Created for the Glory of New Jerusalem

In Isaiah 43 God speaks of gathering His scattered people, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created, formed, and even made for My glory” (v. 7).

The words create, form, and make all appear in Genesis 1–2 (e.g. 1:1, 26; 2:4, 7-8). The declaration in Isaiah 43:7 shows us that all God’s work from the beginning of creation has a goal—His glory. God created us not merely to live a good human life. God put man in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This is a picture of God wanting to be life to us.

New JerusalemThis picture in Genesis 2 is before sin, before death, before the curse, before rebellion against God. God being life to us is not a reaction to these negatives. God wants His life to be received by us, to be in us for His glory.

The tree of life is also in New Jerusalem. Christ has become life to all His believers and is our life eternally. This life operates in us to transform us and build us together to be His corporate Body in this age and to be the city of New Jerusalem in eternity.

This is “for God’s glory.” New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). The glory of God illuminates New Jerusalem (21:23). And, because the city is like clear, transparent glass (21:11, 18, 21), God’s illuminating glory will shine out through the city.

In these verses we see three steps. First, God created, formed, and made us. Second, God in Christ became life to us. Third, the result is God’s glory. These three steps cover the entire Bible, from creation to New Jerusalem.

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Which Language in New Jerusalem ?

The multitude of human languages are a problem. It takes a considerable effort to learn a language  and even within the same language, accents and regional vocabulary differences sometimes hinder communications.

This language problem began early in human history. Genesis 11:1 says, “the whole earth had one language and the same speech.” Then men, putting God aside (rebelling), said “let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens; and let us make a name for ourselves” (11:4).

God came to see this city and tower (11:5) and declared “Behold, they are one people, and they all have one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do….Come, let Us [the Triune God] go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (11:6-7). “Therefore its [the city’s] name was called Babel*, because there Jehovah confounded the language of all the earth” (11:9).

New JerusalemThis confusion is a curse, it is God’s judgment on rebellious mankind. Today, we who have believed into Him are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Yet, although we love all God’s children, and can rejoice in the Lord among believers of different languages, we still suffer because of languages. But not in New Jerusalem!

So, which language will we use in New Jerusalem? I do not know, because the Bible does not say, and I will not speculate. However, I am convinced that we will all understand one another completely because in New Jerusalem “there will no longer be a curse” (Rev. 22:3). Instead, in New Jerusalem we will enjoy our oneness in Christ to the fullest extent, including oneness in language.

* Today many dictionaries define “babel” as a confusion of voices or sounds.
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No Flesh in New Jerusalem

When God created man (Gen. 1:26-27), He blessed man (v. 28) and said that everything was very good (v. 31). In Genesis 2 God’s desire was that man take God, portrayed by the tree of life, as his life. However, in Genesis 3 man fell and was shut away from the tree of life. In Genesis 6 God declared that man is flesh.

Romans 3:20, “Out of the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” This is in contrast to Peter’s statement that righteousness dwells in the new heavens and new earth. Romans 7:5, “When we were in the flesh, the passions for sins, which acted through the law, operated in our members to bear fruit to death.” This is in contrast to New Jerusalem and the new creation which have nothing of death.

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:50, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” This is in contrast to New Jerusalem which is the ultimate stage of God’s kingdom. Hence, flesh cannot and does not have any place in New Jerusalem.

The flesh is the result of Satan as sin entering into man. The termination of the flesh is through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 2:14: “He also Himself in like manner partook of the same [blood and flesh], that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil.”
Romans 8:3b: “God, sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

His accomplishments on the cross are gradually applied in our being. The final step is Philippians 3:21, “Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory, according to His operation by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.” The result: no flesh in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Lamb’s Book of Life for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 21:27 tells us that “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” enter New Jerusalem.

Philippians 4:3 speaks about Christians “whose names are in the book of life.” Surely they will be in New Jerusalem. In contrast, “if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Revelation 13:8 tells us that those dwelling on earth, “every one whose name is not written in the book of life of the Lamb” will worship a beast. Similarly Revelation 17:8 says that these people will marvel when they see a beast.

Some verses associate the book of life with the Lamb. God’s eternal purpose is that man receive Him as life so that man can express and represent God (Gen. 1:26). Therefore, God put created man in front of the tree of life in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8-9, 15-17). This tree is a symbol of Christ, who is the real life for man.

Unfortunately man partook of the wrong tree, and was banished from the garden and the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24). This closure persisted until God incarnated in the man Jesus. He, the Lamb of God, died on the cross to redeem us and reopen the way for us to receive the divine life. This life enables us to participate in New Jerusalem.

We see three steps: redemption, life, city. Redemption is for life, and life is for the city. All three are in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” To wash is to apply the Lamb’s redemption; to come to the tree is for life, and to enter the gates is to be in New Jerusalem. Praise the Lamb!

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No Beasts in or near New Jerusalem

Revelation 13 says much about two beasts. Chapter 14 has a heavenly warning about the beasts, 15 shows those who were victorious over the beasts, 16 has judgement on them, 17 introduces another beast and presents much beastly activity, and 19 has their terminations in the lake of fire.

New JerusalemThese beasts are all opposed to New Jerusalem because they oppose the accomplishing of God’s purpose on earth. This purpose is first revealed in Genesis 1:26 where the Triune God created man in His image and let man have dominion over the earth.

God’s purpose is also revealed in Zechariah 12:1 which speaks of God “who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” The heavens contain the earth and earth is a dwelling place for man, who has a human spirit to contact God who is Spirit (John 4:24).

By contacting God, man receives the life of God, portrayed by the tree of life in Genesis 2. As a result of this contact, man’s spirit is born of God’s Spirit. This birth with God’s life enables man to express God and to rule the earth for God.

Genesis 1–2 is the beginning of God’s purpose; Revelation 21–22 is the consummation. In this consummation, man is beholding God constantly (Rev. 22:4). Man is continually supplied with God’s life by the river of life with the tree of life (22:1-2). God in this corporate man is fully expressed through New Jerusalem which radiates the glory of God (21:11). God and the Lamb on the throne (22:1) reign and man reigns with them (22:5).

Praise God that New Jerusalem is the eternal fulfillment of God’s purpose and that the opposing beasts are gone.

This post is in my list of what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

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No Curse in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3 declares, “there will no longer be a curse.” This statement is true not only for New Jerusalem but also for the entire new creation.

The curse came in because Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “And to Adam He said, Because you…have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil will you eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen. 3:17).

Besides the curse, death came in when Adam ate of the tree of knowledge. “Jehovah God commanded the man…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).

But, “Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, ‘Cursed is every one hanging on a tree'” (Gal. 3:13). This redemption enables us to receive the Spirit, as declared by the next verse in Galatians, “In order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Through Christ’s redemption we receive the Spirit of life, who is the divine life, portrayed by the life Adam should have received by eating the tree of life (Gen. 2:9). The operating of this Spirit in us frees us from the working of sin and death in our being (Rom. 8:2).

Eventually all creation will be freed from sin and death. Death will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), hence “death will be no more” (Rev. 21:4). As a result, in New Jerusalem and in all of he new creation there will be no sin, no death, and no curse.

This post is in my list of what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

No Need for Sleep in New Jerusalem

There is no need for sleep in New Jerusalem. But how does this mundane statement relate to the revelation in the Bible?

Simple: sleep is a picture of death and there will be no death in New Jerusalem. The first record of sleep is Genesis 2:21, “Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept.” During this deep sleep, Jehovah took a rib out of Adam and formed Eve. In this record the forming of Eve depicts the producing of the church.

New JerusalemThe death of Jesus Christ, portrayed by Adam’s the deep sleep, is very positive and had a wonderful outcome.

Romans 5:12 says, “sin entered into the world, and through sin, death; and thus death passed on to all men.” This death is not positive but the Bible also likens this kind of death to sleep, as in John 11:11-14 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16.

There will be no need for sleep and no sleepiness in New Jerusalem because there will be no death in New Jerusalem. “Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death” (2 Tim. 1:10). This nullification is gradually being applied to us. The consummation of this process is the transfiguration of our corrupted, mortal body at the Lord’s second coming.

“When this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality, then the word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death has been swallowed up unto victory.'” (1 Cor. 15:54) New Jerusalem will fully declare this victory.

Earlier posts about no death in New Jerusalem:
New Jerusalem: No Darkness, No Death
Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem

A list of other “NO” posts, showing what is NOT in New Jerusalem:

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The Bible: a Journey from Garden of Eden to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

The whole Bible is a journey from God’s creation and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1–2) to God’s consumma-tion centered on New Jerusalem (Revelation 21–22).

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

Created in God’s Image for New Jerusalem

This post begins a look at a hymn about God’s eternal purpose, consummating in New Jerusalem. This hymn was authored by Witness Lee. Here are words and music and a post, Who is Witness Lee?

Verse 1 of the hymn is an overview of God’s purpose and verse 2 speaks about creation.New Jerusalem

In Genesis 1:26 the Triune God said, “Let Us make man in Our image.” Man is in God’s image so that man can express God. However, even though man has the image, like a photograph, man still needs the life of God to be God’s living expression.

The created man was set in the garden of Eden with the tree of life (Gen. 2). But man fell into sin and was ejected from the garden (Gen. 3). Through the redemption accomplished by the death of Jesus and the life released in His resurrection, man can now be freed from sin and be born again.

Jesus Christ “the life” (John 14:6) is the reality of the tree of life to become our life. This life is not static, but is a continuous, eternal supply, seen in New Jerusalem as the “river of water of life” (Rev. 22:1) and “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (22:2).

It is by this life that man can express God and thereby cooperate in accomplishing God’s purpose. Examples of the expression of God now are to magnify Christ (Phil. 1:20) and having an excellent manner of life among the unbelievers (1 Peter 2:12).

New Jerusalem, having the glory of God and light like a most precious stone (Rev. 21:11), is the eternal expression of God by means of His life in His redeemed humanity.

No Tree of Knowledge in New Jerusalem

A search asked, “is the tree of knowledge in the New Jerusalem?” The simple answer is NO.

Genesis 2:8-9 record God’s action: “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

New JerusalemGenesis 2:16-17 is a command: “And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The tree of knowledge is coupled with death and is in contrast to life, which is Christ Himself, pictured by the tree of life in the garden. By the time New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2), death will have been banished to the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14).

There will be no death in New Jerusalem nor in the entire new creation. “Death will be no more” (Rev. 21:4). “Death has been swallowed up unto victory”—1 Corinthians 15:54 quoting Isaiah 25:8. In Christ is our victory!

Furthermore, the promises in Revelation 7:16-17, 21:4, and 21:3a show that not even precursors of death, such as hunger or pain, will be in the new creation.

In the Garden of Eden but not in New Jerusalem
Life or Death (plus links at the end of this)

Photo courtesy of US National Park Service.

New Jerusalem—Magnification of Christ

God created man in His own image (Gen. 1:26) so that man could contain and express God*. In the types in Genesis 2, man could receive God as His content by eating of the tree of life. Man fell and was shut out from the tree of life (Gen. 3). Later Jesus Christ came to redeem mankind and thereby reopen the way to Himself as the real tree of life.

New JerusalemNow, by believing in Jesus, man can receive God in Christ as his content. Gradually, God contained in us is expressed through us. This expression will intensify unto New Jerusalem.

The apostle Paul had a strong desire for this expression. He tells us his “earnest expectation and hope that 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).

In the apostle’s suffering in his body, Christ was magnified, i.e., shown or declared to be great (without limitation), exalted, and extolled. The apostle’s sufferings afforded him opportunity to express Christ in His unlimited greatness.**

For Paul, to magnify Christ was his earnest expectation and to not magnify Christ was to be put to shame. Lord, grant me the same “earnest expectation” You put in Paul.

If Christ can be magnified by one believer, how much richer and larger will His magnification be in New Jerusalem? Lord, fill me with the desire to magnify You now as a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

* See footnotes on Gen. 1:26 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version.
** From footnote on Phil 1:20 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

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