Living, Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Here is a summary of recent posts on Christ as the chosen, living, and precious Stone and His believers as living, precious stones. These stones are for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone – In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Christ is a chosen, precious, living Stone. In Acts 4 and Eph. 2 He is the Cornerstone in whom we are built together.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem – The Lord is the living Stone. By coming to Him, we become living stones for the building of God’s house today (1 Peter 2:4-5) which will grow into New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone – God on the throne in Revelation 4 has the appearance of a jasper stone, and the whole city has the same appearance. New Jerusalem is the corporate expression of God on the throne.

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem – The precious faith we have received enables us to lay hold of the precious promises given to us by God (2 Peter 1:1, 4). By these we are constituted precious stones.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ – The twelve precious stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem, and the appearance of the whole city as a most precious jasper stone, display the beauty of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to some older posts about the precious stones of New Jerusalem:

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem – The preciousness is not external but is by the Spirit’s working within us.

Transformation Produces Precious Stones – The Spirit’s working within us transforms us so that the preciousness of Christ may be expressed through us.

Precious Stones on the Foundations – The twelve foundations each correspond to one precious stone; these declare the eternal perfection and fullness of the wall.

The Stones Express God – The whole of New Jerusalem, its wall, and its first foundation are all jasper, expressing the God who sits on the throne.

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.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem

In the New Testament, stones signify living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, is in Him, the Cornerstone in resurrection (Eph. 2:20-21).

New Jerusalem In the natural realm, human beings are vessels of clay (Rom 9:21), earthen vessels (2 Cor 4:7). In contrast, New Jerusalem has no clay, no dirt, only precious materials. How then can men of clay participate in New Jerusalem?

The answer is that in regeneration, in resurrection, the Lord makes us stones. When the Lord Jesus first met Simon, He told Him, “You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).” Both Cephas (Aramaic*) and Peter (Greek) mean “stone.”

This change of name indicates a change of person, a change of constitution. In God’s salvation, the Lord transforms men of clay into stones for His building.

Peter tells us “Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem. We become living stones by coming to Jesus Christ mot only once but by coming to Him continually.

As we come to Him, he infuses us with His stone nature, reconstituting us from clay to stone. This builds us together as God’s spiritual house and prepares us for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling. In the context of Peter’s epistle, our “coming to Him” involves putting away evil things (2:1) and holding to His living and abiding word (1:22-25, 2:2-3). This is our path to New Jerusalem.

*The common language in Judea and Galilee in the first century.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone

New JerusalemIn the gospels, the Lord depicts Himself as a Stone. His words should cause us to realize that stones in the New Testament, including those in New Jerusalem, are not physical but are living people.

“Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner. This was from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” By this word, spoken in Matthew 21:42, quoting Psalm 118,  the Lord tells us that He is the Cornerstone rejected by the Jewish leaders.

In Acts 4:10-12, Peter makes reference to this statement, telling the Jewish leaders that through death and resurrection, “This is the stone which was considered as nothing by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner.” Here Peter is speaking about “Jesus Christ the Nazarene.” He is the Cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:20-21 proclaims “Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” Here the Cornerstone is not only part of God’s New Testament building but is even the realm in which the building exists and grows.

In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Peter tells us further that the Lord is to us “a living Stone” and “a Cornerstone, chosen and precious,” but to the unbelieving He is “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

Because New Jerusalem is a city in and of resurrection, everything brought forth in the Lord’s resurrection is in New Jerusalem. This includes Him as the Stone, in which the building, including New Jerusalem exists.

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is adorned as a bride prepared for her Husband, Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:2). This adorning is not outward. Rather, it is accomplished by the Spirit working within us and Christ living through us.

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:19 tells us, “The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone.” Twelve stones are named. To understand this, we need to consider what is precious to God, not what is precious to society.

In 2 Peter 1:1 the faith allotted to us by God is precious and in 1 Peter 1:7 the proving of our faith is “much more precious than of gold which perishes.” This faith does not originate with us but is from God (Rom. 3:22). This faith is precious when it becomes our initial ability to believe into Jesus Christ. It is also precious as it holds us through trials in our Christian life.

In 1 Peter 1:19 the blood Jesus shed to redeem us is precious. In 1 Peter 2 the Lord is a living Stone (v. 4) and the Cornerstone (v. 6); both are “with God chosen and precious.” Peter shows us that Christ, what He did for us, and what He is to us, are precious to God.

Christ is the precious Stone. He is uniquely one, but the stones adorning New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 are many, not one. They signify various aspects of the unique Christ experienced by His many members, so that we, as living stones (1 Peter 2:5), become preciously constituted with Christ.

The twelve stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not literally twelve in number but are the unsearchably rich Christ formed into many believers. This process displays in New Jerusalem the eternal richness and perfection of Jesus Christ in His believers.

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. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center.

New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned (2)

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Verses in the prior post clearly show that this adorning is not outward.

New JerusalemLet 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, Rev. 21:2] has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” (Rev. 19:7-8)

Here the fine linen is not fancy physical clothing; it is “righteousnesses.” The plural word indicates that it is not Christ as our righteousness (singular) as part of our initial salvation, but Christ lived out of us in many righteous acts (more). By living Christ we are making ourselves ready for the wedding, we are adorning ourselves.

“The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:19). Gold and diamonds are precious to humans, but not to God. In His eyes all these things are corruptible.

The stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not natural but represent the Spirit’s transforming work in us to make us living stones for God’s building (1 Peter 2:5); see posts below. Like the fine linen, these stones illustrate God’s work in us, our cooperation with His work, and our living according to God’s operation within. This is the adorning of New Jerusalem.

Three Precious Materials
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

 

A Pillar in the Temple with the Name of God, New Jerusalem, and the Lord

New JerusalemIn Revelation 3:12 the Lord Jesus promises, “He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

The pillars in God’s temple are living persons, people closely identified with God, New Jerusalem, and the Lord Jesus.

This, like many other verses (e.g. 1 Cor. 3:9, Eph. 2:21-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:5) show that God’s New Testament building is spiritual. God’s building of Himself into His people and His building His people together has replaced the physical buildings of the Old Testament.

We will not merely be in New Jerusalem (with the possibility of going out) but built into it so that we “shall by no means go out anymore.” This city is a living building joined/fitted/knit together in life, as are the members of our physical body.

Revelation 21:22 tells us that the Triune God is the temple of New Jerusalem—“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” And the overcomers are being built into this living building as pillars during this age and fully in the coming kingdom age. Nothing physical about this. In eternity all God’s people will be built into New Jerusalem and into the temple.

Lord Jesus, grant us grace every day that we may cooperate with You to overcome. Build us into Your building and write Yourself and New Jerusalem on us. 

A Spiritual House Grows to New Jerusalem

Both the tabernacle and the temple are pictures of the church as the New Testament dwelling of God and of New Jerusalem as the eternal dwelling of God.

Acts 7:47 mentions David, Solomon, and building the temple. Verse 48 refers to the prophet Isaiah and verse 49 quotes Isaiah, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest?” A note by Witness Lee on Acts 7* says,

This quotation from Isa. 66:1-2 indicates that the Lord was seeking a spiritual habitation in man’s spirit. This is proved by the unquoted part of Isa. 66:2 that says, “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit.”

In Old Testament times, God had a dwelling among His people. Yet even then He was longing for a dwelling in His people. This indwelling is realized now in the church as the precursor of New Jerusalem. Christ is in us and the Spirit is dwelling in us (Rom. 8:9-11). Thus, we are the reality of what was symbolized by the Old Testament temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17) and we are experiencing a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe spiritual nature of the New Testament building is also seen in Ephesians 2:22, we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit” and in 1 Peter 2:5, we “ourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.”

This spiritual building will progress on to New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem will be a spiritual city with Christ as the Living Stone and all of us a living stones and with the Spirit dwelling in each one of us.

* Acts 7:49, footnote 1, in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003.

A Journey from the Clay of Creation to the Glory of New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemWe humans were created from dust but we can be filled and saturated with Christ as our life. This life resurrects us and brings us into glory. This saturating/ resurrecting/glorifying is our journey into New Jerusalem.

In New Jerusalem the apostles represent the New Testament believers. The apostles’ names are on the foundations of the city (Rev. 21:14), foundations adorned with precious stones (21:19). These are not physical stones, but represent the apostles themselves, transformed and made precious by Christ as their life.

The New Jerusalem is a city of foundations (Heb. 11:10). These are the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14), each of whom is signified by a precious stone. Peter, the first of the twelve apostles, was originally named Simon. When Simon was brought to the Lord, the Lord changed his name to Peter, meaning a stone (John 1:42). Later, the Lord called him by that name when He spoke concerning the building of His church (Matt. 16:18). Precious stones are not created but are produced by the transforming of things created. All the apostles were created as clay, but they were regenerated and were transformed into precious stones for God’s eternal building. Every believer needs to be thus regenerated and transformed that he may be a part of the New Jerusalem.*

Not only the apostles but also all believers are stones. First Peter 2:5 speaks about all of us saying “you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” The consummation of this house is New Jerusalem.

We have the dust and clay nature from our natural birth and we have the stone nature from our regeneration (1 Peter 1:23). Now we are being transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18) that our entire being may become precious stone to match New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

* Part of note 1 on Revelation 21:19 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry.

Let Us Come Forward for Mercy and Grace

New JerusalemBoth God and New Jerusalem have the appearance of jasper stone (Revelation 4, 21). This shared appearance begins now. In 1 Peter 2:4 the Lord is a living Stone. As we come to Him, He makes us living stones (v. 5). Our coming to Him is by drinking the milk of His word.

Our coming is also to His throne. In Hebrews 4:14-16 we have a great, ascended High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, who has been tempted in all respects like us, yet is without sin. Because of Him, “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

Because the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Jesus is our High Priest, the throne is not for judgement but for mercy and grace. Thank Him! Today the throne is in heaven, as John saw in Revelation 4.

How can we come to the throne of God and the Lamb, Christ, in heaven while we still live on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in v. 4:12. The very Christ who is sitting on the throne in heaven (Rom. 8:34) is also now in us (Rom. 8:10), that is, in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22), where the habitation of God is (Eph. 2:22).*

The throne of grace to which we come forward today will be the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem. Our receiving mercy and finding grace today prepares us for more mercy and grace in New Jerusalem. As Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us come forward.”

* A part of footnote 1 on Hebrews 4:16 in this online NT (© LSM).

Photo courtesy of U.S. government.

Coming to Him, We Are “Jasperized”

In Revelation 4:2-3 John saw a throne in heaven and One sitting on the throne who was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance. Later he saw the holy city, Jerusalem, having the glory of God and her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone  (Revelation 21:10-11). He also saw that the wall of the city was built of jasper (v. 21:18). Both God and New Jerusalem have an appearance like jasper.

God desires to develop this identical appearance now. First Peter 2:4 says that the Lord is a living Stone and verse 5 says that by coming to Him we are becoming living stones to be built together as a spiritual house.

What is presented in 1 Peter—both He and we are living stones—is the preparation for what John saw—God and New Jerusalem are jasper.

We become living stones as we come to the Lord. Our coming is in Peter 2:4. In verses 2-3 we drink the pure milk of the word of God and we taste that the Lord is good. Then we come to the One we are tasting.

Let us all drink from the word of God. Whether we understand everything or not, whether everything seems applicable to us or not, we can read the word of God. Then:
New Jerusalem• we can say amen to His word
• we can thank Him for His word
• we can pray with what we read
• we can meditate on His word
• we can ask for His speaking
• we can sing His word

Through these practices, God’s word becomes our joy (Jeremiah 15:16) and our nourishment (Matthew 4:4). This gradually constitutes us as living stones and “jasperizes” us for New Jerusalem.

Related post: The Stones Express God

Photo by R Robinson, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem, the Eternal House of God

The New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus, who is the living tabernacle of God (John 1:14), God dwelling in man. The New Testament ends with New Jerusalem, the enlarged tabernacle of God (Revelation 21:3).

The tabernacle is God’s dwelling place in man. This is Bethel, a Hebrew word which means house of God.

In Adam, we have God’s creation, and in Jacob, we have God’s habitation, Bethel….God created, selected, called, and saved us for the purpose that He might have a dwelling place for eternity.

Following Jacob, we have the house of Israel. The house of Israel was actually the house of God. After the exodus from Egypt, there was among the house of Israel the building of the tabernacle, and following that, the building of the temple.

What do we have in the New Testament? Again, we have two main things: the tabernacle, which was Jesus (John 1:14), and the temple, which is the church (1 Cor. 3:16). The consummation of the church as the temple is the New Jerusalem.

The first time God appeared to Jacob was in a dream (Genesis 28:10-22) in which Jacob saw heaven opened and a ladder extending from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending upon it. When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he was inspired to call the name of that place Bethel….God unveiled to Jacob His heart’s desire, which is to have Bethel.*

New JerusalemAt Bethel Jacob set up a pillar and poured oil on it. This is a picture of man, anointed by the Spirit (the oil) becoming a stone for the building of Bethel.

Much later, when Simon first came to Jesus, Jesus said to him, “You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter)” (John 1:42). Both Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) mean stone.

Like Peter, we all need to be changed into stones for building Bethel. The Lord makes the change of name but we need to cooperate by following Him as Peter did. May we follow even when we make mistakes, as Peter did. Despite our mistakes, may the Lord inquire of us more than once (as He did of Peter) “do you love Me”? (John 21:15-17).

Let’s give the answer Peter gave, “Lord, You know that I love You.” May we love Him and love Bethel unto New Jerusalem.

* Life-study of Genesis by Witness Lee, message 78, sections 1-2, © LSM.

Photo courtesy of U.S. government.

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