New Jerusalem is Heavenly, On Earth

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” The fifth matter we consider in this verse is coming down out of heaven.

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven because it is heavenly in nature. In Hebrews 12:22 it is called “the heavenly Jerusalem” and in Galatians 4:26 “the Jerusalem above.”

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:45-49 presents a contrast between heavenly and earthly. All that is of fallen Adam is earthly; all that is of Christ is heavenly. Verse 49: “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

We were born into Adam but we have been reborn into Christ; hence we will bear the image of Him as the heavenly man, and corporately New Jerusalem as the heavenly city will bear the same image.

New Jerusalem is in the new creation of Revelation 21:1. This creation consists of heaven and earth. New Jerusalem is heavenly in nature but it comes down out of heaven. It is no longer in heaven; its location is on the new earth.

New Jerusalem on earth fulfills God’s goal in creating man—to have a corporate man on earth to express Him by being constituted with Him to bear His image. This is in progress now; “the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him [Christ] who created him” (Col. 3:10). The consummation of this renewal is New Jerusalem bearing a heavenly image on earth.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

New Jerusalem is Heavenly on Earth

New Jerusalem is heavenly in nature but in position it is on earth. John saw New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 10). The phrase “out of heaven,” twice in Revelation 21, means it is no longer in heaven.

Matthew has multiple verses speaking of the “heavenly Father.” New Jerusalem is heavenly because the Father, the source of life, is heavenly. Through regeneration we received this heavenly life so that we can grow up to be the heavenly members of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemBelieving in Jesus Christ for our new birth is our response to the “heavenly calling” which has come to us and of which we are now partakers (Heb. 3:1) . We are called to Jesus Christ, to God the Father, and to the heavenly city Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us that due to God’s rich mercy He made us alive with Christ. Then verse 6, “and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” We were made alive with the divine life, the heavenly life, then seated in the heavenlies with Christ. Physically we are on earth but spiritually we are in a heavenly position

First Corinthians 15:49 declares, “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” We have the earthly image because, as human beings, we have an earthly life. Now we have been reborn of a heavenly Father, and are being transformed into His image.

This transformation is presented in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” As we behold the Lord, His glory is infused into us to develop this glorious, heavenly image in us. This matches New Jerusalem, which “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Photo courtesy of Heather Martin.

New Jerusalem is Spiritual and Heavenly

First Corinthians 15 says much about resurrection. It also says something about New Jerusalem because New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection (see these posts ).

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:35-44 speaks about death and resurrection. Verse 44 concludes, “It is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body.” We will be raised not with the same body we have now but with a spiritual body.

Verse 47 says, “The first man [Adam] is out of the earth, earthy; the second man [Jesus Christ] is out of heaven.” Verse 48 continues “As the earthy is, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly is, such are they also that are heavenly.” In Christ we are the heavenly people, no longer the earthly.

Verse 49 says, “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” In resurrection we no longer bear the image of created and fallen Adam but rather the image of the resurrected Jesus Christ. This is the image of New Jerusalem.

In resurrection, with a spiritual body, being a heavenly people, and bearing a heavenly image, we correspond with a heavenly, spiritual city, not with an earthly, physical city (related posts ). This city is heavenly in nature but located on the new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).

As resurrected, spiritual, heavenly people, we should not expect New Jerusalem according to our soulish, natural, earthly desires. Rather, Christ is the center and content of this city. He will be our life supply, our joy, our peace, our rest, our everything. We can enjoy Jesus Christ in resurrection every day to enter a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, Consummate Newness (3)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, the consummation of every positive matter in the Bible, is the consummate newness in the Bible. Besides the “new” matters touched previously, New Jerusalem is eternal reality of the new man.

Adam was a man created by God for God’s purpose. When Adam fell from God, he and all his descendents became the old man. Later God came in the man Jesus to redeem us from the old creation and to bring us into a new creation.

Ephesians 2:15 tells us that on the cross Jesus Christ created a new corporate man in Himself. This new man is not separate from Christ; it is in Him and He is the new man’s element and life in us.

Colossians 3:10 tells us that we “have put on the new man.” This same verse tells us that the new man “is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” The fact is that we have put on the new man; the experience is that the new man needs to be renewed by Christ’s newness saturating us day by day.

This renewing takes place by the operation of the Spirit in our spirit that we may be “renewed in the spirit of our mind” (Ephesians 4:23). According to Colossians, this renewing is “according to the image of Him [Christ] who created” the new man.

In Colossians 1:15 Christ is the image of the invisible God. Thus, the renewing of the new man brings forth the image of God in Christ, the image which ultimately and eternally is displayed by New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

We Are Heavenly in Christ Jesus (2)

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2 John says, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” New Jerusalem comes out of heaven to earth with a heavenly nature (Hebrews 12:22).

To prepare the way for New Jerusalem, Jesus came down out of heaven. Through His death and resurrection we have been redeemed and regenerated. Now we are heavenly people with a heavenly nature and we are being transformed to have a heavenly image.

Ephesians 2 speaks about our change from being dead in sins, walking in disobedience to God, living in lusts, and being children of wrath (v. 1-3). Verses 4 to 6 describe the change:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.

Being a heavenly people is not our accomplishment. Rather, God made us alive, raised us up, and seated us in the heavenlies. All of these steps are of God, with Christ, and in Christ Jesus. Verse 7 describes the goal of this wonderful change:

That He [God] might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

God’s display in the ages to come will be firstly in the millennial kingdom and then in New Jerusalem. Eternally New Jerusalem will display God’s rich mercy, His great love, and the surpassing riches of His grace.

We Are Heavenly in Christ Jesus

A prior post was Jesus Came, and New Jerusalem Will Come, Out of Heaven from God, Bringing God and Heaven to Earth. In coming from heaven to earth, both Jesus and New Jerusalem retain their heavenly nature. First Corinthians 15:45-48 compares Adam and Jesus:

So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul”; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. But the spiritual is not first but the soulish, then the spiritual: the first man is out of the earth, earthy; the second man is out of heaven. As the earthy is, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly is, such are they also that are heavenly.

New JerusalemThese verses have several contrasts between Adam and Jesus.
• Adam is the first; Jesus is both second and last.
• Adam is out of the earth and is earthy; Jesus is out of heaven and heavenly.
• Adam is soulish; Jesus is spiritual.

In Adam we are earthy. But God has transferred us out of Adam into Jesus Christ. “Of God we are in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:29-30). In Christ we are heavenly (v. 15:48 has the plural “they”—all who believe in Jesus Christ). The heavens are our position in Christ.

Then verse 15:49 goes on the say, “And even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” Although our position is heavenly in Christ, our image is not yet heavenly. Sometimes our image is quite earthly—impatience, anxiety, overeating, complaining, etc. Nevertheless, verse 49 is confident, “we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

This confidence is based on the transforming work of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18) which is changing us into the glorious image of Jesus Christ, the heavenly image which will be displayed by New Jerusalem.

Related posts: _The Gradual Development of Glory
Behold and Reflect the Glory of the Lord
We Are Regenerated and Transformed for God’s Eternal Building

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Come Forward to Heavenly Jerusalem

Colossians 3:1 calls us to “seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” We should not wait for New Jerusalem in the future, but long for and seek the “Jerusalem above,” which is the “heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22).

New JerusalemWe correspond to this heavenly* city because we are a heavenly* people:
We have a heavenly Father (Matthew 6:26, 32). We are born of Him and have His heavenly life.
Our God and Father “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies” (Ephesians 1:3); these blessings are not physical but include God’s selection and predestination, the Lord’s redemption and abounding grace, and the Spirit as our seal and guarantee (1:4-5, 7-8, 13-14).
We have been transferred from Adam, the earthly man, to Christ the heavenly man to have the heavenly nature and to bear the heavenly image (1 Corinthians 15:47-49).
We have been resurrected and seated in a spiritual position “in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
We are “partakers of a heavenly calling” and “have tasted of the heavenly gift” (Hebrews 3:1, 6:4).

May we follow the examples of the people of faith before us to “long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:13-16). And, let us “come forward to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22). May New Jerusalem be in our consciousness and seeking every day!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* Heavenly means having a heavenly source, nature, character, and atmosphere. It is not a matter of physical location, whether in the heavens or on earth. The heavenly Jerusalem will still be heavenly in nature, character, and atmosphere after it “comes down out of heaven” (Rev. 21:2).

New Jerusalem is Much More Precious

New JerusalemRecent posts have presented God’s New Testament building. The Lord Jesus is the builder and the cornerstone in whom all the building is fitted together. This building work is in the spiritual realm, it depends on the growth of eternal life in each member, and it is in love. 

God’s building work from Matthew to Jude is in spirit with the Triune God as its essence. It is not in the natural realm with physical materials. The physical items (such as milk, water, plants, gold, silver in 1 Corinthians 3) are symbols of the spiritual realities.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the New Testament building. As such a consummation, it is spiritual rather than material.

The city was pure gold, like clear glass. (Revelation 21:18)
The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (21:21)

This gold signifies God’s divine nature, in which is nothing cloudy or opaque. We are in a city constituted with the divine nature and we walk and live in this nature, not in our fallen, sinful nature. This is much more precious than to be surrounded by physical gold.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls. (Revelation 21:21)

The pearls signify the death and resurrection of Christ as our entrance into the city. By believing into Him we are united with Him and thereby taken out of the old, fallen creation and made a new creation in Him. This is much more precious than to walk through a gate of physical pearl.

The building work of its wall was jasper. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone. (Revelation 21:18, 19)

Precious stones signify transformation. (Example: carbon being changed into diamond.) The precious stones in New Jerusalem signify the transforming work of the Spirit in God’s people. To be transformed to the image of Christ is much more precious than to be enclosed by a wall of physical jewels.

The Triune God is the essence of New Jerusalem. In the city we and God are mingled for eternity. This is much more precious than living near material riches.

Related posts:
The Golden Street of New Jerusalem is the Divine Nature
The One Street of New Jerusalem
Gates of Pearl
The Twelve Gates are Twelve Pearls
Precious Stones for New Jerusalem
Transformation Produces Precious Stones
The Triune God Seen in New Jerusalem
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones

New Creation, New Man, New Jerusalem

Second Corinthians 5:17 proclaims, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” To believe is to believe into Christ (John 3:16), and to be baptized is to be baptized into Christ (read more in the note on Galatians 3:27). Once we are in Christ, we are in the new creation. In addition, Colossians 3:10 says that we “have put on the new man.” In the new creation we are not individuals but members of the new man.

Although we are the new man in the new creation, the Lord’s word still exhorts us to “be renewed” (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23), tells us that this is “the renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5), and says that the new man “is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10). Note 3* on the latter verse says,

“Because the new man was created with us, who belong to the old creation (Ephesians 2:15), as his constituents, he needs to be renewed. This renewing takes place mainly in our mind, as indicated by the phrase unto full knowledge. The new man was created in our spirit and is being renewed in our mind unto full knowledge according to the image of Christ.”

We rejoice that the death and resurrection of Christ has created us one new man. However, we must not be complacent. DON’T WAIT. Today is the time to cooperate, with the Holy Spirit’s renewing within us, by walking in newness of life (Romans 6:4). In this walk the life of Christ is renewing us unto the image of Christ, the image which will be expressed to the fullest by New Jerusalem.

* in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM

New Jerusalem Comes Down out of Heaven

Revelation 21:2 says, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” In the previous post I commented on New Jerusalem being on the new earth. Now I look at the phrase “out of heaven.” New Jerusalem will be on earth but its source is heaven, not earth. This holy city is divinely new (see prior post) and it is heavenly.

The Lord Jesus told Nicodemus that He had come “out of heaven” (in His incarnation). Later He repeated this same word to a crowd. He told them that He came down out of heaven as the true bread, the heavenly life supply, that any man may eat of in order to live and not die (John 6:32, 33, 50, 58).

First Corinthians 15 is a chapter on resurrection. Verse 45 speaks of two men: Adam and Christ. Verse 46 says the first man, Adam, was soulish (see Genesis 2:7) but the second man (Christ) is spiritual. Then verse 47 says that Adam is earthy but Christ is out of heaven. Verse 48 says that we are earthy; this is due to our being “in Adam” as his descendants. Verse 48 also says that we will be heavenly; this is due to our being “in Christ” who is heavenly. (Many New Testament verses speak about our being in Christ; some are Romans 6:11; 8:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:27-28; and Ephesians 2:6.) Finally, verse 49 says, “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

Putting together John 6 and 1 Corinthians 15, we can see that by believing into Christ, receiving Him as our life, taking Him as our daily life supply, and letting this life operate in us, we will grow into heavenly people. We will not bear our own image but rather the image of Christ who is “the heavenly.” This image will not be in the natural realm, not in Adam. Instead, this heavenly image is in resurrection, in Christ, and spiritual. The fact that we will bear the heavenly image matches 2 Corinthians 3:18. This verse says that by beholding and reflecting the glory of the Lord we all are being transformed into the same image. Let us behold Him more every day!

This transformation by Christ as our life makes us people who match the New Jerusalem. It is heavenly and we will be heavenly. It came down out of heaven and we are in and one with the Christ who came down out of heaven. What is impossible with men who are Adam’s descendants is possible with God in Christ in us (Luke 18:27). Praise Him!

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