The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 20 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

Revelation 20 begins with the devil cast into the abyss (v. 1-3). Then there is the blessing of being priests and kings in resurrection with God and Christ for a thousand years (v. 4-6). This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

In verse 7 the devil is temporarily released but by verse 10 he is cast into the lake of fire for his eternal punishment.

New JerusalemVerse 11: “I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it.” The Lord Jesus Christ is Him who sits on the throne, because He is “the One who was designated by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).

The Lord Himself spoke of this designation in John 5:26-27, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, so He gave to the Son to also have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man.” As the Son of Man, the God-Man, Jesus both gives us eternal life and judges the dead.

“In righteousness He judges” (Rev. 19:11). Although today’s courts have flaws, our Lord is perfectly righteous.

In verses 12 and 13 the dead are judged. In verses 14 and 15 death and Hades, and anyone whose name is not written in the book of life, are cast into the lake of fire. This judgement is the last cleaning of the earth. After this, there is nothing old, nothing dead, nothing sinful. This judgement opens the door for New Jerusalem with the new heaven and new earth.

The old “earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them” (v. 11) and “the first heaven and the first earth passed away” (21:1). There is “a new heaven and a new earth” and “New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven” (21:1-2).

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Promise: New Creation, New Jerusalem

This post concludes our look at New Testament verses with the words according to God’s... These eternal characteristics of God bring forth New Jerusalem and constitute us into it.

New Jerusalem1 Peter 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Regeneration is our first step into New Jerusalem. There is nothing we can do to qualify ourselves for regeneration; Jesus Christ has done it all and according to God’s great mercy we can receive what He has accomplished.

2 Peter 3:13: “But according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” The new creation, with New Jerusalem as its center, is not our uncertain human hope; it is according to God’s promise. New Jerusalem will be full of “eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the times of the ages” (Titus 1:2). God’s promises are from eternity to eternity. Thank Him!

In the verses in this and four prior posts (1 2 3 4) we see God’s eternal plan carried out according to His great mercy, good pleasure, will, purpose, counsel, promise, riches of glory, riches of grace, and the operation of the might of His strength.

All of these divine characteristics are eternal. They are manifested in His actions in eternity past (e.g. predestinating in Eph. 1:5), now (e.g. making known to us the mystery of His will in Eph. 1:9), and at His second coming (e.g. conforming our body of humiliation to His body of glory in Phil. 3:21).

These characteristics and the actions carried out through them have eternal results in New Jerusalem, where we will forever enjoy the riches of His grace and proclaim the riches of His glory.

Christ, God’s House, God’s City, the Earth

God intends that Christ have the preeminence in all things (Col. 1:18) and that Christ be all in all the believers (Col. 3:10-11). Our experience of Christ brings us into the reality of God’s house, which is the church today (1 Tim. 3:15) and New Jerusalem in eternity. The enlargement of God’s house is God’s city. Through the house and city God in Christ will reign over and bless the whole earth.

Here is a song about Christ, house, city, earth (music). This song captures the high points of messages on Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms (book)*.

www.hymnal.net:en:hymn:h:1224

Here is the summary of posts about New Jerusalem typified in Psalms, with a link to each.

Psalms with a shadow of New Jerusalem—an overview.

Psalms 2-22: New Jerusalem is a city in Christ’s resurrection.
Psalms 22-27: redeemed by Christ’s death and regenerated for New Jerusalem.
Psalms 29-46: shadows of New Jerusalem’s river of life.

Psalms 36-50: God’s lovingkindness and light, our singing and praising.
Psalms 66, 68: we rejoice in Christ’s victory.
Psalms 73, 84: we dwell in God’s house today; He will bring us to New Jerusalem’s glory.

Psalms 87-98: we dwell in Christ now and in eternity.
Psalms 100-107: we, in New Jerusalem, and the nations around the city, will praise.
Psalms 110-118: we go through gates of righteousness to praise God in His house.

Hebrews 2, quoting Psalm 8: today we do not see all that God has done but we see Jesus.
Psalm 118 (2): Christ is the Cornerstone; God’s building, now and eternally, is in Christ.
Psalm 118 (3): we rejoice, bless the Lord, are built together, & await His second coming.

Psalm 122, 132: we go with rejoicing to God’s house and city to enjoy Christ together.
Psalms 133-136: we are one in Christ Jesus and in His life, now and in New Jerusalem.
Psalms 135-147: O Jehovah, Yours is an eternal kingdom, manifested in New Jerusalem.

Psalms 138-145: Jehovah is much to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable.
Psalms 145-150: hallelujah…praise Him…praise Him…sing His praise.

This and many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 87-98

We are looking at prophecies of Christ in the Psalms, and the psalmists’ descriptions of God’s house, city, and reign over the earth, all as shadows of New Jerusalem at the center of the new earth.

New JerusalemPsalm 87:3, “Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.” How much more than earthly Jerusalem will glorious things be said about New Jerusalem!

Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Moses had the sense he was dwelling in God. How much more his word is true now and will be in eternity.

Psalm 91:1, 9, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” “For You have made Jehovah, who is my refuge, even the Most High, Your habitation.” This psalm is a prophecy about Christ, quoted in Matthew and Luke. Yet, since we are in Christ, His dwelling in God is ours also (John 14:20). This is true now and will extend into New Jerusalem.

Psalm 92:12-13, “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree….Planted in the house of Jehovah, they will flourish…” Both today and in eternity, Christ is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). We are planted in God’s house today and will flourish in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 97:1, “Jehovah reigns! Let the earth be glad; Let the many islands rejoice.”
Psalm 97:6b, “All the peoples see His glory.” (Rev. 21:23-24)
Psalm 97:8a, “For You, O Jehovah, are most high over all the earth.”
All these declarations will be fully fulfilled in new earth and New Jerusalem.

Psalm 98:2, “Jehovah has made His salvation known; in the sight of the nations He has revealed His righteousness.” When Jesus began His earthly ministry, this was true to those whose eyes were opened (e.g. Luke 2:30). In the new creation everyone will see His salvation and righteousness. Psalm 98:3b, “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 73, 84

In the Psalms we see many prophecies and allusions to Christ. Through believing into Christ, He brings us into God’s house, the church, which is typified in Psalms. The enlargement of the house is God’s kingdom, mentioned in Psalms and portrayed by earthly Jerusalem. Through the kingdom, God will bring peace and joy to the whole earth, as also foreseen in Psalms. This post resumes a series looking at prophecies and shadows in Psalms of Christ, God’s house and city, and God’s reign over the earth.

Eternally, Christ is the center of New Jerusalem, God’s ultimate house and city for His reign over the earth.

Psalm 73:23-24, “I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me in glory.” Despite all the troubles in the world, like those in the earlier parts of Psalm 73, we need to look to Christ and God’s house and city; this is the way to be “continually with” the Lord. And He will receive us into glory—New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPsalm 84:1, “How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!” Revelation 21:2-3, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…the tabernacle of God.”

Psalm 84:4, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will yet be praising You.” Today we are blessed to dwell and praise God in the church, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15); more dwelling, blessing, and praising await in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” We are in Christ and in God’s house and kingdom, but because of Christ’s unlimited fullness and our limited experience, we have much more entering to do. Lord, fill our hearts with the highways to Zion; we long for more of You, Your house and city.

Psalm 84:10a, “a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.” This was true when the Psalmist spoke, it is true today, and it will be true in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 84:11 (mid), “Jehovah gives grace and glory.” Grace is Christ with us today— “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). Glory will be manifested at the Lord’s return— “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10)—and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 22-27

Here is another group of verses from Psalms, verses which in some way point toward Christ, house, city, earth and thereby are previews of New Jerusalem.

Psalm 22:1-21 speaks of the death of Christ; several verses are quoted in the New Testament. Through His death we have been redeemed and through His resurrection we have been regenerated; these steps together bring us into New Jerusalem.

Psalm 22:26, “Those who seek after Jehovah will praise Him—may your hearts live forever!” Let us seek Him today!
Psalm 22:27-28, “All the ends of the earth will remember and return to Jehovah…for the kingdom is Jehovah’s, and He rules among the nations.” Surely this points to all the nations surrounding New Jerusalem.

Psalm 23:1, “Jehovah is my Shepherd; I will lack nothing.” Christ is shepherding us now.

Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of Jehovah for the length of my days.” Surely goodness and lovingkindness will be in New Jerusalem and we will dwell there for eternity.

New JerusalemPsalm 24:1, “The earth is Jehovah’s, and its fullness, the habitable land and those who dwell in it.” This will be visible in the kingdom and in eternity on the new earth.
Psalm 24:10, “Who is this King of glory? Jehovah of hosts – He is the King of glory!” The King of glory fills New Jerusalem; “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem]” (Rev. 21:23).

Psalm 26:8, “O Jehovah, I love the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory abides.” I love God and I love New Jerusalem as God’s house and city, where His glory abides.

Psalm 27:4, “One thing I have asked from Jehovah; that do I seek: to dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire in His temple.” In the church today and in New Jerusalem eternally we dwell in Jehovah’s house and behold His beauty.

 

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 2-22

Here is the first group of verses from Psalms comparable to or shadows of characteristics of New Jerusalem. Key words for selecting these verses are Christ, house, city, earth.

Psalm 2:7-8  “I will recount the decree of Jehovah; He said to Me: You are My Son; today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give the nations as Your inheritance and the limits of the earth as Your possession.” This is quoted in Acts 13:33, where the begetting is the resurrection of Christ. This is the starting point for New Jerusalem, a city in resurrection. Ultimately, as the resurrected One, Christ will possess the earth.

New JerusalemPsalm 8:9, “O Jehovah our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” Like Psalm 2, this is another exuberant declaration of Christ’s reign over the whole earth in the kingdom age and in eternity.

Psalm 16:9, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy.” New Jerusalem is a city of life through which flows the river of life with the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2). And the city will be full of joy.

The words at the top of Psalm 22 mention the hind of the dawn. This is an allusion to Christ in resurrection (Song of Songs 2:8-9). This resurrected One is the reality of every aspect of New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

Although Christ and New Jerusalem were not plainly revealed to the psalmists, in their love for God they prophesied concerning Christ and expressed a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The first verse of a song about Christ, house, city, earth:
_We from the law to Christ have turned;
_To trust in Him by grace we’ve learned.
_And since His glory we’ve discerned
__We only care for Christ!
___We only care for Christ!
___We only care for Christ!
___And since His glory we’ve discerned
____We only care for Christ!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Psalms with a Shadow of New Jerusalem

In the Psalms there are five crucial words: law, Christ, house, city, earth. With our New Testament view, we know that Christ has replaced the law (Rom. 7:4, 10:4, Gal. 2:16). Christ is presented by many verses in Psalms which are quoted and applied to Him in the New Testament.

Christ comes into us at regeneration and grows within us. This growth yields God’s house, God’s dwelling place, the church—portrayed by the temple in the Psalms. Further strengthening of Christ in us brings forth God’s kingdom—depicted by the city of Jerusalem in the Psalms. Eventually through the kingdom, God in Christ rules over the whole earth.

New Jerusalem

The four words Christ, house, city, earth were the focus of a conference published in the book Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms. During the conference a theme song (words and music) was written; the first lines of each stanza are: 
__
We from the law to Christ have turned
___Christ brings us to God’s house to dwell
____The house enlarged the city is
_____From Zion Christ will take the earth
______Christ—house—the city—earth, we see;
______Thus God’s great plan fulfilled will be.
Complete stanzas of the song will appear in coming posts.

In a recent reading of Psalms and the Life-Study of Psalms, I saw many verses comparable to or shadows of characteristics of New Jerusalem. In this series of posts I present some verses from Psalms with few comments about their correspondence to New Jerusalem.

In brief, God in Christ is on the throne (Rev. 22:1) as the center of New Jerusalem. God and the Lamb are the temple (Rev. 21:22), equivalent to the house in Psalms. New Jerusalem is a city (Rev. 21:2), the heavenly counterpart on earth of the earthly Jerusalem in Psalms. From New Jerusalem God in Christ rules over the entire new earth.

 

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.

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).

The Nations around New Jerusalem (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the mingling of the Triune God and His chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and matured people. Around New Jerusalem on the new earth are the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations (Rev. 21:24).

* The [nations] will be judged by Christ at the throne of His glory when He comes back to earth….The justified ones, the “sheep,” will be blessed and will inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:31-46). Unlike the New Testament believers, the “sheep” will not be saved and regenerated; they will only be restored to the original state of man as he was created by God….After the millennial kingdom, a part of these nations, deceived by the devil, will rebel against the Lord and will be consumed by fire from heaven (20:7-9). The rest will be transferred to the new earth to be the nations, which will live around the New Jerusalem and walk by its light….They, as created but unregenerated men, will be maintained to live forever in their created state through the healing of the leaves of the tree of life (22:2). Even for them there will be no more death (v. 4). Under the shining of the New Jerusalem with the divine glory, neither will they be in darkness.

The peoples are restored but not regenerated. They belong to God but they are not His sons born of His life. Hence they cannot participate in the oneness of New Jerusalem.

First Corinthians 2:6-13 speaks of the things which God prepared “before the ages” for those who love Him, those who are born of the Spirit. The timing of this preparation is different from the blessing “prepared for you [the sheep] from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). This shows another distinction between those who are constituents of New Jerusalem and those who are around New Jerusalem.

Thank the Lord that the door is open today to receive Him as life to become part of New Jerusalem!

Note 1 on Rev. 21:24 in The Holy Bible, Rec. Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry.

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

The Nations around New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the mingling of God with His chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and matured people. The city is this organic union of God and His people. Around the city are the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations (Rev. 21:24). These peoples/nations are not New Jerusalem because they, being plural, do not have the oneness of New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:3 says, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God Himself shall be with them.”

* The “peoples” in this verse will be “the nations” in verse 24. There will be several peoples, and each corporate people will be a nation on the new earth. These nations which will surround the New Jerusalem will be restored, but they will not be regenerated….As the restored and purged nations, they will live outside the New Jerusalem and they will enjoy the common blessings in the new heaven and the new earth.
These common blessings are mentioned in verse 4: “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain—they shall be no more; for the former things have passed away.”

These peoples will be God’s peoples, belonging to Him. However, they are not His sons born of His life. Without this life they cannot participate in the oneness of New Jerusalem.

These peoples enjoy the blessings of the new earth but do not partake of the special blessings in New Jerusalem. For example, the peoples/nations will not eat the fruit of the tree of life (Christ). Their portion will only be the healing of the leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). They will receive this blessing out of New Jerusalem, but it is far better to partake of Christ as our tree of life both today and in New Jerusalem.

* An excerpt from Life-study of Revelation, message 58, by Witness Lee, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. This and many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

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