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.

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Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 122, 132

New JerusalemThe Psalms have many prophecies and shadows of Christ, God’s house and city, and their blessings to the whole earth. All of these point to Christ in New Jerusalem on the new earth.

Psalm 122:1-3 says,
I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go __to the house of Jehovah.
Our feet are standing within your gates, __O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has been built as a city that __has been compacted together.

The present reality of the house of God is the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Let us go with rejoicing to this house to enjoy Christ with all the believers. When we do this we are standing within the gates of God’s spiritual city. All of this is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. And, as Jerusalem was built, so the church now is being built now (e.g. Eph. 4:16, 1 Peter 2:5) as a forerunner of the builded New Jerusalem.

Psalm 132:13-14 says,
For Jehovah has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.
This is My resting place forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.

God has chosen Zion and we too should choose to long for God’s house and city. New Jerusalem will be consummation of both, where God and we also will dwell eternally.

Verses 15-16 say,
I will abundantly bless its provision; I will satisfy its poor with bread.
And its priests I will clothe with salvation, and its faithful ones will shout with a ringing shout.

Today the promise of abundant provision is fulfilled by the flow out from the Head, Christ (Col. 2:19) and the Spirit poured upon us richly (Titus 3:6). How much more in New Jerusalem with the river of life and tree of life! We participate in God’s salvation and shout for joy now with more in New Jerusalem.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 2-22

Here is the first group of verses from Psalms comparable to or shadows of characteristics of New Jerusalem. Key words for selecting these verses are Christ, house, city, earth.

Psalm 2:7-8  “I will recount the decree of Jehovah; He said to Me: You are My Son; today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give the nations as Your inheritance and the limits of the earth as Your possession.” This is quoted in Acts 13:33, where the begetting is the resurrection of Christ. This is the starting point for New Jerusalem, a city in resurrection. Ultimately, as the resurrected One, Christ will possess the earth.

New JerusalemPsalm 8:9, “O Jehovah our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” Like Psalm 2, this is another exuberant declaration of Christ’s reign over the whole earth in the kingdom age and in eternity.

Psalm 16:9, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy.” New Jerusalem is a city of life through which flows the river of life with the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2). And the city will be full of joy.

The words at the top of Psalm 22 mention the hind of the dawn. This is an allusion to Christ in resurrection (Song of Songs 2:8-9). This resurrected One is the reality of every aspect of New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

Although Christ and New Jerusalem were not plainly revealed to the psalmists, in their love for God they prophesied concerning Christ and expressed a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The first verse of a song about Christ, house, city, earth:
_We from the law to Christ have turned;
_To trust in Him by grace we’ve learned.
_And since His glory we’ve discerned
__We only care for Christ!
___We only care for Christ!
___We only care for Christ!
___And since His glory we’ve discerned
____We only care for Christ!

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Enlargement from Here to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is the summary of posts about the enlargement of God’s house, the church today, to God’s city, New Jerusalem. A link, a key sentence and a verse are presented for each post.

 First Timothy 3:15 tells us “the house of God is the church of the living God.” This house will be enlarged to be the city of God, New Jerusalem.

 The word church in the New Testament refers to the Lord’s corporate people, His mystical Body. In Ephesians 1:22-23 Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

The church as the manifestation of God in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15-16) is a foretaste of God manifest through New Jerusalem.

 The common New Testament Greek word for house means both the dwelling place and the dwellers; in 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house”—we are God’s dwelling place, His house.

 The convergence of house and household, dwelling place and dwellers, is the New Testament reality, both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem; in Ephesians 2:19 we are “members of the household of God.”

 The church as the house of God and New Jerusalem as the city of God are both living entities, the building together of God’s people; “you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16).

We are the living house of God; “Christ was faithful as a Son over His [God’s] house, whose house we are” (Heb. 3:6); in eternity we will be God’s city, New Jerusalem.

  New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies, where God meets with His people and speaks with us face to face; this is a great enlargement from the Old Testament holy of holies.

 The enlargement of God’s house is by Christ’s growth in us. Colossians 2:19 tells us that by our holding the Head, Christ, His Body, which is also the living house of God, “grows with the growth of God.”

 In Colossians 2:16–3:4 the growth is by our experiencing Christ as the reality, by holding Him as our Head, by our mind set on things of Christ, by being governed by Christ Himself, and by letting Christ our life live in us.

The growth is also seen in Ephesians 3:16-19; Christ makes home in our hearts as we experience His death and resurrection.

 Ephesians 3:17-19 continues; as a result of Christ’s home-making, we are rooted and grounded in love, we together apprehend His vastness, and we are filled unto all the fullness of God.

Then in Ephesians 3:20-21 the growth and filling in the prior verses result in glory to God in the church and then in more glory to him in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11), all enabled by God in Christ as the power operating in us.

The New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in humanity, first in Jesus Christ (John 1:14) and then greatly enlarged in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3).

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New Jerusalem is the Enlarged Tabernacle

New JerusalemWe are in a series of posts about the house of the living God, the church, being enlarged to the city of the living God, New Jerusalem.

The enlargement is by Christ growing in us. Recent posts are about this growth by Christ making His home in our hearts so that we can be filled to all the fullness of God resulting in glory to Him now in the church (Eph. 3:14-21) and ultimately in New Jerusalem.

This enlargement is also seen with the New Testament tabernacle—God dwelling in humanity. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then John 1:14 says, “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” The Word, God, came to tabernacle* (to dwell, to live) in man!

Revelation 21:2 speaks of New Jerusalem. The next verse continues, “I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them.” New Jerusalem is the eternal tabernacle of God.

At the beginning of the New Testament God tabernacled in the man Jesus. At the end of the New Testament God in Christ tabernacles in a corporate man composed of millions of His people. What a great enlargement from Jesus in John 1:14 to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:3!

*See more here: The New Testament Tabernacle is Alive
Related post: New Jerusalem is the Tabernacle of God

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New Jerusalem: God’s House Grown in Life

New JerusalemThe holy of holies is where God meets with us. The Old Testament holy of holies was a physical picture, with an enlargement from the tabernacle to the temple. The New Testament holy of holies is the reality, the dwelling place of the living God, which is being enlarged to New Jerusalem.

This enlargement is accomplished by Christ’s growth in us. Colossians 2:19 tells us that by our holding the Head, Christ, a rich supply from Him flows so that “all the Body grows with the growth of God.”

God in Himself is perfect, complete; He does not grow. But in us He needs to grow, to spread, to occupy more of our inner being.

A note* on grows in this verse says, “Growing is a matter of life, which is God Himself. As the Body of Christ, the church should not be deprived of Christ, who is the embodiment of God as the source of life. By holding Christ, the church grows with the growth of God, with the increase of God as life.” Part of the note* on growth says, “the growth of the Body depends on the growth of God, the increase of God’s element, in the Body.”

Today the church is the living house of the living God. In the future New Jerusalem will be the living city of the living God. The growth of God in all His people is the increase of His house from the church today to New Jerusalem.

The key to this growth is our holding to Christ as our Head, as our life, and as the reality of all the Old Testament types and pictures (Col. 2:16-17). The more Christ our life increases in us, the closer we are to the fullness of New Jerusalem.

* Notes (online) in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

New Jerusalem: Not a Physical Building

The church as the house of God and New Jerusalem as the city of God are both living entities, the building together of God’s people.

Referring to the Old Testament temple in Jerusalem, Acts 7:47 says, ” Solomon built Him a house.” However, this physical house was only a picture. Acts 7:48-50 continues, “Yet the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands, even as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feetNew Jerusalem. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has not My hand made all these things?'”

The phrase “the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands” is a most clear word that God’s house and eventually New Jerusalem will not be something physical. The spiritual and non-physical nature of God’s house and city is also shown in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

Acts 7:49-50 quotes from Isaiah 66:1-2. After the quoted words, Isaiah continues, “But to this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” God is looking to men, especially to men whose seek Him in spirit. It is with these men that God is building His spiritual house, as in Ephesians 2:22 and 1 Peter 2:5.

Today we should be “burning in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11) and “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). Our supply is “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). God’s spiritual house today is built with such humans through our cooperation with the Lord. This house will become the spiritual city, New Jerusalem.

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New Jerusalem: God’s Enlarged Household

Recent posts focus on “the house of God which is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15). This house is both the house of God and His family, His household. This convergence of house and household, dwelling place and dwellers, is the New Testament reality, both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe church is not a physical building; it is God’s New Testament people, in whom God dwells. In eternity New Jerusalem will not be a physical city; it will be all God’s people, in whom God dwells.

The convergence of house and household is seen in the Greek word oikos (prior post). Another Greek word commonly translated house is oikia (οικια). This word is also used for household:
• The father of a boy healed by Jesus “believed, he and his whole house” (John 4:53)
• “You know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia” (1 Cor. 16:15)
• “All the saints greet you, and especially those of Caesar’s household.” (Phil. 4:22)

Further verses about both the church and New Jerusalem being God’s people and His dwelling are:
• Galatians 6:10 “the household of the faith”
• Ephesians 2:19 we are “members of the household of God”
In Galatians 6:10, “The household of the faith refers to the children of promise (Gal. 4:28), all who are sons of God through faith in Christ (Gal. 3:26). All the believers in Christ together constitute a universal household, the great family of God.*”

God’s New Testament dwelling is consummated in New Jerusalem. God will expand and beautify what He is doing today to bring forth New Jerusalem. He will not return to the Old Testament picture of a physical building. New Jerusalem will be God’s eternal dwelling place in His people.

Related posts: Where is New Jerusalem? The Triune God and New Jerusalem

* Part of note 2 on Gal. 6:10 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem: God’s House Becomes a City

“The house of God is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15), a house which will be enlarged to be the city of the living God, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe common New Testament Greek word for house, oikos (οικος), is in 1 Timothy 3:15. This word can mean both the dwelling place and the dwellers. Both uses are in Acts 11:13-14. Cornelius “saw the angel standing in his house and saying, Send men to Joppa and send for Simon, who is surnamed Peter, who will speak words to you by which you shall be saved, you and all your house.”

Both uses are also in Acts 16:15, “when she [Lydia] was baptized, as well as her household, she entreated us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide.” Other verses where oikos clearly means the people, the dwellers:
• Acts 18:8, “Crispus…believed in the Lord with his whole household
• 1 Corinthians 1:16, “And I did baptize the household of Stephanas”
• Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah…prepared an ark for the salvation of his house
• 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house

The convergence of house and household, dwelling and dwellers, is the New Testament reality. We, God’s household, the members of His family, are also His house, His dwelling place. He lives in us and we live in Him (John 14:20). This is true both now and in New Jerusalem.

As 1 Peter 2:5 says, there is a spiritual building work in progress now. The consummation of this building will be New Jerusalem. Today we, God’s New Testament people, are His house, His household, His dwelling place. In eternity New Jerusalem, including all God’s people, will be His city, His household, His dwelling place.

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