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.

New Jerusalem is a Corporate God-man,   the Consummation of the High Peak of Revelation

Thanks to Stefan at www.agodman.com/blog for this solid post on New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

The consummation of the central vision of God’s economy and of the high peak of the divine revelation is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:29-11); the New Jerusalem is a corporate God-man and the consummation of the high peak of the divine revelation.

The central vision of God’s economy is the experience of Christ as life for the producing and building up of the church as the Body of Christ. God has an economy, and in His economy He intends to dispense Himself into us to regenerate us, transform us, build us up, and glorify us, so that He may gain the church as the Body of Christ, His corporate expression in the universe.

This is what Paul was writing about in his 14 epistles; the central vision of Paul’s completing ministry is God in us as our contents, Christ as the mystery of God, and the church as the mystery of Christ.

Read the entire post which includes additional verses, more spiritual riches, plus links to references and hymns about New Jerusalem.

ps: Stefan is a God-man because, like all believers in Jesus Christ, he is a man and God in Christ is in Him. In John 14:20 the Lord Jesus told us that after His resurrection we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Our being in Christ and Christ being in us is the reality of a God-man, but we are NOT part of the Godhead.

Appreciation of the Ministry of Witness Lee

I am very appreciative of the ministry of Witness Lee. I heard him speak many times in the last thirty years of his life and have read many of the books composed from his spoken messages. Here is a short biography of Witness Lee and here is another short biography.

His Life-Study of the Bible helped me to see Christ and our experience of Christ as life portrayed in many parts of the Bible which formerly were only stories to me. He also helped me to see the lines of life and building from Genesis to Revelation. Here are Witness Lee’s books and some audio recordings. Here is additional online access to Witness Lee’s writings.

I have written about life and building often on this New Jerusalem blog. On one hand I have referenced some of Witness Lee’s writings, quoted from a few books and from his notes in the Recovery Version of the Bible, and presented some of Witness Lee’s hymns.

Here are a few notes about New Jerusalem in the Recovery Version:
John 3:30, the increase is the bride in v. 29 pointing to Christ’s bride, New Jerusalem.
Ephesians 1:18, our hope includes the enjoyment of Christ in the New Jerusalem
James 1:18, the implanted word of life will perfect us unto New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:2, New Jerusalem is a living composition of all God’s redeemed people.

On the other hand what I have written in this New Jerusalem blog in the past five years has been based on the Bible. In a sense I am not dependent on the ministry of Witness Lee because his ministry has opened the Bible to me. Now I present to you in this blog what I see in the Bible related to New Jerusalem.

Tom, who blogs at Holding to Truth, presents his appreciation of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Christian Research Institute, which is not affiliated with him, affirms Witness Lee’s fundamental Biblical position.

My conclusion: there is much in the Bible which directly or indirectly involves New Jerusalem. I thank the Lord for opening my eyes, mainly by what He released through Witness Lee, to what is in His word.

Addendum
__After writing what is above, I was reminded of a web site having both An Open Letter from the Local Churches and Living Stream Ministry concerning the Teachings of Witness Lee and testimonies from more than a dozen respected Christian leaders. Another similar web site is The Truth of the Gospel. These web sites are in both English and German. I am glad to recommend both.
__Nach die Schreibung oben, ich wurde erinnert über eine Internetseite, die Ein offener Brief von den örtlichen Gemeinden und Living Stream Ministry in Bezug auf die Lehren von Witness Lee und Zeugnisse von mehr als Dutzend angesehenen Christlichen Leiter hat. Eine andere ähnliche Internetseite ist Die Wahrheit des Evangeliums. Diese Internetseiten sind auf Deutsch und auf Englisch. Ich bin froh, beide zu empfehlen.

Addendum 2
__A third website is The Local Churches, Die Ortsgemeinden, only in German. The site begins, Die örtlichen Gemeinden sind Teil eines weltumspannenden Netzwerks von Gemeinden, die gemäß den Prinzipien des Neuen Testaments gegründet wurden. Diese Prinzipien sind im Dienst von Watchman Nee und Witness Lee ausgelegt worden, einem Dienst, der die Gläubigen auf Christus und Christus allein als den Erlöser, das Leben und das Haupt der Gemeinde verweist (Eph. 5:25; Kol. 3:4; 1:18). Diese empfehle ich auch.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of the Spiritual Growth of God’s People

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s growth in His people and His people’s growth into Him.

Ephesians 2:21, “All the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.”

Ephesians 4:15, “Holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ.”

Ephesians 4:16, “…the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Colossians 2:19, “All the Body, being richly supplied and knit together…grows with the growth of God.”

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Versionpublished and © by Living Stream MinistryAnaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.orgthis too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

New Jerusalem is Spiritual, not Physical

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building. Unlike the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, God’s people today are
• • • growing in the divine life
• • • being built together in Christ Jesus
• • • becoming a dwelling place of God in spirit
This building is growing unto New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:19-22, “You are…being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.”

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

A House and a City Built Together in Christ

New Jerusalem

Revelation is a book of signs (1:1). New Jerusalem is the consummate sign in Revelation and in the Bible. It is God and all His redeemed people living in mutuality.

Here is an excerpt* about New Jerusalem from the ministry of Witness Lee.

The New Jerusalem is not an actual city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches [Rev. 1:20]. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell.

Today the church is a house, and in eternity the church will be enlarged. When the church is enlarged, it becomes a city. The church as a house is not an actual physical house in the same way that the church enlarged to be the holy city will not be an actual physical city. The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.

The church today, all the believers in Christ Jesus built together in Him, is a precursor of New Jerusalem. Many verses in the New Testament present this view, and no verse treats the church as a physical building.

Ephesians 2:19-20 declares that we are “members of the household of God, being built…” We, not a physical structure, get built together. Verse 21 continues, “In whom [Christ Jesus] all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” We are being built together in Him, not in a physical location. Also, this building is growing because its essence is the divine life.

First Peter 2:4-5 tells us that “coming to Him, a living Stone…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Very clear. This is the living house of the living God in 1 Timothy 3:15.

Other verses in the New Testament say the same: we are the materials being built together, the building process is growth in the divine life, and the building work is going on in Christ. These same characteristics are true of New Jerusalem, which is the consummation of all the building and growth in the Bible.

* Witness Lee, The Divine Economy, Chapter 15, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. Read more of this excerpt online. Many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalm 118 (3)

Psalm 118:22-23 is about Christ Jesus, rejected by the Jewish leaders, becoming the Cornerstone in resurrection. This Cornerstone is for building God’s house which expands to God’s city, His kingdom, and blesses the whole earth. Ultimately this is New Jerusalem with the fullest blessing to the new earth.

NGC 6496, NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterPsalm 118:24 continues, “This is the day that Jehovah has made; let us exult and rejoice in it.” It is possible to rejoice in every day that the Lord gives us. However, in context, this verse points specifically to the day of resurrection, the day in which Christ became the Cornerstone.

Whenever we are living Christ, we are living in resurrection. Here (in resurrection) we are being built together with other believers. Here we are richly supplied and knit together (Col. 2:19). Here we are entering the reality of New Jerusalem.

Psalm 118:25 says, “O Jehovah, do save, we pray! O Jehovah, do send prosperity, we pray!” This is not pointing to a physical salvation nor to material prosperity. Rather, it is about God saving us in resurrection into His building, which is in Christ Jesus the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-22). New Jerusalem is the final outcome of this salvation and is our utmost blessing. Let us follow Psalm 118 and pray for this kind of salvation and blessing.

Psalm 118:26 says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of Jehovah; we bless you from the house of Jehovah.” This was spoken by the crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem shortly before His death (Luke 19:37-38) and will be spoken again when He returns again (Luke 13:35).

In these few verses we exult, rejoice, and bless the Lord. We are being built together in Him. His second coming, with more rejoicing, brings us closer to New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:2).

Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalm 118 (2)

Four crucial matters in the Psalms are Christ, house, city, earth. Christ is prophesied in many Psalms. Our experience of Christ brings us into God’s house, which enlarges to become God’s city for His reign over the whole earth. The climax of these four matters is New Jerusalem on the new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).

We resume looking at prophecies and shadows in Psalms about Christ, God’s house, city, and the earth. The prior Psalms post ended at 118:19, “Open to me the gates of righteous-ness: I will enter in.” Christ and His death are the New Testament gate; let’s all enter.

Psalm 118:22, quoted in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, and 1 Peter, says:

New Jerusalem

Ephesians 2:20-22 tells us that Christ Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone*, in whom all of God’s building is fitted together, growing, and being built. God’s house and God’s city exist in Christ, who is the Cornerstone joining us all together. Ultimately New Jerusalem is in Christ.

Christ is the Cornerstone. In ourselves, our nationalities, cultures, and races, we are all separated, but we are one Body in Christ (Rom. 12:5) and in Christ we are growing together! The maturity of our growth is New Jerusalem.

The Jewish leaders rejected Christ Jesus and asked the Romans to crucify Him. Peter, speaking of this, says that they crucified Jesus Christ but God raised Him from the dead. He continues by quoting Psalm 118, “This is the stone which was considered as nothing by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner” (Acts 4:10-11).

Peter says that in resurrection Christ Jesus became the Cornerstone. This matches the nature of New Jerusalem, a city in resurrection. Psalm 118:23 says, “This is from Jehovah; it is wonderful in our sight.” Surely resurrection is from God and is wonderful to us.

* In the New Testament cornerstone and head of the corner are equivalent.

The Lord’s Shepherding to New Jerusalem

The Lord Jesus is the good Shepherd. He came to lead all God’s people, both of the Jews and of the nations, to be His one flock (John 10). This one flock is also His one Body with many members and ultimately the one city, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAt the Lord’s birth He was spoken of as a Shepherd (Matt. 2:6, quoting Micah 5:2). At His death, He was also a Shepherd (Matt.  26:31 quoting Zech. 13:7). In resurrection He is also the Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) to care for us in the eternal (including New Jerusalem) covenant.

How is the Lord shepherding us today? On one hand, He as the resurrection life within us is “the Shepherd of our souls” (1 Peter 2:5). On the other hand He shepherds through other members of His one Body.

The shepherding through His members  is seen in Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11-12, and 1 Peter 5:2. In Ephesians, the gifted members as shepherds (v. 11) perfect all the members of the Body (v. 12) to do the same. Hence, the shepherding is not carried out by a special class, but by every believer. All of this is carried out under the headship of the Lord, who is “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

The shepherding of the flock in Acts and 1 Peter emphasizes our life in Christ; Ephesians emphasizes  the building of His Body. The two are inseparable, as in 1 Corinthians 3:9 and the last phrase of Ephesians 4:16. Both are for New Jerusalem, which is both a city of life and a city of building.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the Center of New Heaven and New Earth

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:1-2 John says, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

John had a three-fold vision here: a new heaven, a new earth, and New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21 we have these insights into the new heaven and new earth:
• new earth will not have an ocean (21:1)
• New Jerusalem will be “out of heaven”
and hence on new earth (21:2)
• nations will live around New Jerusalem (21:24)
• New Jerusalem will be the tabernacle of God with these nations (21:3)
• God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no
more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore” (21:4)
• there will be sun & moon (21:23)

If we are curious about life on the new earth, we will be disappointed with the paucity of this description. Why does the Bible say so little about the new heaven and new earth? Because they are merely the background, the environment for New Jerusalem.

God’s Goal is New Jerusalem

God’s desire is not merely to have us on new earth. His desire is to bring us to Himself and to fill us with Himself, so that we become His corporate expression, which is called New Jerusalem. Lord, we give ourselves to be filled with You, to be knit together in You, and to be Your expression.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Mystery of God is Finished

New JerusalemRevelation 10:7 tells us that when the seventh trumpet sounds, “the mystery of God is finished” and that this is “good news.” The good news is “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” and “New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 11:15, 21:2).

The mystery was revealed to the apostles and presented by them to us (Eph. 3:3-4).

In the dispensations from Adam to Moses and from Moses to Christ, everything was unveiled, manifested, and there was no mystery. It will be the same in the dispensation of the millennial kingdom and in the new heaven and new earth — everything will be unveiled and there will be no more mystery. But in the dispensation from Christ to the millennial kingdom, everything is a mystery. The incarnation of Christ, as the beginning of this dispensation of mystery, is a mystery (1 Tim. 3:16). Christ Himself (Col. 2:2), the church (Eph. 3:4-6), the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 13:11), the gospel (Eph. 6:19), the indwelling of Christ (Col. 1:26-27), and the coming resurrection and transfiguration of the saints as the end of this dispensation of mystery (1 Cor. 15:51-52) are all mysteries that were hidden in the times of the ages (Rom. 16:25Eph. 3:5Col. 1:26). All these mysteries will be completed, finished, and will be over at the trumpeting of the seventh trumpet.*

At present, New Jerusalem is a mystery. It is the product of all the forgoing New Testament mysteries. New Jerusalem is the outcome of Christ’s incarnation, His death (including the creation of the new man – Eph. 2:15), His resurrection (including our regeneration – 1 Peter 1:3), the perfecting of all the members of the Body for our ministry in building up the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13), and the growth of His Body which is our building up in love (Eph. 4:15-16).

New Jerusalem is also the result of our redemption, reconciliation, renewing, sanctification, transformation, and more. These matters are mysterious because they are in the spiritual realm, not in the physical realm. Eventually, as Revelation 10:7 states, all these mysteries will be completed to open the door for the kingdom and New Jerusalem to appear to all men.

* Note 2 on Rev. 10:7 in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Economy in Faith unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemGod’s economy is God’s household administration, God’s working out of His plan. In this economy we receive grace. This grace gradually develops our spiritual vision, enabling us to realize God’s mystery all the way to New Jerusalem. This is Ephesians 1:7-12 and 3:8-11.

First Timothy 1:4 tells us that God’s economy is in faith. It is neither physical nor psychological but in the spiritual realm of faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that our faith makes the unseen things (including New Jerusalem) real to us.

In the New Testament faith and the Spirit are often coupled. For example:
• “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5, 11:24)
• we “receive the Spirit…out of the hearing of faith” (Gal. 3:2, 5)
• we “receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14)
• we build ourselves up “upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20)

We have a “spirit of faith” (2 Cor. 4:13) with which we speak the things of Christ Jesus, things which produce God’s economy (1 Tim. 1:3-4). This is what Paul did in announcing the unsearchable riches of Christ.

The announcing of the riches of Christ builds up His Body. This announcing is the outflow from Christ the Head, through all the members, which “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). Ultimately these unsearchable riches produce New Jerusalem and are displayed by New Jerusalem.

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