On the Throne in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:3 says concerning New Jerusalem:

New Jerusalem

The verse tells us that God and the Lamb will be on the throne. God on the throne is obvious but for the Lamb, Jesus, the God-man, it is helpful to consider additional verses.

Matthew 28:18 “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Jesus, the Lamb, was given all authority in resurrection.
Acts 2:36, in resurrection, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.” Acts 10:36, “Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all)”

Ephesians 1:19-23 “the might of His [God, the Father of glory] strength, which He caused to operate in Christ in raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body”

This portion tells us that God raised Christ from the dead, exalted Him to the heavens, enthroned Him far above all, subjected all things under Him, and gave Him as Head over all. All these steps are to His Body now and to New Jerusalem in eternity.

The Lamb Jesus Christ will be on the throne in New Jerusalem but we should not wait passively. Hebrews 4:16 exhorts us to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace.”

How can we come to the throne of God and the Lamb, Christ, in heaven while we still live on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in v. 12. The very Christ who is sitting on the throne in heaven (Rom. 8:34) is also now in us (Rom. 8:10), that is, in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22), where the habitation of God is (Eph. 2:22).*

Let us come forward to the throne now on our way to New Jerusalem.

From footnote 1 on Hebrews 4:16 in NT Recovery Version Online.

 

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 12 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe book of Revelation is centered on the testimony of Jesus (19:10). Throughout Revelation we see the Christ, the One anointed to carry out for God’s plan on earth. This plan culminates with the new creation and New Jerusalem. In this post we look at our Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 12.

This chapter begins with the woman, the man-child, and the dragon. Then 12:7-9 present the war in heaven and the casting down of the devil. Verse 10 has a loud proclamation, “Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.” Here, as in 11:15, the eternal stage of the kingdom is New Jerusalem with God’s reign over the whole universe.

The proclamation in verse 10 also declares that our accuser (the devil) has been cast down.

The authority of Jesus Christ is declared many times in Revelation, including 1:5, 11:15, 12:10, 15:3, 17:14, and 19:16. This is from His death, resurrection, and ascension, as declared by Peter in Acts 2:36, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified” and as written in Ephesians 1:22 that God “subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

In Acts 2 our response to His exaltation is to repent, believe, and be baptized. This begins our progress toward New Jerusalem. In Ephesians our response to God’s actions is to grow in life and participate in the building up of His Body in love (Eph. 4:15-16).

Jesus Christ is “Head over all things to the church” because the church is the focus of God’s operation in this age. The church, the Body of Christ, is the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the eternal mingling of God and man.

Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (5)

God’s blessings to us are for the accomplishing of His goal, His good pleasure, to head up all things in Christ. Today Christ is heading up the members of His Body; later we will see His heading up of all things. In eternity He will be on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of a fully headed-up new creation.

Ephesians 1:11 begins, “In whom [Christ] also we were designated as an inheritance” or “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance.” Today God is our inheritance and we are His inheritance. Although this may not seem obvious now, in the coming age and in New Jerusalem it will be very clear.

New JerusalemVerse 1:11 continues, we have “been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Again predestination is mentioned. Our predestination is for God’s purpose, not for any human goal we might have. Ultimately we are predestinated for New Jerusalem with God’s glory.

Today it seems that the world is in turmoil, but the infinite God works all things to reach His goal. We should have this realization in our lives—everything is according to God’s will, even if we don’t understand how it is.

The goal of working all things according to His will is “that we would be to the praise of His glory who have first hoped in Christ” (Eph. 1:12). God’s glory will be expressed through us, resulting in praise from all creation to God. Although the praise is limited now, it will be much greater in the coming age and tremendous in New Jerusalem in the new creation.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (4)

God’s spiritual blessings to us are all in Christ. We are in Him and He is in us. This mutual indwelling characterizes New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod’s blessings in Ephesians 1:4-9a include His choosing, holiness, love, predestination, sonship, and grace. Verses 9b-10 speak of, “His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, 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.”

We are on earth for God’s good pleasure. Eternally He has a purpose in Himself which He has now revealed (Eph. 3:3-5). We are here because of Him and for Him. He cares for us, but we should never think that this is the goal of life.

God’s good pleasure is not just for now. His economy (His way of working out His plan and achieving His goal) is for the fullness of the times, the ages. The Bible reveals that New Jerusalem is the consummation of these ages. For New Jerusalem, and for the righteousness and peace which will distinguish the new heaven and new earth, God will head up all things in Christ.

The heading up eventually will include not only New Jerusalem but also everything in the heavens and on earth. Right now, Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22-23). Right now He is working to head us up, to be the practical Head in our daily living.

Ephesians 4:15 charges us to hold onto Him as the reality that “we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ.” Lord, train me to take You as my Head in daily life. This is our participation in the unseen new creation now leading to the visible new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

The Lord’s Shepherding to New Jerusalem

The Lord Jesus is the good Shepherd. He came to lead all God’s people, both of the Jews and of the nations, to be His one flock (John 10). This one flock is also His one Body with many members and ultimately the one city, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAt the Lord’s birth He was spoken of as a Shepherd (Matt. 2:6, quoting Micah 5:2). At His death, He was also a Shepherd (Matt.  26:31 quoting Zech. 13:7). In resurrection He is also the Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) to care for us in the eternal (including New Jerusalem) covenant.

How is the Lord shepherding us today? On one hand, He as the resurrection life within us is “the Shepherd of our souls” (1 Peter 2:5). On the other hand He shepherds through other members of His one Body.

The shepherding through His members  is seen in Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11-12, and 1 Peter 5:2. In Ephesians, the gifted members as shepherds (v. 11) perfect all the members of the Body (v. 12) to do the same. Hence, the shepherding is not carried out by a special class, but by every believer. All of this is carried out under the headship of the Lord, who is “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

The shepherding of the flock in Acts and 1 Peter emphasizes our life in Christ; Ephesians emphasizes  the building of His Body. The two are inseparable, as in 1 Corinthians 3:9 and the last phrase of Ephesians 4:16. Both are for New Jerusalem, which is both a city of life and a city of building.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem with Christ as the Head

Recent posts (one two three) looked at the economy of God. This is God’s arrangement, His working, to accomplish His eternal purpose. This work consummates in New Jerusalem.

The impetus for these posts came from a song which begins,
New Jerusalem__In God’s economy Christ is unique;
____He holds the first place and centrality.
__All is in Him, through Him, and unto Him;
____He is all—the universality.
These words are taken from Colossians 1:15-18.

The song has verses about Christ in the Godhead, Christ in creation, Christ in the Old Testament, and Christ in resurrection. These verses present Christ as the reality of all things, the center of God’s economy, the Father’s delight, the element of the new man, and more.

Then verse six says,
__The New Jerusalem will consummate
____With Christ, as Head, over all things to be
__The Lamb enthroned—its unique centerpiece
____Ruling and reigning for eternity.
This is Revelation 22:1, where John saw in New Jerusalem “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.”

The final two verses turn to us—Christ as the replacement for our old, natural man becomes our center, our focus, our aim, our all—our unique centerpiece. This wonderful Christ becomes the reality of New Jerusalem in us.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Eternal Economy unto New Jerusalem

God’s economy is His plan, His administrative arrangement, to accomplish His eternal purpose which consummates in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPaul tells us that grace was given to him to announce the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel. The goal of this announcing is “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things” (Eph. 3:8-9).

All things were created for God’s economy. The more we partake of the riches of Christ, the more we see and participate in God’s economy. This is our preparation for New Jerusalem.

All creatures have fallen away from God. Now God is working through His people by causing the riches of His grace to abound to us (Eph. 1:7-8). The result is His “making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ.”

Grace was not only given to the apostles but also to all believers. By this grace we realize the mystery of God’s will, God’s good pleasure. In this way we get headed up in Christ, so that through His Body He can head up all things.

Eventually, in the new creation, everything will be headed up in Christ. Nothing will be out of order. There will be no death and no darkness. Everyone will see New Jerusalem as the outcome of God’s economy, as God’s good pleasure.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ has the First Place in New Jerusalem

Paul’s seeing of the Body of Christ and the New Man reveal much about New Jerusalem. Following Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians, we come to Colossians.

New Jerusalem• “He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things.” (1:18) Let us give Him first place in us!
• Paul rejoiced “in my sufferings on your behalf and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body.” (1:24) The sufferings for the Body are also part of the preparation of New Jerusalem, but in eternity there will be no sufferings.
• We are “holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.” (2:19) This, parallel to Ephesians 4:15-16, is related to the preparation of New Jerusalem.
• We “have put off the old man” and “have put on the new man.” (3:10-11). This matches Ephesians 4:22, 24.
• “Let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts, to which also you were called in one Body; and be thankful.” (3:15) Peace is of Christ and He is making home in our hearts. Thank Him!

As in the prior books, all of these characteristics of the Body and New Man seen in Colossians apply to New Jerusalem. Christ has the first place in the city and He is its peace. The city is absolutely of the new man, with nothing of the old man. Finally, New Jerusalem is full grown, mature, in Christ.

Built to be a Corporate Vessel of God’s Glory

God’s eternal purpose, the subject of the song we are reviewing, depends on God’s divine, eternal life. God’s plan is to build together a group of people as His dwelling place, consummating in New Jerusalem. This must involve humans but it cannot be carried out by the created human life.

Because God’s purpose depends on the divine life, God put the created man in front of the tree of life (Genesis 2:8-9). This tree is a picture of Jesus Christ, who is the life (John 11:25).

When Christ is our life and to the extent that we live because of Him, we participate in the realization of New Jerusalem. Thus the song speaks of being built in life and knit in love, as in Ephesians 4:15-16.

New Jerusalem5_Thus in life we’re built together,
____Then in love we’re knit as one;
__God is now His plan fulfilling,
____Finishing what He’s begun.
__Lord, increase Thyself within us
____That we might be built by Thee
__Into that great corporate vessel
____Filled with God exclusively.

Like the words in the song, we should pray for the Lord’s increase, His growth, in us. This is Colossians 2:19, “holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.”

The result of His growth, His increase in us is a corporate vessel filled with God and expressing God. The ultimate step of this is New Jerusalem.

6_As the product, the fulfillment,
____Will the church in glory stand,
__Consummation of the purpose
____In eternal ages planned.
__God will have His corporate vessel,
____All His glory to contain;
__Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose
____All Thy goal in us attain.

New Jerusalem is the final stage of the corporate vessel, filled with and radiating God’s glory. Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose, all Thy goal in us attain.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

God Builds Through Us

Hebrews 11:10, speaking of Abraham and his descendants looking toward New Jerusalem, says it is

“The city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God”

Since God is the Builder, what part (if any) do we have in the preparation of New Jerusalem? To answer this, let’s look at Matthew 16:18, where Jesus declares, “I will build My church.”

New JerusalemThe Lord is building His church, but He is not doing it directly from the heavens. Rather, He works through the many members of His Body. This is clearly seen in Ephesians 4:15b-16, “the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

In this verse (and the parallel Colossians 2:19), the rich supply for building comes out of the Head, Christ, yet it also comes through the joints of supply and through the operation in each member. The result is the building up of the Body of Christ.

The same principle applies to what God is doing to build New Jerusalem. God is the Builder of the city! Yet He is not acting alone. Rather, He is building through His people. Christ’s building of His Body through the gifted joints of supply and through His operation in every member is part of God’s building of New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me open to Your operation so that You can build through me.

The Spirit and the Bride Say Come

New JerusalemIn Revelation 22 the Lord Jesus says three times, “I come quickly” (verses 7, 12, 20). In 22:17 we read the response: “the Spirit and the bride say, Come!” This cry, Come, is in the present age; it is a cry for the visible coming of the Lord Jesus, which will end this age.

The bride here is New Jerusalem, as clearly stated in Revelation 21:2, 9-10. In verse 22:17 the Spirit and the bride speak together, showing that they are one. The Spirit has not only regenerated the members of this corporate bride (John 3:6) but has also transformed them (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Now the members of the bride live in the reality of one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). This oneness in living is demonstrated by the oneness in speaking with the Spirit.

In [Revelation] chs. 2 and 3 it was the Spirit speaking to the churches; here, at the end of the book, it is the Spirit and the bride, the church, speaking together as one. This indicates that the church’s experience of the Spirit has improved to the extent that she has become one with the Spirit, who is the ultimate consummation of the Triune God.*

Reaching such oneness with the Spirit is the completion of preparation of the bride for the marriage of the Lamb. This oneness will be a characteristic of New Jerusalem. To grow into this living oneness, we need the rich supply from our Head, Jesus Christ. This supply comes through our dropping all distracting involvements and holding Him as our reality, as in Colossians 2:16–3:4.

We can pray, Lord, I love You and I open to You. Save me from my outward formalities so that I may experience You as my reality and receive Your rich supply for me to live one with You. This is the preparation of the bride and the path to New Jerusalem.

* See Revelation 22:17 in this online NT (© LSM).

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