New Jerusalem: God and the Lamb are the Temple

In Revelation 21:22 John tells us, “I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” By faith we have entered.

New JerusalemThe New Testament was written in Greek, which has distinct words for “in” and for “into.” According to the New Testament we do not merely believe in Jesus Christ, acknowledging something about Him. Rather, we believe “into Him.”
• “these little ones who believe into Me” Matthew 18:6
• “believe into His name” John 1:12
• “every one who believes into Him may have eternal life” John 3:15, 16
• “Do you believe into the Son of God?” John 9:35

Revelation says that God Himself, God and the Lamb, will be the temple for us who serve Him to dwell in. Our dwelling place in eternity is God Himself….We will dwell in God. He is our temple and we are His tabernacle. He dwells in us and we dwell in Him, and this mutual dwelling is the New Jerusalem, which to God is the tabernacle and to us is the temple. We enjoy a foretaste of this today when we abide in the Lord and the Lord abides in us (John 15:5). This mutual abode will be enlarged in eternity to be the New Jerusalem where God will be our dwelling place and we will be His dwelling place.*

It is not only in New Jerusalem that God will be our dwelling and we will be His dwelling. This is true since the Lord’s resurrection, as He spoke in John 14:20 and 15:5.

* The Divine Economy, chapter 15, by Witness Lee

See also Where is New Jerusalem

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal House of the Living God

New JerusalemRevelation is a book with many spiritual signs. In 1:20 “the seven lampstands are [signs portraying] the seven churches.” In chapter 21–22 New Jerusalem includes many signs describing the eternal dwelling of the Triune God and His people.

Among the many signs in New Jerusalem we see the pearl gates (our entrance through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), the river of water of life (the flowing, life-imparting Spirit), the tree of life (Jesus Christ our life supply), many ‘twelves’ (a number describing perfection), gold (the divine nature), and precious stones (the Spirit’s transforming work in the believers).

The New Jerusalem is not an actual [physical/material] city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell.…The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.*

When we view New Jerusalem in a heavenly, spiritual way rather than an earthly, natural way, we see it as the mutual dwelling of God and His people. Praise Him for this view of New Jerusalem!

* The Divine Economy, chapter 15, by Witness Lee.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is the Mingling of The Triune God with His People

God has been seeking a dwelling with man since creation. Many stages of this dwelling developed through the Old and New Testaments, culminating in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAn early picture of this dwelling, this building, is Abraham’s tent with his altar in front of it, a miniature of the tabernacle with an altar built centuries later. At that time God told Moses, “Let them make a sanctuary for Me that I may dwell in their midst” (Exo. 25:8).

In the Old Testament, due to the fall of man, God could only dwell with man, not in man. But the redemption obtained by the Lord Jesus cleansed man.

In the New Testament God does not dwell ‘with man’ but ‘in man.’ Even before accomplishing redemption, the Lord Jesus spoke of this. “You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20). “Abide in Me and I in you” (John 15:4).

In the epistles many verses speak of us being in Christ and Christ being in us. This is mutual indwelling, also called coinherence or mingling. The ultimate stage of this coinherence is New Jerusalem.

The New Jerusalem is a full picture of the mingling of the Triune God with His redeemed creatures, the mingling of divinity with humanity. Now God is no longer merely a God outside of man. He is a God within man.

For eternity God will dwell in His people and His people in Him. This mutual dwelling is New Jerusalem.

* The Building of God, chapter 1, by Witness Lee.

Organic Union with the Triune God

The description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22 is full of spiritual signs. Among these signs are the materials—gold signifying the Father’s divine nature, and pearls portraying the Son’s redemptive death and regenerating resurrection. These become our entrance into the kingdom of God which consummates in New Jerusalem.

In the New Jerusalem the precious stones are we plus the Spirit. The transforming Spirit becomes one with us, His transformed ones. Therefore, the pearls are Christ and we, and the wall of precious stones is the Spirit and we. These two items, the pearls and the precious stones, indicate that the second of the Triune God and the third of the Triune God have made Themselves one with us. Without the Spirit it would be impossible for us as pieces of clay to become jasper, bearing the same appearance as God. But now we have the life-giving Spirit, who is actually the consummated Triune God, in us, making us one with Him. Thus, we are altogether in the organic union with the Triune God.*

New JerusalemThe Lord spoke about this organic union in John’s gospel. For example, He said that in resurrection “you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” The Lord lives in us and we live in Him. In the epistles this thought continues—many verses speak about Christ in us and us in Christ.

Romans 8:9 declares that the Spirit dwells in us and in 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are being transformed by the Lord Spirit. This organic union is for our Christian life today and for eternity in New Jerusalem.

* The Organic Union in God’s Relationship with Man, chapter 6, by Witness Lee.

A Word from Moses

Recent posts are about New Jerusalem being a spiritual structure in the resurrection life. New Jerusalem is not a physical city. This is the pattern of God’s building throughout the New Testament.

In the Old Testament God had a physical tabernacle and temple, but these were merely pictures of the NT reality. Even in that age, Moses declared in Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” 

New JerusalemOur dwelling place, our home, both today and in New Jerusalem, is God Himself. Jesus made this clear in John 14:20, speaking about His soon-to-happen resurrection, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” And John 15:4, “Abide in Me and I in you.” We have a mutual indwelling.

How do we “know”? First John 2 tells us that we know because of the love of God in us, with which we love God, and because of the moving of the Holy Spirit in us. Lord, stir Your love in me and move within me every day! 

God in Jesus Christ dwells in us and we dwell in Him. This is true no matter what our physical location is. Paul, in prison, wrote several epistles which speak of Christ in us and us in Christ. This is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. It is also our training, our preparation to be a proper and mature constituent of New Jerusalem.

See also Where is New Jerusalem ?

God’s NT Building is Living and Spiritual (3)

God’s New Testament building is alive. It is a spiritual building brought forth by His life in us. This building work is proceeding now and will fully come forth with New Jerusalem.

The Old Testament tabernacle and temple were physical. In the New Testament Jesus is the reality of these shadows. In John 1:1 the eternal Word is God. In 1:14 “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” Jesus became the living tabernacle; The New Testament Tabernacle is Alive.

New Jerusalemin John 2 the Lord Jesus said to the Jews “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They misunderstood His words, because all they knew was the old, physical temple. “But He spoke of the temple of His body.” They destroyed this temple through crucifixion and in three days He raised it up in resurrection.

In John 14 the Lord spoke about many abodes in His Father’s house. We are these abodes. There are no physical “mansions” in God’s house, neither today nor in New Jerusalem. In John 14 the Lord also spoke about His dwelling in us and our dwelling in Him. This is God’s living New Testament building.

In John 2 the Lord spoke about His physical body as the temple. In resurrection He also raised up all the believers as the enlarged, living temple of God. This is 2 Corinthians 6:16, “We are the temple of the living God.” The reality is being worked into us through this age to come forth fully as New Jerusalem.

Now & New Jerusalem: Behold His Face (3)

In New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4). Now, in resurrection, we see the Lord in spirit and He is our joy.

The prior posts touched John 14 and 16. Then the Lord prayed, “I desire that they also may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory.” (17:24). To behold His glory is to behold Him, to have a foretaste of the promise in Revelation 22.

The fulfillment of this matter began with the Son’s resurrection, when He brought His believers into participation in His resurrection life, and will consummate in the New Jerusalem.*

New JerusalemFor this beholding, the Lord says we must be with Him, where He is. To be with Him is in resurrection. He told us in John 14:20 that from the time of His resurrection, we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

This mutual indwelling is in spirit. The Spirit of reality has regenerated our human spirit (John 3:6) and now indwells it (John 14:17, Rom. 8:11). We are one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).

In spirit we see the Lord! It is wonderful to await the Lord’s second coming when “every eye will see Him” (Rev. 1:7), and to pray Amen, Lord, come quickly (Rev. 22:20). Yet, while doing this, we must not forget that today we are in Him and He is in us so we can behold Him and His glory now.

New Jerusalem will be the fullness of beholding the Lord and His glory, but this is available in lesser degree now. Lord, grant us this beholding experience today!

* Part of footnote 1 on John 17:24 in the Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.

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.

%d bloggers like this: