The New Testament Temple is Living (5)

New Testament worship is in spirit (John 4:24). It is not dependent on a physical location nor a material building. The New Testament temple is a living temple, from the Lord’s incarnation onward to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn John 2, Jesus is the temple, in 1 and 2 Corinthians and Ephesians we are the temple, and in Revelation 21 the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple. Is this living temple the Triune God or His people? Both!

This corresponds with the Lord’s word in John 14:20. We are in the Triune God and the Triune God is in us. Thus the Triune God is the temple and we also are the temple.

This also corresponds with the epistles: we are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1, 1 Cor. 1:30) and He is in us (Rom. 8:10, Col. 1:27). We are one with Him in life, so we are one with Him to be the living temple and to be New Jerusalem.

In New Testament Greek two words are translated “temple.” In the verses in these “living temple” posts, the Greek word means the inner temple, the holy place and holy of holies, not including the surrounding structures and courtyards. This inner area is only for the priests, and today we are priests. “Jesus Christ…loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6).

We are priests serving in spirit, in the living temple, fulfilling the Lord’s word in John 4:24. We will be the same in New Jerusalem. Revelation 22:3 says, “His slaves will serve Him.” The word “serve” means to serve as priests. In New Jerusalem God and the Lamb are the living temple and we are the priests serving God and the Lamb.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

The New Testament Temple is Living (2)

#NewJerusalemIn resurrection, all who believe into Jesus Christ are a corporate man with the Spirit dwelling in them and are the temple which will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem.

This corporate man, the new man, who is also the living temple, was created by Christ Jesus on the cross (Eph. 2:15) and here Christ is “all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Likewise, New Jerusalem springs forth from His crucifixion and resurrection, and in New Jerusalem Christ is all and in all.

First Corinthians 3:16: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” In this verse you is plural and temple is singular. This corporate temple, like the new man, is a characteristic of God’s people. Paul’s question to immature Christians, Do you not know?, indicates that we all should have the realization that we corporately are the temple and that the Spirit dwells in us. Second Corinthians 6:16, affirming, says, “we are the temple of the living God.”

Ephesians 2:20-21 continues: “Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” The New Testament temple is in Christ Jesus (not in the physical realm) and is growing because it is a living building.

The consummation of the growth of the living temple, its maturity, is New Jerusalem. Like the temple in Ephesians, the entire city of New Jerusalem is a living building in Christ Jesus.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Church: Forerunner of New Jerusalem

The church is the household of the living God and the Body of Christ. Both of these aspects of the church present to us the reality of New Jerusalem. The city is God’s eternal home in His millions of people, and these people are built together in His life just as the Body of Christ is one living entity.

Continuing to look at the nature of the church as a forerunner of New Jerusalem, we read, “the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 1:1, 2 Thes. 1:1). The church is “the church of God” (multiple verses) and the church is also “of human beings.” However, these humans are not natural, in Adam, but regenerated, in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Thessalonians, and all believers, are in God and the Lord by God’s action. “Of Him [God] you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:29-30). This is what the Lord promised earlier, in John 14. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (v. 20). “That day” is the day in which He became our life in resurrection (v. 19).

John 14:20 presents a coinherence: we are in God by being in Christ and God in Christ is in us. The church is both “of God” (as in Acts 20:28) and “of the believers” (as in 1 Thes. 1:1). Likewise New Jerusalem is composed of the Triune God in all His people and all His people in the Triune God.

New Jerusalem, like the church, is much higher, much more mysterious, much more marvelous than a physical city; it is a composition of the Triune God and His people living in oneness.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (6)

Being perfected and growing to maturity are two closely related aspects of our Christian life. When we become mature and are perfected, we match New Jerusalem.

#NewJerusalemIn 1 Corinthians 3:1-3  Paul expresses concern about the Corinthians remaining “infants in Christ.” He desired that they grow. Likewise, Hebrews 5:12 expresses concern (sadness?) that the believers were spiritually young children. Then 6:1 urges, “let us be brought on to maturity.” Let us grow until we match New Jerusalem.

Likewise, the desire in Ephesians 4:14-15 is that “we may be no longer little children” but that “we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ.” We grow up into Christ. This implies that we grow out of our self, out of our culture, and out of everything natural. We grow out of the old creation to match New Jerusalem in the new creation.

In Colossians 1:27 Christ is in us as our hope of glory, our hope of participating in the glory of New Jerusalem. In 1:28 Paul tells us that his announcing of the indwelling Christ has the goal to “present every man full-grown in Christ.” Sooner or later every believer will be full grown in Christ and will share in New Jerusalem.

This growth is not anything outward. Spiritual growth is not measured by physical years as a Christian, not measured by quantity of activities, not measured by knowledge or eloquence. Rather, as members of the Body of Christ, we “grow with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19).

God, in Himself, is perfect; He does not grow. But in us God needs more room, more flexibility, to grow, to spread, especially in our thinking, our emotions, and our decisions. Lord, increase in these aspects of my being!

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

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.* 

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.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of NOAA/U.S. Department of Commerce.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

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.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

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.

%d bloggers like this: