Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (6)

Ephesians 1:3-14 presents God’s spiritual blessings to us in Christ. Three times we are told that these blessings are to the praise of His glory. This goal links Ephesians 1 with New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:13 says, “In whom [Christ] you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise.” Like many prior phrases, the actions here are “in Christ.”

We heard the word of the truth, the gospel of our salvation. We heard because God is “the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). Our hearing generated faith within us (Rom. 10:17). This faith brought us salvation. This salvation includes the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

The seal indicates that we belong to God. It is like a name tag on an object, except that it is living and inward. We belong to God for His purpose which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

We are sealed with “the Holy Spirit of the promise.” This promise includes all of God’s blessings in Christ. The concluding portions are “the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15) and “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13) both of which point to New Jerusalem.

The Holy Spirit of the promise is also “the pledge of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:14). First Peter 1:4 tells us that this inheritance is “incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.” Like the promise in verse 13, the inheritance in verse 14 ( ) points to New Jerusalem.

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Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (3)

God’s spiritual blessings to us in Ephesians 1:3-14 are unto the praise of His glory, both in this age and eternally with New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:7 says, “In whom [the Beloved, v. 6] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” Because all men were constituted sinners, Jesus Christ died, shedding His blood to accomplish redemption. When we respond by faith we receive forgiveness. “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). With the shedding of Jesus’ blood, there is forgiveness.

New JerusalemEverything of God’s plan is in Christ. We are blessed “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), chosen “in Him” (v. 4), “in whom” we have redemption (v. 7); we are being headed up “in Christ” (v. 10) “in whom” we were designated as God’s inheritance (v. 11), and “in whom” we were sealed (v. 13). All of these “in” facts are consistent with New Jerusalem in the Triune God.

The redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness we receive, is not according to our need. Rather, it is “according to the riches of His grace.” The measure of redemption and forgiveness is God’s measure, because this step was taken as part of the fulfillment of His eternal plan to bring forth New Jerusalem.

God caused His grace “to abound to us in all wisdom and prudence” (Eph. 1:8). Everything happens within the scope of God’s wisdom and everything works together toward His goal.

Ephesians 1:9 continues, “Making known to us the mystery of His will.” While God’s grace is abounding to us, He is making known the mystery of His will. This mystery was hidden in prior ages but now God willed to reveal it to us through His word; the riches of this mystery is Christ in us! (Col. 1:25-27).

New Jerusalem is the conclusion of all the spiritual blessings, the essence which are Christ is us and us in Christ.

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Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemEphesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” The spiritual blessings all lead to God’s glory (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). Hence, they point towards New Jerusalem, God’s city of glory.

What God gives us are “spiritual blessings” (not physical) and they are “in the heavenlies” (not earthly) and they are “in Christ” (not in the old creation). All these characteristics of God’s blessings—spiritual, heavenly, in Christ—are for His eternal purpose and match characteristics of New Jerusalem. (God also promises to take care of our earthly needs but we should not long for or seek material blessings.)

These blessings are in three portions, each ending with the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). These blessings are “according to the good pleasure of His will” (v. 5) and “according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself” (v. 9) and “according to the counsel of His will” (v. 11). These blessings relate to New Jerusalem because this city is the consummation all that God is doing according to the good pleasure of His will.

Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” God’s choosing of us was in eternity and it is for eternity, including the eternal city New Jerusalem. God chose us to be holy before Him. This is for the “holy city” (Rev. 21:2) where we will “see His face” (22:4).

God’s choosing is also in love, for the eternal marriage of Christ and His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9). How wonderful that this one verse of blessings in Ephesians has so many pointers toward New Jerusalem. Lord Jesus, we love You!

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Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 135-147

Christ brings us to God’s house, which is enlarged to be His city Jerusalem on the mount of Zion, a blessing to the whole earth. This is one of the last looks at verses in Psalms which present something to be fulfilled in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem and the new heaven and new earth are eternal. Eternity is mentioned in many Psalms including these:
Psalm 135:13 ” O Jehovah, Your name is forever; O Jehovah, Your memorial is from generation to generation.”
New JerusalemPsalm 136 “His lovingkindness is forever” (in each of the 26 verses)
Psalm 145:13 “Your kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and Your dominion is throughout all generations.”
Psalm 145:21b, “all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.”
Psalm 146:10 Jehovah will reign forever, your God, O Zion, forever and ever. Hallelujah!

In New Jerusalem we will be in God’s kingdom and we will be partaking of His lovingkindness forever. Hence, we will bless God forever.

Psalm 142:5, “I cried to You, O Jehovah; I said, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” God Himself, not a physical location, is our real refuge. Today in Christ we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and in eternity the entire universe will be a new creation (Rev. 21:1-2).

Psalm 147:2a, “Jehovah builds up Jerusalem.” And He builds up New Jerusalem. Jesus Christ said, “I will build.” He builds by operating in and through the members of His Body. By living one with Christ, Paul could say that he was “a wise master builder” (1 Cor. 3:10). We all, by continually coming to the Lord “are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This current building of the Body of Christ is the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

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Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalm 118 (2)

Four crucial matters in the Psalms are Christ, house, city, earth. Christ is prophesied in many Psalms. Our experience of Christ brings us into God’s house, which enlarges to become God’s city for His reign over the whole earth. The climax of these four matters is New Jerusalem on the new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).

We resume looking at prophecies and shadows in Psalms about Christ, God’s house, city, and the earth. The prior Psalms post ended at 118:19, “Open to me the gates of righteous-ness: I will enter in.” Christ and His death are the New Testament gate; let’s all enter.

Psalm 118:22, quoted in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, and 1 Peter, says:

New Jerusalem

Ephesians 2:20-22 tells us that Christ Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone*, in whom all of God’s building is fitted together, growing, and being built. God’s house and God’s city exist in Christ, who is the Cornerstone joining us all together. Ultimately New Jerusalem is in Christ.

Christ is the Cornerstone. In ourselves, our nationalities, cultures, and races, we are all separated, but we are one Body in Christ (Rom. 12:5) and in Christ we are growing together! The maturity of our growth is New Jerusalem.

The Jewish leaders rejected Christ Jesus and asked the Romans to crucify Him. Peter, speaking of this, says that they crucified Jesus Christ but God raised Him from the dead. He continues by quoting Psalm 118, “This is the stone which was considered as nothing by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner” (Acts 4:10-11).

Peter says that in resurrection Christ Jesus became the Cornerstone. This matches the nature of New Jerusalem, a city in resurrection. Psalm 118:23 says, “This is from Jehovah; it is wonderful in our sight.” Surely resurrection is from God and is wonderful to us.

* In the New Testament cornerstone and head of the corner are equivalent.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 73, 84

In the Psalms we see many prophecies and allusions to Christ. Through believing into Christ, He brings us into God’s house, the church, which is typified in Psalms. The enlargement of the house is God’s kingdom, mentioned in Psalms and portrayed by earthly Jerusalem. Through the kingdom, God will bring peace and joy to the whole earth, as also foreseen in Psalms. This post resumes a series looking at prophecies and shadows in Psalms of Christ, God’s house and city, and God’s reign over the earth.

Eternally, Christ is the center of New Jerusalem, God’s ultimate house and city for His reign over the earth.

Psalm 73:23-24, “I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me in glory.” Despite all the troubles in the world, like those in the earlier parts of Psalm 73, we need to look to Christ and God’s house and city; this is the way to be “continually with” the Lord. And He will receive us into glory—New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPsalm 84:1, “How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!” Revelation 21:2-3, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…the tabernacle of God.”

Psalm 84:4, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will yet be praising You.” Today we are blessed to dwell and praise God in the church, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15); more dwelling, blessing, and praising await in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” We are in Christ and in God’s house and kingdom, but because of Christ’s unlimited fullness and our limited experience, we have much more entering to do. Lord, fill our hearts with the highways to Zion; we long for more of You, Your house and city.

Psalm 84:10a, “a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.” This was true when the Psalmist spoke, it is true today, and it will be true in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:11 (mid), “Jehovah gives grace and glory.” Grace is Christ with us today— “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). Glory will be manifested at the Lord’s return— “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10)—and in New Jerusalem.

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From One Body Now to One New Jerusalem

We are in a series on New Jerusalem as the consummation of the New Testament oneness in the Triune God. This oneness is for the corporate expression of this unique God.

Romans 12:5 proclaims, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” This is our Christian position today. Of course being one in Christ will also be true in New Jerusalem, but don’t discount today!

New JerusalemRomans 12:4 mentions the many members of our physical body as an illustration of the spiritual Body of Christ. The many members were not produced separately and then assembled. No! All the physical members grew together as one body and are one living organism.

The Body of Christ is the same and is one Body in Him. Likewise New Jerusalem is the same; the city is one living organism in Christ.

First Corinthians 12:14-27 also uses our physical body as an illustration of the Body of Christ. These verses, like Romans 12, describe us as “members,” not individual units. But, remember that we are members in life, members of a living organism, in contrast to members of an organization.

New Jerusalem is the expansion of the Body of Christ. We all are the living members of this living organism. Our physical body, as a picture of the Body of Christ, is also a picture of New Jerusalem. We all are built together living members of this living city. To paraphrase Romans 12:5 for New Jerusalem, “we who are many are one city in Christ.”

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New Jerusalem is One in Christ Jesus (2)

Nations will live on the new earth around New Jerusalem. Our first step in identifying these nations is to identify who they are not. These nations are not God’s people because the Lord Jesus has redeemed us “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9), and through faith, we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Hence, in Christ Jesus and in New Jerusalem there is “no Jew, no Greek,” only people who are in Christ and one with Christ.

New JerusalemColossians 3:10-11 also speaks of this. It says we “have put on the new man,” and that in the new man “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” Wonderful! Christ is everything in the new man and Christ is in every member of the new man.

Because Christ is all in all, there cannot be nationalities, religious differences, racial distinctions, social disparities, nor any other separations. The new man is one. This one new man is the precursor to New Jerusalem, where Christ will continue to be all and in all.

Hence, all who are one in Christ have no national distinctions, neither now nor in New Jerusalem. In eternity humans are either in Christ and in New Jerusalem or in the nations and around 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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo by Carolyn Duckworth, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Nations Walk by New Jerusalem’s Light

Recent posts on parallels between Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21 mentioned the nations around New Jerusalem. These nations walk by the light of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24), bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:26), and are healed by the leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 22:2).

New JerusalemWho are these nations? Let’s start by seeing who these nations are not. Revelation 21:24, 26, and 22:2 all use the plural nations. God’s people are not the nations. The Lord Jesus has purchased us for God, redeeming us “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

Because of the Lord’s redemption, we are out of, not in, the nations. Acts 15:14 says that God began in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10) “to take out from them [the nations] a people for His name.” In God’s eyes we are no longer called by the name of a nation (e.g. Canadian, Mexican, Japanese, German, Syrian, Nigerian, Brazilian, etc.). Rather, we are God’s people, called by His name, both now and in New Jerusalem.

Further, 1 Corinthians 10:32 speaks of Jews and Greeks and the church. These are three separate, distinct categories of people—God’s Old Testament people, one of the nations, and God’s New Testament people. Eventually, in New Jerusalem, God’s Old Testament and New Testament people will be combined.

When we believe into Christ, God brings us out of the nations and into Him. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Being in Christ, and Christ living in us, is eternal. We are out of the nations and in Him both now and in New Jerusalem.

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New Jerusalem, City of the Living God (2)

New JerusalemFirst Timothy 3:15 tells us “the house of God is the church of the living God.” This house is being enlarged to be the city of God, New Jerusalem. The believers in Jesus Christ are the house of God. In eternity all God’s people will be His city, New Jerusalem.

The word church in the New Testament refers not to a physical building, but to the Lord’s corporate people, His mystical Body. More examples:
• Ephesians 1:22-23, Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body”
• Ephesians 5:25, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her”
• Ephesians 5:29, Christ nourishes and cherishes the church
• Colossians 1:18, Christ is “the Head of the Body, the church”
• 1 Thessalonians 1:1, “to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace”
• Revelation 2:7, “hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Today the church, the house of the living God, is in the Lord Jesus Christ and in God our Father. This is the fact in the Bible. It is not confirmable with our physical senses but it is substantiated by faith and experienced in spirit.

The church is being enlarged to become the city of the living God, New Jerusalem. Like the church today, New Jerusalem in eternity will not be physical. It will be a living composition of all God’s people and it will be in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. As grace and peace are to the church in 1 Thessalonians 1:1, grace and peace will flow even more in New Jerusalem. What a wonderful living city this is!

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God’s Economy for His Eternal Purpose

New JerusalemThe Greek word oikonomia (οικονομια) is used in the New Testament nine times. It is a combination of the words oikos and nomos which respectively mean house and law. Oikonomia means a household arrangement, a plan for management of a large household.

The English word economy is equivalent to oikonomia. It is used in Ephesians 1:10, 3:9, and 1 Timothy 1:4 for God’s plan, God’s administrative arrangement for carrying out His purpose in His house, His household, which is the totality of His people.*

God’s purpose is eternal, not short-term. Ephesians 3:11 speaks of “the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.” His economy is for accomplishing this eternal purpose. The goal is New Jerusalem at the center of the new heaven and new earth.

God arranges everything to bring us to New Jerusalem as His eternal goal. Ephesians 1:11 tells us that, before creation, we were “predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”

God works all things according to His will. Regarding our lives, Romans 8:28 says, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” The “good” here is not our bank account, our career, our family, nor any other human measure of goodness.

The good in Romans 8:28 is for “His purpose” and is further defined by verses 8:29-30 which conclude with our glorification. This glorification is so that New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). May we open our hearts to the Lord so that our concept of “good” gets aligned with His, and so that New Jerusalem as a city of glory becomes our yardstick of goodness.

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* In other verses (1 Cor. 9:17 and Eph. 3:2 are examples) oikonomia is translated stewardship, indicating the responsibility for cooperating with God in His economy.

New Jerusalem is a Mutual Abiding

New Jerusalem

More at New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings.

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