New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies (5)

The Old Testament holy of holies and New Jerusalem are the only cubes in the Bible.This shows that the old holy of holies depicts New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies. Prior posts touched the materials and contents of the holy of holies and their relation to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemExodus 25:21-22 is about the ark, the expiation cover (propitiation place in Heb. 9), and the cherubim. God told Moses, “there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you.”

The Lord meets and speaks with us today in the holy of holies. In a personal way, this is our human spirit, where the Lord dwells—”the Lord be with your spirit” (2 Tim. 4:22). In a corporate way, this is the Body of Christ in its reality today and New Jerusalem in the future.

The corporate aspect of God meeting and speaking with us climaxes in New Jerusalem, matching the promise that God’s slaves, who serve Him as priests “will see His face” (Rev. 22:3-4).

Today the Lord’s speaking to us is irregular because our spiritual condition is erratic. But, in New Jerusalem there will be no sin, no death, no flesh, no self life, no distractions. We will continually and eternally have the experience of the Lord’s meeting us and speaking with us face to face in glory.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

The New Testament Temple is Living (4)

New JerusalemIn various centuries, physical temples were built in earthly Jerusalem. But in the New Testament Jesus is the reality; He is the living temple. In resurrection He brought all His believers into this reality, this living temple.

In Revelation 21:22 John says, “I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Certainly this is a living temple! We do not need an earthly, physical temple, for today and in New Jerusalem we worship God in God.

This is not a new idea; in John 4:19-24 the Lord was asked which physical place is the proper location for worship. He answered. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.”

Worship is no longer defined by a physical building. To worship in our human spirit, born of God the Spirit, is to worship in the living temple. In resurrection, as regenerated people, we are one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). Our worship of God in spirit, in the living temple, is in the Person of God, who is Spirit.

The regeneration of our human spirit and the Lord being with us in our spirit, distinguish the New Testament from the Old Testament. In the New Testament reality the location is spirit instead of the physical Jerusalem. In the New Testament reality the temple is living and the worship is living. This pattern will continue into New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

No Beasts in or near New Jerusalem

Revelation 13 says much about two beasts. Chapter 14 has a heavenly warning about the beasts, 15 shows those who were victorious over the beasts, 16 has judgement on them, 17 introduces another beast and presents much beastly activity, and 19 has their terminations in the lake of fire.

New JerusalemThese beasts are all opposed to New Jerusalem because they oppose the accomplishing of God’s purpose on earth. This purpose is first revealed in Genesis 1:26 where the Triune God created man in His image and let man have dominion over the earth.

God’s purpose is also revealed in Zechariah 12:1 which speaks of God “who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” The heavens contain the earth and earth is a dwelling place for man, who has a human spirit to contact God who is Spirit (John 4:24).

By contacting God, man receives the life of God, portrayed by the tree of life in Genesis 2. As a result of this contact, man’s spirit is born of God’s Spirit. This birth with God’s life enables man to express God and to rule the earth for God.

Genesis 1–2 is the beginning of God’s purpose; Revelation 21–22 is the consummation. In this consummation, man is beholding God constantly (Rev. 22:4). Man is continually supplied with God’s life by the river of life with the tree of life (22:1-2). God in this corporate man is fully expressed through New Jerusalem which radiates the glory of God (21:11). God and the Lamb on the throne (22:1) reign and man reigns with them (22:5).

Praise God that New Jerusalem is the eternal fulfillment of God’s purpose and that the opposing beasts are gone.

This post is in my list of what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Testimony of Jesus in Revelation

New JerusalemFive chapters in Revelation include the phrase “the testimony of Jesus.” In verse 19:10 an angel tells John, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy.”

Revelation 1:3 and 22:7, 10, 18-19 make clear that “the prophecy” is the book of Revelation. The spirit—the heart, the focus, the emphasis, the essence—of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus.

This testimony is not only of the Jesus seen clearly in the gospels. It is also the testimony of Jesus living in and through all His believers. The consummation of this corporate testimony of Jesus is New Jerusalem.

John “testified the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, even all that he saw” (Rev. 1:2). All that John saw included New Jerusalem. John paid a price for his seeing.

“I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (1:9). John was exiled to the Patmos. Because his situation involved tribulation and endurance, he took it “in Jesus,” in the man who suffered and endured in His life on earth.

In this outward suffering John saw four visions “in spirit,” the last of which was New Jerusalem. John wrote not an outward story nor a merely human history. Rather, he presented the testimony of Jesus, including New Jerusalem, seen “in spirit.” We too need to be In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem.

The spirit, the focus, of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This includes the seven churches (Rev. ch. 2–3), the multitude (ch. 7), the bright woman (ch. 12), the firstfruits (ch. 14), the overcomers (ch. 15, 20), the bride (ch. 19), and New Jerusalem (ch. 21–22). These should be our focus in Revelation, and like John, we should be in spirit.
See New Jerusalem with a Spirit of Faith.

The Spirit and a Serpent for New Jerusalem

It is well-known that John 3 is a chapter on new birth and eternal life. In verse 3 Jesus speaks about being born again (or born anew), in verse 5 about being born of water and the Spirit, and in verse 6 He tells us, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” When we are born anew, our deadened human spirit is born of, made alive by, the divine Spirit. Being born again begins our walk on the golden street of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWhen we believe into Jesus Christ, not only is our human spirit made alive, but also we receive eternal life. This is John 3:15-16. This is a new beginning with a new life. The consummation, the maturity, of this life is New Jerusalem.

But how can a serpent be related to New Jerusalem? Numbers 21:4-9 has the base for our answer. The people of Israel sinned in complaining against God and serpents bit them. Moses prayed and God told him what to do. “Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the pole; and if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

The Lord Jesus applied this to Himself. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14). Because of sin, all humans have the evil nature, the poison, of the serpent Satan within. The Lord Jesus was lifted up on the cross as the reality of the bronze serpent to free us from this serpentine nature.

We need both of these for our participation in New Jerusalem—the Lord Jesus lifted up to cast out the old serpent (John 12:31) and save us from that nature, plus the Spirit entering into us with eternal life. We receive, rejoice, and go on to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem—Magnification of Christ (2)

The prior post presented Paul’s individual magnification of Christ (Phil. 1:20) as a miniature of the corporate magnification of Christ in New Jerusalem. The Greek verb translated magnify means to declare to be great, to glorify, to praise, to exalt.

Although magnify is not in Revelation, the magnification of Christ is seen in the glory of the city: “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:10-11a)

New JerusalemBased on Paul’s example, we magnify Christ today by living Him, by believers praying for us, by the bountiful supply of the Spirit, and by His excellency motivating us to count everything else as a loss (Phil. 1:19-21, 3:7-8).

Another magnification is in Luke 1:46-47, “Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior.” First, Mary’s spirit exulted in God; then her soul magnified the Lord. Her praise to God issued from her spirit and was expressed through her soul. Her spirit was filled with joy in God her Savior, and her soul manifested that joy for the magnifying of the Lord.*

Based on Mary’s example, our magnification of Christ is by the joy of the Lord. In our-selves and our situations we often feel we cannot rejoice, but we are in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). In Him we can rejoice now and we will rejoice in New Jerusalem. Philippians 3:1 and 4:4,

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

Acts  16:25 describes an undesirable situation, a prison: “about midnight Paul and Silas, while praying, sang hymns of praise to God; and the prisoners were listening to them.” Christ in us is able, any place, any time, any situation, for our praising to magnify Him; how much more in New Jerusalem!

* from footnote on Luke 1:47 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Not a Physical Building

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.

Referring to the Old Testament temple in Jerusalem, Acts 7:47 says, ” Solomon built Him a house.” However, this physical house was only a picture. Acts 7:48-50 continues, “Yet the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands, even as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feetNew Jerusalem. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has not My hand made all these things?'”

The phrase “the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands” is a most clear word that God’s house and eventually New Jerusalem will not be something physical. The spiritual and non-physical nature of God’s house and city is also shown in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

Acts 7:49-50 quotes from Isaiah 66:1-2. After the quoted words, Isaiah continues, “But to this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” God is looking to men, especially to men whose seek Him in spirit. It is with these men that God is building His spiritual house, as in Ephesians 2:22 and 1 Peter 2:5.

Today we should be “burning in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11) and “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). Our supply is “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). God’s spiritual house today is built with such humans through our cooperation with the Lord. This house will become the spiritual city, New Jerusalem.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

Born Anew to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIsrael journeyed to Mt. Sinai where Moses saw and presented to them the heavenly pattern of the tabernacle. We are on a Christian journey to see New Jerusalem.

After the vision of the tabernacle, Israel offered themselves for it, built it, and journeyed with it. Likewise, we see New Jerusalem, we offer ourselves to the Lord for New Jerusalem, we participate in building the Body of Christ as the forerunner of New Jerusalem, and we continue our Christian life in God’s New Testament building.

The past dozen or so posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The Lord Jesus gave us the answer in John 3:3, 5. “Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you,

Unless one is born anew,
__he cannot see the kingdom of God. (v. 3)
Unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
__he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (v. 5)

To be born again, or born anew, is to be born of water and of the Spirit in our human spirit (v. 6). The result of this spiritual birth is both the seeing and the entering into the kingdom of God. To the extent that we see, we enter.

Our seeing of spiritual things is not once for all. Rather, our seeing gradually increases with our loving the Lord and giving ourselves to Him. It increases as we seek and pursue the Lord and respond to Him. It increases through our contact with the Lord in the Bible, through time with other Christians, through prayer, and through gospel preaching.

Since our seeing of New Jerusalem is not once for all, our entering into it is not once for all but gradually. Lord, I am willing and available to You; bring me more into the vision of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

New Jerusalem, a Revelation in Spirit

Recent posts present steps in our Christian journey to get to the high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). How long will this journey take? The Bible does not say.

New JerusalemThe length of the journey depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation along the way. Do not be discouraged by failures. In the Old Testament picture Israel had complaints and resistance along the way. Nevertheless, God brought them to the mountain because that was His intention to fulfill His purpose.

When Israel began walking after eating the passover lamb (a picture of Christ— 1 Cor. 5:7) they had no idea how long it would take to get to the mountain. Likewise, we have no idea when we will be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). We are journeying like Abraham, who “being called, obeyed to go out…not knowing where he was going” nor when he would arrive (Heb. 11:8).

God had promised to bring Israel to the mountain (Exo. 3:12) and He did it. Since there is also a New Testament mountain, surely there is also a New Testament promise.

The key to seeing New Jerusalem is our human spirit. The Holy Spirit is involved in the vision in oneness with our spirit. We are one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), and the Spirit witnesses with our human spirit (Rom. 8:16). If we are in the flesh, the Holy Spirit remains in us but cannot live or work in us. May we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us. There is no other way to see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ in Us is Always Acceptable to God

We continue on our Christian journey toward the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

In order to journey toward New Jerusalem we need to be brought to God through the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13) and through Him as the absolute one living in us.

The death of Christ has fulfilled and fully satisfied God’s righteous requirements; hence, we are justified by God through His death (3:24). His resurrection proves that God’s requirements were satisfied by His death for us, that we are justified by God because of His death, and that in Him, the resurrected One, we are accepted before God. Furthermore, as the resurrected One, He is in us to live for us a life that can be justified by God and is always acceptable to God.*

New JerusalemChrist as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. This is the revelation in Matthew 5:48, where the Lord Jesus said that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. This perfection derives from not from God the Creator but from the Father who imparted His life into us so that we could be His sons.

It is by the heavenly life of our Father that we can live a heavenly life on earth and fulfill all that God requires of us.

This life is in us by the regeneration of our human spirit (John 3:15-16, 5-6). Therefore, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

*Note on Romans 4:25 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry

In Spirit on a Mountain for New Jerusalem

A recent post mentions being “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). Another looks at Moses’ experience with God on Mt. Sinai as a pre-figure of New Jerusalem. Here are other Old Testament mountain experiences, to be followed by New Testament mountain experiences.

Isaiah 2:1-4 and 65:25 speak of the mountain of the Lord’s house in the millennial kingdom with wonderful characteristics which we expect to be better in eternity.

New JerusalemIsaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, of him who announces peace…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people who are “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Like John’s vision from a great and high mountain, Ezekiel 40:2 tells us that to see the millennial Jerusalem “In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel and set me down upon a very high mountain, and on it to the south there was a structure like a city.”

The visions need a spiritual mountain experience because we have to be out of our environment and away from our daily cares to see the wonderful things God has prepared. Lord, I am open to You; carry me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain to see New Jerusalem!

Photo courtesy of Nathan Ofsthun.

In Spirit on a Mountain, see New Jerusalem

New JerusalemWe are looking at an issue of Affirmation & Critique* on New Jerusalem. The prior post includes this sentence from The Divine and Mystical in Figurative Language: God and the writers of the Bible employ figurative language, using literary devices such as symbols, types, figures, metaphors, similes, and allegories to communicate the realities of the divine and mystical realm.

We must recognize that the Bible uses such figurative language. We must also recognize that the reality of all these pictures are God, Christ Jesus, His offices and accomplishments, His believers and their Christian experiences, and His Body.

We are familiar with parables in the gospels. Parables are not merely nice stories, they all have spiritual significances, such as the sower and seed being the Lord Himself and the word of God (Matthew 13:3-23).

Revelation is a books of signs, as stated in verse 1:1. For example, the seven lampstands in Revelation 1 are symbols of the seven churches, and the woman and the dragon in Revelation 12:1-9 portray the people of God and Satan.

The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, which is also presented by the Bible in figurative language. This is why we need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10-11). All the natural elements (e.g. gold, pearls, wall, precious stones, tree of life) in Revelation 21–22 have spiritual significance.

We should not use our human imagination to create images of these figures in a natural way. Rather, we should open our heart to the Lord and ask Him to give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may see the reality of these figures. Lord, show me New Jerusalem!

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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