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.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Through the Cross, Looking to Jesus

The Lord desires to constantly apply His death to our natural life so that His resurrection life may be manifested. “We who are alive are always being delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested” (2 Cor. 4:11). This is our path to New Jerusalem, the consummate manifestation of the life of Jesus.

New JerusalemOn one hand “we are being delivered unto death.” On the other hand, we have to deny our soul life and bear our cross. We cannot do this ourselves. We need to be empowered by Him.

“Let us…run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:1-2).

We need the endurance of Jesus, so that we may reach the joy set before us, a joy which culminates in New Jerusalem. Thus, we look to HIm. This is similar to the first part of Romans 5. Being justified “we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Standing in grace, equal to looking away to Jesus, brings forth many virtues including endurance.

A related verse is 2 Thessalonians 3:5, “The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ.” When our hearts are loving God we have endurance, but we are not the source. It is “the endurance of Christ.” He brings us through all the killing of our natural man into the reality of the new man, which becomes New Jerusalem.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe death of Christ terminated, redeemed, released, and created to bring all of God’s people onto the path to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21 says about New Jerusalem, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These pearls portray the wonderful achievements of Christ on the cross as our entrance into the city.*

The effectiveness of Christ’s death is eternal. Hebrews 9:14 says, “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?” The eternal Spirit makes His death eternally effective and applicable to us at every time. And His death purifies us to serve the living God, which service will continue in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The Lord promised us “when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will guide you into all the reality” (John 16:13). In resurrection this Spirit came and is guiding us into the reality of all that Christ accomplished on the cross in order to bring us unto New Jerusalem.

Through the Spirit all that Christ accomplished is available to us. Through the eternal Spirit His redemption with the forgiveness of sins is applied to our conscience, so that our conscience can be free of condemnation. Through the Spirit the released divine life comes into us to regenerate us. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). And the Spirit of reality makes the new man real to us. The Spirit is the reality of our path to New Jerusalem.

* Links to many posts on this are in Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (4)

Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Revelation 21:2, “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 parable in Matthew 25, ten virgins all “took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” When he came, five who were ready went in with Him to the wedding feast. Five foolish virgins were shut out. However, the Lord promised that He will never cast us out and that no one can take us out of His hand. As a result, these foolish believers will be in New Jerusalem but after a period of discipline.

New JerusalemThe paths of these two groups of virgins seem to match the verses in Revelation written above. Remember that these two verses are not at identical times but are separated by many events later in chapter 19 and through all of chapter 20.

Those who were ready and went into the wedding feast (Matt. 25:10) are those who “made herself ready” (19:7) and thereby receive the blessing (Rev. 19:9). Entrance to the wedding feast is not based on individual Christian perfection but on corporate experience of Christ, resulting in our building together.

The virgins who came later and were not let into the feast (Matt. 25:11-12), who are then perfected through discipline (as in Heb. 12:5-11) become part of the prepared bride in Revelation 21:2. They miss the wedding feast but are part of New Jerusalem for eternity.

Based on the Lord’s firm promises, I expect all believers to be constituents of New Jerusalem, whether partaking of the wedding feast or not.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (3)

Revelation 19:9: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.” This dinner will be a reward to the Lord’s faithful believers. This dinner is a foretaste of the eternal marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His wife, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9-10).

New JerusalemThis marriage dinner is presented in a parable in Matthew 25:1-13. The virgins who were ready went in but the virgins who were not ready were shut out. But were they shut out temporarily or forever? Only temporarily; they will be brought to New Jerusalem.

Jesus said, “I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father…is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

And Jesus promised: “Him who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out” (John 6:37); “I shall by no means give you up, neither by any means shall I abandon you” (Heb. 13:5). The Lord’s promises here are unconditional. “By no means,” that is, under no circumstances whatever, will He ever cast us out or cease to uphold us. These are His faithful promises. This eternal promise endures unto New Jerusalem.

The prior post shows that the five foolish virgins are believers. The verses above show that they are eternally secure.* “No one,” including the devil and the foolish virgins themselves, can snatch them out of the Lord’s hand. And He will never give us up despite our foolishness. However, such believers should expect discipline from the Lord and the Father (Heb. 12:5-11).

The discipline will seem to be a matter of grief (12:11), but eventually these believers will be prepared and will partake of our Father God’s holiness (12:10) and match the holy city, New Jerusalem.

* For more, see The Assurance, Security, and Joy of Salvation or read online

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

%d bloggers like this: