New Jerusalem is Heavenly on Earth (2)

Hebrews 11:16 tells us that the Old Testament people of faith, living on the physical earth, “long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” We likewise live in an earthly environment but should have the same longing for a heavenly one.

#NewJerusalemGod’s response to our longing is that He has prepared a heavenly city. This is “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). Although it is a heavenly city, John saw it “coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 10). New Jerusalem is a heavenly city on earth.

The first half of Hebrews 8 tells us that the Old Testament tabernacle was a shadow of the heavenly things (v. 5). Both this chapter and the following one speak of the Holy of Holies. Verse 9:8 says that “the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested while the first tabernacle still has its standing.”

That “first tabernacle” stood during the first, the old, covenant. Now that Jesus Christ has come, died, and risen, the new covenant has been established and the way to the holy of holies is open. This New Testament holy of holies is the heavenly one, the New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the heavenly holy of holies because it is a cube, like the smaller holy of holies in the tabernacle and the temple. Revelation 21:16 declares that New Jerusalem is a cube, saying, “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”

The way to this heavenly holy of holies is open! Jesus Christ has opened the way for us! We cannot see the way physically but we can come forward in faith. Hebrews 10:22: “Let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith;” our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Taste Heaven’s Sweetness

New JerusalemA hymn by Witness Lee begins, “Enter the veil and go without the camp, Taste heaven’s sweetness, thus the earth for-sake.”  Then, “By heaven’s presence will the earth depart.” Further it encourages us to enter to “behold the glorious Christ” and “for resurrection pow’r.” This all is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is heavenly, as mentioned in Hebrews 12:22. When New Jerusalem “comes down out of heaven” to the earth (Rev. 21:2), it changes position but retains its heavenly nature. When we enter the veil and behold the glorious Christ, we have a foretaste of heavenly Jerusalem.

By entering we also taste heaven’s sweetness, touch the resurrection power (New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection), and more. By entering, we are energized to go outside the camp. One of many expressions of this in the hymn is
__If I His radiant face in heaven see, His footsteps I will follow here below.

Another declaration of entering’s effect on us  is
__If by the Holiest I am satisfied, How can I of earth’s vanities partake?
In ourselves we cannot forsake the vanities but the heavenly satisfaction enables us. I encourage you to read or sing the whole hymn: words music.

Lord, draw us to enter the veil that we may behold You, have heaven’s presence, and partake of resurrection power to forsake earthly vanities and walk with You every day. Lord, bring us into this foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Enter the Veil and Go Without the Camp

The first two lines of a hymn by Witness Lee (words music) are, “Enter the veil and go without the camp, Taste heaven’s sweetness, thus the earth forsake.” To enter the veil is to go into God’s presence in the holy of holies. The original holy of holies in the tabernacle is a picture of New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies (1, 2, 3).

To “go without the camp” is to come out of the natural realm, where there is talk about God and doings related to God yet without God’s presence. Our going out is foreseen by Moses’ action in Exodus 33:7-11. He set up a tent outside the camp after Israel had worshipped the golden calf idol. At Moses’ tent God spoke with him, and “everyone who sought Jehovah went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp.”

New JerusalemEnter the veil and go without the camp is also in Hebrews. Verses 6:18-19, based on God’s promise and oath in the prior verses, say “we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us, which we have as an anchor of the soul, both secure and firm and which enters within the veil.”

Hebrews 13:12-13 say, “Jesus, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us therefore go forth unto Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”

Inwardly, by faith in Christ, we are already a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). We are in the spiritual realm of the new creation, where the hidden reality of New Jerusalem is. Now, in daily living, we need to enter the veil for God’s presence and go outside the camp.

Colossians 3:1-2 exhorts us, “seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth.” To seek and set our mind on the things above is to enter the veil. To turn from earthly things is to leave the camp. Thus our inward being moves from the old creation to the new, the realm of New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Over 500 publications by Witness Lee are available for online reading and searching.

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.

 

Pictures of New Jerusalem in Exodus (3)

New JerusalemThe holy of holies described in Exodus is a portrait of New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies. The entrance to the holy of holies was  a veil. Hebrews 10:20 tells us is that the veil portrays the flesh of Jesus.

Exodus 26:31 describes the veil: “You shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet strands and fine twined linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.”

Because the veil depicts the flesh of Jesus, it relates to His humanity. The linen is His perfect humanity, with heavenliness (blue), royalty (purple), redemption (scarlet, signifying His shed blood), and glory (cherubim).

All of these features are seen in New Jerusalem. The man Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) who is on the throne in the city (Rev. 22:1); this includes the humanity, royalty, and redemption depicted by the veil. New Jerusalem is heavenly. It comes down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2) but retains the heavenly nature; this too is related to the humanity of Jesus. Also, New Jerusalem has the glory of God (Rev. 21:11).

In Exodus the veil was whole, keeping us out of the holy of holies. This was because men were fallen flesh (Gen. 6:3). In the death of Jesus the old man was crucified and the body of sin was annulled (Rom. 6:6). First Peter 3:18 tells us that He died “that He might bring you to God.”

To be brought to God is to be brought into the holy of holies. We have this access by the blood shed in His death (Heb. 10:19-22). Now we come forward to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16), to Jesus (Heb. 7:25), and to the holy of holies (Heb. 10). The throne, Jesus, the holy of holies, and our coming forward are all for today and for New Jerusalem. Let us come forward with boldness!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Pictures of New Jerusalem in Exodus (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies. The holy of holies described in Exodus portrays something of New Jerusalem.

The veil (Ex. 26:31-33) separated the holy of holies from the holy place. Entering the holy of holies was extremely restricted (Lev. 16:2, 29-30). Hebrews 9:7-8 speaks of this, “…only the high priest enters [the holy of holies], once a year and not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of ignorance of the people, the Holy Spirit thus making this clear, that the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested…”

However, we are not in that age! Hebrew 9:11 has a great turn: “But Christ, having come…”! When Jesus died, “the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51). As a result, “Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies in the blood of Jesus, which entrance He initiated for us as a new and living away through the veil, that is, His flesh…” (Heb. 10:19-20).

Through the death of Jesus Christ the veil has been rent! We can enter the spiritual holy of holies now and our entrance to New Jerusalem is guaranteed. Having the new and living way, “and having a great Priest over the house of God, let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:21-22a).

Although the pictures in Exodus convey something about New Jerusalem to us, they do not show us the way to enter. Thank God that we are in this age, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We exercise our faith to receive His redemption and thereby have boldness to enter the holy of holies now on our way to 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, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

Pictures of New Jerusalem in Exodus

Revelation 21:16 says, “he [an angel] measured the city [New Jerusalem] with the reed to a length of twelve thousand stadia; the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” The equal dimensions declare that New Jerusalem is a cube, and in the Bible a cube is the holy of holies (or holiest of all or most holy place).

New JerusalemThe holy of holies in the tabernacle is first mentioned in Exodus 26:31-34; it was separated from the holy place by the veil. It contained the ark of the testimony with its expiation cover and two cherubim.

The ark was “the ark of the testimony” because the testimony was put into it (Ex. 25:16). Jesus Christ is the reality of the testimony; He is the one who testifies and displays all that God is. In the Old Testament picture the testimony was in the ark in the holy of holies; in the New Testament the testimony is in Jesus Christ who is the center of New Jerusalem, the eternal holy of holies.

The expiation cover of the ark was sprinkled with blood of offerings (Lev. 16:14-15). The Lord Jesus is the reality of these offerings (Heb. 10:5-10) for us now. He is also the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1), our eternal Redeemer and Redemption.

Above the expiation cover were “the cherubim of glory” (Ex. 25:18-20, Heb. 9:5). This is another part of the holy of holies as a picture of New Jerusalem, the city of glory. Also, the gold of the ark, the expiation cover, and the cherubim all portray the gold of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:18, 21).

The Lord said to Moses, “I will meet with you and I will speak with you” there—above the expiation cover and between the cherubim. This is a picture of God’s eternal meeting and speaking with His people in New Jerusalem.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

Enlargement from Here to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is the summary of posts about the enlargement of God’s house, the church today, to God’s city, New Jerusalem. A link, a key sentence and a verse are presented for each post.

 First Timothy 3:15 tells us “the house of God is the church of the living God.” This house will be enlarged to be the city of God, New Jerusalem.

 The word church in the New Testament refers to the Lord’s corporate people, His mystical Body. In Ephesians 1:22-23 Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

The church as the manifestation of God in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15-16) is a foretaste of God manifest through New Jerusalem.

 The common New Testament Greek word for house means both the dwelling place and the dwellers; in 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house”—we are God’s dwelling place, His house.

 The convergence of house and household, dwelling place and dwellers, is the New Testament reality, both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem; in Ephesians 2:19 we are “members of the household of God.”

 The church as the house of God and New Jerusalem as the city of God are both living entities, the building together of God’s people; “you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16).

We are the living house of God; “Christ was faithful as a Son over His [God’s] house, whose house we are” (Heb. 3:6); in eternity we will be God’s city, New Jerusalem.

  New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies, where God meets with His people and speaks with us face to face; this is a great enlargement from the Old Testament holy of holies.

 The enlargement of God’s house is by Christ’s growth in us. Colossians 2:19 tells us that by our holding the Head, Christ, His Body, which is also the living house of God, “grows with the growth of God.”

 In Colossians 2:16–3:4 the growth is by our experiencing Christ as the reality, by holding Him as our Head, by our mind set on things of Christ, by being governed by Christ Himself, and by letting Christ our life live in us.

The growth is also seen in Ephesians 3:16-19; Christ makes home in our hearts as we experience His death and resurrection.

 Ephesians 3:17-19 continues; as a result of Christ’s home-making, we are rooted and grounded in love, we together apprehend His vastness, and we are filled unto all the fullness of God.

Then in Ephesians 3:20-21 the growth and filling in the prior verses result in glory to God in the church and then in more glory to him in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11), all enabled by God in Christ as the power operating in us.

The New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in humanity, first in Jesus Christ (John 1:14) and then greatly enlarged in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: God’s House Grown in Life

New JerusalemThe holy of holies is where God meets with us. The Old Testament holy of holies was a physical picture, with an enlargement from the tabernacle to the temple. The New Testament holy of holies is the reality, the dwelling place of the living God, which is being enlarged to New Jerusalem.

This enlargement is accomplished by Christ’s growth in us. Colossians 2:19 tells us that by our holding the Head, Christ, a rich supply from Him flows so that “all the Body grows with the growth of God.”

God in Himself is perfect, complete; He does not grow. But in us He needs to grow, to spread, to occupy more of our inner being.

A note* on grows in this verse says, “Growing is a matter of life, which is God Himself. As the Body of Christ, the church should not be deprived of Christ, who is the embodiment of God as the source of life. By holding Christ, the church grows with the growth of God, with the increase of God as life.” Part of the note* on growth says, “the growth of the Body depends on the growth of God, the increase of God’s element, in the Body.”

Today the church is the living house of the living God. In the future New Jerusalem will be the living city of the living God. The growth of God in all His people is the increase of His house from the church today to New Jerusalem.

The key to this growth is our holding to Christ as our Head, as our life, and as the reality of all the Old Testament types and pictures (Col. 2:16-17). The more Christ our life increases in us, the closer we are to the fullness of New Jerusalem.

* Notes (online) in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

New Jerusalem: God’s House Enlarged

Revelation 21:16 tells us that when an angel measured New Jerusalem—”the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” New Jerusalem, as a cube, is the eternal holy of holies. This is a great enlargement from the Old Testament, where the dimension of the holy of holies was ten cubits in the tabernacle (Exo. 26) and twenty cubits in the temple (1 Kings 6:20).

New JerusalemThis principle of enlargement applies through the New Testament. Recent posts have many verses (including 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 3:6; 1 Peter 2:5) on the church as the house of the living God. This house is being enlarged to New Jerusalem, the city of the living God.

The holy of holies is where God meets with His people and speaks with us face to face (Ex. 25:22). Thus, in New Jerusalem, the eternal holy of holies, we have God’s eternal presence and His speaking.

God in Himself is unchanging. The enlarging of the holy of holies from the tabernacle to the temple to the church to New Jerusalem shows that God has more ground in His people. It also indicates that God’s people have more opportunity to be in His presence and more capacity to hear His speaking.

The enlargement of the holy of holies, which is the enlargement of our experience of God in it, results in the enlarged expression of God. The tabernacle and temple were pictures of the expression of God. The church as the house of God is the manifestation of God in the flesh. New Jerusalem will be the ultimate expression of God in redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified humanity. This is New Jerusalem, having the glory of God (Rev. 21:11).

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Come Forward, See God’s Face, Serve Him

A review of recent posts on the priesthood:
• In Exodus 19 God stated His intention to make Israel a kingdom of priests;
• Hebrews 5–7 speak about Jesus Christ as the kingly High Priest;
• Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:9-10 tell us that Jesus Christ, through His propitiatory death, made us a kingdom of priests;
• 1 Peter 1–2 presents a process through which we are built together as a priesthood;
• 1 Peter 2 also says we are a royal priesthood telling out the virtues of the Lord;
• Revelation 20:6 speaks of priests of God and of Christ and reigning with Him.

Finally, in Revelation 22:3, 5, “…the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him….and they will reign forever and ever.” Here the word “serve” means to serve as a priest.

New JerusalemTo serve as priests is to be in the presence of God in the holy of holies. Hebrews 9:8 tells us that the way into the holy of holies was not manifested in Old Testament times. But Hebrews 9–10 go on to speak of what Jesus Christ accomplished as our High Priest so that now we can come forward to the holy of holies (10:19). Ultimately, the entire city of New Jerusalem is the holy of holies. Here we see God’s face (Revelation 22:4).

By coming to the holy of holies, the priests are infused with God’s shining and thereby express Him. This matches two lines of a song in an earlier post: Saturated with His beauty, Radiate His excellence. This should be our experience today and will be our fuller experience in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Come Forward to Get Ready

In Matthew 24 and 25 the Lord speaks about our being ready for Him as our Bridegroom. (see posts:  ) This corresponds with Revelation 21:2, “New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New JerusalemIn Luke 22 the Lord spoke about His death. Peter said to the Lord, “I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death” (v. 33) but the Lord responded, “I tell you, Peter, a rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know Me” (v. 34). Peter’s example shows that we cannot get ready by our own determination, our own zeal, or our own effort.

To be ready, we need the Lord’s mercy. Romans 9:23 calls us “vessels of mercy, which He [God] had before prepared unto glory.” As vessels, we can receive whatever God wants to pour out. Yet, we must cooperate by opening to Him, coming to Him.

Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” This throne is in the heavenly holy of holies. A note in the Recovery Version* asks and answers a question:

How can we enter the Holy of Holies while we are still on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in Hebrews 4:12. The very Christ who is in heaven is now also in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). As the heavenly ladder (Gen. 28:12; John 1:51), He joins our spirit to heaven and brings heaven into our spirit. Hence, whenever we turn to our spirit, we enter into the Holy of Holies. There we meet with God, who is on the throne of grace. See also this note.

Our spirit connects us to the heavenly throne of grace. Here we receive mercy and grace to get us ready for the Lord’s return and for New Jerusalem.

* The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; it is © by Living Stream Ministry.

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