Jesus and New Jerusalem: “Out of Heaven”

The Lord Jesus told us multiple times that He came down out of heaven:
John 3:13, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man…”
John 6:38, “I have come down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.”
John 6:51a, “I am the living bread which came down out of heaven.”

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2 says, ” I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride.” And 21:10, “He [the angel] 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,”

Both the Lord Jesus, the Bridegroom, and New Jerusalem, the bride, come down out of heaven. The two correspond to each other, as Eve corresponded to and complemented Adam in Genesis 2.

Eve is a strong contrast to the animals God created; among them “for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:20). Eve was the complement to Adam because she came out of Adam. God built Eve with the rib He had taken out of Adam.

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven because it is composed of the life and nature of Christ imparted into us in His resurrection. First Corinthians 15:47-48 make a contrast, “The first man [Adam] is out of the earth, earthy; the second man [Christ] is out of heaven. As the earthy is, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly is, such are they also that are heavenly.” As the heavenly new creatures, we compose the heavenly bride, New Jerusalem, which matches the heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

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Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ (2)

In Genesis 2 God built the rib, which He had taken from Adam, into Eve and brought her to Adam. No other creature could be Adam’s counterpart, but Adam welcomed Eve as his counterpart. This is a picture that the church, growing into New Jerusalem, is built with Christ to be presented to Him as His wife.

New JerusalemGod took the rib from Adam while he was in “a deep sleep.” Sleep here signifies death, as in John 11:11-13 and 1 Thessa-lonians 4:13-16. Then Adam was awake, signifying resurrection, and Eve was brought to him. Like Eve, both the church and New Jerusalem come forth through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Through death Christ both redeemed us and released His divine life, which was imparted into us in resurrection. Now “Christ is our life” (Col. 3:4). Christ our life, not our natural life (which must be denied), is the life of the church and of New Jerusalem. It is by this life that the bride of Christ is prepared.

This life is imparted by the Spirit. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63). “The Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). However, this Spirit is not separate from Christ. He, as the Spirit, enters into our human spirit; as a result, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit* is life because of righteousness” (Rom. 8:10).

Christ our life energizes us to deny our natural life, our self, and Christ our life grows until in the church, the new man, “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:11). By His being all and in all His members, He can present the church to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:27). In the new creation and New Jerusalem there will be no self left to deny and absolutely Christ will be all and in all.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* This is our human spirit because 1) it is contrasted with our human body and 2) the divine Spirit is life whether Christ is in us or not.

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Out from Christ to be Presented to Christ

Genesis 2:21-22: “Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. And Jehovah God built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man.” This first human couple is a picture of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:23-32) which consummates in Christ and New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage (Rev. 21:1–22:5).

New JerusalemPrior to the formation of Eve, God brought every living creature to Adam. “The man gave names to all cattle and to the birds of heaven and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:20). No other creatures was a match for Adam.

But, when Eve was brought to Adam, “The man said, This time this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman because out of Man this one was taken. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24).

The inability of the creatures to match Adam, and the wonderful correspondence of Eve to Adam shows that only what came out of Adam matches him to be his counterpart. In the same way, only what comes out of Christ can match Him to be His counterpart/ companion/suitable helper*.

New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ. According to the pattern in Genesis 2, New Jerusalem should come out of Christ to be the proper match to be presented to Him.

For more about the church, the precursor of New Jerusalem, coming out of Christ to be presented to Christ, see chapter 2 in The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee. It can be freely downloaded from Bibles for America (English) or Rhema Literature (30 languages).

* Various translations in Gen. 2:20, thanks to Bible Hub.

Photo by Mary Hollinger, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

No Sweat, No Thorns, in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the lovely center of the new creation, blessed with the presence of God and the Lamb, full of God’s glory, and supplied by the river of life and tree of life.

Due to the rebellion of Satan and the fall of man, the old creation was corrupted. and man was separated from God. To us, this would be very discouraging. However, to God, this is a big opportunity to display His unlimited wisdom. Out of all the corruption God will bring forth a new, perfect creation with New Jerusalem as His eternal dwelling.

One characteristic of the old creation that will not be in the new creation nor in New Jerusalem is sweat. The origin of sweat is 1) Satan’s deceiving man, 2) man’s taking of the tree of knowledge, and 3) God’s curse on fallen man, all recorded in Genesis 3. Verses 17-19 say, “Because you [Adam]…have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground because of you….And thorns and thistles it will bring forth for you,…by the sweat of your face you will eat bread…”

New JerusalemThe sweat here indicates the need of human effort, separated from God’s blessing, to supply the essentials for human living. Man was shut out from the garden of Eden, which contained “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” and had to expend his own sweat-producing energy.

The curse of Genesis 3 also includes thorns. But, Revelation 22:3, describing New Jerusalem, says, “there will no longer be a curse.”

Because New Jerusalem will be filled with God and His blessings and no curse, there will be no need for man’s effort and no sweat. Also, without the curse, there will be no thorns in New Jerusalem.

 

Creation, New Creation, New Jerusalem

The Bible progresses from God’s creation of heaven and earth in Genesis 1 to the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Here is a summary of recent posts on this progression, with a link to and a key verse from each post. All of these point toward New Jerusalem, the goal of God’s creation and His work.

New Jerusalem

“God, who created all things, in order that now…the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:9-11)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.“ (Gen. 1:1)
God created because He has an eternal purpose.

“O Jehovah our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth.” (Psa. 8:1)
We do not yet see this outwardly, but we do see Jesus and His accomplishments.
Hebrews 2 quotes Psalm 8 and then speaks of God leading many sons into glory, which ultimately is New Jerusalem; then we will see God’s name excellent in all the earth.

“The earth is Jehovah’s, and its fullness…” (Psa. 24:1)
God is never defeated on the path from creation to New Jerusalem.

“Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.” (Matt. 6:10)
God has a purpose and we cooperate by praying for it on earth.

“Until heaven and earth pass away…” (Matt. 5:18).
The first heaven and earth will pass away and the new heaven and earth will come.

“What kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness.” (2 Pet. 3:11)
God’s divine power supplies us to live a life for the new creation.

“According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Pet. 3:13)
The Lord told us “My words shall by no means pass away.” Our stand is His word.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
We are being renewed inwardly (Titus 3:5) to prepare us fully for New Jerusalem.

“A new creation is what matters.” (Gal. 6:15)
Our spirit is life and our heart loves the Lord and His word; this is what matters.

Creation’s goal: “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known.” (Eph. 3:9-10)
God’s desire is to display His wisdom through His people knit together in Christ.
This display brings forth glory to God now in the church and forever in New Jerusalem.

God created “the heavens,…the earth, and…the spirit of man within him.” (Zech. 12:1)
In our human spirit that we are born of God to have His life for His expression.

“The judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)
God created the earth for His purpose; Satan formed the world system to capture man.

“They all may be one…that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” (John 17:21)
By the Lord’s life in us, we “shine as luminaries in the world.” (Phil. 2:15)

“Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4)
God’s living word energizes us to live to Him and escape the corruption in the world.

“If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
As we love the Lord, He and the Father make their abode in us. (John 14:23)
This abode is for today and eternity. New Jerusalem is God’s eternal abode in His people.

God “created all things…according to the eternal purpose which He made.” (Eph. 3:9, 11)
We are living for God‘s purpose now, conscious that “the earth is the Lord’s.”

“We are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Pet. 3:13).
The Lord overcame the world and now He is the Overcomer in us. He is our life.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” (Rev. 21:1)
Through the death of Christ, things on earth and in heaven were reconciled to God.
This is a step in preparing for the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth…and the sea is no more.” (Rev. 21:1)
The sea speaks of God’s judgments, which are completed in Revelation 20.

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Rev. 21:1-2a)

Earlier posts about the new creation.
New Creation: Curiosity versus Life
New Jerusalem is the Center of New Heaven and New Earth
The Word of the Lord Abides to Eternity
New Creation
New Heaven and New Earth

New Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem; No Sea

New JerusalemRevelation 21:1: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.” Many recent posts are on the new heaven and the new earth. These will be with New Jerusalem but, as stated in this verse, without the sea.

There is no more sea because the sea is a result of God’s judgments on the corrupted earth. We are likely familiar with the flood in Noah’s time, which covered the entire earth with a sea of water. This was because “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5). After this, God promised that never again would waters cover the earth to destroy everything (Gen. 9:11-16).

Prior to this there was another flood. In Genesis 1:1 “God created the heavens and the earth.” This creation was pleasant. Isaiah 45:18 declares that God “formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it waste.” However, due to Satan’s rebellion, “the earth became waste and emptiness, and darkness was on the surface of the deep” (Gen. 1:2).

As a result of the judgment in verse 2, there was no land—no place for man to live for God’s purpose. Water covered the earth. But, as in Noah’s time, God restored the earth. “God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so” (Gen. 1:9).

Revelation 21 is a full, complete renovation. It has the new earth for the nations to live on, New Jerusalem as God’s dwelling with His people on earth, and no more sea, no leftover from the prior judgments. Praise God that everything is new!

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

Earth to New Earth with New Jerusalem

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth“. Revelation 21 begins, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” Let’s look briefly at the path from the original earth to the new earth with New Jerusalem.

Genesis 1:2a says, “the earth became waste and emptiness, and darkness was on the surface of the deep.” This “becoming” was not God’s intention. Isaiah 45:18 tells us “He is the God Who formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it waste.” How did the earth become waste? This was due to Satan’s rebellion*.

New JerusalemGenesis 1:2 continues with “the Spirit of God was brooding upon the surface of the waters.” Then, in a process of restoration, there was light, dry land appearing, more definite lights, many forms of life, and finally man. During the restoration God said “good” six times and then “very good” after man was created.

However, the “very good” earth with man as its focus was corrupted in Genesis 3. But God is not defeated! Before Jesus Christ came as the reality, God did something through Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, and many others. Through David and Solomon the city of Jerusalem was gained and the temple was built.

Four hundred years later degradation resulted in the captivity to Babylon, but again, God was not defeated. A return to Jerusalem was made and the temple and city rebuilt. This provided the setting in which Jesus was born. The next posts will look at the path to bring the earth from Jesus’ incarnation to New Jerusalem.

* Isaiah 14:12-15. For more, please read Life-study of Genesis, message 2.

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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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