New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies (2)

The New Testament temple is spiritual, not physical. We do not need the Old Testament’s physical temple; nevertheless, the record about it in the Bible depicts many spiritual realities today and in New Jerusalem.

The ark in the holy of holies contains the manna, the budding rod, and the tablets of the covenant (Heb. 9:4). The budding rod (Num. 17) started as a rod, a stick, lifeless and cut off. During a night before the Lord it “put forth buds and produced blossoms and bore ripe almonds.” This is a picture of resurrection, and is related to having authority in the divine life.

Colossians 2:12 says we were “Buried together with Him in baptism, in which also you were raised together with Him through the faith of the operation of God.” This is our initial experience of being one with Christ in His death and resurrection. The budding rod signifies a much deeper experience of the same resurrection.

New JerusalemIt is desirable that we all enter the holy of holies to experience this in our current Christian life. Since New Jerusalem is the eternal holy of holies, at that time we will all have this deepest experience of Christ in resurrection.

The tablets of the covenant point to the Old Testament law. This has been replaced by the inner “law of the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). To experience the controlling, leading, restricting, and guiding of the eternal life within is the experience portrayed by the tablets in the ark.

Today, when we live by this inner law, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (Rom. 8:4). Today this is an exercise but in New Jerusalem it will be spontaneous and continuous.

New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies

The Old Testament shadows were necessary until the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Reality came in His incarnation and reality was made available to us in His resurrection. In this reality we have no need of a physical temple but He and we together are the living temple. And New Jerusalem is the ultimate temple in the Bible.

We have no need for a physical temple, but that temple, the shadow, shows us much about the present living temple. In addition to the materials and shape, the contents of the physical temple are important. Since the entire New Jerusalem is the holy of holies, we will look only at the physical holy of holies to get a picture of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemHebrews 9:4 says the Holy of Holies contains “the ark of the covenant covered about everywhere with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna and Aaron’s rod that budded and the tablets of the covenant.”

The ark was made of wood, overlayed inside and outside with gold. This portrays Jesus Christ as the man (wood) mingled with God (gold). Everything is in Him.

This ark is “of the covenant.” This covenant is a definite promise, a commitment by God. Everything portrayed by the ark is guaranteed by God. Thank Him!

The golden pot with manna is the eternal life supply in New Jerusalem. This is the same manna that fell around Israel’s camp, but its location indicates a much deeper, inner experience* of this life supply.This corresponds to eating the fruit of the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:2).

*This footnote, from the ministry of Witness Lee, presents the experiences of Christ as seen in all three parts of the tabernacle.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem is Eternal

#NewJerusalemWe had recent posts on Eternal Life and New Jerusalem. Now we look at other eternal matters in the New Testament and how they relate to New Jerusalem.

First, God is eternal. And God is on the throne in New Jerusalem. He is the eternal center and the eternal nature of the city. The eternal God is incorruptible (1 Tim. 1:17), making New Jerusalem incorruptible.

God is also “the Father of lights, with whom is no variation or shadow cast by turning” (James 1:17). Because He is eternal, He has no variations. And He is the light of New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:23, “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.”

The Lord Jesus died on the cross and “through His own blood, centered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12). This eternal redemption is for now and for New Jerusalem, where it is eternally displayed by the Lamb on the throne (Rev. 22:1).

After His death, God raised our Lord Jesus “in the blood of an eternal covenant” (Heb. 13:20). This eternal covenant/agreement/contract includes New Jerusalem, the eternal city. Based on His eternal redemption and covenant, the Lord is now “the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9). The salvation we received includes our eternal participation in New Jerusalem.

Also, through His death and resurrection, the way is open that we “might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15). This is not an earthly nor a physical inheritance but “incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you” (1 Peter 1:4). Ultimately this heavenly, eternal inheritance, New Jerusalem, will “come down out of heaven” (Rev. 21:10).

New Jerusalem is Heavenly on Earth (2)

Hebrews 11:16 tells us that the Old Testament people of faith, living on the physical earth, “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.” We likewise live in an earthly environment but should have the same longing for a heavenly one.

#NewJerusalemGod’s response to our longing is that He has prepared a heavenly city. This is “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). Although it is a heavenly city, John saw it “coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 10). New Jerusalem is a heavenly city on earth.

The first half of Hebrews 8 tells us that the Old Testament tabernacle was a shadow of the heavenly things (v. 5). Both this chapter and the following one speak of the Holy of Holies. Verse 9:8 says that “the way of the Holy of Holies has not yet been manifested while the first tabernacle still has its standing.”

That “first tabernacle” stood during the first, the old, covenant. Now that Jesus Christ has come, died, and risen, the new covenant has been established and the way to the holy of holies is open. This New Testament holy of holies is the heavenly one, the New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the heavenly holy of holies because it is a cube, like the smaller holy of holies in the tabernacle and the temple. Revelation 21:16 declares that New Jerusalem is a cube, saying, “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”

The way to this heavenly holy of holies is open! Jesus Christ has opened the way for us! We cannot see the way physically but we can come forward in faith. Hebrews 10:22: “Let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith;” our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Acts 26:18 and New Jerusalem (2)

Acts 26:18 records six aspects of the heavenly commission from the Lord Jesus to Paul. The last is that we receive an inheritance. As with all five prior aspects, the consumma-tion of the inheritance is with New Jerusalem.

This inheritance comes to us in three stages—in this age, in the age that begins with the Lord’s second coming, and in eternity in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe New Testament primarily speaks of the inheritance in the kingdom age and in eternity. Nevertheless, Ephesians 1:14 says that the Spirit “is the pledge of our inheritance.” This pledge is a guarantee. It is also a sample, giving us a present taste of the coming inheritance. The Spirit Himself, as our realization of the Triune God, is the sample, indicating that the Triune God is the fullness of our inheritance.

Also, Galatians 3:14 speaks of our receiving the blessing of Abraham, which is the promised Spirit. The promise is of God (v. 16), it is also God’s covenant (v. 17), and it is our inheritance (v. 18). This is the Spirit flowing as the river of life in New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 21:7 the Lord tells us, “he who overcomes will inherit these things.” This is in the context of the Lord describing Himself and describing New Jerusalem. Hence, the Lord Jesus Christ as the reality of everything in New Jerusalem and as the embodiment of the Triune God is our inheritance.

An overall definition:* This inheritance is the Triune God Himself with all He has, all He has done, and all He will do for His redeemed people. The Triune God is embodied in the all-inclusive Christ (Col. 2:9), who is the portion allotted to the saints as their inheritance (Col. 1:12).

Ultimately this inheritance is the Triune God in New Jerusalem allotted to us.

* From footnote 6 on Acts 26:18 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

 

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All God’s Newness in the Bible

Zion National Park 3, UT, Nat Park Service

New Jerusalem, the center of the new creation (Revelation 21:1-2), is the consummation of all the newness in the Bible. The city is new because, like the new man, it is in Christ and in it Christ is all and in all. God in Christ defines what is new. Everything and every person outside of Christ is old.

Here is a summary with a link and a key verse for each of the recent posts on New Jerusalem as the consummation of the divine newness. In a proper Christian life we experience the newness of New Jerusalem now.

 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Where are we? If in Christ, we are a new creation; if not in Christ, we are in the old creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17

 In Christ, by entering into and experiencing His death and thereby being ushered into His resurrection, we can walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

 Resurrection and newness cannot be separated. In resurrection we walk in newness of life and the Spirit is the reality of resurrection. Therefore, we serve in newness of spirit. Romans 7:6

 By serving in spirit, we participate in the new covenant ministry of the Spirit who gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

 Christ created the new man on the cross. We have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. Colossians 3:10

 The new man is experiencing the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Several chapters in the epistles show us how to cooperate with the Spirit’s renewing work in our being. Titus 3:5

 New Jerusalem is the consummation of the new covenant. The Lord established the new covenant by His death and now we who have been called receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Zion National Park 3, UT, Nat Park Service

Here is a summary with a link and a key verse for some older posts about the newness of the heavenly Jerusalem and our experience of the Spirit’s renewing.

 God created man in His image and with His likeness for the accomplishing of His purpose. The original man fell but on the cross Christ created a new man which will fulfill God’s purpose and bring in New Jerusalem. Ephesians 2:15

 Our believing into Jesus Christ brings us into the new creation. Although we still need the renewing of the Holy Spirit, our believing puts us on and guarantees the path to New Jerusalem. John 1:12

 All believers are positionally in the new man, yet we still need to cooperate with the Spirit’s work in us so that we may be renewed in the spirit of our mind. Ephesians 4:23

 Christ is our new beginning, typified by new moons and new years. Revelation mentions singing a new song (singing is a good way to enjoy His newness). These new things (and many more) point toward New Jerusalem. Psalm 33:3

 Based on the sacrifice (the death on the cross) of our passover Christ, we are a new lump. We should therefore keep the feast with Christ as our pure, new food which energizes us to live Him. 1 Corinthians 5:8

 The new man is being renewing according to the image of Him [Christ] who created the new man. Christ is the image of the invisible God and the renewing brings forth the image of God which ultimately is displayed by New Jerusalem. Colossians 1:15

How wonderful is the work of the Triune God. God has put us into Christ where we are the new man. Here the Spirit is renewing us so that our entire being will have the newness which will be characteristic of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Death→New Covenant→Eternal Inheritance

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of the new covenant established by our Lord in His death (Luke 22:20).

Hebrews 9:14 tells us Christ offered Himself to God on the cross and through the eternal Spirit. Verse 15 continues “And because of this He is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

The death of Christ accomplished redemption. Redemption brought in the new covenant. This new covenant brings us to the eternal inheritance—God in Christ Jesus in New Jerusalem.

We cannot come to this inheritance by ourselves. John 3:6a says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Flesh is a negative word in the Bible, a realm of sin, death, and oldness. But we come to the eternal inheritance because of the blood of the Lamb through which we have redemption and because of His resurrection through which we have the life of New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 3:6 tells us that the new covenant ministry is of the Spirit who gives life. This matches the spiritual nature of all of God’s New Testament building work and matches New Jerusalem which is a living, spiritual city.

To live in the new covenant daily and to participate in God’s New Testament building work, we need to live and walk in S/spirit—the divine Spirit mingled with our human spirit.

Redemption qualifies us to receive eternal life and eternal life supplies us to bring forth God’s building. This is Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.”

Let us thank the Lord for His redemption, eat the tree of life, and go onward to New Jerusalem.

 

Jesus Christ, the Holy One, Makes Us Holy

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2, 10) and it is the consummation of all the holiness in the Bible.

God brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt to be His holy nation. However, they did not remain with God in their hearts. Jeremiah 2:3 says, “Israel was holiness to Jehovah” and the whole chapter speaks of their failures. God’s answer was to promise a new covenant in Jeremiah 31.

The new covenant was prepared by the coming of Jesus Christ. He was “begotten of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20) and was holy in His birth (Luke 1:35). He is “the Holy One” in His human living (John 6:69), in His death and resurrection (Acts 3:14), and in His ascension (Revelation 3:7). He is also God’s “holy Servant” (Acts 4:27).

In Psalm 16:10 David foretold that God would not allow His Holy One to see corruption. Peter applied this word to Jesus in Acts 2:27 and Paul applied this word to Jesus in Acts 13:35. Both spoke this concerning the resurrection of Jesus, that He was not left in the tomb. Both before and after death and resurrection Jesus is “the Holy One.”

In Jesus, the holy God came into humanity. This is a big step toward New Jerusalem. In resurrection He can become our life so that we may partake of His holiness. This prepares us to participate in the holy city Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (5)

New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is implied in both the giving of the first covenant in Exodus 20 and the prophecy of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31.

New JerusalemHosea speaks to and condemns Israel’s departure from God to go after other gods. Nevertheless he also has some encouraging words about the future:
• “she will say, I will go and return to my first husband” (v. 2:7)
• “in that day, declares Jehovah, you will call Me my Husband” (v. 2:16)
• “I will betroth you to Myself forever” (v. 2:19a)
• “I will betroth you to Myself in right-eousness and justice and in loving-kindness and compassions” (v. 2:19b)
• “I will betroth you to Myself in faithfulness, and you will know Jehovah” (v. 2:20).

The last three of these five phrases show that the eternal marriage is of God. He (not we) planned, He (not we) initiated, He (not we) betrothed, and He (not we) supplies the righteousness, lovingkindness, and faithfulness.

Our response is to love Him and to call Him our Husband. Our response is also to “go and return” to Him from all other “husbands/lovers/idols/distractions.” Our responses will be repeated multiple times in our experience. This is our path to the eternal marriage, to New Jerusalem.

The seeker in Song of Songs said, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine….Draw me; we will run after you.” We can pray with her, Lord kiss me! Lord Jesus, may I realize that Your love is better! Draw me so that we can run after You! 

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (4)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the eternal marriage. The Lord’s word in Exodus 20:6, “those who love Me,” links this marriage with the first covenant, the covenant of law. Despite Israel’s failures, the Lord is unchanging in His intention, so in Jeremiah 31:3 He says, “Indeed I have loved you with an eternal love, therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Lord, thank You for Your love. Draw me today!

Verses 31-34 of the same chapter foretell the new covenant, and speak of Israel’s breaking of the first covenant, the Lord being their Husband, and the inward nature of the new covenant.

The change of covenant did not change God’s desire and plan to be married to His people. Rather, the change of covenant supplied a way to fulfill this desire, a way to bring us onward to New Jerusalem.

The first covenant had a law written on stone tablets outside of us. The Lord describes His new covenant in this way—“I will put My law within them and write it upon their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). The law is no longer outside us but is written within us. Romans 2:28-29 comments on this change, saying, not outwardly…but inwardly…of the heart, in spirit, not in letter.

In New Testament words, the Spirit dwells in us and the law of this Spirit of life frees us (Romans 8:2, 9-11). First John 3:10–4:21 speaks often of the Spirit dwelling in us and of our loving God and one another with the love of God. This is the fulfillment of the requirement for love in Exodus 20:6.

The Spirit who dwells in us supplies us with the life which fulfills God’s desire. This Spirit is with us now and will continue to flow eternally in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1).

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Newness

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, a living city which is the mingling of God and His people, is the consummation of everything positive in the Bible. Four recent posts present an overview of this consummation. Since “New” is part of the city’s name, this post looks in a little more depth at New Jerusalem as the consummate newness.

The Old Testament has new moons and first days of years which are shadows of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17) as our new beginning. Many times in Psalms we read of singing a new song to the Lord. Singing to Him is a great way to taste His freshness.

Isaiah 65–65 has prophecies of the Lord doing new things and bringing forth new heavens and a new earth. Peter spoke of this, saying, “according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 2:13). This is fulfilled in Revelation 21:1—John saw a new heaven and a new earth as the setting for New Jerusalem.

In Jeremiah 31:31-34 the Lord promises a new covenant. Jesus, through His death, enacted this covenant, saying in Luke 22:20, “This cup is the new covenant established in My blood, which is being poured out for you.” Our receiving of this covenant brings us to New Jerusalem. Jesus not only enacted this new covenant; He is now also its Mediator so that “those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15). Surely this eternal inheritance includes all that is in New Jerusalem.

Along with His mediation, the ministers of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6) are ministering the Spirit who gives life for the building up of the Body of Christ unto New Jerusalem.

The new beginnings, new creation, and new covenant are examples of the new thing which have their consummation in New Jerusalem.

 

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