Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 21 (2)

In Revelation 21 we see New Jerusalem in the new creation. Many prior posts addressed accomplishments by Jesus Christ to bring us here. Now we see the same wonderful Person as the center of the new creation.

In verse 21:6 He says “I am the Alpha and the Omega*, the Beginning and the End. I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.” What He began in eternity past, and continued through His incarnation, human living, death, and resurrection, has come to an eternal conclusion.

New JerusalemEven in New Jerusalem, He is not only our Omega and End but He is still our Alpha and our Beginning. And the water of life He freely gives flows out of His throne (22:1).

In verses 9-11 New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” and is seen, “having the glory of God.” The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is the Husband and He is also the glory of New Jerusalem. This “glory of Christ” first comes to us in the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4) and develops in us to His second coming (2 Thes. 1:10), consummating in the glory of New Jerusalem.

Verses 12 to 21 describe New Jerusalem. In verse 22 John says, “I saw no temple in it, 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.

In verse 23, “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” God in Jesus Christ is the light of the city. There is no need for physical light. God in Christ as the real light is first seen in Matthew 4:13-16 and is consummated in illuminating New Jerusalem.

*The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

 

Aspects of New Jerusalem in Our Daily Life

hymn on God’s eternal purpose includes creation, life, transformation, building, and New Jerusalem. It moves from Genesis 1–2 through the New Testament to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22.
New Jerusalem

Verses 5 and 6 of the hymn, above, are about New Jerusalem. Here are many lines from these verses of the hymn with a corresponding portion from Revelation.

✦ He’s the very center, ruling on the throne:  “the throne of God and of the Lamb ” (22:1)
✦ By His light of glory, they are kept in light: “the Lord God will shine upon them” (22:5)
✦ He’s their living water, and their food supply: “a river of water of life, bright as crystal…And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (22:1-2)
✦ All their thirst and hunger He doth satisfy: “They will not hunger any more, neither will they thirst any more” (7:16)
✦ He’s for them the temple, in Himself they live: “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its [New Jerusalem’s] temple” (21:22), “they…serve [as priests] Him day and night in His temple” (7:15)
✦ In His constant presence: “they will see His face….the Lord God will shine upon them” (22:4, 5)
✦ Worship ever give: “His slaves will serve [as priests] Him” (22:3)

The characteristics of New Jerusalem described in these hymn verses should be spiritual (not physical) characteristics of our Christian life today. The Lord Jesus should be on the throne in us now, supplying us with living water and being our bread of life. We should walk in Him as our light (1 John 1:7), be empowered by Him (2 Tim. 2:1), be in the oneness (Eph. 4:3), behold Him (Heb. 12:2), and worship Him (John 4:24).

The characteristics of New Jerusalem in the hymn are very similar to the characteristics of a proper Christian life. The difference is not in nature but in magnitude. New Jerusalem will be much richer than today, and without the complication of sin and death.

New Jerusalem: God Mingled with Man

A hymn on God’s eternal purpose proceeds from creation in Genesis 1–2 to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Verse 3 of the hymn is about our Christian life today and verse 4 goes on to New Jerusalem. Here they are:New Jerusalem

Verse 3 begins with the rich flowing of God’s life. This flow is portrayed by the river in Genesis 2; the reality is the Spirit as rivers of living water in John 7; and the consum-mation is the Spirit as the river from the throne in New Jerusalem in Revelation 22.

This flow of eternal life transforms us into precious stones and conforms us to Christ for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Verse 4 of the hymn speaks of God mingling with man, making His home in us, and becoming our content so that we can share His glory and express Him. Here is one New Testament verse touching each of these points.
“My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19)
“That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17a)
“You may be filled unto all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19b)
“If indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:17b)
“With all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body” (Phil 1:20b)

It is by Christ as life in us that we become God’s expression, both in this age and in New Jerusalem. God created man to express Him in life. He is not looking for a static expression like a work of art. We are living stones to be the house, the temple, of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16) to serve Him by His life. The Christ we live becomes the Christ we express, today in some limited degree and in New Jerusalem in full.

The River of New Jerusalem in Us

The apostle John told us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2). He also saw “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street” (Rev. 22:1). The river of life flows in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is not a physical city where we will drink of a physical river. Rather, New Jerusalem is a spiritual city—God dwelling in all His people, with the Spirit Himself (John 7:39) as the river flowing in us.

The river is in the city and in us. This inner flow is the continuation of what the Lord spoke in John 4:14 and 7:37-38.

“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water gushing up into eternal life.”

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”

These verses in John are about our believing into the Lord now and our drinking of Him day by day. The same fountain gushing up, the same river flowing, will continue into New Jerusalem.

The fountain of water in us is “gushing up into eternal life.” The Greek preposition translated into (or, unto) indicates a destination. The water of life which the Lord gives us satisfies our thirst and also brings us to His destination and ours—New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Bread and Water Bring us to New Jerusalem

Israel’s journey in Exodus 12–19 is a picture of our Christian journey. Their journey brought them to Mt. Sinai to see the vision of the tabernacle. Our journey results in our being “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see New Jerusalem.

Prior posts touched several steps preparatory to seeing New Jerusalem. Another step is to take Christ as our living bread, typified by manna (Exo. 16), every day. Jesus clearly told us “he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57). Eating is a daily necessity; without spiritual eating we cannot have a proper Christian life and cannot journey onward to the mountain.

Eating the manna is by our living contact with the Word of God. Deuteronomy 8:3, quoted by the Lord in Matthew 4:4, says that God “fed you [Israel] the manna…so that He might make you know that man lives not by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out from the mouth of Jehovah.”

One more step is to drink the living water which flows out of the smitten rock. When the Lord, pictured by the rock, was smitten on the cross, blood and water flowed out. The reality of this water is the Spirit, as presented in John 7:37-39. Eventually this will be the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemJohn 19:34: “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

A song about this flowing:
__The blood and water flowed from Him,
____In streams of pure salvation.
__The blood brings cleansing from all sin;
____Water, regeneration.
__And now the Spirit flows,
____Brings God where’er He goes.
__All he could do, the foe,
____Was just release the flow.
__And God just keeps on flowing.

God’s continual flow, beginning from the cross, carries us all the way to New Jerusalem.

God Operates and We Cooperate (2)

New JerusalemThe Bible affirms that God prepared the city of New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:16). This city is the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:2). The Bible also affirms that the bride has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7).

We, the bride, get ready by cooperating with God’s operation. An example of this cooperation is in 1 Corinthians 3. In verses 6-7 Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. So then neither is he who plants anything nor he who waters, but God who causes the growth.”

On one hand neither Paul nor Apollos is anything. On the other hand, they need to plant and water so that God can give the growth. In verse 9 Paul says, “we are God’s fellow workers.” This is cooperation with God’s operation to give growth. The same principle applies to the preparation of the bride, New Jerusalem.

Here is a good post about being saved in the midst of the daily necessities and troubles in our environment: the Supply for Your Daily Salvation. By this supply we cooperate with God and thus participate in the preparation of the bride, New Jerusalem.

Photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

We Receive the Promise of the Spirit

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of every positive person, action, symbol, and thing in the Bible. Galatians 3:13-14 says,

Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, “Cursed is every one hanging on a tree;” in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

I came to these verses in my daily Bible reading two days ago. As I mused on them, my attention went to “Christ redeemed us…that we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” This reminded me of what the angel showed John in Revelation 22:1:

He showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

The Christ who redeemed us by dying on the cross, the Christ spoken of in Galatians 3:13, is the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem. The water which flowed from His pierced side on the cross (John 19:34) portrays the Spirit we receive (Galatians 3:14) and this Spirit is also portrayed by the river of water of life flowing through New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1).

God purposed, man fell, Christ redeemed, the Spirit comes; this is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. Praise our wonderful Triune God.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

Are You on God’s Line of Life?

New Jerusalem

The line of life (the eternal life) begins with the tree of life with the river of life in the garden of Eden and flows through the Bible to New Jerusalem.

According to the revelation in the Bible, we see two streams proceeding out of the throne of God. One is the stream of living water, and the other is a stream of fire. The stream of living water is revealed in Ezekiel 47 and Revelation 22. In Ezekiel living water issues out of the house of God; in Revelation 22 living water flows out of the throne of God. In Daniel 7:9-10 we see another stream, a stream of fire, flowing out of the throne of God. The living water is for reviving and watering, but the stream of fire is for judging. It courses in judgment throughout the universe. The river of water proceeds out of the throne of God and will flow all positive things into the New Jerusalem. The stream of fire issues out of the throne of God and will sweep all negative things into the lake of fire. In the beginning of the Bible we have the start of two lines, the line of life and the line of knowledge. At the end of the Bible we have two results, two consummations—the city of living water and the lake of burning fire.*

The line of life comes from the tree of life with the river of life. The line of knowledge comes from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These two trees are identified in Genesis 2:9. Notice that both good and evil are on the same tree, and that both are separated from life.

Our goal is not to try to do good, which gets us involved with evil because they are on the same tree (Romans 7:19-21). Instead, our seeking is to be men of life, men filled with the Spirit of life, having this life imparted into every part of our being (Romans 8:2, 6, 10-11).

On the line of life our spirit becomes life by regeneration, our mind becomes life through transformation, and our mortal body receives life from the indwelling Spirit. The line of life brings us all the way to New Jerusalem, the city of life.

*This is a quote from The Line of Life Throughout the Scriptures, message 15 in the Life-Study of Genesis by Witness Lee, © by Living Stream Ministry.

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

Take Freely the Water of Life

New JerusalemRecent posts have looked at the river of life through the Old Testament, with support from a few New Testament verses. This series included more than I expected when it began. Thank the Lord for the riches in His Word.

Here are the posts in order, each with one Bible phrase that was a highlight to me. The first word of each line has a link to that post.

❉  Genesis 2:10 “a river went forth from Eden to water the garden.”
  Exodus 17:6 “strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink.”
  Numbers 20:8 “speak to the rock before their eyes, so that it yields its water.”
  Psalm 78:15-16 God “split rocks in the wilderness and gave them abundant drink, as from the depths.”
  Psalm 36:8-9 “You [God] cause them [sons of men] to drink of the river of Your pleasures.”
  Psalm 46:4 “There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God.”
❉  One drink, many streams
  Isaiah 12:2-4 “draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation.”
  Isaiah 55:1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.”
  Jeremiah 2:13 Our God “is the fountain of living waters.”
  Avoid broken cisterns
  Ezekiel 47:1 “water flowed down below the south side of the house, on the south of the altar.”
  Ezekiel 47:3-5 “the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be crossed.”
❉  Ezekiel 47:9 “everything shall live wherever the river comes.”
  Zechariah 14:8 “in that day living waters will go forth from Jerusalem.”

The reality of all these verses today is the Spirit (John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13). Heed the invitation in Revelation 22:17, “let him who wills take the water of life freely.” There will be more flowing in the coming age and the most abundant flow from the throne in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2), but come to Jesus and drink now. Here is a song in which Revelation 22:17 is the chorus; sing and draw water with rejoicing (Isaiah 12).

Related posts by Tom at Holding To Truth:
Come and Drink the Living Waters
Speak to Christ the Rock to Drink the Spirit as the Water of Life
Have You Applied the Blood, Are You Drinking the Water of Life
Plus a related post by Stefan at A God-Man in Christ:
The River of Water of Life: God Reaching Man

Photo by Dr. James P. McVey, courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Sea Grant Program.

Living Waters Go Forth

New JerusalemThis post concludes our Old Testament journey along the river of life. In the New Testament this life is the Spirit for us to drink (John 7:37-39). Eventually we arrive at the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

When the Lord Jesus ascended, “while they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him away from their sight” (Acts 1:9). In Acts 1:12 we learn that His ascension was from the Mount of Olives.

When the Lord Jesus returns to stand on earth, His return will be to the place from which He ascended. Zechariah 14:4 says, “His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives.” Zechariah 14:8 declares, “in that day living waters will go forth from Jerusalem.” This promise is like the blessing in Ezekiel 47, “everything shall live wherever the river comes.”

We look forward to that day with eagerness but let’s not wait passively. Remember the invitation in Revelation 22:17, “let him who wills take the water of life freely.” And remember Jesus’ cry in John 7:37-38, “If anyone thirsts, come to Me and drink….out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”

We drink not only for our satisfaction but also for the flow of living waters to other people. This flow from our innermost being now will expand to a much greater distribution of living waters from Jerusalem when the Lord returns and to the ultimate flowing from the throne in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Have Life Abundantly

New JerusalemVerses from the beginning to the end of the Bible present the flow of living water. In this post we continue looking at the river in Ezekiel 47 (prior posts + +). Verse 47:5 tells us “the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be crossed.”

This river portrays God’s desire to be life to man abundantly. In John 10:10 the Lord Jesus told us, “I have come that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” Eventually, through God being life to His children, all of creation will be blessed.

Ezekiel 47 presents some of this blessing to the creation.
• “there were very many trees on the bank of the river” (v. 7)
• “this water flows out…when it flows into the sea, the water of the sea is healed (v. 8, 9)
• “every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes shall live” (v. 9)
• “there will be very many fish, when this water comes there” (v. 9)
• “everything shall live wherever the river comes” (v. 9)
• “on the banks on both sides of the river will grow all kinds of trees for food” (v. 12)
• the trees “will bring forth new fruit every month, because the water for them flows out of the sanctuary. And their fruit shall be for food, and their leaves for healing.” (v. 12)

Like Ezekiel 47, Romans 8:18-21 speaks of the creation being blessed through the children of God; verse 21 says, “the creation itself will also be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” As children of God, let us drink from this river and pray for its increasing flow to all the earth. This flow will eventually bring us to the river in New Jerusalem at the center of the new creation.

A song based on Ezekiel 47:1-2 is here.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Living Water Rises by “Measuring”

In our journey along the river of life from Eden (Genesis 2:10) to New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2), we are now in Ezekiel 47. Verses 3 to 5 present four measurings—”He measured a thousand cubits.” After each the water rose—“water that was to the ankles….water that was to the knees…. water that was to the loins….the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be crossed.”

New JerusalemIf we want to enjoy a flow that is deeper, we need to be measured, that is, tested, examined, judged, and taken over by the Lord. Our motives, our intentions, our aims, our goals, our desires—all must be judged. Everything we possess and everything we are involved in must be judged. This will deepen the flow within us.

As we are judged by the Lord, we need to make a thorough confession. We need to allow the Lord to be our Judge and let Him bring us into His light and expose us. Then we should say to Him, “Lord, all that You have judged is now Yours. I ask You, Lord, to take me over, to take full possession of me.”

We may think that we have been fully taken over by the Lord, but after a period of time we will realize that we still have some reservation. Then we will be tested and judged again, and after this we will have a further consecration to the Lord, saying, “Lord, take this and possess it.”…Even after a number of years, we still may have not been fully possessed by the Lord, and thus we will again need to be measured, tested, judged, and possessed by Him.*

The deepening of the water went through four stages, showing us that one time of being judged and possessed by the Lord is sufficient. Rather, it is better that we often open to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to measure, test, judge, and possess anything in us that hinders His flowing.

The deepening of the water is not only for our enjoyment. It also satisfies God’s desire to spread life everywhere. Lord, measure me so that living water can flow more freely to everyone around me.

* These paragraphs are from Life-Study of Ezekiel, chapter 26, section 3. The Life-Study volumes are published and © by LSM; they may be read by selecting in this list.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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