New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies

The Old Testament shadows were necessary until the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Reality came in His incarnation and reality was made available to us in His resurrection. In this reality we have no need of a physical temple but He and we together are the living temple. And New Jerusalem is the ultimate temple in the Bible.

We have no need for a physical temple, but that temple, the shadow, shows us much about the present living temple. In addition to the materials and shape, the contents of the physical temple are important. Since the entire New Jerusalem is the holy of holies, we will look only at the physical holy of holies to get a picture of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemHebrews 9:4 says the Holy of Holies contains “the ark of the covenant covered about everywhere with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna and Aaron’s rod that budded and the tablets of the covenant.”

The ark was made of wood, overlayed inside and outside with gold. This portrays Jesus Christ as the man (wood) mingled with God (gold). Everything is in Him.

This ark is “of the covenant.” This covenant is a definite promise, a commitment by God. Everything portrayed by the ark is guaranteed by God. Thank Him!

The golden pot with manna is the eternal life supply in New Jerusalem. This is the same manna that fell around Israel’s camp, but its location indicates a much deeper, inner experience* of this life supply.This corresponds to eating the fruit of the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:2).

*This footnote, from the ministry of Witness Lee, presents the experiences of Christ as seen in all three parts of the tabernacle.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem Foreshadowed in Exodus

All the positive things in the Old Testament are symbols, pictures, or prophecies of the New Testament realities. Some of these pictures correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here is a list of posts showing parallels between Exodus and New Jerusalem.

We are on a journey to the mountain of God to see a vision, as John saw New Jerusalem from a high mountain. The stages of this journey:
Exodus 12—14: we are redeemed and nourished by the Lamb to leave Egypt
Exodus 15: we sing and praise the Lord on our journey to the mountain
Exodus 16: we eat the manna, a picture of Christ as our heavenly nourishment
Exodus 17: we drink the water which flows out of the smitten rock
Exodus 17: we fight against the flesh by walking in spirit

After we reach the mountain, more steps are needed to see God’s revelation of the building of the tabernacle, a type of New Jerusalem:
Exodus 19—23: God’s commands show that apart from Christ we cannot make the journey
Exodus 23: God promised that His Angel would lead us onward
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s redemption
Exodus 24: we take Christ’s absoluteness for God

When we go up the mountain, we have undivided time with the Lord to see a full vision.
Exodus 24—25: on the mountain we are in a cloud to cut our view of other things
Exodus 24—25: Moses’ time in the cloud prefigures many NT experiences
Exodus 24, 33, 34: Moses had many times of fellowship with God

The holy of holies in the tabernacle depicts New Jerusalem as the eternal holy of holies.
Exodus 25-26: the ark, expiation cover, and cherubim of glory portray Christ and the city
Exodus 26: the veil has been rent by the death of Christ, so we can enter New Jerusalem
Exodus 26: the veil portrays the Lord Jesus, who is the reality in New Jerusalem
Exodus 28: the breastplate with gold and precious stones represents aspects of the city

Exodus 40: glory fills the tabernacle, portraying New Jerusalem, a city of glory

All the events that happened with Israel are an example written for us (1 Cor. 10).
The journey in Exodus
has many symbols of our experiences of Christ and the Spirit.

New Jerusalem

 Photo courtesy of NASA.

 

Heavenly Diet in Exodus and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn New Jerusalem is “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” (Revelation 22:1-2).

New Jerusalem comes out of heaven from God to earth. Its position is on earth but its nature is heavenly. In this city the tree of life is the heavenly diet for God’s people. By eating the twelve fruits of the tree of life, we are supplied with the divine, eternal life to live a heavenly life on earth. This life is Jesus Christ (John 14:6) and to live this life is to live Him (Philippians 1:21).

The manna in Exodus is a shadow of the heavenly diet of New Jerusalem. In Exodus 16 “Jehovah said to Moses, I will now rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day…” (v. 4).

In John 6 the Lord Jesus told us that He is the bread of life, the reality of what was pictured by manna (v. 32-35). He also said that if we eat Him we will live because of Him (v. 57). Then He told us that the way to eat Him is to take His words, and that these words are spirit and life (v. 63). For this we must not only use our mind to understand the words but also use our human spirit. We must strike the Spirit of the Scripture with our spirit.

The nourishment we gain from the Scripture becomes our bread of life, causing us to grow in the divine life. This growth goes onward until we arrive at New Jerusalem.

More about manna is in Life-Study of Exodus, chapters 35-39.

Eat and Be Satisfied

New JerusalemIn the Bible pictures of our spiritual eating began with the tree of life in the garden of Eden. They continued with the Passover lamb and bread, and then the daily manna in the wilderness. Joshua 5:11-12 presents the transition after crossing the river Jordan:

“And on the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased on that day, when they ate of the produce of the land; and there was no longer manna for the children of Israel, but they ate of the yield of the land of Canaan that year.”

Deuteronomy 8:7-10 describes the land with its produce:

“For Jehovah your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of waterbrooks, of springs and of fountains, flowing forth in valleys and in mountains; a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees with oil and of honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity; you will not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and from whose mountains you can mine copper. And you shall eat and be satisfied, and you shall bless Jehovah your God for the good land which He has given you.”

Deuteronomy presents the flowing waters as a picture of the Spirit as our spiritual drink, the food as a picture of Christ as our spiritual nourishment, and the metals as a picture of Christ empowering us to fight the spiritual battles. Thank Him for His abundance!

The emphasis in these verses is on eating. When we eat Jesus, we live because of Him. The variety and quantity of food (see also Numbers 13:23) portray the richness of Christ. These riches are proclaimed as the gospel (Ephesians 3:8). To partake, call upon the Lord who is “rich to all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:12-13). We may simply call, O Lord Jesus or we may call and declare, Lord Jesus, You are my food, or Lord Jesus, thank You for being the vine and fig tree to me.

The riches of Christ are for us now and in New Jerusalem, where the twelve fruits of the tree of life indicate eternal fullness and eternal richness.

Gather a Portion Every Day

In the Bible, the path of eating goes through Exodus 16 where manna is revealed. Verse 4 includes the instruction, “the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day.” How can we apply this to our daily Christian life?

All Scripture is god breathedIn Deuteronomy 8:3, Moses, while reviewing the heavenly supply of manna, said, “He humbled you and let you go hungry and fed you 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.”

In Matthew 4:4 the Lord Jesus quoted this, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.’ ”

We should “gather a day’s portion every day” of  “every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” The Bible certainly has proceeded out of the mouth of God—“All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, one aspect of our gathering is that we come to the Bible each day to read.

However, “word” in Matthew 4:4 is rhema (ρημα) in Greek. This is not the printed word of the Bible but the living word which the Lord speaks to us as we read the Bible. Therefore, as we begin to read we can ask the Lord to speak to us through the passage that we will read. This speaking through the written word is the Spirit who gives life (John 6:63, 2 Corinthians 3:6).

Thank God that His word is living and operative (Hebrews 4:12). We can experience it daily now and surely we will experience this eternally to a much greater degree in New Jerusalem.

Please see Andrea’s post about “gathering every day”: The Habit of Daily Bible Reading;
also check her related posts at the end.

Other posts about rhema: Preparing the Bride by Washing (1) (2) (3) (4).

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

What is It?

We are on an eating journey through the Bible from the garden of Eden to New Jerusalem. Our next step is manna.

Jesus is the bread of lifeAfter eating the Passover lamb, the nation of Israel crossed the Red Sea into the wilderness. There they complained about hunger (Exodus 16:2-3). Jehovah’s response (v. 4) was, “I will now rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day.”

“In the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there upon the surface of the wilderness were fine round flakes, fine as the frost on the earth. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, What is it? For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, It is the bread which Jehovah has given you to eat” (v. 13b-15).

This bread signifies Jesus as our real bread from heaven. In John 6:32-33 Jesus, replying to a statement about eating manna in the wilderness, said, “My Father gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.” And in verse 35 He said, “I am the bread of life.”

Exodus 16 and Numbers 11:7-9 give a detailed description of manna. These details portray the richness of Christ as the bread of life in our Christian experience. Much about these details of the manna and its application to our Christian life is found in Life-study of Exodus (with a link to online reading) by Witness Lee, messages 34-39.

Photo of Ireland, courtesy of Toby Shelton.

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