New Jerusalem is a Corporate Composition of God and all His People

In the Bible”saints” are “those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints” (1 Cor. 1:2). He is our sanctification. New Jerusalem is composed of the Old Testament saints, indicated by the names of the twelve tribes at the gates, and the New Testament saints, represented by the names of the apostles on the foundations.

Hebrews 11:40 says, “Because God has provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” This is a wonderful verse!…Without the New Testament saints the Old Testament saints could never be perfected….The saints of the Old Testament time are merely a part of the holy city. Without the New Testament saints the holy city could never be perfected. The Old Testament part needs the New Testament part as a perfection. By this verse we can realize that the holy city is not a physical place beside or outside of the redeemed ones. Rather, the redeemed ones are the composition of this holy city, and this holy city is the composition of all the redeemed ones.*

New JerusalemThe church, the Body of Christ, the one new man, and the bride of Christ are not different things but are four aspects of one corporate entity. This entity is never physical. It is always presented as a composition of all God’s people. Two examples: we were all baptized into one Body (1 Cor. 12:13) and we have put on the new man (Col. 3).

New Jerusalem is the consummation of this corporate spiritual entity. It is not a  physical city but a composition of the Triune God with all His people.

* The Building of God, chapter 4, by Witness Lee.

Jesus Christ is the Reality Today and in New Jerusalem

In John 1:29 and 3:29 John the Baptist identified the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Bridegroom. In New Jerusalem the Lord is the Lamb on the throne and the Bridegroom.

The New Jerusalem is the ultimate conclusion of the entire Scriptures. In the Gospel of John we see the Lord Jesus as many items. He was recommended by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God and as the Bridegroom. He is also the light, the life, the way, and everything. The New Jerusalem is the all-inclusive embodiment of Christ as everything. In the New Jerusalem Christ is the Lamb, and He is the Bridegroom to marry the New Jerusalem as the bride. In the New Jerusalem Christ is also the light, the life, the way, and the truth, the reality. The New Jerusalem is the embodiment of all that Christ is.*

New JerusalemJesus Christ is our “light of life” (John 8:12) both now and eternally in New Jerusalem. Everything He is in the gospels, He is in eternity. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke He is the new wine for us to drink. Although wine is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem, He is the new wine eternally in the new creation.

In John 6 Jesus is the bread of life to nourish us with Himself as “the life.” In New Jerusalem He is the tree of life to continue nourishing us eternally.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes, even forever” (Heb. 13:8). This verse assures us that everything spoken about what the Lord is in the gospels and epistles is also true in New Jerusalem eternally.

* The Building of God, chapter 4, by Witness Lee.

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Come Forward on the New and Living Way

New JerusalemThe prior three posts looked at the heavenly, spiritual, and eternal things in Hebrews 8 to 10. These all point to New Jerusalem. In contrast, all the Old Testament things in these chapters are earthly, physical, and temporary.

Based on what Christ has accomplished, Hebrews 10:19-22 encourages us to come forward to enter the heavenly Holy of Holies, which is the present reality of New Jerusalem. We have boldness because Christ has opened the way.

The door He opened is “a new and living way.” This is in contrast to the OT practices which were not in God’s divine newness and were not with God’s divine life. This new way is “through the veil” into the Holy of Holies. The Spirit made clear that this way had not yet been manifested (Heb. 9:8) under the OT practices. Both our Christian life today and New Jerusalem are in this newness and life.

Hebrews 10:23 encourages us “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope unwavering, for He who has promised is faithful.” The Lord is faithful and we respond by holding to Him and to what He has accomplished.

Hebrews 10:24-25 then tells us to consider one another, to assemble together, “to incite one another to love and good works,” and to exhort one another. This mutuality must be related to our coming forward on the “new and living way.” Let’s not live an individual Christian life but rather come forward together.

The end of Hebrews 10 warns us not to shrink back. Jesus Christ is our newness today and New Jerusalem is ahead. The way is open and we “come forward.”

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The Eternal Sacrifice of Jesus Christ Brings us to New Jerusalem

Further contrasts in Hebrews 9 between physical characteristics and spiritual characteristics highlight aspects of New Jerusalem.

Verse 9:12 tells us that Christ, through His own blood, obtained “an eternal redemption.” This is shown by the Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), on the throne in New Jerusalem. And this is in contrast to the temporary things of the Old Testament (9:9-9:10).

New JerusalemVerse 14, comparing OT and NT purifications, says “how much more will the blood of Christ…” Everything with Christ is “much more.”

Verse 15 continues, “He [Christ] is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Through His death we have received the promise of the eternal New Jerusalem as our inheritance.

The following verses of Hebrews 9 speak of Christ’s death, ascension, and second coming, implying also His resurrection. Several verses speak about OT purification. Then verse 23 speaks of a better sacrifice—Christ, who sacrificed Himself once for all! Likewise New Jerusalem is much better than all the OT shadows.

The first part of Hebrews 10 contrasts the OT sacrifices with Christ’s eternal sacrifice. Verse 10: “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Verse 14: “By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” This sanctification is ultimately for New Jerusalem, “the holy city.”

Enter through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

We continue with the contrasts of physical shadows and spiritual realities in Hebrews. The realities match characteristics of New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 9:1 is about the first covenant, the shadows. Its sanctuary was of “this world,” of the old creation, in contrast to New Jerusalem which is of the new creation. 

New JerusalemVerses 3 to 5 present the gold and the glory of the Holy of Holies. The gold is the nature of God and the glory is the expression of God. Both gold and glory are characteristics of New Jerusalem, and the city is a cube, the eternal Holy of Holies.

In contrast, verse 2 mentions the table and the lampstand in the holy place but does not say that they are of gold. This omission emphasizes that the shadows of the old creation do not compare with New Jerusalem.

Verses 6 to 8 show us that the entrance into the reality is only possible based upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is our entrance into New Jerusalem, and today we come forward to the heavenly Holy of Holies.

Verses 9 and 10 (and 10:1) tell us that the shadows are temporary and that they cannot perfect those who hold to that form of worship. But 10:14 tells us that Christ “has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” This perfection has New Jerusalem as its goal.

The Reality of All the OT Shadows

This post begins a look at multiple contrasts in Hebrews 8 to 10. The spiritual/heavenly side of these contrasts shows us something about New Jerusalem. On the opposite side, the physical/material side of these contrasts shows us what New Jerusalem is not.

New JerusalemHebrews 8:1: “We have such a High Priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” In His ascension Jesus Christ sat down. In eternity He is the Lamb with God on the throne in New Jerusalem.

Verses 3-4 speak of priests making offerings. The Old Testament priests offered gifts according to the law, but the Lord Jesus offered Himself as the reality of all the OT sacrifices. He is “the Lamb of God.”

Verse 5 tells us that the OT priests “serve the example and shadow of the heavenly things.” Earthly things, like the OT tabernacle, are merely shadows. Heavenly things, including “New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven” are the reality.

Verse 6 says that Jesus Christ “obtained a more excellent ministry inasmuch as He is also the Mediator of a better covenant.” This new covenant is further described in verses 7 to 13.

Verse 13: “ In saying, A new covenant, He has made the first old.” The new covenant, which is of life, not of law, is the better covenant and corresponds with New Jerusalem. Verse 13 also says that the old “is near to disappearing” but New Jerusalem is eternal.


Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

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.

Eternal Redemption; Serve the Living God

Hebrews 9:12 declares that Jesus, “through His own blood, entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:14 declares further that “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

How does that relate to New Jerusalem? Revelation 22:3, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.”

New JerusalemThe eternal redemption accomplished once for all by Jesus Christ is for us to serve God now and in New Jerusalem. His redemption, and the forgiveness and purifying it affords us, is always available because it was done “through the eternal Spirit.”

Redemption opens the door for us to receive eternal life, and eternal life (John 3:15-16) brings us into the bride of Christ (3:29-30) which ultimately is New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

The purifying presented in Hebrews 9:14 is necessary for us to receive eternal life and because “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18). New Jerusalem has no spots, no darkness, no obscurity. Every aspect of the city is pure and transparent.

We are experiencing the purifying in Hebrews 9 along with the inward washing of our being presented in Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5. This brings us to the purity of New Jerusalem and to our eternal service to the living God.

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Enter the New Testament Holy of Holies

Revelation 21 describes New Jerusalem. Verse 16 tells us, “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” The entire city is a cube.

New Jerusalem

Part of Hebrews 10:19-22

The only cubes in the Bible are the holy of holies in the tabernacle, the holy of holies in the temple, and New Jerusalem. This shows that New Jerusalem is the eternal holy of holies, where we will live forever in the Lord’s presence.  

Hebrews 9 says that the Old Testament priests were always going into the holy place but that only the high priest entered the holy of holies and only once a year. Verse 8: “The Holy Spirit thus making this clear, that the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested…” 

In contrast to the Old Testament, when the Lord Jesus was crucified, “the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom” (Matt 27:51). As a result of His death the way through the veil into the holy of holies is open. “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16). He opened the way, let us come forward (Heb. 10:19-22).

The throne of grace is in the heavenly holy of holies and we come forward in our spirit united with the Spirit. Ultimately this throne will be at the center of New Jerusalem. 

In this age we need the call to “come forward.” But in New Jerusalem there will be no need of this call; will be permanently in the holy of holies; eternally forward.

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We Serve as Priests, Now + New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe description of life in New Jerusalem includes, “And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him” as priests (Rev. 22:3). Several NT verses speak of our serving as priests also in the present age.

We might feel unqualified to serve, but God in Christ has done everything needed to qualify us. He “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:6). He did this by dying to redeem us and resurrecting to enliven us.

Hebrews 9:14 proclaims, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” This is the redeeming aspect. We apply this in our Christian life by confessing our sins (1 John 1:9).

In Hebrews 12 Jesus is “the Author (Originator) and Perfecter (Completer) of our faith.” This is the life aspect. We serve God as redeemed people by His divine life and supplied by His grace. We need to repent of our unqualified feeling. Then we put away every encumbrance and look away [from ourselves] to Jesus (12:1-2)!

As we look away from self to Jesus, we are kept in the grace of God (12:15). We have already “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (12:22). Outwardly things may be in disarray but “receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us have grace, through which we may serve God well-pleasingly with piety and fear” (12:28). This is our foretaste of serving God as priests in New Jerusalem.

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A Loud Voice out of the Throne, Behold the Tabernacle of God

Recent posts have been about Revelation 21:2. Verse 3 begins, “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne.” And connects what follows with the description of New Jerusalem in verse 2.

loud voice is often heard in Revelation, to call everyone’s attention to the concluding events of this age, the introduction of the coming age, the final judgments, and the new creation with New Jerusalem. In this verse the loud voice is out of the throne. This word comes direct from God and the Lamb who sit on the throne in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThis loud voice first says, “Behold, the tabernacle of God.” In Exodus the tabernacle was a physical building, a picture of the New Testament reality.

Hebrews 8:2 and 9:11 speak of the true and more perfect heavenly tabernacle. These verses tell us that the true tabernacle is not of the old creation. It is of the new creation.

This true tabernacle first appeared in the incarnation. John 1:14 declares, “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” The incarnated Word, the man Jesus, was of the new creation as this true tabernacle among men. The New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in a living Person!

This tabernacle was enlarged through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is God dwelling in a corporate living person, the church today and New Jerusalem in eternity.

This consummate tabernacle, New Jerusalem, is “with men” because it has “come down out of heaven” to be on earth for eternity.

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New Jerusalem is Holy with God’s Holiness

Revelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New Jerusalem is holy because God is holy (Lev. 11:44 quoted in 1 Peter 1:16) and the city is saturated with God’s holiness. This God, who is Triune, operates on us and in us to make us holy to match New Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 1:2 – those “who have been sanctified* in Christ Jesus”
Romans 15:16 – “sanctified in the Holy Spirit”

These verses speak of our sanctification, our being made holy, in position. This occurs, and is complete, when we first believe in the Lord. This is Acts 26:18 – “those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” And Hebrews 10:10 – “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

New JerusalemTo match New Jerusalem’s purity and transparency, it is not enough to be holy in position. After our initial, positional sanctification we also need to be saturated with God’s holiness.

Hebrews 10:14 refers to the process of being saturated: “those who are being sanctified.” Ephesians 5:26 tells us how this is accomplished: “He [Christ] might sanctify her [the church, including every believer], cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.”

The goal of this washing is that Christ, at His second coming, “might present the church to Himself glorious…holy and without blemish” (5:27). This holy and glorious condition, without any spot or wrinkle or blemish matches the holy city, New Jerusalem.


* The English words holy/holiness and sanctify/sanctification are translations of closely related New Testament Greek words. They seem very different because holy came into English from an Anglo-Saxon root and sanctification came from a Latin root.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (5)

When the Lamb’s wife, New Jerusalem, is ready, there will be great rejoicing in heaven and the Lord will come to take her. This readiness depends on our cooperation with God’s operation in us.

Aspects of this cooperation in prior posts include: letting the Lord’s living word operate in us, not loving the world, watching in prayer, denying the self to be filled in spirit, and fanning into flame the gift of God which is in us. In addition to these positive actions, we New Jerusalemneed the Lord’s warning, “You also, be ready, because at an hour when you do not expect it, the Son of Man is coming” (Luke 12:40).

The Lord says we must be ready because do not know when He will come. We should never relax. The Lord tells us it is an evil slave who says, “My master delays” (Matt. 24:48). The Lord’s return might seem delayed to us but we need to be saved from such thoughts.

“You have need of endurance in order that, having done the will of God, you may obtain the promise. For in yet a very little while the Coming One will come and will not delay” (Heb. 10:36-37). This is God’s word—the Coming One will not delay.

One aspect of His coming is to take His bride. Let us not delay in getting ready. Lord, be merciful to us that we could always take Your faithfulness and endurance in our getting ready for Your coming and for New Jerusalem.

Photo by Dan Darolti, courtesy of Good Free Photos.

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