The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (9-10)

Eight verses of a song link features of the garden of Eden with characteristics of New Jerusalem. The last two verses of this song focus entirely on New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe city is God’s building work replete,
A composition of the justified;
A habitation it affords to God
And is to Christ His own beloved bride.

’Tis God’s expression, ultimate and full,
Corporate and universal, marvelous;
God’s glory it completely manifests,
And is Christ’s counterpart most glorious.

The precious materials in the garden portray the Triune God’s work in all the believers. By this work, we have been built together to become the city as God’s dwelling place.

This habitation, New Jerusalem, is also the beloved bride of Christ. All of this is revealed in Revelation 21:2 to 22:5. The city “has the glory of God” (21:11). It is the ultimate city which cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:14), to be God’s full and eternal expression.

New Jerusalem is a corporate and universal entity, composed of all God’s people throughout the ages. As the habitation and the expression, New Jerusalem satisfies God the Father. And as the bride, the city satisfies Christ the Son.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (7)

A song couples the key characteristics in the garden of Eden with those of New Jerusalem. The garden presents God’s intention and the city shows His accomplishment. Verse 7 of the song:

’Tis for the city man is wrought upon,
Therefore regenerated and transformed
To purest gold, to pearls and precious stones,
As Christ’s own Body, to Himself conformed.

New Jerusalem is God’s goal. All of God’s creation, including man, is for this goal. New JerusalemAll the negatives among men and throughout the universe have root in Satan’s rebellion against God (Isaiah 14) and his corruption of the human race. But nothing can defeat God!!!

Ephesians 3 tells us that God “created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

All the negative things are merely the black background to further manifest God’s wisdom. He will make this wisdom known now through the church and eternally in a fuller manner through New Jerusalem.

Humanity has fallen, but God came in Jesus Christ to redeem and to regenerate mankind. By regeneration we receive the divine, eternal, incorruptible life. As this life grows and spreads within us, we are transformed (Rom. 12:2), to be the precious materials for the building of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in New Jerusalem.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (6)

Genesis 1–2 presents many pictures. The reality of these is in the New Testament and their consummation is New Jerusalem. A song couples these two ends of the Bible. Verse 5 of the song is about the tree of life in the garden of Eden but outside of man. Verse 6:

But in the city glorious the tree
Within the corporate “man” doth grow, thereby
Revealing Christ Himself as life divine
New JerusalemBeing to man his inward life supply.

In New Jerusalem is “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (Rev. 22:2). This is Jesus Christ, who is “the life” to become, through death and resurrection, “our life” (Col. 3:4).

As the reality of the bread of life, He is our daily nourishment that we may “live because of Him.” We, like Paul, should be able to declare “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).

The song says the tree grows within the “corporate man.” This is a reference to New Jerusalem, the culmination of all God’s building work. This work builds all the believers together. One reference to this is in Ephesians 2:22, “you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” New Jerusalem is God’s dwelling place.

In Romans 12, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” This is our position from the time we believe. Now, by Christ as our life supply, we grow in His life for the building up of the one Body, the “corporate man” which becomes 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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem in Song

This posts begins a look at a hymn about the features shared by the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem. My focus is the Bible
New Jerusalemverses on which the hymn is based.

The author of the hymn is Witness Lee;
the composer of the music is Claude Goudimel. Words, Music. Verse 1 of the hymn is:

It was a garden in the primal age,
But at the end it is a city square;
Creation’s center in the garden was,
God’s building issues in the city fair.

The garden is in Genesis chapters 1–3. The city , New Jerusalem, is in Revelation chapters 21–22, with brief glimpses in Hebrews 11–12. Revelation 21:16 tells us that New Jerusalem is square, and Genesis 2 presents the garden of Eden as the center of the creation described in Genesis 1.

New Jerusalem is the issue of God’s building work. This work is portrayed in the physical realm by the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament. God’s building in reality is the knitting together in life of the New Testament believers. Some chapters focusing on this are 1 Corinthians 3, 14; Ephesians 2, 4; and 1 Peter 2.

The flow out from the Head, Christ, through all the members of tHis Body “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). The ultimate issue of this building is New Jerusalem.

More about Witness Lee.

Behold the Tabernacle of God is with Men

Revelation 21:3, “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, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God. It is the consummation of the New Testament tabernacle—God dwelling in humanity. This tabernacle, the New Jerusalem, is on the new earth, having “come down out of heaven.” This has four results in verse 21:3:
New Jerusalem• the tabernacle of God is with men,
• God dwells with them on earth,
• they are God’s peoples, and
• God is with them to be their God.

The Body of Christ is composed of all His believers. We are the many grains blended to form one bread, one Body in Christ (1 Cor. 10:16-17).

In the same way, New Jerusalem is one entity composed of all God’s people throughout the ages. This corporate entity, this city, is the tabernacle with the peoples on earth.

Who are these peoples? They are plural, lacking the oneness of God’s redeemed people. They are the nations around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24-26). They include the sheep blessed by the Lord at the judgment recorded in Matthew 25.

Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem has summaries of and links to many posts which distinguish the believers constituted into New Jerusalem from the nations living around the city. It concludes: Choose to be in New Jerusalem! Those who receive Jesus Christ are born of God (John 1:12-13). This birth imparts eternal life into us, the life which brings us into New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Gospel of Grace and New Jerusalem

In Acts 20:24 Paul speaks of “the gospel of the grace of God.” Like aspects of the gospel in prior posts, this too is related to New Jerusalem. He continues in Acts 20:32, “I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who have been sanctified.”

God and the word of His grace can build us together. This is the building up of the Body of Christ now, the forerunner of New Jerusalem. God and the word of His grace also give us the inheritance. This is not “an inheritance” but “the inheritance,” unique, called “the eternal inheritance” in Hebrews 9:15. This also points to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSimilarly, Titus 3:7 ties grace to God’s eternal salvation, saying that “having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Even more, 1 Peter 5:10 speaks of “the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus.” This eternal glory surely is New Jerusalem.

In addition, the inheritance in Acts 20:32 is “among all those who have been sanc-tified,” a sanctification which prepares us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

This grace should operate in us to the extent it becomes visible. Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem to Antioch and “when he arrived and saw the grace of God, rejoiced” (Acts 11:23). Grace certainly will be very visible through New Jerusalem and will cause great rejoicing.

Photo courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, and U. of Arizona.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 4

Ephesians presents the eternal love of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His wife, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). Ephesians 1 and 2 focus on God’s love to us. Chapter 3 begins to set forth our experience of this love.

New JerusalemChapter 4 begins with an exhortation to walk worthily of God’s calling (4:1*). The first step in this walk is “with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love” (4:2). This is not our own love. Instead, as stated in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” This love maintains us in the oneness (4:3).

To no longer be tossed about as children (4:14) we need to grow into Christ in everything by holding Him, the reality, in love (4:15). As we grow into Him, a rich supply flows out from Him for “the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (4:16).

The building up of the body of Christ, in love and by the rich supply flowing out from the Head, is part of the preparation of the bride of Christ. Both the body and the bride are living compositions of all His believers. By the rich supply we are not only “joined together” but even more “knit together” (4:16).

In New Jerusalem we will be “no longer little children,” nor “tossed about,” but fully knit together, grown to maturity, and built up in love.

*Verse numbers without a book name are in Ephesians.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The New Testament Temple is Living (2)

#NewJerusalemIn resurrection, all who believe into Jesus Christ are a corporate man with the Spirit dwelling in them and are the temple which will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem.

This corporate man, the new man, who is also the living temple, was created by Christ Jesus on the cross (Eph. 2:15) and here Christ is “all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Likewise, New Jerusalem springs forth from His crucifixion and resurrection, and in New Jerusalem Christ is all and in all.

First Corinthians 3:16: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” In this verse you is plural and temple is singular. This corporate temple, like the new man, is a characteristic of God’s people. Paul’s question to immature Christians, Do you not know?, indicates that we all should have the realization that we corporately are the temple and that the Spirit dwells in us. Second Corinthians 6:16, affirming, says, “we are the temple of the living God.”

Ephesians 2:20-21 continues: “Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” The New Testament temple is in Christ Jesus (not in the physical realm) and is growing because it is a living building.

The consummation of the growth of the living temple, its maturity, is New Jerusalem. Like the temple in Ephesians, the entire city of New Jerusalem is a living building in Christ Jesus.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The New Testament Temple is Living

The Old Testament focuses on physical, material things and people, both of which typify/portray the New Testament reality. For example, in Matthew 12:42 the Lord Jesus told us that He is the greater Solomon, the real King and temple Builder typified by Solomon in the Old Testament.

Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem but it was destroyed by the Babylonians. A later temple is often mentioned in the Gospels and Acts. But, in John 2, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (v. 19). The Jews could not understand this (v. 20), “but He spoke of the temple of His body” (v. 21).

New JerusalemThis is the first indication that the New Testament temple is a living entity. And it is in resurrection, as shown by the phrase “in three days I will raise it up.” The New Testament reality, including New Jerusalem, is not in the natural realm but in resurrection, something of eternal life, and it is not physical but spiritual.

Like this first indication, throughout the New Testament, God’s New Testament building is not natural, but in resurrection, and not material, but spiritual. This is true into eternity. New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection and is spiritual.

After John 2, the next mention of the New Testament temple is in 1 Corinthians 3:16. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” In John, Jesus, a single man with the Spirit dwelling in Him, was the temple. After His resurrection, His believers, a corporate man with the Spirit dwelling in them, are the temple. From John 2 to 1 Corinthians 3 is a step along the way to New Jerusalem.

The Church: Forerunner of New Jerusalem

The church is the household of the living God and the Body of Christ. Both of these aspects of the church present to us the reality of New Jerusalem. The city is God’s eternal home in His millions of people, and these people are built together in His life just as the Body of Christ is one living entity.

Continuing to look at the nature of the church as a forerunner of New Jerusalem, we read, “the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 1:1, 2 Thes. 1:1). The church is “the church of God” (multiple verses) and the church is also “of human beings.” However, these humans are not natural, in Adam, but regenerated, in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Thessalonians, and all believers, are in God and the Lord by God’s action. “Of Him [God] you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:29-30). This is what the Lord promised earlier, in John 14. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (v. 20). “That day” is the day in which He became our life in resurrection (v. 19).

John 14:20 presents a coinherence: we are in God by being in Christ and God in Christ is in us. The church is both “of God” (as in Acts 20:28) and “of the believers” (as in 1 Thes. 1:1). Likewise New Jerusalem is composed of the Triune God in all His people and all His people in the Triune God.

New Jerusalem, like the church, is much higher, much more mysterious, much more marvelous than a physical city; it is a composition of the Triune God and His people living in oneness.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Church; Forerunner of New Jerusalem

#NewJerusalemThe one universal church includes all believers in the New Testament age and is the forerunner of New Jerusalem, which includes all God’s people of the Old and New Testament ages. Verses about the nature of the church give us a view of the nature of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:22-23 speaks of “the church, which is His Body.” Colossians 1:18 speaks about Christ as “the Head of the Body, the church.” The church is not merely a collection of believers, and it is not a bunch of individuals. Much more, these believers are members of His living Body. Thus, Romans 12:5 says, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” And Ephesians 5:30, “we are members of His Body.”

The Body of Christ is a living composition of all of us who have believed into Him. First Corinthians 12:12-27 presents our human body, composed of many members, as a picture of Christ’s spiritual Body composed of His believers. Just as the physical members are grown together in life from inception, so the members of the Body of Christ are joined in His life from regeneration.

This joining in life is not a recent event; it comes from the resurrection of Christ. He is the Head and we are His Body, made alive and raised together with Him (Eph. 2:5-6).

The Body of Christ is a wonderful living organism. God will not shrink back from this to something less for New Jerusalem. Like the Body, the whole city is one living organism, a single entity by birth in resurrection and growth in the divine, eternal life. New Jerusalem as a living organism is also a living person, the wife of the Lamb Jesus Christ.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem, a city of divine life, is mature in this life. We have received this life and are growing in it so that we match New Jerusalem. Our growing involves our perfecting, similar to proper human growth requiring many years of education. Here we continue looking at verses about our growth and perfection.

Ephesians 4:11 tells us that the ascended Christ gave gifted members to His Body. Verses 12-14a tell us that these members are, “for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we may be no longer little children.”

New JerusalemThese verses speak about growing from little children to a full-grown man. This growth is a normal part of our Christian life. New Jerusalem will not be full of spiritual children but is composed of full-grown believers.

This growth also takes us from children (plural) to a full-grown man (singular). This is the building together of the Body of Christ as the precursor of New Jerusalem. In ourselves we are individuals, but in Christ we become the one new man. This is part of our Christian perfecting.

These verses also speak about our being perfected for our participation in the work of the ministry which causes the building up of the Body of Christ. We all have a share in the building up of His Body, which is the building up of New Jerusalem. Lord, cause me to be perfected for this!

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

%d bloggers like this: