Seek the Riches of Christ

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s work through all the ages. For New Jerusalem God manifests “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” (Rom. 2:4), “the riches of His glory” (multiple verses), “forgiveness according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), “the surpassing riches of His grace” (Eph. 2:7), “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8), and “the riches of the full assurance” (Col. 2:2).

New JerusalemAll of these riches continue into New Jerusalem and we should seek them, regardless of whether we are rich or poor humanly. Moses was this kind of seeker, considering “the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (Heb. 11:26).

Monetary riches are deceitful (Mark 4:19) and hinder our entrance into the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23-24), which ultimately is New Jerusalem. These physical riches are a root of evil (1 Tim. 6:10), full of uncertainty (1 Tim. 6:17), and can bring in many problems (James 5:1-3).

By grace, the churches in Macedonia were a strong contrast in their liberal giving to needy believers. “That in much proving of affliction the abundance of their joy and the depth of their poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (2 Cor. 8:2).

Hebrews 13:5 exhorts us, “Let your way of life be without the love of money.” If we love human riches we will seek them and our heart will be on them (Matt. 6:19-21). But, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ we will seek Him and our heart will be set on heavenly matters.

May the Lord be merciful to us all. Whether we have human riches or scarcity, let us be those who seek the riches of Christ, who seek to gain Christ (Phil. 3:8), who seek the present reality 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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo by Randy Roberts, courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

Praises in the Book of Revelation (2)

There are many praises in Revelation for what God and the Lamb are and for what God and the Lamb do. We who are believers join the heavenly praising now. In eternity the entire new creation will praise God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 11:15: “And the seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” This brings out the praise in verse 17, “We thank You, Lord God the Almighty, He who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and have reigned.”

We are in the spiritual reality of God’s kingdom now (Rom. 14:17) and John testified that he was in this kingdom while in exile on Patmos (Rev. 1:9). But, the world still has its kingdoms, nations, etc. When these are terminated at the seventh trumpet, that surely will bring forth more praises and thanks from the heavens and from God’s people on earth.

Revelation 12:10 has more: “I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ, for the accuser of our brothers has been cast down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” The transition in Revelation 11 concerns the kingdom of the world and in this chapter concerns the casting down of the devil, satan.

The result of this casting down is “Therefore be glad, O heavens and those who dwell in them” (v. 12). There is more gladness in Revelation 18:20 as a result of further judgements by God. We, God’s people, should be glad now, will be glad then, and this gladness will continue to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The heart of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. He (not calamities nor judgments nor beasts) is our focus. In Revelation our Lord Jesus is seen in many ways. He is working to conclude this age, to bring the kingdom of God to earth, and to consummate God’s economy with the new creation. Here is a link and one highlight from each post on the wonderful Jesus Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRev. 1: in verse 5  Jesus Christ is the faithful Witness. He is faithful to care for us and to care for God’s purpose through us, all the way to New Jerusalem.

Rev. 1: in verses 17-18 He declares, “Do not fear; I am the First and the Last and the living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living forever.” We should not fear anything because He is first and last; nothing is outside the limits He sets.

Rev. 2: in verse 12 He “has the sharp two-edged sword.” This is His living and operative word, which divides all the mixture in our being (Heb. 4:12) and washes away all our blemishes to present us to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:26-27).

Rev. 3: in verse 7 Jesus Christ is “the Holy One” sanctifying us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

Rev. 4–5: in verse 5:5 Jesus Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” He, the victorious One, defeated God’s enemies to clear the way for our redemption, regeneration, and perfection.

Rev. 6–9: in verse 8:3 Christ adds Himself as incense to our prayers that they may be a sweet-smelling savor to God. These prayers of believers on earth cooperating with the heavens open the way for the seven trumpets.

Rev. 10–11: in verses 10:1-7 Christ comes to claim the earth and to declare that there will be no more delay in completing the mystery of God, leading to New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.

Rev. 12: verse 10 has a loud proclamation, “Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.”

Rev. 12: verse 11 says that we overcome the devil because of the blood of the Lamb, the blood shed in His redemptive death. We also overcome because of the word of our testimony of all that Jesus Christ has accomplished.

Rev. 14: chapter 14 begins with praise. There are many praises in Revelation—here and chapters 5, 12, 19—and surely there will be more praises in New Jerusalem.

Rev. 17: verse 14, “The Lamb will overcome, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings.”

Rev. 18-19: chapter 19 begins with praise, “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.”

Rev. 19: verse 7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem, in 21:9-10] has made herself ready.”

Rev. 19: verse 11, “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sits on it called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” What Jesus Christ is, not what we are, accomplishes everything leading to New Jerusalem.

Rev. 19: Christ is our fine garments. These qualify us 1) to attend the marriage dinner of the Lamb, 2) to be part of His victorious army, and 3) to participate in New Jerusalem.

Rev. 20: the millennium in verses 20:4-6 has many parallels with New Jerusalem.

Rev. 20: in the second half of the chapter, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man who has been given all judgement (John 5:26-27), clears up everything to bring in the new creation.

New JerusalemRev. 21: verse 2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Rev. 21: in verse 22 John saw no temple in New Jerusalem, 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.

Rev. 22: in verse 2 is the tree of life, a symbol of Jesus Christ, who is our life and our life supply now and eternally.

 

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   18-19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit, the central subject, of Revelation. Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to eliminate God’s enemies and to develop His corporate testimony, which consummates with New Jerusalem. Now we come to chapters 18-19.

Revelation 18:1 says, “I saw another Angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with His glory.” This Angel is Jesus Christ. He is the One with great authority. He is also the One who fills the earth with glory, by Himself here and later through New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIs Jesus Christ an Angel? Yes! The Greek word means a messenger, someone sent with a message. God sent Jesus Christ to us with the message of His salvation and His purpose.

After the judgement in chapter 18, chapter 19 begins with praise, “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power are of our God.”

In 19:5 is the exhortation, “Praise our God, all His slaves and those who fear Him, the small and the great.” We are His slaves both in this time and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3). A primary duty is to praise Him. In 19:6 the response to the exhortation is “the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.”

This voice of the multitude marks the start of the next age with the visible kingdom of God on earth, brought in by the prior judgements and by the visible second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the first stage of the visible kingdom; New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage.

Photo courtesy of Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 12 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe book of Revelation is centered on the testimony of Jesus (19:10). Throughout Revelation we see the Christ, the One anointed to carry out for God’s plan on earth. This plan culminates with the new creation and New Jerusalem. In this post we look at our Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 12.

This chapter begins with the woman, the man-child, and the dragon. Then 12:7-9 present the war in heaven and the casting down of the devil. Verse 10 has a loud proclamation, “Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.” Here, as in 11:15, the eternal stage of the kingdom is New Jerusalem with God’s reign over the whole universe.

The proclamation in verse 10 also declares that our accuser (the devil) has been cast down.

The authority of Jesus Christ is declared many times in Revelation, including 1:5, 11:15, 12:10, 15:3, 17:14, and 19:16. This is from His death, resurrection, and ascension, as declared by Peter in Acts 2:36, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified” and as written in Ephesians 1:22 that God “subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

In Acts 2 our response to His exaltation is to repent, believe, and be baptized. This begins our progress toward New Jerusalem. In Ephesians our response to God’s actions is to grow in life and participate in the building up of His Body in love (Eph. 4:15-16).

Jesus Christ is “Head over all things to the church” because the church is the focus of God’s operation in this age. The church, the Body of Christ, is the forerunner of New Jerusalem as the eternal mingling of God and man.

Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   10-11 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The heart of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus (19:10). He is seen through Revelation caring for God’s interests on earth, which consummate in the new creation and New Jerusalem. In this post we look at His care for God’s interests and God’s people in Revelation 10 and 11.

New JerusalemIn Revelation 10:1-7 Christ comes to claim the earth and to declare that there will be no more delay in completing the mystery of God.

Today God’s purpose, including New Jerusalem, is a mystery but it the coming age and in eternity the mystery will have been completed, and everything will be openly manifested. The Mystery of God is FinishedThe Mystery and the End of the Mystery.

In 11:15, “The seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” Today the kingdom of God is a reality as a spiritual mystery. “The kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

When the Lord Jesus returns visibly (Come, Lord Jesus! Rev. 22:20) the kingdom of God will be manifested to everyone. That is the time of the shout in 11:15. This kingdom will fill the earth from then into eternity.

The center of this visible kingdom of God is New Jerusalem, and the center of New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1, 3). Praise Him!

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   4-5 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe central theme of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This wonderful One is seen throughout Revelation caring for God’s interests on earth. These posts look at aspects of His care which brings us to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 4–5 presents a vision of heaven. In 5:5 Jesus Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” He is the victorious One who fought God’s enemies, to clear the way for our redemption, regeneration, and perfection.

In 5:6 He is “a Lamb standing as having just been slain.” He died to redeem us but now He is standing in resurrection with the life that we receive in regeneration, the life for New Jerusalem. He also has “the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” This intensified Spirit is for our “much more salvation in life” (Rom. 5:10) in this dark age.

A praise to the Lamb in 5:9 says, “You are worthy…for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” By His death He purchased all of us out of every human distinction to be the one new man, who consummates in New Jerusalem. He is worthy!

In 5:10 the praise continues, echoing 1:6, that He has “made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.” The ultimate stage of the kingdom and our priesthood and reigning is New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3-5).

The praise continues in 5:11-14. We, with the heavenly host, can cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb.” Very likely, in New Jerusalem this praise will continue: “Worthy is the Lamb.”

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 1 Brings Us to New Jerusalem (2)

New JerusalemThe essence of Revelation is the testi-mony of Jesus. We continue looking look at some of the characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ as they relate to our progress to New Jerusalem. (Rev. 1:9-20)

In Revelation 1:9 the apostle John is our “brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus.” Acts 14:22 informs us that “through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” Ultimately this kingdom is New Jerusalem. Between here and there are tribulations, but we do not endure them in ourselves. We are in Jesus.

In 1:10 John heard a voice, in 1:12 he turned to see the voice, and in 1:13 he saw “One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and girded about at the breasts with a golden girdle.” This Son of Man is Jesus Christ, our High Priest, who ministers to us (as in Heb. 5–10) and brings us onward through this life and unto New Jerusalem.

His characteristics in 1:14-16 may be considered in the notes here.

In 1:17-18 He declares, “Do not fear; I am the First and the Last and the living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living forever and ever; and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” We should not fear anything because He is first and last, so nothing is outside the limits He sets and because He has conquered death. Rather than fear, we should let our requests be made known to Him so that He may be our peace (Phil. 4:6-7).

This wonderful One is caring for us now and will surely bring us all the way to New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Mystery and the End of the Mystery

In Mark 4:11 the Lord Jesus spoke of “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” This mystery includes New Jerusalem, the ultimate stage of God’s kingdom.

New JerusalemPaul often speaks of this mystery, as in Romans 16:25, “…my gospel, that is, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which has been kept in silence in the times of the ages.” And Colossians 1:26, “The mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations…”

This mystery, even the existence of this mystery, was hidden in God before the Lord Jesus began to minister. The Lord said something about it in His parables. Paul spoke further, for example “I came to you, brothers,…announcing to you the mystery of God” (1 Cor. 2:1).

Paul and his companions were “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). And he asked for prayer “that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known in boldness the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19).

He was announcing the mystery because God predestinated the wisdom hidden in it “before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor. 2:7). Since the wisdom of the mystery is for our glory, it is for our glorification and participation in New Jerusalem.

Today we are in the age of mystery and New Jerusalem surely is part of this mystery. But, “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel when he is about to trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished” (Rev. 10:7).

“The seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). This is from the second coming of Christ unto eternity, including New Jerusalem.

Photo by Scott Mecum, courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.

God’s Kingdom, Now and New Jerusalem

God has called us into His kingdom and glory (1 Thes. 2:12) to fulfill His purpose of being expressed and reigning through a corporate man (Gen. 1:26-28). Ultimately this goal is fulfilled in New Jerusalem which expresses God and is the center of His ruling in the universe.

New JerusalemRevelation 1:6 tells us that Jesus Christ “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever.” Again God’s kingdom and glory are linked. Today God has made the believers His kingdom; in the future the whole earth will be.

In Revelation 1:9 we read, “I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos…” The apostle John was inwardly in the kingdom while outwardly exiled to Patmos. New Jerusalem will be an open manifestation of the kingdom’s inward reality in which John was, and we are, participating.

In 1:9 John does not mention glory, only tribulation and endurance. Romans, Thessalonians through Titus, and James all have multiple mentions of endurance, which is needed to hold fast our faith in tribulations. Second Thessalonians 3:5 says, “the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ.” Our natural endurance is not what God wants; we need to be led into the endurance of Christ.

New Jerusalem will not display our natural (and fallen) virtues. Rather, it will be an exhibition of what God has imparted into us, including the love of God and the endurance of Christ. The glory of New Jerusalem will be a product of our loving God with the love He gives us and the many virtues of Christ realized by us in our living now, both in good times and in trials.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Son Comes with Glory and the Kingdom

The Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory in three stages: on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2), on the clouds (Matt. 24:30), and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-11).

New JerusalemThe glory on the mountain fulfilled the promise that some would “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (16:28). The glory and the kingdom appear together.

In the glory of His second coming “He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31). The throne indicates the kingdom, again coupling the glory and the kingdom. The glory of New Jerusalem is with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), again linking the glory and the kingdom.

The union of glory and kingdom matches God’s purpose expressed in the creation of man: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man was created in God’s image so that God may become man’s life and be expressed through man. This corresponds to the glory. Created man given dominion is for God to reign over the earth through man. This reigning is the kingdom.

The glory and the kingdom are with Jesus Christ in Matthew. However, He is not alone. God’s purpose in Genesis 1 involves a corporate man. This is now the new man, which we have put on, where “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Jesus Christ radiates the glory and reigns through the corporate new man which grows unto New Jerusalem.

This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:12: “God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” We have been called to participate in God’s kingdom and His glory. This begins from our being born into the kingdom (John 3:5), continues with our transformation in glory (2 Cor. 3:18) and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

The Son is the Brightness of God’s Glory, Both Now and in New Jerusalem

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the Son of God, who is God (v. 8), is “the effulgence of His [God’s] glory.” This effulgence/radiance/brightness/brilliance° ‘is like the shining or the brightness of the light of the sun. The Son is the shining, the brightness, of the Father’s glory.’* This is true today and will be visible to all in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRevelation 21:11 says that New Jerusalem came down “having the glory of God” and verse 23 says “the glory of God illumined” the city New Jerusalem.

With Hebrews and Revelation together, we realize that New Jerusalem has the glory of God because the Son is in New Jerusalem, and that the glory of God illuminates the city because God in the Son shines in it.

God’s glory radiating through Jesus was seen when He took three disciples up the mountain. Matthew 17:2, “He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.” This was a foretaste of the glory of New Jerusalem.

The brilliance on the mountain was temporary but the Lord told us people “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). This will be His visible return to earth, preparing the way to New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 24:30, as well as 16:27 and 25:31, Jesus speaks of the Son of Man coming in glory. Hebrews speaks of the effulgence of the Son of God. Both are true because Jesus Christ is both Man and God.

The mountain, the Lord’s coming on the clouds, and New Jerusalem descending introduce three stages of the Son as the brightness of God’s glory.

° various translations, thanks to biblehub.com.
* from footnote on Heb. 1:3 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Photo via Good Free Photos.

 

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