Two Currents, Each with a City

Revelation 17 begins with an angel speaking to John, “Come here; I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits upon the many waters.” In verse 5 she is named Babylon the Great. In Revelation 21:2 John says, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem.”

New JerusalemThroughout the Scriptures there are two currents with two cities. One current is of Satan, and the other is of God. With the current of Satan there is a city called Babylon the Great (17:5), and with the current of God there is the holy city, New Jerusalem (21:2). The book of Revelation unveils these two cities. Babylon the Great is none other than the mingling of Satan with the human race. In the eyes of God, Babylon consists of all the worldly people. On the other hand, the New Jerusalem is the mingling of God with His people.*

The current of Satan is visible from Genesis 3 and concludes in Revelation 20 when he was cast into the lake of fire. The current of God was hidden in Him from eternity (Rom. 16:25). It’s manifestation begins with His creation of the universe, which focuses on the heavens, the earth, and the spirit of man (Zech. 12:1).

God’s current was a mystery, hidden from man before the incarnation of His Son, but now it has been made known (Eph. 1:9). Paul labored “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God” (Eph. 3:9). New Jerusalem is the consummation of this mystery.

* Excerpt from The Vision of God’s Building by Witness Lee, chapter 18, © LSM

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Move from Eternity to Eternity

Peter’s two epistles present God’s move from eternity to eternity. Here is a brief look.

In eternity, before creation, God had purposed something in Himself. In His infinite wisdom God knew us before creation and chose us for Himself (1 P 1:2). Something of God’s purpose and our salvation was unveiled through the prophets (1 P 1:10-12).

Jesus Christ was manifested (1 P 1:20), transfigured (2 P 1:16-18), shed His blood for our redemption (1 P 1:18-19, 2:24), and resurrected (1 P 1:3). He is the cornerstone for God’s eternal building (1 P 2:6), and He will come again as the rising Sun (2 P 1:19).

Peter writes about our receiving God’s forgiveness (1 P 1:2), regeneration (1 P 1:3, 23), and baptism (1 P 3:21). He speaks of God’s grace to us (1 P 1:2, 5:12) and our manner of life as Christians including relationships with one another, rejecting worldly and fleshly living to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), being subject to the government of God while we suffer in this time, and God’s judgement beginning with His household (1 P 4:17).

New JerusalemPeter unveils the day of judgement with the change from the old creation to the new
(2 P 3:10-13). He does not mention New Jerusalem but many phrases point to it.

We have been regenerated “unto a living hope,” and “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 P 1:3-4). Our ultimate inheritance is to be part of New Jerusalem.

Second Peter 1:1-4 present many blessings from God to us. By these we exercise to develop a life full of Christian virtues (1:5-11). Eventually, “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly and bountifully supplied to you” (1:11). New Jerusalem is the consummate realization of this eternal kingdom.

Finally, to God “be the glory and the might forever and ever” (1 P 5:11) and to Jesus Christ “be the glory both now and unto the day of eternity” (2 P 3:18). Both point to New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

 

 

 

New Jerusalem is the Totality of the Divine Sonship

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:5-7 “He who sits on the throne said…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. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.”

Revelation 21:3-4 are God’s blessings to the nations on the new earth around New Jerusalem. Verses 5 to 7 are God’s blessings on His sons who are constituted into New Jerusalem.

Verse 7 tells us that the sons of God will inherit “these things.” These things are the spring and the water of life mentioned in verse 6. The spring and the water of life will be our inheritance for our eternal enjoyment. The sons of God are the components of the New Jerusalem. As such, they are a different category from the peoples, the restored nations.

In 21:7 we have the conclusion of the entire revelation in the New Testament concerning the divine sonship. Ephesians 1:5 says that we were predestinated unto sonship; Romans 8:29, that we are being conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son; and Hebrews 2:10, that God is leading many sons into glory. Hence, the New Testament reveals that God’s intention is to produce sons and that the New Jerusalem is the totality of the divine sonship.*

New Jerusalem as the totality of the divine sonship is a corporate man mingled with the Triune God to be His expression as the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.

* The Conclusion of the New Testament, vol. 16, chapter 11, by Witness Lee, © LSM


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.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Multifarious Wisdom Made Known

Ephesians 3 tells us that God wants to enlighten us concerning His eternal purpose. God “created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

New JerusalemGod’s purpose is to display His magnificent wisdom now through the church and much more to display it through New Jerusalem for eternity.

New Jerusalem shines with the glory of God. This is not merely a brightness but a display of all that God is and has accomplished.

God has forgiven our sins but that is not His goal. Forgiveness cleanses us to receive His eternal life. But that is not the goal. Eternal life is in us to grow and build us together as the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15), the church, through which God is manifested in humanity.

Today the world is full of corruption, wars, murders, deceit, homelessness, and many more problems. All these negative things are the dark background for the manifestation of God’s infinite wisdom. If the entire human situation were simple, smooth, and clean, such wisdom would not be needed.

God has allowed Satan some freedom to work in humanity but eventually all Satan will be able to do is to provide the opportunity for God to manifest His wisdom. God wants this today in the church and will fully realize it in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (3)

A song* about God’s purpose begins with God in Christ becoming life to man so that God and man can be united for God’s eternal glory, expressed through New Jerusalem. The third verse:

New JerusalemBy the flow of life divine,
Man becomes a precious stone
Fit for building God’s abode,
That His glory might be known.

Through His redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection (1 Peter 1:3), Jesus Christ has become our life. Now, as the song says, this life wants to flow, as pictured by the river of life in Genesis 2.

The flow of life transforms us (2 Cor. 3:18) to become precious stones. This is seen in Old Testament symbolism by the gold, bdellium, and onyx stone brought forth by the river in Genesis 2. We who believe into Him are the real stones for God’s living building. As Peter tells us, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).

This verse in Peter matches, and undergirds, the second and third lines of the song’s verse above. Peter goes on to say we were chosen and acquired so that “you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (v. 2:9). This is to glorify God now (and much more in New Jerusalem).

The purpose of becoming stones is the building and the goal of the building work is that God’s glory might be known. Ephesians speaks much about building and 3:21 says, “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever.” Glory to God forever is New Jerusalem “having the glory of God.”

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

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (2)

God is eternal. He created time and the universe because He has a plan and a goal. The center of His goal, in Revelation 21–22, is New Jerusalem, His eternal expression.

New JerusalemA song (musicwords by Witness Lee) presents highlights of God’s actions to accomplish His purpose, to arrive at New Jerusalem. Here are the second part of verses 1 and 2:

He to man is everything
That He might fulfill His plan.

God as life that he may take
And with Him have oneness true.

In the first verse God wants to be everything to man, but how? The second verse answers—God wants to be life to man. This is symbolized by the tree of life shown to Adam in Genesis 2 and plainly spoken by the Lord Jesus in John 3:15-16 and many verses in John 6. By His resurrection life, we can be in Him and He in us (John 14:20); this is God being one with man as the song states.

To believe into Jesus Christ is to receive Him as our eternal life and to become one with Him. “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:4) Christ is our life today and He will appear in glory. Then we will be glorified with Him.

He and we will be a corporate expression of God’s glory. This is New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Photo in Germany by Jenny Grosh.

God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (1)

The Bible concludes with the new heaven and new earth and New Jerusalem at their center. This is God’s desire and God’s goal. Humanly we do not always reach our goals but God is fully capable and He will reach exactly what He desires.

God’s purpose and goal is portrayed in the creation of man in Genesis 1 and the garden of Eden in Genesis 2, as described in posts on The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWe begin review of a song with highlights of God’s actions to accomplish His purpose, to arrive at New Jerusalem: the music (composer unknown) and the words (Witness Lee). Verse 1 begins:

Lo, the central thought of God
Is that He be one with man;

God created all the plants and animals “according to their own kind.” But in Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” This shows man’s special place in God’s creation. Man was created for God, so that God could work in and through man to reach His goal. Verse 2 begins:

Earthen vessel man was made-
Body, soul, and spirit too.

This is Genesis 2:7, “God formed man with the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” The three parts of man are also clearly in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete.” God uses all three parts of man as He brings forth New Jerusalem for His eternal exhibition.

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.

New Heaven and New Earth with Rejoicing

New JerusalemJohn tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…” (Rev. 21:1-2)

What John saw had already been promised centuries before. in Isaiah 65:17 God promises, “I am now creating new heavens and a new earth, and the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come up in the heart.” The new heavens and new earth are again promised in Isaiah 66:22.

What are the former things which will not be remembered? Isaiah 65:16 says, “the former troubles are forgotten.” In New Jerusalem the Lamb is on the throne. This surely indicates remembrance of His redemption. This fact together with Isaiah 65:16 suggests that we will remember everything related to bringing forth the new creation but will forget everything negative of the old creation.

In New Jerusalem we will remember Gold’s eternal purpose, His selection and predestination, His redemption, His impartation of eternal life, and all that His life accomplished in us. We, and the whole new creation, will also rejoice. God’s word in Isaiah 65:18 is, “rejoice and exult forever, in what I create, for I am now creating Jerusalem as an exultation and her people as a rejoicing.”

You might say that God’s promise was a long time ago and you haven’t seen anything. True, but God’s sense of time is not the same as ours. What He promises, He will achieve. We will see New Jerusalem at the center of the new heavens and new earth, and we will rejoice.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Heaven and New Earth

Revelation 21:1: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away.” God created the heavens and the earth for His purpose, but it is not until there are a new heaven and a new earth that New Jerusalem appears.

The new heaven and new earth are also in 2 Peter, “according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” The “promise” is God’s word in Isaiah 65:17.

New JerusalemIt is easy to understand that the earth was damaged by the fall of man, and thus God plans a new earth. We need to realize that heaven was also damaged by the rebellion of Satan. At least two verses speak of God’s response to this damage.

Colossians 1:20: “Through Him [Christ] to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross—through Him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.” Here the things in the heavens need reconciliation to God, which was accomplished by Christ.

Ephesians 1:10 “Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him.” God’s intention is to head up things in the heavens in Christ, indicating that some were not headed up since Satan’s rebellion.

Although there will be “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21), God desires to go further and have a new creation for His eternal dwelling, New Jerusalem. Thus, there will be the new heaven and the new earth and the new city Jerusalem after everything negative is cleaned away by the judgments in Revelation 20.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Earth is Coming; What to Do Now?

New JerusalemGod created the earth for His purpose, and allowed Satan and man to corrupt it. God’s purpose in creation is to manifest His unlimited riches and immeasurable wisdom (Eph. 3:8-11). Despite the opposition, God will accomplish this through the church now (3:10) and through New Jerusalem on the new earth eternally.

Although the earth and mankind has been severely damaged, Acts 3:21 tells us that there will be a “restoration of all things” at the Lord’s second coming, at the beginning of the next age. After that, Revelation 21:1 tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away.”

Since the earth will be restored then replaced, what should our attitude be today toward the earth? First, remember that God “created all things…according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9, 11). We are on earth to live, and let Christ live through us, for God’s purpose.

God will “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18). We should never be among them. We should have a proper, upright human living, as spoken of many times in the gospels and epistles. Thus, we should not damage the earth. On the other hand, we should not be so environmentally conscious and active that we are like those who “worshipped and served the creation rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25).

“For to me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)—this is the balance in our Christian living. While we are living towards New Jerusalem, we are here living for God’s purpose now, conscious that “the earth is the Lord’s” (1 Cor. 10:26). Christ our life is the governing principle while we are living on earth for the building up of the Body of Christ as the living expression of God, the precursor of New Jerusalem.

 

God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth (6)

God created the earth and man for His purpose. Man was deceived by Satan and captured by the world, but God in Christ saved us. The world was judged and will be totally eliminated and God will gain a new earth with New Jerusalem for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.

New JerusalemIn Christ we are not of the world, but the world remains around us and attracts the fallen portion of our being. We need to cooperate with the regenerated part of our being to overcome the world.

Like James, John warns us about the world, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him; because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life, is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).

John also encourages us, “And the world is passing away, and its lust, but he who does the will of God abides forever” (v. 17). Our secret to overcoming the world is to love the Father to let Him energize us to do His will. Then we “abide forever,” being in New Jerusalem.

First John 2:17 is similar to the Lord’s word in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Again, our love is the key. Then the Father and Son can be active within us and their presence will save us from the attractions of the world.

Father, I love You! Lord Jesus, I love You! Strengthen Your abode within me now and unto New Jerusalem!

Bible verses are quoted 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.

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