We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem (2)

Ephesians 2:22 declares that we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit,” Colossians 2:7 that we are “being built up in Him,” and 1 Peter 2:5 that we “are being built up as a spiritual house.” Each of these are God’s current building work in us wich ultimately brings forth New Jerusalem.

Our entering into the New Jerusalem is not simply an entering in. It is God’s working in us to the point that we have become mature and have been thoroughly dealt with to become pure gold and precious stone. At that time we will spontaneously be in the New Jerusalem. Do not think that God will one day put us in the New Jerusalem even if we have not been thoroughly worked on by God and are still men of clay with very little of God’s life, the pure gold, inside of us….The correct concept in the Bible is that God is working in us with His life. This requires our cooperation to allow His life to transform us inwardly so that we may be changed from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).*

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:52 does says, “in the twinkling of an eye…the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” This sudden change is in our mortal bodies. But God’s intention is that this change follow our life-long transfor-mation. This process, including our renewing, dispositional sanctification, and transformation is gradual. “Let us be brought on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1).

Paul certainly was active in seeking and cooperating with the Lord and letting the Lord work in him. Yet after about 30 years as a Christian he was still pursuing (Phil. 3:7-14). May we follow this example, always being active for God’s current work to build New Jerusalem into us.

* This post begins the second half of a series with excerpts from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place and Bride

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The city is the bride and the Husband is Jesus Christ. This is the culmination of His redeeming and sanctifying the church “that He might present the church to Himself glorious” (Eph. 5:25-27).

The glorious church, the predecessor of New Jerusalem as the bride, is purified by the divine life that she be without “spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish.”

One side of the Lord’s sanctifying, renewing, and transforming work in us is that all the natural elements (e.g. spots, wrinkles) are removed. The other side is that the divine life and nature fills us and transforms us to be golden and precious. This produces New Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God and the bride of Christ.

When we come to Revelation 21, a city of pure gold appears, and a wall of precious stones is manifested. The street of this city is pure gold, and the outward wall is composed of precious stones. This city is a sign with a twofold significance. On one hand, this city signifies a place, because it is a city. On the other hand, it signifies a person, because it is a bride, the wife of the Lamb. In other words, this city is the dwelling place of God and all the saints, and it is also the issue of God’s work in man throughout the ages. This city is a man of glory.*

* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God (2)

In Genesis 2 we read that “a river went forth from Eden to water the garden.” In New Jerusalem John was shown “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.”

We see that the dwelling place God prepared for man in the beginning was a paradise and that the dwelling place God prepares for man in the end is also a paradise. Both are pleasant places, and their contents are also similar. The two paradises both have the tree of life and a river, and both have pure gold, pearl, and precious stones. This shows that the dwelling place God prepared for man in the beginning is the same as the one He prepares for man at the end. The two places have almost the same contents. This shows that what God did in the beginning was related to His ultimate purpose, and God’s ultimate purpose is revealed in what He did in the beginning.*

New JerusalemThe materials in the garden and in New Jerusalem  are the same. However, in the garden the materials are present but not built together as they are in the city.

God’s building work is going on through human history. In Genesis 12 Abraham’s tent was a small symbol of the dwelling place God desires. Later, the tabernacle and temple were much larger symbols and included precious materials. Today we are being built in reality to be “a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

By “coming to Him, a living stone” we also “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). New Jerusalem is the consummation of this living building, a living composition of God and all His people.


* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Much more about the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God

Genesis 2:9 – “out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden.”

Revelation 22:2 –  “on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.”

The dwelling place God prepared for man in the beginning was called the garden of Eden, and the one at the end is called the New Jerusalem. Eden means “pleasure.” Therefore, the garden of Eden was a paradise. The dwelling place at the end of the Bible—the New Jerusalem—is also a paradise. The paradise in Genesis 2 has the tree of life in it. Revelation 22 shows that the New Jerusalem also has the tree of life in it. Thus, the paradise in Genesis 2 is the New Jerusalem in Revelation 22.*

New JerusalemThere are many commonalities between the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem. The garden was and New Jerusalem will be the mutual dwelling place of God and His people. Today the reality of these two is our human spirit enlivened by the Spirit. In Christ Jesus we “are being built together into a dwell-ing place of God in spirit” (Eph. 2:22).

New Jerusalem will be the consummation of the building work in this age.

* This is the first of a series of posts with excerpts from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

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.

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