the heavens. He is touched with the feeling of our weaknesses even though He is without sin. Based on these facts in Hebrews 4:14-15 we are exhorted in 4:16 to “come forward with boldness.”

How do we come forward? We can simply and honestly pray, Lord Jesus, I come forward now to Your throne; I want to meet You. When we come forward in such a way, we are promised mercy. We also can find grace; this may be with more simple prayers—not asking the Lord to do something for us but only opening to Him and seeking Him to be more in our living.

By coming forward in this way we obtain mercy and grace, and we have a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, Clear as Crystal

Revelation 21:11 says about New Jerusalem, “Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” The light of New Jerusalem, the light which is Jesus Christ as the shining life in every member of this corporate city, is most precious to God New Jerusalemand expresses Him fully.

This precious shining of New Jerusalem is like a jasper stone, matching God sitting on the throne. This shining jasper stone is “clear as crystal” or, as others translate, “bright as crystal.” The clear-ness allows the brightness to shine out.

The words clear, pure, and transparent are all used in Revelation 21 to describe New Jerusalem. These show that the city has no mixture, no contaminant. no pollution. It is as pure and clear as God Himself because God saturates the whole city.

God chose us in eternity past “to be holy and without blemish before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4). His desire is that, by experiencing Christ day by day, we “may be blameless and guileless, 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).

God desires that we shine today like New Jerusalem will shine eternally. We should not wait. Christ living in us will make us blameless, without blemish, and shining. This is for us today as a foretaste of the clear and bright shining of New Jerusalem.

God Gave Us a Guarantee, a Foretaste

God’s Spirit within us is the pledge, the deposit, the down payment, guaranteeing all that God will be to us and do in us. This includes the redemption of our mortal body, then our participation in the kingdom age, and ultimately our participation in New Jerusalem.

Besides the verses in the prior post, Romans 8:23 says, “we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body.”

The Spirit as the guarantee is also the Spirit as the firstfruits, the foretaste of our full enjoyment of all of God’s riches.

At present our realization and appreciation of what God in Christ is to us is limited. The limiting factor is our fallen body, our flesh, in which nothing good dwells (Rom. 7:18). This limitation is the reason for the groaning in Romans 8:23.

Another limitation is our mind, to the extent it has not yet been renewed by the Spirit.

While we are groaning we also are partaking of the firstfruits of the Spirit. This Spirit is not only a guarantee of the coming riches but He is also our current foretaste of these riches. This foretaste gives us confidence for our fuller participation in God’s riches during the coming age and the fullest participation in New Jerusalem.

God Gave Us a Guarantee

Three verses in the New Testament speak of the Spirit as a pledge/deposit/guarantee/ down payment*. A fuller meaning is that which is assured by God to believers…the Divine pledge of all future blessings**. These future blessings include New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSecond Corinthians 1:22 tells us that God has “sealed us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” The Spirit as a pledge, a down payment, means that we will receive more of the Spirit in the future. Eternally, the Spirit is portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 5:5 also speaks of the Spirit as a pledge. Our guarantee is not a thing or a legal document; rather it is the Spirit Himself, the Spirit who is the reality and who guides us into all the reality (John 16:13).

Ephesians 1:13b-14 says “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.”

God put His Spirit within us and also sealed us with this Spirit. This sealing keeps us for our divine inheritance, which is much more of the Triune God in the next age and the fullest portion in New Jerusalem for eternity.

In Ephesians 1 the Spirit as a pledge guarantees the redemption of our mortal body “to the praise of His glory.” God’s glory will fully shine forth from New Jerusalem and the entire universe will praise Him.


* Various translations in these verses, thanks to Bible Hub.
** Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

Christ Magnified, Now and New Jerusalem

“Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, you love” (1 Peter 1:8). He is unsearchable, unlimited. However, He needs us to magnify Him to people in the physical realm. This magnification is to make Him visible in our living, to live Him in a way that declares His greatness. Surely New Jerusalem will do this, but the Lord desires magnification through us in this age.

New JerusalemMary was the first New Testament person to magnify God. She said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). The people in the house of Cornelius, after receiving the Holy Spirit, “magnified God” (Acts 10:46). Later, in Ephesus, “the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (Acts 19:17).

Paul said that his earnest expectation was “in nothing I will be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death” (Phil. 1:20). He could magnify Christ in every situation because, as the next verse says, “For to me to live is Christ.” Christ lived in Paul and was magnified through Paul.

May such living and magnifying become our experience also! Contributors to this seen in Philippians are praying for one another to be bountifully supplied with the Spirit (1:19), counting all things loss because of the excellency of Christ (3:7-8), rejoicing in the Lord (4:4), and letting our requests be made known with thanksgiving so that we have no anxiety (4:6). This is our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

God’s Kingdom and Glory

In Matthew 6:13 the Lord instructed us to praise our Father, “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” (Forever points to eternity with New Jerusalem.) In Matthew 16:28 to 17:2 we have a preview of this kingdom and glory together. First Thessalonians 2:12 tells us that God “calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

New JerusalemBoth the kingdom and the glory are God’s but He has called us to participate in them. The first half of 1 Thessalonians 2:12, exhorting us to walk worthy of God, indicates that our participation is present and experiential. This present partici-pation is our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The guidance and energizing for this walk is 1) the conduct of the apostle among the Thessalonians (1 Thes. 2:1-10) and 2) his exhorting, consoling, and testifying (v. 11), plus 3) their receiving his word “not as the word of men but  even as it truly is, the word of God, which also operates in you who believe” (v. 13).

Because the word of God, transmitted to us by the Spirit through the Bible, is living, we need to let it dwell, live, spread, and operate in us. Lord, cause Your word to live and operate in me! This operation gradually develops the character and walk of New Jerusalem in us.

Unlike the early Thessalonians, we do not have the pattern of the apostle Paul. However, we are among Christians, and the Lord is not limited by the absence of Paul. We should ask the Lord to show us one or a few whom we can consider and let their Christian walk be a pattern to us.

Lord, besides Your operating word, show me how to have a worthy walk on my way to New Jerusalem.

The Bright Lamb-Lamp of New Jerusalem

In Matthew 16:28 the Lord said that some disciples would see “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” A week later three saw Him transfigured. This is the kingdom of God with the glory of God. Ultimately, the kingdom and glory is New Jerusalem. John tells us that he saw the city has the throne of the kingdom at its center and has the glory of God (Rev. 22:1, 21:10-11).

The seeing of the kingdom in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9 gives us a preview of New Jerusalem. These chapters speak not about outward power but about the appearance of the Lord.
“He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.” (Matt. 17:2)
“He was transfigured before them, and His garments became sparkling, exceedingly white.” (Mark 9:3)
“And as He prayed, the appearance of His face became different, and His garment dazzling white.” (Luke 9:29)

New JerusalemAlthough Jesus knew beforehand that this transfiguration would happen, Luke records that He prayed. We need to pray to release what God wants for His kingdom on earth, as in Matthew 6:9-10.

His prayer and transfiguration indicate that the change in His appearance was from within, not from outside. The Greek word translated transfiguration is also transformation in 2 Corinthians 3:18. There the word clearly indicates a change by the Spirit operating within us to bring us onward in glory.

The brightness of the Lord Jesus on the mountain is a preview of His brightness as the Lamb-lamp in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). This is the glory of God radiating through Him, a glory brighter than the sun, so that New Jerusalem “has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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 online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

%d bloggers like this: