The Peoples on the New Earth

“I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God Himself shall be with them. And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain—they shall be no more; for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:3-4)

Revelation 21:3 and 4 speak not of the New Jerusalem but of the peoples on the new earth….The [plural] word peoples in verse 3 indicates that these verses apply not to the saints but to the restored nations on the new earth. As God’s redeemed, we are His unique [singular] people (1 Pet. 2:9; Titus 2:14), whereas the restored nations are His peoples, those for whom the kingdom was prepared from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34) but not before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4)….Therefore, we should not misapply these verses in Revelation 21 by applying them to the saints in the New Jerusalem. Verse 4 refers not to the blessings we will enjoy in the New Jerusalem but to the blessings to be enjoyed by the restored nations on the new earth.*

New JerusalemAll Scripture is God-breathed. Even small differences, such as people or peoples, are significant. Likewise, the time difference between Matthew 25 and Ephesians 1 is significant.

New Jerusalem is composed of God and His redeemed, regenerated, and glorified people. These nations are composed of unregenerated people who cared for the Lord’s believers during the tribulation (Matt. 25:31-40) and did not follow Satan in the last rebellion (Rev. 20:8-9). These peoples will dwell around but are separate from New Jerusalem.

* The Conclusion of the New Testament, vol. 16, chapter 11, by Witness Lee, © LSM

More about the peoples: Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem: No Self, No Soul Life

“Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). This is not an option for our Christian life nor for New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPositionally, our self, our old man, has been crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6). But in practicality we often live according to our old man—our old preferences, our independent decision making, and our habitual ways of living. We are like a person born and grown up in country A who is now positioned in country B but still lives like a country A person.

We need to deny ourself so that Christ can live through us. This was Paul’s declaration in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I [the old, natural man] who live, but it is Christ who lives in me…”

For such a life, we need the Spirit to apply the death of Christ to everything natural in us. Second Corinthians 4:7-12 speaks of this. Christ is the treasure in our human vessel but we still need outward circumstances to turn us from our natural living to living by faith in Christ. This portion concludes “death operates in us but life in you.” The operating death works for our denying of self so that life can flow to others.

To deny ourself is to experience the Spirit’s renewing of our entire being. The result is that our constitution and all our daily living is in the new creation where we come to the full reality of New Jerusalem.

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building work. The Old Testament had physical symbols, the tabernacle and temple, but now we are in the age of the spiritual reality of God’s building.

New JerusalemWe begin a look at many NT verses which show that God’s building work now is not physical but spiritual. This building work is accomplished by the eternal life which dwells in us. New Jerusalem, the consummation, will likewise be spiritual, not physical.

In Matthew 21:33-41 (and Mark 12, Luke 20) the Lord Jesus spoke a parable about a vineyard. Suddenly He changed to speaking about a stone who became the cornerstone for God’s building. This speaking shows us first, that the life of the vineyard brings forth the building material. Second, it shows that the Lord Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone.

In Acts 4:10-11 Peter declared that the crucified and resurrected Jesus is the Stone in these parables and that He has become “the Head of the corner.” In resurrection Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone, showing that God’s NT building work is in resurrection, not in the natural realm.

In 4:12 he says further that salvation is in this One. Every Christian knows that Jesus Christ is the Savior, but do we recognize further that His salvation brings us to Himself as the cornerstone for God’s building work? We receive God’s salvation because God desires to have us as material for His building, consummating in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Spirit and the Bride Say, Come!

New JerusalemThe Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come!” (Rev. 22:17a)

The Spirit and the bride speak together, indicating their union. This is a big step toward the marriage dinner of the Lamb which leads us to New Jerusalem as the bride, the wife of the Lamb. These steps are all part of The Divine-Human Romance thru the Bible.

The Spirit and the bride call out to the Lord Jesus, the Lamb, Come! This is a cry for the Lord’s visible return to earth (Matt. 24:30) including the resurrection of all the dead believers and the manifestation of His kingdom to rule the earth in righteousness.

All who hear this cry should echo, Come! Throughout this age we should be “those who love His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). We are waiting and hoping for His appearing, and we are also pursuing to be perfected to be ready for His appearing.

The apostle Paul is a pattern, “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12). We are not yet perfected but we pursue while we wait for the Lord’s appearing.

May we all “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22) We pursue and we cry out, Come, Lord Jesus!

On a High Mountain, See New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:9 an angel called John to see the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. In 21:10 John tells us that the same angel carried him away in spirit “onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.”

To see something as marvelous as New Jerusalem, we must come to a high mountain. In contrast, an angel brought John to a wilderness to see the judgment on the great harlot.

In Exodus 24 Moses went to the top of a mountain to be with God and receive the vision of the tabernacle. And in Matthew 5–7 the Lord Jesus was on a mountain to speak the kingdom of the heavens to His disciples. It was also on a mountain that the Lord New Jerusalemappeared in glory to His three disciples.

To be on a mountain is to be above our daily living, to be out of ordinary affairs. Although we cannot stay on a mountain forever, we do need some experiences of being carried away and being on a mountain top.

Lord, bring us upward to see what You desire to reveal to us!

John recorded four experiences in Revelation of being in spirit for a heavenly revelation. The last of these four is here, seeing New Jerusalem. This is the conclusion of the four revelations and the consummation of the whole Bible. New Jerusalem is God’s goal and is our destiny.


More:
In Spirit on a Mountain for New Jerusalem
In Spirit on a Mountain, see New Jerusalem

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is the Bride,                        Jesus Christ is the Husband

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). “The marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). The entire city is the bride and the Husband is the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:25-26 speaks of the Lord’s work to prepare the bride “that He might present the church to Himself glorious” (v. 27) at His second coming, His coming in glory.

John the Baptist spoke of the Lord Jesus as the Bridegroom with all the believers as His increase (John 3:28-30). And in Mark 2:19-20 the Lord Jesus described Himself as a Bridegroom. These words point toward the Husband of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

Jesus Christ as the Husband of the church in Ephesians 5 and of New Jerusalem is also prophesied in the Old Testament. Isaiah 54:5, “For your Maker is your Husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name. And the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.” The Lord Jesus is our Redeemer so that He can impart eternal life into us to constitute us to be His bride so that He can be our Husband.

Hosea 2 speaks of Jehovah’s reclaiming Israel from idol worship. Verse 16: “And in that day, declares Jehovah, You will call Me My Husband.”

New Jerusalem as a bride for Jesus Christ the Husband is not a new idea in Revelation; rather, it is the consummation of what is presented to us throughout the Bible.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem Comes Down, Prepared

Revelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New JerusalemThe fact that prepared follows from God implies that God is the Preparer of the bride. Hebrews 11:16 agrees with this, saying that God “has prepared a city for them”—for those who live as sojourners on the earth while seeking a better country, a heavenly one (11:13-16).

Some of the preparation has been done by the Triune God with no action by us, including incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. These steps are necessary to redeem us and to release the divine life so that it can enter into us. Without this redemption and life, there is no possibility for us to be prepared for New Jerusalem.

After we receive this life, we need to cooperate with it. The word bride indicates a wedding feast, about which the Lord speaks in Matthew 25:1-13. In this parable the wise virgins gain the oil, a type of the Spirit, to fill their vessels. This filling is our cooperation with the preparation of New Jerusalem.

This corresponds with being filled in spirit in Ephesians 5 which requires not being drunk with worldly pleasures and pursuits. This filling also depends on our singing with our heart to the Lord, speaking to one another, giving thanks to God, and submitting to one another.

To be filled with the oil in every part of our begin results in our life and nature matching that of New Jerusalem, the city which is from God and of God.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the City of the Great King

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New Jerusalem is a city but Revelation is a book of signs. As a sign, the city represents the ultimate stage of the kingdom of God. The kingdom exists today as a hidden, spiritual reality which will be manifested in the kingdom age and in eternity.

Matthew 5:35 says “Jerusalem…is the city of the great King.” This is a quote from Psalm 48:2, ” Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” Surely New Jerusalem will be the most beautiful city and it will be the joy of the whole new earth.

New Jerusalem is composed of the great King and all His people. A view of the city concerning its people is in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.” New Jerusalem is full of divine light; “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” (Rev. 21:23).

As a city, New Jerusalem portrays the kingdom of God brightly shining with the glory of God to illuminate the whole earth.

 

The Righteous Will Shine Forth

New JerusalemOn the mountain the Lord Jesus shone like the sun (Matt. 17). He will come again with great glory. After His coming, when judging the nations, He will sit on the throne of His glory (Matt 25:31). We expect Him to be with great glory on the throne of New Jerusalem.

The Lord Jesus will shine very brightly in His return and afterwards. What about us? Today we “are the light of the world” and should “let your light shine before men” (Matt. 5:14-16). We also should “shine as luminaries in the world” “in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation” (Phil. 2:15).

These words about shining are for this age. Proverbs 4:18 declares “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Matthew says we shine today, Proverbs says our shining will increase, and in Matthew 13:43 the Lord tells us that upon His return, after the judgment, which will be the full day in Proverbs 4, “the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Daniel 12:3 is similar to Matthew 13: “Those who have insight will shine like the shining of the heavenly expanse, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars, forever and ever.”

As the outcome of these stages of shining, we should expect to shine in New Jerusalem. However, this shining is not from our natural being nor based on our natural capabilities nor attainments. The shining now and in New Jerusalem is our transparency to allow Christ to shine through us.

More about this shining:
The Light of the World, A City
Working Out Salvation to Shine with Christ
Shine…Holding Forth the Word of Life

See the Kingdom Coming in Glory

One day the Lord Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, There are some of those standing here who shall by no means taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:28). How is this related to New Jerusalem? Simple; New Jerusalem is the ultimate manifestation of God’s kingdom, with the throne of God and the Lamb at its center.

The fulfillment of the Lord’s word is in Matthew 17:1-2, “And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain privately. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.”

New JerusalemThe Lord’s transfiguration was the release of glory from within Him. This was also His coming in His kingdom. This transfiguration was temporary. When they went down the mountain the glory was again concealed within Him.

The glory will again be manifested when the Lord Jesus returns visibly. In Luke 21:27 He says that men shaken by the tribulation “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” And, “when the Son of Man comes in His glory…He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt 25:31).

Based on these verses, we should expect that God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3) will radiating great glory.


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 LSM.

A Reward: Inherit Eternal Life

New JerusalemThe prior two posts (one two) are about our rich inheritance from God and God’s inheritance of His riches in us. All of this inheritance, whether now or in the next age, points to New Jerusalem.

A big part of this inheritance is eternal life. The Lord Jesus says, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My name’s sake shall receive a hundred times as much and shall inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29).

In John 3 we receive eternal life and are born again. How (or why) do we inherit eternal life when we already have it from our new birth? Here is an answer from Life-Study of Matthew (chap. 54, sec. 2) by Witness Lee:

To inherit eternal life is to be rewarded in the coming age (Luke 18:29-30) with the enjoyment of the divine life in the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens.

And more from Life-Study of Matthew (chap. 53, sec. 3):

To have eternal life in John is to be saved with God’s uncreated life that man may live by this life today and for eternity, whereas to have eternal life in Matthew is to participate in the reality of the kingdom of the heavens in this age and to share in its manifestation in the coming age.

Eventually this eternal life brings us to New Jerusalem that we may live this life and reign with God and the Lamb for eternity (Rev. 22:3-5).

Betrothed to Christ as a Pure Virgin for New Jerusalem

Two thousand years ago John saw “New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” John had been carried away in spirit to have this eternal view, unlimited by time*. In our human life in time, we need to cooperate with the Spirit for the preparation of the bride by the growth, perfecting, and renewing in Ephesians and Colossians.

Another aspect of the preparation of the bride is in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” For this, Paul urges us to stay with “the simplicity and the purity toward Christ” (v. 3). We hold to the Jesus we received, the Spirit who regenerated us, and the gospel presented to us in the Bible (v. 4).

New JerusalemMatthew 5 also speaks of the pure in heart. To be pure in heart is to be single in purpose, to have the single goal of accomplishing God’s will for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31). Ultimately the goal and the glory are New Jerusalem.

Our pure heart is also in 2 Timothy 2:22, “flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” A pure heart is a single heart without mixture, a heart that seeks only the Lord and takes the Lord as the unique goal.

Lord, draw us daily to Yourself as our unique goal to purify us unto New Jerusalem.


Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* More on seeing New Jerusalem in spirit:
See New Jerusalem with a Spirit of Faith
In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

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