New Jerusalem, City of the Living God (3)

New JerusalemIn 1 Timothy 3:15 the church is the living house of the living God. Then we read “great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (v. 16*). This describes a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The first manifestation of God in the flesh was in the incarnation of Jesus. “The Word was God….the Word became flesh….No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:1, 14, 18).

Today the living church as the dwelling place of the living God is “God manifest in the flesh.” We, the members of the church, the Body of Christ, are outwardly men of flesh but God dwells in us. Today our proper Christian living results in God manifested in the flesh. This is a mystery of godliness.

This living mystery, the manifestation of God in the flesh, continues until “taken up in glory.” This will be our glorification (Rom. 8:17, 30). This glory will be strengthened and expanded to be the glory of New Jerusalem.

In eternity there will be no more flesh for we will have been fully conformed to Christ and glorified with Him. Therefore we should not say that New Jerusalem is God manifested in the flesh but we could say that New Jerusalem is God manifested in those who were flesh or that New Jerusalem is God manifested in redeemed, regenerated, and glorified humanity.

* Originally the New Testament had no chapter and no verse separations. The text continued from one sentence to the next with no break. Thus there is a strong connection between the house of the living God and the mystery of godliness. Look at 1 Timothy 3 in a fourth century Bible.

Photo by Dave Herr, courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

New Jerusalem

“We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

“We suffer with Christ that we may also be glorified with Him. (Rom. 8:17b)

The holy city, Jerusalem…having the glory of God. (Rev. 21:10-11)

More at New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

Photo courtesy of European Space Agency

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

New Jerusalem

At a recent college students’ conference in Texas the general topic was The Overview of God’s Economy. The last message was
___The New Jerusalem as the Ultimate Consummation of God’s Purpose.
In the conference, we saw that the New Jerusalem is NOT a physical, material city.
• Revelation 1:1, “The revelation of Jesus Christ….He made it known by signs.”
Revelation has many signs—the lampstands, the Lamb, the Lion of Judah, the universal woman, the dragon, etc. The New Jerusalem is a sign. This wonderful city IS:

1. The consummation of the Divine Romance in the Bible*
• Isa. 54:5a, “For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name.”
• Rev. 21:2,  “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
According to the entire Bible, God the creator is male and His chosen, redeemed, transformed, glorified people are female, and there is a divine romance between them. At the end of the Revelation, God is the husband and His people are the wife to match God.

2. The consummation of God’s Building (Tabernacle and Temple)
• 1 Cor 3:16a, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God?”
• Rev 21:22, “And I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God (21:3) and the temple of God (21:22). In the eternity future, our habitation is God Himself. To God the city is the tabernacle and to us it is the temple.

3. The consummation of Mutual Abiding of God and His Redeemed
• John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, 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.”
• John 17:21, “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
We will not live in a mansion; we will live in God and God will live in us. This mutual abiding is the New Jerusalem. The eternal God becomes our eternal habitation.

4. The consummation of Believers’ Transformation and Glorification
• 2 Cor. 3:18, “We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”
• Rev 21:10b-11, “The holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.”
All believers were created as clay, yet in the New Jerusalem all believers are regenerated and transformed into precious stone and glorified for God’s eternal expression in His eternal building.

5. The consummation of God as the Life Supply to us
• Rev 22:1-2a “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.”
When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we received the eternal life. Today, we drink one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), and in the New Jerusalem, the Triune God is life for our enjoyment for eternity—He is our light of life, tree of life, and water of life!

6. The consummation of the Bible and all the NT Blessings and Realities
• Revelation 21–22 “New heaven, new earth…holy city, New Jerusalem…it had a great and high wall and had twelve gates…there will be no night there…no longer be a curse…His slaves will serve Him…they will reign for ever and ever.”
All of us will be new in the New Jerusalem, and we will reign with Christ for eternity. Oh Lord, make me match the New Jerusalem today in every way!

Thanks!! to Deborah who wrote this post from her college conference notes.

* For each point we have presented a few verses. Here are more verses for each topic.
1. Jer. 3:14; John 3:29a; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25, 27a.
2. John 1:14; 2:16b, 19b, 21; 1 Cor. 3:9b, 12a; Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Tim. 3:15b; 1 Peter 2:5a; Rev. 21:3a, 18-19, 21a.
3. John 14:2-3, 20; 17:22-23a.
4. Rev. 21:18-19a, 23-24a.
5. John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13.

Our Destiny is New Jerusalem

As a believer in Jesus Christ, what is your future? The important answer is not college, career, family, social action, etc. If, according to 2 Corinthians 4:18, we regard the unseen, eternal things, our future is New Jerusalem, as presented in this excerpt from A&C:*

New JerusalemEphesians 1:5 says that we were predestinated unto sonship, which is for the New Jerusalem. Ephesians 1:11 says that we were predestinated according to His purpose, which is to have the New Jerusalem. Romans 8:29 says that we have been predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son. This is to have the many sons for the New Jerusalem. All this was determined in eternity past.

In time we have been regenerated, and eventually, we will be sanctified, renewed, transformed, conformed, and glorified to become the New Jerusalem. Concerning this, there can be no doubt, for the apostle John saw the New Jerusalem existing as a reality in the sight of God.

Regeneration, our new birth, was quick. Our position, our status is now securely in Christ. But, what about our condition? After our regeneration, we continue in a process of sanctification (Heb. 10:14), renewing (Titus 3:5), transformation (2 Cor. 3:18), and conformation (Rom. 8:29). All these aspects of the Lord’s operation within us bring us toward New Jerusalem.

The final step of this process is glorification (Rom. 8:17) by which our mortal body, the body of our humiliation, may “be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21). This will bring forth New Jerusalem as the composition of all the glorified believers with the glorifying God. This is what John saw and reported to us in Revelation 21–22.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of my posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

God’s Great Salvation unto New Jerusalem

Here is more about New Jerusalem from Affirmation & Critique,* The New Jerusalem—The Consummation of God’s Work in Humanity (by David Yoon):

New JerusalemThroughout church history, the mystery of God’s purpose and that of man’s destiny have been a continuous source for debate and discussion among Christians. According to the divine revelation in the Holy Scriptures, the ultimate answer to these two mysteries is presented in the final vision of the Bible—the vision of the New Jerusalem, the holy city. This vision, described in Revelation 21 and 22, concludes the entire Scriptures and completes the progression of the divine revelation concerning God and His interaction with humankind. As the consummating vision in the Bible, the New Jerusalem unveils the ultimate issue of God’s work upon His elect, the final state of their perfection through their participation in His great salvation (Heb. 2:3). The accomplishment of God’s purpose and the fulfillment of humanity’s destiny culminate and converge in the New Jerusalem.

As stated here, New Jerusalem is the ultimate issue of God’s work in His people. This work includes His foreknowledge, selection, and predestination in eternity past; the creation of man; redemption by Jesus Christ; proclaiming of the gospel; our regeneration, transformation, and glorification; and the building up of the Body of Christ which is the house of the living God, the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

All the steps from eternity through redemption are outside of us. Beginning from regeneration, the Triune God’s work upon us is His work in us: the Father— “it is God who operates in you” (Phil. 2:13), the Son— “Christ may make His home in your hearts” (Eph. 3:17), and the Spirit—He gives life “through His Spirit who indwells you” (Rom. 8:11).

Also, the building up of the Body of Christ is by our growth in life—the life which is Christ in us. Our growth is His increase within us. Eventually, Christ will come “to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10). This completes the Triune God’s work in us and causes us to match New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God.”

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, Consummation of Hope (2)

The hope of God’s calling includes New Jerusalem. This hope is not our own wish; we received this hope from God. His word encourages us “to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

New JerusalemAs unbelievers we were “apart from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). With Christ we have God and we have hope.

By believing into Jesus Christ, we were born again. We were regenerated unto a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). This is the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2). Our hope is firmly rooted in the eternal life, the unchanging life which is God in Christ Jesus. We can never be let down in hoping for New Jerusalem.

This hope is laid up for us in the heavens (Colossians 1:5), from whence New Jerusalem will descend to be on the new earth (Revelation 21:2). This is also a good hope (2 Thessalonians 2:16) and a blessed hope (Titus 2:13).

Between now and New Jerusalem there are many other things of Christ and His salvation for which we hope. Gradually those steps of salvation and our further experience of Christ will come forth on our path unto God’s consummation, which is New Jerusalem.

May “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope in the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). This hope is not for outward things in daily living but it is for Christ’s return, our rapture and glorification, and ultimately for living with Him in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, Consummation of Hope

New JerusalemRomans 8:24-25 says, “For we were saved in hope. But a hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly await it through endurance.” In a spiritual sense we see New Jerusalem to some extent but we surely do not see it in full. And we do not see it physically. Hence, according to these verses in Romans, we hope and eagerly await for New Jerusalem.

Humanly, a hope is a wish about an uncertain future. We might say, I hope my car keeps running, or, We hope our new neighbors are friendly. In contrast, hope in the Bible is certain because it comes from God and is for something of God. Since God cannot lie and is unchanging, our hope is firm, full of certainty.

Paul prays that the Father would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation “the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling” (Ephesians 1:17-18). God’s calling of us has a hope. The footnote* on hope says,

The hope of God’s calling includes (1) Christ Himself and the salvation He will bring to us when He comes back (Col. 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:5, 9); (2) the rapturous transfer from the earthly and physical realm to the heavenly and spiritual sphere, plus glorification (Rom. 8:23-25, 30; Phil. 3:21); (3) the kingly enjoyment with Christ in the millennium (Rev. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:18); and (4) the consummate enjoyment of Christ in the New Jerusalem, with the universal and eternal blessings in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1-7; 22:1-5).

New Jerusalem, is the consummation of our hope. We hope for, expect, and eagerly await the fullest enjoyment of Christ in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* In The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

Sing and Praise in Sanctification unto Glory

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, the holy and glorious city, is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people. In Hebrews 2:10 God is leading many sons into glory, which glory will be fully seen in New Jerusalem.

The path to glory in Hebrews 2 (as also in Ephesians 5:26-27) includes our sanctification. Continuing from Hebrews 2:10, in verse 11 Jesus Christ is “He who sanctifies” and we are “those who are being sanctified.” This practical, experiential sanctification process is on our path to New Jerusalem.

The prior post presented prayer with thanksgiving for our cooperation with His sanctifying. We also should meet with other Christians because the word in Hebrews 2:11 about sanctifying continues directly into verse 12 about singing in church meetings: “Both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.’”

This is the firstborn Son’s praising of the Father within the Father’s many sons in the church meetings. When we, the many sons of God, meet as the church and praise the Father, the firstborn Son praises the Father in our praising. It is not that He praises the Father apart from us and alone; rather, He praises within us and with us through our praising. In our singing He sings hymns of praise to the Father. If then we do not sing, how can He sing? The more we sing to the Father, the more we enjoy His presence, His moving, His anointing, and His life-imparting within us. Thus we will grow in Him and be brought into His glorification above all.*

Let us praise the Father on our path through sanctification unto the glory of New Jerusalem.

* Note 3 on Hebrews 2:12 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

 

God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing

eastern Sierra near BishopHebrews 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?

There are two parts of the answer to this question. One* is that God’s view is eternal, whereas our view is temporal. If we ask one another, When did you receive the Lord Jesus? the answer from our side will be in the recent months or years or decades.

In contrast, God’s view is different:
• “God, being rich in mercy…made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies” (Ephesians 2:4-6)
• “those whom He predestinated, these He also called; and those whom He called, these He also justified; and those whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30)
According to Ephesians, God has made us alive, and seated us in the heavenlies when Jesus Christ resurrected and ascended. In Romans, God has already glorified us.

With God’s eternal view, He has already prepared the city New Jerusalem for those whom He has chosen, called, justified, made alive, and glorified. We need to see as God sees. Hebrews 11:16, God “has prepared a city for them” is in a chapter full of faith, not sight. “We walk by faith, not by sight/appearance” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Lord, cause our faith to grow (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

He has prepared a city for us. May we exercise our faith to say “amen” to what God has said. He has prepared and He will bring us on to New Jerusalem.

* The second will be in the next post.

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.

New Jerusalem: God Manifested in Humanity

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a living city and the consummation of all the spiritual blessings we have in the New Testament.

In 1 Timothy 3:15-16 Paul says, “I write that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth. And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh…”

The house of God today is a living house, the church of the living God. This house will grow to the city of God, New Jerusalem.

The sentences above from 1 Timothy are joined by And.* And ties the house of God to the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh. The New Testament begins with this manifestation, as seen in the early part of John 1 and in 1 John 1:1-3. This manifestation continues with the church as the house of the living God.

The New Testament manifestation of God consummates in New Jerusalem. The city has the glory of God; the glory has been wrought into the city. It is the ultimate manifestation of God.

We cannot say that the city is “God manifested in the flesh” for our fallen, sinful flesh will have been eliminated by our transfiguration at the Lord’s return (Philippians 3:21). However, we can say that New Jerusalem is God manifested in humanity. Those who believe in Jesus Christ will be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17, 30) when He returns, thereby allowing New Jerusalem to fully manifest God’s glory. Praise Him!

* Although And often does not appear in English Bibles, it is clearly in all Greek texts from which our English New Testaments are translated.

New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance

New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection and is the ultimate portion of our incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-4). First Corinthians 15 fuses resurrection and incorruption. In this chapter:

New Jerusalem Our physical body is buried in corruption (v. 35) but raised in incorruption (v. 42). “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body” (v. 43-44). Incorruption, glory, power, and spiritual are characteristics of New Jerusalem.

 Our physical body of flesh and blood, due to the presence of sin and death, is corrupt and “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (v. 50). In this verse to inherit the kingdom of God is to inherit incorruption. The ultimate stage of the kingdom of God is New Jerusalem with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” and in which their slaves “will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:1, 5).

 The dead in Christ “will be raised incorruptible” and the believers who are alive “will be changed” (v. 52). This resurrection and changing will be the transfiguration of our physical bodies, from humiliation to glory (Philippians 3:21), completing God’s process of sonship (Romans 8:23).

 “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.’ ” (v. 53-54) Death is the last enemy to be abolished (v. 26). What a glorious victory!

The devil, the source of sin and death, and death itself will be in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10, 14). New Jerusalem will be full of and constituted with sons of God in glory. It will be a city of glory, resurrection, and incorruption.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

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