A Loud Voice out of the Throne, Behold the Tabernacle of God

Recent posts have been about Revelation 21:2. Verse 3 begins, “And I heard a loud voice out of the throne.” And connects what follows with the description of New Jerusalem in verse 2.

loud voice is often heard in Revelation, to call everyone’s attention to the concluding events of this age, the introduction of the coming age, the final judgments, and the new creation with New Jerusalem. In this verse the loud voice is out of the throne. This word comes direct from God and the Lamb who sit on the throne in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThis loud voice first says, “Behold, the tabernacle of God.” In Exodus the tabernacle was a physical building, a picture of the New Testament reality.

Hebrews 8:2 and 9:11 speak of the true and more perfect heavenly tabernacle. These verses tell us that the true tabernacle is not of the old creation. It is of the new creation.

This true tabernacle first appeared in the incarnation. John 1:14 declares, “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” The incarnated Word, the man Jesus, was of the new creation as this true tabernacle among men. The New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in a living Person!

This tabernacle was enlarged through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is God dwelling in a corporate living person, the church today and New Jerusalem in eternity.

This consummate tabernacle, New Jerusalem, is “with men” because it has “come down out of heaven” to be on earth for eternity.

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The Riches of God’s Grace in New Jerusalem

Ephesians 2:5-6 says that God made us alive together with Christ, raised us up together with Him, and seated us in the heavenlies in Him, so that (v. 7) “He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

In verse 7 ages is plural, so it refers to both the coming age and eternity. Thus, verse 7 tells us something about New Jerusalem. This verse says God will display. New Jerusalem will be a display of the unlimited riches of God.

New JerusalemVerse 7 also uses the word surpassing. It does not tell us what will be surpassed but the whole of Ephesians presents an unlimited Triune God. What He will display will surpass everything we have seen or imagined.

Then the word riches. It is plural. God is not merely rich in grace; His grace has multiple aspects of richness. How many aspects we cannot guess. Even now we can receive “grace upon grace” (John 1:16)—grace in multiple layers.

The surpassing riches are of His grace. This grace comes to us in Christ Jesus and is Christ Jesus Himself (John 1:14, 17). This grace comes in kindness. We do not deserve the surpassing riches of His grace, but because God loves us and is merciful to us, this grace abounds to us. Thank Him for His great mercy!

This surpassingly rich grace comes to us in Christ Jesus. He is the realm for all God’s blessings to us. All the surpassing riches of New Jerusalem will be in Him and displayed through Him.

The Shadow of the Living Temple (2)

Jesus alone (John 2), then all His believers (2 Cor. 6:16), consummating in New Jerusalem, is the living temple. The Bible also has a material, physical temple, a shadow, a portrait of this reality. This shadow shows us the good, heavenly things to come in Christ. But what need was there for that shadow?

Because of the fall of man, in Genesis 3 man was shut out from the reality. As a result, before Christ came, there was a need of shadows. Then, through incarnation, the reality came to man. John 1:17 speaks of this contrast: “the law was given through Moses; grace and reality came [literally become, came into existence] through Jesus Christ.”

#NewJerusalemThe reality came, and through His redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection we can participate in this reality. We have no more need for shadows!

The shadows came because of the fall, but we can receive some spiritual vision from them. This is somewhat like the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. The physical tabernacle and temple, the shadows, show us something about the living temple including New Jerusalem.

One thing we see is that the Old Testament temple was constructed with gold, wood, and stone. This is a picture of God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, built with the divine nature, the humanity of Jesus, and the transformed members of His Body.

The dimensions of the tabernacle and temple show us that the Holy of Holies, their innermost chamber, is a cube. These cubes demonstrate that New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies. Furthermore, the fact that the whole of New Jerusalem is the holy of holies tells us that we all have been fully brought into God’s presence. Wonderful!

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New Jerusalem, the Fullness of God

Colossians 1:19 declares that in Christ “all the fullness was pleased to dwell.” This fullness is the expression of all the riches of God.* Colossians 2:9 says “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” By incarnation, all the fullness of the Godhead is in the God-man Jesus Christ.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:22-23 go further, saying that the church, the Body of Christ is “the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Not only Christ Himself, but now in resurrection also the Body composed of all His believers, is the fullness. The corporate Body will become the corporate New Jerusalem, so New Jerusalem will be the fullness of God.

The Body is the fullness because “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Ephesians 1 is a prayer for revelation that we might see all that God has operated in Christ unto the church. This is somewhat objective. Receiving grace upon grace is definitely subjective. This grace constitutes the church as the fullness in reality, preparing us for New Jerusalem.

We receive grace and we minister grace to one another, that we may be “good stewards of the varied grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). For this ministry the members of the Body specially gifted by the Head (Eph. 4:11) labor to perfect all of us “unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ” (4:12). This building of the Body is also the preparation of the bride (in Eph. 5), which becomes New Jerusalem.

Our ministry (Eph. 4:12) results in all arriving at the practical oneness, “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The goal of our Christian growth is the fullness of Christ, His Body now and New Jerusalem in the future.

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* See this footnote on Col. 1:19 in the Online Recovery Version NT.

New Jerusalem is the Enlarged Tabernacle

New JerusalemWe are in a series of posts about the house of the living God, the church, being enlarged to the city of the living God, New Jerusalem.

The enlargement is by Christ growing in us. Recent posts are about this growth by Christ making His home in our hearts so that we can be filled to all the fullness of God resulting in glory to Him now in the church (Eph. 3:14-21) and ultimately in New Jerusalem.

This enlargement is also seen with the New Testament tabernacle—God dwelling in humanity. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then John 1:14 says, “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” The Word, God, came to tabernacle* (to dwell, to live) in man!

Revelation 21:2 speaks of New Jerusalem. The next verse continues, “I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them.” New Jerusalem is the eternal tabernacle of God.

At the beginning of the New Testament God tabernacled in the man Jesus. At the end of the New Testament God in Christ tabernacles in a corporate man composed of millions of His people. What a great enlargement from Jesus in John 1:14 to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:3!

*See more here: The New Testament Tabernacle is Alive
Related post: New Jerusalem is the Tabernacle of God

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