New Jerusalem: God’s Slaves Serve Him (3)

New JerusalemRevelation begins, “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show to His slaves the things that must quickly take place; and He made it known by signs, sending it by His angel to His slave John.” This book was written to God’s slaves and we should receive it as such. We are here to serve Him now and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The word of Revelation 1:1 is repeated in 22:6, “These words are faithful and true; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show to His slaves the things which must quickly take place.” As slaves, we deny our natural, human sense of time and say amen to the Lord’s repeated word “quickly take place.”

The last part of Revelation 11 sums up many things, with the following chapters giving details. Verses 11:14-18 briefly have the last trumpet, judgements, God’s kingdom and eternal reign, and the reward to His slaves, saints, and those who fear Him. At this time “the mystery of God is finished, as He has announced the good news to His own slaves the prophets” (10:7). Although chapter 11 does not name New Jerusalem, it surely is implied by the eternal kingdom and reign and is a reward to all God’s people.

Another word to God’s slaves is in Revelation 19:5: “A voice came out from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great.” Surely we should praise our God! We praise Him now and we will praise Him in New Jerusalem.

Joy, Praise, Victory, Kingdom

A song based on Revelation begins, “Lo, the kingdom of the world is now the kingdom of the Lord!” This line of the song comes from Revelation 11:15, “the seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” This “forever and ever” points to New Jerusalem, the center of God’s eternal kingdom.

New JerusalemThe song continues, “O what joy to all the saints does His eternal reign afford!” All who believe into Christ Jesus are saints because we have been “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:2). And we have His joy now and more so in His eternal reign in New Jerusalem.

The second verse of the song speaks of Satan being cast down. The third continues, “Now is come salvation, power, and the kingdom of our God.” The fourth declares our overcoming by the blood of the Lamb, our testimony, and not loving our soul life. These three song verses present Revelation 12:9-11.

Revelation 12:12 says, “Therefore be glad, O heavens and those who dwell in them.” This is echoed in words of praise in the song, including the chorus, Vict’ry, vict’ry, Hallelujah! The victory is won!

The song continues with the judgements in Revelation 17 and 18. This leads into the praise at the beginning of Revelation 19, “A loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God. For true and righteous are His judgments.”

All these judgements are part of God’s clearing away of the old creation, so that He can bring in the new creation with New Jerusalem. And all of our praises develop the life of New Jerusalem within us.

I copied the graphic from a prior post on praising, since that post also is on Rev. 19:1.

No War in the New Creation

The last war in the Bible is recorded in Revelation 20:8-10, shortly before the new creation appears with New Jerusalem. The cause of this war is Satan deceiving the nations (v. 8).

The Lord Jesus told us not to be alarmed by wars and revolutions (Mark 13:7, Luke 21:9). They occur because Satan, although judged on the cross, has not been imprisoned and is able to deceive the nations through this age. But, when the new creation and New Jerusalem come, Satan will have been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10), so there will be no war in the new creation.

Satan’s deception of the nations is not only outward. Satan within man is sin (Rom. 7:7-25), which leads man into many evils. James also speaks definitely about this, “Where do wars and fightings among you come from? Are they not from this, from your pleasures that war in your members? You lust and do not have; you murder and are jealous and are not able to obtain; you fight and make war.” (4:1-2).

Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us to  “be empowered in the Lord and in the might of His strength” because “our wrestling is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies.” This is another declaration that the source of war is not people but Satan and his evil hosts.

Outward wars result from lusts, greed, pride, anger, and other evils in the fallen human nature. These evils have their source in Satan. Wars cause many deaths, all attributable to Satan who is a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).

In New Jerusalem and in the new creation there is no Satan, no fallen nature, no flesh, no sin, no lies, no death; hence no war.

New Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem; No Sea

New JerusalemRevelation 21:1: “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.” Many recent posts are on the new heaven and the new earth. These will be with New Jerusalem but, as stated in this verse, without the sea.

There is no more sea because the sea is a result of God’s judgments on the corrupted earth. We are likely familiar with the flood in Noah’s time, which covered the entire earth with a sea of water. This was because “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5). After this, God promised that never again would waters cover the earth to destroy everything (Gen. 9:11-16).

Prior to this there was another flood. In Genesis 1:1 “God created the heavens and the earth.” This creation was pleasant. Isaiah 45:18 declares that God “formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it waste.” However, due to Satan’s rebellion, “the earth became waste and emptiness, and darkness was on the surface of the deep” (Gen. 1:2).

As a result of the judgment in verse 2, there was no land—no place for man to live for God’s purpose. Water covered the earth. But, as in Noah’s time, God restored the earth. “God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so” (Gen. 1:9).

Revelation 21 is a full, complete renovation. It has the new earth for the nations to live on, New Jerusalem as God’s dwelling with His people on earth, and no more sea, no leftover from the prior judgments. Praise God that everything is new!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

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.

God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth (3)

God created the earth for His purpose. Through all His operation in time, God will gain the new earth with New Jerusalem for eternity. But, God did not create the world and there will be no world in eternity!

In the Bible, we find both “earth” and “world.” We might use these two words interchangeably, but in the Bible they are different. A primary Biblical meaning of “world” is an evil system arranged systematically by Satan. All the things on the earth, especially those related to mankind have been systematized by Satan into his kingdom of darkness to occupy people and frustrate them from accomplishing the purpose of God.*

New JerusalemBecause the world is negative, it needs to be judged. Jesus, looking forward to His crucifixion, said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). Therefore, we can boast in “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” and by His cross we have been separated from the world. But before believing and receiving Christ Jesus and all He accomplished, we “once walked according to the age of this world” and were people “having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:2, 12).

But now, in Christ, we have God and we have hope, even the hope of glory, the hope of participating in New Jerusalem. Through His death and resurrection we have been transferred from the world to God’s purpose for the earth with New Jerusalem as the goal.

* Part of footnote 2 on John 12:31 in the Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry. More about the Biblical meanings of “world.”
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

Exodus, Ezekiel, Revelation

There are similarities in the presentation of God’s move on earth in the books of Exodus, Ezekiel, and Revelation.

Exodus 2 has some human history of Moses. Exodus 3 begins to unveil God’s revelation and speaking to Moses and God’s instruction for him to speak to Israel, God’s people. Through the book of Exodus, although Israel often was not faithful, God accomplished what he had promised. The second half of Exodus is primarily the revelation of the plan for the tabernacle, the work of preparing it, and its completion. The conclusion of Exodus is ” the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle” (40:34).

#NewJerusalemEzekiel 1 begins with one man, Ezekiel. It quickly progresses to God’s revelation and speaking to him (Ezek. 1), and then God’s instruction for him to speak to Israel (Ezek. 2–3). Thereafter is a long section with God’s judgment on Israel (again showing their unfaithfulness) and the nations.

Beginning in Ezekiel 33 God comes to recover His people inwardly, giving them a new heart and a new spirit and putting His Spirit within them (36:26-27) and accomplishing other things for His purpose. Then, from chapter 40, God reveals His house and the river of living water in the good land. In this revelation, the glory of God fills His house (43:4, 44:4).

Revelation begins with God’s revelation and speaking to John, and then God’s instruction for him to write to the churches (1:11, 19). Revelation 2–3 speak about the churches, both their strong points and their unfaithfulness. Following this are many judgments. Finally, it unveils God’s building, the city New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God” (21:11).

The parallels in these three books are simple even though the details have spiritual depth. God speaks to one man, tells him to speak to God’s people, judges both God’s people and the nations, and ultimately gains a building He fills with glory. Thus we can see that Exodus and Ezekiel show us in typology the path from God’s revelation to New Jerusalem.

Praises in the Book of Revelation

New JerusalemThere are many praises in Revelation. Some are for what God and the Lamb are and some for what God and the Lamb do. All the praises relate either to judgements on the old creation or bringing forth the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

Revelation 4:11: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You have created all things, and because of Your will they were, and were created.” God created everything according to His will and for His purpose. There is glory and honor to God now and these will be amplified in New Jerusalem.

Revelation 5:12: “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who has been slain to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is a great turn in the universe. Everything of the old creation was put to death and the new creation came forth in resurrection. We do not yet see the out-working of this turn, we should declare Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.

Revelation 7:10: “And they cry with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb.” If we have a heavenly vision, we see God and the Lamb on the throne now, and praise now. In the new creation everyone will see God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem and everyone will praise.

Revelation 7:12: “Saying, Amen. 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. Amen.” We can echo this praise now and certainly will echo it in New Jerusalem forever.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 20 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

Revelation 20 begins with the devil cast into the abyss (v. 1-3). Then there is the blessing of being priests and kings in resurrection with God and Christ for a thousand years (v. 4-6). This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

In verse 7 the devil is temporarily released but by verse 10 he is cast into the lake of fire for his eternal punishment.

New JerusalemVerse 11: “I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it.” The Lord Jesus Christ is Him who sits on the throne, because He is “the One who was designated by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).

The Lord Himself spoke of this designation in John 5:26-27, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, so He gave to the Son to also have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man.” As the Son of Man, the God-Man, Jesus both gives us eternal life and judges the dead.

“In righteousness He judges” (Rev. 19:11). Although today’s courts have flaws, our Lord is perfectly righteous.

In verses 12 and 13 the dead are judged. In verses 14 and 15 death and Hades, and anyone whose name is not written in the book of life, are cast into the lake of fire. This judgement is the last cleaning of the earth. After this, there is nothing old, nothing dead, nothing sinful. This judgement opens the door for New Jerusalem with the new heaven and new earth.

The old “earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them” (v. 11) and “the first heaven and the first earth passed away” (21:1). There is “a new heaven and a new earth” and “New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven” (21:1-2).

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem (2)

Revelation 19 has an extensive presentation and much praise of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who carries out God’s move on earth from His time on earth unto New Jerusalem in eternity. (posts on verses 1-6 and 7-9)

New JerusalemVerse 11: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sits on it called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” Jesus Christ is faithful and true in accomplishing God’s economy. If we think that He is unfaithful in our lives, it is because we are looking at our interests and goals rather than God’s.

“In righteousness He judges and makes war”—this removes all the negative forces on earth so that God’s kingdom can fill the earth in the coming age and in New Jerusalem.

Verses 12-13 and 15-16: “And His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written which no one knows but Himself. And He is clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and His name is called the Word of God. And out of His mouth proceeds a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations; and He will shepherd them with an iron rod; and He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. And He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written,
King Of Kings And Lord Of Lords.”

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the Word of God, the King, and much more. His person has many marvelous aspects. His characteristics in these verses are described in notes here. In Revelation 19 He clears the way for New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

No Devil In or Near New Jerusalem

The devil is not in New Jerusalem and has no way to bother us in New Jerusalem nor to bother the nations around New Jerusalem.

First John 3:8 tells us “the devil has sinned from the beginning.” The devil is the source of sin which brought in death. John 8:44 tells us that the devil is a murderer from the beginning and that he is the father, the source, of lies.  The nature of the devil is a lie because truth is not in him. This is the exact opposite of New Jerusalem in which Christ is the life and reality and where there is no lie.

New JerusalemJesus has overcome the devil. In John 14:30 He told us that the ruler of this world (the devil) “has nothing in Me.” Hebrews 2:14 says, “Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil.”

It seems to us today that the devil is still active. The reason is that the judgment accomplished on the cross has not fully been carried out. Therefore, Ephesians 4:25-27 warns us to put away lies and anger so that we give no place to the devil. We wage this battle continually by applying the law of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2) to overcome the law of sin in our flesh (Rom. 7:20).

In Revelation 12:9 the devil is cast down and in 20:2 he is bound for a thousand years, and in 20:10 he is cast into the lake of fire. This is the final step of the judgment accomplished on the cross. As a result, the devil will never bother New Jerusalem nor the entire new creation.

And, since the devil is Satan, New Jerusalem has Neither Sin nor Satan.
Here is a summary of all posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   2-3 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

In Revelation 2–3 we see the Lord Jesus Christ walking in the midst of seven lampstands, caring for their development today unto the eternal lampstand, New Jerusalem.

New JErusalemIn Revelation 2:18 is the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like shining bronze.” He passed through all kinds of testing during His earthly life and has come out approved, like shining bronze. Thus, He is qualified to judge anything negative in us, burning it with the fire of His eyes.

We should not be afraid nor shrink back. Instead, we should invite Him to burn whatever in us does not correspond to New Jerusalem.

In 2:28 He speaks of Himself as the morning star, as a prize to watchful overcomers. Lord, train us to be watchful for Your second coming. His warning in 3:3 should remind us to watch— “If therefore you will not watch, I will come as a thief, and you shall by no means know at what hour I will come upon you.”

In 3:7 He is “the Holy One” preparing us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

In 3:14 He is “the faithful and true Witness.” We are neither faithful nor true in ourselves. Lord, work your attributes into us.

In 3:18 He is ready to sell us “gold refined by fire that you may be rich, and white garments that you may be clothed and that the shame of your nakedness may not be manifested, and eyesalve to anoint your eyes that you may see.” The Lord’s salvation is free but gaining these qualities requires a price. The price is to be zealous rather than lukewarm (3:15, 19) and to repent of our puffed up attitude and lack of love and zeal for Him (3:19).

The Lord’s gold, white garments, and eyesalve all prepare us for New Jerusalem.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Versionpublished and © by Living Stream MinistryAnaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.orgthis too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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