New Jerusalem: No More Tribulation

In the New Testament, tribulation is used in two ways. One is the general persecution and sufferings of the Lord’s people throughout this age (e.g. Matt. 24:9, Acts 14:22). The other is the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19), the last three and a half years (Rev. 12:14) = 42 months (Rev. 11:2) = 1260 days (Rev. 11:3) of this age, immediately prior to the Lord’s visible return.

The devil is the source of all tribulation, including its hatred, persecution, and killing. But the devil “was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev. 20:10). Hence, when the new creation and New Jerusalem appear, there will not be any devil nor any tribulation.

New JerusalemEven though tribulation is of the devil, God uses it to prefect us for His purpose. God is magnificent and able to use the devil’s opposing actions to His advantage. This is part of our path to New Jerusalem. Here are some verses:

Acts 11:19: “Those then who were scattered by the tribulation which took place on account of Stephen passed through as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word…” Here tribulation spread the gospel.

Romans 5:3: “…we also boast in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces endurance.” This is not our endurance; rather, it is “the endurance of Christ” worked into us (2 Thes. 3:5).

Revelation 2:9-10: “I know your tribulation and poverty (but you are rich) and the slander….Do not fear the things that you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison that you may be tried, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Amazing! The crown of life, surely a characteristic of New Jerusalem, comes forth from tribulation.

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

New Jerusalem Comes from Divine Riches and is Without Human Poverty

The Lord Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, read from Isaiah about Himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to announce the gospel to the poor…” (Luke 4:18). The poverty in this verse can certainly be understood physically but should also be viewed spiritually.

The Lord Jesus came to announce Himself to people who are poor spiritually, whether rich or poor humanly. What does this have to do with New Jerusalem? Simple. God’s riches bring us out of spiritual poverty all the way to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:8 the unsearchable riches of Christ are the gospel announced by Paul. The goal of the gospel is not to save people from poverty but to impart these unsearchable riches into people. As a byproduct people are saved from spiritual poverty.

In Romans 2:4 “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” lead us to repentance. This is the beginning of our journey—to repent, turn to God, and receive Jesus Christ. Here three aspects of God’s riches lead us to repent and to enter the path to New Jerusalem. This repentance is one aspect of the rich gospel.

Ephesians 1:7 tells us that in Christ Jesus “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” We certainly need forgiveness, but the measure of God’s action is not our need but His riches. This forgiveness is another aspect of the rich gospel.

Romans 9:23 tells us God will “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy.” We need mercy to bring us out of our poor condition, but God does not emphasize that poor condition. His mercy is shown, not because we are pitiful, but to gain us as vessels to display the riches of His glory. Eventually New Jerusalem will be a great corporate vessel displaying His riches.

 

No Lie, No Falsehood, in New Jerusalem

The devil has no part in New Jerusalem nor in the entire new creation because he has been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

The devil is the father of lies, the source of lies is his nature, and in him is only falsehood, no reality (John 8:44). This is a total contrast to Jesus Christ who is the reality (John 14:6), the expression of God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

New JerusalemThe truth has come to us in word of the truth of the gospel (Eph. 1:13, Col. 1:5). By our receiving this word of truth, the Spirit as the anointing entered into us.

Now the Spirit of reality is living in us, anointing us with the reality. This anointing “is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him” (1 John 2:27). When we abide in the Lord, we abide in the reality, the truth; here there is no lie, no falsehood. This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 14:1-5, 144,000 are on the heavenly mount Zion with the Lamb. Verse 5: “And in their mouth no lie was found; they are without blemish.” “No lie” indicates nothing of the devil is with them.

Furthermore, they are without blemish. They have been washed by the Lord with the water in His living word (Eph. 5:26-27). This washing not only eliminates blemishes, all of which originated with the devil. The washing also imparts the Lord’s holiness so that we “would be holy and without blemish.”

The holiness matches the holy city, New Jerusalem. The city is not merely without lies, falsehoods, and blemishes. Much more, New Jerusalem is saturated with God’s holiness and glory to express God.

Here is a summary of all posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   6-9 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The central theme of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This wonderful One is seen throughout Revelation caring for God’s interests on earth, which consummate in the new creation with New Jerusalem at its center. Here are some aspects of His care in Revelation 6–9, which bring us to New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 5 the Lamb is declared to be the only one in the universe worthy to open the seven seals. In 6:1 He opens the first, and in 6:2 the gospel is released. By responding to this gospel we are on the path to New Jerusalem. Thank Him for giving us this open door!

In 7:9 a great multitude, those purchased (5:9) “out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” are “standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” This multitude will continue before the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem (22:1).

In 7:15 this multitude serves God “day and night in His temple” just as we will serve Him as priests in New Jerusalem (22:3).

Verses 7:16-17 present the Lamb’s care for the multitude. Revelation 7:9-17 has many parallels with New Jerusalem.

In 8:3 Christ adds Himself as incense to our prayers that they be accepted as a sweet-smelling savor to God. These prayers of the believers, on earth cooperating with the heavens, open the way for the seven trumpets.

These trumpets bring forth many calamities and judgments on the negative things and people on earth (Rev. 8–9). These actions conclude with the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ in 11:15, a kingdom which continues into New Jerusalem.

The actions in Revelation 9 should lead men to repent but 9:20-21 say they did not. Sad. It is His mercy that we can repent. Repentance Puts Us on the Path to New Jerusalem.

The Mystery and the End of the Mystery

In Mark 4:11 the Lord Jesus spoke of “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” This mystery includes New Jerusalem, the ultimate stage of God’s kingdom.

New JerusalemPaul often speaks of this mystery, as in Romans 16:25, “…my gospel, that is, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which has been kept in silence in the times of the ages.” And Colossians 1:26, “The mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations…”

This mystery, even the existence of this mystery, was hidden in God before the Lord Jesus began to minister. The Lord said something about it in His parables. Paul spoke further, for example “I came to you, brothers,…announcing to you the mystery of God” (1 Cor. 2:1).

Paul and his companions were “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). And he asked for prayer “that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known in boldness the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19).

He was announcing the mystery because God predestinated the wisdom hidden in it “before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor. 2:7). Since the wisdom of the mystery is for our glory, it is for our glorification and participation in New Jerusalem.

Today we are in the age of mystery and New Jerusalem surely is part of this mystery. But, “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel when he is about to trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished” (Rev. 10:7).

“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” (Rev. 11:15). This is from the second coming of Christ unto eternity, including New Jerusalem.

Photo by Scott Mecum, courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.

The Nations around New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the mutual indwelling of the Triune God and His people. Around New Jerusalem on the new earth are the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations (Rev. 21:24). Two posts have presented differences between the people who are New Jerusalem and the peoples who are around New Jerusalem ( ).

The most striking distinction is the oneness of all who are in Christ and the plurality of the peoples, the nations.

The nations around New Jerusalem walk by the light of the city (Rev. 21:24). This is a blessing but it is not as high as that of the believers in Jesus Christ, who are the constituents of New Jerusalem and have Jesus Christ within as their light of life (John 1:4, 8:12).

The nations and their kings will bring their glory into New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24, 26). This glory is no doubt very positive since everything on the new earth is wonderful. However, this glory is not as rich nor as outstanding as the glory of Christ in His people. This glory came as “the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4), through which we obtained “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14), which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), and will be consummated when “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10).

Christ as glory in us becomes the glory of New Jerusalem. This glory shines through and out of the city. Because of this shining “the nations will walk by its [New Jerusalem’s] light” (Rev. 21:24).

In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is concludes a series of posts about seeing and entering New Jerusalem. The key is “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see this wonderful eternal city (Rev. 21:9-10). Here is a one sentence highlight, a verse reference, and a link for each post.

❖ The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, presented by the Bible in figurative language. We need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11) and to understand the spiritual significance of all its elements.

In Exodus 24 and 34 Moses was at the top of a mountain, in God’s presence, in glory, and received God’s speaking, including the vision of the tabernacle, a forerunner of New Jerusalem.

 Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai portrays our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem. The first steps in their journey were redemption, eating the passover lamb and unleavened bread, and crossing the Red Sea.

❖ The next step in Israel’s (and our) journey is to sing and praise the Lord for His victory and His kingdom. This brings us onward to the wonderful experience of the springs of living water.

 Eating the manna (a picture of Christ—John 6) daily and drinking the water (a picture of the Spirit—John 7) out of the rock are essential nourishment for our Christian journey.

❖ On our journey we also need to fight against the flesh but not in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

❖ In Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. All God’s words show our shortages apart from Christ. Nevertheless, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7).

❖ On our Christian journey we need Jesus Christ as our burnt offering, as the person absolute for God. He is our replacement and we are identified with Him. This is portrayed in Leviticus 1:3-4.

 Christ as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4) that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

 When Moses went up the mountain he entered into the cloud (which cut off his view of everything earthly) and was there forty days in the glory of the Lord (Exo. 24:15-16, 18). When we give time to the Lord, He will reveal His heart to us.

 We journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see and enter New Jerusalem. For this journey, Christ is our life (Col. 3:4) and we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

❖ Our seeing of New Jerusalem depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation. By the Lord’s mercy, may we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us, so that the Spirit can reveal more to us (Rev. 21:9-10).

❖ On a mountain the Lord spoke the reality of the kingdom of the heavens, which leads to New Jerusalem. In ourselves we cannot reach this level, but we have the life of our heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48).

❖ The Lord Jesus went to a mountain to present the kingdom (Matt. 5–7), to be transfigured (Matt. 17), to speak about this age and His return (Matt. 24), and to ascend (Acts 1). Our need is to come to Him. “His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1)

❖ Everything written in the Old Testament, including Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai, is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement (1 Cor. 10:11, Rom. 15:4). Today, our job is to hold Jesus Christ, who is the reality (Col. 2:16-19).

❖ Recent posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The answer is in John 3—be born again to see (v. 3) and to enter (v. 5).

❖ In John 3:5 we are born of water (terminating our old life) and the Spirit (generating our new life). In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—my old life, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—my new life. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

❖ We need to be uplifted to a high mountain that we may see New Jerusalem as God’s eternal dwelling place for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. (Rev. 21:9-10)

New Jerusalem

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In Revelation 21:9-10 John tells us that an angel carried him away in spirit to a great and high mountain and showed him the holy city, New Jerusalem. This clearly was not John’s effort. Likewise, our seeing of New Jerusalem is not by our determination nor by our striving. We simply turn to the Lord, open our whole heart to Him, and wait on Him. In His time He will give us the vision of New Jerusalem.

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“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Come to Jesus on a Mountain

Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai depicts our Christian journey to a spiritual mountain. After some time at Mt. Sinai, Israel received the vision of the tabernacle, God’s dwelling place. At our mountain we see the vision of New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling place.

New JerusalemThe Lord Jesus presented the reality of the kingdom of the heavens on a mountain (Matt. 5–7). Three disciples saw His transfiguration, “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” on a mountain (Matt. 16:28-17:13). This brief time was a foreshadowing of the millennial kingdom which leads into the eternal kingdom of New Jerusalem.

The Lord’s words concerning the course of this age and His coming again were spoken on a mountain (Matt. 24:3). His sending of the disciples to proclaim the gospel to all the nations was also accomplished on a mountain (Matt. 28:16). Then they saw His ascension from the mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12).

These events present the need for being on a mountain for key spiritual experiences, including the vision of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). How do we get there? We pray and our prayer brings us to the Lord. As long as we are with Him, when He is on the mountain, we will be there too. (And when He is beside the sea to gospelize, we will be there with Him.) Our need is to come to Him. “His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1).

Lord, draw me daily. Stir me to come to You all the time so that I may receive Your speaking. Lord, make me a Mary, one who sits are Your feet and listens to Your word (Luke 10:39). Lord, draw me until You can show New Jerusalem to me.

Andrea’s post about the heavenly vision.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

 

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem has the Bible’s consummate glory. The prior post touched glory in the Old Testament; this one looks at glory in the gospels. What the Lord passed through in the gospels—incarnation, death, and resurrection—was to redeem us and bring us into God so that we could be in New Jerusalem.

The glory in the gospels is foretold in Isaiah 40: “the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it.” Then John 1:1, 14 says, “the Word was God…the Word became flesh…we beheld His glory.” According to 2 Peter 1:16-18, the disciples beheld His glory on the mount of transfiguration. That beholding was for a short time, but the glory in New Jerusalem is eternal.

Luke 5:25-26, 7:17, 13:13, 17:15, and 18:43 are examples of people glorifying God as a result of seeing acts which they knew were of Him. Let us expect more in the kingdom and in New Jerusalem.

In John 12:23 Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” In the next verse He speaks about His death. And at His death, a centurion glorified God (Luke 23:47). In John 17 the Lord prayed, asking the Father to glorify Him so that He could glorify the Father. This prayer was answered in His resurrection. This death and resurrection are our entrance into the glory of New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 16:27 and 24:30 the Lord told us that He will come visibly in glory. This glorious coming will bring His kingdom openly to earth and bring the manifestation of New Jerusalem closer.

Posts about the Lord’s death and resurrection as our entrance into New Jerusalem:
Enter New Jerusalem Now____Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Into God’s Kingdom for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe gospel of Jesus Christ is “the gospel of the kingdom” because the gospel brings men through repentance and regeneration into the kingdom of God, which ultimately is the new creation with New Jerusalem as the center.

God’s original creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). After sin and death entered, that creation became the old creation, separated from God and excluded from the tree of life. We were all in that old, fallen creation, the kingdom of darkness.

In Acts 26:13-18 the Lord Jesus told Paul that he was being sent to the nations “To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God.” This is a change of kingdom! This change put us into the realm of New Jerusalem.

In Colossians 1:12-13 Paul gives thanks to “the Father, who delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” This is another expression of the same change of kingdom.

Humanly there have been and are many kingdoms on earth. However, in God’s eyes there are only two kingdoms: Satan’s dark kingdom which will end up in the lake of fire, and God’s bright kingdom which will culminate in New Jerusalem.

May we preach and live this gospel of the kingdom. By repentance and faith in Jesus Christ we were born into this kingdom, we now live its inward spiritual reality, soon we will be its open manifestation, and eternally we will be New Jerusalem.

Related posts: The Entrance into New Jerusalem _The Kingdom and the Reigning

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

The Gospel Includes New Jerusalem

The New Testament begins with the proclamation of the gospel and concludes with New Jerusalem. What is the connection between these two?

The gospel of Jesus Christ includes forgiveness of sins, salvation, eternal life, grace, and more. Despite all these, it is “the gospel of the kingdom” because the goal of the gospel is to bring men into the kingdom of God so that God can establish His kingdom on earth.

New Jerusalem Jesus began His ministry when He “came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has drawn near.” (Mark 1:14-15)
 He announced “the gospel of the kingdom.” (Luke 4:43, 8:1)
After His resurrection Jesus spoke to His apostles “the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)
In Samaria Philip “announced the gospel of the kingdom of God.” (Acts 8:12).
Acts ends with Paul “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:31)

The gospel is “of the kingdom” and New Jerusalem is the ultimate manifestation of the kingdom of God. The center of New Jerusalem is the throne of God and of the Lamb (Revelation 22:1) and in New Jerusalem the slaves of God and of the Lamb will reign forever and ever (v. 22:5).

When we proclaim the gospel, we (perhaps unconsciously) also proclaim New Jerusalem. When people repent, they start on the path to New Jerusalem. Being born of the Spirit is our entrance into the kingdom (John 3:5). As Christians we, like John, participate in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus (Revelation 1:9). Then we will reign with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4). Finally we will be in the goal of the gospel, the eternal kingdom, New Jerusalem.

Related posts: _The Kingdom Planted into Us _The Kingdom and the Reigning

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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