New Jerusalem: Satisfaction in Love and Rest in Expression

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” Jesus Christ, and also “the tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:2-3). These characteristics are not new at the conclusion of the Bible; they occur often throughout the Bible.

In both the Old and the New Testaments God likens His chosen people to a spouse (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32) and a dwelling place for Himself (Exo. 29:45-46; Num. 5:3; Ezek. 43:7-9; Psa. 68:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The spouse is for His satisfaction in love, and the dwelling place is for His rest in expression. Both aspects will be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem. In her, God will have the fullest satisfaction in love and the uttermost rest in expression for eternity.*

The love between God and His people is important throughout the Bible. The books of Moses are, on one hand, filled with laws, commands, and ordinances. On the other hand, they often speak about our heart and our loving God. The Lord Jesus repeated this in John 14:21, 23, coupling loving Him and keeping His commandments. Second John 6 says the same.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:17 we are “being rooted and grounded in love.” And 4:16 has “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” The building up of the Body of Christ in love is the preparation of New Jerusalem to be His loving bride. Likewise in Colossians 2:2 we are “knit together in love.”

Lord, increase our loving You daily. Make us those who “who have loved Your appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Bring us onward to New Jerusalem

* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem is the Mingling of The Triune God with His People

God has been seeking a dwelling with man since creation. Many stages of this dwelling developed through the Old and New Testaments, culminating in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAn early picture of this dwelling, this building, is Abraham’s tent with his altar in front of it, a miniature of the tabernacle with an altar built centuries later. At that time God told Moses, “Let them make a sanctuary for Me that I may dwell in their midst” (Exo. 25:8).

In the Old Testament, due to the fall of man, God could only dwell with man, not in man. But the redemption obtained by the Lord Jesus cleansed man.

In the New Testament God does not dwell ‘with man’ but ‘in man.’ Even before accomplishing redemption, the Lord Jesus spoke of this. “You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20). “Abide in Me and I in you” (John 15:4).

In the epistles many verses speak of us being in Christ and Christ being in us. This is mutual indwelling, also called coinherence or mingling. The ultimate stage of this coinherence is New Jerusalem.

The New Jerusalem is a full picture of the mingling of the Triune God with His redeemed creatures, the mingling of divinity with humanity. Now God is no longer merely a God outside of man. He is a God within man.

For eternity God will dwell in His people and His people in Him. This mutual dwelling is New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

Psalm 84 and New Jerusalem

Psalm 84 begins, “How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!” Because one designation of New Jerusalem is “the tabernacle of God,” (Rev. 21:3), the city is within the scope of this Psalm. Surely New Jerusalem will be lovely and attract our praise.

Psalm 84 touches New Jerusalem even though the authors, the sons of Korah, had no concept of the city. Verse 2 of the Psalm says, “My soul longs, indeed even faints, for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my flesh cry out to the living God.” May our soul long for New Jerusalem and may we cry out to the living God!

New JerusalemVerse 4, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will yet be praising You.” We will dwell in New Jerusalem for eternity and will be praising God eternally.

Verse 5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” Lord, plant the highways to Zion, to New Jerusalem, in our hearts!

The following verses speak of God being our blessings, our strength, and our shield. In verse 10 the psalmist longs even to be at the threshold of  God’s house (a precursor of New Jerusalem).

In verse 11, “Jehovah God is a sun and a shield; Jehovah gives grace and glory.” This is for today and for eternity.

Psalm 84 ends, “O Jehovah of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You.” May we trust in Him like the psalmist and set our hope on the unseen, eternal things of New Jerusalem.


To my readers: beginning this week and for the remainder of this year posts will be Mondays and Fridays but not Wednesdays.

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (4)

The new creation with New Jerusalem at its center is the conclusion of the Bible. This is God’s goal. A song* tells about God’s process to reach this goal. The fourth verse expresses God’s longing:

New JerusalemTis the city God hath built,
Tis the dwelling God requires,
Tis the new Jerusalem
Which fulfills His heart’s desires.

The fifth verse:

Tis the building of the saints,
Tis the blend of God and man,
Purposed by the Father’s will
Long before the world began.

“Saints” are all God’s people, sanctified by His working upon and in them. They are built together by the flow of God’s life (verse 3 of the song) as presented in Ephesians 4:16 and Colossians 2:19. This building work is what God purposed in eternity past.

New Jerusalem was planned by God before creation and is portrayed by all that is in Genesis 2. God has the foreknowledge of everything and every event in His creation, and in His wisdom He uses all of it to bring forth His desire. The sixth verse, speaking of the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1), begins:

In its center, as its pow’r,
Is the throne of Christ and God.

God is in Christ and Christ in God, as the Lord Jesus spoke to us in John 14:10-11. In their coinherence They have one throne, which is the center of New Jerusalem, out of which flows the river of water of life.

——
* music (composer unknown), words by Witness Lee

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

A Word from Moses

Recent posts are about New Jerusalem being a spiritual structure in the resurrection life. New Jerusalem is not a physical city. This is the pattern of God’s building throughout the New Testament.

In the Old Testament God had a physical tabernacle and temple, but these were merely pictures of the NT reality. Even in that age, Moses declared in Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” 

New JerusalemOur dwelling place, our home, both today and in New Jerusalem, is God Himself. Jesus made this clear in John 14:20, speaking about His soon-to-happen resurrection, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” And John 15:4, “Abide in Me and I in you.” We have a mutual indwelling.

How do we “know”? First John 2 tells us that we know because of the love of God in us, with which we love God, and because of the moving of the Holy Spirit in us. Lord, stir Your love in me and move within me every day! 

God in Jesus Christ dwells in us and we dwell in Him. This is true no matter what our physical location is. Paul, in prison, wrote several epistles which speak of Christ in us and us in Christ. This is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. It is also our training, our preparation to be a proper and mature constituent of New Jerusalem.

See also Where is New Jerusalem ?

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (9-10)

Eight verses of a song link features of the garden of Eden with characteristics of New Jerusalem. The last two verses of this song focus entirely on New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe city is God’s building work replete,
A composition of the justified;
A habitation it affords to God
And is to Christ His own beloved bride.

’Tis God’s expression, ultimate and full,
Corporate and universal, marvelous;
God’s glory it completely manifests,
And is Christ’s counterpart most glorious.

The precious materials in the garden portray the Triune God’s work in all the believers. By this work, we have been built together to become the city as God’s dwelling place.

This habitation, New Jerusalem, is also the beloved bride of Christ. All of this is revealed in Revelation 21:2 to 22:5. The city “has the glory of God” (21:11). It is the ultimate city which cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:14), to be God’s full and eternal expression.

New Jerusalem is a corporate and universal entity, composed of all God’s people throughout the ages. As the habitation and the expression, New Jerusalem satisfies God the Father. And as the bride, the city satisfies Christ the Son.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (6)

Genesis 1–2 presents many pictures. The reality of these is in the New Testament and their consummation is New Jerusalem. A song couples these two ends of the Bible. Verse 5 of the song is about the tree of life in the garden of Eden but outside of man. Verse 6:

But in the city glorious the tree
Within the corporate “man” doth grow, thereby
Revealing Christ Himself as life divine
New JerusalemBeing to man his inward life supply.

In New Jerusalem is “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (Rev. 22:2). This is Jesus Christ, who is “the life” to become, through death and resurrection, “our life” (Col. 3:4).

As the reality of the bread of life, He is our daily nourishment that we may “live because of Him.” We, like Paul, should be able to declare “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).

The song says the tree grows within the “corporate man.” This is a reference to New Jerusalem, the culmination of all God’s building work. This work builds all the believers together. One reference to this is in Ephesians 2:22, “you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” New Jerusalem is God’s dwelling place.

In Romans 12, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” This is our position from the time we believe. Now, by Christ as our life supply, we grow in His life for the building up of the one Body, the “corporate man” which becomes New Jerusalem.

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

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Nothing Abominable in New Jerusalem

This continues occasional posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:8 declares, “But the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the false, their part will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

New JerusalemThis verse lists eight categories of people and actions which will not be in New Jerusalem. The verse begins but. This indicates a contrast. The prior phrase (21:7) is, “I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.” This indicates that the eight categories have not been born of God to be His sons.

The word to the Galatian believers (and to us) is, “you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” New Jerusalem is composed of all who are sons of God through faith. This includes the Old Testament people of faith. Hebrews 11:16 speaks about them: “they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

Revelation 21:27 is similar to 21:8, “anything common and he who makes an abomination and a lie shall by no means enter into it [New Jerusalem].” Verse 27 continues, “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life [will enter New Jerusalem].” Like son in 21:7, this word indicates that participation in New Jerusalem is a matter of life. Since the nations around New Jerusalem will bring their glory and honor into New Jerusalem (21:26), they too must be in the Lamb’s book of life.

Our goal is not merely to be saved from negative things, but to be built together in the eternal life for God’s dwelling today, which develops unto New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem

In the New Testament, stones signify living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, is in Him, the Cornerstone in resurrection (Eph. 2:20-21).

New Jerusalem In the natural realm, human beings are vessels of clay (Rom 9:21), earthen vessels (2 Cor 4:7). In contrast, New Jerusalem has no clay, no dirt, only precious materials. How then can men of clay participate in New Jerusalem?

The answer is that in regeneration, in resurrection, the Lord makes us stones. When the Lord Jesus first met Simon, He told Him, “You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).” Both Cephas (Aramaic*) and Peter (Greek) mean “stone.”

This change of name indicates a change of person, a change of constitution. In God’s salvation, the Lord transforms men of clay into stones for His building.

Peter tells us “Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem. We become living stones by coming to Jesus Christ mot only once but by coming to Him continually.

As we come to Him, he infuses us with His stone nature, reconstituting us from clay to stone. This builds us together as God’s spiritual house and prepares us for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling. In the context of Peter’s epistle, our “coming to Him” involves putting away evil things (2:1) and holding to His living and abiding word (1:22-25, 2:2-3). This is our path to New Jerusalem.

*The common language in Judea and Galilee in the first century.

Righteousness Dwells in the New Creation

According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). The new creation, with new heavens and earth, includes New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2).

In my recent New Testament reading I was touched by “dwells.” The Greek word (κατοΙκεω) appears over 40 times in the New Testament. It is always used for living people who are at home in a place. Examples:
• He [Joseph] came and settled in a city called Nazareth, Matthew 2:23
• Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, Acts 2:5
• All those dwelling in Asia heard the word of the Lord, Acts 19:10
• By faith he [Abraham] dwelt as a foreigner in the land of promise, Hebrews 11:9

New JerusalemThe same sense of dwelling is used in regard to God: “God…being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24), and “in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).

The Greek word is also applied to the Triune God in us: “Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17) and “the Spirit, whom He has caused to dwell in us” (James 4:5).

In light of the usage of this word everywhere else in the New Testament, to say that righteousness dwells in the new creation means that this righteousness is alive. We do not use dwell with inanimate objects; for example, we never say that a table dwells in our dining room.

Christ is “the Righteous” (1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:1). He is on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new creation. I believe that His presence and the righteousness of His person, radiating out from New Jerusalem, is the righteousness which dwells in the new creation. And this Christ, who is our righteousness today (1 Cor. 1:30) is the righteousness of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Righteousness Dwells

Christ, God’s House, God’s City, the Earth

God intends that Christ have the preeminence in all things (Col. 1:18) and that Christ be all in all the believers (Col. 3:10-11). Our experience of Christ brings us into the reality of God’s house, which is the church today (1 Tim. 3:15) and New Jerusalem in eternity. The enlargement of God’s house is God’s city. Through the house and city God in Christ will reign over and bless the whole earth.

Here is a song about Christ, house, city, earth (music). This song captures the high points of messages on Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms (book)*.

www.hymnal.net:en:hymn:h:1224

Here is the summary of posts about New Jerusalem typified in Psalms, with a link to each.

Psalms with a shadow of New Jerusalem—an overview.

Psalms 2-22: New Jerusalem is a city in Christ’s resurrection.
Psalms 22-27: redeemed by Christ’s death and regenerated for New Jerusalem.
Psalms 29-46: shadows of New Jerusalem’s river of life.

Psalms 36-50: God’s lovingkindness and light, our singing and praising.
Psalms 66, 68: we rejoice in Christ’s victory.
Psalms 73, 84: we dwell in God’s house today; He will bring us to New Jerusalem’s glory.

Psalms 87-98: we dwell in Christ now and in eternity.
Psalms 100-107: we, in New Jerusalem, and the nations around the city, will praise.
Psalms 110-118: we go through gates of righteousness to praise God in His house.

Hebrews 2, quoting Psalm 8: today we do not see all that God has done but we see Jesus.
Psalm 118 (2): Christ is the Cornerstone; God’s building, now and eternally, is in Christ.
Psalm 118 (3): we rejoice, bless the Lord, are built together, & await His second coming.

Psalm 122, 132: we go with rejoicing to God’s house and city to enjoy Christ together.
Psalms 133-136: we are one in Christ Jesus and in His life, now and in New Jerusalem.
Psalms 135-147: O Jehovah, Yours is an eternal kingdom, manifested in New Jerusalem.

Psalms 138-145: Jehovah is much to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable.
Psalms 145-150: hallelujah…praise Him…praise Him…sing His praise.

This and many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 133-136

The Psalms portray New Jerusalem by speaking of Christ (who is on the throne at the center of New Jerusalem), God’s house and city (shadows of New Jerusalem) and the earth (to be replaced by the new earth).

Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity!” This is true today as we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Today it is good and pleasant to dwell in Him. Much more in New Jerusalem!

Psalm 133:3 says, “Like the dew of Hermon that came down upon the mountains of Zion. For there Jehovah commanded the blessing: life forever.” David touched the eternal, spiritual reality in writing this. We enjoy Christ our life now and New Jerusalem will be the utmost of this blessing of this life.

New JerusalemPsalm 135:1-3 say, “Hallelujah! Praise the name of Jehovah; praise Him, you servants of Jehovah, who stand in the house of Jehovah, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise Jehovah, for Jehovah is good; sing psalms to His name, for it is pleasant.”

Today we praise God and sing to His name while standing in His house, the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Tomorrow we will do more in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 136:1, “Give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is forever.” We can easily declare that He is good, if we reckon goodness for His purpose rather than for our human comfort or success. “All things work together for good to those who love God” that we may be conformed to the image of His Firstborn Son and be glorified to match New Jerusalem (Rom. 8:28-30).

In New Jerusalem we will see most clearly that “His lovingkindness is forever” and certainly we will give thanks.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

%d bloggers like this: