Peace, Now and in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace.” New Jerusalem will certainly be full of peace and joy and many other wonderful conditions.

But what about today? We seem to be over the peak of coronavirus infections. Gradually there is an opening of society but we still wear masks and keep social distances. Our economy is weak; our future is uncertain.

Medical experts say the virus might linger as a long-term threat. Job prospects for many are poor. We wonder, Is it safe to go there? or to do that? We are in a state of uncertainty. We cannot change the medical or economic or political environment. But we can open ourselves to Jesus!

In John 14:27 the Lord Jesus tells us, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” And in John 16:33 He says, “in Me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction.”

Philippians 4:6-7, “In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses every man’s understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”

We need to present our requests to the Lord, not only for outward care but even more for His peace within. This inward peace is a testimony of Him to the troubled world. This inward peace, the peace of God, is the same peace as in New Jerusalem. The difference then is that there will also be peace throughout the new creation.

The Triune God Flowing for Us to Drink

In John 4 the Lord Jesus promised us, “the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life.” This water is the Spirit, flowing now and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1).

Our life is sustained by our eating and drinking….Likewise, we have a divine drinking, that is, we have to drink the flowing God. Our God is forever new; He is also a flowing God, a God who is always flowing. The Father is the fountain, and when the fountain emerges, it becomes a spring, which is the Son. When the spring flows, it becomes a river, which is the Spirit. Hence, the Triune God is the flowing God with the Father as the fountain, the Son as the spring, and the Spirit as the river. The Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit as the fountain, the spring, and the river—gives us to drink of Him daily.*

New JerusalemIn John 7:37 the Lord Jesus told everyone, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” And “this He said concerning the Spirit” (v. 39). First Corinthians 12:13 also speaks about this drinking. “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body…and were all given to drink one Spirit.

We have been given the opportunity to drink and should make use of it. Repeating a recent post, Simple ways to drink the Spirit, seen in Isaiah 12:3-4, are to rejoice, to give thanks to the Lord, and to call on the name of the Lord. We drink the Spirit now and in New Jerusalem.

How to Be a Co-worker and an Elder and How to Fulfill Their Obligations, chapter 6, by Witness Lee, © LSM.

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Oneness of New Jerusalem Displayed Today

The oneness of the Triune God is testified in New Jerusalem by one throne, one river, one tree, and one light. The city also testifies God’s fullness, in three gates on each of the four sides to open the city to every corner of the earth, and in the tree of life bearing twelve New Jerusalemfruits for our eternal nourishment.

The three of the Triune God are one by dwelling in each other; this is coinherence. Through death and resurrection the Lord Jesus brought us into the same relationship with God (but not into His Godhead). In John 14:20 He told us that in resurrection we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

The Lord prayed that we would all participate in this oneness— “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me….I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one, that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me” (John 17:21, 23).

Our oneness is in the Triune God. This oneness will be fully displayed by New Jerusalem. But God desires that oneness also be displayed now, “that the world may believe” and “that the world may know.” We can pray with the Lord that we be perfected into one, not waiting for New Jerusalem but now that the world may know God’s doings.

God in the Lamb is the Light of New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:23 tells us that New Jerusalem “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.”

Both God and the Lamb are sitting on the throne [Rev. 22:1]. They are not sitting side by side. Rather, God is in the Lamb. God is the light and the Lamb is the lamp (Rev. 21:23). The glory of the light and the lamp are not side by side. The light is in the lamp. The Lamb as the lamp shines with God as the light. This indicates that God is in the Lamb sitting on the throne. They two are actually one, just as the light and the lamp are one unit, one entity. God in the Lamb is the redeeming God. For eternity in the New Jerusalem we shall see the redeeming God, God in the Lamb.*

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem there is one throne and one light because God is one! The oneness of God and the Lamb presented in the paragraph above is not something new in New Jerusalem. Rather, it is an eternal oneness.

In John 14 the Lord Jesus said, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (v. 11). In John 10:38 He told us to believe Him so that we know and continue to know this divine fact. This fact is for us to experience and live by today (John 14:20) and it will be manifested in full by New Jerusalem.

The Conclusion of the New Testament, chapter 20, by Witness Lee

New Jerusalem: Satisfaction in Love and Rest in Expression

New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” Jesus Christ, and also “the tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:2-3). These characteristics are not new at the conclusion of the Bible; they occur often throughout the Bible.

In both the Old and the New Testaments God likens His chosen people to a spouse (Isa. 54:6; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:8; Hosea 2:19; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32) and a dwelling place for Himself (Exo. 29:45-46; Num. 5:3; Ezek. 43:7-9; Psa. 68:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15). The spouse is for His satisfaction in love, and the dwelling place is for His rest in expression. Both aspects will be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem. In her, God will have the fullest satisfaction in love and the uttermost rest in expression for eternity.*

The love between God and His people is important throughout the Bible. The books of Moses are, on one hand, filled with laws, commands, and ordinances. On the other hand, they often speak about our heart and our loving God. The Lord Jesus repeated this in John 14:21, 23, coupling loving Him and keeping His commandments. Second John 6 says the same.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:17 we are “being rooted and grounded in love.” And 4:16 has “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” The building up of the Body of Christ in love is the preparation of New Jerusalem to be His loving bride. Likewise in Colossians 2:2 we are “knit together in love.”

Lord, increase our loving You daily. Make us those who “who have loved Your appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Bring us onward to New Jerusalem

* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem: Bride and Tabernacle

John the apostle tells us in Revelation 21:2-3a, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them.”

The New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth is the bride, the wife (Rev. 21:9) of the Lamb Christ as His counterpart (John 3:29) and the tabernacle of God as His habitation (Rev. 21:3). Christ and God are one. They are one God, but triune. And the tabernacle is one entity with two aspects to meet the different needs of its Triune God. To Christ, the Lamb, the Redeemer, the New Jerusalem is His bride as His counterpart for His satisfaction. To God, the Originator, the Creator, the New Jerusalem is His tabernacle as His habitation for His rest.*

New JerusalemThe Bridegroom and bride are spoken about in John 3:29. In 3:30 the bride is the increase of Christ. How can Christ increase? By spreading into many human beings and then growing in us to saturate us with Himself. His spreading begins with His terminating the serpent’s deadly poison, as alluded to in 3:14, so that we can be cleansed to receive eternal life.

This eternal life is the life of New Jerusalem. After being born again, this life, Christ Himself, grows in us. This growth, presented in many of the epistles, brings us to maturity and builds us together. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

* Conclusion of the New Testament, The, chapter 13, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Death and Resurrection for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21–22 New Jerusalem is at the center of the new creation. This is the conclusion and goal of the Bible. Everything positive in the Bible points directly to this conclusion, and the negatives are fully removed by Revelation 20.

Firstly, the Bible shows us that the Triune God was signified by the tree of life. Then He came in incarnation to be the one grain in the flesh, who died and resurrected to produce the many grains. Through incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection God became the many grains which are we. As the many grains we are ground into flour to make one bread, and this bread is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the new man as the organism of the Triune God, which eventually consummates in the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemGenesis 1 speaks of the creation of man. In Genesis 2 man was in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This portrayed God wanting to impart His life into man.

However, due to Satan’s corruption of man in Genesis 3, man was shut out from the tree of life. Then God came in the man Jesus, both to save, to cleanse, us from corruption and to be available to us as the reality of the tree of life.

In John 12:24 Jesus said “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” He came and died (He fell into the ground) and in resurrection brought forth us as many grains sharing His life. Together we, as many grains, are one bread, one Body in Christ (1 Cor. 10:17). The issue of this one bread, one Body, is New Jerusalem.

* The Constitution and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, chapter 1, by Witness Lee

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

 

New Jerusalem is the Mingling of The Triune God with His People

God has been seeking a dwelling with man since creation. Many stages of this dwelling developed through the Old and New Testaments, culminating in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAn early picture of this dwelling, this building, is Abraham’s tent with his altar in front of it, a miniature of the tabernacle with an altar built centuries later. At that time God told Moses, “Let them make a sanctuary for Me that I may dwell in their midst” (Exo. 25:8).

In the Old Testament, due to the fall of man, God could only dwell with man, not in man. But the redemption obtained by the Lord Jesus cleansed man.

In the New Testament God does not dwell ‘with man’ but ‘in man.’ Even before accomplishing redemption, the Lord Jesus spoke of this. “You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20). “Abide in Me and I in you” (John 15:4).

In the epistles many verses speak of us being in Christ and Christ being in us. This is mutual indwelling, also called coinherence or mingling. The ultimate stage of this coinherence is New Jerusalem.

The New Jerusalem is a full picture of the mingling of the Triune God with His redeemed creatures, the mingling of divinity with humanity. Now God is no longer merely a God outside of man. He is a God within man.

For eternity God will dwell in His people and His people in Him. This mutual dwelling is New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of God’s Building through the Bible

New Jerusalem, as the conclusion of the Bible, shows God’s goal—to have a living building composed of Himself and all His people.

New JerusalemWe see this building clearly in the New Testament. At first the eternal Word came to tabernacle among us (John 1:14). Jesus alone was God’s tabernacle at that time. In John 2:19-21 He spoke of Himself as the temple, the replacement for the old, physical temple.

Later, He redeemed us by His death and regenerated us through His resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Now we are being built together. A few verses which speak of our involvement in God’s building work are 1 Corinthians 3:9 and Ephesians 2:19-22 and 4:15-16. In these verses both we and God in Christ are being built together. The ultimate issue is New Jerusalem.

Noah’s ark, the tabernacle, the temple, Christ, the church, and the New Jerusalem are all God’s building. However, these are all different aspects of one building, not many buildings. In the New Jerusalem we can find items related to Noah’s ark, to the tabernacle of Moses, and to Solomon’s temple with the old Jerusalem. We can certainly see Christ as the house and temple of God, and we can also see the church. Therefore, the New Jerusalem is the ultimate expression and consummation of God’s building.*

When the New Testament speaks about building it is always coupled with life. We are built together in the divine life which flows out from Christ the Head in Ephesians 4:16. This building is maintained in eternal newness by the flow of the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

Jesus Christ is the Reality Today and in New Jerusalem

In John 1:29 and 3:29 John the Baptist identified the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Bridegroom. In New Jerusalem the Lord is the Lamb on the throne and the Bridegroom.

The New Jerusalem is the ultimate conclusion of the entire Scriptures. In the Gospel of John we see the Lord Jesus as many items. He was recommended by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God and as the Bridegroom. He is also the light, the life, the way, and everything. The New Jerusalem is the all-inclusive embodiment of Christ as everything. In the New Jerusalem Christ is the Lamb, and He is the Bridegroom to marry the New Jerusalem as the bride. In the New Jerusalem Christ is also the light, the life, the way, and the truth, the reality. The New Jerusalem is the embodiment of all that Christ is.*

New JerusalemJesus Christ is our “light of life” (John 8:12) both now and eternally in New Jerusalem. Everything He is in the gospels, He is in eternity. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke He is the new wine for us to drink. Although wine is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem, He is the new wine eternally in the new creation.

In John 6 Jesus is the bread of life to nourish us with Himself as “the life.” In New Jerusalem He is the tree of life to continue nourishing us eternally.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes, even forever” (Heb. 13:8). This verse assures us that everything spoken about what the Lord is in the gospels and epistles is also true in New Jerusalem eternally.

* The Building of God, chapter 4, by Witness Lee.

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Redeemed, Regenerated for New Jerusalem

Revelation is a book composed with many spiritual signs (1:1). Many aspects of New Jerusalem are signs, including the three types of materials which represent the Triune God and His work for, on, and in His believers.

The first material is gold, which constitutes the city proper and forms the base of the city. In the Bible gold refers to God the Father as the base, the fountain, the source. The second material is pearl. Pearls are produced by oysters, and oysters live in the sea, signifying the death water….Christ is the living “oyster.” He lived in the death water, the world. …Through His death we were redeemed, and His death also released His divine life (John 12:24).

Through Christ’s resurrection we were regenerated (1 Pet. 1:3), and regeneration is the very entrance into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). In the New Jerusalem God the Father is signified by the gold, and God the Son, by the pearls.*

New JerusalemIn John 3:5 the Lord Jesus tells us, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

The converse is that everyone born of water (signifying a baptism of repentance) and of the Spirit (who imparts eternal life into us) enters the kingdom of God. New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of this kingdom’s development.

Regeneration brings us into the kingdom of God. It also initiates a work of washing and renewing within us. This work gradually makes our entire being new, so that we match New Jerusalem not only in the word but in reality.

* The Organic Union in God’s Relationship with Man, chapter 6, by Witness Lee.

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Eternal Redemption; Serve the Living God

Hebrews 9:12 declares that Jesus, “through His own blood, entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:14 declares further that “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

How does that relate to New Jerusalem? Revelation 22:3, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.”

New JerusalemThe eternal redemption accomplished once for all by Jesus Christ is for us to serve God now and in New Jerusalem. His redemption, and the forgiveness and purifying it affords us, is always available because it was done “through the eternal Spirit.”

Redemption opens the door for us to receive eternal life, and eternal life (John 3:15-16) brings us into the bride of Christ (3:29-30) which ultimately is New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

The purifying presented in Hebrews 9:14 is necessary for us to receive eternal life and because “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18). New Jerusalem has no spots, no darkness, no obscurity. Every aspect of the city is pure and transparent.

We are experiencing the purifying in Hebrews 9 along with the inward washing of our being presented in Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5. This brings us to the purity of New Jerusalem and to our eternal service to the living God.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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