New Jerusalem Comes from Divine Riches and is Without Human Poverty

The Lord Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, read from Isaiah about Himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to announce the gospel to the poor…” (Luke 4:18). The poverty in this verse can certainly be understood physically but should also be viewed spiritually.

The Lord Jesus came to announce Himself to people who are poor spiritually, whether rich or poor humanly. What does this have to do with New Jerusalem? Simple. God’s riches bring us out of spiritual poverty all the way to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:8 the unsearchable riches of Christ are the gospel announced by Paul. The goal of the gospel is not to save people from poverty but to impart these unsearchable riches into people. As a byproduct people are saved from spiritual poverty.

In Romans 2:4 “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” lead us to repentance. This is the beginning of our journey—to repent, turn to God, and receive Jesus Christ. Here three aspects of God’s riches lead us to repent and to enter the path to New Jerusalem. This repentance is one aspect of the rich gospel.

Ephesians 1:7 tells us that in Christ Jesus “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” We certainly need forgiveness, but the measure of God’s action is not our need but His riches. This forgiveness is another aspect of the rich gospel.

Romans 9:23 tells us God will “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy.” We need mercy to bring us out of our poor condition, but God does not emphasize that poor condition. His mercy is shown, not because we are pitiful, but to gain us as vessels to display the riches of His glory. Eventually New Jerusalem will be a great corporate vessel displaying His riches.

 

God’s Eternal Goal is New Jerusalem

The consummation of the Bible is the new heavens and new earth with New Jerusalem as their center (Revelation 21:1-2). Recent posts showed how much God’s mercy is involved in bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

One of the recent posts included a few lines from a song. I will now share the whole song (spread over several posts) and comment on it. Here are words and music.

New Jerusalem1_God eternal has a purpose,
____Formed in His eternal past,
__Spreading to eternal future;
____’Twixt these ends all time is cast.
__For with time there is the process,
____Time for His accomplishment;
__And in time we’re merely travelers—
____For eternity we’re meant.

God’s purpose has been in Him from eternity. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. His purpose does take care of the problems in the universe but His purpose is not a reaction to these problems.

Here are some verses which speak about God’s purpose from eternity (before time).
• We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom which has been hidden, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
• To enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things. (Ephesians 3:9)

The universe was created for the carrying out of God’s purpose, His plan, according to His heart’s desire. We were created for this purpose, which means we were created for New Jerusalem. Even before creation, God took some actions in regard to us.
• God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages. (2 Timothy 1:8b-9)
• Eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the times of the ages. (Titus 1:2)

God’s purpose, God’s grace, and God’s eternal life were given and promised before time began. They operate in time to bring us to New Jerusalem, where we will be after time is finished. As the song says, “For with time there is the process” and “For eternity we’re meant.”

We are in the process of growing in eternal life in time and we are traveling to New Jerusalem in eternity.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

We, the Bride, Make Ourselves Ready

New JerusalemHebrews 11, speaking of Abraham and his faithful descendants says in verse 16, “they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

This prepared city is New Jerusalem, which John saw “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). And Revelation 19:7 announces “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

God prepared the city New Jerusalem, the city is the bride, the bride made herself ready. Does God do the preparation or do we get ourselves ready? Both!

This is an example of “seemingly opposing truths” in the Word of God. Consider*:
• Due to the infinite wisdom and unsearchable richness of God, we must accept from Him what, to us mortals, may seem contradictory.
• Which are we to believe of the two statements? Both! The same God who spoke one spoke the other also. It is enough that the Word of God distinctly affirms both.
• Both are to be received whether we can reconcile them or no. Their claim on our reception is not that we can unite them, but that God has testified both.

God does the preparation and we cooperate with Him to get ready. There is no problem with God’s side of the preparation but we need His mercy for diligence with our side. Lord, we give ourselves to get ready as Your bride, New Jerusalem. Lord, be merciful to us and grant us grace to carry out our responsibility.

Related posts: Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!   The Twofoldness of Divine Truth

*These quotes are from the booklet “The Twofoldness of Divine Truth,” by Robert Govett, a Christian who lived in England 1813 to 1901. My copy is undated, from Christian Publications Inc., Harrisburg PA.

Photo by Willen van Aken, courtesy of CSIRO Australia, www.scienceimage.csiro.au.

Come Forward to Get Ready

In Matthew 24 and 25 the Lord speaks about our being ready for Him as our Bridegroom. (see posts:  ) This corresponds with Revelation 21:2, “New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New JerusalemIn Luke 22 the Lord spoke about His death. Peter said to the Lord, “I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death” (v. 33) but the Lord responded, “I tell you, Peter, a rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know Me” (v. 34). Peter’s example shows that we cannot get ready by our own determination, our own zeal, or our own effort.

To be ready, we need the Lord’s mercy. Romans 9:23 calls us “vessels of mercy, which He [God] had before prepared unto glory.” As vessels, we can receive whatever God wants to pour out. Yet, we must cooperate by opening to Him, coming to Him.

Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to “come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” This throne is in the heavenly holy of holies. A note in the Recovery Version* asks and answers a question:

How can we enter the Holy of Holies while we are still on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in Hebrews 4:12. The very Christ who is in heaven is now also in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). As the heavenly ladder (Gen. 28:12; John 1:51), He joins our spirit to heaven and brings heaven into our spirit. Hence, whenever we turn to our spirit, we enter into the Holy of Holies. There we meet with God, who is on the throne of grace. See also this note.

Our spirit connects us to the heavenly throne of grace. Here we receive mercy and grace to get us ready for the Lord’s return and for New Jerusalem.

* The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; it is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Those Who Are Ready Will Enter

In Matthew 25:1-13 the Lord Jesus speaks about virgins going forth to meet a bridegroom. In the whole universe He is the real Bridegroom and all His believers are individually virgins and corporately His bride, New Jerusalem.

Our going forth is our cooperation with God’s preparation of New Jerusalem as the bride (Revelation 21:2). Matthew 25:10 says, “those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast.” The virgins who were ready “took oil in their vessels with their lamps” so that their lamps were shining with a good supply of oil rather than “going out” (v. 8).

New JerusalemOil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 25:9 indicates that a price must be paid to be filled with the Spirit. In Matthew 16:24-25 the Lord said that to follow Him we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and lose our soul life. This is the price to gain extra oil in our vessels so that we shine brightly.

We can pray, Lord, I desire to follow You. Grace me to deny myself.

An example of paying a price is in Philippians 3:7-8. Paul tells us, “What things were gains to me, these I have counted as loss on account of Christ. But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ.”

We can pray, Lord, I want to be ready to go in. Manifest Your excellency to me and show me what I need to count loss so that I may gain more of You today. Lord, I want to get ready for You and for New Jerusalem.

Related post: We Have Oil in our Vessels, We are Burning

Everything of God is in Christ Jesus

In the New Testament, everything positive that God is, has done, and is doing, is found in Christ Jesus. On the other hand, many things recorded in the Bible are not of God. These things are not in Christ Jesus and will not be in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe primary things that are not in Christ Jesus and will not be in New Jerusalem:
• the devil, the deceiver will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
• sin, of which the devil is the source (1 John 3:8).
• sins (plural), the acts emanating from the sin (singular) nature.
• death, which entered through sin (Romans 5:12), will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).
• the world, including its lust, which is already passing away (1 John 2:16-17).
• our old man, crucified and buried with Christ (Romans 6:4, 6)
• our self, which we, the Lord’s followers, should deny daily (Luke 9:23).

All of these negatives were judged by the Lord on the cross. Now they are gradually being eliminated in our Christian living by the living and operative word (Hebrews 4:12) in us. All of these negatives will be totally removed before the new heaven and new earth appear, and these negatives will never touch New Jerusalem.

The more we cooperate with the living and operative word, the quicker all of these negatives will be removed from our practical living. We cooperate by exercising our spirit to come to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace (Hebrews 4:16). Thank God that we are objects of His mercy and that His grace energizes us to hold fast (hold firmly, hold continually) what the Lord has given us (Hebrews 3:14, Revelation 3:11). Let us hold fast now and unto New Jerusalem.

God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing

eastern Sierra near BishopHebrews 11:16, speaking of Abraham and his descendants looking toward New Jerusalem, says God “has prepared a city for them.” If God has already prepared the city, why don’t we have any realization of it?

There are two parts of the answer to this question. One* is that God’s view is eternal, whereas our view is temporal. If we ask one another, When did you receive the Lord Jesus? the answer from our side will be in the recent months or years or decades.

In contrast, God’s view is different:
• “God, being rich in mercy…made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies” (Ephesians 2:4-6)
• “those whom He predestinated, these He also called; and those whom He called, these He also justified; and those whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30)
According to Ephesians, God has made us alive, and seated us in the heavenlies when Jesus Christ resurrected and ascended. In Romans, God has already glorified us.

With God’s eternal view, He has already prepared the city New Jerusalem for those whom He has chosen, called, justified, made alive, and glorified. We need to see as God sees. Hebrews 11:16, God “has prepared a city for them” is in a chapter full of faith, not sight. “We walk by faith, not by sight/appearance” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Lord, cause our faith to grow (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

He has prepared a city for us. May we exercise our faith to say “amen” to what God has said. He has prepared and He will bring us on to New Jerusalem.

* The second will be in the next post.

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.

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