New Jerusalem: the Unique Marriage

John told us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). Then he told us, “One of the seven angels…came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride,
the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem” (21:9-10).

New JerusalemEternally New Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. This is the unique eternal marriage.

In Matthew 22:23-33 the Sadducees asked the Lord about the continuation of earthly marriages after the resurrection of the dead. The Lord’s answer in verse 30 is, “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Here the Lord speaks about the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29), the resurrection of those who are righteous in Him (Acts 24:15), the first/best resurrection (Rev. 20:5, 6).

This resurrection of life is at the Lord’s second coming, when the dead believers in Christ and the believers who are alive on earth both enter into a full resurrection, including the redemption of their bodies. They all are constituents of the city of resurrection, New Jerusalem. All these believers are the corporate wife of the Lamb, married to Him. Per the Lord’s word in Matthew, they are no longer in any human marriage.

I do not see any clear word in the Bible about marriages among the nations on the new earth around New Jerusalem, but for the believers in Christ, the city is clearly the unique eternal marriage.

“And…And” Points to New Jerusalem

Many verses in Revelation 19—20 begin “And” linking praises, judgments, the marriage of the Lamb, His victories, and the kingdom with “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem” at the start of chapter 21.

New JerusalemThe way to see New Jerusalem is in 21:10: “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.” And couples this with the angels having the last plagues (v. 9), indicating that the plagues are a base for brining in New Jerusalem.

The description of the city in 21:11-23 has multiple ands because the city is one whole entity. Verses 21:24-26 each begin And, showing that the nations around New Jerusalem are coupled to it although not integral parts of it.

But Revelation 21 is not complete; 22 begins ” And he showed me a river of water of life…” Then 22:2: “And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life…” The description of the city in 21:11-23 is not complete without the life supply flowing from the throne brining us the tree of life with its fruits. The outcome of this life supply is described in 22:3-5, each of which begins “And.”

After the description of life in New Jerusalem we read, “And he [the angel] said to me, These words are faithful and true…” (v. 6). Then the Lord speaks “And behold, I come quickly.” (v. 7). The Lord’s second coming is not separate from New Jerusalem but rather is tied to it.

A few more verses begin with And, then Revelation concludes, ” The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem; No Sea

New JerusalemRevelation 21:1: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.” Many recent posts are on the new heaven and the new earth. These will be with New Jerusalem but, as stated in this verse, without the sea.

There is no more sea because the sea is a result of God’s judgments on the corrupted earth. We are likely familiar with the flood in Noah’s time, which covered the entire earth with a sea of water. This was because “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5). After this, God promised that never again would waters cover the earth to destroy everything (Gen. 9:11-16).

Prior to this there was another flood. In Genesis 1:1 “God created the heavens and the earth.” This creation was pleasant. Isaiah 45:18 declares that God “formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it waste.” However, due to Satan’s rebellion, “the earth became waste and emptiness, and darkness was on the surface of the deep” (Gen. 1:2).

As a result of the judgment in verse 2, there was no land—no place for man to live for God’s purpose. Water covered the earth. But, as in Noah’s time, God restored the earth. “God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so” (Gen. 1:9).

Revelation 21 is a full, complete renovation. It has the new earth for the nations to live on, New Jerusalem as God’s dwelling with His people on earth, and no more sea, no leftover from the prior judgments. Praise God that everything is new!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 138-145

New JerusalemWe continue looking at clear words and hints in Psalms about Christ, God’s house, God’s city, and God’s blessing to the whole earth. These point toward Christ on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new earth.

Psalm 138:4-5 say, “All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Jehovah; for they have heard the words of Your mouth. And they will sing of the ways of Jehovah, for great is the glory of Jehovah.” This corresponds with Revelation 21; verse 23 says the glory of God illumined New Jerusalem. Verse 23 also says the nations on new earth will bring their glory and honor into New Jerusalem (analogous to giving thanks in Psalm 138).

Psalm 144:3 says, “O Jehovah, what is man, that You take knowledge of him, And the son of man, that You think of him?” This repeats Psalm 8:4, quoted in Hebrews 2:6, and is in reference to Jesus Christ. Hebrews 2 goes on to speak of His incarnation, His death, His resurrection, and His being crowned with glory and honor in ascension. In New Jerusalem the Lamb, indicating incarnation and death, will be on the throne, indicating exaltation with glory and honor (Rev. 22:1).

Psalm 145:1-3 say, “I will extol You, O my God and King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is Jehovah, and much to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”

In New Jerusalem we will extol and praise our God and King, and bless His name forever. And, although we will see, appreciate, and partake of His greatness, we will never reach its limit, for it is unsearchable. New Jerusalem will contain and display the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

New Jerusalem is the Center of New Heaven and New Earth

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:1-2 John says, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

John had a three-fold vision here: a new heaven, a new earth, and New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21 we have these insights into the new heaven and new earth:
• new earth will not have an ocean (21:1)
• New Jerusalem will be “out of heaven”
and hence on new earth (21:2)
• nations will live around New Jerusalem (21:24)
• New Jerusalem will be the tabernacle of God with these nations (21:3)
• God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no
more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore” (21:4)
• there will be sun & moon (21:23)

If we are curious about life on the new earth, we will be disappointed with the paucity of this description. Why does the Bible say so little about the new heaven and new earth? Because they are merely the background, the environment for New Jerusalem.

God’s Goal is New Jerusalem

God’s desire is not merely to have us on new earth. His desire is to bring us to Himself and to fill us with Himself, so that we become His corporate expression, which is called New Jerusalem. Lord, we give ourselves to be filled with You, to be knit together in You, and to be Your expression.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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.

Living in Christ unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemOur oneness in Christ is the oneness of the new man who will consummate in New Jerusalem. This oneness sets us apart from the nations around New Jerusalem.

Our position in Christ is of God and is unchangeable (1 Cor. 1:30). But, our living in Christ, His living in and through us, is variable. None of us can say a hundred percent of the time “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)? To increase our living of Christ we open to and participate in the Lord’s renewing of the new man (Col. 3:10) so that He can be “all” in reality (3:11).

As a result of our believing in Jesus Christ, we have been transferred out of Adam and into Christ. Positionally this change is quick, but the change of living takes a long time.

A human illustration: in less than 24 hours a person can fly from the U.S. to Russia or Norway to Pakistan or Brazil to China, etc. This is a positional change. But how many years does it take for this person to fully grasp the language, food tastes, attitudes, and habits of the new nation? Likewise to learn to live Christ is not quick.

This is our time of training, our time of learning to live in a new country—Christ. The more we live here, the more we have the foretaste of New Jerusalem. When we are in the fullness of New Jerusalem we will be one hundred percent living and magnifying Christ. Lord, grace us to advance daily in our living and magnifying You until we reach New Jerusalem.

Oneness with Christ for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemPrior posts showed that our oneness with Christ and oneness in Christ distinguish us from the nations around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24).

One verse about this is Colossians 3:10-11 which says that in the new man “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” Assuredly, in New Jerusalem Christ will be everything.

First Corinthians 1:30 declares that it is of God that we are in Christ Jesus. This is our position, which is unchangeable. But, is our daily living always, sometimes, or rarely in Christ Jesus? To what extent can we honestly say “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)?

If our daily living is according to our upbringing, or is unconscious habit, or is governed by our culture, or is because “everyone does it this way,” then we are not living Christ. Those ways of living might not be bad, but the source is the old creation rather than Christ in us.

Or, we might try to explain our living by “that’s the way I am” or “I was born that way.” Again, these ways might not be bad, but they are not Christ and hence cannot correspond with New Jerusalem.

Our need is expressed in Colossians 3:10. It says we “have put on the new man” and now the new man “is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” Lord, we open to be renewed to match Your image. Renew us into the reality of the new man in our daily living. Conform us to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

The Nations around New Jerusalem (7)

Revelation 22:2, describing New Jerusalem, says, “And 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.” The fruits are for the people constituted into New Jerusalem while the leaves are for those living around the city.

The tree of life is a symbol of Christ and the fruits are Christ as our life supply as He spoke in detail in John 6. What then are the leaves?

* The leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. In the Bible, leaves are a symbol of man’s deeds (Gen. 3:7). The leaves of the tree of life symbolize the deeds of Christ. The regenerated believers eat the fruit of the tree of life, receiving Christ as their inward life and life supply, that they may enjoy the divine life for eternity, whereas the restored nations are healed by the leaves of the tree of life, taking the deeds of Christ as their outward guide and regulation, that they may live the human life forever.

New JerusalemThe nations are guided outwardly by the deeds of Christ. This is very good, but it is also very different from being supplied inwardly by the life of Christ. The Lord is the bread of life edible today. We shouldn’t wait for New Jerusalem. “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” is a promise for today (John 6:57).

The proper Christian living today and our eternal living in New Jerusalem is Jesus Christ as our life supply to be lived out by us. This is much higher than being guided by Him as our outward example. Eating brings us into New Jerusalem!

Photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

* Note 1 on Rev. 22:5 in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM.

Prior posts in this series: one two three four five six

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.

%d bloggers like this: