Where Our Heart is Determines Our Expectations for New Jerusalem

Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 say, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In these chapters the Lord Jesus tells us that our treasure is either earthly or heavenly. If we treasure earthly things, our heart will be earthly; if we treasure heavenly things, our heart will be heavenly. The condition of our heart determines our view of and expectations about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIf we treasure earthly things, we will be people of anxiety, as in Matthew 6:24-34. In this anxious condition we are very susceptible and responsive to descriptions of New Jerusalem as having streets of material gold, physical mansions, very pleasant gardens, superb recreational facilities, etc.

In contrast, New Jerusalem is heavenly. Jesus Christ tells us that New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 3:12). New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of God dwelling in man and man dwelling in God—John 15:4a, “Abide in Me and I in you.”

In New Jerusalem the Triune God is our all. The city “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11), “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22), “its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23), the throne of God and the Lamb, the river of life (the Spirit), and the tree of life (Christ as our nourishment) are in the city (22:1-2), and we will see His face (22:4).

If our heart is set on heavenly things, we realize that these blessings are much more than material, corruptible riches. If our heart is set on earthly things, they become a veil, and we cannot see the reality of New Jerusalem. But, there is a promise for today: “Whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Lord, I turn my heart to You now; save me from the veils to have a clear view of You and of New Jerusalem.

 

We Come Forward to Heavenly Jerusalem

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (4)

God’s spiritual blessings to us are all in Christ. We are in Him and He is in us. This mutual indwelling characterizes New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod’s blessings in Ephesians 1:4-9a include His choosing, holiness, love, predestination, sonship, and grace. Verses 9b-10 speak of, “His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him.”

We are on earth for God’s good pleasure. Eternally He has a purpose in Himself which He has now revealed (Eph. 3:3-5). We are here because of Him and for Him. He cares for us, but we should never think that this is the goal of life.

God’s good pleasure is not just for now. His economy (His way of working out His plan and achieving His goal) is for the fullness of the times, the ages. The Bible reveals that New Jerusalem is the consummation of these ages. For New Jerusalem, and for the righteousness and peace which will distinguish the new heaven and new earth, God will head up all things in Christ.

The heading up eventually will include not only New Jerusalem but also everything in the heavens and on earth. Right now, Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22-23). Right now He is working to head us up, to be the practical Head in our daily living.

Ephesians 4:15 charges us to hold onto Him as the reality that “we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ.” Lord, train me to take You as my Head in daily life. This is our participation in the unseen new creation now leading to the visible new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 122, 132

New JerusalemThe Psalms have many prophecies and shadows of Christ, God’s house and city, and their blessings to the whole earth. All of these point to Christ in New Jerusalem on the new earth.

Psalm 122:1-3 says,
I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go __to the house of Jehovah.
Our feet are standing within your gates, __O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has been built as a city that __has been compacted together.

The present reality of the house of God is the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Let us go with rejoicing to this house to enjoy Christ with all the believers. When we do this we are standing within the gates of God’s spiritual city. All of this is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. And, as Jerusalem was built, so the church now is being built now (e.g. Eph. 4:16, 1 Peter 2:5) as a forerunner of the builded New Jerusalem.

Psalm 132:13-14 says,
For Jehovah has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.
This is My resting place forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.

God has chosen Zion and we too should choose to long for God’s house and city. New Jerusalem will be consummation of both, where God and we also will dwell eternally.

Verses 15-16 say,
I will abundantly bless its provision; I will satisfy its poor with bread.
And its priests I will clothe with salvation, and its faithful ones will shout with a ringing shout.

Today the promise of abundant provision is fulfilled by the flow out from the Head, Christ (Col. 2:19) and the Spirit poured upon us richly (Titus 3:6). How much more in New Jerusalem with the river of life and tree of life! We participate in God’s salvation and shout for joy now with more in New Jerusalem.

The Goal of Oneness, Now & New Jerusalem, is to Express the One Unique God

New JerusalemRecent posts have touched the one flock with one Shepherd (John 10); the one new man created on the cross (Eph. 2); and our oneness in the Father’s name and life, through the sanctifying word of reality, and in the divine glory (John 17).

John 17 emphasizes that our oneness is in the Triune God. This is both for our Christian life today and for New Jerusalem.

We are not one in ourselves, as the daily news from around the world strongly testifies. We can only be truly one in the Triune God. Some key phrases from John 17:
• They may be one even as We are (v. 11)
• That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You,
__that they also may be in Us (v. 21)
• I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one (v. 23)
• The love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them (v. 26).

Why this emphasis on oneness? Jesus spoke an answer in Mark 12:29 (quoting Deut 6), “Hear, Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.” The Lord our God is ONE.

The unique God desires that His expression will match Him. Therefore, through death and resurrection He has opened the door to bring us into Himself because only in Him (out of the natural, fallen man) is the place, atmosphere, and life supply for us to be one today and unto eternity.

New Jerusalem is one city to express the one God. Although the city is full of twelves to express the perfect fullness of God, it is still one city. The unique God has the unique New Jerusalem as His corporate expression for eternity.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Perfected into One unto New Jerusalem

In John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed for our oneness in the Triune God. This prayer includes three stages of oneness—in the Father’s name (one), sanctification in the word of reality (two), and in glory (this post). Three stages in one hymn.

New JerusalemIn John 17:22-23 the Lord prayed, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one…” The glory is the expression of God.

Because we have all received the divine life and divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), we have this glory. The extent to which we live by the divine life and divine nature determines the magnitude of glory expressed. New Jerusalem will be the fullest expression.

As before, oneness in the divine glory is not outward, not man-made, not by adherence to a creed, not by following a set of rules. The real oneness, now and unto New Jerusalem, is as “We [the Triune God] are one.” Nothing less, nothing lower. Our oneness is God in Christ in us and we in Him. This matches what the Lord told the disciples, “you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20).

In the Triune God, with the Triune God in us, we “may be perfected into one.” Perfection is a quality of God, not of men. For us to be perfected into one is to be perfected in our living in and because of the Triune God. At times we fail, but we confess our sins and receive His forgiveness. Eventually we will mature in the divine life and come to the reality, the perfection, of New Jerusalem.

As in verse 17:21, so in verse 23 the result of the oneness today is “that the world may know.” The perfection in glory is not only for New Jerusalem but even for today.

See also Glorification and Oneness in the Triune God.

Sanctified into One unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn John 10 the Lord spoke about one flock; on the cross He created one new man; in John 17 He prayed that we all may be one. This oneness extends from the cross through today to New Jerusalem.

The first stage of His prayer in John 17 was for us to be kept in the oneness in the Father’s name, implying also in the Father’s divine life. In the second stage He prayed “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth….That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:17, 21).

Externally, we are in the world as the early disciples were (17:18). Thus we need to be sanctified from the world all the way to the holy (sanctified) city of New Jerusalem.

To be sanctified (Eph. 5:261 Thes. 5:23) is to be separated from the world and its usurpation unto God and His purpose, not only positionally (Matt. 23:1719) but also dispositionally (Rom. 6:1922). God’s living word works in the believers to separate them from anything worldly. This is to be sanctified in God’s word, which is the truth, the reality.*

Our oneness is not trivial. Christian oneness now, and in New Jerusalem, is “even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.” This is realized through His prayer that “they also may be in Us.” Our oneness is our being in and living in the Triune God. Lord, we want to experience this!

Such oneness in the Triune God expresses the Triune God. Today the result is “that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (John 17:21). Ultimately the result is New Jerusalem shining with the glory of God to the whole universe.

*Note 1 on John 17:17 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.
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Kept in Oneness unto New Jerusalem

On the cross the Lord created two peoples—Jews and Gentiles— “in Himself into one new man, so making peace” (Eph. 2:15). This oneness consummates in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed for the practical outworking of this oneness. His prayer includes three stages. The foundation for this prayer is in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one” because “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (14:10). The oneness is neither an outward association nor a mental agreement; this oneness is by mutual indwelling.

In John 17:11 Jesus asked the Father, “keep them [all His disciples] in Your name, which You have given to Me, that they may be one even as We are.” The oneness for which the Lord prayed is at the same standard and in the same manner as His oneness with the Father. This is the oneness which He longs for today and which will characterize New Jerusalem.

To be kept in the Father’s name is to be kept by His life, because only those who are born of the Father and have the Father’s life can participate in the Father’s name.* When we are kept in the Father’s divine life, we are one. This is how the new man, the Body of Christ, and New Jerusalem are one.

Father, keep me in Your name and in Your life day by day to be one with You and with all other Christians.

*An extract from note 2 on John 17:11 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

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Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem

New JerusalemFour verses mention the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations around New Jerusalem. These nations walk by the light of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24), bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:26), and are healed by the leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). Here is a summary of recent posts about these nations, with links (at ▣) to individual posts.

 These nations are plural and still are “nations” whereas the Lord Jesus has purchased us for God, redeeming us “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

Revelation 21:24-26 is about these nations. Several phrases here match phrases in Isaiah 60, such as “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (60:3).

In contrast to the plurality of the peoples and nations in Revelation 21:3, 24-26, Galatians 3:28 proclaims “you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Another contrast to the multiple peoples/nations in that in the new man, which we have put on, “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” (Col. 3:10-11).

▣1 ▣2 The peoples/nations around New Jerusalem will be God’s peoples, belonging to Him, and restored to the state of human life at creation, before the fall. However, they are not His sons born of His life.

 The nations around New Jerusalem walk by the light of the city (Rev. 21:24). This blessing is not as high as that of the believers in Jesus Christ, who have Jesus Christ within them as their light of life (John 1:4, 8:12).

 God is both the God of people built into New Jerusalem and the God of the peoples around the city. In contrast, only the people constituted into New Jerusalem have been born of God and have God as their Father.

The peoples around New Jerusalem live near God. This is far inferior to the people built into New Jerusalem, who live in God and have God living in them.

▣1 ▣2 In Revelation 22:1-2 there are three provisions: the water of the river of life, the fruits of the tree of life, and the leaves of the tree. The leaves are designated for the outward healing of the nations around New Jerusalem. In contrast, the water and fruit symbolize divine life as the inward supply for the people built into New Jerusalem.

▣1 ▣2 First Corinthians 1:30 declares that it is of God that we are in Christ Jesus. This is unchangeable. But, is our daily living according to our culture and upbringing or is it in Christ Jesus? We need the Lord’s renewing (Col. 3:10) that we may live Him in reality.

 Choose to be in New Jerusalem! John 1:12-13 tells us that those who receive Jesus Christ are born of God. This birth imparts eternal life into us, the life which brings us into New Jerusalem and grows us into this city of life.

Yes, life on the new earth around New Jerusalem will be tremendously better than life on earth now. However, do not settle for this but reach out for the best—born again for being built into New Jerusalem today and living in its fullness eternally.

 

Your Choice for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRecent posts have compared the nations living outside, around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3, 24) with the redeemed and regenerated people constituted into New Jerusalem. The peoples, the nations around New Jerusalem are plural. The people constituted into New Jerusalem are one in Christ.

To be on the new earth around New Jerusalem will be very good but it will be a much greater blessing to participate in the eternal life of the city.

The choice to be in New Jerusalem is yours. This choice must be made while you are alive and before the Lord Jesus returns physically from heaven to earth. The choice is, will you believe into Jesus Christ and receive Him into you? John 1:12 says, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name.” And verse 13 says that these believers, these receivers, are born of God.

The result of receiving Jesus Christ is that we are born again with the eternal life in addition to our human life. It is this eternal life which brings us into New Jerusalem and grows us into this city of life.

In John 14:1 the Lord Jesus said, “believe into God, believe also into Me.” In the rest of this chapter He speaks about God dwelling in us and us dwelling in God. This mutual indwelling is the reality of New Jerusalem. It all comes forth from our believing/receiving (the two are synonyms in the New Testament).

If you have already believed and have assurance of eternal life, then assuredly you will be part of New Jerusalem. If not, choose Jesus Christ. Choose eternal life. This is also to choose participation in New Jerusalem. Simply say to Him, Lord Jesus, I receive You. I want to be a child of God. Cleanse me of all my sins and failures, and give me eternal life. For more, watch these two videos (each about 2½ minutes) about Jesus and human life.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Nations around New Jerusalem (6)

The peoples, the nations, around New Jerusalem participate in the general blessings of the new earth. These nations (plural) are distinct from the people (singular) who live in Christ with the reality of God’s new creation; these are the constituents of New Jerusalem and partake of the special blessings in this city. Revelation 22:2 says,

He showed me a river of water of life….on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

John 6:56There are three provisions here: the water of the river of life, the fruits of the tree of life, and the leaves of the tree. The leaves are specifically designated for the healing of the nations around New Jerusalem. In contrast, the water and the fruit symbolize the supply of divine life to the people built into New Jerusalem.

The life supply of the water continues our drinking the Spirit in John 4 and 7. “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink….This He said concerning the Spirit” (John 7:37-39).

The life supply of the fruit continues our eating Jesus as the bread of life in John 6. ” I am the living bread which came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever” (v. 51).

In John 6:56 the Lord tells us, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.” In verse 63 He explains that this is not physical; instead, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” The mutual abiding requires our spiritual eating now and the fullest mutual abiding in New Jerusalem matches our spiritual eating of the fruit of the tree of life.

The Nations around New Jerusalem (5)

Revelation 21:3 declares, “Behold, the tabernacle of God [New Jerusalem] is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” This is wonderful. However, while the peoples around New Jerusalem have God as their God, they do not have Him as their Father. They do not have the divine life which incorporates people into New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRegarding these peoples, Revelation 21:3 promises, “God Himself will be with them.” We could say, God will be their neighbor and they will be God’s neighbors. This is wonderful, but it is far short of the condition of the people built into New Jerusalem.

Unlike the peoples (plural) as neighbors around New Jerusalem, the people (singular) in New Jerusalem live in God and God lives in them. The source of this mutual indwelling is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In John 14:20, speaking about resurrection, He assures us, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

Besides this verse in John, many verses in the epistles speak of Christ in us; examples are “Christ is in you” (Rom. 8:10) and “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27); also look at this Bibles for America post.

Christ is in us and we are in Christ; examples are “of Him [God] you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:30) and “You are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Being in Christ and having Christ in us is the essence of New Jerusalem, a blessing much higher than being around New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Nations around New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the mutual indwelling of the Triune God and His people. Around New Jerusalem on the new earth are the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations (Rev. 21:24). Two posts have presented differences between the people who are New Jerusalem and the peoples who are around New Jerusalem ( ).

The most striking distinction is the oneness of all who are in Christ and the plurality of the peoples, the nations.

The nations around New Jerusalem walk by the light of the city (Rev. 21:24). This is a blessing but it is not as high as that of the believers in Jesus Christ, who are the constituents of New Jerusalem and have Jesus Christ within as their light of life (John 1:4, 8:12).

The nations and their kings will bring their glory into New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24, 26). This glory is no doubt very positive since everything on the new earth is wonderful. However, this glory is not as rich nor as outstanding as the glory of Christ in His people. This glory came as “the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4), through which we obtained “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14), which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), and will be consummated when “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10).

Christ as glory in us becomes the glory of New Jerusalem. This glory shines through and out of the city. Because of this shining “the nations will walk by its [New Jerusalem’s] light” (Rev. 21:24).

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