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 Son Comes with Glory and the Kingdom

The Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory in three stages: on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2), on the clouds (Matt. 24:30), and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-11).

New JerusalemThe glory on the mountain fulfilled the promise that some would “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (16:28). The glory and the kingdom appear together.

In the glory of His second coming “He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31). The throne indicates the kingdom, again coupling the glory and the kingdom. The glory of New Jerusalem is with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), again linking the glory and the kingdom.

The union of glory and kingdom matches God’s purpose expressed in the creation of man: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man was created in God’s image so that God may become man’s life and be expressed through man. This corresponds to the glory. Created man given dominion is for God to reign over the earth through man. This reigning is the kingdom.

The glory and the kingdom are with Jesus Christ in Matthew. However, He is not alone. God’s purpose in Genesis 1 involves a corporate man. This is now the new man, which we have put on, where “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Jesus Christ radiates the glory and reigns through the corporate new man which grows unto New Jerusalem.

This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:12: “God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” We have been called to participate in God’s kingdom and His glory. This begins from our being born into the kingdom (John 3:5), continues with our transformation in glory (2 Cor. 3:18) and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

God Constitutes Us to be New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

Here are a few more excerpts from the issue of Affirmation & Critique* focused on New Jerusalem. Each excerpt is tagged with the author’s initials and is followed by a related verse.

In Christ God has become man to make man God in His life and in His nature [but not in the Godhead] so that the redeeming God and the redeemed man can be united, mingled, constituted, and incorporated together to become one entity, the consummated corporate God-man—the New Jerusalem. (RK)

We “have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where…Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:10-11

Just as the church as God’s house is not an actual physical house, so the New Jerusalem is not an actual physical city. The city of New Jerusalem is a sign signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place. (WL)

“The house of God, which is the church of the living God.” 1 Timothy 3:15

Through His death, resurrection, ascension, and descension, Christ, the second man, was enlarged from an individual God-man to a corporate God-man, the one new man. (DY)

Christ, in His death on the cross, abolished “in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two [Jews and Gentiles] in Himself into one new man, so making peace.” Ephesians 2:15

The New Jerusalem is new because it is fully saturated with the Triune God of newness. Throughout eternity the New Jerusalem will ceaselessly unfold the fresh newness of the Triune God to the universe. (DY)

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

All of these excerpts portray New Jerusalem as the consummation of God in Christ flowing into, being one with, constituting, and radiating out of His chosen people.

* 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.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of Everything Positive in the Bible (4)

New Jerusalem is the eternal consummation of everything positive in the Bible. This consummation includes

God, man, eternal life, redemption, the Spirit, light,
love, holiness, glory, the kingdom, the priesthood,
righteousness, resurrection, and marriage

There are too many items to list individually, so here are some groups:

New JerusalemFruit of the Spirit: since the Spirit is in New Jerusalem, all the fruits brought forth by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in God’s people should also be there.

More Fruit of the Spirit: this note on Galatians 5:22 links to New Testament verses which mention additional virtues which proceed from the Spirit in us.

God’s Actions in Eternity: God foreknew us, selected us, and predestined us. In time, these eternal actions bring us to salvation and eventually to New Jerusalem.

Judicial Salvation: redemption was included in a prior post, but the death of Jesus also accomplished forgiveness, positional justification, and reconciliation. All of these prepare us for God’s organic salvation. Some verses which speak of both the judicial and organic aspects of salvation are John 19:34, Romans 5:10, Galatians 3:13-14, and Revelation 22:14.

Organic Salvation: God’s salvation in life begins with our regeneration. It continues with nourishing, dispositional justification, renewing, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and glorification. The ultimate step of glorification, the consummation of the other steps, is clearly seen in New Jerusalem.

Image and Dominion: According to Genesis 1:26, God created man in His image so that man could express God, and gave man His authority so that man exercise dominion for God. These objectives are fully fulfilled in New Jerusalem which radiates the glory, the expression, of God, and which is the eternal kingdom of God with His throne and His slaves reigning with Him.

These items paint a broad picture but much more will be in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of Everything Positive in the Bible

You might notice a slight change in the heading of my blog. The main heading is still “New Jerusalem – A Biblical View.” This is what I have endeavored to present for two and a half years and how I will continue to endeavor. The subtitle was about using verses through the whole Bible to illuminate New Jerusalem. Although the words have changed, this will still be the emphasis of this blog.

The new subtitle is “New Jerusalem is the Consummation of Everything Positive in the Bible.” However, this is not a change in focus, for more than two years ago a post said:

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the believers’ present experience. The city does not appear at the end of time as something distinct from what has happened before. Instead, it is a completion of what God is doing among His people throughout all the ages.

New Jerusalem

Here are some important topics in the Bible and their consummation in New Jerusalem:

God: the Bible is God’s word and the revelation of God. God is present from the first chapter to the last chapter. In Revelation 21 New Jerusalem comes out of heaven from God, it is God’s tabernacle, it has the glory of God, and God is the temple. In Revelation 22 the throne of God is in New Jerusalem and God shines there.

Man: God created man for fulfilling His eternal purpose—for man to express God and to exercise authority for God. Revelation 21-22 show us that New Jerusalem—a living composition of God and His people—has God’s image by shining with His glory and has God’s authority with God on the throne and His people reigning with Him.

Life: God put man in front of the tree of life so that man could receive God as life and thereby fulfill His purpose. In the New Testament including New Jerusalem, Jesus Christ is the life received by man and lived out through man.

The following posts will continue. Please comment to suggest other important topics which have their consummation in New Jerusalem. Thanks.

Sunrise photo from International Space Station courtesy of NASA.

Image and Dominion, Genesis to Revelation

New JerusalemGod said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…” (Genesis 1:26). God created man in His image so that man could express God. God gave dominion to man so that man could represent God. This is God’s eternal purpose, at a time when there was no sin and no death, a condition that matches the new creation and New Jerusalem after sin and death have been cast out.

The created mankind (Adam) fell but God called a new mankind (Abraham). God said to him, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). Nation is related to dominion and blessing to image. The real blessing is the Spirit (Galatians 3:14) who transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When John the Baptist came, his first words were about the kingdom (Matthew 3:2). When the Lord Jesus came, the beginning of His proclamation was the kingdom: “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). By repenting we come back into God’s kingdom to be able to represent God. By believing we receive God’s life (John 3:15-16) that we may express God.

In contrast to Genesis 1, the kingdom (dominion) is mentioned first in the gospel because man has fallen from, and needs to be restored to, God and His authority.

God’s appearance is like jasper in Revelation 4:3. In Revelation 21:11, 18 the appearance of New Jerusalem is also like jasper. God and the Lamb are on the throne in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1) and all God’s slaves will reign with Him forever (22:5). The city fulfills God’s intention in creating man by having the image and authority of God.

This post is based on my appreciation of Life-study of Genesis, message 39.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo by William S Keller, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Being Renewed unto New Jerusalem

God’s purpose consummates in New Jerusalem. God created man for this, saying “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…” (Genesis 1:26). Man (singular) and them (plural) indicate that God created a corporate man. This man fell away from God.

New JerusalemFor the sake of fulfilling God’s purpose, Christ Jesus created a new corporate man by and in Himself (Ephesians 2:14-16). This new man is the predecessor of New Jerusalem. By faith and the spiritual reality of baptism we have put off the old man and have put on the new man. This is a positional transfer.

Now we need to cooperate with God’s inner operation (Philippians 2:12-13) so that every aspect of our daily living can be brought into the new man. This is an experiential transfer. The prior post touched the experiential putting off. There is also an experiential renewing.

By putting on the new man, we are in the realm of newness in Christ. This is positional. There is also the fact that the new man “is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10). Is being renewed indicates a continuing process.

Our cooperation with the renewing is shown by the exhortation in Ephesians 4:23, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” This renewing is of the Holy Spirit, as shown in Titus 3:5, yet this renewing must reach our mind to transform our thinking and our concepts.

In Romans 12:1-2 being transformed by the renewing of our mind follows presenting our body as a living sacrifice. Therefore, let us consecrate ourselves afresh to the Lord and open to Him for this renewing. May He bring us into the reality of the new man to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

Related posts:
New Man, New Jerusalem_________________From New Man to New Jerusalem
New Creation, New Man, New Jerusalem____..__Renewed to Match New Jerusalem

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

New Jerusalem is a Corporate Man in the Triune God

God’s eternal purpose is centered on His relationship with man. By looking at highlights of God’s speaking about man, we will see something about New Jerusalem. In Genesis 1:26, God spoke His first words concerning man:

And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

New JerusalemGod speaks of both man (singular) and them (plural). This indicates that God created a corporate man, mankind. The combination of singular and plural is seen again in Genesis 5:1-2. This created man turned away from God to human kingdoms (Genesis 10) and a city and tower (Genesis 11). These things exalt man and reject God.

In the New Testament God came in the man Jesus to redeem us from the fall and to bring forth a new corporate man for His purpose. Many verses refer to His taking care of all problems between God and man by His death on the cross (e.g. Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24). In addition, the second half of Ephesians 2 speaks about a positive accomplishment of His death. Verses 15-16 say:

He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace, and might reconcile both in one Body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it.

The two and both refer to the Jewish people and the non-Jewish peoples. In Christ we all have been formed into one new corporate man. This corporate man is the predecessor of New Jerusalem. The one new man created on the cross in Christ indicates that the city New Jerusalem will be a corporate man, composed of all God’s people living in the Triune God.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Weather Service.

New to Match New Jerusalem

New JerusalemA recent post touched the positional and dispositional aspects of our Christian life. We become new in both aspects to match the newness of New Jerusalem. This is part of the preparation of New Jerusalem as the bride.

And 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, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

Our believing is “believing into* Jesus Christ.” This is a frequent expression in John’s gospel, as in 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name.” Some other “into” verses are 3:18, 6:29, and 14:1.

As a result of believing, we have a new birth, of the Spirit, and become children of God. This is our new beginning. Since we believed into Christ, we are now positioned in Him. “So then if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

God’s original creation was a corporate man in Adam, intended to express God with God’s image and to represent Him with His dominion (Genesis 1:26-28). That man fell and became old. For accomplishing God’s purpose, the corporate new man created by Christ Jesus on the cross (Ephesians 2:15) has replaced the old man.

In Christ we are part of this new man. We are in the newness of God which is the beginning and the guarantee of our journey to the newness of New Jerusalem.

* “Into” is from the Greek preposition εις, distinct from εν which is “in” and επι which is “on” or “upon.” Some translations do not show these three distinctions in English.

Priests and Kings in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem the slaves of God and of the Lamb “will serve Him” and “they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:3, 5). To serve God in this verse is to serve as a priest; see the post
God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem
The slaves of God and the Lamb are both priests and kings.

The function of the priests is to pass through the outer court and the holy place to be in the presence of God in the holy of holies. By coming here, the priests are infused with God’s shining and thereby can express Him. The function of the kings is to rule over the earth while being under God’s ruling. This is to represent God.

The priests and kings correspond with the two aspects of God’s intention in His creation of man. Genesis 1:26 says, “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

Man was created in God’s image for man to express God. This is fulfilled in the priesthood. Man was given God’s dominion for man to represent God in ruling the earth. This is fulfilled in the kingship. In New Jerusalem all God’s redeemed people will serve Him as priests and kings, thereby fully realizing His intention expressed in Genesis 1.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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