On a Mountain, In a Cloud, New Jerusalem

Last month we concluded the posts on our spiritual journey to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem. This series touched both the Old Testament picture and the New Testament reality.

In the picture, both Exodus 24 and Exodus 34 speak of Moses being in a cloud. To be on a mountain in clear weather affords a great view. But God preferred a cloud. Exodus 24:15 to 25:1:

“Moses went up to the top of the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. And the glory of Jehovah settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud….And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud and went up on the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. Then Jehovah spoke to Moses…”

Exodus 24-25In recent days I have been wondering if one purpose of the cloud is to block our view of things below so that all we can see are the heavenly things on the mountain.

The goal of going up is time in the presence of God. With Him it does not matter if we think the earthly scene is lovely or ugly, encouraging or depressing. The goal of going up is time with Him. For this, it is better to have no distractions—no list of daily chores, no work obligations, no internet, etc.*

Moses was in the cloud forty days—a period of testing. After this test, God began to speak with Him about offering materials for building the tabernacle, the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the eternal tabernacle (Rev. 21:3).

Moses heard the call and entered into the cloud. May we all hear the call to be with God and may we all be willing to enter a cloud, so that we can see nothing but Him. This is the route to the vision of New Jerusalem.

*We do need to care for our daily chores and human obligations but not during our time with the Lord.

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.

In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis concludes a series of posts about seeing and entering New Jerusalem. The key is “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see this wonderful eternal city (Rev. 21:9-10). Here is a one sentence highlight, a verse reference, and a link for each post.

❖ The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, presented by the Bible in figurative language. We need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11) and to understand the spiritual significance of all its elements.

In Exodus 24 and 34 Moses was at the top of a mountain, in God’s presence, in glory, and received God’s speaking, including the vision of the tabernacle, a forerunner of New Jerusalem.

 Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai portrays our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem. The first steps in their journey were redemption, eating the passover lamb and unleavened bread, and crossing the Red Sea.

❖ The next step in Israel’s (and our) journey is to sing and praise the Lord for His victory and His kingdom. This brings us onward to the wonderful experience of the springs of living water.

 Eating the manna (a picture of Christ—John 6) daily and drinking the water (a picture of the Spirit—John 7) out of the rock are essential nourishment for our Christian journey.

❖ On our journey we also need to fight against the flesh but not in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

❖ In Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. All God’s words show our shortages apart from Christ. Nevertheless, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7).

❖ On our Christian journey we need Jesus Christ as our burnt offering, as the person absolute for God. He is our replacement and we are identified with Him. This is portrayed in Leviticus 1:3-4.

 Christ as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4) that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

 When Moses went up the mountain he entered into the cloud (which cut off his view of everything earthly) and was there forty days in the glory of the Lord (Exo. 24:15-16, 18). When we give time to the Lord, He will reveal His heart to us.

 We journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see and enter New Jerusalem. For this journey, Christ is our life (Col. 3:4) and we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

❖ Our seeing of New Jerusalem depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation. By the Lord’s mercy, may we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us, so that the Spirit can reveal more to us (Rev. 21:9-10).

❖ On a mountain the Lord spoke the reality of the kingdom of the heavens, which leads to New Jerusalem. In ourselves we cannot reach this level, but we have the life of our heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48).

❖ The Lord Jesus went to a mountain to present the kingdom (Matt. 5–7), to be transfigured (Matt. 17), to speak about this age and His return (Matt. 24), and to ascend (Acts 1). Our need is to come to Him. “His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1)

❖ Everything written in the Old Testament, including Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai, is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement (1 Cor. 10:11, Rom. 15:4). Today, our job is to hold Jesus Christ, who is the reality (Col. 2:16-19).

❖ Recent posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The answer is in John 3—be born again to see (v. 3) and to enter (v. 5).

❖ In John 3:5 we are born of water (terminating our old life) and the Spirit (generating our new life). In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—my old life, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—my new life. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

❖ We need to be uplifted to a high mountain that we may see New Jerusalem as God’s eternal dwelling place for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. (Rev. 21:9-10)

New Jerusalem

aaa

In Revelation 21:9-10 John tells us that an angel carried him away in spirit to a great and high mountain and showed him the holy city, New Jerusalem. This clearly was not John’s effort. Likewise, our seeing of New Jerusalem is not by our determination nor by our striving. We simply turn to the Lord, open our whole heart to Him, and wait on Him. In His time He will give us the vision of New Jerusalem.

aaa

“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

More Seeing and Entering New Jerusalem

We should all desire to be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). The seeing requires us to be “in spirit” and to have completed a spiritual journey (described in prior posts) to a high mountain.

According to John 3:3 and 3:5, when we see, we enter. Both depend on our new birth. The extent of our seeing and entering New Jerusalem matches the extent to which we let the new birth operate in us. This is like a human—birth brings the baby into humanity but the baby requires many years of development to fully see and enter into human life.

John 3:5: Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

New JerusalemIn John 3:5 being born anew has two aspects: water and Spirit. Being born of water is the termination of our old life. How much will we cooperate with the Spirit to apply this termination to our old habits, our old amusements, our old attitudes, and our old goals? This is the denial of our self spoken by the Lord in the gospels (e.g. Matt. 16:24) by cooperating with the indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:13).

Being born of the Spirit is the enlivening of our human spirit and the joining of the Spirit with our spirit. How much will we live and walk according to this spirit? This is not separate from the first aspect of being born anew. In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—the first aspect, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—the second aspect. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

Christ living in us is a matter of faith. Galatians 2:20 continues to say “I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God.” Lord, fill me with Yourself as my faith so that You may live through me. Lord, bring me more into New Jerusalem.

Born Anew to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIsrael journeyed to Mt. Sinai where Moses saw and presented to them the heavenly pattern of the tabernacle. We are on a Christian journey to see New Jerusalem.

After the vision of the tabernacle, Israel offered themselves for it, built it, and journeyed with it. Likewise, we see New Jerusalem, we offer ourselves to the Lord for New Jerusalem, we participate in building the Body of Christ as the forerunner of New Jerusalem, and we continue our Christian life in God’s New Testament building.

The past dozen or so posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The Lord Jesus gave us the answer in John 3:3, 5. “Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you,

Unless one is born anew,
__he cannot see the kingdom of God. (v. 3)
Unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
__he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (v. 5)

To be born again, or born anew, is to be born of water and of the Spirit in our human spirit (v. 6). The result of this spiritual birth is both the seeing and the entering into the kingdom of God. To the extent that we see, we enter.

Our seeing of spiritual things is not once for all. Rather, our seeing gradually increases with our loving the Lord and giving ourselves to Him. It increases as we seek and pursue the Lord and respond to Him. It increases through our contact with the Lord in the Bible, through time with other Christians, through prayer, and through gospel preaching.

Since our seeing of New Jerusalem is not once for all, our entering into it is not once for all but gradually. Lord, I am willing and available to You; bring me more into the vision of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Things Written in the Old Testament Point to Christ and to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIsrael’s journey to Mt. Sinai depicts our Christian journey to a point where we are “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10).

This paralleling of Israel and Christian life is seen in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our admonition.” Thank the Lord for the Old Testament examples and for the fact that “they were written” for our sake.

The same is seen in Romans 15:4, “For the things that were written previously were written for our instruction, in order that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Again, thank the Lord! The Bible gives us instruction and encouragement and with these we take the Lord as our endurance.

Israel journeyed to Mt. Sinai, received the vision of the tabernacle, built it, and brought it into the good land. Later the tabernacle was enlarged and made more solid with the building of the temple in Jerusalem. All of this history is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement. And all this history points toward New Jerusalem.

All this history was a shadow of Jesus Christ, the reality (Col. 2:16-19). Our job today is to hold Him that He may grow in us to fill us with reality (2:19). Today this reality is in the Body of Christ as God’s and our dwelling which will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem as God’s and our eternal dwelling.

Come to Jesus on a Mountain

Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai depicts our Christian journey to a spiritual mountain. After some time at Mt. Sinai, Israel received the vision of the tabernacle, God’s dwelling place. At our mountain we see the vision of New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling place.

New JerusalemThe Lord Jesus presented the reality of the kingdom of the heavens on a mountain (Matt. 5–7). Three disciples saw His transfiguration, “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” on a mountain (Matt. 16:28-17:13). This brief time was a foreshadowing of the millennial kingdom which leads into the eternal kingdom of New Jerusalem.

The Lord’s words concerning the course of this age and His coming again were spoken on a mountain (Matt. 24:3). His sending of the disciples to proclaim the gospel to all the nations was also accomplished on a mountain (Matt. 28:16). Then they saw His ascension from the mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12).

These events present the need for being on a mountain for key spiritual experiences, including the vision of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). How do we get there? We pray and our prayer brings us to the Lord. As long as we are with Him, when He is on the mountain, we will be there too. (And when He is beside the sea to gospelize, we will be there with Him.) Our need is to come to Him. “His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1).

Lord, draw me daily. Stir me to come to You all the time so that I may receive Your speaking. Lord, make me a Mary, one who sits are Your feet and listens to Your word (Luke 10:39). Lord, draw me until You can show New Jerusalem to me.

Andrea’s post about the heavenly vision.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

 

Live the Father’s Life for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemWe have a Christian journey to a spiritual mountain to see New Jerusalem. To reach this mountain requires experiences of Christ. It also requires exercise of our spirit mingled with the Spirit because a proper Christian life is a walk according to the spirit (Gal. 5:16).

In Matthew 4:17 the Lord proclaimed “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” In Matthew 5–7 He spoke about the reality of life in this kingdom. Both are necessary steps toward the vision of New Jerusalem.

Repentance was proclaimed to those beside or on the sea of Galilee, which typifies living in a worldly situation. May we all repent of whatever degree of worldliness we have. Then we go up a mountain (Matt. 5:1) to enter the reality of the kingdom of the heavens.

In ourselves we cannot fulfill what the Lord spoke in Matthew 5–7. But He gave us the key, “our Father.” He spoke this phrase at least 12 times in these three chapters. We are sons of our Father (5:45) and His life in us enables us to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48).

Beside the sea we repent and on the mountain we live by the Father’s life. The reality of this life is the Spirit. “The Spirit gives life” (John 6:63, 2 Cor. 3:6) and because of being born again our spirit is life (Rom. 8:10). It is in our spirit, regenerated by the Spirit, that we are carried to the mountain for the vision of 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.

New Jerusalem, a Revelation in Spirit

Recent posts present steps in our Christian journey to get to the high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). How long will this journey take? The Bible does not say.

New JerusalemThe length of the journey depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation along the way. Do not be discouraged by failures. In the Old Testament picture Israel had complaints and resistance along the way. Nevertheless, God brought them to the mountain because that was His intention to fulfill His purpose.

When Israel began walking after eating the passover lamb (a picture of Christ— 1 Cor. 5:7) they had no idea how long it would take to get to the mountain. Likewise, we have no idea when we will be “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). We are journeying like Abraham, who “being called, obeyed to go out…not knowing where he was going” nor when he would arrive (Heb. 11:8).

God had promised to bring Israel to the mountain (Exo. 3:12) and He did it. Since there is also a New Testament mountain, surely there is also a New Testament promise.

The key to seeing New Jerusalem is our human spirit. The Holy Spirit is involved in the vision in oneness with our spirit. We are one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), and the Spirit witnesses with our human spirit (Rom. 8:16). If we are in the flesh, the Holy Spirit remains in us but cannot live or work in us. May we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us. There is no other way to see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Time on the Mountain with the Lord

Israel journeyed from Egypt to Mt. Sinai where God gave a vision of the tabernacle, His dwelling place. Likewise, we have a spiritual journey with many experiences of Christ to get to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling place.

In preparation for such a vision, we need forgiveness by the redeeming blood of Christ and we also need to be one with Christ as our burnt offering, absolute for God’s interests. The people who enter into these steps (Exo. 24:3-8) are then ready to go up the mountain (Exo. 24:9-18).

New JerusalemExodus 24:15-16, 18 say, “And Moses went up to the top of the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. And the glory of Jehovah settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud and went up on the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.”

To receive a full vision, we need to be at the top of the mountain. This is far above our earthly cares and the worldly attractions. Spiritually, this does not mean that we ignore earthly needs but that they do not dominate us and we have times when we put them all aside to be with the Lord.

To receive a full vision, we also need to be in the glory of the Lord. This requires us to turn our heart to the Lord and to exercise our spirit (2 Cor. 3:16-18). By this we can “enter into the cloud of glory” which cuts off our view of everything else.

To receive a full vision, we moreover need much time with the Lord, as Moses had. How much time every day and when during the day are between us and the Lord. Let us give ourselves to have such time that we may see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ in Us is Always Acceptable to God

We continue on our Christian journey toward the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

In order to journey toward New Jerusalem we need to be brought to God through the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13) and through Him as the absolute one living in us.

The death of Christ has fulfilled and fully satisfied God’s righteous requirements; hence, we are justified by God through His death (3:24). His resurrection proves that God’s requirements were satisfied by His death for us, that we are justified by God because of His death, and that in Him, the resurrected One, we are accepted before God. Furthermore, as the resurrected One, He is in us to live for us a life that can be justified by God and is always acceptable to God.*

New JerusalemChrist as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. This is the revelation in Matthew 5:48, where the Lord Jesus said that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. This perfection derives from not from God the Creator but from the Father who imparted His life into us so that we could be His sons.

It is by the heavenly life of our Father that we can live a heavenly life on earth and fulfill all that God requires of us.

This life is in us by the regeneration of our human spirit (John 3:15-16, 5-6). Therefore, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

*Note on Romans 4:25 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry

For New Jerusalem CHRIST IS, We are Not

The goal of our Christian journey is to get to the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem. This journey is portrayed by Israel traveling from Egypt to Mt. Sinai to receive the vision of the tabernacle. The tabernacle they built was merely a shadow of New Jerusalem, the eternal “tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:3).

When Israel heard God’s speaking, they replied “All the words which Jehovah has spoken we will do” (Exo. 24:3). However, they were spiritually blind, not realizing that as fallen men they could not fulfill God’s law. The condition of fallen man is presented in Romans 3:9-20, concluding “no flesh shall be justified before Him.”

Moses knew both God and the people of Israel, “So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people and said, Here is the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

New JerusalemBesides the blood, there were the burnt offerings. These are a picture of Jesus Christ as the person absolute for God. We cannot be absolute for God even when we want to be. He, as the burnt offering, is our replacement and we are identified with Him.

Leviticus 1:3-4 speaks about the offerer of a burnt offering: “…he shall present it, a male without blemish…that he may be accepted before Jehovah. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him…”

Jesus Christ is the “male without blemish” before God. He is accepted for us (v. 4) that we may be accepted before God (v. 3). This acceptance results when we “lay our hand on His head.” This is to pray, confessing that we are not and HE IS, and to praise that what HE IS, is available to us.

Taking Christ as our burnt offering is part of our journey to see New Jerusalem.

Photo in Ireland by Toby Shelton.

Christ Qualifies Us for New Jerusalem

We continue on our Christian journey portrayed by Israel’s journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai. Our goal is to get to the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

A step in the prior post was to walk by the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh. This is pictured in Exodus by the battle against Amalek (Exo. 17), a battle which continues every day. Then Israel arrived at the mountain but still did not see God’s habitation. The journey to see New Jerusalem is not short but it is a normal part of Christian life.

New JerusalemIn Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. These show who God is—He is unique, He is holy, He is living, He is righteous, He is faithful, and He has many other attributes.

All God’s words also show our shortages apart from Christ. Sometimes we try to fulfill the law but eventually we fail. This is Romans 7. Without Christ we cannot fulfill the law because 1) the law of sin is in us, and 2) we do not have God’s life.

When Moses presented all the words of God to Israel, there was an altar and burnt offerings and the blood of the offerings (Exo. 24:4-8). Moses sprinkled the blood on the people. This was a shadow; the reality is:
• “now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have become near in the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13)
• “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7)
This too is part of our journey to see New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

%d bloggers like this: