To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever (2)

The phrase “Glory to our God and Father forever and ever,” found in many New Testament books, points to the eternal New Jerusalem which has the glory of God. The prior post looked at Paul’s epistles and Revelation 1.

New JerusalemFirst Peter twice ascribes both glory and might to God. In both portions Peter links present grace with eternal glory.

First Peter 4:10-11: “Each one, as he has received a gift, ministering it among yourselves as good stewards of the varied grace of God….that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.”

Here Peter reminds us that every believer has been gifted. Each gift is a manifestation of the Spirit who regenerated us and is now operating within us. Based on this inner moving, we should minister the Spirit to one another for the building up of the Body of Christ. The Body, as the forerunner of New Jerusalem, is New Jerusalem’s precursor in glorifying God.

First Peter 5:10-11: “The God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you. To Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.

Here Peter tells us that the God of all grace has called us into His eternal glory; that is, He has called us into New Jerusalem. Now He is gracing us in our sufferings to perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground us that His glory may be displayed through us.

To the God of all grace be the glory and the might now and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Ephesians 4:16 also speaks about the functioning of every believer for building up.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever

Last fall I wrote about glory to God forever and ever, based on the end of Romans and on the end of Jude. The phrase “forever and ever” points to the eternal New Jerusalem.

“And one of the seven angels…came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he 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, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

In recent reading I realized that glory to God forever and ever is in many New Testament books. Here are the verses from Paul’s epistles.
Romans 16:27: “To the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Galatians 1:4b-5: “Our God and Father to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:21: “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Philippians 4:20: “Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
2 Timothy 4:18: “The Lord…, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21: “the God of peace…to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

New JerusalemRevelation 1:5b-6 says, “To Him [Jesus Christ] who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.”

In these verses the glory is to our God and Father and also to Jesus Christ. This is because the two are one. The Lord told us, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:10). And in Revelation 22:1, 3 the one throne in New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

May the words of the Bible be ours, not only in New Jerusalem but also now, so that we declare to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

Praises in the Book of Revelation (4)

New JerusalemThe final praise I found in Revelation is verse 19:7: “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” This points directly to New Jerusalem, the wife of the Lamb.

In Revelation 21:9-11 the angel showed John the holy city, New Jerusalem, as the bride, the wife of the Lamb, having the glory of God. The bride making herself ready in 19:7 is her seeking and allowing Christ to saturate her so that she expresses Him as the glory of God.

On one hand, this seeking is our responsibility because 19:7 says that we, the wife, made ourself ready. On the other hand, we cannot do anything in ourselves. Our seeking is for the Father to strengthen us through His Spirit so that Christ may make home in our hearts (Eph. 3:14-17). It is also a pursuing of Christ so that He may live in us and be formed in us (Gal. 2:20, 4:19).

We present ourselves, seek, and pursue Christ that we may get ready with Him as our content and expression to match Him and be His wife, New Jerusalem.

Here are more posts about the rejoicing, exulting, glory, and the wife made ready in Revelation 19:7 and the related preparation of the bride in 21:2.
New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Cooperation with Christ Dwelling in Us
Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride
New Jerusalem Prepared as a Bride
Let Us Rejoice & Give the Glory to the Lamb
Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb Has Come
Rejoice, Exult for the Marriage of the Lamb
We, the Bride, Make Ourselves Ready
Love the Lord Jesus, Rejoice and Exult
New Jerusalem is Prepared as a Bride
New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned

Glory to God Now and in New Jerusalem

Jude 25, ” To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, might, and authority before all time and now and unto all eternity. Amen.” Because this verse includes “unto all eternity” it is speaking about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod our Savior and Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the Lamb of God, will be on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3). Because God through Jesus Christ is our Savior, we will share New Jerusalem with Him.

Jude 25 speaks of three time periods: “before all time and now and unto all eternity.” The “before” period has passed but we can cooperate with the Triune God now and unto eternity. What God seeks “unto all eternity” He wants to develop in us “now.”

“Glory, majesty, might, and authority” are four characteristics of the Triune God to be developed in us “now” and displayed “unto all eternity.” Glory is the expression in splendor; majesty, the greatness in honor; might, the strength in power; and authority, the power in ruling.*

Whether we understand these four characteristics or not, we know from Jude that God wants them expressed and we should be assured that the development of this expression is “through Jesus Christ.” We can pray simply, Lord, develop these characteristics in me and in the Christians around me.

Since “glory, majesty, might, and authority” will be to God in eternity, they certainly will be to God in New Jerusalem and in the whole new creation.

*A note in the Online Recovery Version New Testament

Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 21 (2)

In Revelation 21 we see New Jerusalem in the new creation. Many prior posts addressed accomplishments by Jesus Christ to bring us here. Now we see the same wonderful Person as the center of the new creation.

In verse 21:6 He says “I am the Alpha and the Omega*, the Beginning and the End. I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.” What He began in eternity past, and continued through His incarnation, human living, death, and resurrection, has come to an eternal conclusion.

New JerusalemEven in New Jerusalem, He is not only our Omega and End but He is still our Alpha and our Beginning. And the water of life He freely gives flows out of His throne (22:1).

In verses 9-11 New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” and is seen, “having the glory of God.” The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is the Husband and He is also the glory of New Jerusalem. This “glory of Christ” first comes to us in the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4) and develops in us to His second coming (2 Thes. 1:10), consummating in the glory of New Jerusalem.

Verses 12 to 21 describe New Jerusalem. In verse 22 John says, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” God and Jesus Christ are the living temple of the city. There is no physical temple.

In verse 23, “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.” God in Jesus Christ is the light of the city. There is no need for physical light. God in Christ as the real light is first seen in Matthew 4:13-16 and is consummated in illuminating New Jerusalem.

*The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

 

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   18-19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit, the central subject, of Revelation. Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to eliminate God’s enemies and to develop His corporate testimony, which consummates with New Jerusalem. Now we come to chapters 18-19.

Revelation 18:1 says, “I saw another Angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with His glory.” This Angel is Jesus Christ. He is the One with great authority. He is also the One who fills the earth with glory, by Himself here and later through New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIs Jesus Christ an Angel? Yes! The Greek word means a messenger, someone sent with a message. God sent Jesus Christ to us with the message of His salvation and His purpose.

After the judgement in chapter 18, chapter 19 begins with praise, “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.”

In 19:5 is the exhortation, “Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great.” We are His slaves both in this time and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3). A primary duty is to praise Him. In 19:6 the response to the exhortation is “the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.”

This voice of the multitude marks the start of the next age with the visible kingdom of God on earth, brought in by the prior judgements and by the visible second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the first stage of the visible kingdom; New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage.

Photo courtesy of Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

God Supplies Strength for God’s Glory

New JerusalemWe continue in verses with “forever and ever” because these point toward New Jerusalem, the “forever and ever” city.

First Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, as speaking oracles of God; if anyone ministers, as ministering out of the strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever.” Here both glory and might are forever and ever. The might links to “the strength which God supplies” and the result is glory.

First Peter 5:11 and Revelation 1:6 also declare, “To Him be the glory and the might forever and ever.” We in ourselves are not qualified to glorify God nor to participate in New Jerusalem. But He supplies us so that He can work in us and through us. This supply is seen also in Philippians 1:19-20:

“For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my 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.”

The Spirit bountifully supplies us in every kind of situation that we may magnify Christ with God’s boldness (not our own boldness). For this we pray for one another, per Paul’s word “your petition.” The river of water of life (Rev. 22:1) is the eternal bountiful supply, and New Jerusalem is the ultimate magnification of Christ.

Revelation 7:12 is the result of God’s rich and varied supply to us throughout our Christian life. “The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever.” In New Jerusalem we will eternally praise God in all these ways.

 

New Jerusalem: God’s Eternal Glory

New Jerusalem is a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). Romans 16:27 says, “To the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever.” Because the glory here is forever it points to New Jerusalem. Because this glory is the conclusion of Romans, it shows that the whole of Romans looks to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAfter writing the prior post, I began to wonder how often “glory forever and ever” is in the New Testament. Here are those written by Paul (Peter and John in later posts).
Galatians 1:5, “To whom be the glory forever and ever.”
Ephesians 3:21, “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever.”
Philippians 4:20, “Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever.
2 Timothy 4:18b, “to whom be the glory forever and ever.”
Hebrews 13:21b, “to Him be the glory forever and ever.”

These verses speak of glory to God, to our God and Father, and to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one glory because, as the Lord said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”

This eternal glory dwells in and is expressed by New Jerusalem, because New Jerusalem, as the conclusion of the Bible, is the consummation of all positive things in the Bible.

Additionally, Hebrews 1:8 says “But of the Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” This eternal throne is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3). One throne for both God and the Lamb also bespeaks their oneness.

To paraphrase the verses above, Glory be to our God and Father both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of US National Park Service.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever

The conclusion of Romans is “Now to Him…to the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (16:25-27) This anticipates New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

In its conclusion this book [Romans] …gives glory to the wise God. This unveils that all the matters discussed in this book, such as how God selects us, how He saves us from sin and death, how He redeems us and justifies us, how He makes us, sinners who were dead through and through, His divine sons, how He transfers us out of Adam into Christ, how He sanctifies and transforms us in Christ, how He makes us the members of Christ for the constituting of the Body of Christ, and how He causes us to be the local churches appearing in different localities as the expressions of the Body of Christ on the earth in this age — all these matters are planned, managed, and accomplished by God’s wisdom, in order that He, the unlimitedly rich Triune God, may be glorified, that is, that His incomparable glory may be completely and fully expressed through us.*

New JerusalemRomans 3:23 says that sin separated us from the glory of God. Nevertheless, God has worked in Christ to incorporate us with His glory.

This work, described in the excerpt above, includes redemption, regeneration, transfer from Adam to Christ, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and participation in the Body of Christ. These all conclude with glory to God in Romans 16:25-27, pointing to the glory of New Jerusalem.

This work is God “leading many sons into glory” (Heb. 2:10). However, glory is not only a realm into which we enter. Second Corinthians 3:18 says we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” and 2 Thessalonians 1:10 says our Lord Jesus Christ “comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed.” God’s operation in us today is bringing forth New Jerusalem’s glory.

*From the footnote on Romans 16:27 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL-Caltech.

Where Our Heart is Determines Our Expectations for New Jerusalem

Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 say, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In these chapters the Lord Jesus tells us that our treasure is either earthly or heavenly. If we treasure earthly things, our heart will be earthly; if we treasure heavenly things, our heart will be heavenly. The condition of our heart determines our view of and expectations about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIf we treasure earthly things, we will be people of anxiety, as in Matthew 6:24-34. In this anxious condition we are very susceptible and responsive to descriptions of New Jerusalem as having streets of material gold, physical mansions, very pleasant gardens, superb recreational facilities, etc.

In contrast, New Jerusalem is heavenly. Jesus Christ tells us that New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 3:12). New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of God dwelling in man and man dwelling in God—John 15:4a, “Abide in Me and I in you.”

In New Jerusalem the Triune God is our all. The city “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11), “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22), “its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23), the throne of God and the Lamb, the river of life (the Spirit), and the tree of life (Christ as our nourishment) are in the city (22:1-2), and we will see His face (22:4).

If our heart is set on heavenly things, we realize that these blessings are much more than material, corruptible riches. If our heart is set on earthly things, they become a veil, and we cannot see the reality of New Jerusalem. But, there is a promise for today: “Whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Lord, I turn my heart to You now; save me from the veils to have a clear view of You and of New Jerusalem.

 

We Come Forward to Heavenly Jerusalem

Glory to God, Now and New Jerusalem

In my Bible reading, I came to Jude. Verses 24-25 say, “But to Him who is able to guard you from stumbling and to set you before His glory without blemish in exultation, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, might, and authority before all time and now and unto all eternity. Amen.”

New JerusalemThe phrase “before His glory” reminded me of New Jerusalem, which radiates the glory of God, and the throne in New Jerusalem which is the source of the radiant glory. Of course, “before His glory” is also when the Lord returns visibly (Matt. 25:31) and in His kingdom.

God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord brings us to the glory “without blemish.” For us to be in the glory and to be glorious, we must be without blemish.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us “to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” God is faithful to accomplish what He has said! Ephesians 5:25-27 tell us that Jesus Christ gave Himself for the church (in death), that He is washing the church in the water in His word (now), and that (at His return) He will “present the church to Himself glorious…without blemish.” This is His operating to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

We cannot be glorious nor be without blemish by our own effort, but we can cooperate with His operation. Philippians 2:12-15 speak of our “working out our own salvation” by cooperating with “God who operates in us” that we may be “children of God without blemish” shining in the world. The shining is a precursor to the glory of New Jerusalem.

Peter also speaks of our cooperation. He says that since we are expecting new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13), including New Jerusalem, we should “be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and without blemish” (3:14).

We thank our God and Savior for choosing us, dying for us, washing us, operating in us, and guarding us. May He now keep us cooperating daily. To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory!

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory

New Jerusalem is a city, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). This glory is not monotone but is an exceedingly rich glory.

Colossians 1:27 speaks of “the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The mystery of God’s eternal purpose is Christ in us. This mystery comes with riches of glory. Today we do not realize so much of the riches nor is the glory manifested.

New JerusalemGod willed to make known this mystery to His believers. His making known to us is in this age. His making known to the whole earth will be in the next age and through New Jerusalem.

Paul prayed in Ephesians 1 for our seeing and in Ephesians 3 he prayed for the working out of this, that the Father (v. 14) “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16). We need to be strengthened and God is willing to strengthen us, not a little but “according to the riches of His glory.”

This strengthening results in Christ making home in our hearts so that get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17) which enables us to corporately apprehend the vastness of Christ (v. 18), leading to being “filled unto all the fulness of God” (v.19). The riches of the glory, both now and with New Jerusalem, cannot be separated from Christ Himself.

The filling spoken of in Ephesians 3 for this age is a precursor to  New Jerusalem. The process begins with our being strengthened according to the riches of God’s glory and results in the expression of these riches. This process is not visible to natural eyes, but the result will be visible to everyone in the new creation.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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