We Are God’s City

New JerusalemThis blog often writes about New Jerusalem being a living composition of God with His people, not a physical city.

The simplest proof of this is in Revelation 21. “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (v. 2). The Husband, Jesus Christ, is a living person, and the bride is a corporate living person to match Him.

“Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb….And he carried me away in spirit onto great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (v. 9-10). Again, there is a living Husband, the Lamb, and a corporate living bride, the wife of the Lamb. The city, New Jerusalem, is a corporate person.

Matthew 5:14 has the same thought. “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” Here the Lord Jesus describes all His disciples (v. 1) as the light of the world. This same description, that we are the light, is in Ephesians 5:8 and Philippians 2:15. Of course, we are not light in ourselves, but we are the light because He is the light in us, shining through us.

The Lord then likens the disciples, a corporate light, to a city. The shining city on a mountain portrays the disciples. The thought here, at the start of the New Testament, matches the thought at the end of the New Testament—a city depicts God’s corporate people. This is New Jerusalem—all God’s people, filled with His fullness and glorifying Him (Eph. 3:19, 21).

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.

The Church, Forerunner of New Jerusalem

The church is both singular, universal and plural, in many cities. The universal church includes all believers in the New Testament age. As such, it is the forerunner of New Jerusalem which includes all God’s people of the Old and New Testament ages.

Here we look at verses about the nature of the church, which also give us a view of the nature of New Jerusalem. First, in Matthew 16:18, the Lord Jesus speaks of “My church.” The church is His. Likewise, New Jerusalem is His. More specifically, it is His bride, His wife. An angel said to the apostle John, “I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb….and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:9-10).

New JerusalemIn Acts 20:28 (and 1 Cor. 1:2, 1 Tim. 3:5, and other verses) is “the church of God.” The church, and New Jerusalem, are certainly of God as the source and of God as the element, the content (like “a table of wood” is made of wood).

In 1 Timothy 3:15 is “the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” And, in Hebrews 12:22 is “the city of the living God.” Both the church, the house, and New Jerusalem, the city, have the living God as their source and their element. Both the church and New Jerusalem are alive with the life of God.

The church is not a physical structure. Rather, the church, and New Jerusalem, are “the household of God” (many translations of 1 Tim. 3:15), the people of God. God is the element of New Jerusalem and we, His people, are the living components containing this living element. God is living and both the church and New Jerusalem are living organisms.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Eternal Life and New Jerusalem (2)

New JerusalemJesus Christ is our eternal life. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). New Jerusalem is an eternal city, so it is intimately tied with this eternal life.

We receive this life, which is Christ Himself, by believing. Our believing is our response to God’s appointing (Acts 13:48). To be appointed to eternal life also means to be appointed to New Jerusalem.

Titus 1:2 and 3:7 speak of “the hope of eternal life.” On one hand, the eternal life we have already received gives us hope for the future, including hope for New Jerusalem.

On the other hand, we have hope for our future that we will have a greater portion of and greater participation in eternal life. At the time of our salvation we received eternal life. When the Lord returns we will “inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29, Mark 10:30)—not a different life but an enriched portion of the same life we initially received, and New Jerusalem will be the richest portion of eternal life.

In John 10:28 the Lord said, “I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” This is strong security, both for having eternal life and participating in eternal New Jerusalem. But the Lord also said in John 12:28, “He who loves his soul-life loses it; and he who hates his soul-life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life.”

Our future inheritance of greater eternal life depends on our hating/denying/losing our soul life, our self. The Lord tells us to deny the soul live so that we may live Him as our eternal life. Eventually we will all make this transition from the fallen natural life to the divine, eternal life, the life of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

New Jerusalem, City of the Living God (2)

New Jerusalem is the living city of the living God. This city is composed of the living God Himself and all His redeemed, enlivened, and glorified people.

In Revelation 20:9 New Jerusalem is named “the beloved city.”

Psalm 46:4 tells us that “There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God.” This is the river of water of life, which flows out of the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPsalm 48 gives us a broader preview of New Jerusalem. It begins, “Great is Jehovah, and much to be praised in the city of our God.” We should praise God now and certainly will praise Him in New Jerusalem.

Verse 2 declares, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” New Jerusalem, the city of the great King, is elevated, beautiful, and provides joy to the whole earth.

In verse 8 the psalmist writes, “As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of Jehovah of hosts, in the city of our God. God will establish her forever.” O Lord, we want to see more and hear more about the city of our God.

Psalm 87:3 tells us “Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.” Because New Jerusalem is a city of glory, glorious things should be, and are, spoken about her. This verse in Psalm 87 is the basis for a hymn.

New Jerusalem is eternal. Current cities are not eternal. Hence Hebrews 13:14 testifies, “we do not have here a remaining city, but we seek after the one to come.” May we seek our God and His eternal city every day, declaring that our current outward city is not our permanent home!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem, City of the Living God

New JerusalemRevelation 21–22 presents a vision of the holy city, New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven to the new earth. Let’s look at descriptions of this holy city in other books of the Bible.

Hebrews 12:22 speaks of “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” The living God desires a living city composed of all His redeemed and regenerated people.

When we are made alive with the divine life in regeneration, we become “sons of the living God” (Rom. 9:26) to be “the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:6) and “the house of God, the church of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). These consummate in New Jerusalem, the city of the living God.

Revelation 21:23 says of New Jerusalem, “the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” This combination of city and light reminds me of Matthew 5:14-16. Verse 14 says, “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” Although New Jerusalem is not said to be “upon a mountain,” it will be very prominent in the new creation, in no way hidden.

 Today the kingdom people, with Christ shining within us, are the light to the fallen world. In eternity we, built into the city with Christ continuing to shine within us, will enlighten the new creation.

Hebrews 12 presents the city of the living God. Hebrews 11 also speaks about New Jerusalem: “the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (v. 10) and “He [God] has prepared a city for them [the people of faith]” (v. 16).

Here are some prior posts about the God-prepared city in Hebrews 11.
We Enter New Jerusalem by Faith
Enter into What God Has Prepared
God Has Prepared the City, But …
God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Bible: a Journey from Garden of Eden to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

The whole Bible is a journey from God’s creation and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1–2) to God’s consumma-tion centered on New Jerusalem (Revelation 21–22).

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Jesus Christ is the living Stone and we too are stones for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Genesis 2:7, “Jehovah God formed man with the dust of the ground…” In God’s creation we are earthen vessels but in His new creation by regeneration we become stones.

God created Adam, using a piece of clay taken from the earth as material. Therefore, all of us today who have been born of Adam are also clay. However, since we have been saved with God’s life, in God’s eyes we are no longer clay but stones. Immediately after Simon Peter confessed that the Lord was the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lord said to him, “You are Peter” (Matt. 16:16-18). Peter is a translated word which means “a stone.” Likewise, every saved person is a “Peter,” a stone, used by God for the building of this city.

However, in the New Jerusalem the materials used by God for building are not merely ordinary stones but precious stones. Hence, it is not enough that we were saved and became stones; we still need to become precious stones. This requires us to put ourselves in the hands of God so that He can do the work of constitution.*

New JerusalemPaul speaks about building God’s house with precious stones (1 Cor. 3:12). This is directly in line with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21: “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone” (v. 19).”

Second Peter 1:1 says that we all have equally precious faith. Verse 4 tells us that God “has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature.”

By this precious faith we lay hold of the precious promises. Through these promises God works in us to make us precious stones for His building now and for New Jerusalem.

Lord, we are open to You. Work in us and constitute us with Your preciousness.

*A quote from The Building Work of God, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee
A short video by Christian Research Institute about Witness Lee.

Christ, God’s House, God’s City, the Earth

God intends that Christ have the preeminence in all things (Col. 1:18) and that Christ be all in all the believers (Col. 3:10-11). Our experience of Christ brings us into the reality of God’s house, which is the church today (1 Tim. 3:15) and New Jerusalem in eternity. The enlargement of God’s house is God’s city. Through the house and city God in Christ will reign over and bless the whole earth.

Here is a song about Christ, house, city, earth (music). This song captures the high points of messages on Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms (book)*.

www.hymnal.net:en:hymn:h:1224

Here is the summary of posts about New Jerusalem typified in Psalms, with a link to each.

Psalms with a shadow of New Jerusalem—an overview.

Psalms 2-22: New Jerusalem is a city in Christ’s resurrection.
Psalms 22-27: redeemed by Christ’s death and regenerated for New Jerusalem.
Psalms 29-46: shadows of New Jerusalem’s river of life.

Psalms 36-50: God’s lovingkindness and light, our singing and praising.
Psalms 66, 68: we rejoice in Christ’s victory.
Psalms 73, 84: we dwell in God’s house today; He will bring us to New Jerusalem’s glory.

Psalms 87-98: we dwell in Christ now and in eternity.
Psalms 100-107: we, in New Jerusalem, and the nations around the city, will praise.
Psalms 110-118: we go through gates of righteousness to praise God in His house.

Hebrews 2, quoting Psalm 8: today we do not see all that God has done but we see Jesus.
Psalm 118 (2): Christ is the Cornerstone; God’s building, now and eternally, is in Christ.
Psalm 118 (3): we rejoice, bless the Lord, are built together, & await His second coming.

Psalm 122, 132: we go with rejoicing to God’s house and city to enjoy Christ together.
Psalms 133-136: we are one in Christ Jesus and in His life, now and in New Jerusalem.
Psalms 135-147: O Jehovah, Yours is an eternal kingdom, manifested in New Jerusalem.

Psalms 138-145: Jehovah is much to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable.
Psalms 145-150: hallelujah…praise Him…praise Him…sing His praise.

This and many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 73, 84

In the Psalms we see many prophecies and allusions to Christ. Through believing into Christ, He brings us into God’s house, the church, which is typified in Psalms. The enlargement of the house is God’s kingdom, mentioned in Psalms and portrayed by earthly Jerusalem. Through the kingdom, God will bring peace and joy to the whole earth, as also foreseen in Psalms. This post resumes a series looking at prophecies and shadows in Psalms of Christ, God’s house and city, and God’s reign over the earth.

Eternally, Christ is the center of New Jerusalem, God’s ultimate house and city for His reign over the earth.

Psalm 73:23-24, “I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me in glory.” Despite all the troubles in the world, like those in the earlier parts of Psalm 73, we need to look to Christ and God’s house and city; this is the way to be “continually with” the Lord. And He will receive us into glory—New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPsalm 84:1, “How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!” Revelation 21:2-3, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…the tabernacle of God.”

Psalm 84:4, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will yet be praising You.” Today we are blessed to dwell and praise God in the church, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15); more dwelling, blessing, and praising await in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” We are in Christ and in God’s house and kingdom, but because of Christ’s unlimited fullness and our limited experience, we have much more entering to do. Lord, fill our hearts with the highways to Zion; we long for more of You, Your house and city.

Psalm 84:10a, “a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.” This was true when the Psalmist spoke, it is true today, and it will be true in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:11 (mid), “Jehovah gives grace and glory.” Grace is Christ with us today— “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). Glory will be manifested at the Lord’s return— “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10)—and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Psalms with a Shadow of New Jerusalem

In the Psalms there are five crucial words: law, Christ, house, city, earth. With our New Testament view, we know that Christ has replaced the law (Rom. 7:4, 10:4, Gal. 2:16). Christ is presented by many verses in Psalms which are quoted and applied to Him in the New Testament.

Christ comes into us at regeneration and grows within us. This growth yields God’s house, God’s dwelling place, the church—portrayed by the temple in the Psalms. Further strengthening of Christ in us brings forth God’s kingdom—depicted by the city of Jerusalem in the Psalms. Eventually through the kingdom, God in Christ rules over the whole earth.

New Jerusalem

The four words Christ, house, city, earth were the focus of a conference published in the book Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms. During the conference a theme song (words and music) was written; the first lines of each stanza are: 
__
We from the law to Christ have turned
___Christ brings us to God’s house to dwell
____The house enlarged the city is
_____From Zion Christ will take the earth
______Christ—house—the city—earth, we see;
______Thus God’s great plan fulfilled will be.
Complete stanzas of the song will appear in coming posts.

In a recent reading of Psalms and the Life-Study of Psalms, I saw many verses comparable to or shadows of characteristics of New Jerusalem. In this series of posts I present some verses from Psalms with few comments about their correspondence to New Jerusalem.

In brief, God in Christ is on the throne (Rev. 22:1) as the center of New Jerusalem. God and the Lamb are the temple (Rev. 21:22), equivalent to the house in Psalms. New Jerusalem is a city (Rev. 21:2), the heavenly counterpart on earth of the earthly Jerusalem in Psalms. From New Jerusalem God in Christ rules over the entire new earth.

 

From One Body Now to One New Jerusalem

We are in a series on New Jerusalem as the consummation of the New Testament oneness in the Triune God. This oneness is for the corporate expression of this unique God.

Romans 12:5 proclaims, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” This is our Christian position today. Of course being one in Christ will also be true in New Jerusalem, but don’t discount today!

New JerusalemRomans 12:4 mentions the many members of our physical body as an illustration of the spiritual Body of Christ. The many members were not produced separately and then assembled. No! All the physical members grew together as one body and are one living organism.

The Body of Christ is the same and is one Body in Him. Likewise New Jerusalem is the same; the city is one living organism in Christ.

First Corinthians 12:14-27 also uses our physical body as an illustration of the Body of Christ. These verses, like Romans 12, describe us as “members,” not individual units. But, remember that we are members in life, members of a living organism, in contrast to members of an organization.

New Jerusalem is the expansion of the Body of Christ. We all are the living members of this living organism. Our physical body, as a picture of the Body of Christ, is also a picture of New Jerusalem. We all are built together living members of this living city. To paraphrase Romans 12:5 for New Jerusalem, “we who are many are one city in Christ.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

%d bloggers like this: