Bricks or Precious Stones?

New JerusalemJohn was carried away in spirit to a wilderness to see Babylon the harlot (Rev. 17) and carried away in spirit to a high mountain see New Jerusalem, the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 21). The difference in locations reveals the difference in nature of these two women.

Genesis 11 records the building of Babel, the predecessor of Babylon. The builders said to one another (v. 3), “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and they had tar for mortar.”

God’s building is of stones (Matt. 16:18; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 21:18-20), produced by God’s divine work, whereas Babel was of bricks, which are the result of human labor through the burning of the God-created earth. In figure, the earth signifies humanity (Gen. 2:7; Matt. 13: 3-8; 1 Cor. 15:47a). Satan kills the element within man that grows the divine life, by burning it out, and it misuses man to build up a man-made and godless life.*

Satan kills but Jesus Christ gives life. When He becomes our life through regeneration, God’s building work of life begins in us. An example is in 1 Peter: we are regenerated by incorruptible seed (1:23), we taste the Lord and grow by drinking the nourishing milk of His word (2:2-3), and we are living stones for the building of God’s spiritual house.

The consummation of this house is New Jerusalem. God’s life brings us here and builds us into this glorious city.

* Part of footnote 1 on Genesis 11:3 in The Recovery Version of the Bible, © LSM.

In the Wilderness or on a High Mountain?

An angel took John to the wilderness to see Babylon (Rev. 17). John also says, “he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:10). The strong contrast between these two location matches the strong contrast between Babylon and New Jerusalem.

When the angel showed John the wife of the Lamb, he brought him up to a great and high mountain. There he showed him the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was from a great and high mountain that John beheld this sight. This reveals that if we desire to see the eternal vision of God, we must be brought by Him to a great and high mountain. If we are not standing spiritually on a high mountain, we will not see those who are living on the plain, we will not see the New Jerusalem, nor will we see the ultimate work of God.*

New JerusalemSimilarly to the vision of New Jerusalem, Moses received revelations from God while he stayed with God on a mountain (Exo. 24:12-13 is one example). Also, three disciples saw the glorified Jesus when they were with Him on “a high mountain” (Matt. 17:1-8).

John was “carried away in spirit” to see New Jerusalem. This is a spiritual vision, not something in the natural realm. It is very good to read Revelation 21 and 22 but this is only a starting point. Lord, carry us away to a spiritual mountain and give us a vision of New Jerusalem.

The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Also, On a High Mountain, See New Jerusalem


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.

In the Wilderness or on a High Mountain?

New JerusalemRevelation 17 begins, “And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the judgment of the great harlot.” Verse 3 begins, “And he carried me away in spirit into a wilderness.”

The wilderness is a place of desolation and judgment, in contrast to the high mountain in Revelation 21 for seeing the glorious New Jerusalem. In the wilderness is the harlot but in eternity there is only New Jerusalem, the holy and pure wife of the lamb, Jesus Christ.

When the angel wanted to show John the great harlot in Revelation 17:1-3, he led him into the wilderness. In God’s eyes and in the eyes of those who are inspired by the Holy Spirit, the harlot is one who dwells in the wilderness. She lives in a place where there is no life and no fruit—a barren land. Men today can behold high church buildings, they can take part in well-prepared Sunday services, and they can admire the ability of man, but in the sight of God, everything that has its origin in Babylon is in the wilderness; it is deserted.*

The deciding factor in God’s eyes is not what is done but who is doing it. Anything done by man’s effort apart from the Lord as our life, even if in His name, is in the wilderness and is condemned. This is Matthew 7:21-23. What is blessed by God is full of His life—Christ abiding in us and we abiding in Christ. This is John 15 and this is New Jerusalem.

The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Heavenly Jerusalem is on Earth from God

John was carried away in spirit onto a high mountain (Rev. 21:10). In this setting he was shown “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”

God wanted to show New Jerusalem to John, so He sent an angel to him (21:9) to invite John to come. John responded, was in his human spirit, was carried away to a great and high mountain, and saw the holy city, Jerusalem. This seeing was at first a repeat of Revelation 21:2, but in this seeing (v. 10) the vision continued (v. 11-21) to show John much more about New Jerusalem.

Here are the recent posts on 21:2 which correspond with the latter half of 21:10.
First, John saw the city:
New JerusalemJohn Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem

This Jerusalem is holy because God is holy:
New Jerusalem is Holy with God’s Holiness

This Jerusalem signifies God’s kingdom:
New Jerusalem is the City of the Great King

The name Jerusalem means foundation of peace:
New Jerusalem is the Foundation of Peace

This Jerusalem has the heavenly nature:
New Jerusalem is Heavenly, On Earth

This Jerusalem has come out of heaven
and is on earth and is from God:
New Jerusalem is on Earth from God

Thank the Lord for all the wonderful characteristics of New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

On a High Mountain, See New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:9 an angel called John to see the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. In 21:10 John tells us that the same angel carried him away in spirit “onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.”

To see something as marvelous as New Jerusalem, we must come to a high mountain. In contrast, an angel brought John to a wilderness to see the judgment on the great harlot.

In Exodus 24 Moses went to the top of a mountain to be with God and receive the vision of the tabernacle. And in Matthew 5–7 the Lord Jesus was on a mountain to speak the kingdom of the heavens to His disciples. It was also on a mountain that the Lord New Jerusalemappeared in glory to His three disciples.

To be on a mountain is to be above our daily living, to be out of ordinary affairs. Although we cannot stay on a mountain forever, we do need some experiences of being carried away and being on a mountain top.

Lord, bring us upward to see what You desire to reveal to us!

John recorded four experiences in Revelation of being in spirit for a heavenly revelation. The last of these four is here, seeing New Jerusalem. This is the conclusion of the four revelations and the consummation of the whole Bible. New Jerusalem is God’s goal and is our destiny.


More:
In Spirit on a Mountain for New Jerusalem
In Spirit on a Mountain, see New Jerusalem

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

John Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:1 there is a new heaven and a new earth. In 21:2 John says “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

NewJerusalemVerse 2 begins with And because the bringing forth of the new heaven and new earth allow New Jerusalem to come out of heaven and be on earth.

John saw New Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago. He saw it because, in God’s eternal view, everything is complete. In Revelation John says 47 times “I saw”.

God is the Beginning and the End (Rev. 21:6). Whatever God purposes to do, He accomplishes. Unlike human endeavors, with God there is no uncertainty, no question about success. God already sees the finished product and we too will see it.

When we believe into the Lord Jesus Christ, we enter into a spiritual realm where everything is certain. Yes, in our human realm we do not see it, but we do believe God’s word; “faith is the substantiation/confidence/assurance…of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Gradually He is renewing us, working the eternal spiritual realities into us to become our constitution.

John saw New Jerusalem because he was in spirit and on a high mountain (Rev. 21:10), outside and above the natural human realm. We need the same experience. Lord, bring me in spirit onto a mountain to see New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

See the Kingdom Coming in Glory

One day the Lord Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, There are some of those standing here who shall by no means taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:28). How is this related to New Jerusalem? Simple; New Jerusalem is the ultimate manifestation of God’s kingdom, with the throne of God and the Lamb at its center.

The fulfillment of the Lord’s word is in Matthew 17:1-2, “And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain privately. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.”

New JerusalemThe Lord’s transfiguration was the release of glory from within Him. This was also His coming in His kingdom. This transfiguration was temporary. When they went down the mountain the glory was again concealed within Him.

The glory will again be manifested when the Lord Jesus returns visibly. In Luke 21:27 He says that men shaken by the tribulation “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” And, “when the Son of Man comes in His glory…He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt 25:31).

Based on these verses, we should expect that God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3) will radiating great glory.


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, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

“And…And” Points to New Jerusalem

Many verses in Revelation 19—20 begin “And” linking praises, judgments, the marriage of the Lamb, His victories, and the kingdom with “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem” at the start of chapter 21.

New JerusalemThe way to see New Jerusalem is in 21:10: “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.” And couples this with the angels having the last plagues (v. 9), indicating that the plagues are a base for brining in New Jerusalem.

The description of the city in 21:11-23 has multiple ands because the city is one whole entity. Verses 21:24-26 each begin And, showing that the nations around New Jerusalem are coupled to it although not integral parts of it.

But Revelation 21 is not complete; 22 begins ” And he showed me a river of water of life…” Then 22:2: “And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life…” The description of the city in 21:11-23 is not complete without the life supply flowing from the throne brining us the tree of life with its fruits. The outcome of this life supply is described in 22:3-5, each of which begins “And.”

After the description of life in New Jerusalem we read, “And he [the angel] said to me, These words are faithful and true…” (v. 6). Then the Lord speaks “And behold, I come quickly.” (v. 7). The Lord’s second coming is not separate from New Jerusalem but rather is tied to it.

A few more verses begin with And, then Revelation concludes, ” The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Light of the World, A City (3)

The light and the city in Matthew 5:14 are linked to New Jerusalem. This verse also speaks of a city “upon a mountain.” This indicates a high position. We always put lights in high rather than low positions, so that light may reach everywhere. Our high position is in Christ. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God “raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.”

New JerusalemHebrews 12:18-24 contrasts attributes of the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament attributes are earthly but the New Testament attributes (both Heb. 12 and Eph. 2) are heavenly.

The first ‘New’ attribute is that we “have come forward to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” The heavenly Jerusalem is firstly associated with a mountain, which also is heavenly in nature. Our being the light of the world is not derived from any earthly position; it is a consequence of being in Christ and living one with Him.

The New Testament does not say that New Jerusalem is a city upon a mountain. Instead, by the time New Jerusalem comes down out of heave, the city and the mountain have become one, and New Jerusalem is itself the mountain. The angel “measured the city with the reed to a length of twelve thousand stadia; the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”

In summary, the light, the city, and the mountain all come out of the divine life in God’s people. The Lord spoke all of Matthew 5, including verse 14, to His disciples, and three times spoke of “our Father” (v. 16, 45, 48). As sons of the heavenly Father we are the light of the world and the city on a mountain. All of this culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo by R. Robinson, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Light of the World, A City

New JerusalemIn Matthew 5:14 the Lord Jesus told His disciples, ” You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” But how dies this relate to New Jerusalem? We will use a few posts to consider this, but one obvious link is the word “city.”

Here the Lord tells His disciples “You are the light of the world.” In John 8:12 and 9:5 He says, “I am the light of the world.” How can we be what He is? It is because when we can receive Him into our being, He becomes both life and light within us.

He is “the light of life” and we are born again with this life. Now we have Christ as our life and our light. We become “children of God” who can “walk as children of light” and “shine as luminaries in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

The Greek word φωστηρ translated “luminaries” in Philippians is used only one other place in the New Testament—”Her [New Jerusalem’s] light was like a most precious stone” (Rev. 21:11). New Jerusalem shines because Jesus Christ is the light infusing the entire city.

Revelation 21:23 tells us, “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem], and its lamp is the Lamb.” Because the city is transparent (21:21), clear as crystal (21:11), the glory of God in the Lamb radiates through the city to the entire universe. In this way, New Jerusalem is the fulfillment of the Lord’s word in Matthew 5:14.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem, not in the Natural Realm

New JerusalemJohn saw New Jerusalem when an angel showed it to him and carried him away “in spirit onto a great and high mountain” (Rev. 21:9-10). The angel’s showing, in spirit, and on a high mountain, indicate that seeing New Jerusalem is not based on human capability, is not in the natural realm, and is not on an ordinary level.

New Jerusalem is the bride of Christ, the consummation of His work of redeeming, sanctifying, and glorifying all His believers (Eph. 5:25-27). Thus, we should not think of New Jerusalem as a physical city. To think about the Lord’s words in the physical realm is to repeat a recurring error. Here are examples of this error from John’s gospel.

• In 2:19 Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews were in the natural realm, thinking He spoke about the physical temple. But, He spoke about His body in resurrection.
• In 3:3-6 Jesus spoke about being born anew, being born of the Spirit. Nicodemus misunderstood, thinking about natural birth.
• In 4:10-14 Jesus spoke about living water but the Samaritan woman only could conceive of physical water.
• In 4:32-34 the Lord spoke about being nourished by doing the Father’s will but the disciples only thought about physical food.
• In 6:38, 42 the Lord spoke about coming out of heaven but the Jews could not get beyond their knowledge of His human family.

These examples (and more in the next post) show the futility of depending on our own knowledge and comprehension with divine things. To see and understand New Jerusalem we need to be out of our natural understanding. We need to ask the Lord to carry us away, to keep us in spirit, and to bring us the high mountain so that we may receive a revelation of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem Foreshadowed in Exodus

All the positive things in the Old Testament are symbols, pictures, or prophecies of the New Testament realities. Some of these pictures correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a list of posts showing parallels between Exodus and New Jerusalem.

We are on a journey to the mountain of God to see a vision, as John saw New Jerusalem from a high mountain. The stages of this journey:
Exodus 12—14: we are redeemed and nourished by the Lamb to leave Egypt
Exodus 15: we sing and praise the Lord on our journey to the mountain
Exodus 16: we eat the manna, a picture of Christ as our heavenly nourishment
Exodus 17: we drink the water which flows out of the smitten rock
Exodus 17: we fight against the flesh by walking in spirit

After we reach the mountain, more steps are needed to see God’s revelation of the building of the tabernacle, a type of New Jerusalem:
Exodus 19—23: God’s commands show that apart from Christ we cannot make the journey
Exodus 23: God promised that His Angel would lead us onward
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s redemption
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s absoluteness for God

When we go up the mountain, we have undivided time with the Lord to see a full vision.
Exodus 24—25: on the mountain we are in a cloud to cut our view of other things
Exodus 24—25: Moses’ time in the cloud prefigures many NT experiences
Exodus 24, 33, 34: Moses had many times of fellowship with God

The holy of holies in the tabernacle depicts New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies.
Exodus 25-26: the ark, expiation cover, and cherubim of glory portray Christ and the city
Exodus 26: the veil has been rent by the death of Christ, so we can enter New Jerusalem
Exodus 26: the veil portrays the Lord Jesus, who is the reality in New Jerusalem
Exodus 28: the breastplate with gold and precious stones represents aspects of the city

Exodus 40: glory fills the tabernacle, portraying New Jerusalem, a city of glory

All the events that happened with Israel are an example written for us (1 Cor. 10).
The journey in Exodus
has many symbols of our experiences of Christ and the Spirit.

New Jerusalem

 Photo courtesy of NASA.

 

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