The New Testament Temple is Living (3)

The Old Testament had a physical temple in Jerusalem which persisted into the New Testament age. However, the individual Jesus was the reality of this temple; He was the living temple in John 2. In resurrection He brought all His believers into this reality, this living temple. Now, this temple is growing in the Lord (Eph. 2:20-21) to the maturity of New Jerusalem.

#NewJerusalemIn Revelation 3:12 the Lord promises, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God.” This is another verse showing us that the New Testament temple is a living building. Here is one who not only is “being fitted together” in the temple but even becomes a vital component in the temple.

Besides the promise to make the over-comer a pillar, the Lord also promises to write on him the name of His God, the name of the city of His God, the New Jerusalem, and His new name. This shows that the believer who is fully built in is possessed by God, by New Jerusalem, and by the Lord.

Becoming a pillar and being possessed by the Triune God and New Jerusalem has a base in keeping “the word of My endurance” (Rev. 3:10). This is to be a “fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus” (Rev. 1:9). “In Jesus” is all we need. Let’s “hold fast” (3:11) all that we have in Him.

Verses in Revelation 7, 11, 14, 15, and 16 speak about the temple in heaven. This is clearly not an earthly, physical temple. Near the end of this age a new physical temple will be built in earthly Jerusalem. But it will not be eternal, for the Bible does not include it in the description of the new creation and New Jerusalem, where only the living temple will be present.

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We are God’s Living House

New JerusalemHebrews 3 presents Moses as a type of Christ. Verse 6 tells us “Christ was faithful as a Son over His [God’s] house, whose house we are if indeed we hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end.”

This verse tells us, the believers in Jesus Christ, that we are the house of God. God’s house today is a living composi-tion of all the believers. Likewise New Jerusalem will be a living composition of all God’s people throughout the ages.

Hebrews 3:6, like many other verses in recent posts, is a strong demonstration that the house of God is not a physical building. Yes, physical buildings are very useful for Christians to gather in, but they are not the house of God. Christians collectively are the house of God; combined with God’s Old Testament people, we will be New Jerusalem.

God is living. We match Him as the living house while we “hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end.” Our boldness and boast is who Christ is, what He has accomplished, what He is doing now, and what He will manifest in the future.

To hold our boast and hope is to hold Christ as our Head (Col. 2:19). By holding Him a rich supply flows out to His Body. This supply causes the Body’s growth unto maturity. The maturity of God’s living house will bring forth God’s living city, New Jerusalem.

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Things Written in the Old Testament Point to Christ and to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIsrael’s journey to Mt. Sinai depicts our Christian journey to a point where we are “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10).

This paralleling of Israel and Christian life is seen in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our admonition.” Thank the Lord for the Old Testament examples and for the fact that “they were written” for our sake.

The same is seen in Romans 15:4, “For the things that were written previously were written for our instruction, in order that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Again, thank the Lord! The Bible gives us instruction and encouragement and with these we take the Lord as our endurance.

Israel journeyed to Mt. Sinai, received the vision of the tabernacle, built it, and brought it into the good land. Later the tabernacle was enlarged and made more solid with the building of the temple in Jerusalem. All of this history is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement. And all this history points toward New Jerusalem.

All this history was a shadow of Jesus Christ, the reality (Col. 2:16-19). Our job today is to hold Him that He may grow in us to fill us with reality (2:19). Today this reality is in the Body of Christ as God’s and our dwelling which will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem as God’s and our eternal dwelling.

Christ in us is our Hope of Glory

New Jerusalem is a city of glory (Revelation 21:10-11) and Christ in us is our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). He in us will develop into the glory to be displayed through New Jerusalem. Praise God for His plan and His outworking of His plan.

Christ in you, the hope of glory

New JerusalemOur faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21), not in ourselves nor on circum-stances nor on human culture. This hope is in God, from God, and with God in Christ Jesus as the reality of our hope.

In Hebrews Christ’s heavenly priesthood is the source of a better hope (7:19) and Hebrews charges us to:
lay hold of the hope set before us (6:18),
hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end (3:6),
hold fast the confession of our hope unwavering, for He who has promised is faithful (10:23).

Following the charge in 3:6 to hold fast is a section (3:7–4:13) on believing the word of God, not hardening our hearts to what He speaks. This is the key to holding fast to our hope. We say “amen” to God’s word, even if it does not seem to fit our situation. (Which is distorted – God’s word or our view of things?)

We can hold the word by simple prayers like, Lord, I receive Your word. Or, Lord, I stand on Your word. Or, Lord, cause Your word to operate in me. Or, Lord, thank You for Your living word.

Holding fast to the Lord’s word is also in 1 Corinthians 15:2, “you are being saved, if you hold fast the word which I announced to you as the gospel.” We can hold fast “firm to the end” of this age when the Lord returns visibly and “firm to the end” of the old creation after which New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Everything of God is in Christ Jesus

In the New Testament, everything positive that God is, has done, and is doing, is found in Christ Jesus. On the other hand, many things recorded in the Bible are not of God. These things are not in Christ Jesus and will not be in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe primary things that are not in Christ Jesus and will not be in New Jerusalem:
• the devil, the deceiver will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
• sin, of which the devil is the source (1 John 3:8).
• sins (plural), the acts emanating from the sin (singular) nature.
• death, which entered through sin (Romans 5:12), will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).
• the world, including its lust, which is already passing away (1 John 2:16-17).
• our old man, crucified and buried with Christ (Romans 6:4, 6)
• our self, which we, the Lord’s followers, should deny daily (Luke 9:23).

All of these negatives were judged by the Lord on the cross. Now they are gradually being eliminated in our Christian living by the living and operative word (Hebrews 4:12) in us. All of these negatives will be totally removed before the new heaven and new earth appear, and these negatives will never touch New Jerusalem.

The more we cooperate with the living and operative word, the quicker all of these negatives will be removed from our practical living. We cooperate by exercising our spirit to come to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace (Hebrews 4:16). Thank God that we are objects of His mercy and that His grace energizes us to hold fast (hold firmly, hold continually) what the Lord has given us (Hebrews 3:14, Revelation 3:11). Let us hold fast now and unto New Jerusalem.

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