New Jerusalem, a Bride Adorned (2)

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” And 21:19: “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone.”

First Timothy 2:9 clearly says that Christian adorning is not external things. This principle should extend to New Jerusalem.

Furthermore, 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Let your adorning not be the outward plaiting of hair and putting on of gold or clothing with garments, but the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptible adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very costly in the sight of God.”

Peter is firm that Christian adorning is not outward, not with physical things, but is a matter of our heart  and our spirit, and is incorruptible. The Spirit regenerated our spirit (John 3:6). The Lord is with our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). The Father, by His Spirit, strengthens us into our inner man that Christ may make His home in our heart (Eph. 3:16-17).

These verses show that the adorning spoken of by Peter is the Triune God entering and filling our being. This is the adornment for our Christian life today and for New Jerusalem.

This adorning is incorruptible because the Triune God is incorruptible and has conveyed this to us through the gospel to regenerate us with incorruptible seed (1 Pet. 1:23). All kinds of outward adorning, even silver and gold, are corruptible (1:18) and do not correspond with our incorruptible inheritance (1:4), New Jerusalem.

The Marriage Dinner of the Lamb (2)

Revelation 19:7, 9: “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem – 21:9-10] has made herself ready….Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.

The marriage dinner is a blessing, a reward, to believers who have lived faithful to the Lord. It is a foretaste of the eternal blessings of New Jerusalem. These believers have been and will continue to rejoice and exult and give the glory to the Lamb.

New JerusalemThe parable in Matthew 25:1-13 speaks about the faithful believers participating in the marriage dinner. “The bridegroom [a picture of Jesus Christ] came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast” (v. 10). Five others, who were unprepared, did not get into the feast.

Many would say that those who were unprepared were not believers, they were unsaved. Actually, they are saved believers.They are spiritual “virgins,” which unsaved people are not.

Their lamps were lit, although “going out.” These lit lamps typify their human spirit, regenerated by the divine Spirit. “The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah” (Prov. 20:27). They have oil, portraying the Spirit, in their lamps, but did not take extra oil in their vessels.

These unprepared believers during their lifetime “went forth to meet the bridegroom.” All, prepared and unprepared, arose at the cry, “Behold, the bridegroom! Go forth to meet him!” In contrast, John 5:29 shows us there will be two different resurrections for the dead, one for believers and one for unbelievers.

When the Lord says to the unprepared, “I do not know you” it means I do not approve you, as in Matthew 7:23. The next post considers these unprepared believers regarding New Jerusalem.

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Creation, New Creation, New Jerusalem

The Bible progresses from God’s creation of heaven and earth in Genesis 1 to the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Here is a summary of recent posts on this progression, with a link to and a key verse from each post. All of these point toward New Jerusalem, the goal of God’s creation and His work.

New Jerusalem

“God, who created all things, in order that now…the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:9-11)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.“ (Gen. 1:1)
God created because He has an eternal purpose.

“O Jehovah our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth.” (Psa. 8:1)
We do not yet see this outwardly, but we do see Jesus and His accomplishments.
Hebrews 2 quotes Psalm 8 and then speaks of God leading many sons into glory, which ultimately is New Jerusalem; then we will see God’s name excellent in all the earth.

“The earth is Jehovah’s, and its fullness…” (Psa. 24:1)
God is never defeated on the path from creation to New Jerusalem.

“Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.” (Matt. 6:10)
God has a purpose and we cooperate by praying for it on earth.

“Until heaven and earth pass away…” (Matt. 5:18).
The first heaven and earth will pass away and the new heaven and earth will come.

“What kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness.” (2 Pet. 3:11)
God’s divine power supplies us to live a life for the new creation.

“According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Pet. 3:13)
The Lord told us “My words shall by no means pass away.” Our stand is His word.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
We are being renewed inwardly (Titus 3:5) to prepare us fully for New Jerusalem.

“A new creation is what matters.” (Gal. 6:15)
Our spirit is life and our heart loves the Lord and His word; this is what matters.

Creation’s goal: “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known.” (Eph. 3:9-10)
God’s desire is to display His wisdom through His people knit together in Christ.
This display brings forth glory to God now in the church and forever in New Jerusalem.

God created “the heavens,…the earth, and…the spirit of man within him.” (Zech. 12:1)
In our human spirit that we are born of God to have His life for His expression.

“The judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)
God created the earth for His purpose; Satan formed the world system to capture man.

“They all may be one…that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” (John 17:21)
By the Lord’s life in us, we “shine as luminaries in the world.” (Phil. 2:15)

“Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4)
God’s living word energizes us to live to Him and escape the corruption in the world.

“If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
As we love the Lord, He and the Father make their abode in us. (John 14:23)
This abode is for today and eternity. New Jerusalem is God’s eternal abode in His people.

God “created all things…according to the eternal purpose which He made.” (Eph. 3:9, 11)
We are living for God‘s purpose now, conscious that “the earth is the Lord’s.”

“We are expecting new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Pet. 3:13).
The Lord overcame the world and now He is the Overcomer in us. He is our life.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” (Rev. 21:1)
Through the death of Christ, things on earth and in heaven were reconciled to God.
This is a step in preparing for the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth…and the sea is no more.” (Rev. 21:1)
The sea speaks of God’s judgments, which are completed in Revelation 20.

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Rev. 21:1-2a)

Earlier posts about the new creation.
New Creation: Curiosity versus Life
New Jerusalem is the Center of New Heaven and New Earth
The Word of the Lord Abides to Eternity
New Creation
New Heaven and New Earth

God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth (2)

God created all things, in order that now His multifarious wisdom might be made known through the church (Eph. 3:9-11) and in eternity through New Jerusalem. This is God’s eternal purpose.

New JerusalemZechariah 12:1 gives more insight into God’s intention in creation: “Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” Here the heavens are for the earth and the focus of earth is man with a human spirit. Man has a spirit to receive God, who is Spirit.

Zechariah tells us that man with a spirit is the key for God to accomplish the purpose presented in Ephesians 3. It is in our human spirit that we are born of God to have His life and be one with Him, without which we cannot be His expression.
• “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6b)
• “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17)
• “the Lord be with your spirit” (2 Tim. 4:22)

With this base, when we walk according to spirit, as described in Romans 8 and Galatians 5, the Lord can express Himself through our living. At the same time, the Lord spreads within un to renew our entire being, and thereby enhance His expression through us.

One example is Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). First her spirit exulted with joy, then her soul expressed that joy. Another example is Paul who spoke of the bountiful supply of the Spirit so that “with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death” (Phil. 1:20).

These are individual examples, but God’s goal as expressed in Ephesians 3 is to be magnified in the church today to prepare the way for a richer expression in New Jerusalem.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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