New Jerusalem, the Eternal City (2)

New Jerusalem is eternal and all the positive eternal things in the New Testament are related to it. Christ’s eternal redemption cleansed us and His resurrection released the eternal life to us. The eternal redemption is practical into us through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14) and the eternal life is Christ Himself living in us.

New JerusalemThe blood Christ shed for eternal redemption is “the blood of an eternal covenant” (Heb. 13:20). In this covenant all that Christ is and all He has accomplished is guaranteed to us. And He becomes “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9).

Because “Christ, through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God,” His blood acts to “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). We serve God now and will serve Him in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3). While we are serving, we have the gift of “eternal comfort and good hope in grace” (2 Thes. 2:17).

Outwardly we have trials and sufferings but these do not negate the eternal salvation. Rather, “our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). Based on this vision, Paul said, “I endure all things for the sake of the chosen ones, that they themselves also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10).

Salvation with eternal glory brings glory into us and brings us to New Jerusalem, the city of glory.


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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Photo by S.L. Wong via pexels.com.

New Jerusalem, the Eternal City

New Jerusalem is an eternal city. All the positive eternal things in the New Testament point toward this city. This is the first of a few posts looking at these eternal things.

Romans 16:26 speaks about “the eternal God.” And Ephesians 3:11 says that this God has an eternal purpose. God has a definite purpose underlying His creation of the universe. This purpose is to gain a corporate humanity for a wonderful expression of Himself.

God’s purpose is first indicated in Genesis 1:26, where man was made in the image of God. This man fell away from God but God’s purpose is eternal. God came in the man Jesus and through death created a new man (Eph. 2:15). This new man fulfills God’s purpose and expresses God here on earth now and becomes New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

New JerusalemThe new man expresses the eternal God by having the eternal life. This eternal life is emphasized in John and 1 John and is also touched in about 20 other verses in multiple New Testament books.

This eternal life comes to us through “the eternal redemption” accomplished by Christ shedding blood on the cross and bringing it into the heavenly holy of holies (Heb. 9:12) as the reality of Leviticus 16.

The Lamb of God on the throne of New Jerusalem reminds us of the eternal redemption, and the river of water of life is the eternal life flowing to supply the entire city, the city of life, for eternity.

Betrothed to Christ as a Pure Virgin for New Jerusalem

Two thousand years ago John saw “New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” John had been carried away in spirit to have this eternal view, unlimited by time*. In our human life in time, we need to cooperate with the Spirit for the preparation of the bride by the growth, perfecting, and renewing in Ephesians and Colossians.

Another aspect of the preparation of the bride is in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” For this, Paul urges us to stay with “the simplicity and the purity toward Christ” (v. 3). We hold to the Jesus we received, the Spirit who regenerated us, and the gospel presented to us in the Bible (v. 4).

New JerusalemMatthew 5 also speaks of the pure in heart. To be pure in heart is to be single in purpose, to have the single goal of accomplishing God’s will for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31). Ultimately the goal and the glory are New Jerusalem.

Our pure heart is also in 2 Timothy 2:22, “flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” A pure heart is a single heart without mixture, a heart that seeks only the Lord and takes the Lord as the unique goal.

Lord, draw us daily to Yourself as our unique goal to purify us unto New Jerusalem.


Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* More on seeing New Jerusalem in spirit:
See New Jerusalem with a Spirit of Faith
In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

The Glories of Christ

Recent posts included these (and more) verses about glory:
• Col. 1:27 – Christ in us is the hope of glory.
• Matt. 16:27 – The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels.
• Eph. 5:27 – Christ will present the church to Himself glorious.
• Rev. 21:11 – New Jerusalem has the glory of God

New JerusalemThese verses might cause us to think that glory is general and always the same, but Peter once uses the plural glories. “The prophets…sought and searched diligently, searching into what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ in them was making clear, testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glories after these” (1 Peter 1:10-11).

A footnote in the Online Recovery Version NT shows us (with many verse references) that these are the glories of Christ 1) in His resurrection, 2) in His ascension, 3) in His second coming, and 4) in His reign. “To Him be the glory forever and ever.”

A summary of recent posts about Christ as our hope of glory now, His second coming in glory, and our glorification:
The Lord’s Second Coming and Glorification of the Bride
Two Aspects of Redemption on Our Path to New Jerusalem (one) (two)
Full Sonship, the Redemption of Our Body
___a hymn by Witness Lee about this hope and redemption (music):
Redemption unto New Jerusalem (one), (two), (three), (four)

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

Redemption unto New Jerusalem (2)

At the Lord’s second coming He will redeem our physical body, bringing us into full sonship (Rom. 8:23), which is to transfigure our mortal body to be like His body of glory (Phil. 3:21). This is a step on our path to the city of glory, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe graphic has the second verse of the song about this redemption. Christ is our hope of glory today (Col. 1). He is also the mystery of God (Col. 2:2).

The song says “He shares with me God’s fulness.” This is Colossians 2:9-10, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you have been made full in Him.” John 1:16 is similar, “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” More about the fullness.

Jesus Christ is God; He is in us and we are in Him (John 14:20). We are joined to Him and one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17). The more we are renewed and transformed in our soul, the more we are blended with God. Our transformation is “from glory to glory” and this glory is fully God’s expression, both now and unto New Jerusalem.

In New Jerusalem we will share God’s glory with Him forever. The city “has the glory of God” and “the glory of God illumines it.” This is our wonderful destiny.

The Lord Jesus Will Come in Glory and the Church Will Be Glorious

In Matthew the Lord Jesus tells us three times that He will come again in glory.
• “The Son of Man is to come in the glory of His Father with His angels.” (16:27)
• “See the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (24:30)
• “The Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him.” (25:31)

New JerusalemOur Lord Jesus Christ comes again not only in glory, but also “to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed.” At that time He will “present the church to Himself glorious…holy and without blemish.”

He will come in glory and the church will be glorious. The two will match, as Bridegroom and bride.

This matching in glory will consummate in New Jerusalem. An angel said to John, “Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb….the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:9-11).

The glory of the Lord’s coming and the glorious church become, for eternity, the glorious 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.” New Jerusalem is glorious because the glory of God enlightens it and radiates through it.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 4

Here is the last verse of a song about Christ’s love for His wife, initially the church and eternally New Jerusalem. This part of the song begins with resurrection. Both the church and New Jerusalem are in resurrection because they exist solely in and with the resurrection life of Christ.

New Jerusalem“She beholds her Bridegroom…” This is like Hebrews 12:1-2, let us “run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” He is both the Initiator and the Completer. We are not capable of becoming the glorious church and city, but He will complete this process in us. Thank Him.

“His glory floods her heart.” This is happening today. In 2 Corinthians 3 we turn our hearts to the Lord and “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” (v. 18).

His open appearing in glory will be at His second coming: “they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). But His spiritual appearing is available to us now as we turn our hearts and look away to Him.

Eventually His bride will be raptured and then come down out of heaven, “the bride, the wife of the Lamb….the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:9-11).

 

The Gospel Points toward New Jerusalem

The New Testament is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. The New Testament begins with John’s proclamation of the gospel and ends with New Jerusalem. These two end points are connected. Many aspects of this gospel correspond to or point toward characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a key point from, and a link to, each of the recent posts on the gospel.

New Jerusalem

In 1 Timothy 1 we read of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” This is the good news that God is being glorified in Christ Jesus and through all His believers built together to become New Jerusalem.

God called us through the gospel “unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14). Ultimately this glory radiates from our Lord through New Jerusalem.

“The gospel of peace” (Acts 10:36) points to New Jerusalem because Jerusalem means The Foundation of Peace.

“The gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23) is for the inward reality of His kingdom now, the manifestation in the next age, and the eternal kingdom of New Jerusalem.

Paul was “announcing Jesus and the resurrection as the gospel” (Acts 17:18). We have been regenerated through the resurrection of Jesus Christ “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” This wonderful inheritance includes everything related to New Jerusalem.

The hope of the gospel” is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:23, 27). This too points to the glory of New Jerusalem.

The gospel of the grace of God and the word of His grace, build us up and give us the inheritance among all who have been sanctified. This inheritance is ultimately New Jerusalem, the holy city for which we have been sanctified.

Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). New Jerusalem is a city of life and of incorruption.

We receive resurrection life and incorruption through the promise of the gospel.

The gospel is “of Jesus,” “of Jesus Christ,” and “of Christ.” He is the center of the gospel and He will be the center of New Jerusalem. He is the same yesterday, today, and eternally (Heb. 13:8).

The unsearchable riches of Christ are the gospel in Ephesians 3. God’s intention is that these riches fill us and be expressed through us.

Photo by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, courtesy of NASA and ESA.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ as the Gospel, Now and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemPaul: “I became a minister [of the gospel] according to the gift of the grace of God which was given to me according to the operation of His power. To me…was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:7-8).

In God’s view the gospel is much more than a response to our need. The gospel is to bring us from our fallen condition back to God, to regenerate us with His life, to fully renew us through the course of our Christian life, and to build us together with other believers. This accomplishes God’s eternal purpose, ultimately bringing forth New Jerusalem.

For all these steps we surely need God’s mercy and compassion but we also need much more. We need the riches of Christ. God’s intention is to strengthen us into our inner man, our regenerated spirit, so that Christ may make His home in our heart. Then we are rooted and grounded in His love and can lay hold of these unsearchable riches. Eventually we are filled unto all the fullness of God and the outcome is glory to God. This is the gospel presented in Ephesians 3.

When we are filled with God, His glory shines out. This is His intention. He is working to fill us day by day with these unsearchable riches. Eventually we all will be filled and New Jerusalem will radiate the glory of God eternally.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem

The Hope of the Gospel and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMany aspects of the gospel correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Colossians 1:23 speaks of “the hope of the gospel.” Our hope is not a thing or a success or a position. Ephesians 2:12 says that when we were “apart from Christ” we had no hope. In contrast to this, Christ Himself and all that He will accomplish in us is our hope.

Colossians 1:27 tells us that Christ in us is our hope of glory. He was glorified through death and resurrection. Through this He also become our Redeemer and our Life. Now we are being transformed to glory. When we see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27) our mortal body will be conformed to the body of His glory.

The glory which is our hope is not merely an external glory into which we will enter. Rather, it is Christ in us growing/spreading in our being to glorify us with Himself. At His return this hope will be fulfilled.

When Christ comes again, “He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). He will be in glory and will be glorified in the believers at that time, and in the manifestation of His kingdom, and eternally in New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

The Gospel of the Kingdom and New Jerusalem

The gospel is of glory and of peace; both link New Jerusalem to the gospel. The gospel is also “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23). This is another link between the gospel and the eternal kingdom of God which is the new creation with God’s throne at its center, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Matthew 24:14 the Lord Jesus says, “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” 

The gospel to every nation is based on the Lord’s accomplishment on the cross, as declared in the song of praise to Him in Revelation 5:9, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for 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; and they will reign on the earth.”

Through death the Lord purchased some from every nation and made us all priests to God. Now the gospel goes out to every nation to proclaim this accomplishment. This gospel brings us into the priesthood now (1 Peter 2:5, 9) and in New Jerusalem.

The priesthood purchased out of every nation is also a kingdom. Like the priesthood, the kingdom is both now and eternally in New Jerusalem. This is the eternal goal of the gospel of the kingdom.

Additional verses about the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel to the nations include Mark 13:10, Luke 4:43, 16:16, Acts 8:12, and Gal. 3:8.

The Gospel of Glory and New Jerusalem (2)

The gospel and New Jerusalem are linked. The consummation of “the gospel of the glory of Christ” is New Jerusalem. 

New JerusalemGod chose us “unto salvation” (2 Thes. 2:13) and He also called us through the gospel “unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 14). Our salvation includes forgiveness of sins, justification, and reconciliation to God, but it also includes much more. It includes all that Jesus Christ is and everything that is in New Jerusalem.

God called us through the gospel to receive Jesus Christ as our life and to have Him as our life develop His glory within us (2 Thes. 1:10). When the Lord returns, He will come in glory. At the same time, the development of glory within us will be completed. He “will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil 3:21). Thus, we will all be glorious to match New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

The gospel is also “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11).

The gospel with which the apostle Paul was entrusted is the effulgence of the glory of the blessed God. By dispensing God’s life and nature in Christ into God’s chosen people, this gospel shines forth God’s glory, in which God is blessed among His people.*

New Jerusalem will shine with the glory of God to bless God and to manifest God as the blessing to the entire new creation.

* Part of footnote 1 on 1 Tim. 1:11 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

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