Grace to Us is the Conclusion of the Bible

New JerusalemThe Bible concludes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”

Grace is Jesus Christ Himself for us to love, value, appreciate, and enjoy. Grace came to mankind when God incarnated in Jesus. “Grace and reality came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) This grace is much more than God doing us a favor.

This grace can be manifested through our enjoyment of Christ. By grace we are justified freely, we reign in life, we are gifted to participate in the functioning of His Body, we labor for the Lord, we give monetary gifts, we bear sufferings, we will display God’s surpassing riches of His grace, we sing to God, we receive eternal comfort and good hope, we are supplied with faith and love, and our hearts are confirmed.*

Revelation concludes, as many epistles open and conclude, with this wish of grace to all of us. Saints does not mean a few special people; it refers to all who believe into Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:2). This concluding blessing sums up the Lord’s desire to be our center and our enjoyment so that He could enliven us for the preparation of His bride and the coming of New Jerusalem.


*Verses for this paragraph: Acts 11:23, Rom. 3:24, 5:17, 8:3, 1 Cor. 15:10, 2 Cor. 8:1-7, 12:7-9,
Eph. 2:7, Col. 3:16, 2 Thes. 2:16, 1 Tim. 1:14, Heb. 13:9.

See His Face Now and in New Jerusalem

In Revelation 22:3 we, God’s slaves, serve Him in New Jerusalem. In 22:4, “And they will see His face.”

“The God who said, Out of darkness light shall shine, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Today we have some inward seeing of God in the face of Jesus Christ, but our seeing is limited by aspects of the old creation still in our being. Even so, this seeing is related to the glory of God, a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSpiritually speaking, “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Again, our seeing is related to the glory of New Jerusalem.

“Now we see in a mirror obscurely/ imperfectly/dimly, but at that time face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). To “see His face” in New Jerusalem will be like the three disciples seeing the Lord on the mountain: “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light” and like John’s seeing in Revelation 1: “His face shone as the sun shines in its power.”

Today we do not see in full but we see Jesus (Heb. 2) and we look away unto Jesus (Heb. 12). Don’t wait passively for the full promise in Revelation 22; look away to Jesus today!

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face two three four five six seven

Holy of Holies: Come Forward, Don’t Wait

In Revelation 21:16 New Jerusalem is a perfect and immense cube; this is the eternal holy of holies. This marvelous blessing is our eternal dwelling place with God and in God.

New JerusalemHowever, we should not wait until New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2, 10). Today we are encouraged to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” The throne of grace is the reality of the Old Testament ark of the covenant in the holy of holies.

This throne has the redeeming blood of Christ on it and the glory of Christ above it. We can come forward because we have a great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God. He has ascended to the heavens. He is touched with the feeling of our weaknesses even though He is without sin. Based on these facts in Hebrews 4:14-15 we are exhorted in 4:16 to “come forward with boldness.”

How do we come forward? We can simply and honestly pray, Lord Jesus, I come forward now to Your throne; I want to meet You. When we come forward in such a way, we are promised mercy. We also can find grace; this may be with more simple prayers—not asking the Lord to do something for us but only opening to Him and seeking Him to be more in our living.

By coming forward in this way we obtain mercy and grace, and we have a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The Gospel Points toward New Jerusalem

The New Testament is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. The New Testament begins with John’s proclamation of the gospel and ends with New Jerusalem. These two end points are connected. Many aspects of this gospel correspond to or point toward characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a key point from, and a link to, each of the recent posts on the gospel.

New Jerusalem

In 1 Timothy 1 we read of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” This is the good news that God is being glorified in Christ Jesus and through all His believers built together to become New Jerusalem.

God called us through the gospel “unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14). Ultimately this glory radiates from our Lord through New Jerusalem.

“The gospel of peace” (Acts 10:36) points to New Jerusalem because Jerusalem means The Foundation of Peace.

“The gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23) is for the inward reality of His kingdom now, the manifestation in the next age, and the eternal kingdom of New Jerusalem.

Paul was “announcing Jesus and the resurrection as the gospel” (Acts 17:18). We have been regenerated through the resurrection of Jesus Christ “unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” This wonderful inheritance includes everything related to New Jerusalem.

The hope of the gospel” is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:23, 27). This too points to the glory of New Jerusalem.

The gospel of the grace of God and the word of His grace, build us up and give us the inheritance among all who have been sanctified. This inheritance is ultimately New Jerusalem, the holy city for which we have been sanctified.

Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). New Jerusalem is a city of life and of incorruption.

We receive resurrection life and incorruption through the promise of the gospel.

The gospel is “of Jesus,” “of Jesus Christ,” and “of Christ.” He is the center of the gospel and He will be the center of New Jerusalem. He is the same yesterday, today, and eternally (Heb. 13:8).

The unsearchable riches of Christ are the gospel in Ephesians 3. God’s intention is that these riches fill us and be expressed through us.

Photo by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, courtesy of NASA and ESA.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and New Jerusalem

The gospel brings us to God’s redemption that we may receive His eternal life and partake of His salvation throughout our Christian life. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

“The gospel of Jesus,” “the gospel of Jesus Christ,” and “the gospel of Christ” are mentioned in about 30 New Testament verses. Jesus Christ is the center of the gospel and He will be the center of New Jerusalem. He is the same yesterday, today, and eternally (Heb. 13:8).

The first name and the last name (Rev. 22:21) in the New Testament is Jesus, proving that Jesus Christ is the subject and content of the New Testament.*

New JerusalemOn the cross Christ created one new man, composed of all the people He redeemed and reconciled to God, thus making peace (Eph. 2:14-16). In this one new man, the stepping stone to New Jerusalem, He is all and in all, and in Him our racial, social, cultural, and national distinctions have been eliminated (Col. 3:11). 

Now our need is to “be renewed in the spirit of our mind” (Eph. 4:23). By this renewing, which is day by day, not once for all, we practically put off the old man—our old ways of thinking and living—and put on the new man so that Christ is expressed. 

This renewing prepares us for New Jerusalem which is fully new in Christ and fully expresses Him. This is the goal of the gospel and the goal of Christ’s human living, death, resurrection, and ascension.

* Part of footnote 1 on Matt. 1:1 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

The Gospel of Peace and New Jerusalem

The gospel of the glory of God points to New Jerusalem. So does “the gospel of peace” because Jerusalem means The Foundation of Peace. 

Acts 10:36 speaks of “the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all).” Jesus Christ “Himself is our peace” because on the cross He terminated all the divisive factors which cause enmity among mankind (Eph. 2:13-16).

New JerusalemIn resurrection He came as the Spirit in his disciples and “announced peace as the gospel to you who were far off [non-Jews], and peace to those who were near [Jews].” This peace is for today and for eternity. 

In Christ we have the present reality of no divisive ordinances or feelings. “In Me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Eventually the world and all its divisive factors will go to the lake of fire, so the new creation, with New Jerusalem as its center, will be 100 percent peaceful.

Today, while the world is still around us and we walk through it, we should have on our feet “ the firm foundation of the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). This foundation both separates us from the world and supplies us to speak the gospel of peace to others.

This gospel of peace is our present foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Earth to New Earth with New Jerusalem (2)

Genesis 1:1 records the creation of the earth and Revelation 21:1 records the coming of the new earth. Between these two milestones are many downward turns from Satan’s and man’s rejection of God, but God is not defeated. He will gain the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem to fulfill His desire.

Psalm 8 begins and ends, “O Jehovah our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth.” Humanly we don’t yet see this. However,New Jerusalem the psalmist, inspired by the Spirit, looked forward to the outcome of all that Christ would accomplish. Verses 4-6 of the Psalm are quoted in Hebrews 2:6-8 in regard to Jesus Christ.

“We do not yet see all things subjected to Him, but we see Jesus.” Although we do not yet see all things subjected to God, we do see the incarnated, crucified, and resurrected Jesus (Heb. 2:8-10). He is now one with all His believers, His brothers, and is sanctifying us inwardly to match Him (v. 11).

He is also singing praise to God our Father in the church (v. 12). The path to new earth and New Jerusalem is not only through incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, but is also through the church.

The path in Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2 corresponds with Ephesians 3:8-11: God created all things so that, according to His eternal purpose, through grace the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known to the heavenly rulers. This requires that Christ make home in our hearts through faith, resulting in further growth in us (3:16-19). This is His heading up of the church, which is the first step of heading up all things in the heavens and on earth in Christ (1:10).

By heading us up, God will gain glory in the church (3:20-21). The further heading up of all things will bring us to the new earth and New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face (6)

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4). In this age, God has shined in our hearts and we turn our hearts to the Lord to behold and reflect His glory.

In 2 Corinthians 3 we turn our heart from everything to the Lord to behold Him. This is the same as Hebrews 12:1-2, “let us…put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” Lord, enlighten us to see and put away the encumbrances.

The sins we must put away, by confessing and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9), are obviously negative. The encumbrances however may seem positive—our attitudes, goals, preferences, interests, etc. However, we must put these away because they hinder our “looking away unto Jesus.” This is like Matthew 1624-25; we must deny ourself and take up our cross to follow Him.

Many parallels are in these verses: looking away, putting away, turning (2 Cor. 3), denying (Matt. 16). Moses is an example; he considered “the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked away to the reward” (Heb. 11:26). He had the Lord’s presence as his reward then and will participate in New Jerusalem as the ultimate reward.  Lord, grant us the same attitude and consideration that Moses had!

By denying and turning, we look to Jesus. This looking, to see His face in spirit today, is our current reward, our foretaste of seeing His face in New Jerusalem. In our looking away to Jesus He, as the Author/Source/Initiator and as the Perfecter/Completer of our faith, will energize us to run the race with endurance to the goal.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

On the Throne in New Jerusalem (2)

Revelation 22:3 says concerning New Jerusalem:

New Jerusalem

Here are more verses about the exalted and enthroned Lamb.

Philippians 2:9-11, “God highly exalted Him [Christ Jesus] and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” We confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God now and in New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 2:7b-8a, “You [God] have crowned Him [Jesus] with glory and honor and have set Him over the works of Your hands; You have subjected all things under His feet. For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing unsubject to Him.”

Revelation 1:5, “Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth.” If we look at today’s situation with our human understanding, we doubt. But, we should say “amen” to God’s word. Jesus Christ is the Ruler today as He will be in New Jerusalem.

Revelation 17:14, “…the Lamb…is Lord of lords and King of kings…” Revelation 19:16, “He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings And Lord of Lords.”

This wonderful One is on the throne now and will be on the throne in New Jerusalem. In Revelation 22:1 John saw “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” This river flows to keep us under His authority and is flowing now as the Spirit which we have received (John 7:37-39). To drink the Spirit now (1 Cor. 12:13) is to have a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

More about the redeeming and enthroned Lamb: Behold the Lamb (1), (2), (3), (4)

On the Throne in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:3 says concerning New Jerusalem:

New Jerusalem

The verse tells us that God and the Lamb will be on the throne. God on the throne is obvious but for the Lamb, Jesus, the God-man, it is helpful to consider additional verses.

Matthew 28:18 “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Jesus, the Lamb, was given all authority in resurrection.
Acts 2:36, in resurrection, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.” Acts 10:36, “Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all)”

Ephesians 1:19-23 “the might of His [God, the Father of glory] strength, which He caused to operate in Christ in raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body”

This portion tells us that God raised Christ from the dead, exalted Him to the heavens, enthroned Him far above all, subjected all things under Him, and gave Him as Head over all. All these steps are to His Body now and to New Jerusalem in eternity.

The Lamb Jesus Christ will be on the throne in New Jerusalem but we should not wait passively. Hebrews 4:16 exhorts us to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace.”

How can we come to the throne of God and the Lamb, Christ, in heaven while we still live on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in v. 12. The very Christ who is sitting on the throne in heaven (Rom. 8:34) is also now in us (Rom. 8:10), that is, in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22), where the habitation of God is (Eph. 2:22).*

Let us come forward to the throne now on our way to New Jerusalem.

From footnote 1 on Hebrews 4:16 in NT Recovery Version Online.

 

Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 22

A series of posts for Revelation 1 to 20 look at the wonderful Jesus Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:1 is the new creation and in 21:2 New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. Two recent posts look at the wonderful Jesus Christ in this new creation.

New JerusalemContinuing, Revelation 22:1 reveals “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” There is one throne for God and the Lamb because the two are one. In John 14:10 Jesus told us, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” And in Revelation 21:23 God, the light, is in the Lamb, the lamp.

In 22:2 “was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” This tree is a symbol of Jesus Christ, who is our life and who is our life supply as the living bread in John 6 and forever in New Jerusalem.

In 22:7, 12, and 20 the Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I come quickly.” Our reply is identical to verse 20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

In verse 16 He says, “I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.” Thank You Lord for Your sending. And Lord, keep us in the churches to hear what the Spirit says to them (Rev. 2:7, 3:22). This is part of His work to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

In verse 16 He also says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star.” Concerning this, a footnote in the Recovery Version says, “In His divinity, Christ is the Root, the source, of David; in His humanity, Christ is the Offspring, the issue, of David.” He is also the star to guide us through this dark age until He comes.

The Bible concludes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” Lord, thank You for this wonderful grace to supply us today and to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

 

Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 21 (2)

In Revelation 21 we see New Jerusalem in the new creation. Many prior posts addressed accomplishments by Jesus Christ to bring us here. Now we see the same wonderful Person as the center of the new creation.

In verse 21:6 He says “I am the Alpha and the Omega*, the Beginning and the End. I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.” What He began in eternity past, and continued through His incarnation, human living, death, and resurrection, has come to an eternal conclusion.

New JerusalemEven in New Jerusalem, He is not only our Omega and End but He is still our Alpha and our Beginning. And the water of life He freely gives flows out of His throne (22:1).

In verses 9-11 New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” and is seen, “having the glory of God.” The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is the Husband and He is also the glory of New Jerusalem. This “glory of Christ” first comes to us in the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4) and develops in us to His second coming (2 Thes. 1:10), consummating in the glory of New Jerusalem.

Verses 12 to 21 describe New Jerusalem. In verse 22 John says, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” God and Jesus Christ are the living temple of the city. There is no physical temple.

In verse 23, “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” God in Jesus Christ is the light of the city. There is no need for physical light. God in Christ as the real light is first seen in Matthew 4:13-16 and is consummated in illuminating New Jerusalem.

*The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

 

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